Can anyone recommend any good books, prefereably non-fiction? I'm at a bit of a loss as to what I'm going to read next.

My current ideas are:

The Shock Doctrine - Naomi Klein

In Defence of Lost Causes - Slavoj Zizek

The Vanishing Face of Gaia - James Lovelock

Hold Everything Dear - John Berger

From Marxism to Post-Marxism - Goran Therborn

OR The Other - Ryzard Kapuscinski

But I'm not particularly drawn to any of them over the others. Any ideas?


..some suggestions:

- "Gomorrha" by Roberto Saviano (turned into a great film last year, however the book is very different, it's about the Neapolitan Camorra and the author is an undercover journalist, it's a bit confusing with all the different clan names, but still really good)

-  a book I gave a friend for her birthday but haven't actually got round to reading myself, though I really want to: "Emergency sex and other desperate measures: True stories from a warzone" by Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait, Andrew Thompson, they worked with UN Peacekeeping Forces in the 1990s and it sounds very interesting. 

Still on the politics theme Chris Mullin's diaries have just come out entitled 'A View from the Foothills'. Every bit as entertaining as Alan Clark (minus the sex). Quite hilarious on John Prescott and also the wierd inner life of government. Have ordered two for the library.  

My favourite recent journalist book was Tim Butcher's 'Blood River' - a remarkable tour de force on following in Stanley's footsteps across the Congo. Butcher is the Daily Telegraph correspondent who made the journey 150 years after Stanley (also a Daily Telegraph man)  had his 'Dr Livingstone' moment - but his saga is every bit as gripping.

If one is permitted lapses into fiction - these are my recent favourites - but each of them has a powerful non fiction back story and is an example of fine writing. Rose Tremain 'The Road Home' all about East European migrants in the UK, Peter Ho Davis 'The Welsh Girl' based on German POWs in the last war (incarcerated in deepest Wales). William Boyd's 'Restless' provides more wartime drama and Chimamanda Adichie 'Half a Yellow Sun' which gives a brilliant account of the Biafran War.  


is an amazing read and incredibly relevant at the moment. It's about an undercover IRA man, "Kevin Fulton". I had a little geeky Northern Ireland book read over Christmas and this was one of my favourites. I couldn't put it down. 

p.s. He apparently did an interview at Antrim police station... I knew I'd heard of that place before this morning.

The Right Nation - John Mickelthwait and Adrian Wooldrige: Seen by many as the book that predicted Bush's win in 2004, it looks at why America is such a conservative country and which different groups make up the movement, the history of GOP candidates, how it is organised etc. 

Flat Earth News - Nick Davies: Looks at lies and distortion in the media, the pervasiveness of PR, churnalism and examples at specific newspapers (Observer, Sunday Times, Mail).

Stick it up your punter! - Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie - A very funny and readable book, charting the history of the Sun up until the early to mid 90s, when Kelvin MacKenzie left the paper.

The Inheritance - David E. Sanger: Only just got this last week. Sanger is the Chief Washington Correspondent of the NY Times and looks at the challenges Obama will face while in office with regards to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea and China and looks at the recent history of America's relations with them.

By the way John, what was the name of that book you were reading in court the other week? I heard you mention the name and a bit about it and it seemed pretty interesting.

Who also reviews non-fiction books for the Review supplement of the Saturday Guardian, my dream job!

I think there's a copy of it in the library, if not you can borrow mine. It was really good, especially when talking about the invention of the term 'ethnic cleansing' (essentially as a way of getting out of the obligation to intervene in cases of genocide).

Thanks John, will have to chase that up once I'm done with the Inheritance.

Love and War in London, The Mass Observation Diary of Olivia Cockett, Edited by Robert Malcomson- the diaries of a twenty-six year old Londoner attempting to live her life despite the Second World War

How mumbo-jumbo conquered the world - A short history of modern delusions by Francis Wheen. How a gruesome alliance of post modernists threatens to take the world back to the pre-enlightenment era of superstition by one of Britain's finest columnists (and the best biographer of Karl Marx I have read)

A Death in Zamora by Ramon Sender Barayon - One man's search for the truth about his mother who was executed by Fascists during the Spanish Civil War. A compelling detective story that reveals a welter of detail about the time. Amparo Barayon was an intensely brave and progressive woman.     

If elements of fiction are permitted try Irene Nemirovsky's Suite Francaise. It is unforgettable, as is Nemirovsky's personal story, which comes as part of the translated package.  



Lots to think about there.

Books, books, books...