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.
Caroline Lucas is an outsider, inside, fighting for parliamentary reform and for the interests of her constituents. She is a politician with a radical mission and a clear vision of how change can be achieved. From the NHS to corporate tax evasion, from climate change to immigration, Honourable Friends? tells the story of 5 years in Westminster and offers bold and practical suggestions for a fairer British political system. It is a unique book by a unique politician and activist.
August 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. A book of essays reflecting Geoff Dyer’s work over the past ten years. Essays covering everything from personal reflections to perceptive critiques of writers and artists, the range spaning humour to insights into military morality. You’ll find yourself furiously scribbling notes on future reading and references to follow up as you follow the author through subjects rare and familiar – and if you haven’t read his work before, I guarantee you’ll want to read more.Like for Like ReadingMe Talk Pretty One Day, David SedarisGhost Milk: Calling Time on the Grand Project, Iain Sinclair
In The Establishment Owen Jones, author of the international bestseller Chavs, offers a biting critique of the British Establishment and a passionate plea for democracy. Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City. Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how, in claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite. In fact, they represent the biggest threat to our democracy today - and it is time they were challenged. Owen Jones was born in Sheffield, grew up in Stockport, and studied history at Oxford. His first book, the international bestseller Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class, was long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award and chosen as one of The New York Times top 10 non-fiction books of 2011. In 2013 he received the Young Writer of the Year prize at the Political Book Award. He is a columnist for the Guardian and a frequent broadcaster.
From the author of What to Eat and Shopped, a revelatory investigation into what really goes into the food we eat. Even with 25 years experience as a journalist and investigator of the food chain, Joanna Blythman still felt she had unanswered questions about the food we consume every day. How 'natural' is the process for making a 'natural' flavouring? What, exactly, is modified starch, and why is it an ingredient in so many foods? What is done to pitta bread to make it stay 'fresh' for six months? And why, when you eat a supermarket salad, does the taste linger in your mouth for several hours after? Swallow This is a fascinating exploration of the food processing industry and its products - not just the more obvious ready meals, chicken nuggets and tinned soups, but the less overtly industrial - washed salads, smoothies, yoghurts, cereal bars, bread, fruit juice, prepared vegetables. Forget illegal, horse-meat-scandal processes, every step in the production of these is legal, but practised by a strange and inaccessible industry, with methods a world-away from our idea of domestic food preparation, and obscured by technical speak, unintelligible ingredients manuals, and clever labelling practices. Determined to get to the bottom of the impact the industry has on our food, Joanna Blythman has gained unprecedented access to factories, suppliers and industry insiders, to give an utterly eye-opening account of what we're really swallowing.
Now a Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller. Amanda Owen has been seen by millions on ITV's The Dales, living a life that has almost gone in today's modern world, a life ruled by the seasons and her animals. She is a farmer's wife and shepherdess, living alongside her husband Clive and seven children at Ravenseat, a 2000 acre sheep hill farm at the head of Swaledale in North Yorkshire. It's a challenging life but one she loves. In The Yorkshire Shepherdess she describes how the rebellious girl from Huddersfield, who always wanted to be a shepherdess, achieved her dreams. Full of amusing anecdotes and unforgettable characters, the book takes us from fitting in with the locals to fitting in motherhood, from the demands of the livestock to the demands of raising a large family in such a rural backwater. Amanda also evokes the peace of winter, when they can be cut off by snow without electricity or running water, the happiness of spring and the lambing season, and the backbreaking tasks of summertime - haymaking and sheepshearing - inspiring us all to look at the countryside and those who work there with new appreciation.
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 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'There was nothing extraordinary about my childhood or background. And yet I looked in vain for any aspect of my family's story when I went to university to read history, and continued to search fruitlessly for it throughout the next decade. Eventually I realised I would have to write this history myself.' What was it really like to live through the twentieth century? In 1910 three-quarters of the population were working class, but their story has been ignored until now. Based on the first-person accounts of servants, factory workers, miners and housewives, award-winning historian Selina Todd reveals an unexpected Britain where cinema audiences shook their fists at footage of Winston Churchill, communities supported strikers, and where pools winners (like Viv Nicholson) refused to become respectable. Charting the rise of the working class, through two world wars to their fall in Thatcher's Britain and today, Todd tells their story for the first time, in their own words. Uncovering a huge hidden swathe of Britain's past, The People is the vivid history of a revolutionary century and the people who really made Britain great.
Octogenarian Anthony Smith's journey was originally inspired by both the Kontiki Expedition of Thor Heyerdahl (who he knew) and the incredible story of the survivors of a 1940 boat disaster, who spent 70 days adrift in the Atlantic, eventually reaching land emaciated and close to death. While this might sound like a voyage no-one would wish to emulate, to octogenarian Anthony Smith it sounded like an adventure, and he placed a typically straightforward advertisement in the Telegraph that read Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires 3 crew. Must be OAP. Serious adventurers only. In his inimitable style, Smith details their voyage and the hardships they endured with a matter-of-fact air that makes his story seem all the more impressive. His advanced age allows him a wider perspective not only on the journey but on life itself, and his never-say-die attitude to the difficulty of the journey is inspirational. 'Old men ought to be explorers' said T.S. Eliot, and this book certainly gives a compelling argument in his favour. It is both a great story (a huge storm on the final night of the voyage almost wrecked them on a reef) and a call to action for the older generation - do not go quietly, says Anthony Smith, but seek out adventure as long as you are able.
From bestselling author and teacher Mary Maccracken comes the engaging and inspiring story of five troubled children who she fought to bring back from the brink Joey is the class clown, but alone proves to be an intensely dark seven-year old who still can't read. Eric is a kindergartener, left withdrawn and speechless by the horrors he's witnessed at home. Alice appears the model fifth year child, but secretly scores zero on every maths test. Charlie, an eight-year old, struggles to understand his place in the world, leaving him confused and alone. Ben comes from a comfortable life at home, but has been called stupid so many times he now believes it. These are some of the learning-disabled children who were in deep trouble until Mary MacCracken, an extraordinary therapist and teacher, works her magic with them and transforms their lives. Her heart-warming book is a testament to her talent, compassion and love.
In this bold, fascinating book, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear - fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what may be in your children's air, food, mattresses, medicines, and vaccines. Reflecting on her own experience as a new mother, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire's Candide, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Susan Sontag's AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is an inoculation against our fear and a moving account of how we are all interconnected - our bodies and our fates.
A journalist for National Public Radio in the US, David Greene decides to travel thousands of kilometres from Moscow to Vladivostok on the iconic Trans-Siberian line. On the train and in the many Siberian outposts he stops as he meets a wide range of ordinary Russian people - from a group of Beatles-singing babushkas to soldiers and struggling entrepreneurs - with situations arising that are at times comical, awkward or poignant. Travelling in third class, he learns to adhere to the train's unwritten social codes and to navigate the unfamiliar environment of Siberia, occasionally shadowed by security agents. Conjuring up other famous travellers to the regions such as Anton Chekhov, David Greene manages, through the events he describes and his reflections and conversations on the journey, to construct a complex, compassionate and astute portrait of Putin's Russia far away from the glamour and prestige of Moscow.
In this title, Dale explains that heart disease is at epidemic proportions and rising, and attempts to find out why - and what we can do about it. His approach - using nutrition alongside conventional medicine - is to avoid the dietary baddies that may contribute to the problem. And he has some revolutionary ideas about what those might be. Dale shows how the heart works and gives you the tools you need to help yourself. His approachable, readable style reveals cardiovascular workings clearly. Dale peers inside the modern western kitchen storecupboard and shows what should be going into it with a comprehensive list of heart-healthy food. Vitally, he reveals what needs to be thrown out and never replaced - among them some startlingly common foods! Dale shows how easy it can be to incorporate powerful super-nutrients into your diet and what foods and supplements can provide them. Each recipe has a check-list showing the components it contains that are particularly heart-healthy. Start the day with a Salmon and asparagus frittata, dine sumptuously on Black olive and anchovy-stuffed chicken breast with sweet potato mash and finish it all off with Pears poached in spiced red wine. If these seem miles away from a conventional heart-healthy diet, that is because Dale believes much modern-day dietary advice is wrong. Learn his secrets for yourself and eat your way to better heart health.
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!