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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.
Exploring black music and social movements from Motown, soul and the civil rights movement, through the Black Panther Movement, Jimi Hendrix and Black Woodstock, this trilogy is a triumphant mix of meticulous research and an author’s palpable passion for his subject. Set against the tinderbox backdrop of the Vietnam War and widespread civil unrest, the trilogy begins in Detroit, 1967, and tells the twelve-month story of a city on the edge, with one of the world’s most famous record labels – Detroit-based Motown – at a pivotal point in its history, while riots in the city prove pivotal to the wider country. Taken as a whole, this smart sequence provides a multi-angled view of the time, and it’s clear how social deprivation and a spirit of resistance led to both political action and revolutions of a musical kind. In-depth, enlightening, entertaining and affecting, these forensically evocative books will make you want to delve deeper into the work of the seminal musicians who wrote the soundtrack to this seminal period of American history.
April 2018 Book of the Month The nostalgic memoir of a young man, eldest of fourteen, growing up in 40s Wednesbury. The heartbreaking true account of his son struggling to come to terms with his father's dementia. A tribute to the unbreakable bond between father and son. 'At once a touching tribute to a beloved music-loving dad with Alzheimer’s and a poignant portrait of the love between a father and son, this written-from-the-heart memoir will warm the soul, and undoubtedly further the author’s magnificent endeavour to raise awareness of this devastating disease. Simon McDermott’s cherished dad, Ted, was born in the Black Country in 1936 and always loved singing. In his early twenties, following National Service, Ted seized an opportunity to air his voice publicly by becoming an announcer for Walsall Football Club, which provided him with plenty of opportunities to entertain the crowd, while coming up with ideas to draw more women to matches. Also enjoying stints as a Butlin’s redcoat and singing in clubs up and down the country, Ted never lost his love of music - not after settling down and working in a factory, and not after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013. In fact, as Simon discovered during drives to calm his dad’s angry outbursts, singing has the power to bring back the old Ted. And so Simon posted a clip of his dad, the clip went viral and now, one single and full-length album later, Simon and Ted have raised over £150,000 for The Alzheimer’s Society. Peppered with moving and amusing family anecdotes from all stages of Ted’s life, and suffused in love and light through even the most harrowing moments, this heart-wrenchingly honest memoir is powerfully compelling, and should offer succour to others in similar situations.'
Four-time New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk offers new lessons and inspiration drawn from the experiences of dozens of influencers and entrepreneurs who rejected the predictable corporate path in favor of pursuing their dreams by building thriving businesses and extraordinary personal brands. In his 2009 international bestseller Crush It, Gary insisted that a vibrant personal brand was crucial to entrepreneurial success, In Crushing It!, Gary explains why that’s even more true today, offering his unique perspective on what has changed and what principles remain timeless. He also shares stories from other entrepreneurs who have grown wealthier—and not just financially—than they ever imagined possible by following Crush It principles. The secret to their success (and Gary’s) has everything to do with their understanding of the social media platforms, and their willingness to do whatever it took to make these tools work to their utmost potential. That’s what Crushing It! teaches listeners to do. In this lively, practical, and inspiring audiobook, Gary dissects every current major social media platform so that anyone, from a plumber to a professional ice skater, will know exactly how to amplify his or her personal brand on each. He offers both theoretical and tactical advice on how to become the biggest thing on old standbys like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat; podcast platforms like Spotify, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio, and iTunes; and other emerging platforms such as Musical.ly. For those with more experience, Crushing It! illuminates some little-known nuances and provides innovative tips and clever tweaks proven to enhance more common tried-and-true strategies. Crushing It! is a state-of-the-art guide to building your own path to professional and financial success, but it’s not about getting rich. It’s a blueprint to living life on your own terms.
Simple, stunning, provocative, loved it! Author Raynor Winn has written about her own journey around the South West Coastal Path with her husband Moth. The synopsis sounds heartbreaking, it is heartbreaking, yet this is one of the most positive and hopeful memoirs I have read. After a three year trial Moth and Raynor lose their home and livelihood then within days Moth is informed he is terminally ill. Hiding under the stairs with the bailiffs at the door Raymor and Moth decide to wild walk the coastal path around the south west of England. The Salt Path was shortlisted for the 2018 Costa Biography Award and the hardback was a Times Top 10 bestseller, all deservedly so. The prologue captures a moment on the journey, a moment of wonder, of joy, of realisation and I just knew I was going to fall in love with this tale. Raynor Winn writes her own story with such positivity, she puts everything in, opens the door and lays her life bare. Raynor allowed me to see that this so could so easily be my situation, encouraged me to think, ponder, contemplate, I felt wonder at their determination and almost elated as I came to the end of the book. The Salt Path is an eye-opening, truly inspirational read and I’ve chosen it as one of my picks of the month.
Have you ever felt like you're talking, but nobody is listening? Renowned five-time TED Talk speaker and author Julian Treasure reveals how to speak so that people listen - and how to listen so that people feel heard. As this leading sound expert demonstrates via interviews with world-class speakers, professional performers, and CEOs at the tops of their fields, the secret lies in developing simple habits that can transform our communication skills, the quality of our relationships, and our impact in the world. Julian Treasure offers an inspiring vision for a sonorous world of effective speaking, listening, and understanding. Communication skills, secrets, and tips discussed in this book include - how to make sound work for you to improve well-being and happiness; why listening matters and how listening and speaking affect one another; the power of your vocal toolbox and how to build your speaking power; how to plan and structure content so you always hit the bull's-eye; exercises and methods to achieve clarity and impact; and how to deliver like a professional speaker to win over any audience. PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
A remarkable narrative set against the dark days of World War Two, from one of the country's foremost social historians. Our Uninvited Guests perfectly captures the spirit of upheaval at the beginning of the Second World War when thousands of houses were requisitioned by the government to provide accommodation for the armed forces, secret services and government offices as well as vulnerable children, the sick and the elderly, all of whom needed to be housed safely beyond the reach of Hitler's Luftwaffe. Julie Summers gives the reader a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life in some of Britain's greatest country houses that were occupied by people who would otherwise never have set foot in such opulent surroundings.
THE TOP 5 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS NON-FICTION NARRATIVE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2018 FOYLES NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR BLACKWELL'S NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR WINNER OF THE JHALAK PRIZE LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION LONGLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE SHORTLISTED FOR A BOOKS ARE MY BAG READERS AWARD The book that sparked a national conversation. Exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to understand race relations in Britain today.
Will Ryan’s fable is a clever and humorous work of fiction interweaved with real world stories of outstanding classroom practice in the current challenging educational landscape. His sharp-witted creation of his fictional primary school Headteacher Brian Smith is one that will surely engage and inspire any new, aspiring or established school leader. Although it’s an educational leadership textbook that will serve to help transform schools in this challenging educational climate, this is a work of fiction. It’s about being brave, challenging the status quo and about inspiring teachers to “dare to be different” and supporting them in these endeavours with a road map for successful school leadership with practical solutions. You relate to the fearlessness of the protagonist, you support his questions, you challenge your own beliefs and want to embark upon your own journey of transformational change. This is a must-read for any school leader. I was underlining passages, writing notes and scribbling down the hints and tips as I enjoyed Brian’s inspirational tale. ~ Deborah Dumville
Each of these impressive women, including actress Romola Garai and comedian Francesca Martinez, has a tale to tell and an experience to share. Empowering, engaging and unapologetically impassioned, their incisive observations will make you think, reflect - and kick serious ass. These are life lessons for women, by women.
March 2018 Book of the Month A slightly different offering than usual from Cathy Glass, yet still as emotional and powerful as you’d expect. The story begins in another country, Elaine and Ian have travelled there from the UK and are waiting to adopt their daughter. Cathy fully explains the reasons and thought processes behind the adoption and we get to know little Anna, to see how she spent the first few years of her life. Cathy allows you to connect to Elaine and Ian, to see life from their perspective. This part of the tale is so necessary, as to immediately start with Cathy’s involvement when Anna is older, would leave a gaping black hole in proceedings. As always, Cathy inspires awe, her ability to judge what is needed, yet not judge others, to give a child what they need, and not necessarily want really comes across. The story is so simply yet eloquently told, and Cathy’s years of fostering experience shine a beam of light across the pages. ‘A Long Way From Home’ is a touching, poignant tale, and the bleak beginning just begs for an encouraging and hopeful end.
Ordinary women doing the extraordinary. This book is testament to following your dreams and that you can do anything you put your mind too if you work hard enough. Four middle aged friends who met at a local Saturday morning rowing club decide to take on The Talisker Whiskey Challenge – also known as ‘The World's Toughest Row’ - across 3,000 miles of treacherous ocean. All four are mothers, wives and professional women but athletes? No, not athletes, yet they had a dream to follow and follow it they did. This is a story of determination, of pushing past the overwhelming feeling of failing, letting everyone down and of course of silencing the doubters, the people who say ‘You can’t do this’. This is an incredible story about an amazing experience by four amazing women. There were moments that sent shivers down my spine as I followed their journey from the very beginning when even getting to the start line was a massive undertaking. The story is told by all four women, all four friends and it feels like that too. Their warmth and love for each other shines through as they share ever moment, every fear, every failure and ultimately their success. By the end I felt so proud of the achievement and so emotionally engaged with these four ordinary mums who just happened to row an ocean.
Shortlisted for The People's Book Prize| February 2018 Book of the Month. A perfectly formed absolute treat of a book, containing 300 aphorisms by Robert Eddison, journalist, playwright, public speaker, and aphorist. The foreword by Gyles Brandreth salutes the skill of Eddison. These pithy, witty, thoughtful one-liners at times burst onto my consciousness, while others made me think, ponder, consider. Two favourites of mine are “Deep thoughts take time to surface”, and “Throwaway remarks are not always caught”. This little book would make the perfect gift for anyone with an appreciation for words, written or spoken. It can be picked up and dipped into, become a topic of conversation, revisited and evaluated. Wisdom and Wordplay contains some wonderful one-liners, they tease, fence, pierce, creating a fabulous addition to any bookshelf. ~ Liz Robinson
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!