Pick ‘n Mix: New popular non-fiction

We have a whole lot of variety for you in this month’s non-fiction picks. Polly Morland writes about an anonymous country doctor in A Fortunate Woman, which echoes an earlier book about a doctor in that very same community, revealing all that has changed as the years have passed and all that has stayed the same. Noah Charney has put together a guide to western art that is perfect for anyone looking to delve into the painterly parts of history, with all the explanations a novice might need. For our film aficionados, there’s Hollywood: The Oral History, which pieces together hundreds of archived interviews with famed directors and movie stars, as well as many of the workers behind the scenes, to bring the tale of that hive of cinema to life. Lastly, we’re also intrigued by Listen to the Land Speak. This book has an Irish lens, and author Manchán Magan focuses on the intertwined strands of land, history and mythology, attempting to counteract a widespread modern disconnect by showing what wonders and stories might be found in the ancient landscape.

A fortunate woman : a country doctor’s story / Morland, Polly
“Polly Morland was clearing her late mother’s house when she found a battered paperback fallen behind the family bookshelf. The book was A Fortunate Man, John Berger’s classic account of a country doctor, and this chance discovery led Morland to the remarkable doctor who serves that same valley community today. After half a century of seismic change, A Fortunate Woman sheds light on what it means to be a doctor in today’s complex and challenging world.” (Adapted from Amazon UK)

The 12-hour art expert : everything you need to know about art in a dozen masterpieces / Charney, Noah
“Interested in art but feel under-informed? Curious but afraid you might not “get” it? The 12-hour Art Expert  guides readers through a select series of masterpieces of Western art – from cave paintings to sharks in formaldehyde. This book’s twelve chapters teach readers about art, the art trade, art history and more, all in a thorough (though concise) fashion.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Cold fish soup / Farrer, Adam
“Before Adam Farrer’s family relocated to Withernsea in 1992, he’d never heard of the Holderness coast. The move represented one thing to Adam: a chance to leave the insecurities of early adolescence behind. And he could do that anywhere. What he didn’t know was how much he’d grow to love the quirks and people of this faded Yorkshire resort. While Adam documents the minutiae of small-town life, he lays bare experiences that are universal. Cold Fish Soup is an affectionate look at a place and its inhabitants, and the ways in which they can shape and influence someone, especially of an impressionable age.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How to stand up to a dictator : the fight for our future / Ressa, Maria
“Maria Ressa has spent decades speaking truth to power. Now, hounded by the state, she has multiple arrest warrants against her name, and a potential 100+ years behind bars to prepare for – while she stands trial for speaking the truth. How to Stand Up to a Dictator is the story of how democracy dies by a thousand cuts. It maps a network of disinformation that has netted the globe – from Duterte’s drug wars, to America’s Capitol Hill, to Britain’s Brexit, to Russian and Chinese cyber-warfare, to Facebook and Silicon Valley, to our own clicks and our own votes. Told from the frontline of the digital war, this is Maria Ressa’s urgent cry for us to wake up and hold the line, before it is too late.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hollywood : the oral history / Basinger, Jeanine
“From the archives of the American Film Institute comes a unique picture of Hollywood from its beginnings to its present day. Gleaned from nearly three thousand interviews, Hollywood: The Oral History lets a reader “listen in” on candid remarks from the biggest names in front of the camera, to the biggest behind it, as well as the lesser known individuals that shaped what was heard and seen on screen. The result is lively, funny, insightful, historically accurate and, for the first time, authentically honest in its portrait of Hollywood. It’s the insider’s story.” (Adapted from Amazon UK)

No country for eight-spot butterflies : a lyric essay / Aguon, Julian
No Country for Eight-Spotted Butterflies is a collection of soulful ruminations about love, loss, struggle, resilience and power. Part memoir, part manifesto, the book is both a coming-of-age story and a call for justice – for everyone but, in particular, for indigenous peoples – his own and others.” (Catalogue)


Small fires : an epic in the kitchen / Johnson, Rebecca May
“Cooking, we are told, has nothing to do with serious thought; the path to intellectual fulfilment leads directly out of the kitchen. In this electrifying, innovative memoir, Rebecca May Johnson rewrites the kitchen as a vital source of knowledge and revelation. Playfully dissolving the boundaries between abstract intellect and bodily pleasure, domesticity and politics, Johnson awakens us to the richness of cooking as a means of experiencing the self and the world – and to the revolutionary potential of the small fires burning in every kitchen.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Listen to the land speak : a journey into the wisdom of what lies beneath us / Magan, Manchán
“Our ancestors lived in a unique and complex society that was inspired by nature and centered upon esteemed poets, seers, monks, healers and wise women, all of whom were deeply connected to cycles of the land around them. This relationship to the cycles of the natural world – from which we are increasingly dissociated – was the animating force in their lives. With infectious joy and wonder, Manchán Magan roams through Ireland’s ancient bogs, rivers, mountains and shorelines, tracing our ancestors’ footsteps.” (Catalogue)

The ransomware hunting team : a band of misfits’ improbable crusade to save the world from cybercrime / Dudley, Renee
“Scattered across the world, an elite team of code crackers is working tirelessly to thwart the defining cyber scourge of our time. Again and again, an unlikely band of misfits, mostly self-taught and often struggling to make ends meet, have used their skills to save millions of ransomware victims from paying billions of dollars to criminals. Working tirelessly from bedrooms and back offices, they’ve rescued those whom the often hapless FBI has been unwilling or unable to help, establishing themselves as the most effective force against an escalating global threat.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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