what non-fiction are you reading now?

(118 Posts)
NicknameTaken Tue 28-Aug-12 12:36:00

I just finished Lucy Worsley's If Walls Could Talk - great fun, very well-written and engaging. Next up is Tom Holland's In the Shadow of the Sword, about the origins of Islam.

Anyone else?

The 100 Objects That Changed The World - think it's called that but tbh I have hardly read any of it as it currently feels too much like hard work.

And a book about the Tower of London.

I've just read 'London Under' by Peter Akroyd, which was okay.

NicknameTaken Tue 28-Aug-12 12:44:21

I found that I couldn't read 100 Objects all the way through. It was interesting to dip into but there's not exactly a narrative flow. It's pretty heavy, in all senses of the word.

it;s the sort of thing I usually ike to dip into to, but even the intro was pretty heavy going!

Trying again in English this time - It's the sort of thing I usually like to dip into...

AnneOfCleavers Tue 28-Aug-12 12:53:58

I loved If Walls Could Talk.

I'm currently reading Blood & Roses by Helen Castor. It's about the ambitious Paston Family who lived during the War of the Roses and whose letters survived.

Iridescent Iran. I'm fascinated by the Middle East, the people and the culture. Enjoyable if that's your sort of thing.

SomebodySaveMe Tue 28-Aug-12 12:56:00

Alison Weir's The Lady in the Tower

It's about Anne Boleyn and rather interesting (history geek!)

AnneOfCleavers Tue 28-Aug-12 13:01:23

I really enjoyed Lady In The Tower. It was nice to have such a detailed history of Anne Boleyn's last few months and I did learn some new things.

Portofino Tue 28-Aug-12 13:02:41

The Von Trapp Familiy Singers - the true story behind the Sound of Music. It's quite interesting - the film is based only the first quarter of it.

Poledra Tue 28-Aug-12 13:03:06

The Isles. Bought for me by DH at Christmas, ostensibly from the DDs. It's slow going because it's too heavy to read comfortably while eating or in the bath...

Poledra Tue 28-Aug-12 13:03:31

Oh, and I love Alison Weir. have you read her book on Katherine Swynford?

SomebodySaveMe Tue 28-Aug-12 13:15:07

It's on my shelf to attack next grin

NicknameTaken Tue 28-Aug-12 14:26:49

Poledra, I wanted to like The Isles, but I thought it was pretty poor on Irish history. To mix up Daniel O'Connell, the great politician, with Daniel O'Donnell....words fail. I read it a couple of years ago, so maybe they changed it in later editions though.

Todays, have you read any Tim Mackintosh-Smith? I loved his book on Yemen.

Poledra Tue 28-Aug-12 14:43:59

Oh my god - it doesn't, does it? I'll let you know if they've changed it, as I'm still in mesolithic times grin I'd like to point out that, although I got it at Christmas, I only started reading it two weeks ago...

notnowImreading Tue 28-Aug-12 14:57:22

The Plantagenets by Dan Jones (not that impressed - too much 'Henry III was absolutely devastated and turned in his fury to...' emotional projecting) and The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (interesting).

exexpat Tue 28-Aug-12 15:05:33

Poor Economics - a very interesting read on why aid does/doesn't work, and how the poorest people choose to spend the little money they have. Lots of case studies, and very readable for what could be a very dry subject.

NicknameTaken Wed 29-Aug-12 12:32:26

Sounds good, exexpat. I might give it a shot. I worked in Africa for 3 years and read quite a few books about the failings of the aid system.

gazzalw Wed 03-Oct-12 08:27:52

Jerusalem by Simon Sebag-Montefiore given to me by SIL who was his contemporary at Cambridge. It's excellent on all counts and although very thick I cannot recommend it highly enough!

^ wow! did she know him properly?

Reading a parallel study of Hitler and Stalin. Mind you, I haven't picked it up for about a week, I'm reading other stuff. Finished a Colette biography yesterday. Otherwise it's all fiction.

gazzalw Sat 06-Oct-12 14:43:25

She didn't move in his circles but was aware of him thro' friends of friends...Not at same College though.

Novia Sat 06-Oct-12 14:45:07

Your pregnancy week by week! smile

gazzalw Sat 06-Oct-12 14:46:05

DW has the parallel study of Hitler and Stalin - think it's been on her 'to read' list since DS (11) was born!!! Are you enjoying it?

^ Seriously cool! about your SIL.

Yeah, but it'd be pretty hard to mess the subject up esp. if you've done research on one of them already. He gets right to the heart of everything- ties in everything- no surprises though. It is over 1,000 pages shock

NicknameTaken Wed 10-Oct-12 09:04:14

Anyone else read Tom Holland, In the Shadow of the Sword? Really enjoyed it.

Currently reading Young Romantics, and I can totally picture Shelley's wife posting in Relationships. "My DH has just run off with a 16-year girl and her sister. I'm pregnant with our second DC. Now he is asking me to send him money. WWYD?"

WandaDoff Wed 10-Oct-12 09:07:06

Mary Boleyn - The mistress of Kings, by Alison Weir.

hackmum Wed 10-Oct-12 09:19:46

gazzlaw - I'm desperate to read the Jerusalem book - I bought it a few months ago but am trying to get through another pile first! I'm currently reading Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor, on my DP's recommendation - it's hard work but I intend to plough through to the end.

Next on the list is the new Ben Goldacre, Bad Pharma.

Does anyone else feel like there are too many books, not enough time?

NicknameTaken Wed 10-Oct-12 09:55:55

Yes, I regularly get intimidated by my "To read" pile. But if anyone were to take it away, I would not be happy...

PorkyandBess Wed 10-Oct-12 10:26:08

Jerusalem is sitting in pile by my bed, as yet unread.

I'm reading Injustice by Clive Stafford Smith. He is a lawyer who defends death row prisoners & this book is about the case of Kris Maharaj.

It's a hugely interesting read.

gazzalw Wed 10-Oct-12 10:28:19

Totally! Just as well I have a two hour commute each way to work- it comes in quite handy for getting through the books!

Stalingrad is brilliant by the way, hackmum!

hackmum Thu 11-Oct-12 08:10:02

Porky - I recently read Injustice. It's brilliant. Definitely one of my books of the year, though hugely depressing too.

gazzalw - am almost envious of the two hour commute! Though maybe not that envious:-) I am enjoying Stalingrad, but I do find it requires my full powers of concentration. I suspect part of it is to do with my difficulties with geography and sense of space - the whole business about crossing the Don, or the Volga, or being to the north or south of the city or whatever completely confuses me, and I never really have any sense of where anybody is.

akaemmafrost Fri 26-Oct-12 22:36:03

The Fifties Mystique. Very interesting.

TheWave Mon 29-Oct-12 23:08:18

On thin ice by Richard Ellis, everything you wanted to know about polar bears,quite detailed but lovely if you like that sort of thing. Also like Jared Diamond Collapse, about how societies live and die through history, and Sissinghurst, about the house he inherited by Adam Nicholson.

Would be great to hear more suggestions though.

evenkeel Thu 01-Nov-12 23:10:58

Not sure if this thread is limping on but what the heck...! I'm reading Judith Flanders's book about London in the time of Dickens and it is utterly riveting - I'm a sucker for anything about London in the 19thc and it's stuffed full of the kind of minute detail that I absolutely love.

I also just picked up Roger Deakin's 'Wildwood', which I've wanted for ages - finally tracked it down in a charity shop. It's about trees, forests, wood in general, in literature and poetry and in the imagination. It looks great.

GoOooooooooonatic Thu 01-Nov-12 23:13:25

Am reading a book called El Narco about the drug wars in Mexico. My all time fave non fic is Freakonomics, it is brilliant.

evenkeel Thu 01-Nov-12 23:17:10

Oh, I can also recommend John Lanchester's 'Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No-One can Pay'. Terrible title but it was the first time I actually understood the full insanity of the economic crash (and I'm not someone who's particularly into all of that). He explains it brilliantly.

ZZZenAgain Thu 01-Nov-12 23:19:41

The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm by Juliet Nicolson. I started off finding it an interesting read but I am a bit bogged down at the moment.

It chops about a lot which I suppose is also the aim - to provide a snapshot of a year. Seems to flit from debutantes to Churchill, from Rupert Brooke to the Ballets Russes to trade unions and strikes. It is interesting enough but not as fluent a read as I had expected.

porridgewithalmondmilk Fri 02-Nov-12 09:20:04

NicknameTaken - I plan to. I loved Rubicon, have you read that? It's one of the best books about ancient Rome out there in my opinion (and I have read a lot!)

I have a book called The Victorian Underworld (cheerful!) ready to arrive today from Amazon smile

NicknameTaken Fri 02-Nov-12 14:26:41

Haven't read Rubicon, but will give it a shot.

All you fans of Victoriana - have you read A N Wilson's The Victorians? I skimmed bits, but I thought it was a rattling good read. I have also just borrowed Serving Victoria : life in the royal household by Kate Hubbard.

Other books beside my bed: The emperor of all maladies, about cancer, and The better angels of our nature : a history of violence and humanity, which says that people have been getting less cruel.

Looking forward to all that, but slightly overwhelmed by the sheer size of the tomes.

porridgewithalmondmilk Fri 02-Nov-12 19:56:52

That sounds just up my street Nickname - thank you grin

hackmum Mon 05-Nov-12 17:43:12

Nickname - I enjoyed The Victorians, too, though I'm always a bit suspicious of AN Wilson. He knocks books out at such a rate you have to worry about the quality of his research!

The Emperor of all Maladies is brilliant - I would really recommend it to anyone who is interested in cancer or how medicine works. (And that's probably most of us.)

On the same theme, I've recently finished Ben Goldacre's Bad Pharma, which I can recommend wholeheartedly - a very thorough expose of how pharmaceutical companies misrepresent data on drugs, to the detriment of all of us.

lalalonglegs Mon 05-Nov-12 18:20:00

^^ I loved Bad Science by Ben Goldacre but haven't got round to Bad Pharma yet.

I'm currently working my way through "The End of the Party" by Andrew Rawnsley about the second and third terms of the last Labour government. Blair comes out of it quite well but, my God, Gordon Brown was a fucked up individual... It's very good and gossipy but is 750 pages of small print so it's taking a while to finish blush.

ExasperatedSigh Mon 05-Nov-12 19:08:13

Rodinsky's Room, by Rachel Lichtenstein and Iain Sinclair. Quite dreamy and fascinating.

NicknameTaken Thu 08-Nov-12 10:40:10

Hackmum, I agree about A N Wilson! I just read his book on Betjeman, which was quite poorly written.

I also loved Bad Science and I used to love Ben Goldacre's columns in the Guardian. Will give Bad Pharma a go sometime in the future.

Even though I haven't got through my existing pile, I now really want to ready Psychobabble by something Briers, about the misleading messages of the self-help industry.

notcitrus Thu 08-Nov-12 11:20:47

Best book I've read all year is Looking for Transwonderland by Noo Saro-Wiwa - 15 years after her father's execution she travels round Nigeria as a tourist. Wonderful account of a complex nation and its government.

TheWave Thu 15-Nov-12 13:14:32

Goooooooooooonatic you might like Bandit Roads by Richard Grant. Quite intriguing about how lawless Mexico is. Scary at times to think people holiday on the coast and don't know anything about this.

Just finishing Radical by Maajid Nawaz about how he went from Islamist to democrat, also read similar (Islamist) by Ed Husain, their books overlap and give lots of info on how 2nd or 3rd generation young Muslims in the UK get caught up in fundamentalist beliefs.

hackmum Thu 15-Nov-12 17:47:36

notcitrus - am reading the Saro-Wiwa book now on your recommendation and enjoying it. Thank you!

NicknameTaken Fri 23-Nov-12 14:27:52

Currently reading Stephen Pinker, The Better Angels of our Nature. Wonderful - very readable and it's great to read such an optimistic take on human history. Things are getting better! I originally resisted his contention that the 20th century was not the most murderous ever, but he has convinced me (without underplaying the massive horror of what did happen).

twirlyagogo Fri 23-Nov-12 14:33:06

'Knife Man' which is about an 18th century surgeon and the birth of modern surgery. Fascinating stuff.

evenkeel - I was looking at that on Amazon earlier so might pop it in my basket now. Read another of her books, can't remember what, and it was excellent.

Do you all know that Penguin has a Black Friday offer on today for lots of lovely non-fiction? Enter PENGUINTREAT50 for half price on all books at checkout. Website is really really slow though . . .

NicknameTaken Fri 23-Nov-12 14:43:14

great tip, twirly, thanks!

tourdefrance Thu 20-Dec-12 21:35:58

Got The undercover economist by Tim Harford 3 days ago and have read about 3/4 already. He does more or less on radio 4 and is really interesting read. Came as a pack of 3 from the Book People so more to follow.

Also just got "Nice girls don't get the corner office". Was recommended on here I think and have read the intro only so far.

Berlin 1961 by Frederick Kempe
I hardly ever buy new.....this was from Waterstones! I had some birthday money left which I'd forgotten about, so had half an hour's happy browsing (and being shocked at the prices!)....
It's pop history. That's why I like it and it's easy reading, it's not an academic work, it's very bitesize and anecdotal. I read a biography of Khrushchev quite recently and it's interesting to see how the bias shifts wink

And Benjamin Harshav's monster biog of Chagall.....I read another recently, published by Penguin, can't remember the author, so am comparing! Lots of the same little "seldom known" details in both....but this one has so much extra material in, letters and reports and a version of his autobiography with very extensive notes....I've read it already but it was slightly different.

He knocks books out at such a rate you have to worry about the quality of his research!

(AN Wilson)

I read his very short biog of Hitler at the start of this month and it was pretty sensationalist in parts, and there were a couple of scathing reviews about it in the NY Times or the New Yorker, don't know which. BUT I am not a preeminent Holocaust scholar and I don't regret reading it.....and the details he put in do stick in your mind!

But if you do want to read a short book on Hitler, Hitler's Private Library by Timothy W. Ryback is very worth it. He centres on a handful of books, describes Hitler's attraction to them and then goes on to reveal the back story plus lots of general information about his life, the war etc. I read it in a day I think, hard to put down!

MoniDubai Mon 28-Jan-13 08:20:43

I have decided to read alot more non fiction this year, my list includes This Examined Life Stephen Grolz and Jared Diamond's book that asks what we can learn and apply to our lives from traditional societies, I love the idea of the tribe whose only entertainment is to talk, nothing else...
My full list of recommendations including a couple from 2012 is here. We live in Dubai so maybe that has influenced my selection and comments (re the maids thing!)


Thewhingingdefective Fri 01-Feb-13 22:43:51

Contested Will by James Shapiro and Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown both on the go.

hackmum Sat 02-Feb-13 13:40:46

Thewhingingdefective: how are you getting on with Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee? I started it last year, really wanted to read it, but found it such hard going and gave up.

Just finished French Kids Don't Throw Food blush
and the Language Instinct by Stephen Pinker on Sunday

Affluenza awaits.....

elkiedee Wed 06-Feb-13 00:35:07

I'm reading I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish, a memoir by a Palestinian doctor, of his experiences of family tragedy and the problems he faced just travelling to work and on business. Excellent reading which often makes me feel angry and at points, very very sad.

RM76 Wed 06-Feb-13 00:42:19

Just started, 'The Practical Neuroscience of Buddha's Brain'. By Rick Hanson, Ph.D with Richard Mendius, M.D.
Thought it might help with my jumpy brain, meditating seems like an impossible dream right now!

RM76 Wed 06-Feb-13 00:43:58

elkiedee might have a go at your choice, although, I'm not sure if it will be conducive to my whole meditation thing!

Greensleeves Wed 06-Feb-13 00:58:25

Alison Weir's book about Mary Boleyn, and Linda Porter's book on Katherine Parr, am reading them both at the same time grin

NicknameTaken Wed 06-Feb-13 16:53:45

whinging, how are you getting on with Contested Will? I thought it was a great read.

quirrel, I know a lot of people have a pop at Oliver James due to his stance on childcare, but I quite enjoy his writing, and I find him a bit more nuanced than he is sometimes given credit for.

Just finishing The Last Princess, about Queen Victoria's youngest daughter, Beatrice. Saw the docs on Queen Victoria before Christmas and wanted to find out more. Sounds like a miserable existence.

Also currently reading The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street. Interesting and well-written.

gailforce1 Wed 06-Feb-13 18:48:10

Greensleeves I am listerning to Alison Weir's Mary Boleyn - the great and infamous whore, as an audio book. The narrator places great emphasis on GREAT and INFAMOUS WHORE each and every time she has to say it, which seemed to be every other sentance in the introduction!! And at the start of each CD (there are about 12)!

^ haha, that made me smile

Nickname, I finished it last week- and what a load of tripe- maybe his other books are wonderful, but 500 pages on something you could be done with in a 2,000 word school essay! No real insight- while deriding others for their lack of insight, bending his "research" to fit his very shallow conclusions.....I kept waiting for something good, but found it very base and not worth it.....if I had to pick a redeeming feature, I might say that he'd make a good columnist. Which he already is.
His chapter on childcare and families is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to have the same effect, corner a 17 year old who's just come back from an expensive gap year and ask them if they want loads of money later on or not. I guarantee you'll get everything from them in a spontaneous interview that you'd get from this book.
Interested in what you thought though- I did keep thinking, I must be missing something, this book is so popular.

Currently reading "Paris: After the Liberation 1944-49". My dad gave it to me from his bookshelves last year, only just reading it now.

Oh- and the short sightedness of it all- I wondered if it was a big joke in parts- all the solid anti-Americanism for one thing. How did he get a book deal?

NicknameTaken Mon 11-Feb-13 12:09:06

quirrel, that's interesting that you had such a different take on it. I read it back when I was pregnant, so I may not have been at my most critical - and I hadn't read much in that line up to then.

NicknameTaken Wed 13-Feb-13 15:03:47

Currently reading the Horlogicon by Mark Forsyth - hilarious!

SnappyWoof Thu 14-Feb-13 00:37:11

Hi everyone,

I'm reading two books on Kindle. Serious one and a mad funny one! grin

Serious one is about narcissists/sociopaths...I think every ex I've had I can now diagnose wink The sociopath next door..... www.amazon.co.uk/Sociopath-Next-Door-Martha-Stout/dp/0767915828/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360801255&sr=8-1

The other is a very funny book about men and relationships and sex...it's called Where the hell is Darcy? www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BDUK4SE.

Anyone got any other kindle recommendations? Something like the funny one above would be great... Recently single and need cheering up!


DuchessofMalfi Thu 14-Feb-13 19:05:44

Snappy - is the Sociopath Next Door any good? It's been on my wish list for a while. Sounds very interesting.

For cheering up, I'd recommend anything by Bill Bryson. How about Notes from a Small Island?

I've also recently read the QI 1227 facts book - currently 20p on kindle. Light, often silly, and very funny.

I'm currently half way through A Winter Book by Tove Jansson, and love it. It came up a few weeks ago as a kindle 99p daily deal, but is back to full price now.

SnappyWoof Thu 14-Feb-13 23:20:11

Hi Duchess,
The Sociopath next door is a bit difficult going because so much of it is like the story of me and an ex of mine!! Lots of ouches going on ...But yes, it really is helping me see all the ways that they can mess with your mind whilst at the same time, trying to make you think it's all your fault. Would recommend!

When it gets too much, I am switching to the Where the Hell is Darcy book...which can be read in small chunks and only messes with my mind in a funny way grin

Weep. Laugh. Weep. Laugh. Gawd. It's a rollercoaster in this house at the moment wink

WENDYEG57 Fri 15-Feb-13 07:54:01

Mrs Robinson's Disgrace by Kate Somerscale. it is a follow up to her brilliant "The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher" and takes a scandalous divorce case in the 19th century and really brings it to life. Ms Somerscale researches everything so meticulously and I'm learning a lot about Victorian belief systems, medicine atc.

Saltire Fri 15-Feb-13 10:07:50

I am currently reading
"Winter King, Dawn of Tudor England"

"History of Scotland".

NicknameTaken Fri 15-Feb-13 10:13:08

Biography of Patrick Leigh Fermor by Artemis Cooper.

Nickname different strokes, I guess smile I do worry I'm too critical about books, but I try not to expect a certain style.

And- snap! sort of. Artemis Cooper is the co-writer of my Paris after the liberation book, and I love PLF grin must be a fascinating read

Just finished The Most Beautiful Walk in the World by John Baxter. The Liberation book was 10x better.

gaelicsheep Sat 16-Feb-13 19:39:37

Just about to start a couple of books about concepts of modern art.

NicknameTaken Sun 17-Feb-13 18:36:47

Finished the Patrick Leigh Fermor book. I'm not sure I needed quite so much detail - every guest who visited, every Cretan lookout - but overall I really enjoyed it. That was a life fully lived. And there is a hilarious quotation from one of his letters about pubic lice.

Not a sentence I ever expected to type.

NicknameTaken Thu 28-Feb-13 12:35:16

Paula Byrne, The Real Jane Austen. Obviously not that much new material, but presented well and a good read.

Dear Dawn - Aileen Wuornos in her own words. It's a collection of letters she sent while she was on Death Row.

I find her fascinating. She wasn't half as crazy as she was made out to be.

VerySmallSqueak Tue 12-Mar-13 21:20:19

No Boundaries:new travellers on the road (outside of England) by Alan Dearling.

It's covering the move of many so-called 'new age travellers' to Europe and beyond following events such as The Battle of the Beanfield,and the introduction of new legislation (noteably the Criminal Justice and Public order Act).

I am also dipping into Disarming Patriarchy by Sasha Roseneil and Senseless Acts of Beauty by George McKay - I never read just one non fiction at a time,as I enjoy flitting about according to mood.

sashh Mon 25-Mar-13 06:43:42

Perfect Storm

I'm learning lots about fishing for sword fish, which fish you can catch at full moon.

Also different currents in the sea, how safety swimmers are trained.

NicknameTaken Tue 26-Mar-13 12:22:47

A hearty recommendation for Paula Hodgkins, Amateurs in Eden, about the marriage of Lawrence and Nancy Durrell. Nancy was the author's mother, and the book works on a number of levels - a daughter reconstructing her mother's life before the daugher's birth, the experience of being a woman in the early to mid-twentieth century, and an insight into Lawrence Durrell and the Bohemian lifestyle.

The mn relationships thread would undoubtedly diagnose Lawrence Durrell as a narcissist, but the relationship is portrayed in all its complexity, not as a simple abuser/victim one.

Probably the most enjoyable read of the year so far.

Whatalotofpiffle Sun 07-Apr-13 07:43:22

Just read Steve Biddulph's 'Raising Girls'
Now reading an Alfie Kohn book

hackmum Tue 09-Apr-13 08:25:39

Nickname - many thanks for recommending Amateurs in Eden, have just finished it and really enjoyed it. It's put me off reading Lawrence Durrell for life, though! What a narcissist, as you say. Was fascinated by the revelation that Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals, which I enjoyed as a teenager, simply left Nancy out of the story and portrayed Lawrence as a single man.

DuchessofMalfi Wed 10-Apr-13 18:52:31

I've just finished reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua quite an eye-opener, but an enjoyable read. I'm also half way through My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding - slow going but enjoyable.

ladydepp Thu 11-Apr-13 13:41:58

I am reading 3 books at the moment, normally it's just 2 grin. One of them is non-fiction and it's the Clare Balding autobiography too, really enjoying it but I do love horses and dogs. I am not sure it was edited terribly well, it fairly leaps about in places and I have to go back and see what she's talking about. Her father and grandmother are/were real characters!!

Highlander Mon 15-Apr-13 20:03:31

'Lean In' by Sheryl Sandberg (women and work)

Just finished 'the emperor of all maladies' - a history of cancer. Bloody brilliant book.

MrsBungle Mon 15-Apr-13 20:07:03

I have just started 'The Mitford Girls' - an auto biography by Mary S Lovell. I have not been able to put it down. I had never heard of the Mitford sisters until I started reading this.

hackmum Tue 16-Apr-13 08:22:24

Highlander - I agree about Emperor of all maladies. Truly excellent.

MrsBungle - I might go and read that, it sounds great. There are quite a few Mitford fans in this forum!

ruthyroo Thu 18-Apr-13 05:35:30

This is a fantastic thread- I am definitely going to track down some of these recommendations. I live in France so don't have the opportunity to browse waterstones etc and I find browsing on my kindle is not that easy if I don't have a specific book or author in mind.

I've just finished Bad Science by Ben Goldacre which has totally convinced me to reject the expensive homeopathy that is pushed so strongly here ! And The Diet Trap by John Briffa, an easy read and a good antidote to ongoing diet madness in the world.

Isthiscorrect Fri 19-Apr-13 07:55:58

Grrrrrrrrr, just lost everything but in essence current NF reading is Bounce by Matthew Sayed. Gallop along read about the myth of talent, the need for purposeful practice and the very specific type of motivation.
Also reading Alex's adventures in Numberland. Now for someone who can barely count it's been an entertaining read about the history and culture of numbers.
Finally in the must finish right now pile is the Naked Jape by Jimmy Carr and Lucy Greaves about jokes, the history of them, what makes them funny and so on.

A.S.Neill's book on Summerhill.
deary me.
I particularly enjoyed the section on homosexuality: "there is no homosexuality in Summerhill. The school has not turned out a single homosexual. The reason is that freedom breeds healthy children." Published in the 60s!

& a book about the Soviet Jewish diaspora, more like a biography though really.
Going back to uni soon and need to not take anything with me cos my room there's overflowing (moving out in two months, eek) so have to finish these quickly!

NicknameTaken Tue 23-Apr-13 13:48:05

Vvvvv late reply to hackmum, but I'm so glad you enjoyed Amateurs in Eden. I thought it was ill-served by the reviews I read, which focused on whether the author succeeding in restoring her mother's reputation as an artist, and I don't think the book stands or falls on that point at all.

Currently re-reading Shapiro's Contested Will. I'm enjoying it again but this time I understand better what point the author is setting out to make, ie. how people's expectations of authorship (and how autobiographical writing is) framed their willingness to accept Shakespeare of Stratford. It reminds me why re-reading is a good thing to do. I tend to zip through books in such a rush that I miss out a lot if I don't re-read.

PaddingtonBearsDuffleCoat Sat 27-Apr-13 15:37:49

Not nearly as highbrow as most on this thread, I am reading Beyond Nab End by William Woodruff. Just finished his earlier work and decided to carry straight on with the sequel. Excellent writing and insight.

hackmum Tue 30-Apr-13 09:33:44

Agree, Nickname, about the mother's reputation. Just a really interesting book with lots of insights about what it's like being married to an enormous ego. I thought it particularly telling that people thought of Nancy as silent and mysterious, when actually she was too cowed to talk most of the time.

Currently reading the Mary Beard collection of essays and reviews about ancient Rome - excellent and very enjoyable.

mixedmamameansbusiness Wed 01-May-13 11:58:13

Watching this thread. I am revising for exams so only have a novel on the go, but my summer non fiction is going to be Dan Stone's "Historiography if Genocide" and I can't wait. I have a fascination with Genocide.

I also have planned Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism. I have half read it before and it is very good and accessible.

Those who were reading the comparisons if Hitler and Stalin, which books were they. I have two, one by Overy and one by Gellately and I didn't think either were great although preferred Gelllately.

OneHolyCow Wed 01-May-13 12:41:26

I'm reading Paul Preston's The Spanish Holocaust. Cheerful stuff.. pff. Seems very comprehensive and well researched but it is very big and have only just started.

For some lighter relief Them by Jon Ronson.. bit dated but I like his style.

mixedmamameansbusiness Wed 01-May-13 13:34:57

I have dipped into his civil war book. He is very clear I find.

OneHolyCow Wed 01-May-13 15:16:36

Yes, he does write clearly, it's just the topic that does not add to joy of life.

wiltingfast Wed 08-May-13 18:22:44

Just finished French Children Eat Everything sigh mine don't.

Am now reading The Believers which is about the Bernie Madoff scandal. Well done so far.

Next is Stephen Pinker, How the Mind Works grin

NicknameTaken Fri 07-Jun-13 15:16:54

Just finished Tom Holland, Persian Fire. Really exciting final chapters, even though you know what the final outcome of the Persian/Greek showdown will be. I wonder if there is much crossover in readers with The Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones and that kind of genre - if you like major battles against overwhelming odds, there is plenty in real-life history that should satisfy!

Also Chavs by Owen Jones. I agree with what he argues, but the book itself feels a bit repetitive - basically an over-extended newspaper opinion piece.

I have The Old Ways by Robert McFarlane lined up next.

I have a copy of The First Crusade waiting for me.

I've just got to finish reading book 1 of the Scream Street series first...

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 07-Jun-13 17:03:40

I am reading 'working class cultures 1890-1960' by Joanna Bourke. I know her so keep imagining her narrating which makes me chuckle at times.

Worth a read if working class social history is your bag.

Gorbachev's memoirs. What a chap grin

And a Very Short Intro to Children's Literature

pollywollydoodle Mon 10-Jun-13 05:51:57

am dipping into "a history of
the english language in 100 words" which is really interesting
Have got dorothy rowe's "the real meaning of money" lined up next

mixedmamameansbusiness Mon 10-Jun-13 13:21:16

Just started the Pagrave Macmillian 'History of Sexuality'. Intro and a chapter on Demography and it had grabbed me yet.

EugenesAxe Mon 10-Jun-13 13:29:09

'A Short History of England' by Simon Jenkins (I think). It's pretty good but it is very short. You notice when you get to a bit of history you know about... e.g. Black Death got a paragraph. I think he dwells on things that really contributed to the shape of the modern country; the Black Death killed a lot of people, but to an extent it just happened.

And if people are reading to get inspiration, my favourite ever non-fiction book is.... 'Fermat's Last Theorum' by Simon Singh (he's so engaging and clever that I have a crush on him - wonderful to go and see talk with his Skeptic and scientific friends).

MissRenataFlitworth Thu 13-Jun-13 23:52:39

I don't read much fiction; there's so much brilliant non-fiction around. I have recently enjoyed:
The Blitz, The Thirties and Wartime Britain, all by Juliet Gardiner
The Strangest Man by Graham Farmelo - a biography of Paul Dirac
She-Wolves by Helen Castor
Magnificent Obsession by Helen Rappaport
Dickens and the Workhouse by Ruth Richardson
Courtiers by Lucy Worsley
A Passionate Sisterhood by Kathleen Jones
Quantum by Manjit Kumar
Marie Curie by Susan Quinn
Serving Victoria by Kate Hubbard
Stonehenge by Mike Parker Pearson
The Brontes by Juliet Barker is magnificent
Austerity Britain and Family Britain by David Kynaston
And if you want to know about Hitler Ian Kershaw's your man!

NicknameTaken Tue 09-Jul-13 10:42:52

Currently plodding through Sorry! The English and their Manners. It's not bad, but it doesn't match up to, say, Watching the English by Kate Fox.

hackmum Wed 10-Jul-13 09:12:51

MissRenataFlitworth - what did you think of Family Britain? I enjoyed Austerity Britain, meant to buy Family Britain when it came out, and then never got round to it. It just seemed so, well, long.

Fat book I picked up for £2.50 today- Soviet foreign policy after Stalin- published in 1962 hmm author so far seems intent on framing Stalin a rather lamblike light grin shudder to think how he'll deal with Khrushchev.....

NicknameTaken Tue 16-Jul-13 16:18:05

Framing Stalin in a lamblike light - well, that's creative, at any rate...

Cornishblues Sat 12-Jul-14 20:17:44

Enjoying solomon's far from the tree - about families raising children who are in various ways different from the parents - deaf, autistic and others. Not far in, but the intro talking about the author's own experience of growing up gay is fascinating. The complexity of the issues and decisions facing the families are a revelation.

DoctorTwo Sat 12-Jul-14 21:28:16

I know, Zombie thread and that, but I'm currently reading god Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens, and it's better than I thought it would be.

Next up is The Death Of Money by James Rickards, entirely down to an excerpt which described how airline shares wers shorted prior to the 11th September 2001 attacks and the paper trail showing where it originated, which was, according to somebody in the know, the CIA.

patandjess Tue 21-Oct-14 21:42:18

Have just found this thread! Am loving The Times' Great Women's Lives at the moment - just dipping in and out of it really. It's a collection of obituaries - sounds morbid but actually really fascinating!

I also enjoyed The Old Ways.

hackmum Sat 25-Oct-14 10:49:42

Cornishblues: Far from the tree is fantastic - I really would recommend it to people. Very interesting and very moving too.

Like2Chat Mon 27-Oct-14 14:25:56

I've just finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - an amazing book that I highly recommend.

It's about a woman who dies from cancer, but is much, much more than that.
All sorts of scientific breakthroughs and discoveries have been made using her 'HeLa' cancer cells and the author sets out on a journey to find out the truth about what happened to Henrietta and her family. Her relatives are poor, black and American. They cannot afford health insurance despite the fact that their relative's cells have generated millions of dollars for others.

It is an emotional read in parts but truly fascinating.

hackmum Thu 30-Oct-14 09:56:54

The Henrietta Lacks book is great.

Currently reading Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys - a memoir by Viv Albertine of the Slits. Very enjoyable.

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