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New non–fiction for July 2014

Written by · Published Jul 1, 2014

Sour by Tracey Miller and Lucy Bannerman

The Princess Matilda comes home: the adventure of a lifetime around Britain on a barge by Shane Spall

Shane and Tim Spall are on the second leg of a very big adventure, taking their Dutch barge The Princess Matilda around the coast of Britain.

From Matilda’s winter berth in Cardiff, Shane and Tim follow the Welsh coast, before ambitiously deciding to visit the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland.

Along the way they cross Cardigan Bay in the company of a pod of dolphins, meet the king and queen of Piel Island, get lost in shipping lanes near Liverpool, successfully cross the notorious Irish Sea (twice!), accidentally sail through an army firing range, and experience the matchless beauty of Scotland’s Caledonian canal.

Emerging into the North Sea at Inverness, they set a course down the east coast for London, back where their journey began. Tim and Shane aren’t the amateur sailors they once were, but things still don’t always go to plan.

Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms by Paul Willetts

Set in blacked–out London during the ominous lull before the Blitz, this true story centres on Tyler Kent, a debonair encryption specialist at the US Embassy – who also happens to be a Soviet mole.

He becomes romantically entangled with Anna Wolkoff, a Russian fashion designer and Nazi spy. Together they steal the coded telegrams between President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill: if revealed, these messages would change the outcome of the war.

Hot on the trail of Kent and Wolkoff comes the brilliant but eccentric British spymaster Maxwell Knight. He infiltrates the glamorous circle of fascist conspirators gathering in the Russian Tea Rooms, just a stone’s throw from South Kensington tube station.

You can learn to remember: Change your thinking, change your life by Dominic O’Brien

How could this possibly help me? Well, the author is eight-times World Memory Champion Dominic O’Brien. This guide provides an invaluable repertoire of proven ways to enhance your memory – from memorising a speech, a shopping list and directions, to never forgetting names, dates and faces.

In 2002 O’Brien committed to memory a random sequence of 2808 playing cards (54 packs) after looking at each card only once.

Silence your mind: Improve your happiness in 10 minutes a day by Ramesh Manocha

Can’t sleep because your thoughts won’t switch off? Does a constant stream of unnecessary chatter run through your head?

Meditation is a simple practice that can help you address these common experiences. Through scientifically based research this text shows how meditation can fit into your busy schedule to improve your sense of wellbeing, help you reach your potential in sport, work and creative pursuits and increase the quality of your life.

Sour by Tracey Miller and Lucy Bannerman

This is the true story of a former Brixton gang girl, drug dealer and full–time criminal.

A member of the Younger 28s, a notorious gang that terrorised the postcodes around Brixton in the 90s, Sour escapes a troubled family life to immerse herself in the street life of Brixton. She never leaves her house without a knife. At the age of 15, she stabs an innocent man in the street, earning her unrivalled respect and ‘Top-Dog’ status amongst her crew.

She believes she is invincible. But the consequences of her actions are soon to catch up with her. Waking for the second time in two weeks in a hospital bed, to the news that she is pregnant, she realises it’s time to turn her life around.

Miller said Sour does not attempt to justify her past, but it aims to “give people an insight into a much misunderstood world, and what it really means to be in a gang”. She hopes it will encourage others not to follow her path.

Miller, who is now a passionate campaigner, is working with an anti-knife/anti-gang organisation to raise awareness of these issues.

When Fraser met Billy by Louise Booth

Fraser was a two year old autistic child with a multitude of problems when he first met Billy at the cat protection shelter. Billy purred, laid his paws across Fraser and they have been inseparable ever since.

Slowly but surely Billy has transformed Fraser’s life. Fraser’s mother Louise has watched her son move from being a child prone to anxiety, tantrums and sudden emotional meltdowns to now a much calmer, less moody four year old whose future looks a lot brighter.

In their home on the Balmoral Estate, Billy acts as Fraser’s guardian – never leaving his side at mealtimes and bedtimes or whenever he’s feeling low. Their profound bond has immeasurably improved their lives and the family’s, and brought them lots of hilarious and touching moments along the way.

Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book by Grumpy Cat (eBook)

Internet sensation Grumpy Cat’s epic feline frown has inspired legions of devoted fans. Celebrating the grouch in everyone, the Grumpy Cat book teaches the fine art of grumpiness and includes enough bad attitude to cast a dark cloud over the whole world.

Featuring brand new as well as classic photos, and including grump–inspiring activities and games, Grumpy Cat delivers unmatched, hilarious grumpiness that puts any bad mood in perspective.

Anthem for Doomed Youth: Twelve Soldier Poets of the First World War by Jon Stallworthy (eBook)

Leading poet and former professor of English Literature Jon Stallworthy tells the story of the lives and work of 12 major poets of the First World War and provides selections of their best work.

The First World War began with flag–waving, parades and poets inspired by abstract ideals. In part this reflected the national mood, but it revealed an almost universal failure to understand what modern mass warfare would really mean.

The story of the war poets is also the story of an awakening to the full horror of what the twentieth century came to know as The Great War. Wilfred Owen said, “My subject is War – and the pity of War”. He also said “true Poets must be truthful”.

The best war poetry was the work of writers who were also serving soldiers and was born out of their desire to tell the truth about what it was to be a soldier in the trenches – what it felt like, what it did to you and what it did to your fellow soldiers, friend or foe.

The greatness of the poetry lay not just in the writer’s talent, but in the unflinching accuracy with which it portrayed their terrible circumstances.

Brandon King

I work in the Suffolk Libraries Stock Team