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New non-fiction for October 2016

Written by · Published Sep 30, 2016

Miranda Hart, Johan Cruyff and Derren Brown

Dashing for the Post: The Letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor

Patrick Leigh Fermor was hailed as the greatest travel writer of his generation. His letters are often entertaining and sometimes instructive. They exhibit many of his most endearing characteristics: his zest for life, his unending curiosity, his keen sense of place, his lyrical descriptive powers, his love of words, his fluency in a remarkable range of languages, his lack of self-importance, his boyish exuberance, and his sense of fun. They draw on his wide reading, and his unflagging enthusiasm for learning.

Kind of Blue: A Political Memoir, by Kenneth Clarke

Ken Clarke charts his remarkable progress from working-class scholarship boy in Nottinghamshire to high political office and the upper echelons of both his party and of government. If this anything like his recent soundbites on Sky TV then it will be one of the more interesting political biographies.

My Turn: The Autobiography, by Johan Cruyff

Described as the European Pele, the late Johan Cruyff is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in football history. Those of us with long memories will recall him playing (and losing 3-0) at Portman Road for Barcelona in the late 1970s. He held strong views on the game and was not afraid to voice them which did not always make him popular, but his influence on modern football is undeniable.

A Life in Questions, by Jeremy Paxman

Autobiography of bestselling author of The Victorians, Jeremy Paxman, whose career at the BBC included 25 years as the uncompromising presenter of Newsnight and host of University Challenge.

Peggy and Me, by Miranda Hart

For years Miranda viewed dog owners with some suspicion. She was bored by the way they only talked about their pooches, alarmed by their light coating of dog hair and troubled by their apparent comfort around excrement. But that all changed when, nine years ago, Miranda met Peggy, a gorgeous shih tzu - bichon frise cross. She was exceptionally cute (the dog), very smart (again, the dog) and they bonded from their very first meeting. Their love quickly blossomed and they became inseparable.

Since then, Miranda’s life has had its ups and downs - when they first met there was no such thing as a sitcom called Miranda - and she candidly charts this in the book. No one has been more surprised than Miranda herself that it’s been her dog who has taught her the best life lessons, taken her on hilarious adventures and become her smart talking but utterly loyal and loveable best friend.

Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine, by Derren Brown

Everyone says they want to be happy. What does being happy actually mean?

Across the millenia, philosophers have thought long and hard about happiness, and come up with all sorts of different definitions and ideas for how we might live a happier life. Derren Brown explores the history of happiness from classical times until today, when the self-help industry has attempted to claim happiness as its own. His aim is to reclaim happiness for us all, and enable us to appreciate the really good things in life for what they are.

He quotes the advice of the first-century Greek thinker Plutarch which is still just as applicable for social media. Knowing every single detail about everything, investigating and eliciting a slave’s every occupation, a friend’s every action, a son’s every pastime, a wife’s every whisper – this leads to many outbursts of anger, one after another every day, and these in turn add up to habitual discontent and surliness.

Hygge: living the Danish way, by Charlotte Abrahams

Hygge, pronounced hoo-ga, is the latest Scandivavian import. It is a Danish philosophy that roughly translates to cosiness. It’s a way of life that encourages us to be kinder to ourselves, to take pleasure in the modest, the mundane and the familiar. So, with two divorces behind her and her 50th birthday rapidly approaching, journalist Charlotte Abrahams ponders whether it’s hygge that’s been missing from her life. Is it a philosophy we can all embrace?

Brandon King

I work in the Suffolk Libraries Stock Team