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Books/book club

Last non-fiction book?

(57 Posts)
grannyactivist Fri 16-May-14 00:59:42

Lots of discussion about fiction, but I was just wondering what people are reading that's non-fiction.
I'll kick off by saying that my most recently read n-f book was, 'If God Then What? Wondering Aloud About Truth, Origins & Redemption' by Andrew Wilson. It was described by an atheist as 'disappointingly good', so I thought I'd give it a go. smile
What was your most recently read n-f book?

MiceElf Fri 16-May-14 07:19:08

Right, that's on my list. Thank you GA. as always I have have about six books on the go at the same time.

Three are non fiction:

The first is Under an English Sky by Charlotte Higgins about Roman Britain and what it has meant to succeeding generations

The second is The Jews by Simon Schama from which the television series linked

And the third is Wordsmiths ans Warriers by David and Hilary Crystal subtitled The English Language Tourists Guide to Britain. A wonderful book to dip into all about places ans their connections with the history, grammar and development of English. Wonderfully illustrated too which is a bonus these days.

Aka Fri 16-May-14 07:28:37

Does the bible count?

(ducks for cover)

JessM Fri 16-May-14 07:35:50

You're just stirring aka.
I normally read just before going to sleep, so rather lapsed on the non fiction front. I can recommend Bad Science and Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre and An Emperor of all the Maladies (about the history of cancer) by Siddartha Mukerjee

penguinpaperback Fri 16-May-14 08:16:20

Have just started Hermione Lee's book on the author Penelope Fitzgerald.
Enjoying it so far. smile

Oldgreymare Fri 16-May-14 08:20:07

The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England, Which was high in the NF lists a while back.... I'm always behind the times!

ninathenana Fri 16-May-14 08:52:21

I'm very much a light weight when it comes to reading. I read every day but it's just chick lit. The last non fiction book I read was a few years ago now. It was a biography of Freddie Mercury, I can't remember the title.

besottedgran Fri 16-May-14 10:13:53

"She Was Aye Workin' " ( memories of tenement women in Edinburgh and Glasgow) compiled by Helen Clark and Elizabeth Carnegie.

Bringing back so many memories of my mother and both grannies !

Grannyknot Fri 16-May-14 13:44:28

I often (mostly) read non fiction. This is the most recent one I read (I copied some of this from a book review I wrote for my book club, so it's a bit of a cut and paste job below):

I picked up The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok in a "Help yourself" box when we were on holiday in Florida in February.

It is the powerful story of Mira and her sister Natalia growing up with their mother. Norma Bartok is a musical protege and a loving mother, but she suffers from schizophrenia – and bear in mind, this is the 1970s – so there wasn’t much in the way of help for mental illness.

I was shocked at first to read that as young adults the sisters abandon their mother to the Chicago streets, the homeless hostels and the patchy psychiatric services of the times, by moving away and even changing their names. I should say almost shocked, because actually, I understood why they did that. They had lived with it since they were little. As adults, it became a choice between making lives for themselves, or constantly facing situations too fraught to contemplate. It was a case of leaving Norma to her fate, or not being able to live a life that many of us take for granted, unimpeded by a mother who is mentally ill.

The book starts with the sisters being reunited with their mother after 17 long years when Norma becomes ill. Although they abandoned her, the author had put an elaborate scheme in place, to have some knowledge of where Norma was. I felt deeply sorry for their mum, she had so much to give and it was all taken away from her in the lottery of life.

TriciaF Fri 16-May-14 14:06:56

I read mostly nonfiction too.
The last one was Cruel Crossing, escaping Hitler across the Pyrenees, by Edward Stourton.
It's a very dramatic book, almost too much in parts, could have made many shorter memoirs.
We live near the main areas described so it's even more meaningful.
I have a bit of an obsession with WW2 so most of my reading is related to that.
Before that I read June Brown's autobiography which a friend lent me. I enjoyed that as well, but in a different way.
Aka - like you, I read the Bible !

numberplease Fri 16-May-14 16:25:46

Don`t know if they count, but a while ago I read the Call the Midwife series of books.

Agus Fri 16-May-14 16:46:31

Bloody Foreigners by Robert Winder - The story of the way Britain has been settled by foreign people and ideas.

Stansgran Fri 16-May-14 17:49:45

Elizabeth's Bedfellows by Anna Whitelock. Very densely informative about the women who were with Elizabeth 1 all the time in private. It was astonishing how little privacy she had.

Deedaa Fri 16-May-14 22:33:28

I recently read a book called Elizabeth's Women (I think) i can't remember who the author was. I loved the fact that she made all her ladies wear black or white so that her clothes would stand out more. Not so keen on the way the poor souls were stopped from having husbands or children for fear of her reaction.

janerowena Sat 17-May-14 14:54:51

Not strictly non-fiction, but it is based on research on people who suffer from early-onset Alzheimer's disease. It's called 'Still Alice', by Lisa Genova. It's very sad, of course, but informative and should be read by everyone, I think, to give us an idea of how sufferers feel and what they go through, and what to expect. Potentially for ourselves as well, sadly.

goldengirl Sat 17-May-14 16:55:17

I've just read Vera Lynn's autobiography and enjoyed it. I've also just finished Don't Look, Don't Touch by Val Curtis about disgust. Well, it takes all sorts doesn't it! wink

Treebee Sat 17-May-14 22:05:37

I'm reading The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks for my book club. Lots of differerent case studies that Mr Sacks (of Awakenings fame) has dealt with. A few dense science bits, but some extraordinary behaviour and how he worked out what was happening with these poor people.

dorsetpennt Sun 18-May-14 18:36:30

I'm an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction. Last non-fiction was The Railway Man by Eric Lomax and before that A Captain's Duty - the story of Captain Phillips when taken captive by Somali pirates [they made a film of the book with Tom Hanks in the lead role, and very good he was too]

Oldgreymare Sun 18-May-14 19:29:22

Just bought an amazing book, in a Jumble Sale so only £1:
'Women Who Read Are Dangerous' !!!!!

JessM Mon 19-May-14 17:58:05

Course the midwife books count number. The Hare with the Amber Eyes is a non fiction book that has been very popular.

GadaboutGran Mon 19-May-14 18:24:50

And the Midwife books are much more political than is shown in the TV series, giving an understanding of the battles between doctors & midwives.

GadaboutGran Mon 19-May-14 18:42:33

I read a couple of non-fiction with a few fiction interspersed. While de-cluttering, I decided to read all the books (bought c 1966) on my bookshelfves that I never got round to reading. I'm loving them - can't get enough of the history of Britain & London books I thought were too dry. I love the language of the old authors like GM Trevellyan. Just read Europe & a Wider World, History of Europe 1415-1715 & I've a copy of British Fungi written in 1910 by George Massee. About to start Blue Stockings, History of Women's Fight for an Education by Jane Robinson (inspired the play at The Globe last summer).

crun Tue 09-Dec-14 23:32:36

I used to read almost exclusively non-fiction, but I lost interest several years ago because I could never find anyone else to share them with. Trying to discuss a book with people who haven't read it is infuriating, you just end up transcribing half the book one paragraph at a time in order to answer objections that the author has already addressed.

Grannyknot Wed 10-Dec-14 07:57:11

crun surely we read books for our own pleasure more than anything else? So not having anyone to discuss my non fiction reads with, would not be enough to put me off.

I've just bought Elephant Moon by John Sweeney: "This novel is based on a little-known true story of the Second World War when a herd of 53 elephants was used by a young English schoolteacher to rescue a band of orphans in Burma and transport them to the safety of India. Their incredible journey is filled with adventure, tragedy and love, as you might expect. But, most thrilling of all is the emergence of the elephants as real characters with distinct personalities. This is not done in a sentimental Jungle Book kind of way. Rather, it is true to Darwin's description of these creatures as being possessed of many of the same senses as humans, including the capacity for jealousy, suspicion and revenge. The author - who is also an award-winning Panorama reporter - takes advantage of this phenomenon and scores a bull's-eye with an excellent and ingenious plot".

Oops just realised its a fictionalised account of a real event. Anyway I'm looking forward to reading it (only 1.74 on Kindle at the moment). tchsmile

shysal Wed 10-Dec-14 08:07:01

My most recent NF read was Aerosmith's Steven Tyler's 'Does the Noise in my Head Bother you?' I'm afraid I gave up on it when it reached the drug-taking phase, about half way through. I then passed it on to my rock fan SIL.