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.
September 2015 Book of the Month. A wonderfully eloquent, heartfelt and touching recollection of the author’s relationship with her brother, after he has been told he has inoperable cancer and a short time left to live. Alison Clink not only details the last months of her brother’s life, she also remembers their history together, it’s as though she has opened up a time capsule of memories to share and pay tribute to him. Thoughts and feelings are described so clearly, you feel you are witnessing them first hand; how the brain can exist in a foggy cloud of disbelief, fear and inadequacy at the onset of a terminal illness of a loved one. The honesty is striking, both in terms of emotions revealed and the empathy or lack of, from the people in the caring and medical profession. This book isn't just about heartache and suffering, it is very much a book about friendship and love and deserves to be highly recommended. ~ Liz Robinson A message from the Author... I am a writer, so after family and friends, writing is the most important thing in my life. In the summer of 2007 I realised I was in an extraordinary place in my life when my brother rang to tell me he’d been diagnosed with cancer. I decided to document what was happening to me – and to him – and began writing a diary when I was on the train coming back from London to the West Country after first visiting him in St.Georges Hospital in Tooting. My son had given me a leather bound notebook for my birthday and I happened to have it in my handbag. So I just started writing down what I’d done that day and my thoughts surrounding the events connected to my brother’s illness. Adrian was dying and I was his next of kin. As the weeks passed, I did everything I could to help him. He was an inspiring person and I loved him. But his life had gone downhill and he needed me. Despite the differences in our lifestyles – me a country wife with four children and a pet dog, - Adrian a confirmed bachelor and city dweller with no dependants – we came together for the last weeks of his life. I didn’t always make good decisions when trying to help him, but I did my best. At times he wasn’t the easiest person to deal with but I could understand why. Writing about something traumatic in one’s life is a good way to deal with what’s going on. Not only did I write my way through those sometimes dark and difficult days but I also managed to make sense of what had happened when I looked back on my journals in the years that followed. They say writing is cathartic, which is a cliché but true, but what I did also gave me a sense of detail that I’d never have retained had I not kept my notebook – which actually turned into five notebooks as I scribbled my way through that strange summer of 2007. Later I added sections about our early lives together as children. I enjoyed revisiting memories of growing up together in south London in the fifties and sixties and lots of those memories defined the relationship Adrian and I as siblings had always enjoyed. ~ Alison Click
Thereâ€™s a story behind every article of vintage clothing and here our favourite pastimes of shopping and reading are brought together to tell the story of some famous and some less famous items of clothing in a wonderfully entertaining way.
Shimmying back on to our screens, series eleven of Strictly Come Dancing is set to reach showstopping new heights of drama, divas, sequins and surprises and this official companion is the perfect partner! Featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the costumes, make up and set design as well as exclusive insights from the producers, the official 2014 annual takes you further into the magic of Strictly than ever before. Test your Strictly knowledge with our quiz, peek into Len's Lens and get all the gossip from the dancefloor. With a glittering new cast of celebrities, sizzling professional dancers, interviews from the judges Bruno, Len, Darcy and Craig, introductions from Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly plus an exclusive from the gorgeous winner of last year, Olympian Louis Smith, the Strictly Come Dancing Annual 2014 is simply fab-u-lous!
Alistair Darling's knowledge and understanding make this not only a unique perspective on the events that rocked global capitalism, but a vital and fascinating historical document. Back from the Brink is also a gripping and immediate account of an unprecedented global financial catastrophe.
September 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Alistair Darling's knowledge and understanding make this not only a unique perspective on the events that rocked global capitalism, but a vital and fascinating historical document. Back from the Brink is also a gripping and immediate account of an unprecedented global financial catastrophe.
November 2013 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Based on a new set of DNA samplings – one of the biggest yet, Alistair Moffat and James Flett Wilson are able to reveal the history of Britain told through the lives of its people, who we are and where we came from. It’s a journey that has many surprises and shocks to challenge our view of Britishness. Click here to see The Scots: A Genetic Journey by the same author.Like for Like ReadingThe Origins of the British: A Genetic Detective Story, Stephen OppenheimerThe Seven Daughters of Eve, Bryan Sykes
One of the biggest community art projects ever to take place in Scotland, a tapestry recording Scottish history from the Ice age to Dolly the Sheep. The brainchild of Alexander McCall Smith with historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy, the tapestry will be unveiled in August 2013. This record of the Tapestry comes with a foreword from Alexander McCall Smith. Like for Like ReadingThe Bayeaux Tapestry: The Life Story of a Masterpiece, Carola HicksThe Great Tapestry of Scotland, Alistair Moffat and Andrew Crummy £30.00 Hardback 128 pages Birlinn 7th November 2013 9781780271606 “The creation of this wonderful tapestry has been an experience of sheer joy. Not only has the team of artist and stitchers created a stunning record of Scotland’s history, but the project has brought together hundreds of people in all parts of Scotland in joint artistic endeavour. In the many hours that the stitchers have spent together they have experienced the pleasure of making something permanent and beautiful; they have felt what it is to create art with others; they have found friendship.” “We have all learned a lot from this. Many of us have learned a bit of history; many of us have learned about the desire that people have to engage in joint creative activity with others. Everyone, I think, has learned that what might seem a ridiculously ambitious project can succeed if there is enough love and enthusiasm and courage about. And there is.” “I salute the visionary artist, Andrew Crummy, and his team of hundreds, led by Dorie Wilkie. I salute their magnificent artistry. I salute their generosity. I salute their good humour. This tapestry is their creation, given to the people of Scotland and to those who will come to Scotland to see it.” – Alexander McCall Smith, 2013 Visit www.scotlandstapestry.com to find out more.
July 2011 Guest Editor Alexander McCall Smith on Tuscany by Alistar Moffat... Alistair Moffat writes beautifully on history and topography. Here he leads us through that most entrancing of Italian regions, Tuscany.
Following on from the paperback guide to the Tapestry, this new hardback shows the Tapestry in full colour plates together with details of the project, explanations of the history depicted in each panel and how over 500 volunteer stitchers created this vibrant new work of art.Like for Like ReadingHigh Light: A Vision of Wild Scotland, Colin PriorKnit your own Scotland, Jackie Holt & Ruth Bailey
A history of Scottish ancestry that combines the new genetic knowledge gained from DNA with written history and archaeology to give the first full picture of the Scots and their heritage. Click here to see The British: A Genetic Journey by the same author.Like for Like ReadingTracing Your Scottish Ancestors, National Archives of ScotlandA History of Scotland, Neil Oliver A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'Alistair Moffat’s two books on DNA history (The Scots: A Genetic Journey and The British: A Genetic Journey) are extraordinary achievements. As a best-selling historian and director of a highly successful DNA testing company he’s uniquely qualified to provide for the general reader an accessible yet historically and scientifically informed account of a very complicated story. He always writes very clearly (good news for any editor!) and his use of feature boxes to include fascinating complementary material only adds to the appeal.' - Andrew Simmons, Editorial Manager, Birlinn Ltd
December 2012 Travel Book of the Month. In Britain's Last Frontier best-selling author Alistair Moffat makes a journey of the imagination, tracing the route of the Line from the River Clyde through Perthshire and the North-east. With an introduction from Aberdeenshire born Radio 4 Today presenter James Naughtie it is a fascinating book, full of history and anecdote and a lovely gift for any 'Scotophile'.
There is currently huge interest in the question of human nature and identity, and what the human future might look like. Who are we? Why are we here? What is our future? Are we alone? And what can religion bring, alongside biology and anthropology, to these important and exciting questions? The Great Mystery focuses on this fascinating field of study. A follow-up to his critically acclaimed Inventing the Universe, in The Great Mystery Alister McGrath once again brings together science with religion to yield an enriched vision of reality, along with rigorous and thoroughly up-to-date scholarship and intellectual accessibility.
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!