August 2022 Books Monthly Review of books and stories magazine - on the web 24 years...
books monthly
Some great new nonfiction books coming in the next few months

 


Contents: The Front Page | Fiction | Fantasy & Science Fiction | Children's | Nonfiction | Nostalgia | The Silent Three | The Four Marys
Growing Up in the 1950s | Pen and Sword Books | Living with Skipper | Acker Bilk Album Sleeve Notes | The Back Page | Email






Becky Smethurst: A Brief HIstory of Black Holes

 Published 1st September 2022

Right now, you are orbiting a black hole.

The Earth goes around the Sun, and the Sun goes around the centre of the Milky Way: a supermassive black hole – the strangest and most misunderstood phenomenon in the galaxy.

In 
A Brief History of Black Holes University of Oxford astrophysicist, Dr Becky Smethurst charts the scientific breakthroughs that have uncovered the weird and wonderful world of black holes, from the collapse of massive stars to the iconic first photographs of a black hole in 2019.

A cosmic tale of discovery, you’ll learn: why black holes aren’t really ‘black’, that you never ever want to be ‘spaghettified’, how black holes are more like sofa cushions than hoovers, and why beyond the event horizon, the future is a direction in space rather than in time. Full of wit and learning, this captivating book explains why black holes contain the secrets to the most profound questions about our universe.


Matthew Ball: The Metaverse

 Published 19th July 2022

From the leading theorist of the Metaverse comes the definitive account of the next internet: what the Metaverse is, what it will take to build it, and what it means for all of us.

The term “Metaverse” is suddenly everywhere, from the front pages of national newspapers and the latest fashion trends to the plans of the most powerful companies in history. It is already shaping the policy platforms of the US government, the European Union, and the Chinese Communist Party.

But what, exactly, is the Metaverse? As pioneering theorist and venture capitalist Matthew Ball explains, it is a persistent and interconnected network of 3D virtual worlds that will eventually serve as the gateway to most online experiences, and also underpin much of the physical world. For decades, these ideas have been limited to science fiction and video games, but they are now poised to revolutionise every industry and function, from finance and healthcare to education, consumer products, city planning, dating, and well beyond.

Taking us on an expansive tour of the “next internet,” Ball demonstrates that many proto-Metaverses are already here, such as FortniteMinecraft, and Roblox. Yet these offer only a glimpse of what is to come. Ball presents a comprehensive definition of the Metaverse before explaining the technologies that will power it―and the breakthroughs that will be necessary to fully realize it. He addresses the governance challenges the Metaverse entails; investigates the role of Web3, blockchains, and NFTs; and predicts Metaverse winners and losers. Most importantly, he examines many of the Metaverse’s almost unlimited applications.

The internet will no longer be at arm’s length; instead, it will surround us, with much of our lives, labor, and leisure taking place inside the Metaverse. Bringing clarity and authority to a frequently misunderstood concept, Ball foresees trillions of dollars in new value―and the radical reshaping of society.




Paul Sexton: Charlie's Good Night

 Published 15th September 2022

Featuring forewords from bandmates Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, this is the official and fully authorised biography of the world’s most revered and celebrated drummer.

Mid-1962. The newly formed Rolling Stones are on the hunt for a permanent drummer. Their sights are set on Charlie Watts, a jazz musician already well-known within London’s rhythm and blues clubs. Fortunately for future Stones fans the world over, they persuade him to take on the job.

Once installed at the drum seat, Charlie would not miss a beat for the rest of his life. He was there throughout the swinging sixties as the Stones reached superstardom and for the well-documented debauchery of the 1970s, typified by the iconic album Exile on Main St. Battling his own demons by the eighties, Charlie emerged unscathed, cementing his reputation as the thoughtful, cultured but no less compelling counterpoint to his more raucous bandmates.

For almost 60 years – through all the band bust-ups, bereavements and changes in personnel both on stage and off – Charlie remained the rock at the heart of the Rolling Stones. At the same time, he was the antithesis of the rock-star archetype, an intensely private man who valued his family above all else.

Drawing on new interviews with his family, friends and former bandmates – including Mick Jagger and Keith Richards  Charlie’s Good Tonight is the remarkable life story of Charlie Watts: official, authorised and as it’s never been told before.







Rebecca Wilson: Fast Family Food

 Published 15th September 2022

Rebecca Wilson shares a whole new range of simple, healthy and delicious everyday meals that you can cook with just 10 minutes of prep time.

Rebecca Wilson - the award-winning Sunday Times bestselling author, Instagram sensation and mum behind the phenomenally popular family food account @rebeccawilsonfood is on a mission to show you how to make quick and impressive meals for all the family, even the littlest ones, to all enjoy together!

Packed with recipes for making the most of your slow cooker, stovetop, oven and more.
So whether you need to whip up a quick on-the-go lunch, fill up your freezer with batch-cooking saviours, or enjoy a comforting slow-cooked dinner with your loved ones, Rebecca's ingenious, easy-to-follow and stress-free recipes will soon become your family favourites, asked for time and time again.

Sure to get your tastebuds tingling, this quick and easy cookbook promises:

- Over 100 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
- Features 80-100 all-new photographs
- Every recipe is analysed by paediatric dietitian Lucy Upton of The Feeding Trust
- Includes motivational parenting quotes throughout

Rebecca provides plenty of options to suit all kinds of dietary needs and also shares her top tips for freezing and reheating meals, how to keep children entertained while you prep, and how to guide your child through their weaning journey so that you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time together around the table. All recipes featured throughout this comfort cookbook are suitable for young children from six months, and are irresistible for older siblings and adults too.

Rebecca's philosophy is that parents and carers can wean their babies, introducing them to a variety of new foods, whilst sharing the same meals alongside them. This means parents and carers can cook just once for the entire family, no matter what age the little ones are. A must-have cookbook for mums and family cooks looking for healthy meals to nurture their young family, as well as environment-conscious shoppers who want to enjoy convenience foods but without having to worry about plastic consumption, additives and other nasties found in mass-produced baby foods.



Cinzia Baylis-Zullo & Sophia Tuxford: The Girls' Bathroom

 Published 4th August 2022

ALL THE LIFE ADVICE AND UPLIFTING CHAT YOU'D EXPECT IN THE GIRL'S BATHROOM ON A NIGHT OUT

We all need incredible women in our life to build us up and keep us on track. To give us those tips and tricks we never knew were essential, and to advise us against making the same mistakes again and again.

In 
The Girls Bathroom, Sophia & Cinzia, the girls behind the chart-topping podcast, will supply you with all the girl chat, support and relationship advice you could ever want!

If you need help with:

- Learning how to keep your life organised and together
- Manifesting and achieving your goals
- Keeping your head in the dating world
- Embracing and falling in love with being independent or single
- Finding a healthy lifestyle that works for you
- Enjoying the present and being comfortable in your skin

Then this is the book for you.

Bringing their learnings, experiences and truth to the book, Sophia & Cinzia will show you you're not alone. No topics are off limits.

THIS IS THE ONLY BOOK FOR YOUNG WOMEN FINDING THEIR WAY IN LIFE




Lucy Worsley: A Very Elusive Woman

 Published 8th September 2022

Why did Agatha Christie spend her career pretending that she was 'just' an ordinary housewife, when clearly she wasn't? As Lucy Worsley says, 'She was thrillingly, scintillatingly modern'. She went surfing in Hawaii, she loved fast cars, and she was intrigued by the new science of psychology, which helped her through devastating mental illness.

So why - despite all the evidence to the contrary - did Agatha present herself as a retiring Edwardian lady of leisure?
She was born in 1890 into a world which had its own rules about what women could and couldn't do. Lucy Worsley's biography is not just of an internationally renowned bestselling writer. It's also the story of a person who, despite the obstacles of class and gender, became an astonishingly successful working woman.

With access to personal letters and papers that have rarely been seen, Lucy Worsley's biography is both authoritative and entertaining and makes us realise what an extraordinary pioneer Agatha Christie was - truly a woman who wrote the twentieth century.




Iain MacGregor: The Lighthouse of Stalingrad

 Published 28th July 2022

The sacrifices that enabled the Soviet Union to defeat Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941-45 are sacrosanct. The foundation of their eventual victory was laid during the battle for the city of Stalingrad, resting on the banks of the river Volga. For Germany, the catastrophic defeat was the beginning of their eventual demise that would see the Red Army two years later flying their flag of victory above the Reichstag. Stalingrad is seen as the pivotal battle of the Second World War, with over two million civilians and combatants either killed, wounded or captured during the bitter winter of September 1942. Both sides endured terrible conditions in brutal house-to-house fighting reminiscent of the Great War.

Within this life-and-death struggle for the heart of the city and situated on the frontline was a key strategic building, 
codenamed: 'The Lighthouse'. Here, a small garrison of Red Army guardsmen withstood German aerial bombardments and fought off daily assaults of infantry and armour. Red Army newspaper reports at the time would be seized upon by the Moscow media needing to place a positive spin on the fighting that had at one point looked beyond salvation. By the end of the war, the story of this building would gather further momentum to inspire Russians to rebuild their destroyed towns and cities until it became the legend it is today, renamed after the simple sergeant who had supposedly led the defence - 'Pavlov's House'.

In time for the 
eightieth anniversary, The Lighthouse of Stalingrad will shed fresh insight on this iconic battle through the prism of the men who fought one another over five months and the officers who commanded them. A riveting narrative, informed by both German and Russian archives to unearth unpublished memoirs and eyewitness testimonies from veterans and civilians alike, this book will celebrate the real heroes and provide a truer picture of how this mighty battle finally ended.




Alan Taylor: The Alan Rickmam Diaries

 Published 4th October 2022

Alan Rickman remains one of the most beloved actors of all time across almost every genre, from his breakout role as Die Hard's villainous Hans Gruber to his heart-wrenching run as Professor Severus Snape, and beyond. His air of dignity, his sonorous voice and the knowing wit he brought to each role continue to captivate new audiences today.

But Rickman's artistry wasn't confined to just his performances. Rickman's writing details the extraordinary and the ordinary in a way that is anecdotal, indiscreet, witty, gossipy and utterly candid. He takes us behind the scenes on films and plays ranging from 
Sense & Sensibility, the Harry Potter series, Private Lives, My Name is Rachel Corrie and many more.

The diaries run from 1993 to his death in 2016 and offer insight into both a public and private life. Here is Rickman the consummate professional actor, but also the friend, the traveller, the fan, the director, the enthusiast: in short, the real Alan Rickman. Here is a life fully lived, all detailed in intimate and characteristically plain-spoken prose. Reading the diaries is like listening to Rickman chatting to a close friend.

Madly, Deeply also includes a selection of Rickman's early diaries, dating from 1974 to 1982, when his acting life first began.

The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its 24th year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email at paulenorman1@gmail.com and I'll let you know where to send it.