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what non-fiction are you reading now?

(173 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?

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!

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