Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. I found it through TheTattooedBookGeek. Each Wednesday you get to highlight a book that you are really looking forward to. (In this case I am doing three! Click on the covers to go to the official site) My choices for Non-Fiction November are:
From Here to Eternity: Travelling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty: Published 25/01/18 Via W&N
As a practising mortician, Caitlin Doughty has long been fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies. In From Here to Eternity she sets out in search of cultures unburdened by such fears. In rural Indonesia, she observes a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body. She meets Bolivian ñatitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and discovers the Japanese ritual of kotsuage, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones’ bones from cremation ashes.
With curiosity and morbid humour, Doughty introduces us to inspiring death-care innovators, participates in powerful death practices almost entirely unknown in the West and explores new spaces for mourning – including a futuristic glowing-Buddha columbarium in Japan, a candlelit Mexican cemetery, and America’s only open-air pyre. In doing so she expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with ‘dignity’ and reveals unexpected possibilities for our own death rituals.
Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World’s Strangest Brains By Helen Thomson: Published 22/02/18 Via John Murray
IMAGINE . . . getting lost in a one-room flat; seeing auras; never forgetting a moment; a permanent orchestra in your head; turning into a tiger; life as an out-of-body experience; feeling other people’s pain; being convinced you are dead; becoming a different person overnight.
Our brains are far stranger than we think. We take it for granted that we can remember, feel emotion, navigate, empathise and understand the world around us, but how would our lives change if these abilities were dramatically enhanced – or disappeared overnight?
Award-winning science writer Helen Thomson has spent years travelling the world tracking down incredibly rare brain disorders. In Unthinkableshe tells the stories of nine extraordinary people. From the man who thinks he’s a tiger to the doctor who feels the pain of others just by looking at them, their experiences illustrate how the brain can shape our lives in unexpected and, in some cases, brilliant and alarming ways.
Delving into the rich histories of these conditions, exploring the very latest research and cutting-edge medical techniques, Thomson explains the workings of our consciousness, our emotions, our creativity and even the mechanisms that allow us to understand our own existence.
Story by remarkable story, Unthinkable takes us on an unforgettable journey through the human brain. Discover how to forge memories that never disappear, how to grow an alien limb and how to make better decisions. Learn how to hallucinate and how to make yourself happier in a split second. Find out how to avoid getting lost, how to see more of your reality, even how exactly you can confirm you are alive. Think the unthinkable.
Making the Monster The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein By: Kathryn Harkup: Published 08/02/18 Via Bloomsbury
The year 1818 saw the publication of one of the most influential science-fiction stories of all time. Frankenstein: Or, Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley had a huge impact on gothic horror and science-fiction genres, and her creation has become part of our everyday culture, from cartoons to Hallowe’en costumes. Even the name ‘Frankenstein’ has become a by-word for evil scientists and dangerous experiments. How did a teenager with no formal education come up with the idea for an extraordinary novel such as Frankenstein?
Clues are dotted throughout Georgian science and popular culture. The years before the book’s publication saw huge advances in our understanding of the natural sciences, in areas such as electricity and physiology, for example. Sensational science demonstrations caught the imagination of the general public, while the newspapers were full of lurid tales of murderers and resurrectionists.
Making the Monster explores the scientific background behind Mary Shelley’s book. Is there any science fact behind the science fiction? And how might a real-life Victor Frankenstein have gone about creating his monster? From tales of volcanic eruptions, artificial life and chemical revolutions, to experimental surgery, ‘monsters’ and electrical experiments on human cadavers, Kathryn Harkup examines the science and scientists that influenced Shelley, and inspired her most famous creation.
2017 has been an outstanding year for Non-Fiction! 2018 is already shaping up to be just as goo or even better. These three books cover many of the aspects that adore about the Non-Fiction genre. Existential exploration, psychological development and insights into brilliant concepts and pop culture. I will certainly be picking all three of these up as soon as they arrive on the bookish shores.
Thank you for stopping by to check out my Non-Fiction instalment of Waiting-On-Wednesday. Pop back all this month for a ton of posts all centred around Non-Fiction. I appreciate all of your support and I am having a great time sharing as much content as I can in November!