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Looking to find out something more about the world we live in, instead of gallivanting off into the realm of fiction? Have a look at our hand-picked non-fiction choices.
Consisting of essays on Princess Diana and a tribute to the author's friend Christopher Hitchens, this book features essays focusing on politics, and in particular the American election campaigns of 2012 and 2016. It also includes an essay about Donald Trump's rise to power.
A title that doesn’t lie, these are really good dog photos. Containing the work of some of the best animal photographers there are naturally many different approaches to photographing dogs, many of the pictures have the “aaah” factor, many show the beauty, the fun, the work of dogs and there are some here to tug the heart-strings – particularly the portraits of dogs marooned in rescue centres. An excellent introduction to the subject featuring photographers such as Elliott Erwitt and William Wegman. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading The Dogist by Elias Weiss Friedman
Films – what do they know about science, what have they got right and what they have got wrong? (all that clunky computer equipment in Alien for a start). Can we teleport, grow a dinosaur or shapeshift, Doctor Michael Brooks explains it all to us and to colleague Rick Edwards. Taken from their Twitter pages they discuss science shown in films that have often delved into the science. This is the quintessential Christmas gift for lovers of science and movies based on the hit podcast, Science(ish), stylishly designed and illustrated throughout. Like for Like Reading The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence Krauss The Haynes Zombie Survival Manual by Sean T Page
October 2017 Non-Fiction Book of the Month So good, I wanted to give both the book, and Sarah Millican a thank you hug. I will admit to almost mugging my boss to get my hands on this book. I have sat in a theatre, with this wonderful, funny woman up on the stage in front of me and grinned, chuckled, and plain roared with laughter. I opened the book and settled in for a fascinating read. I could hear her voice in my head as I devoured the pages, simply because no one else could say what she says, the tone is beautifully and unmistakably her. In my opinion Sarah Millican speaks a heck of a lot of sense, she is positive and sunny, even when describing bullying, or the more difficult side to fame. She also stands up for decency, and kindness, and is just so, so honest (particularly about poo and periods). Occasionally I felt sad, I often snorted with laughter, and once laughed so hard I cried. I wholeheartedly recommend ‘How to be Champion’, Sarah Millican is in every word, in every sentence, and it’s just fabulous! Explore our '80+ Books That Deilver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | A book to make you think and feel, this is an important, beautiful, spellbinding treasure. Words from nature are disappearing, being removed, left to one side to be forgotten. Some words are in real danger of being lost forever, this book reveals those words, sings them, shows them, reminds us how to love them. Spell-weavers Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris have created a bewitching ode to nature, reminding us of the danger of absence, highlighting beauty, whispering to our soul. It feels as though the words, the poems, and vividly beautiful pictures are as one, the essence of the word, of the being, escapes the page to wrap itself around you. ‘The Lost Words’ is suitable for all ages, and should find a special place in all homes, all libraries, all schools, all hearts. Do read the spell-poems out loud, listen, look, feel, touch, allow your awareness to open and receive these gifts. I found myself entranced, I fell completely under the spell of The Lost Words, I simply can’t recommend it highly enough. Explore our '80+ Books That Deilver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.
Another fascinating and eloquent tale from Casey Watson, specialist foster carer to children who have difficulties settling in care. Writing under a pseudonym, Casey’s tales of her foster children highlight problems within our society today and the relevance of them just slaps your awareness. 15 year old Keeley joins Casey’s family after running away from her previous carers. Casey sets the scene so well, you really feel her voice, and her energy shines vibrantly alongside her ability to look beyond the obvious. This particular tale really provokes thoughts and so it should, the internet can be a horrendously scary place if not managed properly. ‘Groomed’ is a compelling, heart-aching and eye-opening read. ~ Liz Robinson
Beginning at the top of a muddy Gloucestershire slope at the Coopers Hill cheese-rolling contest and traversing a landscape of lawns and queues, coastlines and sporting arenas, Ben Fogle takes us on a journey through the peculiarly English: a country of wax jackets, cricket, boat races and jellied eels, by way of national treasures such as the shipping forecast, fish and chips and the Wellington boot. Not to mention the Dunkirk spirit of relentless optimism in the face of adversity, be it the heroic failure of Captain Scott's doomed Antarctic expedition, or simply the perennial hope for better weather. The archetypal Englishman - lover of labradors and Land Rovers yet holder of two passports - Ben applauds all things quintessentially English while also paying tribute to the history, culture and ideas adopted with such gusto that they have become part of the fabric of the country.
From the hosts of the legendary BBC Radio 4 programme comes this irreverent celebration of scientific marvels - a hectic leap through the grand and bizarre ideas conjured up by human imagination, from dark matter to consciousness via neutrinos and earthworms.
I could just write something like gorgeous or sumptuous and leave it at that but perhaps I should elaborate on this paen of praise showcasing the best Railway architecture in Britain. It’s not all high Victorian, the book also includes the new – and glad I am to see we have some new architecture worthy of inclusion. And not all has been saved – think of the Euston Arch for one but there is enough here to spur thoughts of instant visits and appreciation of such gems as Glasgow and the unusual Art Deco Leamington Spa. Good linking text as ever from Simon Jenkins and I’d praise the photographer(s) too if only their names were included. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading London’s Historical Railway Stations Through Time by John Christopher Paul Atterbury’s Railway Collection by Paul Atterbury
October 2017 Non-Fiction Book of the Month Published a few days before the start of the 3rd Invictus Games in Toronto where around 550 competitors – all “wounded warriors” will be competing. This is their story told by some of those who’ve taken part in the games. As the author Boris Starling says, Invictus is different to the Paralympic games, firstly those injured in both mind and body can take part, they have a military background and there is a greater emphasis on just being there and doing your best. It highlights just what these men and women have been through, their support - both medical and personal and what the games mean to them. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading The True Story of Great Britain’s Paralympic Heroes by Cathy Wood A Heavy Reckoning: War, Medicine and Survival in Afghanistan and Beyond by Emily Mayhew
I think all of us at some time in our lives when we reach a certain age worry a little about cancer. I think the thought, “how will I react” crosses our minds occasionally. That this brave lady chooses to make her ordeal so public, she produced video diaries and tweets and now her written diary, has helped thousands. At the end of the book she encloses some messages of thanks, a few from those who didn’t make it. It is tear-jerking but it is also laced with humour. Throughout, whenever possible, she kept working, collecting the kids from school and running her hectic household with the enormous support of her wonderful partner. During the end stages of thirty sessions of chemo, she had to drive forty-odd miles round trip between work and school collection for a ten minute appointment her local hospital couldn’t do. Well she was certainly a fighter, although that is not what she calls herself. She believed talking about it really helped alleviate the fear and despair. She was diagnosed shortly after she started hosting a daily news and current affairs show for BBC2 and takes us through her fascinating work as well as the 301 days of treatment. A brave lady. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enrol in the undergraduate seminar on the Odyssey that his son Daniel teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual. For Jay, a retired research scientist who sees the world through a mathematician's unforgiving eyes, this return to the classroom is his `one last chance' to learn about the great literature he'd neglected in his youth - and, even more, a final opportunity to understand his son. But through the sometimes-uncomfortable months that follow, as the two men explore Homer's great work together - first in the classroom, where Jay persistently challenges his son's interpretations, and then during a surprise-filled Mediterranean journey retracing Odysseus' legendary voyages - it becomes clear that Daniel has much to learn, too: for Jay's responses to both the text and the travels gradually uncover long-buried secrets that allow the son to understand his difficult father at last. As this intricately woven memoir builds to its wrenching climax, Mendelsohn's narrative comes to echo The Odyssey itself, with its timeless themes of deception and recognition, marriage and children, the pleasures of travel and the meaning of home.
Cartoonist, Robert Crumb said; “When I come up against the Real World, I just vacillate”. Well, he can happily vacillate here for a while. This section features a whole host of books covering subjects as diverse as Mankind’s place in the Universe (Human Universe by Brian Cox), the history of the human journey to work (Rush Hour by Iain Gateley) and the real business of reading books (Bookworms, Dogears and Squashy Big Armchairs by Heather Reyes). This is the ‘Human’ section in our book lovers’ journey.
If you love reading, then you’ll find something here to fascinate you. There are new and interest-piquing passages here from science, philosophy, politics, history, religion, and all of the things that occupy the lives of humans. And we mean ALL of them. The fight against Cancer, the fight for freedom, feminism, fatality, frailty and fame. It’s too big to list. Have a browse through the titles by using our monthly recommendations past and present. We guarantee you’ll be hooked in minutes!