A one sentence summary of the books I’ve been reading over the last few weeks.
Mark Miodownik “Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials that Shape Our Man-made World”: A fascinating analysis of the materials that appear in a photograph of everyday life (the author drinking coffee in his roof garden).
Thom Eagle “First Catch: Study of a Spring Meal”: A cookery book based around a single menu, First Catch will change the way you think about cooking.
Andrea Wulf “The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, The Lost Hero of Science”: Excellent biography of the genius who highlighted the links between humans and the natural world, and flagged up how deforestation was linked to climate change in 1800.
Gaia Vince “Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made”: A brilliant eye-opening exploration of the issues facing the planet as a whole (water supply, food production, electricity, climate change and so on) covering how they are linked and what we can do about it.
Olivia Lang “Crudo”: A few hectic weeks in the life of fictional author, Kathy Acker, trying to deal with the problems of surviving in a post-EU referendum, Trumpian world.
Kurt Vonnegut “Cat’s Cradle”: Vonnegut’s eerie, satirical picture of a dysfunctional world is as relevant today as it ever has been.
Philip Hensher (Ed.) “The Penguin Book of the Contemporary British Short Story”: Proof that the short story is alive and kicking in Britain, including works from Ali Smith, A.L. Kennedy, Irvine Welsh, Rose Tremain and many more.
Hannah Rothschild “The Improbability of Love”: An intriguing fictional biography of the life of an artwork (which gives the book its title) presented as a detective story which slowly reveals its chequered past.