“I love learning about British history, but sometimes history books can read like lists of battles and famous people, unfortunately. Rather than just recounting events and who killed who, Dan Jones actually talks about the motives behind decisions. He makes the Plantagenets real people. The characterization is much richer than I was expecting from a 600-page book of English history. The author actually does a TV series called Secrets of Great British Castles, I recommend that too.” You can find copies of The Plantagenets on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
“I am reading a history of glam rock by Simon Reynolds, who is a great music historian. He also wrote a book about post punk, Rip It Up and Start Again, which is fantastic. So I was excited to pick it up for that reason and because I think that glam rock is one of the greatest musical movements of all time. It was a reaction to prog rock where everything had to be ten minutes long, and artists like David Bowie said: boom, we want to do three-minute pop songs. There was of course glitter, makeup, it was very androgynous. The book is very in-depth, covering T. Rex, David Bowie, Slade, The Sweet, Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop. It’s amazing.” You can find copies of Shock and Awe on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Goldenhand by Garth Nix
“I’m a big fan of Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series, so I’m very excited to finally get to read the fifth book, which just came out and was very highly anticipated. I’ll probably read it in a day or so. I tried to avoid finding out too much about it in advance because I learned too much about the last book, Clariel, before it came out and I want this experience to be more of a surprise. But I expect Goldenhand, like the rest of the series, to be dark and exciting, with lots of really great strong female characters. Garth Nix’s writing style is so universally appealing and so easy to read. Boys and girls alike will enjoy it because of the strong characters of both sexes.” You can find copies of Goldenhand on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains and Ourselves by Benjamin K. Bergen
“It turns out that a lot of the previous studies concluding that cursing is harmful are actually untrue. Cursing relieves aggression rather than being the cause of a lot of aggression, as was previously believed. A lot of people who are not afraid of using taboo words tend to be more thoughtful and open-minded. I’m finding What the F super fascinating. It talks about the different origins of swear words–origins in religion, origins in slurs for certain types of people, origins in sex and body parts. Slurs are a particularly interesting, dark category because they have an effect on the people who hear them as well as the people who use them. Just hearing or seeing a slur can make people less sympathetic and more prejudiced against the targeted group. But, aside from slurs, most swear words are less harmful than people think they are.” You can find copies of What the F on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
The Stanley Kubrick Archives by Alison Castle
“I’m learning a lot about how Stanley Kubrick made his movies from The Stanley Kubrick Archives. It gives you lots of interviews about people who worked closely with Stanley Kubrick. I don’t think he gave a lot of interviews, I really haven’t seen many outside this book, so that’s what’s most interesting about it for me. It’s got a good balance of pictures and text as well.” You can find copies of The Stanley Kubrick Archives on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.