Top-5 non-fiction books to look out for

Most Popular

Laptops. Wiis. Xboxs. All wonderful tools for fun, but all sorely lacking in train-suitability. Here's 5 forthcoming non-fiction titles we're excited about: they're all battery-free, and you can drop them as many times as you like...

1) Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (out now, Penguin): When Hurricane Katrina tore through his home city of New Orleans in 2005, businessman Abdulrahman Zeitoun decided to stay put. With the streets underwater and his wife and children safely evacuated, he then began to explore what was left of the city in a canoe, distributing supplies, ferrying neighbours and looking after his tenants. This is writer Dave Eggers retelling Zeitoun's amazing true story as a Dickensian drama, providing a critique of the Bush administration on the way.

2) The Hell of it All by Charlie Brooker (out June, Faber & Faber): True anti-celebrities are a thing to cherish. The last one - Kurt Cobain - blew his brains out. The next one - Charlie Brooker - writes books (as well as TV shows and newspaper columns). In this collection of his latest misanthropic diatribes, Brooker cements his position as the White Knight of indignation by taking on everything from the death of Jacko and the credit crunch to the misery of nightclubs and conspiracy theories. As ever with Brooker, it is sure to be riddled with lines that'll have you choking on your coffee and acerbic wisdom that'll have you nodding like the Churchill Dog. Then throwing a rock at the TV whenever it appears.

3) The Uses and Abuses of History by Margaret Macmillan  (out April, Profile Books): According to Macmillan, history is a maleable tool that can be used to support any stance, particularly when some lessons are suppressed at the expense of others. Evoking examples as diverse as the Iraq War, and 1919 Paris peace conference and Nixon in China, she examines the hijacking of history and its supposed lessons to justify abuses of power in global politics in the past 100 years.

4) The Greatest Trade Ever - How John Paulson Bet Against the Markets and Made $20bn by Gregory Zuckerman (out now, Penguin): This may not be an ideal time to hear how one man pocketed billions as hedge fund manager, but the story of the 'greatest trade ever' is really about a maverick who had the strength to follow his own convictions - and make money beyond his wildest dreams in the process. Believing that a banking meltdown was imminent, John Paulson spent 2006 going against the rest of Wall Street by betting against the real-estate market. He lost millions, but one year later, was proven right when he amassed a personal fortune of $4 billion. This is banking with balls.

5) How the English Language became the World's Language by Robert McCrum (out May, Penguin): As a nation we fail miserably at learning other languages, often taking comfort from the assertion that most of the rest of the world knows English anyway. Bringing the far-from-box office topic of linguistics to life, McCrum spans everything from Claxton's printing press to the Chinese learning 'Crazy English' to explain how and why English has managed to extend its influence across the globalized world, long after the British Empire has crumbled and Shakespeare held his last quill. Read this, then blunder into foreign hotels with confidence. Sam Parker

 

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below