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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.
November 2017 Non-Fiction Book of the Month A powerful – and empowering – manifesto for transforming the world through integration. The central premise of this thought-provoking, forward-thinking work is that “by operating in a more inclusive way towards everyone, we will be able to recognise the talents and potential of everyone.” Drawing on case studies and new research from Oxford University, broadcaster Sarpong analyses six marginalised groups and sets out to show the “social, moral and economic benefits of diversity” to all. The poignant words of murdered MP Jo Cox are quoted, and provide a powerful echo throughout - “We have far more in common than that which divides us” – and Sarpong duly demonstrates how division and lack of inclusivity is detrimental to our entire society. The hard facts are just that (for example, only 2.5% of young people from poor backgrounds make it to a Russell Group University, compared with 8.9% of others. 70% of girls think they’re not “good enough”. Only 46.3% of working-age disabled people are in employment, compared with 76.4% of working-age non-disabled people), but this impassioned call to arms exudes hope and positivity - solutions are suggested. The author’s lucid style, and referencing of both academic research and personal experience is thoroughly engaging, and the suggested action points and discussion ideas provide food for thought for all ages. Indeed, this fresh and timely call-to-action comes heartily recommended for young adults and their teachers, as well as a general readership. ~ Joanne Owen
Phil Vickery has written some seriously good gluten-free cookbooks and now turns to another restricted diet – for diabetics. Given his recipes – you wouldn’t really notice it was a diet – there are cakes and there are desserts so it’s not all hair shirt for the diabetic sufferer. Together with the recipes there are suggested menu plans and full nutritional guidance with advice on weight loss and keeping healthy. There are surprisingly few stand-out cookbooks for diabetics, I think this will become the one to get. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like ReadingThe Everyday Diabetic Cookbook, Stella Bowling £10.99 Paperback 224 pages Grub Street 1st September 1995 9781898697251Diabetic Weight Loss Plan, Antony Worrall Thompson, £14.99 Paperback 144 pages Kyle Cathie 1st January 2008 9781856266444
I have a book, in similar format and subject on my own area showing excerpts from all the relevant mapping from the earliest to current times, the fascination being one of watching change happening as it does here in John Moore’s book. From the very beginnings, a tiny Glasgow steadily growing until it needs a map just to show where the sludge vessel is going to tip its load. Then, of course there are the world-famous docks, changing and developing along the banks of the Clyde. There are small towns obliterated by grandiose plans, naval maps and town plans, sewage works and ferries. It is quite startling to pass beyond some beautiful maps to a modern-day map of Strathclyde Loch which looks like a child’s drawing, thankfully that chapter is very short so we can go back and linger longer on the beauty of the mapmakers art. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading Giants of the Clyde: The Great Ships and the Great Yards by Robert Jeffrey Old Glasgow and the Clyde by Sandra Malcolm
A chance read magazine article found in a Dentist’s waiting room sets Nick Perry, his wife and 3 children off on a quest to find a home in Greece. They’d sold their Welsh farm and looked for a better way of life – and a better climate. They landed, rather by accident on Icaria, an island midway between Naxos and Samos and there began their adventure – and the need to find a living. I liked this travel adventure a great deal, the family aspect gives another dimension, their relative poverty gives it forward momentum and of course, there is beautiful Greece making this a very good read for a dull autumn day. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading Extra Virgin: Among the Olive Groves of Liguria by Annie Hawes The Olive Farm by Carole Drinkwater
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! ~ Liz Robinson
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.
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. ~ Liz Robinson
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.
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!