September marks the start of a big season of book launches, and we at Team Booko can’t be more excited. In recent years I have found myself drawn more and more to nonfiction, excited by the range on offer – not only are there instructional books ready to help you pick up new skills, there are also gorgeous pictorial works to inspire dreams; and many real-life stories that are fascinating, dramatic and uplifting. Here are some of our favourite nonfiction titles for this year (so far), including a few new releases that are destined to be bestsellers.
Together: Our Community Cookbook by The Hubb Community Kitchen (with foreword by HRH The Duchess of Sussex)
Combine the star power of the newlywed Duchess of Sussex (aka Meghan Markle), a worthy cause (supporting a community kitchen founded by survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire), and a life-affirming message (celebrating the nurturing qualities of cooking and eating together), and you get an instant bestseller. Together: Our Community Cookbook shares over 50 delicious recipes from around the world, of homestyle dishes that helped this group of women, and their families, retain a sense of normality and home, after the devastating Grenfell Tower fire. Profits from this book will help The Hubb Community Kitchen reach out to more vulnerable people through the cooking and sharing of food.
Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon by Iris Apfel
Even if you don’t recognise Iris Apfel by name, you will probably recognise her round glasses, bold jewellery and colourful outfits. Her distinctive, joyous style has made her a fashion icon late in life – she describes herself as a “geriatric starlet” – as well as an inspiration to anyone who wants to live a bold, quirky and uncompromising life. At age 97, Iris is a designer / model / writer / actor and busier than ever. Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon is a collection of musings about her life, her work (as an interior designer for the White House who has worked for nine different Presidents), and her attitudes to style and ageing. Totally fun and uplifting.
Don’t dream it, do it! Lonely Planet gives you inspiration for your next trip, in this collection of Epic Hikes of the World. With details of 50 incredible routes in 30 countries, plus a further 150 suggestions, Lonely Planet will have you covered, wherever your preferred destination. There are first-hand travelogues as well as trip-planning details and advice. And don’t worry if you are new to hiking, or just more of a city explorer – The profiled walks range from day-trips and urban trails to month-long hikes and expeditions. Epic Hikes of the World is a companion to the bestselling Epic Bike Rides of the World and Epic Drives of the World.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
The Guardian newspaper credits Yuval Noah Harari with making serious non-fiction cool again. In his earlier books, the surprise bestsellers Sapiens and Homo Deus, he explained the history of humanity and the rise of civilisation in terms of evolutionary psychology. Now Yuval Noah Harari looks at the present. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a collection of essays about the big issues – AI and automation, Fake News and populism, religion, climate change – and how we can manage their impact on our lives. His talent at combining unexpected ideas into dazzling observations makes this a thought-provoking yet accessible read that helps us make sense of these uncertain times.
Mirka and Georges: a Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan
Published just after her recent death, Mirka and Georges is a lavishly illustrated book that celebrates the lives of Mirka and Georges Mora – their art, their food, and the huge impact they have had on the cultural life of Australia. Arriving in Melbourne in the early 1950s, Mirka and Georges quickly became the centre of the bohemian scene, injecting a sense of vibrancy and European sophistication into a formerly staid, conservative city. Mirka and Georges: a Culinary Affair tells their fabulous story through a lovingly-reproduced collection of recipes, anecdotes, photographs and artworks.
Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi
I love Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes – the bold flavour combinations, the respect for vegetables, the Mediterranean and Asian influences – but have to admit that they can be quite daunting, with their long lists of ingredients and “cheffy” techniques. Ottolenghi Simple aims to dispel that reputation by offering 130 new recipes that are more home-style and achievable. Each of the recipes are either “short on time (under 30 minutes)”, “10 ingredients or less”, “make ahead”, “pantry”, “lazy” or “easier than you think” (or a combination of these). A great introduction to Ottolenghi’s amazing food.
Boys will be Boys: an Exploration of Power, Patriarchy and the Toxic Bonds of Mateship by Clementine Ford
Clementine Ford’s first book Fight Like a Girl was both influential and controversial, exploding like a hand grenade lobbed into our collective consciousness. In Boys Will Be Boys, she turns her focus onto boys and men and toxic masculinity. As the mother of an infant son, Clementine asks, “how do we raise boys so that they support and respect women and give them equal space in the world?”. She argues that the patriarchy and its toxic beliefs are as harmful to boys and men as it is to girls and women, and proposes actions to effect real change.
Erebus: the Story of a Ship by Michael Palin
For almost 170 years, HMS Erebus was at the centre of a famous mystery – it was abandoned in 1846 during the failed Franklin expedition to find the Northwest Passage, and both the expedition party and their ships then disappeared. Despite dozens of search parties, the wreckage was not found until 2014. The disappearance was but the final chapter in the history of this ship – Erebus was an important part of the exploration of both polar regions. The wry wit of Michael Palin, globetrotter extraordinaire, perfectly captures the mystery, drama, and historical significance of this remarkable story. Erebus is already high on my gifting list for upcoming birthdays and for Christmas!