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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.
Multi-millionaire Anthony Spencer is trapped in a coma and finds himself in a surreal world that reflects the skewed priorities of the life he's lived on earth where he meets a stranger who turns out to be Jesus and a grandmother who is the Holy Spirit. Pleading for a second chance, he is sent back to earth to redeem himself. There he must fight to put right the mess he's created, experiencing events through others' eyes before deciding how to use the miraculous gift he's been given. Before his illness he had set events in motion that he now needs to undo - but will he have the courage to make the right choice? THE SHACK is an international phenomenon, surpassing 1 million copies sold before being picked up by a mainstream publisher: its combination of radical spirituality with a heart-wrenching story made it a word-of-mouth hit, and CROSS ROADS has all the ingredients to repeat its impact.
The forward march of human knowledge has deepened our understanding of the universe and flung wide the floodgates of technological advance: we have established that the world came into being more than 4.5 billion years ago; we have deciphered the Rosetta Stone; travelled to the moon; eliminated smallpox and isolated the 'fat gene'. But in every domain of inquiry there remain a myriad things that we do not know, and which lurk tantalizingly beyond the bounds of our understanding. In The Things that Nobody Knows, William Hartston takes us on a guided tour of 501 gaps in our knowledge of cosmology, mathematics, animal behaviour, medical science, music, art, language and literature. As well as explaining our ignorance of the answers to such questions as 'What is Dark Energy?', 'Is colour a product of the mind?', 'Was there ever a real Pope Joan?' and 'Why are so many male giraffes gay?', he considers the likelihood of light being shed on these mysteries in the future. Both cerebrally satisfying and more-ishly dip-into-able, rigorously researched but also serendipitously playful, The Things that Nobody Knows is the perfect gift book for intellectually inquisitive people of all ages.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 2 June 2010. William Dalrymple delves deep into the heart of a nation torn between the relentless onslaught of modernity and the ancient traditions that endure to this day.
Willem loves his children but finds them exhausting. Then, one day, he challenges them to find games that require him to lie on the sofa. They have the best day ever! This witty new book features an eclectic range of activities for kids and their dads - and all without the adult's boredom and exhaustion that often accompanies 'child's play'. Written from a personal perspective, Willem gives every activity a suggested age range and provides tips and golden rules along the way. The book includes games for at home, in the car, at the park, in the pool, at the forest - pretty much anywhere where parents and children spend time together. All games are fun for both and relaxing for dads, and none of them require money or preparation. After a long day at work, your children can either finish you off or get you to recover - depending on how you play it.
People are suffering under the torture of this impossible fantasy. Unprecedented social pressure is leading to increases in depression and suicide. Where does this ideal come from? Why is it so powerful? Is there any way to break its spell? To answer these questions, Selfie takes us from the shores of Ancient Greece, through the Christian Middle Ages, to the self-esteem evangelists of 1980s California, the rise of narcissism and the selfie generation, and right up to the era of hyper-individualistic neoliberalism in which we live now. It tells the extraordinary story of the person we all know so intimately - our self.
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
From Monet's water lilies to Van Gogh's sunflowers, from Warhol's soup cans to Hirst's pickled shark, hear the stories behind the masterpieces, meet the artists as they really were, and discover the real point of modern art. You will learn: not all conceptual art is bollocks; Picasso is king (but Cezanne is better); Pollock is no drip; Dali painted with his moustache; a urinal changed the course of art, why your 5-year-old really couldn't do it. Refreshing, irreverent and always straightforward, What Are You Looking At? cuts through the pretentious art speak and asks all the basic questions that you were too afraid to ask. Your next gallery trip is going to be a little less intimidating and a lot more interesting. It includes full of beautiful colour and black and white illustrations. It includes a free pull-out map of Modern Art to guide you through the movements. 'Will Gompertz is a natural communicator whose passion for art is expressed with wit and verve' Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate Gallery Will Gompertz is the BBC Arts Editor and probably the world's first art history stand-up comedian. He was a Director at the Tate Gallery for 7 years. He has a particular interest in modern art and has written about the arts for The Times and the Guardian for over 20 years. In 2009, he wrote and performed a sell-out one-man comedy show about modern art at the Edinburgh Festival. He was recently voted one of the world's top 50 creative thinkers by New York's Creativity Magazine .
For millions of people across the world, lighting up a joint is no more controversial than having a cup of tea. But in Hash Wensley Clarkson explores the dark and sinister side of this multi-billion pound business: one fuelled by a brutal underworld network of dealers, drug barons, bent cops and even terrorists. Sex, intimidation, bribery and murder are all employed in a quest for vast profits. Travelling from the lawless Rif mountains in Morocco to darkened warehouses in Spain, protected by heavily armed gangsters, this is a revelatory roller-coaster ride through the secret world of Hash.
The colourful and often gruesome life of the 18th-century pioneering surgeon and anatomist John Hunter generally regarded as the father of modern medicine
* One of Shakespeare's relatives was executed for plotting against Elizabeth I. * There are more than 80 records of Shakespeare's name. Not one of them says 'William Shakespeare'. * Shakespeare once played the ghost in Hamlet. * Shakespeare wore a gold earring in his left ear.
This is a fascinating yet controversial account of Britain's role in India in the lead up to Independence in 1947 and in particular the last three years. It is a very different view to the history we have taken as true until now. I was sceptical before opening this book yet on reading it, there clearly is another dimension to the story of the period which perhaps in official circles was ignored and his writing is concise and persuasive. Given the author, Walter Reid is a hugely admired and respected writer on military and political history whose research is incredibly impressive, his viewpoint should not be ignored. Keeping the Jewel in the Crown is an incredibly readable work of non-fiction that deserves to be read. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... ‘Keeping the Jewel in the Crown is in the best traditions of historical writing. It’s well researched, concisely written, stimulating and controversial. Walter Reid has an extraordinary talent to get to the heart of the matter, to make sense of complex issues, to present a balanced viewpoint and to present it clearly. Liberal use of anecdote about the personalities and events he describes adds another dimension, bringing out the human element which is so crucial to our understanding of history.’ Andrew Simmons, Managing Editor, Birlinn
A child is presented with a marshmallow and given a choice: Eat this one now, or wait and enjoy two later. What will she do? And what are the implications for her behaviour later in life? Walter Mischel's now iconic 'marshmallow test,' one of the most famous experiments in the history of psychology, proved that the ability to delay gratification is critical to living a successful and fulfilling life: self-control not only predicts higher marks in school, better social and cognitive functioning, and a greater sense of self-worth; it also helps us manage stress, pursue goals more effectively, and cope with painful emotions. But is willpower prewired, or can it be taught? In his groundbreaking new book, Dr. Mischel draws on decades of compelling research and life examples to explore the nature of willpower, identifying the cognitive skills and mental mechanisms that enable it and showing how these can be applied to challenges in everyday life - from weight control to quitting smoking, overcoming heartbreak, making major decisions, and planning for retirement. With profound implications for the choices we make in parenting, education, public policy and self-care, The Marshmallow Test will change the way we think about who we are and what we can be. And since, as Mischel argues, a life with too much self-control can be as unfulfilling as one with too little, this book will also teach you when it's time to ring the bell and enjoy that marshmallow.
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!