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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.
Published in partnership with Girl Up, the UN women’s foundation, Feminists Don't Wear Pink (and other lies) is an exhilaratingly empowering anthology of essays by 52 women written in response to the question: what does the F word mean to you? The contributors’ answers are as varied and individual as womankind itself, with the book innovatively divided into sections covering Epiphany, Anger, Joy, Poetry Break, Action and Education, followed by helpful Further Reading recommendations and rousing Last Words essays. Often amusing, and always honest, edifying and powerfully personal, contributors from the world of screen and stage include Keira Knightly, Emma Watson, Lolly Adefope, Kat Dennings and Amy Trigg, while activist authors include anti-FGM campaigner Nimco Ali, Amika George, creator of the #FreePeriods campaign, and Alice Wroe, founder of Herstory. Readers beginning their feminist journey will find Claire Horn’s ‘A Short History of Feminist Theory’ especially useful, summarising as it does the movement’s origins, multi-stranded history and contemporary incarnations. Diverse, empowering, and united by a spirit of sisterly solidarity, these essays are a motivational, supportive rallying call to young women.
Documenting horrific experiences of child abuse, violent misogyny and racism, the unflinching truths of this memoir might make for harrowing reading, but it’s delivered in engaging prose and underpinned by a spirit of resistance propelled by the author’s desire to educate herself. Eliska was born in Slovakia to a thirteen-year-old Romani prostitute and a twenty-three-year-old German whose friends paid for her mother as a birthday present. For Eliska home was never where the heart was. Rather, it was “where I was shaken awake by my drunk Ma’s dirty foot getting tangled in my matted hair”, and worse. Though a racist brute, her father – who’s described as being “as dirty-dicked as my conception implies” - insists she attends school, with her visits to him in Germany opening a life-changing window on the world. As a result, she’s thrilled when her mother sends her to England. Filled with dreams of becoming literate, the reality is that thirteen-year-old Eliska was trafficked. Though life in England initially sees her become a “beaten shadow of myself”, even longing “for the decay of my home”, Eliska somehow survives and takes herself through university, despite the most brutal of attacks, and against the most awful odds. In her poignant, timely epilogue, the author raises the issue of rising anti-immigrant attitudes in contemporary Britain and reiterates the central tenet of her affecting memoir: she was saved by an irrepressible desire to educate herself, and “nothing will break me”.
Daisy Upton has two little kids. She loves them - but they drive her mad. So, to try and keep her sanity she started to come up with quick, easy games using stuff from around the house. And @FiveMinuteMum was born. In her first book, she has collected 150+ games that take 5 minutes to set up & 5 minutes to tidy up. From pasta posting to alphabet knock down, it's a recipe book for guilt free parenting! And as Daisy was a teaching assistant, your little ones will be learning while they play! What could be better? GIVE ME FIVE is the perfect companion for anyone who wants five minutes peace.
Me and White Supremacy shows readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of colour, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. When Layla Saad began an Instagram challenge called #MeAndWhiteSupremacy, she never predicted it would spread as widely as it did. She encouraged people to own up and share their racist behaviours, big and small. She was looking for truth, and she got it. Thousands of people participated, and over 90,000 people downloaded the book. The updated and expanded Me and White Supremacy takes the work deeper by adding more historical and cultural contexts, sharing moving stories and anecdotes, and including expanded definitions, examples, and further resources. Awareness leads to action, and action leads to change. The numbers show that readers are ready to do this work - let's give it to them.
A really inspirational thought-provoking book. Whilst this is not a self-help book as such, each chapter poses a question that reveals a little bit more about the author and also gets you asking the same question and promotes self-reflection and self-awareness but not in the typical way that books of this kind normally do. Written with a feeling of part journal/part travel diary the author mixes the two topics really well and got me thinking about the metaphor of travelling as a journey much like the life journey. Travelling by not only means of escaping but actually travelling has enabled the author to become more independent, grow, change, learn, make mistakes and enabled self-reflection, developed intrinsic values and deepened self-confidence. The book does not seek out to offer solutions but does so in the way of asking questions and through worked examples of what has helped CJ get through some of her toughest times. An extremely difficult and complex childhood traumatic event is described and the strength of character and honesty surrounding the conflicting emotions at the time evokes a sense of inspiration. I am glad I read the book, it gave me things to think about and a longing to travel. CJ Lacsican- I am celebrating your win. Sam Lewis, A LoveReading Ambassador
An interesting and thought-provoking step into a world most of us won’t have an understanding of. Michael Emmett grew up with a career criminal for a father and joined the family business of organised crime. With links to the Kray Twins, drugs, sex, and violence he lived the high life before being sentenced to 12 years in prison after a huge drugs smuggling conviction. In prison he joined an Alpha Prayer Group, and after leaving began to turn his life around, he is now committed to helping prisoners and ex-offenders. Together with journalist Harriet Compston, he has written the story of his life of crime and consequently finding Christian faith. I think that it is important to try to reach for an understanding of the difficulties faced by children and young adults when immersed in crime from the moment they are born. This is a story that is simply told with verve and colour, though the violence and criminality sits uneasily alongside the glitz and glamour. The author uses the word ‘naughty’ to describe his criminality on several occasions, as though he is talking to the child that was. Sins of Fathers is a fascinating, eye-opening and convincing memoir from a man who is still dealing with his past.
The rise of veganism is impossible to ignore - for full time practitioners and those wanting to experiment with a more planet-friendly lifestyle. In Yes-Vegan! Selene breaks down the burning questions surrounding veganism from choice, ethics, ecology to fitness, health & beauty as well as providing informed opinions on just how to rebuff the haters. "With regards to veganism, as long as you arm yourself with some key facts and remain calm, there really is nothing to worry about - even if you're someone who hates conflict. After this book, not only will you be able to answer each and every question posed to you, but you can then follow up with a few insightful questions of your own that will get the other person thinking." - Selene Nelson
This lucid, rigorous, readable analysis of the employment experiences of 175 individuals who work in prestigious professions (such as TV, architecture and acting) reveals beyond doubt that Britain is far from a meritocracy. Rather, it still pays to be born privileged, and the working class still face multiple barriers that make it more difficult to get into such professions, and make it more difficult to get on if you’re in the minority who are appointed (the 16% pay gap revealed here is shocking and unacceptable). The research demonstrates that the reproduction of privilege remains a powerful factor: “about half the people in top jobs had parents who did similarly high-status work, while less than 20% come from working-class backgrounds”. One of the resounding themes emerging from the authors’ findings is the sense of entitlement felt by those born into privilege, and with that comes unflappable confidence and connections that see them progress much faster and further than their working class peers. The doors are already open. The Bank of Mum and Dad means they can take unpaid internships or, for example, live comfortably as an out-of-work-actor while their living expenses are covered. And then there are the introductions that lead to ways-in that are simply not accessible to the working class, and the unspoken codes about how to dress and how to speak that leave many working class employees out in the cold, still viewed as not one of “us”, not quite the part, unpolished, even. Many of the interviews make for deeply uncomfortable reading. Despite mentioning their paid-for flats, subsidised living expenses and vital introductions that lead to coveted jobs, the privileged interviewees don’t even see themselves as having any advantage. These are assumed to be the norm, which reveals the deep-rooted persistence of a class chasm in contemporary Britain, and an alarming ignorance that exacerbates divisions. With one exception, the interviewees believe their success is entirely down to merit, whereas in reality the old boys’ network is as strong as it ever was. With those in power still largely from privileged backgrounds, and the status quo very much not working, the authors’ ten suggestions for smashing this ceiling should be heeded by politicians and policy-makers, from publishing social mobility data, to banning unpaid, unadvertised internships that give the already privileged further advantage, while the less well-off don’t get a look in. Exposing the fallacy of meritocracy, this enlightening and powerfully engaging study should be essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of Britain in these turbulent times.
A waste-free lifestyle is actually achievable--for everyone, every budget and every schedule. Not ready to dive straight into composting, or to go totally plastic-free yet? Waste Not Everyday is your step-by-step, day-by-day guide to simple, progressive lifestyle changes that will have a big effect on what you throw out, and on the health of our planet. With tips, tricks, recipes, motivation and inspiration, Erin Rhoads, well-known author of Waste Not and passionate waste advocate, takes you on a gentle journey towards zero waste, day by day. Split into four easy-to-follow parts, Waste Not Everyday features 365 achievable daily changes that will lead to a genuine shift in thinking and action, motivational reminders to help you keep sight of the bigger picture, as well as daily, weekly and monthly mini-challenges to help you progress.
South Korea: The Price of Efficiency and Success is written by Dr John Gonzalez and Young Lee. It is a fascinating insight into how Korean society operates. But what makes it more interesting is it is from a Westerner point of view in Korea. Therefore you get a detailed take from Dr John Gonzalez, who is American but has become a local, living in Korea for 5 years. Dr John Gonzalez can make comparisons between Western & Eastern ideology as well as give his perspective as a foreigner. I can tell from the first couple of pages that he is intrigued by the Korean fast technology and their culture. In Dr John Gonzalez own words, ”As a resident, I was about to delve into the fabric of their society and learn the nuances of Korean human behavior, both subtle and otherwise. I was about to have the privilege of looking at the underbelly of the country from within it.” I learnt a lot of fascinating things about the Korea culture that in some parts are similar to China who believe in the collective, individuals who sacrifice their time; parents constantly working to provide a better future for their children, employees working long hours for the benefit of the company and Korea has military conscription for young men. Also with all this knowledge I can now understand why some of the characters in some Korean Drama behave the way they do and the storylines. Maisie Hoang, A LoveReading Ambassador
It can be challenging to travel at your own pace in the modern world without falling for the temptations of fast planes, cheap airlines, last-minute tickets, quick-fix travel apps and overzealous tour operators. To actually take a back seat and allow yourself time to embrace the ebb and flow of travel requires a more thoughtful and philosophical way of journeying. Slow Travel: A Movement is a beautifully designed and practical compendium of places, activities, tours and experiences that will inspire you to get on the road in your own time and on your own terms. This book explores slow travel as a physical or philosophical endeavor, taking readers off the beaten track and through nature, and unveils journeys that will nurture talent and ignite the inner-self. In this fast-paced world, it's worth adjusting your vacation time to a pace we can all strive to keep up with.
This book is an invitation to come home to your authentic self in a world that is frequently mesmerized by spin, narcissism, fantasy, and exhibitionism. Psychology and classic wisdom literature have, in various ways, long recognized the value for simply becoming who you are (i.e., ordinariness). However, this call is becoming increasingly drowned out by the many other voices that emphasize publicity and image-making over authenticity and humility. Renowned therapist and author Robert Wicks has written The Tao of Ordinariness as a way of beginning to address these tendencies in contemporary society. In this new countercultural work, the strength and joy of exploring who you are - and proceeding to share yourself with others in a way that they too can reclaim themselves - is revisited from a range of vantage points. The author specifically reexamines themes of humility, simplicity, letting go, self-awareness, alonetime, resilience, and mentoring. In an era when people increasingly measure self-worth by external measures, such as the number of likes and views and followers on social media feeds (which have many individuals chasing impossible fantasies and living with a constant fear of missing out ), Wicks offers a return to your authentic self.
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!