So I've read about 14 books this January, if I've counted right. And once I've finished the history book I'm reading I will bookless again.
It's my birthday soon, so I'm hoping a might get a book token. I refuse to buy fiction because so much of it is rubbish, so please recommend some lovely history or other non-fiction books. Nothing too dense but nothing too lightweight either please.
A book I thought was brilliant was "Anything Goes: A biography of the roaring twenties" by Lucy Moore. Packed with true stories of gangsters, socialites and silent movie stars, the glittering rise and fall of the Twenties and those who revelled in their excess. Highly recommended. Biog/Auto Biog I also enjoyed Kenneth Williams Diaries, Rupert Everetts Red Carpets and other banana skins, Speak Memory by Vladimir Nabokov (his gilded childhood in Russia).
We've got a TV but I hardly ever watch it. Some were re-reads (The Hobbit and LOTR) and one was a Terry Pratchett which is pretty much the work of an evening! And I'm a very fast reader - too fast, probably. I gobble them up, spit them out and move straight on to the next one!
OK, I may have mentioned some of these to you before, but if you want to stay with non-fiction:
Miracles Of Life - J G Ballard's autobiography (starting with his childhood internment in Japanese prisoner camp in Shanghai that later became the book & film "Empire Of The Sun")
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - Haruki Murakami (regardless of what you think about his fiction, this is good. It is sort of an auto-biography in parts, focusing on his awesome running)
Istanbul: Memories and the City - Orhan Pamuk (I can't remember if we talked about Pamuk at all, but he is at his best when he talks about Istanbul)
My Stroke Of Insight - Jill Bolte Taylor (She was a 37-year-old brain scientist when she had a stroke and observed from the inside what happens when your brain functions shut down one by one, knowing exactly what was going on in her brain. It is a fascinating read and very informative, especially the parts where she describes the stroke and how she managed to get help when she couldn't even recognise letters and numbers. It gets a bit new-agey towards the end, but it's a small price to pay for this "insight" imho)
Invisible Cities - Italo Calvino (It's not non-fiction, but has no plot and just talks about many imaginary cities, all with women's names, descriptions of each take one or at most two pages, so I think you will be OK with it in your current state of disillusionment with fiction)
Dp has got 'Empire Of The Sun' and the 'Running' one, so I'll have a go at both of those. The Istanbul one sounds interesting too, though I'd prefer to wait until I have a hope in hell of actually going there.
Dp would like the stroke one - I'm not clever enough for stuff like that.
Yeah well the indiscriminate shagging (I think) has a point in that book. Try Heinlein's later books like Time Enough For Love (which is pretty good, actually) and its sequels and you won't believe the number and variety the guy shags - his identical twin daughter/clones (Lapis Lazuli & Lorelei Lee), his personal computer who manages to become a woman (Minerva), his adopted daughter (Dora), not to mention his own mother (Maureen) with whom he falls in love after travelling back in time (don't ask ).
I remember you are about my age so you must have heard/seen/read him at some point. He was an astronomer & astrophysicist at Cornell University and used to do a TV series called "Cosmos" iirc. He also has a huge book called Cosmos.
I first read & was hugely impressed by The Dragons Of Eden. It is mostly about the brain and is fascinating, especially where it talks about split-brain patients (whose left & right brains can't communicate). This book was published in late-'70s, though, so probably not the most up-to-date book on the subject you can find.
Carl Sagan's Cosmos is also brilliant. Although both are on scientific topics, they are written for laymen. I read these two books in my early-twenties, so I'm sure you can read & enjoy them now.
Demon-Haunted World is probably his least scientific, most populist book. It talks about a variety of subjects. I fondly remember his discourse on UFOs and horoscopes He is a great orator and not at all preachy like Richard Dawkins can be.
Sagan has also written Contact, which was later made into a film starring Jodie Foster and directed by Robert Zemeckis. Afaik, that is his only fiction book. It is better than the film but I can't say that it is one of the best sci-fi books I have ever read.
Nope. Never been much of a TV watcher, so lots of people/things tend to pass me by tbh. Will keep him in mind, thanks. Don't forget that I am very easily bemused by Science though! Bill Bryson's Short History was brilliant but there were entire paragraphs, even in that, which eluded me.