Hello everyone and welcome to my Non-Fiction November Book Haul. I have been sent plenty of intriguing and exciting books to review as part of my NF event. Thank you to publishers like Bloomsbury, Little, Brown, Pan Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Penguin for their support for my event. I can’t wait to get NF November started so let’s taker a look at the books I will be featuring next month. If you see any books you like or want to read then please let me know!
Non Fiction November Book Haul
Ad Astra: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet By Dallas Campbell
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Official Synopsis: Need some space?
For almost all human history we’ve been firmly rooted to the Earth. And, sure, it’s got some good things going for it: nice views, friendly inhabitants, good coffee. Air. But what if you want to get off?
Whether you’ve got itchy feet and need a bit of a break, or you’re looking for a complete change of scene, this book has all the information you’ll need to leave, with FREE expert advice from the men and woman who can actually make it happen.
Do I need a passport? How do I know if I have the right stuff? Can I take my dog? What spacesuit do I need? Where am I going to go? What am I going to eat?
As well as being a deeply impractical guide to getting off the planet, this is an eclectic and beautifully illustrated mix-tape of space travel stories – both real and imagined. From the migrating lunar geese that flew us to the moon in the 1600’s, to Elon Musk’s wild plan to get humans to Mars en masse in the future; from the history of early rocket science to the Soviet tortoises that secretly won the space race.
A collection for anyone who has looked up in wonder at the stars… And then wondered how to get there.
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
Published by: Profile Books
Official Synopsis: Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost …
In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.
Published by: Robinson (Little, Brown)
Official Synopsis: If humans are fundamentally good, why do we engage in acts of great cruelty? If we are evil, why do we sometimes help others at a cost to ourselves?
Whether humans are good or evil is a question that has plagued philosophers and scientists for as long as there have been philosophers and scientists.
Many argue that we are fundamentally selfish, and only the rules and laws of our societies and our own relentless efforts of will can save us from ourselves. But is this really true?
Abigail Marsh is a social neuroscientist who has closely studied the brains of both the worst and the best among us-from children with psychopathic traits whose families live in fear of them, to adult altruists who have given their own kidneys to strangers. Her groundbreaking findings suggest a possibility that is more optimistic than the dominant view. Humans are not good or evil, but are equally (and fundamentally) capable of good and evil.
In Good for Nothing Marsh explores the human capacity for caring, drawing on cutting edge research findings from clinical, translational and brain imaging investigations on the nature of empathy, altruism, and aggression and brings us closer to understanding the basis of humans’ social nature.
Becoming China: The Story Behind the State By Jeanne-Marie Gescher
Published by: Bloomsbury
Official Synopsis: One of the two most powerful states in the world, China continues to be seen as a mystery even after decades of an open door. How does China work, what does it want, why does it want it, and what does its rise to global power mean for the rest of the world? As the twenty-first century looks set to be the stage for a battle about competing geopolitical ideals, these are urgent questions for everyone with an interest in what the future might bring.
Epic in scope, this is the story of how China became the state it is today and how its worldview is based on what has gone before. Weaving together inspirations, ideas, wars and dreams to reveal the heart of what it means to be Chinese and how the past impacts on the present.
Despite decades of a relatively open door relationship with the rest of the world, China is still a mystery to many outside it. A world of its own, China isboth a microcosm and an amplification of questions and events in the wider world. China’s story offers us an opportunity to hold a mirror to ourselves: to our own assumptions, to our values, and to our ideas about the most important question of all: what it means to be human in the world of the state.
Isabella of Castile: Europe’s First Great Queen By Giles Tremlett
Published by: Bloomsbury
Official Synopsis: In 1474, a twenty-three year old woman ascended the throne of Castile, the largest and strongest kingdom in Spain. Ahead of her lay the considerable challenge not only of being a young, female ruler in an overwhelmingly male-dominated world, but also of reforming a major European kingdom that was riddled with crime, corruption, and violent political factionism. Her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon was crucial to her success, bringing together as it did two kingdoms, but it was a royal partnership in which Isabella more than held her own. Her pivotal reign was long and transformative, uniting Spain and laying the foundations not just of modern Spain, but of the one of the world’s greatest empires.
With authority and flair, acclaimed historian Giles Tremlett Tremlett relates the story of this legendary, if controversial, first initiate in a small club of great European queens that includes Elizabeth I of England, Russia’s Catherine the Great, and Britain’s Queen Victoria.
How Not To Die: Discover the foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease by Michael Greger and Gene Stone
Published by: Pan Macmillan
Official Synopsis: Why rely on drugs and surgery to cure you of life-threatening disease when the right decisions can prevent you from falling ill to begin with?
How Not To Die gives effective, scientifically-proven nutritional advice to prevent our biggest killers – heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes – and reveals the astounding health benefits that simple dietary choices can provide.
Based on the very latest scientific research, How Not To Die examines each of the most common diseases, chapter by chapter, to reveal what, how and why different foods affect us and how increasing our consumption of certain foods and avoiding others can dramatically reduce our risk of falling sick and even reverse the effects of disease.
With emphasis on individual family health history and acknowledging that everyone needs something different, Dr Michael Greger offers practical dietary advice to help you make valuable decisions about your diet in order to live a longer, healthier lives.
Published by: Pan Macmillan
Official Synopsis: Welcome to 97-hour weeks. Welcome to life and death decisions. Welcome to a constant tsunami of bodily fluids. Welcome to earning less than the hospital parking meter. Wave goodbye to your friends and relationships . . .
Welcome to the life of a junior doctor.
Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, comedian and former junior doctor Adam Kay’s This Is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking by turns, these diaries are everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward. And yes, it may leave a scar.
The Uncommon Reader: A Life of Edward Garnett by Helen Smith
Published by: Jonathan Cape
Official Synopsis: Over a career spanning nearly fifty years Edward Garnett – editor, critic and publisher’s reader – would become one of the most influential men in twentieth-century British literature. Famed for his incisive criticism and unwavering conviction in matters of taste, Garnett was responsible for spotting and nurturing the talents of a constellation of our greatest writers.
In The Uncommon Reader Helen Smith brings to life Garnett’s fascinating, often stormy, relationships with those writers – from Joseph Conrad to John Galsworthy, D.H. Lawrence to T.E. Lawrence, Henry Green to Edward Thomas. All turned to Garnett for advice and guidance at critical moments in their careers, and their letters and diaries offer an insight into their creative processes, their hopes and fears.
Addressing questions of culture, fame and success, this absorbing portrait of a man who shaped the literary landscape as we know it asks us to consider genius – what it is, where it comes from and to whom it belongs.
How To Be Champion My Autobiography By Sarah Millican
Published by: Trapeze (Orion)
Official Synopsis: Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, part collection of synonyms for nunny, Sarah Millican’s debut book delves into her super normal life with daft stories, funny tales and proper advice on how to get past life’s blips – like being good at school but not good at friends, the excitement of IBS and how to blossom post divorce.
If you’ve ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny’s, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is YOUR BOOK. If you haven’t done those things but wish you had, THIS IS YOUR BOOK. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, THIS IS YOUR BOOK.
Published by: Sphere (Little, Brown)
Official Synopsis: The most bruising battle in the superhero world isn’t between spandex-clad characters — it’s between the publishers themselves. For more than 50 years, Marvel and DC have been locked in an epic war, tirelessly trading punches and trying to do to each other what Batman regularly does to the Joker’s face.
Over the years, the companies have deployed an arsenal of schemes in an attempt to outmaneuver the competition, whether it be stealing ideas, poaching employees, planting spies, ripping off characters or launching price wars. Sometimes the feud has been vicious, at other times, more cordial. But it has never completely disappeared, and it simmers on a low boil to this day.
This is the story of the greatest corporate rivalry never told. Other books have revealed elements of the Marvel-DC battle, but this will be the first one to put it all together into a single, juicy narrative. It will also serve as an alternate history of the superhero, told through the lens of these two publishers.
Rowing The Pacific: 7,000 Miles from Japan to San Francisco By Mick Dawson
Published by: Robinson (Little, Brown)
Official Synopsis: The thrilling story of Mick Dawson’s most challenging rowing feats in the open ocean, culminating in his greatest achievement: rowing 7,000 miles across the North Pacific Ocean, from Japan to San Francisco.
Storms, fatigue, equipment failure, intense hunger, and lack of water are just a few of the challenges that ocean rower Mick Dawson endured whilst attempting to complete one of the World’s ‘Last Great Firsts’.
In this nail-biting true story of man versus nature, former Royal Marine commando Dawson, a Guinness World Record-holder for ocean-rowing and high-seas adventurer takes on the Atlantic and ultimately the North Pacific.
It took Dawson three attempts and a back-breaking voyage of over six months to finally cross the mighty North Pacific for the first time. Dawson and his rowing partner Chris Martin spent 189 days, 10 hours and 55 minutes rowing around the clock, facing the destruction of their small boat and near-certain death every mile of the way, before finally reaching the iconic span of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
Dawson’s thrilling account of his epic adventure details how he and Chris propelled their fragile craft, stroke by stroke for thousands of miles across some of the most dangerous expanses of ocean, overcoming failure, personal tragedy and everything that nature could throw at him along the way.
A Chill In The Air by Iris Origo
Published by: Pushkin Press
Official Synopsis: War in Italy in 1939 was by no means necessary, or even beneficial to the country. But in June 1940, Mussolini finally declared war on Britain and France. The awful inevitability with which Italy stumbled its way into a war for which they were ill prepared and largely unenthusiastic is documented here with grace and clarity by one of the twentieth century’s great diarists.
This diary, which has never been published and was recently found in Origo’s archives, is the sad and gripping account of the grim absurdities that Italy and the world underwent as war became more and more unavoidable. Iris Origo, British-born and living in Italy, was ideally placed to record the events: extremely engaged with the world around her, connected to people from all areas of society (from the peasants on her estate to the US ambassador to Italy), she writes of the turmoil, the danger, and the dreadful bleakness of Italy in 1939-1940, as war went from a possibility to a dreadful reality.
A Chill in the Air covers the beginning of a war whose catastrophic effects are documented in the bestselling War in Val D’Orcia.
Icebreaker: A Voyage Far North by Horatio Clare
Published by: Chatto & Windus
Official Synopsis: ‘We are celebrating a hundred years since independence this year: how would you like to travel on a government icebreaker?’
A message from the Finnish embassy launches Horatio Clare on a voyage around an extraordinary country and an unearthly place, the frozen Bay of Bothnia, just short of the Arctic circle. Travelling with the crew of Icebreaker Otso, Horatio, whose last adventure saw him embedded on Maersk container vessels for the bestseller Down to the Sea in Ships, discovers stories of Finland, of her mariners and of ice.
Finland is an enigmatic place, famous for its educational miracle, healthcare and gender equality – as well as Nokia, Angry Birds, saunas, questionable cuisine and deep taciturnity. Aboard Otso Horatio gets to know the men who make up her crew, and explores Finland’s history and character. Surrounded by the extraordinary colours and conditions of a frozen sea, he also comes to understand something of the complexity and fragile beauty of ice, a near-miraculous substance which cools the planet, gives the stars their twinkle and which may hold all our futures in its crystals.
Academia Obscura by Glen Wright
Published by: Unbound
Official Synopsis: If you think the groves of academe are all stuffiness, elbow patches and greying old men… think again.
Academia Obscura is an irreverent glimpse inside the ivory tower, exposing the eccentric and slightly unhinged world of university life. Take a trip through the spectrum of academic oddities and unearth the Easter eggs buried in peer reviewed papers, the weird and wonderful world of scholarly social media, and rats in underpants.
Procrastinating PhD student Glen Wright invites you to peruse his cabinet of curiosities and discover what academics get up to when no one’s looking. Welcome to the hidden silly side of higher education.
Sad Topographies By Damien Rudd
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Official Synopsis: Sad Topographies is an illustrated guide for the melancholic among us.
Dispirited travellers rejoice as Damien Rudd journeys across continents in search of the world’s most joyless place names and their fascinating etymologies.
Behind each lugubrious place name exists a story, a richly interwoven narrative of mythology, history, landscape, misadventure and tragedy. From Disappointment Island in the Southern Ocean to Misery in Germany, across to Lonely Island in Russia, or, if you’re feeling more intrepid, pay a visit to Mount Hopeless in Australia – all from the comfort of your armchair.
With hand drawn maps by illustrator Kateryna Didyk, Sad Topographies will steer you along paths that lead to strange and obscure places, navigating the terrains of historical fact and imaginative fiction. At turns poetic and dark-humoured, this is a travel guide quite like no other.
Damien Rudd is the founder of the hugely popular Instagram account @sadtopographies.
Thank you for stopping by to check out a portion of the exciting books I am going to feature on #NonFictionNovember and I am really excited to get involved. There are so many brilliant titles to celebrate Non-Fiction in 2017 and a lot of them are here on this book haul. Keep in touch with me here at Always Trust In Books during November for a ton of great content including reviews, interviews, giveaways and much much more.