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New non-fiction for March 2018

Written by · Published Feb 28, 2018

Civilisations, Rebel Prince, Morning

Rebel Prince: the power, passion and defiance of Prince Charles, by Tom Bower

Prince Charles gets the Tom Bower treatment. Expect this one to be serialised in the newspapers.

“Few heirs to the throne have suffered as much humiliation as Prince Charles. Despite his hard work and genuine concern for the disadvantaged, he has struggled to overcome his unpopularity. After Diana’s death, his approval rating crashed to 4% and has been only rescued by his marriage to Camilla.

“Nevertheless, just one third of Britons now support him to be the next king. Many still fear that his accession to the throne will cause a constitutional crisis. That mistrust climaxed in the aftermath of the trial of Paul Burrell, Diana’s butler, acquitted after the Queen’s sensational ‘recollection’. In unearthing many secrets surrounding that and many other dramas, Bower’s book, relying on the testimony from over 120 people employed or welcomed into the inner sanctum of Clarence House, reveals a royal household rife with intrigue and misconduct.”

The Reykjavik Confessions: the incredible true story of Iceland’s most notorious murder case, by Simon Cox

This real life case reads like a Scandi crime novel:

“The bare facts were straightforward. In 1974, 18-year-old Gudmundur Einarsson disappeared after a boozy night at a dance in a fishing town near Reykjavik. 11 months later Geirfinnur Einarsson (no relation), a quiet family man, went missing from Keflavik harbour in the southwest of Iceland after being summoned by a mysterious phone call from home. Both men were eventually presumed killed, though their bodies were never found.

“These simple facts, however, put in motion a remarkable tale of corruption, forced confession, false memory and madness that stretches over 40 years.”

Morning, by Allan Jenkins

Depending on your point of view, getting up in the morning is either something you do with grumpiness, or you embrace it and make the very best of the time available. This is a manifesto for the latter.

“In Morning, Allan shows how waking earlier even once a week or month can free us to be more creative, to read, to walk, to think. He talks to other early risers such as Jamie Oliver and Meera Sodha, poets and painters. He interviews a neuroscientist about sleep, an ornithologist about song, a philosopher and a fisherman about light. He gets up early, he listens, he looks. He introduces us to his secret world. It is a celebration of dawn and morning: the best time of day.”

Ed Sheeran: the stories behind the songs, by Caroline Sullivan

Framlingham’s own Ed Sheeran is at the top of his game right now. In this new biography:

“Caroline Sullivan, an experienced music journalist who has interviewed the biggest popstars in the world, goes behind the scenes to discover the stories behind the creation of Ed Sheeran’s award-winning music. As well as analysis of his ground-breaking albums, there is an in-depth reflection on Ed Sheeran’s life and where he has drawn his talent and inspiration.”

Steam in the East Midlands and East Anglia: the railway photographs of R. J. (Ron) Buckley, by R. J. Buckley & Brian J. Dickson

“Ron Buckley’s photographs show the changing locomotive scene taking place from the later 1930s throughout the East Midlands and East Anglia, illustrating pre-grouping locomotive classes still working across Lincoln, Cambridge, Norfolk, Suffolk, Nottingham, Leicester, Northampton, Bedford, Hertford, Buckingham and Essex.”

Unmasked, by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber tells his own story for the first time.

“One of the most successful and distinguished artists of our time, Andrew Lloyd Webber has reigned over the musical theatre world for nearly five decades. The winner of numerous awards, including multiple Tonys and an Oscar, Lloyd Webber has enchanted millions worldwide with his music and numerous hit shows.

“Here, the revered, award-winning composer takes stock of his achievements, the twists of fate and circumstance which brought him both success and disappointment, and the passions that inspire and sustain him.”

From My Heart, by Linda Nolan

“In March 2017 singer Linda Nolan was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer, and was given the terrible news that it was not curable, though it was treatable. Her first thought was to worry about her family, still grieving the loss of their sister Bernie just a few years earlier. Her second was to think, ‘But I’m alive and I’m going to fight it’.

“In From My Heart, she looks back on her life, taking us from growing up in her big Irish family to finding fame with her sisters in The Nolans and reveals the shocking family secrets and feuds that threatened to tear them apart. She also describes her original battle with breast cancer and how the death of her husband left her deeply depressed. It took years before she recovered, and learned to embrace life again, and even to start dating. As all her plans came crashing down, she found the strength to carry on, to look for happiness in the simple things and enjoy every day.”

Civilisations, by Mary Beard

“Kenneth Clark’s 1969 BBC series Civilisation is perhaps the most celebrated documentary series ever made, except that it was entirely of its time: patrician to the exclusion of women and western to the exclusion of all other cultures. 2018 sees an ambitious BBC remake, embracing global civilisations and exploring different themes in the universal histories of art and culture. In this book, Mary Beard investigates two aspects of what it means to be human.

“In Part I, she focuses on some of the earliest human figures in art - from the Olmec heads of pre-historic Mexico to the first nudes of the ancient Greek world, asking what were these images for, how they were understood by people in the past and why were they sometimes so dangerous and unsettling. In Part II, Beard shows how for millennia art has inspired religion as much as religion has inspired art.”

The Secret Barrister: stories of the law and how it’s broken

In the tradition of The Secret Footballer, an unnamed barrister tells readers what it is really like behind the scenes at the courtroom:

“‘I’m a barrister, a job which requires the skills of a social worker, relationship counsellor, arm-twister, hostage negotiator, named driver, bus fare-provider, accountant, suicide watchman, coffee-supplier, surrogate parent and, on one memorable occasion, whatever the official term is for someone tasked with breaking the news to a prisoner that his girlfriend has been diagnosed with gonorrhoea.’

“Welcome to the world of the Secret Barrister. These are the stories of life inside the courtroom. They are sometimes funny, often moving, and ultimately horrifying.”

Brandon King

I work in the Suffolk Libraries Stock Team