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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.
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.
Why do some people get to achieve aspirations that were unattainable for their parents while others don’t seem to get the opportunities they deserve? That is the critical, far-reaching question at the heart of this energetic, enlightening book. Based on fascinating – and often heart-rending - case studies of UK citizens, it explores to what extent children are offered opportunities to attain widely-held aspirations (to have a job you love, your own home and a rewarding relationship/family), what barriers are in their way, and whether decision-makers are truly prepared to take measures to remove those barriers. Through personal experience and interviews with a diverse set of individuals, the author notes that most children from working class backgrounds have at best a couple of hours of career guidance. People stumble into jobs, or end up down career cul-de-sacs they should never have taken. The findings don’t make for happy reading overall. While a working class kid might break through one barrier and get to university on merit, on arrival “the cultural codes of the elite are opaque and baffling”, and it’s often the same experience for those who break into traditionally middle class professions. Indeed, the author discovers that today people from middle-income backgrounds are more likely to slide down the scale. So what’s the solution to this depressing state of affairs? The author notes several key factors that need to be addressed. For example, social desegregation in educational institutions: “schools should be required to ensure that their intake is at least approximately reflective of the population of the surrounding local authority.” Another key factor would be to take away “opportunity tolls” i.e. children not being able to attend certain schools because of uniform costs, or jobseekers being unable to afford to travel to interviews. This engaging book makes for sobering reading, but also offers hope through the author’s ideas for rebalancing society to benefit the many.
In the face of urgency and uncertainty, would you respond analytically or trust your instincts? How would you decide who lives and who dies? Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton has been a firefighter for eighteen years. She decides which of her colleagues rush into a burning building and how they confront the blaze. She makes the call to evacuate if she believes the options have been exhausted or that the situation has escalated beyond hope. This is her astonishing account of a profession defined by the most difficult decisions imaginable. Taking us to the very heart of firefighting, Sabrina uses her award-winning research to reveal the skills that are essential to surviving – and even thriving – in such a fast-paced and emotionally-charged environment. And she immerses us in this extraordinary world; from scenes of devastation and crisis, through triumphs of bravery, to the quieter moments when she questions herself and the decisions made in the most unforgiving circumstances. Here is the truth about how we respond in our most extreme moments.
Over 140 new, unmissable recipes from the creators of a plant-based revolution. Do you want a quick weeknight supper that gets more veg into your diet? A show-stopping vegan Christmas dinner? A fun, fresh meal plan to set you up with plant-based packed lunches? Whatever you're after, BISH BASH BOSH! has the perfect recipe. Henry and Ian have created a food revolution through the world's biggest plant-based platform. Their first cookbook was the highest-selling vegan cookbook ever, and with over 2 million followers across all their fast-growing channels, BOSH! are on a mission to show the world just how versatile cooking with veg can be. In BISH BASH BOSH! you'll discover a whole world of quick eats, weeknight suppers, showstopping feasts, and incredible sweet treats - all using the power of plants. From a hearty, classic lasagne to an indulgent mini banoffee meringue, and from quick quesadillas to an incredible curry house jalfrezi, these are simple, savvy recipes that you'll turn to time and again. Whether you are a committed vegan, trying plant-based food for the first time, or simply just want to try a meal a week without meat, this book has all the know-how and inspiration you need. BISH BASH BOSH!
An interesting and thought-provoking memoir based on Ruth Hartley’s escape to London, and the ordeal she went through to get here in the early 1960’s while pregnant with her first born. I’m not one to get emotional over books but this is one of those rare occasions where I went through a whole roller-coaster of emotions, ranging from Sadness to happiness to even angry about some of the attitudes that people had in the early 60’s. I know some of these prejudices and stigmas still exist to this day but these day’s people and even communities are learning to accept it a little better. This was a very well written memoir, which I found easy to read. I managed to race through this book quite quickly. In fact I finished it in 2 sittings. This was due to the fact that I just wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next. Overall a very enjoyable read. I haven’t read Ruth’s other books but I will definitely be adding them to my TBR list. I highly recommend this book, especially if enjoy reading memoirs and your looking for a memorable read. Manisha Natha, A LoveReading Ambassador
From Abergynolwyn and Zvolen, Agrigento and Zürich, Great Railway Journeys of Europe is all a traveller needs to plan and enjoy European rail adventures. “Dear Victoria, gateway to the world beyond England. How I love your continental platform, and how I love trains anyway. Snuffing up the sulphurous smell ecstatically, so different from the feint, aloof, distantly oily smell of a boat. But a train, a big snorting hurrying, companionable train with its big puffing engine, sending up clouds of steam and seeming to say impatiently, “I’ve got to be off, I’ve got to be off, I’ve got to be off”, is a friend.’ Agatha Christie This full-colour, extensively-mapped guidebook is for those who can identify with these words, written by Agatha Christie, or those who think they might be able to, given the chance. Of the various modes of travel, only sailing ships and the grand liners have rivalled the train in the affections of their users and the wider public. The 400+ pages of detailed country-by-country information have been written and curated by experts, with fascinating in-depth features on the history and development of Europe's railways, spectacular photographs of contemporary sights, and absorbing archival images. As such, this is an excellent inspirational tool for pre-trip planning, plus it’s packed with practical information for when travellers are “on the rails”. In addition, being an Insight Guide, this unique guidebook also comes with innovative extras – a free eBook and app - which provide easy access to up-to-date information while travelling. Routes covered include: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Budapest-Istanbul Paris/Amsterdam-Moscow Alicante-Dénia Verona-Innsbruck Cagliari-Arbatax Köln-Frankfurt/Trier-Giessen Bergen-Oslo Helsinki-St Petersburg Venice-Zagreb About Founded in 1970, Apa Publications owns three of the best-known global travel brands - Insight Guides, Berlitz Publishing and Rough Guides - and publishes a range of innovative quality products (guidebooks, maps, apps, globes and language books) for every kind of traveller. Insight Guides is a pioneer of full-colour, feature-filled guidebooks, with almost 50 years' experience of publishing highly visual, culture-oriented travel guides. The list includes over 400 guidebooks and maps, as well as phrasebooks, eBooks, and apps that enhance on-the-road exploration. www.insightguides.com also offers tailor-made trips curated by local experts.
Has appeal as a rags to riches story but also will act as an inspiration for anyone dreaming of starting their own business. Showing that you don't need qualifications and good school results to get ahead Jo Malone has a passion for business and for encouraging others to reach their potential. Her own poignant story frames her business life - facing cancer and the loss of her business she came through and is now back with her new fragrance house Jo Loves– you can smell one of her first successes, Pomelo, due to the perfumed page tipped in at the front of the book. ~ Sue Baker
From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Plant Paradox comes a groundbreaking plan for living a long, healthy, happy life. From the moment we are born, our cells begin to age. But aging does not have to mean decline. World-renowned surgeon Dr. Steven Gundry has been treating mature patients for most of his career. He knows that everyone thinks they want to live forever, until they hit middle age and witness the suffering of their parents and even their peers. So how do we solve the paradox of wanting to live to a ripe old age—but enjoy the benefits of youth? This groundbreaking book holds the answer. Working with thousands of patients, Dr. Gundry has discovered that the “diseases of aging” we most fear are not simply a function of age; rather, they are a byproduct of the way we have lived over the decades. In The Longevity Paradox, he maps out a new approach to aging well—one that is based on supporting the health of the “oldest” parts of us: the microorganisms that live within our bodies. Our gut bugs—the bacteria that make up the microbiome—largely determine our health over the years. From diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s to common ailments like arthritis to our weight and the appearance of our skin, these bugs are in the driver’s seat, controlling our quality of life as we age. The good news is, it’s never too late to support these microbes and give them what they need to help them—and you—thrive. In The Longevity Paradox, Dr. Gundry outlines a nutrition and lifestyle plan to support gut health and live well for decades to come. A progressive take on the new science of aging, The Longevity Paradox offers an action plan to prevent and reverse disease as well as simple hacks to help anyone look and feel younger and more vital.
Every parent wants their child to be happy and every parent wants to avoid screwing them up. But how do you achieve that? In this absorbing, clever and funny book, renowned psychotherapist Philippa Perry tells us what really matters and what behaviour it is important to avoid - the vital dos and don'ts of parenting. Instead of mapping out the 'perfect' plan, Perry offers a big-picture look at the elements that lead to good parent-child relationships. This refreshing, judgement-free book will help you to: · Understand how your own upbringing may affect your parenting · Accept that you will make mistakes and learn what you can do about them · Break negative cycles and patterns · Handle your own and your child's feelings · Understand what different behaviours communicate Full of sage and sane advice, this is the book that every parent will want to read and every child will wish their parents had.
Readers less interested in speculating about who Jack the Ripper was in favour of learning more about the women murdered in London’s East End have had little reason to clear shelf space – until now. Finally, a decade on from Neal Shelden’s book, which skims the surface of victims’ stories, Hallie Rubenhold offers a deep-dive into their lives. Divided chronologically in terms of their deaths in 1888, parts covering ‘Polly’, ‘Annie’, ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Kate’ contain four chapters each; the fifth, ‘Mary Jane’, contains two and is relatively weak. Illustrations are uninspired. Notwithstanding the lack of archival material leading Rubenhold to interchange between telling specific stories of the “canonical” five and a general social history of the Victorian period, meticulous research undergirds captivating portraits akin to those featured in her histories of Georgian women. Shelden is the only Ripperologist widely cited by a historian who arguably pays insufficient acknowledgement to researchers who have revealed much of the known information on these vulnerable women. This is not to say they have nothing to learn, however, unless they know of Polly’s husband’s infidelity, Annie’s treatment in a sanatorium for alcoholism or are versed in Liz’s upbringing in Sweden. Rubenhold’s thesis that three of the five slept – not solicited – on the streets is as intriguing as her tendency to fill gaps in the source material with speculation is irksome, yet no serious Ripperologist can ignore The Five. More significantly, the book’s indictment of past and present misogyny will help ensure such discrimination has no future. Lee Ruddin
Satan's Gut, Sausage Boats and Ice Kisses: Review by Sam Lewis This is travel guide for those seeking a thrilling experience or a bold adventure! Written almost as a journal/information book, this non fiction write up details Tony’s courage at his daring outdoor pursuits and valiant voyages. The author has written informally, and the book almost has the feel that you are catching up with a friend. There are many humerous elements to his style of writing and although adventure travelling to the extreme that the author did, is not for me I imagine that he would be very appealing to those seeking the same thrills. If I am being completely honest the book in its entirety was not for me but not because of the way it was presented, it had interesting points, drew you in with the humour and beautiful pictures of exciting landscapes. Ordinarily this book would not be for me due to the genre, as it is not something I would have picked up, however I do feel that there is a niche audience for this and those interested would be encouraged by it. Interesting insight into a extreme travellers guide for beginners or those teetering on the edge of a thrilling adventure!
Simple, stunning, provocative, loved it! Author Raynor Winn has written about her own journey around the South West Coastal Path with her husband Moth. The synopsis sounds heartbreaking, it is heartbreaking, yet this is one of the most positive and hopeful memoirs I have read. After a three year trial Moth and Raynor lose their home and livelihood then within days Moth is informed he is terminally ill. Hiding under the stairs with the bailiffs at the door Raymor and Moth decide to wild walk the coastal path around the south west of England. The Salt Path was shortlisted for the 2018 Costa Biography Award and the hardback was a Times Top 10 bestseller, all deservedly so. The prologue captures a moment on the journey, a moment of wonder, of joy, of realisation and I just knew I was going to fall in love with this tale. Raynor Winn writes her own story with such positivity, she puts everything in, opens the door and lays her life bare. Raynor allowed me to see that this so could so easily be my situation, encouraged me to think, ponder, contemplate, I felt wonder at their determination and almost elated as I came to the end of the book. The Salt Path is an eye-opening, truly inspirational read and I’ve chosen it as one of my picks 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!