From politics to climate change, the refugee crisis to “Senior Moments”, there are some light hearted topics in amongst the serious issues in this months’ selection.
Crash, bang, wallop : the inside story of London’s Big Bang and a financial revolution that changed the world / Iain Martin.
“Big Bang was the dramatic moment in October 1986 when London became a testing ground for a new type of global finance. It embodied a wider revolution and the birth of a new age of fully electronic trading, transcontinental commerce and wealth creation on titantic scale. Published to mark the 30th anniversary of Big Bang, Crash, Bang, Wallop is the definitive, unflinching story of what really happened during one of the most daring and ambitious financial experiments in history.” (Syndetics summary)
The madhouse effect : how climate change denial is threatening our planet, destroying our politics, and driving us crazy / Michael E. Mann and Tom Toles.
“Through satire, The Madhouse Effect portrays the intellectual pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the clear evidence that man-made activity has changed our climate. Toles’s cartoons collapse counter-scientific strategies into their biased components, helping readers see how to best strike at these fallacies. Mann’s expert skills at science communication aim to restore sanity to a debate that continues to rage against widely acknowledged scientific consensus.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Cast away : true stories of survival from Europe’s refugee crisis / Charlotte McDonald-Gibson.
“In 2015, more than one million migrants and refugees, most fleeing war-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East, attempted to make the perilous journey into Europe. Around three thousand lost their lives as they crossed the Mediterranean and Aegean in rickety boats provided by unscrupulous traffickers, including over seven hundred men, women, and children in a single day in April 2015.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The great derangement : climate change and the unthinkable / Amitav Ghosh.
“The extreme nature of today’s climate events, Ghosh asserts, make them peculiarly resistant to contemporary modes of thinking and imagining. This is particularly true of serious literary fiction: hundred-year storms and freakish tornadoes simply feel too improbable. In the writing of history, too, the climate crisis has sometimes led to gross simplifications. Ghosh ends by suggesting that politics, much like literature, has become a matter of personal moral reckoning rather than an arena of collective action. But to limit fiction and politics to individual moral adventure comes at a great cost. The climate crisis asks us to imagine other forms of human existence–a task to which fiction, Ghosh argues, is the best suited of all cultural forms. His book serves as a great writer’s summons to confront the most urgent task of our time.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Worktown : the astonishing story of the birth of Mass-Observation / David Hall.
“In the late 1930s the Lancashire town of Bolton witnessed a ground-breaking social experiment. Over three years, a team of ninety observers recorded, in painstaking detail, the everyday lives of ordinary working people at work and play – in the pub, dance hall, factory and on holiday. Their aim was to create an ‘anthropology of ourselves’. The first of its kind, it later grew into the Mass Observation movement that proved so crucial to our understanding of public opinion in future generations.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Senior moments : looking back, looking ahead / Willard Spiegelman.
“Senior Moments is a series of discrete essays that, when taken together, constitute the life of a man who, despite Western cultural notions of aging as something to be denied, overcome, and resisted, has continued to relish the simplest of pleasures: reading, looking at art, talking, and indulging in occasional fits of nostalgia while also welcoming what inevitably lies ahead. Spiegelman’s expertly crafted book considers, with wisdom and elegance, how to be alert to the joys that brim from unexpected places even as death draws near”– Provided by publisher, adapted.
Feminist fight club : an office survival manual (for a sexist workplace) / Jessica Bennett ; illustrations by Saskia Wariner, with Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell.
“In Feminist Fight Club, acclaimed journalist Jessica Bennett blends the personal stories of her real-life fight club with research, statistics, and no-bullsh*t advice for how to combat today’s sexism (and come out the other side). Part manual, part manifesto, Bennett offers a new vocabulary for the sexist archetypes women encounter every day–such as the Manterrupter, who talks over female colleagues in meetings; or the Bropropriator, who appropriates their ideas–as well as the self-sabotaging behavior women sometimes exhibit themselves…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Homo deus : a brief history of tomorrow / Yuval Noah Harari.
“…Yuval Noah Harari, author of the bestselling ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’, envisions a not-too-distant world in which we face a new set of challenges. In Homo Deus, he examines our future with his trademark blend of science, history, philosophy and every discipline in between. Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Politics : between the extremes / Nick Clegg.
“Politics has changed. For decades Britain was divided between Left and Right but united in its belief in a two-party state. Now, with nationalism resurgent and mainstream parties in turmoil, stark new divisions define the country and the centre ground is deserted. As Deputy Prime Minister of Britain’s first coalition government in over fifty years, Nick Clegg witnessed this change from the inside. Here he offers a frank account of his experiences from his spectacular rise in the 2010 election to a brutal defeat in 2015, from his early years as an MEP in Brussels to the tumultuous fall-out of Britains EU referendum and puts the case for a new politics based on reason and compromise.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Is the planet full? / edited by Ian Goldin.
“While it is common to hear about the problems of overpopulation, might there be unexplored benefits of increasing numbers of people in the world? How can we both consider and harness the potential benefits brought by a healthier, wealthier and larger population? May more people mean more scientists to discover how our world works, more inventors and thinkers to help solve the world’s problems, more skilled people to put these ideas into practice?” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The Fix: How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline
“We all know the bad news… Jonathan Tepperman’s The Fix presents a very different picture. The book reveals the often-overlooked success stories, offering a provocative, unconventional take on the answers hiding in plain sight. The Fix presents practical advice for problem-solvers of all stripes, and stands as a necessary corrective to the hand-wringing and grim prognostication that dominates the news, making a data-driven case for optimism in a time of crushing pessimism.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)