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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?

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.

quirrelquarrel Mon 31-Dec-12 10:02:20

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.

quirrelquarrel Mon 31-Dec-12 10:06:17

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!

quirrelquarrel Mon 31-Dec-12 10:08:10

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.

quirrelquarrel Tue 05-Feb-13 05:41:52

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)!

quirrelquarrel Sun 10-Feb-13 11:55:17

^ 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.

quirrelquarrel Sun 10-Feb-13 11:56:55

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.....

The other is a very funny book about men and relationships and's called Where the hell is Darcy?

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.

quirrelquarrel Sat 16-Feb-13 15:06:41

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.

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