Immersive reads : new popular non-fiction

Timefulness book cover

Reading non-fiction is a great way to reflect on the world we live in and the moment in history that we find ourselves inhabiting. Below you’ll find lots of great new immersive reads and different perspectives, experiences and arguments. Plus, if saving is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, we’ve also included some topical books from NZ personal finance journalist Mary Holm and others.

The children of Harvey Milk : how LGBTQ politicians changed the world / Reynolds, Andrew
“Part political thriller, part meditation on social change, part love story, The Children of Harvey Milk tells the epic stories of courageous men and women around the world who came forward to make their voices heard during the struggle for equal rights…” (Adapted from catalogue)

Rising out of hatred : the awakening of a former white nationalist / Saslow, Eli
“Son of Don Black, founder of the huge racist Internet community Stormfront, and godson of KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, Derek Black had his own white nationalist radio show at age 19, which he broadcast secretly while attending liberal New College in Florida. Students vociferously challenged him when his cover was blown, while others reached out — an Orthodox Jew invited him to Shabbat dinners — and Black felt compelled to question his beliefs… This is a book to help us understand the American moment and to help us better understand one another.” (Adapted from catalogue)

How to live forever : the enduring power of connecting the generations / Freedman, Marc
“In How to Live Forever, social entrepreneur Marc Freedman argues that we don’t need medical or scientific intervention to live forever. Instead of trying to be young, we can live forever (and save money) by being there for those who are young. Investing time with young people, mentoring, and passing wisdom from generation to generation, is truly living one’s legacy…” (Adapted from catalogue)

Eve was shamed : how British justice is failing women / Kennedy, Helena
“…In Eve Was Shamed Helena Kennedy forensically examines the pressing new evidence that women are still being routinely discriminated against when it comes to the law… The law holds up a mirror to society and it is failing women. In this richly detailed and shocking book, one of our most eminent human rights thinkers and practitioners shows with force and fury that change for women cannot come soon enough. And it must start at the heart of what makes society just.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Rich enough? : a laid-back guide for every Kiwi / Holm, Mary
“In this lively, jargon-free book you’ll learn how to kill off debt, curb spending, find your best KiwiSaver fund, save painlessly, buy a house – or be happy not buying one, and move confidently towards and through retirement. You’ll also learn why setting and forgetting your investments is the best strategy. …Unlike many writers of finance books, Mary is not selling any products or services (except this book!). She doesn’t want to sign you up for costly advice or courses or investments. She just wants you to do well…” (Adapted from catalogue)

Blood on the page : a murder, a secret trial and a search for the truth / Harding, Thomas
“A groundbreaking examination of a terrifying murder and its aftermath… In June 2006, police were called to number 9 Downshire Hill in Hampstead. The owner of the house, Allan Chappelow, was an award-winning photographer and biographer, an expert on George Bernard Shaw, and a notorious recluse, who had not been seen for several weeks. Someone had recently accessed his bank accounts, and attempted to withdraw large amounts of money…” (Adapted from catalogue)

Work like a woman : a manifesto for change / Portas, Mary
“…Speaking candidly about the traps she fell into – from aping the behaviour seen in aggressive corporate environments to recreating a male working culture within her own business – Mary will explode the myth of women ‘having it all’. She will also track her evolution as a business leader and the decision to rebuild her company from the ground up on a model that today embraces female values. Examining practical issues – including flexible working and equal pay – and also cultural ones – such as gender bias – Mary will argue for a revolution in the way in which we work…” (Adapted from catalogue)

Timefulness : how thinking like a geologist can help save the world / Bjornerud, Marcia
“This compelling book presents a new way of thinking about our place in time, enabling us to make decisions on multigenerational timescales. The lifespan of Earth may seem unfathomable compared to the brevity of human existence, but this view of time denies our deep roots in Earth’s history-and the magnitude of our effects on the planet. …Our everyday lives are shaped by processes that vastly predate us, and our habits will in turn have consequences that will outlast us by generations…” (Adapted from catalogue)

The desert and the sea : 977 days captive on the Somali pirate coast / Moore, Michael Scott
“…A sort of Catch-22 meets Black Hawk Down, The Desert and the Sea is written with dark humor, candor, and a journalist’s clinical distance and eye for detail. Moore offers an intimate and otherwise inaccessible view of life as we cannot fathom it, brilliantly weaving his own experience as a hostage with the social, economic, religious, and political factors creating it… wildly compelling….” (Adapted from catalogue)

The New Zealand money guide : all you need to know about becoming financially secure / Dudson, Lisa
“This book will help you: get clear on what is important to you in life, become more aware and mindful of how you spend your money, create positive and helpful money beliefs, have a good understanding of how to manage your money, understand the risks you may face and how to manage them, set achievable financial goals, feel less stressed about money, make a plan to pay off any debts you have, create more money and grow your wealth safely, and most importantly, become confident about managing and growing your finances” (Adapted from catalogue)

New non-fiction for your reading pleasure

Kindness book cover

In these cynical times, we are often exhorted to just be kinder. Our first book shows how this can be achieved.

Syndetics book coverKindness : the little thing that matters most / Jaime Thurston.
“The book is themed around 52 simple actions you can do to spread kindness. Interspersed throughout are nuggets of science explaining the positive effect kindness has on the brain and on the heart. This book is a call to action for people to live a more connected, fulfilling life. With inspirational quotes and personal stories this book will give you all the motivation you need to start spreading a little kindness – it’s free afterall!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe unexpected genius of pigs / Matt Whyman ; illustrations by Micaela Lacaino.
“We often consider dogs to be our enduring sidekicks but the truth is domestic pigs have played a role in our lives for nearly as long. Pigs are highly social and smart. They like to play. They’re inventive, crafty and belligerent – and incredibly singleminded. Here is a charming ode to one of the most common, yet surprisingly intelligent, animals populating our landscapes. In this gentle and illuminating study, Matt Whyman embarks on a journey to uncover the heart and soul of an animal brimming with more energy, intelligence and playfulness than he could ever have imagined.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fascinating history of toys & games around the world / Warwick Henderson.
“Toys are living proof of social changes, trends and fashions, design styles, manufacturing and industrial developments over time. The Fascinating History of Toys & Games Around the World details collectible toys and games from cast-iron soldiers to plastic robots, horse-drawn coaches to streamline convertibles, and an overdressed cyclist to a miniskirted tennis player doll – these are not just toys but objects that showcase an era or segment of history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Heartland : a memoir of working hard and being broke in the richest country on Earth / Smarsh, Sarah
“During Sarah Smarsh’s turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the forces of cyclical poverty and the country’s changing economic policies solidified her family’s place among the working poor. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to look more closely at the class divide in our country and examine the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. Her personal history affirms the corrosive impact inter-generational poverty can have on individuals, families, and communities, and she explores this idea as lived experience, metaphor, and level of consciousness.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lords of the desert : Britain’s struggle with America to dominate the Middle East / Barr, James
“Upon victory in 1945, Britain still dominated the Middle East. She directly ruled Palestine and Aden, was the kingmaker in Iran, the power behind the thrones of Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, and protected the sultan of Oman and the Gulf sheikhs. But her motives for wanting to dominate this crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa were changing. Where ‘imperial security’ – control of the route to India – had once been paramount, now oil was an increasingly important factor. So, too, was prestige. Unable to withstand Arab and Jewish nationalism, within a generation the British were gone. But that is not the full story…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverFierce enigmas : a history of the United States in South Asia / Srinath Raghavan.
“South Asia looms large in American foreign policy. Over the past two decades, we have spent billions of dollars and thousands of human lives in the region, to seemingly little effect. As Srinath Raghavan reveals in Fierce Enigmas, this should not surprise us. For 230 years, America’s engagement with India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan has been characterized by short-term thinking and unintended consequences. Beginning with American traders in India in the eighteenth century, the region has become a locus for American efforts-secular and religious-to remake the world in its image.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReformation to Industrial Revolution, 1530-1780 / Christopher Hill.
“In 1530 England was a backward economy. Yet by 1780 she possessed a global empire and was on the verge of becoming the world’s first industrialized power. This book deals with the intervening 250 years, and explains how England acquired this unique position in history. Esteemed historian Christopher Hill recounts a story that begins with the break with Europe before hitting a tumultuous period of war and revolution, combined with a cultural and scientific flowering that made up the early modern period. It was in this era that Britain became home to imperial ambitions and economic innovation, prefiguring what was to come. Hill excavates the conditions and ideas that underpin this age of extraordinary change, and shows how, and why, Britain became the most powerful nation in the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Dark commerce : how a new illicit economy is threatening our future / Shelley, Louise I
“Though mankind has traded tangible goods for millennia, recent technology has changed the fundamentals of trade, in both legitimate and illegal economies. In the past three decades, the most advanced forms of illicit trade have broken with all historical precedents and, as Dark Commerce shows, now operate as if on steroids, tied to computers and social media. Demonstrating that illicit trade is a business the global community cannot afford to ignore and must work together to address, Dark Commerce considers diverse ways of responding to this increasing challenge.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Propaganda blitz : how the corporate media distort reality / Edwards, David
Propaganda Blitz shows the damning effect of spin in UK media, not just in right-wing newspapers like the Sun, Times, Daily Mail, and the Express, but also in trusted liberal outlets like the BBC and the Guardian. The book uncovers a storm of top-down campaigns behind war reporting from Iraq, Syria, and Palestine, as well as the media’s destruction of the credibility of figures on the left, including Jeremy Corbyn, Russell Brand, and Hugo Chavez. Exposing propagandists at the top levels of the BBC, as well as their reporting on the Scottish Independence referendum, the dismantling of the National Health Service, and looming climate chaos, Propaganda Blitz shows how the corporate media hide the real issues from the public view, often completely reversing the truth.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The women’s atlas / Seager, Joni
“The most comprehensive and accessible global analysis of key issues facing women: the advances that have been made and the distances still to be travelled. Joni Seager’s award-winning The Women’s Atlas illustrates the status of women worldwide today. Through cutting-edge infographics, the atlas portrays how women are living across continents and cultures.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

On the future : prospects for humanity / Rees, Martin J.
“Humanity has reached a critical moment. Our world is unsettled and rapidly changing, and we face existential risks over the next century. Various prospects for the future–good and bad–are possible. Yet our approach to the future is characterized by short-term thinking, polarizing debates, alarmist rhetoric, and pessimism. In this short, exhilarating book, renowned scientist and bestselling author Martin Rees argues that humanity’s future depends on our taking a very different approach to thinking about and planning for tomorrow.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Standouts on the New Non-Fiction bookstand!

Voyages: From Tongan Villages To American Suburbs book cover

Introducing Flint & Steel, published by Maxim Institute. Maxim Institute is an independent research and public policy think tank, working to promote the dignity of every person in New Zealand. These two volumes are on sustainability, and on community: On cultivating community. & On sustainability and what we leave behind.

Mountains to sea : solving New Zealand’s freshwater crisis / edited by Mike Joy.
“The state of New Zealand’s freshwater has become an urgent public issue in recent years. From across the political spectrum, concern is growing about the pollution of New Zealand’s rivers and streams. We all know they need fixing. But how do we do it? In Mountains to Sea, leading ecologist Mike Joy teams up with thinkers from all walks of life to consider how we can solve New Zealand’s freshwater crisis. The book covers a wide range of topics, including food production, public health, economics and Maori narratives of water.” (Syndetics summary)

Freeman’s : power
“From the voices of protestors to the encroachment of a new fascism, everywhere we look power is revealed. This thought-provoking issue of the acclaimed literary annual Freeman’s explores who gets to say what matters in a time of social upheaval.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVoyages : from Tongan villages to American suburbs / Cathy A. Small.
“In Voyages, Cathy A. Small offers a view of the changes in migration, globalization, and ethnographic fieldwork over three decades. The second edition adds fresh descriptions and narratives in three new chapters based on two more visits to Tonga and California in 2010. The author (whose role after thirty years of fieldwork is both ethnographer and family member) reintroduces the reader to four sisters in the same family-two who migrated to the United States and two who remained in Tonga-and reveals what has unfolded in their lives in the fifteen years since the first edition was written.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Have you eaten grandma? / Brandreth, Gyles Daubeney
“Our language is changing, literacy levels are dwindling and our grasp of grammar is at crisis point, so you wouldn’t be alone in thinking WTF! But do not despair, Have You Eaten Grandma? is here: Gyles Brandreth’s definitive (and hilarious) guide to punctuation, spelling, and good English for the twenty-first century.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to Tell Fate from Destiny : And Other Skillful Word Distinctions
“If you have trouble distinguishing the verbs imitate and emulate, the relative pronouns that and which, or the adjectives pliant, pliable, and supple, never fear– How to Tell Fate from Destiny is here to help! With more than 500 headwords, the book is replete with advice on how to differentiate commonly confused words and steer clear of verbal trouble.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Future of Capitalism : Facing the New Anxieties
“Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of the United States and other Western societies: thriving cities versus rural counties, the highly skilled elite versus the less educated, wealthy versus developing countries. As these divides deepen, we have lost the sense of ethical obligation to others that was crucial to the rise of post-war social democracy. So far these rifts have been answered only by the revivalist ideologies of populism and socialism, leading to the seismic upheavals of Trump, Brexit, and the return of the far-right in Germany. We have heard many critiques of capitalism but no one has laid out a realistic way to fix it, until now.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeriously Curious : The Facts and Figures That Turn Our World Upside Down
“…brings together the very best explainers and charts, written and created by top journalists to help us understand such brain-bending conundrums as why Swedes overpay their taxes, why America still allows child marriage, and what the link is between avocados and crime. The Economist explains and its online sister, the Daily Chart, are the two most popular blogs on The Economist’s website. Together, these online giants provide answers to the kinds of questions, quirky and serious, that may be puzzling anyone interested in the world around them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe crypto book : how to invest safely in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies / Siam Kidd.
“Blockchain technology and the cryptocurrencies it enables are being described by some people as the biggest thing since the internet, but very few people understand it, or the opportunities it brings. Enter this down-to-earth guide to understanding what cryptocurrencies are, why it matters, and how to make money from them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI think, therefore I draw : understanding philosophy through cartoons / Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.
“Covering topics as diverse as religion, gender, knowledge, morality, and the meaning of life (or the lack thereof), I Think, Therefore I Draw gives a thorough introduction to all of the major debates in philosophy through history and the present. And since they explain with the help of a selection of some of the smartest cartoonists working today, you’ll breeze through these weighty topics as you guffaw and slap your knee.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGlobalization and its discontents revisited : anti-globalization in the era of Trump / Joseph E. Stiglitz.
“In this hugely controversial book, the most recent winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics argues that though globalization should be a powerful force for good, it has been badly mishandled by the West (especially its lead institutions, the World Bank and the IMF), and that the anti-globalizing protestors have much to say that we should listen to. Coming from a figure of Stiglitz’s background and authority, this is an explosive message which will change the way we regard modern global politics.” (Syndetics summary)

Pick of the bunch: New popular Non-Fiction

Talk on the Wild Side

An inspiration to ‘the disenfranchised, marginalised and voiceless Indigenous communities’ heads our list today. It’s A long way from No Go, about the life of Tjanara Goreng Goreng, who was a disadvantaged Australian Aboriginal woman. A fascinating memoir.

A long way from No Go / Goreng Goreng, Tjanara
“This is a memoir of an Aboriginal woman, Tjanara Goreng Goreng, who began life without any of the advantages of her fellow non-Indigenous Australians except for grit, humour and diverse talent in spades. Life was tough and poor as an Aboriginal kid in No Go, in remote Queensland. Tjanara navigates the treacherous waters of her childhood, immersed in the legacy of 200 years of brutal treatment of her mother’s people that has left its suppurating scars deep in their psyche. This is a story of resilience, courage and Tjanara’s remarkable capacity to overcome every possible barrier that can be thrown up in Australian society. She is an inspiration to all fellow Australians and more specifically to the disenfranchised, marginalised and voiceless Indigenous communities.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Palaces for the people : how to build a more equal and united society / Klinenberg, Eric
“Too often we take for granted and neglect our libraries, parks, markets, schools, playgrounds, gardens and communal spaces, but decades of research now shows that these places can have an extraordinary effect on our health and wellbeing and that of society as a whole. Why? Because wherever people cross paths and linger, wherever we gather informally, strike up a conversation and get to know one another, relationships blossom and communities emerge – and where communities are strong, people are safer and healthier, crime drops and commerce thrives, and peace, tolerance and stability take root.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverTalk on the Wild Side : Why Language Can’t Be Tamed
“Language is a wild thing. It is vague and anarchic. Style, meaning, and usage are continually on the move. Throughout history, for every mutation, idiosyncrasy, and ubiquitous mistake, there have been countervailing rules, pronouncements and systems making some attempt to bring language to heel. Talk on the Wild Side is both a guide to the great debates and controversies of usage, and a love letter to language itself. Holding it together is Greene’s infectious enthusiasm for his subject. While you can walk away with the finer points of who says “whom” and the strange history of “buxom” schoolboys, most of all, it inspires awe in language itself: for its elegance, resourcefulness, and power.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Unsettled : refugee camps and the making of multicultural Britain / Bailkin, Jordanna
“Refugee camps in Britain were never only for refugees. Refugees shared a space with Britons who had been displaced by war and poverty, as well as thousands of civil servants and a fractious mix of volunteers. Unsettled: Refugee Camps and the Making of Multicultural Britain explores how these camps have shaped today’s multicultural Britain. They generated unique intimacies and frictions, illuminating the closeness of individuals that have traditionally been kept separate–“citizens” and “migrants,” but also refugee populations from diverse countries and conflicts. As the world’s refugee crisis once again brings to Europe the challenges of mass encampment, Unsettled offers warnings from a liberal democracy’s recent past.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Best of enemies : the last great spy story of the Cold War / Russo, Gus
“The thrilling story of two Cold War spies — CIA case officer Jack Platt and KGB agent Gennady Vasilenko — and their improbable friendship at a time when they should have been anything but. In 1978, CIA maverick Jack Platt and KGB agent Gennady Vasilenko were new arrivals on the Washington, DC intelligence scene, with Jack working out of the CIA’s counterintelligence office and Gennady out of the Soviet Embassy. Both men, already notorious iconoclasts within their respective agencies, were assigned to seduce the other into betraying his country in the urgent final days of the Cold War, but instead the men ended up becoming the best of friends-blood brothers…” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The tyranny of opinion : conformity and the future of liberalism / Blackford, Russell
“We live in an age of ideology, propaganda, and tribalism. Political conformity is enforced from many sides; the insidious social control that John Stuart Mill called “the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling.” Liberal or left-minded people are often more afraid of each other than of their conservative or right wing opponents. Social media and call-out-culture makes it easier to name, shame, ostracize and harass non-conformists, and destroys careers and lives. How can we oppose this, regaining freedom and our sense of ourselves as individuals? The Tyranny of Opinion identifies the problem, defines its character, and proposes strategies of resistance. Russell Blackford calls for an end to ideological purity policing and for recommitment to the foundational liberal values of individual liberty and spontaneity, free inquiry, diverse opinion, and honest debate.” (Catalogue)

Democracy when the people are thinking : revitalizing our politics through public deliberation / Fishkin, James S
“This volume speaks to a recurring dilemma: listen to the people and get the angry voices of populism or rely on widely distrusted elites and get policies that seem out of touch with the public’s concerns. Instead, there are methods for getting a representative and thoughtful public voice that is really worth listening to. Democracy is under siege in most countries, where democratic institutions have low approval and face a resurgent threat from authoritarian regimes. Deliberative democracy can provide an antidote and can reinvigorate our democratic politics.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverA seat at the table : congresswomen’s perspectives on why their presence matters / Kelly Dittmar, Kira Sanbonmatsu, and Susan J. Carroll.
“Drawing on personal interviews with women serving in the 114th Congress, the authors analyze the perspectives of women members as they seek to make a meaningful difference in the contemporary political environment. Unlike other studies of women in Congress, this book avoids looking at gender in a vacuum, instead considering how gender interacts with political party, race and ethnicity, seniority, chamber, and district characteristics to shape women’s representational influence.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDigital renaissance : what data and economics tell us about the future of popular culture / Joel Waldfogel.
“The digital revolution poses a mortal threat to the major creative industries–music, publishing, television, and the movies. The ease with which digital files can be copied and distributed has unleashed a wave of piracy with disastrous effects on revenue. Cheap, easy self-publishing is eroding the position of these gatekeepers and guardians of culture. Does this revolution herald the collapse of culture, as some commentators claim? Far from it.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDangerous ideas about mothers / edited by Camilla Nelson & Rachel Robertson.
“Mothers are a topic on which almost everybody has an opinion, and always have. Now, however, those opinions are funnelled into and amplified on social media, where conversations turn ugly and advice is commercialised (read: the rise of the Mumpreneurs). Often, social media is understood as a place where mothers can either show off or shut up. It is from this idea of heightened scrutiny that Dangerous Ideas About Mothers takes its leave.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverImpeaching the president : past, present, and future / Alan Hirsch.Impeaching a President: Past, Present, and Future
“It seems quite possible that President Trump will be impeached. …In response to the complexity of a rapidly evolving situation, constitutional scholar Alan Hirsch offers clear and to-the-point guidance for all matters relating to removing a sitting president–from the Founder’s constitutional protections against executive criminality, and the instructive impeachment stories of presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, to the particular ways that Donald Trump may be legally vulnerable, and the possibilities and limitations of presidential self-pardon.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Popular Reads: New Non-Fiction

In the wake of a recent scary article from Nature about Climate Change, and the recent IPCC warning document, our leading book this month asks Can democracy handle climate change? It is followed by a book that bemoans the present unwillingness of people to believe in scientific evidence.

Can democracy handle climate change? / Fiorino, Daniel J.
“Global climate change poses an unprecedented challenge for governments across the world. In this incisive book, Daniel Fiorino challenges the assumptions and evidence offered by sceptics of democracy and its capacity to handle climate change. Democracies, he explains, typically enjoy higher levels of environmental performance and produce greater innovation in technology, policy, and climate governance than autocracies. Rather than less democracy, Fiorino calls for a more accountable and responsive politics that will provide democratically-elected governments with the enhanced capacity for collective action on climate and other environmental issues.” (Catalogue (adapted))

Denialism : the dangers of irrational thinking and ignoring science experts / Specter, Michael
“There is so much confusing and conflicting information about the world in which we live that the truth can be impossible to find. The rise of modern scepticism against fake news is to be celebrated, but this cultural shift has led to a world where opinion is as valuable as fact. The existence of climate change; the safety behind eating genetically modified foods; and the effectiveness of herbal remedies over newly developed medicines are all hotly debated subjects and yet the science, rather than the rhetoric, is almost unanimous. Denialism brilliantly exposes the irrational pseudoscience and scare-mongering that increasingly get in the way of the truth and sensible decision-making. Specter demonstrates how key areas of modern life from basic health, to the environment and overall scientific progress are being dangerously misdirected and why facts must be put back to the heart of our judgements and belief.” (Catalogue)

Talking to women / Dunn, Nell
“In 1964, Nell Dunn spoke to nine of her friends over a bottle of wine about men, sex, work, money, babies, freedom and love. Novelist Edna O’Brien remembers being ‘very frightened’ of having her nipples touched. The Pop Artist Pauline Boty says she got married to the ‘first man I could talk very freely to'” (Catalogue (adapted))

No place like home : repairing Australia’s housing crisis / Mares, Peter
“It is generally accepted that Australia is in the grip of a housing crisis. But we are divided – along class, generational and political lines – about what to do about it. Award-winning journalist Peter Mares draws on academic research, statistical data and personal interviews to create a clear picture of Australia’s housing problems and to offer practical solutions. Expertly informed and eminently readable, No Place Like Home cuts through the noise and asks the common-sense questions about why we do housing the way we do, and what the alternatives might be.” (Catalogue (adapted))

Cyberwar : how Russian hackers and trolls helped elect a president : what we don’t, can’t, and do know / Jamieson, Kathleen Hall
“In Cyberwar, the eminent scholar Kathleen Hall Jamieson, who sifted through a vast amount of polling and voting data, is able to conclude with a reasonable degree of certainty that Russian help was crucial in elevating Trump to the Oval Office. The question of how Donald Trump won the 2016 election looms over all of the many controversies that continue to swirl around him to this day. In particular, was his victory the result of Russian meddling in our political system? Up until now, the answer to that has been equivocal at best given how difficult it is to prove.” (Catalogue (adapted))

Disrupt and deny : spies, special forces, and the secret pursuit of British foreign policy / Cormac, Rory
“The untold story of Britain’s covert military and intelligence operations since the end of World War II, and its secret scheming against enemies, as well as friends… In Disrupt and Deny, Rory Cormac tells the remarkable true story of Britain’s secret scheming against its enemies, as well as its friends; of intrigue and manoeuvring within the darkest corridors of Whitehall, where officials fought to maintain control of this most sensitive and seductive work; and, above all, of Britain’s attempt to use smoke and mirrors to mask decline. He reveals hitherto secret operations, the slush funds that paid for them, and the battles in Whitehall that shaped them.” (Catalogue (adapted))

The mushroom at the end of the world : on the possibility of life in capitalist ruins / Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt
“A tale of diversity within our damaged landscapes, The Mushroom at the End of the World follows one of the strangest commodity chains of our times to explore the unexpected corners of capitalism. Here, we witness the varied and peculiar worlds of matsutake commerce: the worlds of Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, industrial forests, Yi Chinese goat herders, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions also lead us into fungal ecologies and forest histories to better understand the promise of cohabitation in a time of massive human destruction.”–Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)

I’m absolutely fine! : a manual for imperfect women / Rivkin, Annabel
“I’m absolutely fine but I slightly need to pee, I followed the road less travelled and now I don’t know where the hell I am, I may bleed to death shaving my legs, I just ate the fridge, my soul aches, ducking hell, my sock is slipping off inside my shoe, another week has ended without me becoming accidentally rich, I just put my keys in the fridge, my jeans hate me, unexpected object in the bagging area, I haven’t slept since 2012, I’ve got road rage, I’ll have a café mocha vodka valium latte to go please, where’s my phone? My anxieties have anxieties, no… not like that – here, I’ll do it, do I have to do everything? WTF? Is it just me? We gnaw on that, don’t we? Is it just me? Well, look around. Look at the egg-freezing, the brain freezing, the soul freezing, the terror, the Tinder, the rage, the resolution, the ‘hear me roar’, the panic, the power, the regret, the chin hairs, the hyper-connectedness, the divorce, the shame, the empathy, the conversation, the sheer potential. Welcome to Midulthood: a place where we recognise that we are all more alike than we are unalike. Of course it’s not just you. If we’re not in it together, we’re not in it at all…” (Catalogue)

A good time to be a girl : don’t lean in, change the system / Morrissey, Helena
“Five years have passed since women were exhorted to ‘Lean In’. Over that time, the world has transformed beyond all expectations. But why should anyone ‘lean in’ to a patriarchal system that is out of date? Why not change it entirely for the good of us all?” (Catalogue)

The Skripal files : the life and near death of a Russian spy / Urban, Mark
The Skripal Files is the definitive account of how Skripal’s story fits into the wider context of the new spy war between Russia and the West. The Skripal Files explores the time Skripal spent as a spy in the Russian Military Intelligence, how he was turned to work as an agent by MI6, his imprisonment in Russia and his eventual release as part of a spy-swap that would bring him to Salisbury, where on that fateful day he and his daughter found themselves fighting for their lives.” (Catalogue)

The spy and the traitor : the greatest espionage story of the Cold War / Macintyre, Ben
“A thrilling Cold War story about a KGB double agent, by one of Britain’s greatest historians. On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket. The man was a spy. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia. So began one of the boldest and most extraordinary episodes in the history of spying. Ben Macintyre reveals a tale of espionage, betrayal and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War forever…” (Catalogue)

New popular non-fiction books

Fight Like a Girl book cover

Another small, perfect book from BWB Texts begins our list today, False Divides written by Lana Lopesi.

False divides / Lopesi, Lana
“Te Moana Nui a Kiwa is the great ocean continent. While it is common to understand ocean and seas as something that divides land, for those Indigenous to the Pacific or the Moana, it was traditionally a connector and an ancestor. Imperialism in the Moana, however, created false divides between islands and separated their peoples. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, these connections are becoming visible again, partly through the use of globalising technologies. In this BWB Text, Lana Lopesi argues that while colonisation created divisions across Te Moana Nui a Kiwa, the adaptability of Moana peoples is now turning the ocean back into the unifying continent that it once was.” (Catalogue)

That F word : growing up feminist in Aotearoa / Marvelly, Elizabeth
“Lizzie Marvelly tells the story of New Zealand’s feminist roots, then traverses the modern landscape, tearing apart areas of gender imbalance and pervading attitudes to Kiwi women. Lizzie speaks about her own first-hand experiences with sexism and male misconduct, while also offering advice to young girls on how to take full control of their lives…” (Catalogue (adapted))

What to read and why / Prose, Francine
“In an age defined by hyper-connectivity and constant stimulation, Francine Prose makes a compelling case for the solitary act of reading and the great enjoyment it brings. Inspiring and illuminating, What to Read and Why includes selections culled from Prose’s previous essays, reviews, and introductions, combined with new, never-before-published pieces that focus on her favorite works of fiction and nonfiction, on works by masters of the short story, and even on books by photographers like Diane Arbus…” (Catalogue (adapted))

Value of everything : making and taking in the global economy / Mazzucato, Mariana
“A scathing indictment of our current global financial system, The Value of Everything rigorously scrutinizes the way in which economic value has been accounted and reveals how economic theory has failed to clearly delineate the difference between value creation and value extraction. Mariana Mazzucato argues that the increasingly blurry distinction between the two categories has allowed certain actors in the economy to portray themselves as value creators, while in reality they are just moving around existing value or, even worse, destroying it…”-Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue (adapted))

The AI delusion / Smith, Gary
“Gary Smith argues that the real danger of artificial intelligence is not that computers are smarter than us, but that we think they are. Through many examples, Smith shows that human reasoning is fundamentally different from artificial intelligence, and it is needed more than ever. …Computers are very good at discovering patterns, but are useless in judging whether the unearthed patterns are sensible because computers do not think the way humans think…” (Catalogue (adapted))

Digital human : the fourth revolution of humanity includes everyone / Skinner, Chris
“This digitalisation of our planet is bringing about a major transformation. Everyone on the planet will soon be included in the network and everyone on the planet will get the chance to talk, trade and transact with everyone in real time. This book offers insight into a number of intriguing topics that stem from the digitalisation of humanity such as how bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are challenging government and control mechanisms and why the Chinese tech giants are more imaginative than their Western counterparts…”-Dust jacket.” (Catalogue (adapted))

Poverty safari : understanding the anger of Britain’s underclass / McGarvey, Darren
“Darren McGarvey has experienced poverty and its devastating effects first-hand. He knows why people from deprived communities all around Britain feel angry and unheard. And he wants to explain… This book takes you inside the experience of poverty to show how the pressures really feel and how hard their legacy is to overcome. Arguing that both the political left and right misunderstand poverty as it is actually lived, McGarvey sets out what everybody – including himself – could do to change things…” (Catalogue (adapted))

Emotional AI : the rise of empathic media / McStay, Andrew
“What happens when media technologies are able to interpret our feelings, emotions, moods, and intentions? In this cutting edge new book, Andrew McStay explores that very question and argues that these abilities result in a form of technological empathy. …Combining established theory with original analysis, this book will change the way students view, use and interact with new technologies. It should be required reading for students and researchers in media, communications, the social sciences and beyond.” (Catalogue (adapted))

The edge of memory : ancient stories, oral tradition and the post-glacial world / Nunn, Patrick D.
“In The Edge of Memory, Patrick Nunn explores the science in folk history. He looks at ancient tales and traditions that may be rooted in scientifically verifiable fact, and can be explored via geological evidence, such as the Biblical Flood. We all know those stories that have been told in our families for generations. The ones that start “Have I ever told you about your great, great Uncle …?” In some cultures these stories have been passed down for thousands of years, and often reveal significant information about how the surrounding environment has changed and the effect it has had on societies–from stories referring to coastal drowning to the devastation caused by meteorite falls. Geologists are now starting to corroborate the tales through study of climatic data, sediments and land forms; the evidence was there in the stories, but until recently, nobody was listening.” (Catalogue (adapted))

Plundering beauty : a history of art crime during war / Tompkins, Arthur
“The roll-call of mankind’s wars down the centuries is paralleled by an equally extensive catalogue of the theft, destruction, plundering, displacement and concealing of some of the greatest works of art. …The works of art involved have fascinating stories to tell, as civilization moves from a simple and brutal ‘winner takes it all’ attitude to the spoils of war, to contemporary understanding, and commitment to, the idea that a society’s artistic heritage truly belongs to all humankind”–Back cover.” (Catalogue (adapted))

Wolf boys : two American teenagers and Mexico’s most dangerous drug cartel / Slater, Dan
“What it like to be an employee of a global drug-trafficking organization? In the border town of Laredo, Texas, Gabriel and his friend Bart abandon promising futures for the allure of the Zetas, a drug cartel with roots in the Mexican military. Mexican-born Detective Robert Garcia has worked hard all his life and is now struggling to raise his family in America. As violence spills over the border, Detective Garcia pursuit of the boys, and their cartel leaders, puts him face to face with the urgent consequences of a war he sees as unwinnable. Slater shows the way in which the border itself is changing, disappearing, and posing new, terrifying, and yet largely unseen threats to American security.” (Catalogue)

Raising Rosie : our story of parenting an intersex child / Lohman, Eric
“When their daughter Rosie was born …intersex – a term that describes people who are born with a variety of physical characteristics that do not fit neatly into traditional conceptions about male and female bodies – Rosie’s parents were pressured to consent to normalizing surgery on Rosie, without being offered any alternatives despite their concerns. Part memoir, part guidebook, this powerful book tells the authors’ experience of refusing to have Rosie operated on and how they raised a child who is intersex. The book looks at how they spoke about the condition to friends and family, to Rosie’s teachers and caregivers, and shows how they plan on explaining it to Rosie when she is older…” (Catalogue (adapted))

Fight Like a Girl book coverFight like a girl / Ford, Clementine
An incendiary debut taking the world by storm, Fight Like A Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world is. Personal and fearless – a call to arms for feminists new, old and as yet unrealised by one of our most outspoken feminist writers.” (Catalogue)

New non-fiction books to browse

Now You're Talking book cover

Have a browse through this month’s non-fiction picks, featuring medicine, budgeting, Marx and more!

Will big business destroy our planet? / Dauvergne, Peter
“Walmart. Coca-Cola. BP. Toyota. The world economy runs on the profits of transnational corporations. Politicians need their backing. Nonprofits rely on their philanthropy. People look to their brands for meaning. And their power continues to rise. Now, facing a mounting global environmental crisis, can big business provide the solutions? Absolutely, the CEOs are responding: big business not only has the global power, in-house guidelines for corporate social responsibility will ensure it happens, voluntarily. Really?” (Adapted from catalogue)

The pastor and the painter / Wockner, Cindy
“At 12.35 a.m. on the 29th April 2015, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were led out in front of firing squad. Strapped to wooden crosses, they prayed and sang, staring straight ahead at their killers. On that day, the Indonesian government did not execute two drug smugglers, they executed a pastor and a painter. …This is the intimate, and untold, story of Andrew and Myuran; of their childhoods and what turned them to drugs.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The culture code : the secrets of highly successful groups / Coyle, Daniel
“In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle, New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code, goes inside some of the most effective organisations in the world and reveals their secrets. He not only explains what makes such groups tick, but also identifies the key factors that can generate team cohesion in any walk of life. He offers cautionary tales of toxic cultures and advises how to reform them, above all demonstrating the extraordinary achievements that result when we know how to cooperate effectively.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Shapeshifters : on medicine & human change / Francis, Gavin
“Our minds and bodies change constantly – we dream and laugh, wax and wane, distort and repair, grow taller and shrink, flourish and decay as we make our way through life. Some of these changes we have little choice about – puberty, the menopause, death – others are specific to the individual. And still others are rare, almost magical in their manifestations, such as the sun-sensitivity and facial hair that characterises Porphyria suffers and led to them, once upon a time, to be suspected as werewolves. Mixing case studies with observations about history, art, literature, myth and magic, and viewing with a humane and sensitive eye, Gavin Francis explores the various ways in which change is the very essence of being human.” (Adapted from catalogue)

You need a budget : the proven system for breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, getting out of debt, and living the life you want / Mecham, Jesse
“Experience a life free of financial stress and transform your relationship to money with this indispensable guide-the first book based on You Need A Budget’s proven method that has helped hundreds of thousands of people break the paycheck to paycheck cycle, get out of debt, and live the life they want to live.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Silent invasion : China’s influence in Australia / Hamilton, Clive
“In 2008 Clive Hamilton was at Parliament House in Canberra when the Beijing Olympic torch relay passed through. He watched in bewilderment as a small pro-Tibet protest was overrun by thousands of angry Chinese students. In 2016 it was revealed that wealthy Chinese businessmen linked to the Chinese Communist Party had become the largest donors to both major political parties. Hamilton realised something big was happening, and decided to investigate the Chinese government’s influence in Australia. What he found shocked him. From politics to culture, real estate to agriculture, universities to unions, and even in our primary schools, he uncovered compelling evidence of the Chinese Communist Party’s infiltration of Australia.” (Catalogue)

The assault on intelligence : American national security in an age of lies / Hayden, Michael V.
“In the face of a President who lobs accusations without facts, evidence, or logic, truth tellers are under attack. Meanwhile, the world order is teetering on the brink. North Korea is on the verge of having a nuclear weapon that could reach all of the United States, Russians have mastered a new form of information warfare that undercuts democracy, and the role of China in the global community remains unclear.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Now you’re talking : human conversation from the Neanderthals to artificial intelligence / Cox, Trevor J.
“If you’ve ever felt the shock of listening to a recording of your own voice, you realise how important your voice is to your personal identity. We judge others – and whether we trust them – not just by their words but by the way they talk: their intonation, their pitch, their accent. Now You’re Talking explores the full range of our voice – how we speak and how we sing; how our vocal anatomy works; what happens when things go wrong; and how technology enables us to imitate and manipulate the human voice.” (Adapted from catalogue)

What would the great economists do? : how twelve brilliant minds would solve today’s biggest problems / Yueh, Linda Y.
“Acclaimed economist and BBC broadcaster Linda Yueh profiles the great economic minds who focused on the big questions: growth, innovation, and the nature of markets. Most of them have won the Nobel Prize. All of them have had lasting impact on both the development of the discipline and how public policy has been and continues to be shaped. But Dr. Yueh goes a step further: In accessible and clear prose, she will explain the impact their respective research has on combating today’s great economic problems.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A world to win : the life and works of Karl Marx / Liedman, Sven-Eric
“The globalised world of the twenty-first century has many parallels with that of the period running up to the cataclysm of 1914, namely the world predicted by Karl Marx. Despite nearly 200 years having passed since his birth, his burning condemnation of capitalism remains of immediate interest today. The texts he left behind gave rise to what would come to be called Marxism, but that was a term he rejected. Now, more than ever before, these texts can be read for what they truly are.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The middle class : a history / James, Lawrence
“Originally published 2006. This is the story of the great powerhouse of British history – the middle class. The death of feudalism, the advancement of democracy, the spread of literacy, the coming of the industrial and sexual revolutions, the development of mass media – the middle class is never fay away, pushing for change, engaging in philanthropy, while always mindful to protect its own interests.” (Book jacket)

Square eyes : children, screen time and fun / Booker, Emily
“Troubled by what her daughter was watching, and by how this made her feel as a parent, Emily Booker set out to learn more about children and television by listening not only to scholars and experts in the field, but to children themselves. What she found was that the problem of children’s addiction to screens is actually, in part, a grown-ups’ problem. Speaking to children about what they watch and why reveals a steadily consistent response: they love to seek out programs that are ‘fun’. But their choices are often a source of anxiety for parents, and appear to provoke a need to censure and control the child’s enjoyment. At a time when children’s lives are increasingly regulated, and the pressures of parenting are felt ever more keenly, this important book teaches us much about the value of entertainment, not only for children but for adults.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Interesting new non-fiction books

Pops book cover

Two books about women’s suffrage feature in this month’s selections. Other topics include demystifying the blockchain, parenthood, artificial intelligence and much more.

Hearts and minds : the untold story of the great pilgrimage and how women won the vote / Robinson, Jane
“Set against the colourful background of the entire campaign for women to win the vote, Hearts and Minds tells the remarkable and inspiring story of the suffragists’ march on London. 1913: the last long summer before the war. The country is gripped by suffragette fever. These impassioned crusaders have their admirers; some agree with their aims if not their forceful methods, while others are aghast at the thought of giving any female a vote. Meanwhile, hundreds of women are stepping out on to the streets of Britain. They are the suffragists: non-militant campaigners for the vote, on an astonishing six-week protest march they call the Great Pilgrimage. Rich and poor, young and old, they defy convention, risking jobs, family relationships and even their lives to persuade the country to listen to them. This is a story of ordinary people effecting extraordinary change.” (Catalogue)

Marx, capital and the madness of economic reason / Harvey, David
“In Marx and Capital, David Harvey introduces and explains the architecture of capital as expounded by Marx in the three volumes of Capital, published between 1867 and 1883. He places Marx’s observations and arguments in the context of capitalism in the second half of the nineteenth century and considers the degree to which technological, economic and industrial change during the last 150 years means the analysis and its application need to be modified.” (Catalogue)

Brexit and Ireland : the dangers, the opportunities, and the inside story of the Irish response / Connelly, Tony
“Brexit represents potentially the single greatest economic foreign-policy challenge to the Irish state since the Second World War. …Tony Connelly tells the dramatic inside story of the Irish response to this political and economic earthquake and lays out the agenda for the uncertain years ahead.” (Book jacket)

The truth machine : the blockchain and the future of everything / Casey, Michael J.
In The Truth Machine, Michael J. Casey and Paul Vigna demystify the blockchain and explain why it can restore personal control over our data, assets, and identities; grant billions of excluded people access to the global economy; and shift the balance of power to revive society’s faith in itself. They reveal the empowerment possible when self-interested middlemen give way to the transparency of the blockchain, while highlighting the job losses, assertion of special interests, and threat to social cohesion that will accompany this shift.” (Catalogue)

Pops : fatherhood in pieces / Chabon, Michael
“At the heart of this essay collection on fatherhood from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chabon is his GQ piece ‘My Son, the Prince of Fashion,’ explaining how he came to appreciate his 13-year-old son’s singular passion when accompanying him to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Despite his own indifference, however, what gradually emerged as Chabon ferried his son to and from fashion shows was a deep respect for his son’s passion. With the GQ story as its centerpiece, and featuring six additional essays plus an introduction, Pops illuminates the meaning, magic, and mysteries of fatherhood as only Michael Chabon can.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Feeding my mother : comfort and laughter in the kitchen as my mom lives with memory loss / Arden, Jann
“Based on her hugely popular Facebook posts and Instagram photos, this book is an account of the transformation in Jann Arden’s life that has turned her into the primary ‘parent’ to her mom, who is in the grip of Alzheimer’s.” (Catalogue)

Chernobyl : the history of a tragedy / Plokhy, Serhii
“On 26 April 1986 at 1.23am a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine exploded. While the authorities scrambled to understand what was occurring, workers, engineers, firefighters and those living in the area were abandoned to their fate. In Chernobyl, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy draws on recently opened archives to recreate these events in all their drama, telling the stories of the scientists, workers, soldiers, and policemen who found themselves caught in a nuclear nightmare.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Chasing Hillary : ten years, two presidential campaigns, and one intact glass ceiling / Chozick, Amy
“For nearly a decade, award-winning New York Times journalist Amy Chozick chronicled Hillary Clinton’s pursuit of the presidency. Chozick’s assignments, covering Clinton’s imploding 2008 campaign and then her front-row seat to the 2016 election on ‘The Hillary Beat.’ In this rollicking, hilarious narrative, Chozick takes us through the high- (and low-) lights of the most noxious and dramatic presidential election in American history.” (Adapted from catalogue)

AIQ : how artificial intelligence works and how we can harness its power for a better world / Polson, Nicholas G.
“From leading data scientists Nick Polson and James Scott, what everyone needs to know to understand how artificial intelligence is changing the world and how we can use this knowledge to make better decisions in our own lives. Dozens of times per day, we all interact with intelligent machines that are constantly learning from the wealth of data now available to them. These machines, from smart phones to talking robots to self-driving cars, are remaking the world in the 21st century in the same way that the Industrial Revolution remade the world in the 19th century. AIQ is based on a simple premise: if you want to understand the modern world, then you have to know a little bit of the mathematical language spoken by intelligent machines. AIQ will teach you that language–but in an unconventional way, anchored in stories rather than equations.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Deeds not words : the story of women’s rights, then and now / Pankhurst, Helen
“Despite huge progress since the original suffragette campaigns and wave after wave of new feminism, women are still not equal. On the centenary of one of the greatest steps forward for women – the Vote – Suffragette descendent and campaigner Helen Pankhurst takes the reader on a journey exploring how women’s lives have changed over the last 100 years, and how we can take things even further.” (Catalogue)

New non-fiction books on our shelves

New Power

This time, the focus is on the environment, from people and places to animals and agriculture, plus loads more in-between.

Syndetics book coverGround work : writings on people and places / edited by Tim Dee.
“We are living in the anthropocene – an epoch where everything is being determined by the ruinous activities of just one soft-skinned, warm-blooded, short-lived, pedestrian species. How best to live in the ruins that we have made? This anthology of commissioned work tries to answer this as it explores new and enduring cultural landscapes, here and abroad, in a celebration of local distinctiveness that includes new work from some of our finest writers. Helen Macdonald, in her remarkable piece on growing up in a rented house in a 50-acre walled estate in Camberley, reflects on our failed stewardship of the planet: ‘I take stock,’ she says, ‘During this sixth extinction, we who may not have time to do anything else must write now what we can, to take stock.'” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReckless Opportunists: Elites at the End of the Establishment:
“The Summer of 2016 revealed a crisis in Britain’s political, economic and media elite. Once successful leaders were dropping everywhere. These multiple crises at the top are no coincidence. It’s a structural problem that has developed over decades. The central theme of the book is that: the British elite has lost control. They can earn more than ever before and their decisions have powerful consequences that are widely felt. They are highly skilled when it comes to pursuing their own self-interests. But, they are also rather less able to exert control or predict the consequences of their actions. What is best for them can often be bad for their organisation, their employees or publics. These failings have an increasingly devastating effect on society and the wider public.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe animals among us : the new science of anthrozoology / John Bradshaw.
“Keeping pets is expensive, time-consuming, and seemingly irrational – so why do so many of us have an animal in our lives? Pet-keeping is much more than just a simple pastime. As John Bradshaw reveals in this highly original new work, our connection with animals is one of the very things that makes us human. …Bradshaw reveals how animals have always been an integral part of our lives- indeed, they have shaped the evolution of our minds and our bodies. Now, as increasing numbers of species are under threat, John Bradshaw warns us that if we lose the animals among us, we risk losing an essential part of ourselves.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
“The past is another country, the old saying goes. The same might be said of the future. But which country? For Europeans and Americans today, the answer is Russia. Today’s Russia is an oligarchy propped up by illusions and repression. But it also represents the fulfilment of tendencies already present in the West. And if Moscow’s drive to dissolve Western states and values succeeds, this could become our reality too. In this visionary work of contemporary history, Timothy Snyder shows how Russia works within the West to destroy the West…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)`

Syndetics book coverYou all grow up and leave me : a memoir of teenage obsession / Piper Weiss.
“Piper Weiss was fourteen years old when her middle-aged tennis coach, Gary Wilensky, one of New York City’s most prestigious private instructors, killed himself after a failed attempt to kidnap one of his teenage students. In the aftermath, authorities discovered that this well-known figure among the Upper East Side tennis crowd was actually a frightening child predator who had built a secret torture chamber–a “Cabin of Horrors”–in his secluded rental in the Adirondacks. Before the shocking scandal broke, Piper had been thrilled to be one of “Gary’s Girls.” As reporters swarmed her private community in the wake of Wilensky’s death, Piper learned that her mentor was a predator with a sordid history of child stalking and sexual fetish. But why did she still feel protective of Gary, and why was she disappointed that he hadn’t chosen her…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEarth at risk : natural capital and the quest for sustainability / Claude Henry and Laurence Tubiana.
“This book maps out the necessary transition to sustainability, detailing the innovations in science and technology, along with law, institutional design, and economics, that can and must be put to use to avert environmental catastrophe… Though formidable obstacles remain to the realization of this significant transition, Henry and Tubiana present the case for collective initiatives and change that build momentum for implementation and action.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSaving Planet Earth : why agriculture and industry must be part of the solution / Dr Duncan A. Rouch ; Dr David F. Smith ; Professor Andrew S. Ball.
“Planet Earth is a minuscule part of our galaxy, the Milky Way, and the only place where we humans can practically live. We all know this, but why are we so slow to fix the major environmental issues which are degrading the quality of life on this one planet? Here Dr Duncan Rouch, Dr David Smith and Professor Andrew Ball answer this question, with an exciting novel response that digs down to explain how we got to this impasse. They also discuss a clear innovative forward strategy, based on a new inclusive definition of environments, that brings in agriculture and industrial companies as key stakeholders for conserving the environment.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHigh-speed empire : Chinese expansion and the future of Southeast Asia / Will Doig.
“Less than a decade ago, China did not have a single high-speed train in service. Today, it owns a network of 14,000 miles of high-speed rail, far more than the rest of the world combined. Now, China is pushing its tracks into Southeast Asia, reviving a century-old colonial fantasy of an imperial railroad stretching to Singapore; and kicking off a key piece of the One Belt One Road initiative, which has a price tag of $1 trillion and, reaches inside the borders of more than 60 countries. Journalist Will Doig traveled to Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore to chronicle the dramatic transformations taking place — and to find out whether ordinary people have a voice in this moment of economic, political, and cultural collision.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew power : how it’s changing the 21st century – and why you need to know / Jeremy Heimans & Henry Timms.
“For most of human history the rules of power were clear: power was something to be seized, and then jealously guarded. Under this ‘Old Power’ we lived in a world of rulers and subjects. Now, we all sense that something has changed. From #MeToo to Harvey Weinstein; Corbyn to Trump; from YouTube sensations to darker phenomena such as the emergence of ISIS – in our new hyper-connected world, ideas and movements can spread and flourish with astonishing force and speed. In New Power, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms confront the biggest story of our age and trace how New Power is the key to understanding where we are and will prosper in the 21st Century.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe coal truth : the fight to stop Adani, defeat the big polluters and reclaim our democracy / David Ritter.
“Since 2012, the fight to stop the opening of the vast Galilee coal basin has emerged as an iconic pivot of the Australian climate and environment movement. The Coal Truth: the fight to stop Adani, defeat the big polluters and reclaim our democracy provides a timely and colourful contribution to one of the most important struggles in our national history – over the future of the coal industry. Written by an environmental insider with an eye on the world his daughters will inherit, The Coal Truth is told with wit and verve, drawing in other specialist voices to bring to life the contours of a contest that the people of Australia can’t afford to lose.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRainforest: Dispatches From Earth’s Most Vital Frontlines [hardback]
“Rainforests are the lungs of our planet – regulators of the earth’s temperature and weather. They are also home to 50 per cent of the world’s animals and plants – which for centuries have been the source of many of our key medicines. And yet we’ve all heard of their systematic destruction… But this is the full story you’ve never heard: an in depth, wide-ranging, first-hand narrative that not only looks at the state of the world’s tropical rainforests today and the implications arising from their continuing decline, but also at what is being done, and can be done in future, to protect the forests and the 1.6 billion people that depend upon them…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeyond Manapouri : 50 years of environmental politics in New Zealand / Catherine Knight.
Beyond Manapouri is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand why, in spite of the legislation and institutions put in place to improve the stewardship of our environment, we’re now facing more urgent environmental issues than ever before. In this richly illustrated and engagingly written history, Knight also identifies the cultural shifts that will need to take place if we are to live up to the ‘clean, green’ image we have constructed for ourselves in New Zealand.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

A variety of new non-fiction books

Climate Leviathan

This time we have three new books on climate change for you to devour. Other topics are death, debt, and how to make more money.

Syndetics book coverSunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia.
Sunburnt Country pieces together Australia’s climate history for the first time. It uncovers a continent long vulnerable to climate extremes and variability. It gives an unparalleled perspective on how human activities have altered patterns that have been with us for millions of years, and what climate change looks like in our own backyard.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverAll that remains : a life in death / Sue Black.
“Professor Dame Sue Black discusses the subject she grapples with every day–death–bringing her unique perspective to the multitudinous circumstances in which life is lost. From the painful grieving process after losing a loved one, to violence, murder, criminal dismemberment, missing persons, war, natural disasters, unidentified bodies, historical remains — involving investigative agencies, lawyers, justice, criminal sentences, and always sadness and pain, she takes us on a scientific and reflective journey explaining the genetic DNA traits that develop before our birth, and those traits and features we gather in the twists and turns through life, all of which add up to an identity that reveals itself in death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDreamers : how young Indians are changing the world / Snigdha Poonam.
“600 million Indians, more than half the population, are under twenty-five. This generation lives between extremes: more connected and global than ever, but with narrow ideas of Indian identity; raised with the cultural values of their grandparents, but the life goals of American teenagers. These dreamers are the face of a new India. Angry, and frustrated with being marginalised by both globalisation and India’s old politics, they place hope in the Modi government’s exclusionary nationalism and, above all, in their personal truths: shape your own future; exploit, or be exploited.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChina’s great wall of debt : shadow banks, ghost cities, massive loans, and the end of the Chinese miracle / Dinny McMahon.
“Over the course of a decade spent reporting on the ground in China as a financial journalist, Dinny McMahon gradually came to the conclusion that the widely held belief in China’s inevitable economic ascent is dangerously wrong. McMahon shows how, lurking behind the illusion of prosperity, China’s economic growth has been built on a staggering mountain of debt. McMahon goes beyond the headlines to explain how such waste has been allowed to flourish, and why one of the most powerful governments in the world has been at a loss to stop it.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverClimate leviathan : a political theory of our planetary future / Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann.
“Despite the science and the summits, leading capitalist states have not achieved anything close to an adequate level of carbon mitigation. What are the likely political and economic outcomes of this? Where is the overheating world heading? Climate Leviathan provides a radical way of thinking about the intensifying challenges to the global order. Drawing on a wide range of political thought, Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann argue that rapid climate change will transform the world’s political economy and the fundamental political arrangements most people take for granted.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuilding and dwelling : ethics for the city / Richard Sennett.
Building and Dwelling is the definitive statement on cities by the renowned public intellectual Richard Sennett. In this sweeping work, he traces the anguished relation between how cities are built and how people live in them, from ancient Athens to twenty-first-century Shanghai. Through it all, he laments that the “closed city”–segregated, regimented, and controlled–has spread from the global North to the exploding urban agglomerations of the global South. As an alternative, he argues for the “open city,” where citizens actively hash out their differences and planners experiment with urban forms that make it easier for residents to cope.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFuture presence : how virtual reality is changing human connection, intimacy, and the limits of ordinary life / Peter Rubin.
“Heralded as the most significant technological innovation since the smartphone, virtual reality is poised to transform our very notions of life and humanity. Though this tech is still in its infancy, to those on the inside, it is the future. VR will change how we work, how we experience entertainment, how we feel pleasure and other emotions, how we see ourselves, and most importantly, how we relate to each other in the real world. And we will never be the same.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnprecedented Crime : Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival
Unprecedented Crime first lays out the culpability of corporations, governmental, political and religious bodies, and especially the media through their failure to report or act on the climate emergency. No emergency response has even been contemplated by wealthy high-emitting national governments. Yet, independently of governments, scores of proven zero-carbon game changers have been coming online all over the world. These exciting technologies, described in the book, are now able to power both household electricity and energy-dense heavy industry.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover7 steps to wealth : the vital difference between property & real estate / John L. Fitzgerald.
7 Steps to Wealth is the only real estate book in Australia endorsed by three of Australia’s property billionaires. Most importantly the book exposes the difference between property and real estate, proving that it’s only the land that appreciates and that the buildings that sit on the land actually depreciate. Fitzgerald proves that certain residential land is Australia’s best growth asset–and will continue to be given current record population growth.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRandomistas : how radical researchers changed our world / Andrew Leigh.
“Randomised test are carried out on us every day–by supermarkets, search engines, online dating sites, political parties and direct marketers. But how do these tests work? Are there any ethical issues? And what do they reveal about our choices? In Randomistas, Andrew Leigh tells the stories of radical researchers who overturned conventional wisdom in medicine, politics, business, law enforcement and more. From finding the cure to scurvy to discovering what policies really improve literacy rates, randomistas have shaped life as we know it – but they often had to fight to conduct their trials and have their findings implemented.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)