One of the bonuses of being the non-fiction editor of Shiny is how much I learn about all kinds of things, some of which I never even knew I was interested in. A good deal of this is owing to our lovely reviewers, whose suggestions as always have added some great material to this section in Shiny 8.
Particularly topical in today’s political climate is The Making of the Modern Refugee by Peter Gatrell, which traces the history of this perennial problem far back into the mists of time. I was fascinated too by the review of The Prison Book Club, an account of a brave and unprecedented undertaking in Canada. Then there’s Neurotribes, which looks at the history, treatment, and attitudes to autism and reaches some surprisingly positive conclusions. The Social Brain discusses ‘How Diversity Made the Modern Mind’.
As always there are biographies, this time two of well-known writers, Charlotte Bronte and Josephine Tey, and what sounds like a heart-rending account by Jeremy Gavron of the real causes of his mother’s suicide, Woman on the Edge. Oliver Sacks has appeared in this section before, and here we have a review of his final, posthumous collection of essays: written when he knew he was dying, it is called Gratitude. I’m always glad to have something theatre-related in there, and this time round it’s Jonathan Croall’s fascinating and impressively-researched Performing King Lear. And last but not least, in an issue that features our highly successful poetry competition, there’s Unicorn, a slim volume of poems by Angela Carter, accompanied by some informative background essays by Rosemary Hill.
Harriet, Non-Fiction Editor, Shiny New Books