As requested, by the long distance person who is allowed to demand anything she likes as long as she promises to one day tell me the secrets of the unheated basement apartment, here are my latest book recommendations.
I still have not been able to read any fiction, which is most annoying, but I think I have figured out that it is my daft brains way of protecting me from any additional disappointment. People can often disappoint, that is almost par for the course right now…but books must not.
So I have depended upon non-fiction for my printed entertainments recently, new ones and ones I have re-read. Below are the ones I didn’t throw across the room in disgust.
A Sting In The Tale – Dave Goulson. This was one of the books I bought when I started my supposedly year long investigation of all thing apiary. I now suspect this is going to turn out to be a lifelong obsession, not because of this book, but because bees are amazing and this book cemented that fact in my mind. This book is Dave Goulson’s personal journey through what bees mean to local countrysides, nature as a whole and humans in particular. Highly recommended even with the icky childhood forays into taxidermy.
These are the textbooks I used for my Open University course on Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Tsunamis about 10 years ago. I kept them because who doesn’t love volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis?! They are still very readable, informative and up to date…they are also worth their weight in gold when you’re having family Zoom quizzes every week. A question on volcanic mega-tsunamis? Easy-peasy.
59 Seconds – Professor Richard Wiseman. I don’t usually read self-help books. I found that too many of them almost victim blame (it’s your own fault your life isn’t perfect if you’re not capable of perfectly visualising the perfection you’re after…etc, etc, etc) but this is written by a proper professor (Britain’s Professor for the Pubic Understanding Of Psychology no less) using proper science. It covers topics like relationships and personality but also motivation, creativity and decision making, all using easy to understand terms and providing practical answers to how to work towards what your after. Highly recommended, as are his other books and his website (Richardwiseman.com)
Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari. I sort of avoided this book when it first came out, I think I might be a little allergic to ‘hype‘ but the blurb on the back sounded good so I requested it as a birthday pressie and was lucky enough to get it. Let me say, first and foremost, I am glad I read this. It did, however, reinforce my very…very…low opinion of humanity. It is excellently written, well researched and level headed. He attempts to be unbiased, but in doing so he may well annoy quite a few people…not me…but I can certainly see this not being everyone’s cup of tea. I learnt stuff I didn’t know and saw quite a few historical events from new perspectives. I’m also not quite as enamoured of ancient and prehistoric peoples as I used to be, but I have kept my copy and I think I probably will re-read it at some point. Highly recommended, but with a warning (Spoiler Alert) that humans are NOT the heroes of the story.
Seven Brief Lessons On Physics – Carlo Rovelli. I have mentioned before my love of physics. If my brain had developed slightly differently then physics may have been my calling, as it is, I instead find pleasure in reading about the concepts and theories and the occasional bout of utter joy when I think I have grasped some of it. This books covers some of the Big Ideas in physics in understandable language, but it has not dumbed down to the point of being annoying. This was a re-read, one of many in fact, and it probably won’t be the last.
Art Matters – Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell. This is a short, illustrated journey through Neil Gaiman’s life as a writer, the advice he got (and ignored), the lessons he learnt and how we can all use art in our lives. It seems particularly apt now that creativity is the only thing likely to save us.