Here at Shiny we are proud of our non-fiction section. Largely thanks to the enthusiasm of our excellent reviewers, we cover a very wide range of subject matter, including books that often get neglected on the otherwise excellent book blogs. This issue has, I think, the largest non-fiction selection ever, with no fewer than fifteen books reviewed here.
History is always popular and we have three exciting choices: Elizabeth Norton’s The Temptation of Elizabeth Tudor, Helen Rappaport’s Caught in the Revolution, which takes a close look at personal experiences in Revolutionary Russia, and Jean Guehenno’s Diary of the Dark Years, 1940-1944, a day to day account of life in occupied Paris. In addition, Chuck Klosterman’s fascinating-sounding But What If We’re Wrong? is a sort of reverse history, ‘thinking about the present as if it were the past’ as the subtitle puts it.
Paris appears again as one of the cities in Lauren Elkin’s Flaneuse: Women Walk the city in Paris, New York, Venice, Tokyo and London. I suppose this could be classified to some extent as social history, and so, undoubtedly, can Sharon Shoesmith’s Learning from Baby P. Shoesmith is writing from her own experience in this famous British case, and Helen Garner also includes some autobiography in her collection of essays, Everywhere I Look.
If it’s biography you love (and who doesn’t), you’ve got a couple of choices: Paul Morley’s The Age of Bowie, looking at that much-missed artist’s life decade by decade, and the curiously titled Beyond the Robot, Gary Lachman’s biography of the writer Colin Wilson.
Science always gets a look-in, and this time around we have I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong’s fascinating discussion of about the complex ecosystem of microbes that lives inside us, and Marcus Sedgwick’s Snow.
Our food and textile reviewer Hayley has come up trumps with a book about Shetland knitting, A Shetlander’s Fair Isle Graph Book in Colour, and two cookbooks, Diana Henry’s Simple and Gill Meller’s Gather. And last but not least
Loose Canon by Ian Shircore looks at The Extraordinary Songs of Clive James and Pete Atkin.
Harriet, Non-Fiction Editor, Shiny New Books