Several interesting biographies and autobiographies have come out this month – both current and historical.
Current autobiographies include: former London Mayor Ken Livingstone: You can’t say that; former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: No higher honor; Dave Prowse – the actor best known for playing Darth Vader in Star Wars: Straight from the forces mouth; rugby star Jonny Wilkinson: Jonny and boxer David Haye: Making Haye.
Current biographies include: Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi: The lady and the peacock, by Peter Popham; scientist Stephen Hawking: Stephen Hawking, by Kitty Ferguson; and athlete Usain Bolt: Usain Bolt, by Steven Downes.
The Food Hospital is a Channel 4 series tie-in. The series explores the potential benefits of food and diet in managing a variety of illnesses and symptoms from infertility to obesity and many others.
The Dukan diet has had some controversial publicity in the press recently. A new title availabnle is The Dukan Diet Life Plan.
The Sophisticated Alcoholic, by David Allen, sounds intriguing. Apparently it refers to those middle class alcoholics who are aware that they have a problem with their level of consumption.
December 14th is the 100th anniversary of the death of Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert. Two new books describe his life: Magnificent Obsession, by Helen Rappaport, and Albert, by Jules Stewart.
The West End Front, by Matthew Sweet: The Ritz, the Savoy, the Dorchester and Claridge’s – during WWII they teemed with spies, and the exiled governments of Europe. Using the memories of first-hand witnesses, the contents of newly declassified government files and a wealth of previously unpublished letters, this book reconstructs a lost world of scandal and intrigue.
We laugh at the antics of Captain Mainwaring, Corporal Jones etc in ‘Dad’s Army’, but what was life in the Home Guard really like? Find out in The Real Dad’s Army, by Rodney Foster.
Based on his award-winning BBC Radio 4 series, Mark Steel’s In Town is a celebration of the quirks of small town life in a country of increasingly homogenized high streets. Steel’s bespoke observations on the small, sometimes forgotten, towns of Britain goes right to the heart of British culture today.
Londoners, by Craig Taylor: Here are the voices of London, rich and poor, native and immigrant, women and men, witnessed by Craig Taylor, an acclaimed Canadian journalist, playwright and writer, who has lived in the city for ten years, exploring its hidden corners and listening to its residents.
Events in the Middle East have been volatile this year to say the least. One of the first attempts to explain it all comes in Arab Spring: rebellion, revolution and a new world order, by Toby Manhire. What is the Arab Spring? How did it start? How might it end? What role did wikileaks play? And where do events leave the oil-dependent West? These questions and more are answered here.
A pessimistic interlude
Death, by Sarah Brewer. We all have a 100% chance of dying – eventually. But what are the world’s biggest killers? When are you most at risk? And what can you do to postpone the inevitable for as long as possible? This book offers a unique insight into the biggest threats to life and limb in the industrialized world.
The Doomsday handbook: 50 ways the world is going to end, by Alok Jha: This title explores the 50 biggest threats facing our planet. The scenarios covered include nuclear proliferation, AIDS, genetic engineering run amok, extinction of key species, exhaustion of natural resources, and a new Ice Age caused by climate change.
Both the above are published by Quercus – do they know something we don’t?
The bus stop killer, by Geoffrey Wansell: On 23 June 2011 the convicted double-murderer Levi Bellfield was found guilty of the murder of 13-year-old school girl Milly Dowler. Milly disappeared on her way home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey in 2002. Six months later her body was discovered many miles away. This book tells the story.
Beyond all evil, by June Thomson. June Thomson and Giselle Ross are inextricably linked by two unspeakable acts. On the same day, a few miles apart, their estranged husbands slaughtered their children. The murders were not driven by rage, or committed in moments of madness. They were planned, and carried out with chilling precision.
Happy like murderers, by Gordon Burn: In February 1994, the bodies of seven women were excavated at the West’s house, 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester. As the true horror of what happened there unfolded it became clear that this was the most infamous series of murders in Britain in the 20th century.
On a lighter note, here’s an idea to conjure with…
Naked fashion: the new sustainable fashion guide, by Safia Minney. Can’t see it catching on in our climate…
And if all the above is bit heavy, try this…
3-minute Einstein: digesting his life, theories & influence in 3-minute morsels, by Paul Parsons.