See also: recommended new physical audiobooks
The Antidote: happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking, written and read by Oliver Burkeman
“Oliver Burkeman turns decades of self-help advice on its head and paradoxically forces us to rethink our attitudes towards failure, uncertainty and death. It’s our constant efforts to avoid negative thinking that cause us to feel anxious, insecure and unhappy. What if happiness can be found embracing the things we spend our lives trying to escape?
“Wise, practical and funny, The Antidote is a thought-provoking, counter-intuitive and ultimately uplifting read, celebrating the power of negative thinking.”
“Set in the Midlands and London over the last eight years, Jonathan Coe follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of immense change and disruption in Britain.
“There are the early married years of Sophie and Ian who disagree about the future of Britain and, possibly, the future of their relationship; Sophie’s grandfather whose final act is to send a postal vote for the European referendum; Doug, the political commentator, whose young daughter despairs of his lack of political nous and Doug’s Remaining Tory politician partner who is savaged by the crazed trolls of Twitter.
“And within all these lives is the story of England itself: a story of nostalgia and irony; of friendship and rage, humour and intense bewilderment.”
“Nine strangers, each in different ways, become summoned by trees, brought together in a last stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.
“The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fable, ranging from antebellum New York to the late-20th-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, revealing a world alongside our own - vast, slow, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world, and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.”
“For years Jaxie Clackton has dreaded going home. His beloved mum is dead, and he wishes his dad was too, until one terrible moment leaves his life stripped to nothing. No one ever told Jaxie Clackton to be careful what he wishes for.
“And so Jaxie runs. There’s just one person in the world who understands him, but to reach her he’ll have to cross the vast saltlands of Western Australia. It is a place that harbours criminals and threatens to kill those who haven’t reckoned with its hot, waterless vastness. This is a journey only a dreamer – or a fugitive – would attempt.”
“With original archival interviews and musical scoring, this enhanced audiobook edition of Talking to Strangers brings Gladwell’s renowned storytelling to life in his unparalleled narrating style.
“The routine traffic stop that ends in tragedy. The spy who spends years undetected at the highest levels of the Pentagon. The false conviction of Amanda Knox. Why do we so often get other people wrong? Why is it so hard to detect a lie, read a face or judge a stranger’s motives?
“Through a series of encounters and misunderstandings - from history, psychology and infamous legal cases - Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual adventure into the darker side of human nature, where strangers are never simple and misreading them can have disastrous consequences.”
“Mona is a young Irish girl in the big city, with the thrill of a new job and a room of her own in a busy boarding house. On her first night out in 1970s Birmingham, she meets William, a charming Irish boy with an easy smile and an open face. They embark upon a passionate affair, a whirlwind marriage - before a sudden tragedy tears them apart.
“Decades later, Mona pieces together the memories of the years that separate them. But can she ever learn to love again?”
“Our narrator has many of the advantages of life: Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like everything else, by her inheritance. But there is a vacuum at the heart of things, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents in college, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her alleged best friend.”
“Roy is a conman living in a small English town, about to pull off his final con. He is going to meet and woo a beautiful woman and slip away with her life savings.
“But who is the man behind the con and what has he had to do to survive this life of lies?
“And why is this beautiful woman so willing to be his next victim?”
“Why does your foot hit the brake pedal before you are conscious of danger ahead?
“Why is it so difficult to keep a secret?
“How is it possible to get angry at yourself: who, exactly, is mad at whom?”
“In this sparkling and provocative book, renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain. Taking in brain damage, plane spotting, dating, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synaesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence and visual illusions, Incognito is a thrilling subsurface exploration of the mind and all its contradictions.”
“Daisy Jones & The Six rose from the 1970s LA music scene to become one of the biggest bands in the world. They sold out arenas from coast to coast. Their music defined an era and every girl in America idolised Daisy. But, in 1979, on the night of the final concert of their tour, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now.
“This is the whole story, right from the beginning: the sun-bleached streets, the grimy bars on the Sunset Strip, knowing Daisy’s moment was coming. Relive the euphoria of success and experience the terror that nothing will ever be as good again.”
“Do you wake up in the morning already feeling behind? Does the pressure of keeping it all together make you feel anxious and irritable?
“Tonya Dalton, CEO and productivity expert, offers you a liberating shift in perspective: feeling overwhelmed isn’t the result of having too much to do — it’s from not knowing where to start.
“Doing less might seem counterintuitive, but doing less is more productive, because you’re concentrating on the work you actually want to be doing.”
“Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here. And now they are all his mother has left.
“Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity.
“When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it. Who wouldn’t? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son… But is this man what he claims to be? Is he a visionary? A shut eye? Or a cruel fake, preying on the vulnerable? Or is he something far, far worse?”
“It is Mummy’s 39th birthday. She is staring down the barrel of a future of people asking if she wants to come to their advanced yoga classes, and polite book clubs where everyone claims to be tiddly after a glass of Pinot Grigio and says things like ‘Oooh gosh, are you having another glass?’
“But Mummy does not want to go quietly into that good night of women with sensible haircuts who ‘live for their children’ and stand in the playground trying to trump each other with their offspring’s extracurricular activities and achievements, and boasting about their latest holidays. Instead, she clutches a large glass of wine, muttering ‘FML’ over and over again. Until she remembers the gem of an idea she’s had…”
“In August 2018 a fifteen-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, decided not to go to school one day. Her actions ended up sparking a global movement for action against the climate crisis, inspiring millions of pupils to go on strike for our planet, forcing governments to listen, and earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
“This book brings you Greta in her own words. Collecting her speeches that have made history across Europe, from the UN to mass street protests, No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.”
“Afua Hirsch is British. Her parents are British. She was raised, educated and socialised in Britain. Her partner, daughter, sister and the vast majority of her friends are British. So why is her identity and sense of belonging a subject of debate? The reason is simply because of the colour of her skin.
“Blending history, memoir and individual experiences, Afua Hirsch reveals the identity crisis at the heart of Britain today. Far from affecting only minority people, Britain is a nation in denial about its past and its present. We believe we are the nation of abolition, but forget we are the nation of slavery. We sit proudly at the apex of the Commonwealth, but we flinch from the legacy of the Empire. We are convinced that fairness is one of our values, but that immigration is one of our problems.
“Brit(ish) is the story of how and why this came to be, and an urgent call for change.”
“Lee’s first non-fiction book is a short essay which explores the endurance of heroes from Achilles to Bond, and shows how the myth of the hero is a fundamental part of what makes us human.
“Hero stories continue to shape our world – we need them now more than ever. Scalpel-sharp on the roots of storytelling and enlightening on the history and science of myth, this is helpful for anyone trying to write or understand fiction.”
“Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March are raised in genteel poverty by their loving mother while their father serves as chaplain during the American Civil War. Jo at fifteen is ungainly, unconventional, and enterprising, with an ambition to be an author. Meg, a year older, is pretty and wishes to be a lady. Beth is a delicate child of thirteen with a taste for music. Amy is a blonde beauty of twelve. The story explores their domestic adventures, their attempts to increase the family’s small income, their friendship with the neighboring Laurence family, and their later love affairs and destinies as women.”
The People’s Republic of Walmart: how the world’s biggest corporations are laying the foundation for socialism, by Leigh Phillips & Michal Rozworski, read by Eric Jason Martin
“Since the demise of the USSR, the mantle of the largest planned economies in the world has been taken up by the likes of Walmart, Amazon and other multinational corporations. For the left and the right, major multinational companies are held up as the ultimate expressions of free-market capitalism. Their remarkable success appears to vindicate the old idea that modern society is too complex to be subjected to a plan.
“And yet, as Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski argue, much of the economy of the West is centrally planned at present. Not only is planning on vast scales possible, we already have it and it works. The real question is whether planning can be democratic. Can it be transformed to work for us?
“An engaging, polemical romp through economic theory, computational complexity, and the history of planning, The People’s Republic of Walmart revives the conversation about how society can extend democratic decision-making to all economic matters. With the advances in information technology in recent decades and the emergence of globe-straddling collective enterprises, democratic planning in the interest of all humanity is more important and closer to attainment than ever before.”
“Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), credited as the inspiration for radio, robots, and even radar, has been called the patron saint of modern electricity. Based on original material and previously unavailable documents, this acclaimed book is the definitive biography of the man considered by many to be the founding father of modern electrical technology. Among Tesla’s creations were the channeling of alternating current, fluorescent and neon lighting, wireless telegraphy, and the giant turbines that harnessed the power of Niagara Falls.”