Welcome to the autumn selection of non-fiction! As usual, there’s a wide selection of topics to choose from.
For lovers of the visual arts, there’s a real feast here. Hayley Cambell’s The Art of Neil Gaiman, which does what it says on the cover, two books by the celebrated American graphic artist Peter Mendelsund, Cover (a brilliant selection of images and some essays to go with them) and What We See When We Read, a more theoretical look at the process of cover design. Two books look, from different perspectives, at the Paris art world in the nineteenth and early twentieth century: James Hamilton’s A Strange Business, and In Montmartre by Sue Roe. Janet Malcolm’s Forty-One False Starts, a book of essays on the visual arts completes the selection.
Do you love biography and autobiography? There are several of these you’ll enjoy. Philippe Claudel’s Parfums is a highly personal series of vignettes of particular smells which evoke a memorable time in his life; Bill Dedman’s Empty Mansions tells the sad story of a reclusive American millionairess; Penelope Lively gives an account of some of the objects that affected her during her long life; Emma Smith’s As Green as Grass is an account of ‘Growing Up Before, During and After the Second World War’; and Matthew Parker writes about Ian Fleming’s Jamaica years in Goldeneye.
Food and gardens are always popular, and here we have the foodie’s bible, the newly edited and updated Oxford Companion to Food, and The Gardens at Brantwood by David Ingram. Finally, one for all those who love a garden gnome, The Hermit in the Garden tells the story of the origins of those little chaps who started their careers as real live hermits back in the eighteenth-century.
For anyone who loves science, Arthur I Miller’s Colliding Worlds looks at the relationship between physics and visual art, Susan Greenfield discusses the human brain and how it is affected by today’s technology in Mind Change.
Harriet, Non-Fiction Editor, Shiny New Books