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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.
From the Orwellian reach of an Amazon warehouse to the time trials of a council care worker and the grim reality behind the glossy Uber App, Hired is a clear-eyed analysis of a divided nation and a riveting dispatch from the very frontline of low-wage Britain. We all define ourselves by our profession. But what if our job was demeaning, poorly paid, and tedious? Cracking open Britain's divisions journalist James Bloodworth spends six months living and working across Britain, taking on the country's most gruelling jobs. He lives on the meagre proceeds and discovers the anxieties and hopes of those he encounters, including working-class British, young students striving to make ends meet, and Eastern European immigrants. From the Staffordshire Amazon warehouse to the taxi-cabs of Uber, Bloodworth narrates how traditional working-class communities have been decimated by the move to soulless service jobs with no security, advancement or satisfaction. This is a gripping examination of Brexit Britain, a divided nation which needs to understand the true reality of how other people live and work before it can heal.
This vibrant visual voyage around the world shares the inspiring stories of visionaries who are transforming lives by building a sharing economy, from global milk-sharers, bike-sharers and food-sharers, to empowering football projects in Mumbai. Documenting the endeavours of 200 change-makers whose innovations are changing lives and communities around the world, this informative, photo-rich compendium is as rich in scope and ambition as the projects it covers. Before delving into individual case studies, the book explores the concept of the sharing economy, explaining how it emerged from the global economic crisis of 2008-2009 and the resulting “need to do more with less”. The Sharing Economy is the “system that makes the Sharing possible. It’s how we will change the world”, and that’s exactly what the individuals featured here are doing. The range of projects is staggering and demonstrates how great things can grow from small-scale personal passions, from the Village-Sharer in Mumbai whose social enterprise project improves livelihoods through community tourism, to the US Food Justice Campaigner, whose community farm is founded on the concepts of fairness, sharing and sustainability. The scope of this approach is nothing short of revolutionary, and portrayed with uplifting verve in this innovative collaboration between a global Sharing Economy expert and an award-winning photographer.
A gob-smacking, truly challenging yet inspirational read awaits. I saw the synopsis for this autobiography and just knew I had to read it. Dr Amanda Brown tells of her experience after leaving a quiet GP’s practice to become a prison doctor. She has worked in a young offenders institution, notorious male prison Wormwood Scrubs, and Europe’s largest woman prison Bronzefield. Dr Amanda Brown is still working at 65, to her this job matters, it really, really matters. The author doesn’t judge, in fact she says of her job that she isn’t there to judge but to care. Having said that, she still has a job to do, rules to be kept, for both safety and security. I read this in one sitting, once I started, I couldn’t stop, and my admiration for this woman is sky high. I feel we as a society should read this book, should try to understand, should allow compassion and empathy entry to our thoughts. Fascinating and heartbreaking in equal measures, for me The Prison Doctor is a must-read and I’ve chosen it as one of my picks of the month.
“I was born black, working class and northern in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain”, so begins the author’s personal prologue to a book that provides a vital, alternate lens through which to view Europe. Growing up as such, Pitts felt “I was being forced to react against one culture or overidentify with the other”. A visit to the Calais Jungle in 2016 resulted in him being stopped, searched and ID’d before being allowed in, albeit still under suspicion. A bleak reminder that when non-whites have the right documents, “I wasn’t all the way in”. What follows is a document of Pitts’s encounters and meetings with dozens of Afropeans; black citizens of Europe juggling identities and loyalties – a self-described ‘black French militant’ on the outskirts of Paris; a Belgian-Congolese artist in Brussels; a Sudanese-German chef in Berlin; a fascinating interview with Caryl Philipps, the acclaimed Kittian-British writer. A remarkable feat of research and understanding, this seminal book is reportage at its finest, enhanced by the author’s striking photography.
The highly anticipated first book by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the voices behind the #1 hit podcast My Favorite Murder! Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the podcasting world. In Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered, Karen and Georgia focus on the importance of self-advocating and valuing personal safety over being 'nice' or 'helpful.' They delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and beyond to discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues with fierce empathy and unapologetic frankness. My Favorite Murder started as a way for Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark to work through their fears. Now it's a worldwide community.... Even its darkest moments are lightened by Karen and Georgia's effortlessly funny banter and genuine empathy. - RollingStone.com Praise for My Favorite Murder: Wildly popular.... In many ways, the subversive charm of [My Favorite Murder] is today's answer to riot grrrl, the D.I.Y. feminist punk movement of the 1990s. -The New York Times [My Favorite Murder] empowers listeners by offering practical advice for survival and self-care and by using comedy to deflate the scariness of these topics. -TheAtlantic.com Morbid [and] mirthful. -Entertainment Weekly Truly next-level.... hilarious, brutally honest, and totally addicting. -Nylon.com Wildly entertaining. -Refinery29 One of the most successful podcasts in history. -TheWashingtonPost.com Known for her biting wit and musical prowess, Karen Kilgariff has been a staple in the comedy world for decades. As a performer, she has appeared on Mr. Show, The Book Group and Conan. She was the head writer for the first five years of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, then transitioned to scripted, writing for shows like Other Space, Portlandia, and Baskets. Her musical comedy album Live At The Bootleg was included in Vulture's Top 9 of 2014 and in Stitcher's Top 11 of 2014. Georgia Hardstark has enjoyed a successful career as a food writer and Cooking Channel on-camera personality, including co-hosting a travel/adventure/party show called Tripping Out, and a regular gig on Cooking Channel's #1 show, Unique Sweets. She caps that off as a frequent guest narrator on Comedy Central's hit show Drunk History.
The history-making, ground-breaking speeches of Greta Thunberg, the young activist who has become the voice of a generation 'Everything needs to change. And it has to start today' In August 2018 a fifteen-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, decided not to go to school one day. Her actions ended up sparking a global movement for action against the climate crisis, inspiring millions of pupils to go on strike for our planet, forcing governments to listen, and earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. This book brings you Greta in her own words, for the first time. Collecting her speeches that have made history across Europe, from the UN to mass street protests, No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD 2019 Wordsworth and Coleridge as you've never seen them before in this new book by Adam Nicolson, brimming with poetry, art and nature writing. Proof that poetry can change the world. It is the most famous year in English poetry. Out of it came The Ancient Mariner and 'Kubla Khan', as well as Coleridge's unmatched hymns to friendship and fatherhood, Wordsworth's revolutionary verses in Lyrical Ballads and the greatness of 'Tintern Abbey', his paean to the unity of soul and cosmos, love and understanding. Bestselling and award-winning writer Adam Nicolson tells the story, almost day by day, of the year in the late 1790s that Coleridge, Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy and an ever-shifting cast of friends, dependants and acolytes spent together in the Quantock Hills in Somerset. To a degree never shown before, The Making of Poetry explores the idea that these poems came from this place, and that only by experiencing the physical circumstances of the year, in all weathers and all seasons, at night and at dawn, in sunlit reverie and moonlit walks, can the genesis of the poetry start to be understood. What emerges is a portrait of these great figures as young people, troubled, ambitious, dreaming of a vision of wholeness, knowing they had greatness in them but still in urgent search of the paths towards it. The poetry they made was not from settled conclusions but from the adventure on which they were all embarked, seeing what they wrote as a way of stripping away all the dead matter, exfoliating consciousness, penetrating its depths. Poetry for them was not an ornament for civilisation but a challenge to it, a means of remaking the world.
Any adult who deals with children, and not just teachers and others who work in school settings, would find this enlightening, thought provoking and revealing. As we learn from the little snippets from the school reports of Paul Dix at the end of each chapter, the author has direct experience of being one of the ‘bad boys’ and now has more than 25 years of working to transform the most challenging behaviour in schools, referral units and colleges to call upon. As a 14-year-old he vowed he would change the way adults deal with behaviour and I defy any reader not to rethink their own strategies as a result of this book. Responsible adults should be just that – always in control of themselves before they attempt to take control of others. But this is nothing to do with blaming teachers. Paul Dix is angry but he is angry with the lack of proper training in behaviour management and angry with the unrelenting drive for ‘progress’, pleasing Ofsted and analysing data which is destroying any ethos of pastoral care. Here chapter by chapter he asks hard hitting questions about school policies and behaviours and shows how these impact on students and often in a very counterproductive way. He writes with humour and the occasional frank expletive, he shares personal anecdotes, observations and tried and tested strategies backed up by theory, case studies and international examples. Each chapter concludes with three helpful checklists: Testing, Watch Out For and Nuggets which sum up, encourage and act as a quick aide-memoire going forward. Ultimately the author’s message is about consistency and kindness. “ Visible consistency with visible kindness allows exceptional behaviour to flourish” This is a genuine must-read that can genuinely transform schools and as his many examples show where improved behaviour leads, improved attainment follows. ~ Joy Court You can also access When the Adults Change, Everything Changes on Audible as an audio book here.
Penguin presents the audiobook edition of What It Takes written and read by Raegan Moya-Jones. When Raegan Moya-Jones was told by her overbearing male boss that she didn't have an 'entrepreneurial bone' in her whole body, she almost laughed in his face. What he didn't know was that the business she'd been secretly working on in the small hours of the night after putting her baby to bed had just hit a revenue of $1 million. Today, aden + anais, the swaddling blanket and baby goods company Moya-Jones founded is a global, multi-million dollar franchise and one that Beyoncé, Gwen Stefani and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge loyally support. In this clever, relatable and iconoclastic success story, Moya-Jones busts every myth and misconception about women in business and argues that women should embrace the attributes that set them apart from men. Blanket conventions and perceived barriers attached to the female entrepreneur can be transformed into assets and profit - all you have to do is take the leap.
This is a totally unique and breathtaking introduction to what lies beneath us, to the earth below our feet. Let this very special and beautiful book take you by the hand and lead you through the sunlit fields to the place where the underland begins, a place most human thoughts shy from in fear and confusion. This is a sequel to The Old Ways, yet you can begin here without concern, you can trust and join Robert Macfarlane as he explores the underland. I will admit that I am in love with the writing, the words, the vision that allows you to see and feel in darkness. I haven’t ever considered our deep connection to this stunning underworld in the way you are encouraged to here. Robert Macfarlane meets and shares experiences with people who have chosen to explore, to look beyond the obvious. I absolutely adored how much he shares, how accessible Underland is, his words reached out and connected with my thoughts and feelings, altering, reshaping, transforming. While there is plenty to fear for our future, all the time there are humans with this amount of love for our natural world, there is also hope. Underland is one of my picks of the month, and also one of our star books - it is quite simply stunning.
The moment I held Rock Pool for the first time, I sensed I was in for a real treat. The book (hardback) feels like an item of quality. It has a beautifully designed and illustrated front cover, a sturdy jacket, and is printed on very good quality paper. Credit must also go to Myfanwy Vernon-Hunt for the design, which is first class. The only remaining question, would the content match up? Rock Pool is a personal account of a life spent exploring our coastal rocks, our beaches, and the life therein. It’s not, as I first believed, a reference or identification book. To some extent, this relieved me as I am not – or I wasn’t – a beach or rock pool enthusiast. That said, I am a diver and I share the author’s love of nature, and of life at our coastal edge. There’s little I enjoy more than donning a wet suit and air tank to then spend an hour or so in shallow waters exploring the nooks and crannies of the rocks. So, did content match cover? Yes, very much. Heather Buttivant’s writing style is polished and engaging. With consummate ease, she leads you, her reader, into her world, shows it to you and helps you enjoy it and learn from it. Her infectious enthusiasm shines through every chapter, every page. Rock Pool is told, with considerable originality, through the medium of twenty-four creatures likely to be seen between the tides. It made me smile, many times. If I had one, very small, comment, it is that a few of the many colour photographs were not high definition. That said, this in no way detracted from my overall enjoyment of Rock Pool - and the illustrations are excellent! Heather Buttivant maintains a blog called Cornish Rock Pools. I’ve signed up to it, and I’ve every intention of attending one of her guided tours. If it’s as good as her book, it will also prove to be a great experience.
I wanted to be a unicorn. I wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to be an astronaut. But the thing I really wanted to be, more than anything else, was a little less like me. It was only recently that I realised not wanting to be me was at the heart of every dumb decision I ever made. And so now I am writing this book containing all the life lessons I wish someone had taught me. A book for the teenage girl in me. And for every teenage girl out there. Because the most powerful thing you can be when you grow up is yourself. Frank and fearless, You Got This openly explores topics like self-respect, body image, masturbation and mental health, making it the perfect companion for young women.
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!