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New non-fiction for August 2017

Written by · Published Jul 31, 2017

The Duchess, Hunger, How not to be a Boy

The Duchess: the untold story, by Penny Junor

“In her relationship with Charles that has survived for more than 40 years, Camilla’s story has seen a great many myths. This book is the definitive account. The relationship between Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is one of the most remarkable love stories of the age. It has endured against all the odds, and in the process nearly destroyed the British monarchy. It is a rich and remarkable story that has never been properly told - indeed, it is one of the most extraordinary, star-crossed love stories of the past 50 years.”

Just in case you somehow missed it, this ‘explosive’ biography tells Camilla’s side of the story. This has already been in all the newspapers and will be very popular.

Everybody Lies: what the Internet can tell us about who we really are, by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

This is a fascinating book. Most people on social media present a highly curated version of themselves designed to show them in the best light. In Google searches, however, people reveal their secrets with no filters - about sexless marriages, mental health problems, even racist views. This is of course a massive piece of Big Data but it could in time allow us to understand better how humans think.

The Women Who Flew for Hitler: the true story of Hitler’s Valkyries, by Clare Mulley

“Hanna Reitsch and Melitta von Stauffenberg were strikingly attractive, courageous, ambitious women who fought convention to make their names in the male-dominated field of flight - both were pioneering test pilots and both were awarded the Iron Cross for service to the Third Reich. But they could not have been more different and neither woman had a good word to say for the other. Hanna was middle-class and distinctly Aryan, while Melitta, though from an aristocratic Prussian family, was part-Jewish, and while Hanna tried to save Hitler’s life, begging him to let her fly him to safety in April 1945, Melitta covertly supported the most famous assassination attempt on the Fuehrer.

“Their lives constantly overlapped, offering a vivid insight into Nazi Germany and its attitudes to women, to class and to race. Acclaimed biographer Clare Mulley gets under the skin of these two most distinctive and unconventional women.”

But Seriously, by John McEnroe

In his second autobiograhpy, John McEnroe reveals more from his life and career in the candid style we associate with him:

“Now the undisputed elder statesman of tennis, McEnroe has won over his critics as a matchless commentator and analyst at Wimbledon and other Grand Slam tournaments - with outspoken views on the modern game and its top players. He has continued to compete on the court, winning the ATP Champions Tour a record six times, and has travelled the globe to play in charity events. Here, he confronts his demons and reveals his struggle to reinvent himself from ex-champion to father, broadcaster and author. The result is a richly personal account, blending anecdote and reflection in an inspirational re-evaluation of what it means to be - and stay - successful.”

Hunger: a memoir of (my) body, by Roxane Gay

“In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health.”

“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I had been because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere … I was trapped in my body, one I made but barely recognized or understood but of my own making. I was miserable, but I was safe.”

How not to be a Boy, by Robert Webb

“RULES FOR BEING A MAN: Don’t Cry; Love Sport; Play Rough; Drink Beer; Don’t Talk About Feelings.

“But Robert Webb has been wondering for some time now: are those rules actually any use? To anyone?

“Looking back over his life, from schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) to discovering the power of making people laugh (in the Cambridge Footlights with David Mitchell), and from losing his beloved mother to becoming a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life.

“Hilarious and heartbreaking, How Not To Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren’t the Luke Skywalker of your life - you’re actually Darth Vader.”

Brandon King

I work in the Suffolk Libraries Stock Team