There’s a really tempting selection of non-fiction books in this issue of SNB. If you like autobiographies, there are no fewer than seven, plus several multiple biographies. If travel’s more your sort of thing, you could follow Hamish Hamilton Smith on An Island Odyssey. Scientists can feed their brains with Alan Lightman’s collection of essays, or John Gribbin’s delightfully (though, to a non-scientist, puzzlingly) entitled Computing with Quantum Cats. Then you’ve got Bill Bryson, who needs no introduction, taking you on a fascinating journey through one transformative year in the USA, an anthology of people talking about what Shakespeare means to them, a couple of glorious-sounding nature books, and more besides.
Though I’m the editor of this section, there are many books here I haven’t yet read, though I’d certainly love to. As a lover of all things biographical, I’d really like to read the memoirs of the journalist Lyn Barber, the university professor John Carey, and Joanne Rakoff’s My Salinger Year, which sounds absolutely fascinating. Then there are the multiple biographies: Helen McCarthy on female diplomats, and one I have actually read, Hotel Florida, about journalists in the Spanish Civil War. I’m intrigued by Dan Waddell’s Field of Shadows, which describes an English cricket team’s experience of touring Hitler’s Germany just before WW2, and by Tanya Byron’s The Skeleton Cupboard, based on her many years as a psychological counsellor.
What would your choice be? Plunge in and read the reviews, and you’re bound to find something (probably several somethings) that you simply can’t resist.