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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.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER - AS HEARD ON BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK NOW WITH A NEW CHAPTER - Facebook.com/WhereMemoriesGo Scottish broadcaster and author Sally Magnusson cared with her two sisters for their mother Mamie during many years of living with dementia. Sad and funny, wise and honest, this deeply intimate account of insidious losses and unexpected joys is also a call to arms that challenges us all to think differently. This book began as an attempt to hold on to my witty, storytelling mother with the one thing I had to hand. Words. Then, as the enormity of the social crisis my family was part of began to dawn, I wrote with the thought that other forgotten lives might be nudged into the light along with hers. Dementia is one of the greatest social, medical, economic, scientific, philosophical and moral challenges of our times. I am a reporter. It became the biggest story of my life. - Sally Magnusson Regarded as one of the finest journalists of her generation, Mamie Baird Magnusson's whole life was a celebration of words - words that she fought to retain in the grip of a disease which is fast becoming the scourge of the 21st century. Married to writer and broadcaster Magnus Magnusson, they had five children of whom Sally is the eldest. As well as chronicling the anguish, the frustrations and the unexpected laughs and joys that she and her sisters experienced while accompanying their beloved mother on the long dementia road for eight years until her death in 2012, Sally Magnusson seeks understanding from a range of experts and asks penetrating questions about how we treat older people, how we can face one of the greatest social, medical, economic and moral challenges of our times, and what it means to be human. An extraordinary and deeply personal memoir, a manifesto and a call to arms, in one searingly beautiful narrative.
Where Has Mummy Gone? is a captivating insight into the life of a foster carer. Eight-year-old Melody is angry and confused when she comes to live with Cathy Glass and her family, claiming that her drug-dependent mother Amanda can’t manage without her. Over time, it transpires that this vulnerable child isn’t the only one who needs help. Cathy works tirelessly to juggle Melody’s needs alongside the bureaucracy of fostering and bringing up her own children. It’s a difficult and demanding role, especially because, in this particular situation, Amanda needs specific care as well. This is my first Cathy Glass book and certainly won’t be my last. It’s written in a clear and easy-to-read style, with vivid descriptions bringing people, places and events to life. At times I forgot that this is a true story, with several revelations that could have come straight out of fiction. Where Has Mummy Gone? is filled with compassion and love, mixed with heartbreak and tragedy – a reminder that foster care can help to make a big difference to people’s lives. Its bittersweet ending brought tears to my eyes, touched me deeply and left me thinking.
Any adult who deals with children, and not just teachers and others who work in school settings, would find this enlightening, thought provoking and revealing. As we learn from the little snippets from the school reports of Paul Dix at the end of each chapter, the author has direct experience of being one of the ‘bad boys’ and now has more than 25 years of working to transform the most challenging behaviour in schools, referral units and colleges to call upon. As a 14-year-old he vowed he would change the way adults deal with behaviour and I defy any reader not to rethink their own strategies as a result of this book. Responsible adults should be just that – always in control of themselves before they attempt to take control of others. But this is nothing to do with blaming teachers. Paul Dix is angry but he is angry with the lack of proper training in behaviour management and angry with the unrelenting drive for ‘progress’, pleasing Ofsted and analysing data which is destroying any ethos of pastoral care. Here chapter by chapter he asks hard hitting questions about school policies and behaviours and shows how these impact on students and often in a very counterproductive way. He writes with humour and the occasional frank expletive, he shares personal anecdotes, observations and tried and tested strategies backed up by theory, case studies and international examples. Each chapter concludes with three helpful checklists: Testing, Watch Out For and Nuggets which sum up, encourage and act as a quick aide-memoire going forward. Ultimately the author’s message is about consistency and kindness. “ Visible consistency with visible kindness allows exceptional behaviour to flourish” This is a genuine must-read that can genuinely transform schools and as his many examples show where improved behaviour leads, improved attainment follows. ~ Joy Court You can also access When the Adults Change, Everything Changes on Audible as an audio book here.
Witty, unusual, full of biting satire and very clever is the best way to describe this beautifully illustrated book of modern nursery rhymes. From ASBOS to hunting, white van drivers to football hooligans, Blair to 'Old Osama', celeb culture to terrorism - all are scathingly given a wicked airing in one of the funniest un-PC and refreshing books this year. It comes with the added bonus for the author reading some of the poems on CD. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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
THE NEW YORK TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER. Finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option...Unmissable . (New York Times). At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity - the brain - and finally into a patient and a new father.
Do you find bringing up teenagers more of a pain than a pleasure? Raising teenagers can test parental love to breaking point, particularly if you have previously enjoyed a close and loving relationship. The child whose every joy and sadness you shared has suddenly become taller than you, louder than you, with an inside knowledge of all your failings - and a sudden urge to point them out. What's more, this newly arrived creature may spend half their life glued to a gadget, talk and dress in a way you find alien and respond to all queries with a grunt or a dismissal - whilst expecting ever-greater financial hand-outs. Help is however at hand.
Kurlansky considers the work of Confucius, Plato, Shakespeare, Descartes, Nietzsche, Freud, Hemingway, Emily Dickinson, the Talmud, Charles de Gaulle, Virginia Woolf, and others, distilling the deep questions of life to their sparkling essence.
In the 20th century humanity consumed products faster than ever, but this way of living is no longer sustainable. This new and important book shows how technological advances are driving forms of 'collaborative consumption' which will change forever the ways in which we interact both with businesses and with each other. The average lawn mower is used for four hours a year. The average power drill is used for only twenty minutes in its entire lifespan. The average car is unused for 22 hours a day, and even when it is being used there are normally three empty seats. Surely there must be a way to get the benefit out of things like mowers, drills and even cars, without having to carry the huge up-front costs of ownership? There is indeed. Collaborative consumption is not just a buzzword, it is a new win-win way of life. This insightful and thought-provoking new book by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers is an important and fast-moving survey of the dramatic changes we are seeing in the way we consume products. Many of us are familiar with freecycle, eBay, couchsurfing and Zipcar. But these are just the beginning of a new phenomenon. Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers have interviewed business leaders and opinion formers around the world to draw together the many strands of Collaborative Consumption into a coherent and challenging argument to show that the way we did business and consumerism in the 20th century is not the way we will do it in the 21st century.
This is the Sunday Times bestseller. Surnames are much more than convenient identity tags; they are windows into our families' pasts. Some suggest ancestral trades (Butcher, Smith, Roper) or physical appearance (Long, Brown, Thynne). Some provide clues to where we come from (McDonald, Evans, Patel). And some - Rymer, Brocklebank, Stolbof - offer a hint of something just a little more exotic or esoteric. All are grist to the mill for David McKie who, in What's in a Surname?, sets off on a journey around Britain to find out how such appellations have evolved and what they tell us about ourselves. En route he looks at the surname's tentative beginnings in medieval times, and the myriad routes by which particular names became established. He considers some curious byways: the rise and fall of the multi-barrel surname and the Victorian reinvention of 'embarrassing' surnames among them. He considers whether fortune favours those whose surnames come at the beginning of the alphabet. And he celebrates the remarkable and the quirky, from the fearsome Ridley (the cry of which once struck terror in the hearts of their neighbours) to the legend-encrusted Tichborne, whose most famous holders were destined to suffer misfortune and controversy. Elegiac and amusing by turns, he offers a wonderfully entertaining wander along the footpaths of the nation's history and culture, celebrating not just the Smiths and Joneses of these islands but the Chaceporcs and Swetinbeddes, too.
If you want to change your image, if you are stuck in a â€˜lookâ€™ and want to feel fabulous afterwards or know someone that wants to, then this is the book for you or her. It shows how to re-tune your appearance so that you can tell the world you are who you want to be. When you look different you will act different, when you act different you will feel different.
A witty compilation of entertaining literary spoofs mocking the great and good of British writing. This alternative history of English literature is a perfect Christmas gift for any book lover.
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!