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New non-fiction books for February 2024

by Brandon King

Take a look at our latest non-fiction titles for February 2024, including a guide on how to create your dream garden and easy, budget-friendly recipe books.

Looking for something new to read? Browse our recommendations.

Maurice and Maralyn: a Whale, a Shipwreck, a Love Story, by Sophie Elmhirst

Maurice and Maralyn couldn't be more different. He is as cautious and awkward as she is charismatic and forceful. It seems an unlikely romance, but it works. Bored of 1970s suburban life, Maralyn has an idea: sell the house, build a boat, leave England - and its oil crisis, industrial strikes and inflation - forever. It is hard work, turning dreams into reality, but finally they set sail for New Zealand. Then, halfway there, their beloved boat is struck by a whale. It sinks within an hour, and the pair are cast adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

On their tiny raft, over the course of days, then months, their love is put to the test. Filled with danger, spirit and tenderness, this is a book about human connection and the human condition; about how we survive - not just at sea, but in life.

Borrow Maurice and Maralyn

Bluestockings: The First Women's Movement, by Susannah Gibson

Susannah Gibson charts the struggles and immense achievements of a group of trailblazing women who risked their reputations to become public intellectuals. Burdened with ailing children and unsympathetic husbands, enduring the sneers of contemporaries who thought books frazzled women's brains and damaged their wombs, they read, wrote and published their work.

Copies of Hannah More's poems were requested by King George III, Elizabeth Montagu's rebuttal to Voltaire's critique of Shakespeare thoroughly rattled the great Frenchman, and Catherine Macaulay's histories were so acclaimed in America that on her visit there she was hosted by George Washington. Earning money, fame, and with these, power, the Bluestockings laid essential foundations for future feminists to build upon. This book tells the forgotten stories of these heroines of Britain's very first women's movement.

Borrow Bluestockings

Hardy Women: Mother, Sisters, Wives, Muses, by Paula Byrne

How was it that the novelist who created some of the most memorable and modern female characters in literature had such troubled relationships with real women? In this innovative book, biographer Paula Byrne re-examines Hardy's life through the eyes of the women who made him - mother, sisters, girlfriends, wives, muses. The story veers from shocking scenes such as his obsession with the sight of a woman hanged, to poignant vignettes of unfulfilled passion, to fascinating details of working women's lives in the nineteenth century. Paula Byrne reveals that it is through hardy women that we can enter into the heart of the great novelist and poet.

Borrow Hardy Women

How the World Made the West: a 4,000 Year History, by Josephine Crawley Quinn

What does history look like without 'civilisations'? Josephine Quinn calls for a major reassessment of the West and the concepts that define it. The West, history tells us, was built on the ideas and values of Ancient Greece and Rome, which disappeared from Europe during the Dark Ages and were then rediscovered by the Renaissance. In a bold and magisterial work of immense scope, Josephine Quinn argues that the true story of the West is much bigger than this established paradigm leads us to believe.

Borrow How the World Made the West

The Trading Game, by Gary Stevenson

Ever since he was a kid, kicking broken footballs on the streets of East London in the shadow of Canary Wharf's skyscrapers, Gary wanted something better. Something a whole lot bigger. Then he won a competition run by a bank: 'The Trading Game'. The prize: a golden ticket to a new life, as the youngest trader in the whole city. A place where you could make more money than you'd ever imagined. Where your colleagues are dysfunctional maths geniuses, overfed public schoolboys and borderline psychopaths, yet they start to feel like family. Where soon you're the bank's most profitable trader, dealing in nearly a trillion dollars. A day. Where you dream of numbers in your sleep - and then stop sleeping at all. But what happens when winning starts to feel like losing? The story of the dark heart of an intoxicating world - from someone who survived the game and then blew it all wide open.

Borrow The Trading Game

My Mother and I, by Ingrid Seward

The upbringing of an heir is especially important and places an extra burden on top of all the cares of motherhood. The demands placed on the monarch are unique and there was no one better placed to know this than the late Queen. She knew that not only must they be figureheads, but they must be seen to care for others less fortunate than themselves. They are also expected to uphold family values. Princess Elizabeth made it a point of maternal honour to try and build her routine around her young son while doing her duty.

When she became Queen, it was a more delicate balance, but one which she eventually learnt to sustain. Unlike his self-contained mother, who always put duty above personal happiness, King Charles needed love and support to function properly. This is the story of how Charles was shaped and moulded by his heritage.

Borrow My Mother and I

Phew, Eh Readers?: The Life and Writing of Tom Hibbert, the World's Funniest Music Journalist

Idiosyncratic. Iconoclastic. Acerbic. Hilarious. The influence of Tom Hibbert's music writing across print, radio, TV and podcasts is incomparable. From his genre-defining work at Smash Hits to his 'Who the Hell ... ?' profiles for Q magazine and beyond, this book brings together many of Hibbert's funniest writings. Following his premature death in 2011 at the age of 59, Hibbert left behind a legacy in music journalism that is unrivalled over the past 40 years.

This volume showcases some of Hibbert's greatest pieces, presenting them chronologically and thematically, and highlighting his marvellously eccentric perspective on life and popular culture. Many leading writers and journalists attest to Hibbert's genius. This compendium supplements his writing with new reflections on Tom from some of his peers, colleagues and admirers, including Mark Ellen, Bob Stanley, Tom Doyle, along with his widow Allyce.

Borrow Phew, Eh Readers?

Budget Family Food: Delicious Money-Saving Meals for All the Family, by Rebecca Wilson

From quick breakfast taquitos and curried potato pasties to satisfy the pickiest of palettes, to moreish mushroom lasagne and decadent chocolate gingerbread cake, choose from 80 recipes packed with exciting flavours that will appeal to everyone at the table from 6 months and over. Whether you want to make fresh, fruity breakfasts, light snacks and air fryer treats, hearty slow-cooked casseroles, or sumptuous desserts, Rebecca's easy-to-follow recipes are designed to save you time and money, making the most of your favourite seasonal ingredients and store-cupboard essentials. With recipes tailor-made for Air-fryers and slow cookers, cooking once for all the family has never been simpler.

Borrow Budget Family Food

The Batch Lady: Affordable No-Fuss Freezer Meals to Prep Ahead and Cook Later, by Suzanne Mulholland

Take the hassle out of mealtimes with 100 easy recipes to have dinner ready in no time. Grab and cook is a simple method to put satisfying, wholesome food on the table every day. Each recipe takes no more than 15 minutes to prepare, and can either be cooked right away, or made for the freezer to cook when you're hungry. All of the recipes have instructions for cooking in multiple appliances - including oven, air fryer, pressure cooker, hob, slow cooker and microwave - so you can choose the one that suits you.

Borrow The Batch Lady

The Happy Index: Lessons on Upside-Down Management, by James Timpson

Discover the secrets of upside-down management and doing the right thing with James Timpson's 'The Happy Index'. With over 2000 locations across the UK and overseeing multiple operations daily for the past two decades, it's fair to say that the CEO of the family-owned Timpson business knows a thing or two about running a successful company. What makes James Timpson's approach to collaboration, profit and success is simple: let the people you hire run your business. 'The Happy Index' is structured into ten lessons that will provide you and the people you work with the tools to re-evaluate the ways you look at your business.

Borrow The Happy Index

The Money-Saving Gardener: Create Your Dream Garden at a Fraction of the Cost, by Anya Lautenbach

Beat the rising cost of living and transform your garden on a budget. 'The Money-Saving Gardener' reveals the tips and tricks to keeping costs down without compromising on style or impact. Learn how to repurpose what you have, make the most of so-called garden 'waste', and boost your plant collection for next to nothing with seed-saving and propagation hacks.

Borrow The Money-Saving Gardener