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Book Favourites from Library Staff 2022: Non-Fiction

2022 Top Non Fic reads 2

From the heroic to the heart-rending, from the disturbing to the educational, these books are as varied as the Dewey decimal system itself. Click on the titles for more catalogue information.

Left on Tenth: a second chance at life by Delia Ephron
Our reviewer, Miss Moneypenny, is a big fan of Delia’s sister Nora’s work and she finally found the courage to read this. She warns that the beginning is really sad. Delia is in her seventies when her husband of thirty-five years dies, and then she connects with a man she once dated 50 years earlier. Delia is a romantic comedy writer by profession, and this book has a quite heart-warming but totally realistic feel.

Brave New Humans: the dirty reality of donor conception by Sarah Dingle
Sarah Dingle learned at 27 that she had been conceived by a sperm donor and she didn’t know who her birth father was. She spent ten years hunting through hospital records and chasing leads and finally discovered her biological origins by taking a DNA test. Her findings about the global fertility business make for sobering reading.  JMM

The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw 
Ruth Shaw, runs a couple of tiny bookshops in Manapouri on the fringe of Fiordland. That’s kind of interesting in itself. But Ruth has also had a colourful life, crammed with adventure as well as tragedy. Running through her story is Ruth’s beautiful relationship with husband Lance as well as her delightful sense of humour. SG

The Price of Health: the modern pharmaceutical enterprise and the betrayal of a history of care by Michael Kinch
This book delves into the history of the pharmaceutical industry leading to ongoing viability, and affordability issues. At the same time Kinch offers hope as to how we can still rebuild and reform the industry so that it returns to work in the interests of those it aims to cure. Another book on this topic is Big Pharma: how the world’s biggest drug companies control illness by Ben Goldacre. JMM

All of This: a memoir of death and desire by Rebecca Woolf *
After years of struggling in a tumultuous marriage, writer Rebecca Woolf was finally ready to leave her husband. Two weeks after telling him she wanted a divorce, he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. In All of This, Woolf describes with honesty and self-awareness the months before her husband’s death, and her rebirth after he was gone. Stunning, compelling, and brilliantly nuanced. Kate
*This book is not currently in the library.

The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz
This book came out in 2014, but still a helpful reminder about the importance of fat in our diet. Nina Teicholz shows how science confirms that we have been needlessly avoiding meat, cheese, whole milk and eggs for decades when in fact these foods might even reverse epidemics of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Food for thought indeed. JMM

I’m Glad My Mon Died by Jennette McCurdy
McCurdy discovered fame on Nickelodeon where she played a sassy and funny character on the show ‘iCarly’. This book opens the curtains behind the comedic persona to reveal the darkness of her world. The book gives insight into the young star’s rise to fame and, as the title suggests, we read about her difficulties with her mother which led to many issues including eating disorders, the mental illness with the highest mortality rate. The book also contains details about addiction and sexual assault. “An inspiring story of resilience, independence, and the joy of shampooing your own hair.” (Kate)

Grand: becoming my mother's daughter by Noelle McCarthy
Noelle McCarthy emigrated from Cork, Ireland to join Radio NZ. Now a prize-winning writer, broadcaster and podcaster, her first book is a memoir about mothers and daughters; drinking, birth and loss; about running away and going home again. It has been described as Derry Girls meets An Angel at My Table and takes us from Catholic Ireland in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s to Auckland at the start of the new millennium. The memoir is described as witty and honest but keep a box of tissues handy. SG

Adopted: love, loss, family and reunion by Jo Willis and Brigitta Baker
This book is an honest look at the personal stories of two adoptees and their birth mothers. Our small country had very high adoption rates from the 1940s until the 1970s, so many of us know someone who was adopted or someone who relinquished a child, if not both, but we rarely have honest discussions about the ramifications of closed adoption. This book is exactly that. Each of the authors tells her own story – what they knew of their adoptions, their childhoods, their search for biological family, the difficulty of building relationships with the women who gave birth to them. Their mothers also each write about their experience.  Emma

Upgrade Your Immunity with Herbs: herbal tonics broths, brews, and elixirs to supercharge your immune system by Joseph Mercola
Not just a health book, but a cookbook too, co-written with chef Pete Evans. With a global pandemic causing us to consider if our immune system is up to scratch, Mercola showcases 19 different medicinal herbs and spices and shows how to use them in delicious and creative ways – from teas and tonics to full meals. The book also covers sleep, hydration, vitamins and more. JMM

last three non fic reads

Lies My Doctor Told Me: medical myths that can harm your health by Ken Berry
A doctor in his own right, Ken Berry has been researching medical myths for years – from the foods you should eat to what medications you should take. A helpful resource to empower the reader to distinguish facts from medical fictions. JMM

Science Fictions by Stuart Ritchie
This book offers a defence of the scientific method against the pressures and perverse incentives that lead scientists to bend the rules. By illustrating the ways that science goes wrong, Ritchie gives us the knowledge we need to spot dubious research, and points the way to reforms that might save science from itself. JMM


17 January 2023

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