Non-Fiction

The World is Flat

Gary Smailes is the founder of OneBook and since it's his blog he says he can have as many OneBooks as he likes. But don't tell him that anyone is allowed to submit as many OneBooks as they please, he might just start crying...

Worldisflat

The World is Flat is one of those books that you read and just want to tell everyone about. The premise behind the book is simple - the Internet has made the world flat. The writer Thomas L. Friedman doesn’t mean physically flat, he’s talking metaphorically. In essence he is saying that the birth of the Internet, together with an number of related events such as the emergence of China, has meant that anyone, anywhere in the world can now do business. He argues that ten years ago a business’ competitor was often just down the street, or maybe in another town but almost certainly in the same country. Whereas today it is highly probable that workers from India, China, America and Europe are all competing for the same job. Freidman suggest that this means that if western world continues to ignore this fact and remains stationery, then they will be overwhelmed by bigger, hungrier countries.

This is essential reading for everyone.

Just one word of warning, it WILL change the way you think about the world.

  • Read wiki's bit on the book here.
  • Go here to watch a video about the book.
  • This page summaries the argument generated by the book.
  • You can buy a second hand copy here.

If No News, Send Rumors: Anecdotes of American Journalism

Alexandra Kitty is a Canadian writer and author of the books Don't Believe It!: How lies become news, OutFoxed: Rupert Murdoch's war on journalism (both from Disinformation), and Consumer-isms in 12 Easy Steps (bluechrome). Her web site is Chaser Media.  

no_cover

(The cover seems to be some kind of secret, so if anyone what it looks like then please feel free to email a link!)

This is a nonfiction book about American journalism -- anecdotes about ethics, milestones, and realities about old school press. The book may be an old one, but it beautifully captures the pre-Internet days of journalism.

  • Go here to read a book review
  • This tells you a bit about the author
  • Go here for a new copy of the book
  • This link is for a second hand copy

The Making of the English Working Class

Angela Topping is a writer and poet who teaches English by day. Books and music are her mainstays in life. Her latest poetry collection is 'The Way We Came' published by bluechrome. She also writes critical books for Greenwich Exchange.

The_Making_of_the_English_Working_Class

The Making of the English Working Class by E.P.Thompson opened my eyes to the hidden history - not of kings and queens but of everyday people who risked their lives to free themselves from oppression and gain the vote. It made me prouder than ever to be working class. It's inspired poems - not just in me. I read it because I was researching Tony Harrison's 'School of Eloquence' sequence so I wanted to learn about The London Corresponding Society and the Poor Man's Guardian. Everyone should read this book - its narrative is as gripping as any novel - but it is all true!

  • Read Wiki's excellent summary of this important book here.
  • You can find out more about Thompson here.
  • If you like Thompson, you will love Eric Hobsbawm.
  • Learn more about Marxist history here.
  • Buy a new copy of the book here.
  • Or a lovely, well read copy here.

This video will either be your thing or not. Mix and match I say:

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Fiona Robyn is a writer and blogger from rural Hampshire, where she lives with her partner, cats (Fatty and Silver) and vegetable patch. She's currently looking for submissions for her new blog at http://ahandfulofstones.blogspot.com. Her own site is at www.fionarobyn.com.

pilgrim

In Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard goes to Pilgrim Creek and becomes still.  She sits under a sycamore tree and feels the 'delicate gathering of heat'. She stalks muscrats. She goes on 'forays into the grasshopper meadow'.  She observes life so closely, we are there with her. Every second sentence is a piece of poetry.  Every second sentence is a request to become more alive. As she says of the present, 'catch it if you can'. Catch this book if you can.

  • Here is what wiki has to say about the book.
  • Wiki also has this to say about Annie Dillard.
  • This is Annie Dillard's offical site.
  • Read an interview with the author here.
  • You can buy a second copy of the book here.
  • Or a new copy here.

This is a funny funny, if brief, talk given Annie Dillard:

Two book Friday Fun

No Free Book Friday this week, instead a couple of quickies.

MY LIFE AS A SMALL BOY

My_Life_As_A_Small_Boy Tor Hershman describes himself as simply a 'geezer'.

Here's his blog.

My Life as a Small Boy by Marlon Brando's old roommate, Wally Cox, is most amusing.

People should this read this because if'in they don't.....moi may come and visit them (sinister music plays here).

  • Here's what Wiki has to say about Wally Cox.
  • Grab a second hand copy of the book here.
  • A new copy here.

VOSS

Flora Jones describes herself as 'a serious reader with twenty years in the US publishing industry'.

Voss Patrick White, the author of Voss, won the Nobel In literature in 1973. Here is a review excerpt:

"Re-reading Voss demonstrates again that although White wasn't "a nice man", and indeed was--perhaps rightly--scathingly dismissive of my and other Australian writers' work and origins unless they were his friends, he was a genius, and VOSS one of the finest works of the modernist era and of the past century."
- Thomas Keneally, The Guardian

  • Here's a bit about Patrick White.
  • A second hand copy can be obtained from here.
  • A brand spanking new copy from here.

Perfidious Man

Radcliff Alistair Gregory says about himself, "I write poetry and non-fiction prose, published sporadically for 25 years in a variety of journals (including “Chroma”) and books, along with three collections of poetry under another name. Currently, I am doing a research PhD in cultural history at Loughborough University, and am in the process of organising the inaugural Polyverse Poetry Festival. My main focus of my academic research is in tracing the origins and evolution of gender-variance, with particular reference to transgenderism/transsexuality, during the 1887-1930 period, though it inevitably crosses paths with related material.

Perfidous_man One book I would recommend for something different is “Perfidious Man”; the introduction is by novelist Will Self, but the bulk of the book is his biography-from-interview of Stephen Whittle. He was one of the first people to begin the (very) long process of transforming from a biological female body to being fully male. He is also an eminent law academic, and high-achieving campaigner for the recent changes in the law that finally brought some legal rights to transsexual people that everyone else takes for granted.

Told through Whittle’s own words, and lavishly illustrated with photographs, the book presents a moving, but unapologetic, first-hand account of what it is like to go through one of the most drastic life changes in human experience. Reading this book is like watching a three-dimensional person gradually unfurl from a mouldy seed, almost the personal equivalent of the Big Bang.

This book differs from any other I have read on the subject in that it includes a sharp critique of self and motive, not only of the subjective variety, but also with an incisive academic clarity. Whittle challenges and analyses what the process actually means, personally, socially, and comparatively.

---

I contacted Professor Whittle to tell him of this post and he emailed back with this reply. I know he will be reading the post, so if anyone wishes to reply I suggest you add it as a comment below:

Working with Will Self on this project was an opportunity to say something, but out of the context of an autobiography which I have always said I will never write, as I simply would feel unable to tell the full truth. about everything.

Will was entirely an object of glamour on his visits to my family. Every single one of us; my wife, the children, the au pair and myself, fell madly in love with him. His manner was so open, and so inviting for the confession, yet we trusted him completely. I felt no qualms about confessing all to him and knew he would do what was right. I truly enjoy the writing of my words, and know that for many trans men like me it has been an important part of their self evaluation.

The book caused me some considerable personal problems. My mother and siblings hated it, for the inclusion of their names - they did not want people to know they were associated with me. My mother hated what she called the lies about my father, but she was truly astonished to ultimately discover that he was a fantasist and liar. So were we all.  We realised his wartime stories had  all been told to us individually and alone, and as an apparent privilege that was ours and ours alone. But he had embellished them in ways which were totally fantasy, I knew about his apparent role in the D Day landings, my sister knew about his apparent role as one of the troops who entered Belsen, and so on, for each of us it was different. Yet we were to discover that he had never been in the army other than when doing National Service after the war.

For some time, my relationship with my birth family was very difficult. I was angry with my mother for ruining my vision of my father, and she was angry with the lies. She wrote to me a letter in which she said "It was the 1970s, it was difficult, I fed and clothed you, what more did you want?". I thought about the fact that she had never mentioned love, but it also forced me to think back to what the 1950s to 1970s were like, and I acknowledged that bringing up 5 children must have been very difficult, and probably too difficult to allow much love to enter the equation.  I wrote back saying I loved her, and gradually we got on an even footing, again but my youngest brother has never forgiven me for my part in Perfidious man.

As for Will, we still all love and adore him, and I was honoured to work with him on this project.

Read more about Stephen Whittle at Wiki.
Read an interview with Stephen Whittle here.
Find out more about Will Self here.
Pick up a second hand copy of the book here.
Or a new copy here.

Guns, Germs and Steel

Mel O'Dea is an artist (painter) and a human rights defender. She has been the latter for 20 years, starting with the Anti-apartheid movement in the late Eighties. Mel's initial career was in the sciences, developing microprocessor devices for University College Cork. She dropped out of four degree courses, but is aiming to start a degree in politics, philosophy and economics with the open university this year. Her campaigning interests are basic human rights, fair trade policy, debt cancellation and global climate change.

Guns, Germs and Steel Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond is an examination of the differences between races and cultures, and why they occur. The book is particularly important as it argues virulently and convincingly against 'social darwinist' or 'racist' explanations of difference, and offers instead a reasoned argument that refutes any notion of societies or cultures being in some way 'inherently superior or inferior'. The arguments are important, particularly when examining certain of the attitudes towards the world's indigenous communities, and the often stated belief that their rights have to take 'second place' when competing with loggers, miners etc.. The book celebrates difference, and explains difference in a way that values it, rather than seeing difference as an intrinsic part of a 'necessary social hierarchy'. The book brings together both history and science, is excellently researched, and puts across its arguments in a rigorous, lively and well informed manner. I would recommend it to anyone who seeks to understand both difference and its ultimate value, and who seeks a real alternative to ideas of inherent superiority, whether put forth by 'racists' or by ideas such as the New American century.

A concise Chinese~English dictionary for lovers

Anita Collins is a full time nurse, book, internet and journal writing junkie. She lives in Ireland and has two sons, one of whom has just flown the nest. Anita says that she has a book in EVERY room in the house, that a day without words is a day wasted, and that a girl can never have enough jewellery.

Chin_eng I bought this book thinking it was for people who loved Chinese culture, and wanted help with the language! - How naive :)
It is a charming read, funny and touching in parts. The story is about a Chinese girl who comes to London to learn English, and struggles with it. People cannot pronounce her name. Then she meets an older man, falls in love and realizes that love is even trickier than language. :) I'm a sucker for any Chinese author, and this girl really delivered.
I read the book in one evening.

Free Book Friday II

The second Free Book Friday brings you Seth Godin's - The Bootstrapper's Bible.
8.01.BootstrappersBible Seth Godin is a marketing/internet Guru, whose blog is one of the top ten most read blogs in the world. Seth describes himself as "a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change. He is author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world. His most recent titles include The Dip and Meatball Sundae. Free Prize Inside was published in early May, 2004 and All Marketers Are Liars was published in 2005. His books that have been bestsellers around the world and changed the way people think about marketing, change and work. Permission Marketing was an Amazon.com Top 100 bestseller for a year, a Fortune Best Business Book and it spent four months on the Business Week bestseller list. It also appeared on the New York Times business book bestseller list."
The Bootstrapper's Bible is a must for anyone even vaguely interested in starting a business. It looks at the essentials of all trades and reveals in the power of the small over the large.

  • Go here to download the book.
  • To read Seth’s blog go here.
  • Here is a site that will tell you more about Seth Godin.
  • Go here to see Squidoo a company set up by Seth.

The Modern Antiquarian

Anthony Delgrado sometimes works at bluechrome and generally reads a lot of books.
Bluechrome webite
Bluechrome blog

Modern antiquarianWhat makes England great, has provided the drive to create and lose a lot of pink off the atlas, the attribute that has confused the rest of the world over the centuries, is our propensity for producing nutters. The way in which each generation throws up wide-eyed eccentrics, who understand that despite a lack of knowledge, experience or talent, they really are the people to do something fantastically off the wall and unexpected, and despite the odds stacked against them, do just that.

One such loony-tune, is the sometime popstar, druid and toy collector, ‘Saint’ Julian Cope, who having spent 15 years trying his best to destroy an acid-fried music career, decided that he was the man most qualified to put together the definitive guide to the prehistoric/megalithic sites of Britain. After eight years of travelling the country, this he finally did when the The Modern Antiquarian was published in the late nineties, and quite naturally it became regarded as one of the most complete guides in existence.

The book is mammoth, with the meat being a gazetteer of 300+ sites, but that is only half of the attraction. What makes this truly special and the one book I’ll read for the rest of my life, is the section where Cope outlines his theories on the Romans, Christianity and the myths, religions and people that came before. It is a beautifully off-key and unique book, lovingly produced (though at 400+ pages and coming in a slipcase, perhaps not one for the rucksack if you are going to use it as a guide) and no doubt useful if you want to know the grid reference for a pile of stones in Islay.

Most of all it is utterly barking and clearly the product of an obsessive and damaged mind. Total genius.

  • Go here to find out more about Julian Cope's amazing career as musician and writer.
  • This site was set up by Julian Cope to support the book and his research.
  • See Julian Cope singing live here.
  • Buy the The Modern Antiquarian
  • Go here to submit your own OneBook.
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