what non-fiction are you reading now?

(114 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?

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.

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.

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

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

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.....

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.

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.

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!

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).

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.

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

Gorbachev's memoirs. What a chap grin

And a Very Short Intro to Children's Literature

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.

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...

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.

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

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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