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Adults Good Reads

This page contains a selection good reading fiction and non fiction recommendations for adults.
Updated: 11/04/2014 4:11 p.m.

The list of good reads is arranged by category, fiction and non fiction.  Links in the Resources column on the right of this page will take you to the beginning of each category.

 

Fiction

Picture of The Ocean at the End of the Lane book cover.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

by Neil Gaiman

Fantasy

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy. A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out.

Picture of Americanah book cover.

Americanah

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

General

As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu, beautiful and self-assured, departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze, quiet and thoughtful, had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passions for their homeland and each other, they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.

Picture of A Tale for the Time Being book cover.

A Tale for the Time Being

by Ruth Ozeki

General

Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes and dreams of a young girl. She suspects it might have arrived on a drift of debris from the 2011 tsunami. With every turn of the page, she is sucked deeper into an enchanting mystery. In a small cafe in Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao Yasutani is navigating the challenges thrown up by modern life. In the face of cyberbullying, the mysteries of a 104-year-old Buddhist nun and great-grandmother, and the joy and heartbreak of family, Nao is trying to find her own place and voice through a diary she hopes will find a reader and friend who finally understands her. Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker prize.

Picture of The Burgess Boys book cover.

The Burgess Boys

by Elizabeth Strout

General

Jim Burgess, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolises Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever. Another masterpiece from the acclaimed author of "Olive Kitteridge".

Picture of The Testament of Mary book cover.

The Testament of Mary

by Colm Toibin

General

In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son's crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was “worth it”; nor that the "group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye," were holy disciples. Mary judges herself ruthlessly (she did not stay at the foot of the Cross until her son died -- she fled, to save herself), and is equally harsh on her judgement of others. This woman who we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone. Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker prize.

Picture of The Lowland book cover.

The Lowland

by Jhumpa Lahiri

General

Udayan, charismatic and impulsive, finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty. He will give everything, risk all, for what he believes, and in doing so will transform the futures of those dearest to him: his pregnant wife, his brother and their parents. For all of them, the repercussions of his actions will reverberate across continents and seep through the generations that follow. Epic in its canvas and intimate in its portrayal of lives undone and forged anew, The Lowland is a deeply felt novel of family ties that entangle and fray in ways unforeseen and unrevealed, of ties that ineluctably define who we are. Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker prize.

Picture of We Need New Names book cover.

We Need New Names

by NoViolet Bulawayo

General

Darling and her friends live in Zimbabwe in a shanty called Paradise, which of course is no such thing. It isn't all bad, though. There's mischief and adventure, games of Find bin Laden, stealing guavas, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices. They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges, both for her and also for those she's left behind. Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker prize.

Picture of Harvest Book cover.

Harvest

by Jim Crace

History

As late summer steals in and the final pearls of barley are gleaned, a village comes under threat. A trio of outsiders, two men and a dangerously magnetic woman, arrives on the woodland borders and puts up a make-shift camp. That same night, the local manor house is set on fire. Over the course of seven days, Walter Thirsk sees his hamlet unmade: the harvest blackened by smoke and fear, the new arrivals cruelly punished, and his neighbours held captive on suspicion of witchcraft. But something even darker is at the heart of his story. Harvest evokes the tragedy of land pillaged and communities scattered, as England's fields are irrevocably enclosed. Timeless yet singular, mythical yet deeply personal, this beautiful novel of one man and his unnamed village speaks for a way of life lost for ever. Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker prize.

Picture of The Luminaries book cover.

The Luminaries

by Eleanor Catton

NZ Fiction

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. Winner of the 2013 Man Booker prize.

Picture of The Secret Life of James Cook book cover.

The Secret Life of James Cook

by Graeme Lay

NZ Fiction

This novel depicts Captain James Cook's early life and ambitions, his naval career in Canada and beyond and his marriage to Elizabeth and their family life. Drawing on his deep knowledge of the South Pacific and Australasia, novelist Graeme Lay recreates the peerless navigator's life up to, and including, his first circumnavigation of the world. In particular, Graeme imagines the relationship between James and his equally remarkable wife, Elizabeth, the woman he married when he was 34 and she 21, and by whom he had six children, all born while he was away at sea. “The Secret Life of James Cook” also depicts an often stormy relationship between Cook and the dashing and privileged naturalist, Joseph Banks, who accompanied Cook on his first world voyage.

 

Non-Fiction

Picture of Kangaroo Dundee book cover.

Kangaroo Dundee

by Chris Barns

Call No: 920 BAR BAR

Biography

Chris Barns, aka Brolga, star of BBC series Kangaroo Dundee, lives in a simple tin shed in the outback where he raises orphaned baby kangaroos whose mothers have been killed on the road, their young still tucked up in their pouches. These young joeys are given a second chance thanks to the kindness and dedication of Brolga, who carefully retrieves them and nurses them back to health. Brolga has been rescuing these special creatures for years, slowly and painstakingly creating a kangaroo sanctuary for the many kangaroos he has saved, reared and loved. He has dedicated his life to observing how kangaroo mums care for their babies and does everything he can to replicate this.

Picture of Mildred on the Marne book cover.

Mildred on the Marne

Mildred Aldrich, frontline witness 1914-18

by David Slattery-Christy

Call No: 940.421 SLA

Biography

This is the story of 61-year-old Mildred Aldrich and her experiences of the Great War. She retired to a small hill-top house called La Creste in February 1914, with views across the Marne river and valley, little realising she would become embroiled in the first major battle of the war. In spite of the danger she decided to stay and help the British soldiers. Her home was for a few days behind German lines but the British pushed the Germans into retreat and La Creste remained in British territory for the duration.

Picture of The Hero of Budapest book cover.

The Hero of Budapest

The triumph and tragedy of Raoul Wallenberg

by Bengt Jangfeldt

Call No: 940.531 JAN

Biography

The story of Raoul Wallenberg - the Swedish businessman who, at immense personal risk, rescued many of Budapest's Jews from the Holocaust and subsequently disappeared into the Soviet prison system - is one of the most fascinating episodes of World War II. Yet the complete story of his life and fate can only be told now (and for the first time in this book) following access to the Russian and Swedish archival sources, previously not used. This is a thrilling tale of intrigue, espionage and heroism which will captivate all readers of modern European history.

Picture of Arik book cover.

Arik

The life of Ariel Sharon

by David Landau

Call No: 923.2 SHA LAN

Biography

As a general and as a politician, Sharon championed the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. But as prime minister, he performed a dramatic reversal: orchestrating Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Landau brilliantly chronicles Sharon's surprising about-face, combining the immediacy of first-hand reportage with the analysis and independent insight of a historian's perspective. The result is a complex and compelling portrait of Sharon that forces the reader to reevaluate his or her preconceived notions. Ariel Sharon's contribution to the Israeli state, as a leader and a military hero, are enormous. But Landau has found a way to make his life comprehensible and thought-provoking.

Picture of Body Counts book cover.

Body Counts

A memoir of politics, sex, AIDS and survival

by Sean O'Brien Strub

Call No: 362.196 STR STR

Biography

Social Issues
Sean Strub, founder of the groundbreaking POZ magazine, producer of the hit play The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, and the first openly HIV-positive candidate for U.S. Con­gress, charts his remarkable life: a story of gay politics and AIDS and a powerful testament to loss, hope, and survival.
From the New York of Studio 54 and Andy Warhol's Factory to the intersection of politics and burgeoning LGBT and AIDS movements, Strub's story crackles with history. Body Counts is a vivid portrait of a tumultuous era, with an astonishing cast of characters, including Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Keith Haring, Bill Clinton, and Yoko Ono.

Picture of Call Me Burroughs boo cover.

Call Me Burroughs

A life

by Barry Miles

Call No: 928 BUR BUR

Biography

An acclaimed biographer presents an overview of the life and cultural legacy of the American novelist who was an original member of the Beat Movement and became a countercultural icon in the 1960s after the publication of his seminal novel, Naked Lunch. Fifty years ago, Norman Mailer asserted, "William Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius." Few since have taken such literary risks, developed such individual political or spiritual ideas, or spanned such a wide range of media.

Picture of Pat and Dick book cover.

Pat and Dick

The Nixons, an intimate portrait of a marriage

by Will Swift

Call No: 923.1 NIX SWI

Biography

When Americans remember the controversial Nixons, they usually focus on the political triumphs, the turbulent White House years, and the humiliating public downfall. But a very different image of the polarizing president emerges in this fascinating portrait of his relationship with Pat. Now, the couple's recently released love letters and other private documents reveal that as surely as unremitting adversity can fray the fabric of a marriage, devotion can propel it to surmount disgrace and defeat.

Picture of Bertolt Brecht book cover.

Bertolt Brecht

A literary life

by Stephen Parker

Call No: 928 BRE PAR

Biography

Drawing on letters, diaries and unpublished material, Parker offers a rich and enthralling account of Brecht's life and work, viewed through the prism of the artist. Tracing his extraordinary life, from his formative years in Augsburg, through the First World War, his politicisation during the Weimar Republic and his years of exile, up to the Berliner Ensemble's dazzling productions in Paris and London, Parker shows how Brecht achieved his transformative effect upon world theatre and poetry.

Picture of Cathedral of the Wild book cover.

Cathedral of the Wild

An African journey home

by Boyd Varty

Call No: 920 VAR VAR

Biography

Founded more than eighty years ago as a hunting ground, Londolozi was transformed into a nature reserve beginning in 1973 by Varty's father and uncle, visionaries of the restoration movement. As well as a sanctuary for the animals, it was also a place for ravaged land to flourish again and for the human spirit to be restored. 'Cathedral of the Wild' is Varty's memoir of his life in this exquisite and vast refuge. It was there that young Boyd and his equally adventurous sister learned to track animals, raised leopard and lion cubs, followed their larger-than-life uncle on his many adventures filming wildlife, and became one with the land.

Picture of The Frackers book cover.

The Frackers

The outrageous inside story of the new billionaire wildcatters

by Gregory Zuckerman

Call No: 338.762 ZUC

Business

By experimenting with hydraulic fracturing through extremely dense shale (a process now known as fracking), the wildcatters started a revolution. In just a few years, they solved America's dependence on imported energy, triggered a global environmental controversy, made and lost astonishing fortunes. Zuckerman's exclusive access enabled him to get close to the frackers and chronicle the untold story of how they transformed the nation and the world. The result is a dramatic narrative tracking a brutal competition among headstrong drillers as well as the story of the angry opposition unleashed by this revolution and explores just how dangerous fracking really is.

Picture of Dance With Me book cover.

Dance With Me

Ballroom dancing and the promise of instant intimacy

by Julia E Ericksen

Call No: 793.33 ERI

Dance

Amateur and professional ballroom dancers alike compete in a highly gendered display of intimacy, romance and sexual passion. In Dance With Me, Julia Ericksen, a competitive ballroom dancer herself, takes the reader onto the competition floor and into the lights and the glamour of a world of tanned bodies and glittering attire, exploring the allure of this hyper-competitive, difficult, and often expensive activity. Dancers press their bodies against those of strangers in ways that would be outrageous in the outside world, and while masculinity and dancing are thought to be incompatible and men who dance find their gender and sexuality suspect, dancers tell a story of heterosexual intimacy and desire; they aim for a moment when they dance as one.

Picture of Red Nile book cover.

Red Nile

A biography of the world's greatest river

by Robert Twigger

Call No: 962 TWI

History

So much begins on the banks of the Nile: all religion, all life, all stories, the script we write in, the language we speak, the gods, the legends and the names of stars. This mighty river that flows through a quarter of all Africa has been history's greatest and most sustained creator. In this dazzling, idiosyncratic journey from ancient times to the Arab Spring, Robert Twigger weaves a Nile narrative like no other. Along the way we meet crocodiles and caliphs, nineteenth-century adventurers and twentieth-century novelists, biblical prophets and classical lovers, dam-builders and crusaders.

Picture of Flight by Elephant book cover.

Flight by Elephant

The untold story of World War Two's most daring jungle rescue

by Andrew Martin

Call No: 940.542 MAR

History

In the summer of 1942, Gyles Mackrell, a decorated First World War pilot and tea plantation overseer, performed a series of heroic rescues in the hellish jungles of Japanese-occupied Burma - with the aid of twenty elephants.  Entering the 'green hell' of the Chaukan Pass on the border of North Burma and Assam, Mackrell and a team of elephant riders rescued Indian army soldiers, British civilians and their Indian servants, from the pursuing Japanese, directing the elephants through jungle passes and raging rivers, and territory infested with sand flies, mosquitoes and innumerable leeches. Those he saved were all on the point of death from starvation or fever.

Picture of Magniificent Delusions book cover.

Magnificent Delusions

Pakistan, the United States and an epic history of misunderstanding

by Hussain Haqqani

Call No: 327.730549 HAQ

History

Pakistan (to American eyes) has gone from being a quirky irrelevance, to a stabilizing friend, to an essential military ally, to a seedbed of terror. America (to Pakistani eyes) has been a guarantee of security, a coldly distant scold, an enthusiastic military enabler and is now a threat to national security and a source of humiliation. The countries are not merely at odds. Each believes it can play the other - with sometimes absurd, sometimes tragic, results. Husain Haqqani has a unique insight into Pakistan, his homeland, and America, where he was ambassador and is now a professor at Boston University. His life has mapped the relationship of the two countries and he has found himself often close to the heart of it.

Picture of 1914 Poetry Remembers book cover.

1914

Poetry remembers

by Carol Ann Duffy

Call No: 821.912 NIN

Literature

To mark the centenary of the First World War in 2014, the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has engaged the most eminent poets of the present to choose the writing from the Great War that touched them most profoundly: their choices are here in this powerful and moving assembly. In addition, the anthology includes specially commissioned poems by these same poets of the present to look back across the past and write a poem of their own in response to the war to end all wars.

Picture of My Life in Middlemarch book cover.

My Life in Middlemarch

by Rebecca Mead

Call No: 920 MEA MEA

Literature

Employing a structure that deftly mirrors that of the novel, 'My Life in Middlemarch' takes the themes of George Eliot's masterpiece (the complexity of love, the meaning of marriage, the foundations of morality, and the drama of aspiration and failure) and brings them into our world. Offering both a fascinating reading of Eliot's biography and an exploration of the way aspects of Mead's life uncannily echo that of Eliot herself, My Life in Middlemarch is for every ardent lover of literature who cares about why we read books, and how they read us.

Picture of Mo Meta Blues book cover.

Mo' Meta Blues

The world according to Questlove

by Questlove

Call No: 782.421 QUE QUE

Music

A punch-drunk memoir in which first-time author 'Questlove' Thompson, cofounder and drummer of the Roots, tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture. 

Picture of Moments That Made the Movies book cover.

Moments That Made the Movies

by David Thomson

Call No: 791.437 THO

Performing Arts

Moments takes readers on an unprecedented visual tour, where the specifics of the imagery the reader is seeing are inextricably tied to the text. Thomson s moments range from a set of Eadweard Muybridge s pioneering photographs to sequences in films from the classic Citizen Kane, Sunset Boulevard, The Red Shoes to the unexpected The Piano Teacher, Burn After Reading. The excitement of Moments' dynamic visuals will be matched only by the discussion it incites in film circles, as readers revisit their own list of memorable moments and then re-experience the films.

Picture of Drama High book cover.

Drama High

The incredible story of a brilliant teacher, a struggling town and the magic of theatre

by Michael Y. Sokolove

Call No: 370.92 VOL SOK

Performing Arts

Education
'Friday Night Lights' meets 'Glee' - the incredible and true story of an extraordinary drama teacher who has changed the lives of thousands of students and inspired a town. Broadway turns to Truman High when trying out controversial shows like 'Rent' and 'Spring Awakening' before they move on to high school theater programs across the nation. Volpe's students from this blue-collar town go on to become Emmy-winning producers, entertainment executives, newscasters and community-theatre founders.

Picture of Just Babies book cover.

Just Babies

The origins of good and evil

by Paul Bloom

Call No: 155.418 BLO

Psychology

Bloom rejects the fashionable view that our moral decisions are driven mainly by gut feelings and unconscious biases. Just as reason has driven our great scientific discoveries, he argues, it is reason and deliberation that makes possible our moral discoveries, such as the wrongness of slavery. Ultimately, it is through our imagination, our compassion, and our uniquely human capacity for rational thought that we can transcend the primitive sense of morality we were born with, becoming more than just babies

Picture of Neutrino Hunters book cover.

Neutrino Hunters

The thrilling chase for a ghostly particle to unlock the secrets of the universe

by Ray Jayawardhana

Call No: 523.019 JAY

Science and Nature

In 'Neutrino Hunters,' the renowned astrophysicist and award-winning writer Ray Jayawardhana takes us on a thrilling journey into the shadowy world of neutrinos and the colorful lives of those who seek them. Demystifying particle science along the way, Jayawardhana tells a detective story with cosmic implications - interweaving tales of the sharp-witted theorist Wolfgang Pauli; the troubled genius Ettore Majorana; the harbinger of the atomic age Enrico Fermi; the notorious Cold War defector Bruno Pontecorvo; and the dynamic dream team of Marie and Pierre Curie. Then there are the scientists of today who have caught the neutrino bug and their investigations ranging from Olympic-size pools deep underground to a gigantic cube of Antarctic ice - called, naturally, IceCube. 

Picture of Naturalists at Sea book cover.

Naturalists at Sea

Scientific travellers from Dampier to Darwin

by Glyndwr Williams

Call No: 508 WIL

Science and Nature

On the great Pacific discovery expeditions of the "long eighteenth century", naturalists for the first time were commonly found aboard ships sailing forth from European ports. Lured by intoxicating opportunities to discover exotic and perhaps lucrative flora and fauna unknown at home, these men set out eagerly to collect and catalogue, study and document an uncharted natural world. This enthralling book describes the adventures and misadventures, discoveries and dangers of this devoted and sometimes eccentric band of explorer-scholars, among them Louis Antoine de Bougainville, Joseph Banks, John Reinhold Forster, Captain Cook and Charles Darwin.

Picture of The Explorer Gene book cover.

The Explorer Gene

How three generations of one family went higher, deeper and further than any before

by Thomas Cheshire

Call No: 910.922 CHE

Sports and Games

On 27 May 1931, Auguste Piccard became the first human to enter the stratosphere, flying an experimental balloon he invented himself. Thirty years later, his son Jacques went to the bottom of the earth, descending to the Mariana Trench in a submarine built by him and Auguste. To this day, no one has gone deeper. Bertrand, the third generation, was the first person to fly around the world non-stop in a balloon. Now, he's building his own craft: a solar-powered plane to circumnavigate the globe. Author Tom Cheshire asks how three generations of one family achieved such extraordinary feats, often with the consensus against them.

Picture of Cycle of Lies book cover.

Cycle of Lies

The fall of Lance Armstrong

by Juliet Macur

Call No: 796.6092 ARM MAC

Sports and Games

As Lance Armstrong's precipitous fall from grace continues, New York Times sports reporter Juliet Macur takes the reader behind the scenes to bring to life the astonishing twists and turns of the scandal that has rocked the world of cycling. With unprecedented access to the key players in the drama - from Armstrong's fellow cyclists and top cycling officials to doctors, trainers and wives - 'Cycle of Lies' reveals how Armstrong built a fortress of people around him to protect his image and upend the lives of anybody who stood in his way. Macur then widens the focus to expose corruption at all levels of the sport in a thrilling, page-turning work of contemporary narrative history.

Picture of An Astronoaut's Guide to Life on Earth book cover.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

by Chris Hadfield

Call No: 629.450 HAD

Technology

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft, and become a YouTube sensation with his performance of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' in space. The secret to Chris Hadfield's success (and survival) is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst - and enjoy every moment of it.

Picture of Snake Dance book cover.

Snake Dance

Journeys beneath a nuclear sky

by Patrick Marnham

Call No: 355.021 MAR

Technology

The terrifying first use of nuclear weapons over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 was the most controversial act of warfare in history, dramatically ending the Second World War but ushering in the age of mass destruction. Yet it was also the culmination of decades of scientific achievement and centuries of colonial exploitation. Snake Dance is the account of a journey that turned into a quest to discover how humanity reaches this point. He moves from the colonial exploitation of the Congo to New Mexico, where the atom bomb was developed and Native Americans performed a snake dance to harness the power of lightning, and then finally full circle to Japan and Fukushima.

Picture of Cold book cover.

Cold

Extreme adventures at the lowest temperatures on Earth

by Ranulph Fiennes

Call No: 919.8 FIE

Travel

This remarkable book reveals the chequered history of man's attempts to discover and understand these remote areas of the planet, from the early voyages of discovery of Cook, Ross, Weddell, Amundsen, Shackleton and Franklin to Sir Ranulph's own extraordinary feats; from his adventuring apprenticeship on the Greenland Ice Cap, to masterminding over the past 5 years the first crossing of the Antarctic during winter, where temperatures regularly plummeted to minus 92°C. Both historically questioning and intensely personal, Cold is a celebration of a life dedicated to researching and exploring some of the most hostile and brutally cold places on earth.

Picture of The Golden Shore book cover.

The Golden Shore

California's love affair with the sea

by David Helvarg

Call No: 917.94 HEL

Travel

From the first human settlements to the latest marine explorations, 'The Golden Shore' tells the tale of the history, culture, and changing nature of California's coasts and ocean. Helvarg takes the reader on both a geographic and literary journey along the 1,100-mile Pacific coastline from the Oregon border to the San Diego/Tijuana international border fence and out into its whale, seal, and shark infested offshore seamounts, rock isles, and kelp forests. The book captures the spirit of the Californian coast, its mythic place in American culture and its deep connection with an ever-changing sea.

Picture of The Nomad's Path book cover.

The Nomad's Path

Travels in the Sahel

by Alistair Carr

Call No: 916.6 CAR

Travel

This is a beautifully-rendered account of a journey across the inhospitable Manga region at a time of Tuareg insurgency in 2004 and 2008. Carr sets out to explore the centuries-old link between the Barbary Coast and the Sahel along the Old Salt Road, while conjuring to life a lost wilderness and those who survive within it. At its heart is the story of a daring journey across the Sahel with the Tubu nomads. With tales of rebellion, lost civilisations, explorers - both intrepid and eccentric - and an epic seventeenth-century odyssey, Carr captures a sense of the intangible nature of the Sahel and delivers an evocative portrait of the Tubu - a people living on the tide-line of the Sahara and the edge of the world.

Picture of The Train in Spain book cover.

The Train in Spain

by Christopher Howse

Call No: 914.6 HOW

Travel

This is not a book about trains but about the variety of Spain. The bestselling author Christopher Howse makes ten great railway journeys that explore the interior of the peninsula, its astonishing landscapes and ancient buildings. The focus is the way the Spanish live now: their habits, streets, characters, stories - and quite a bit about their eating and drinking. An entertaining exploration of a much-loved country, The Train in Spain gives a fascinating and entirely original portrait of a strange land at a time of great change.

Picture of Chasing Shackleton book cover.

Chasing Shackleton

Recreating the world's greatest journey of survival

by Tim Jarvis

Call No: 919.8904 JAR

Travel

Using authentic period clothing, equipment, and rations, and sailing a precise replica of Shackleton's small, keel-less boat, explorer Tim Jarvis leads a six-man crew in an attempt to re-create Shackleton's historic crossings for the first time. A veteran of Antarctica's breathtaking frozen wastes, Jarvis finds himself facing one of the most dangerous journeys ever willingly undertaken, quickly gaining a firsthand appreciation for the extraordinary challenges that Shackleton overcame. While documenting the devastating impact a century of climate change has had on the region's ice caps and glaciers, the trek proves to be a relentless struggle against poor odds and inhospitable condition.

Picture of A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel book cover.

A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel

Murder, money and en epic power struggle in China

by Pin He

Call No: 364.132 HE

True Crime

The downfall of Bo Xilai in China was more than a darkly thrilling mystery. It revealed a cataclysmic internal power struggle between Communist Party factions, one that reached all the way to China's new president Xi Jinping. The scandalous story of the corruption of the Bo Xilai family: the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood; Bo's secret lovers; the secret maneuverings of Bo's supporters; the hasty trial and sentencing of Gu Kailai, Bo's wife that was just the first rumble of a seismic power struggle which continues to rock the very foundation of China's all-powerful Communist Party.

Picture of Did She Kill Him book cover

Did She Kill Him?

A Victorian tale of deception, adultery and arsenic

by Kate Colquhoun

Call No: 364.152 COL

True Crime

In the summer of 1889, young Southern belle Florence Maybrick stood trial for the alleged arsenic poisoning of her much older husband, Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick. 'The Maybrick Mystery' had all the makings of a sensation: a pretty, flirtatious young girl; resentful, gossiping servants; rumours of gambling and debt; and torrid mutual infidelity. The case cracked the varnish of Victorian respectability, shocking and exciting the public in equal measure as they clambered to read the latest revelations of Florence's past. Historian Kate Colquhoun recounts an utterly absorbing tale of addiction, deception and adultery that keeps you asking to the very last page, did she kill him?
 

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