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The Real World

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.

The Other Exile The Story of Fernao Lopes, St Helena and a Paradise Lost

The Other Exile The Story of Fernao Lopes, St Helena and a Paradise Lost

Author: Abdul Rahman Azzam Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/05/2017

The first known inhabitant of St Helena - long before Napoleon - was a 16th-century Portuguese renegade. In 1506 Fernao Lopes, a member of his country's minor nobility, travelled to Goa in search of honour and wealth. There he converted to Islam, married a Muslim, fought his former countrymen, and was eventually captured - his nose and hands publicly cut off for treachery. Eventually sailing for home, he jumped ship at St. Helena, becoming the island's first inhabitant, with only a black cockerel for company. News of Lopes reached the King of Portugal. Picked up by a ship sent especially for him, Lopes so impressed the King, and the Pope in Rome, that he was granted one wish. He requested his return to St Helena.

ebook of the month
This is Going to Hurt

This is Going to Hurt

Author: Adam Kay Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/04/2018

Interminably long hours being pulled from pillar to post, shifts peppered with horror stories and tears of joy this is the memoir of a sharp-witted storyteller which made me laugh, cry and everything in between. A brilliant book that must be read to really understand the daily battles of our doctors in the NHS. Deborah Maclaren, from our Best Autobiographies Ever Blog.

ebook of the month
The Prime Minister's Ironing Board and Other State Secrets True Stories from the Government Archives

The Prime Minister's Ironing Board and Other State Secrets True Stories from the Government Archives

Author: Adam Macqueen Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/10/2013

Stored in Whitehall's archives are everything from blood-chilling warnings of imminent nuclear attack to comical details of daily life in the corridors of power. Concerned notes from ministers on the subject of the Heir to the Throne's potential brainwashing by Welsh terrorists are shelved alongside worries about housemaids 'on the wobble' at Chequers. Detailed and surprising plans for royal funerals sit beside reports on suspected spies in the showbiz world and bawdy poetry about the monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar. And Mary Whitehouse's complaints about the sex education syllabus nestle next to thank-you notes from prisoner 13260/62, also known as Nelson Mandela. Adam Macqueen, author of the highly acclaimed bestseller Private Eye: The First 50 Years, has searched high and low to present us with some of the most unlikely revelations since the Official secrets act was inaugurated one hundred years ago. Not only about Mrs Thatcher's ironing board, but Ted Heath's car, Harold Macmillan's bedroom carpet, Imelda Macros and her son Bong Bong's trip to Buckingham Palace and President Eisenhower's particular problem with Winston Churchill's trousers.

Smell of Summer Grass Pursuing Happiness at Perch Hill

Smell of Summer Grass Pursuing Happiness at Perch Hill

Author: Adam Nicolson Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/02/2015

The Smell of Summer Grass is the story of the years spent in finding and building a personal idyll, sometimes a dream, sometimes a nightmare, by writer Adam Nicolson and his wife, cook and gardener, Sarah Raven. Without knowing one end of a hay baler from the other, Adam Nicolson and Sarah Raven, fed up with London and with life, escaped with his family to a run-down farm in the Sussex Weald. Looking for Arcadia, they found a mixture of intense beauty and profound chaos. Over three years they struggled with dock leaves, spring flowers, bloody-minded sheep and neighbours before eventually arriving at some kind of equilibrium. Funny, poetic, ironic and wise, 'The Smell of Summer Grass' is based partly on the long out of print 'Perch Hill'. It traces the growing intimacy between man and his chosen place, his love affair with it and his frustrations with its intractable realities. As an attempt to live out the pastoral vision, it makes one heartfelt plea: we should never abandon our dreams.

The Way of the Runner A Journey into the Fabled World of Japanese Running

The Way of the Runner A Journey into the Fabled World of Japanese Running

Author: Adharanand Finn Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/04/2015

A journey into Japan's fabled running culture from the award-winning author of Running With The Kenyans Welcome to Japan, the most running-obsessed nation on earth, a place where...A 135-mile relay race is the country's biggest annual sporting event. Thousands of professional runners compete for corporate teams in some of the most competitive races in the world. Marathon monks run a thousand marathons in a thousand days to reach spiritual enlightenment.

The Long Weekend Life in the English Country House Between the Wars

The Long Weekend Life in the English Country House Between the Wars

Author: Adrian Tinniswood Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/06/2016

There is nothing quite as beautiful as an English country house in summer. And there has never been a summer quite like that Indian summer between the two world wars, a period of gentle decline in which the sun set slowly on the British Empire and the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homes. Real life in the country house during the 1920s and 1930s was not always so sunny. By turns opulent and ordinary, noble and vicious, its shadows were darker. In The Long Weekend, Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the truth about a world half-forgotten, draped in myth and hidden behind stiff upper lips and film-star smiles.

ebook of the month

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!