Non-Fiction Titles

(Please note that the list of non-fiction titles runs to 22pages. You may wish to highlight and select to print less)

Non-Fiction titles are organised according to author surname.

A-E

F-J

K-O

P-T

U-Z

Author Surnames  A-E

The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou

Book cover imageA memoir from the bestselling African-American poet, Angelou, exposes a turbulent period of her life as she struggles to raise a child, fulfil her goals as a writer, and fight for civil rights in an age of injustice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous

Book cover imageBetween April 20th and June 22nd of 1945, the anonymous author of A Woman in Berlin wrote about life within the falling city as it was sacked by the Russian Army. She describes her experiences and observations in this stark and vivid diary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Diving-bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

Book cover imageOn December 8th 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby suffered a massive stroke and slipped into a coma. When he regained consciousness three weeks later, the only muscle left functioning was in his left eyelid. His mind remained as active and alert as it had ever been, however and he dictated a remarkable book about his experiences locked inside his body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan

Book cover imageArrested in Liverpool as an agitator for the IRA, Brendan Behan was tried and sent to reform school. He was sixteen years old. The world he entered was brutal and coldly indifferent. Conditions were primitive, and violence simmered just below the surface. Yet, Behan found something more positive than hate in borstal: friendship, solidarity and healing flashes of kindness. Extraordinarily vivid, fluent, and moving, it is a superb and unforgettable piece of writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Past is Myself by Christabel Bielenberg

Book club imageThe memoir of a young English woman living in Germany during the Third Reich. Appalled by events and the indoctrination of ther children, she and her German husband quietly resist the rise of Nazi power. Through this account of her life from 1932 to 1945, Bielenberg hopes to shed new light on what she feels is “for Germans a still undigested past and for the English an incomprehensible one”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking the Road: A Play by Dermot Bolger

Book cover image“You could be famous, Frank, have your words printed in the Drogheda Independent”. Lance Corporal Francis Ledwidge lost his life in Flanders Fields, 1917, while serving with the British army in WWI. One of Ireland’s finest poets, Ledwidge left the familiarity of his Co. Meath home and loved ones and joined the British army to follow the fate of so many other young men of that doomed generation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Book cover imageOnce known only by an elite who were unwilling to share their knowledge of the power, 'the secret' of obtaining anything you desire is now revealed by prominent physicists, authors and philosophers as being based in the universal Law of Attraction. The good news is that anyone can access its power to bring themselves health, wealth and happiness. A number of the exceptional people who discovered its power went on to become regarded as the greatest human beings who ever lived. Among them: Plato, Leonardo, Galileo and Einstein. Now 'the secret' is being shared with the world.

The Mai by Marina Carr

Book cover imageThe events of two summers, the conversations and stories of seven women, the history of a family and their broken and cruel love is remembered, recounted and re-lived by the Mai’s eldest daughter who fuses past and present, history and lore, into a story as intimate, unique, distubing, affectionate, and recognisable as all family stories.

 

 

Crummey v Ireland by Frank Crummey

Book cover imageThroughout his life Frank Crummey has been an agitator for justice repeatedly using the law as an instrument for change. In 1977 he successfully sued the Irish Censorship Board and the Attorney General for banning an educational booklet published by the Irish Family Planning Association. This case, known as Crummey v Ireland, was not his first or last brush with the forces of the establishment, both Church and State.

The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal

Book cover imageEdmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered his great uncle’s netsuke collection of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox. Later, when Edmund inherited the netsuke, they unlocked a story far larger than he could ever have imagined. In this stunningly original memoir, Edmund de Waal traces the network of a remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century. And, in prose as elegant and precise as the netsuke themselves, he tells the story of a unique collection which passed from hand to hand.

 

The God Squad by Paddy Doyle

Book cover imageHis mother died of cancer in 1955 and his father committed suicide shortly thereafter. Paddy Doyle was sentenced by an Irish district court to be detained at an industrial school for 11 years. He was four years old. The God Squad is the remarkable true story of a survivor, told with an extraordinary lack of bitterness for one so shockingly and shamefully treated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Surnames   F-J

The Transformation of Ireland: 1900 - 2000 by Diarmaid Ferriter

Book cover imageThis is a ground-breaking history of the twentieth century in Ireland.It is significant that it begins in 1900 and ends in 2000. Most accounts have begun in 1912 or 1922 and largely ignored the end of the century. Politics and political parties are examined in detail but high politics does not dominate the book, which rather sets out to answer the question: 'What was it like to grow up and live in 20th-century Ireland?' It makes extensive use of unused or neglected sources. It deals with the North in a comprehensive way, focusing on the social and cultural aspects, not just the obvious political and religious divisions.

 

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know by Ranulph Fiennes

Book cover imageIn this autobiography, Ranulph Fiennes describes some of his most daring expeditions. He has been an elite soldier, an athlete, a mountaineer, an explorer. He tells of how he discovered the lost city of Ubar in Oman and attempted to walk solo and unsupported to the North Pole, an expedition that cost him several fingers and almost his life. His most recent challenge was scaling the north face of the Eiger, one of the most awesome mountaineering challenges in the world.

 

The Vatican Pimpernel by Brian Fleming

Book cover imageDuring the German occupation of Rome from 1942 to 1944, Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a Kerryman and Vatican diplomat, devoted himself to running an escape organisation for Allied POWS, civilians and Jews. Safe within the Vatican with diplomatic immunity, he ventured out in disguise on a regular basis, building a network of contacts and safe locations. When the Allies arrived he had saved over 6,000 and was known as the ‘Pimpernel of the Vatican’.

 

The Accidental Adventurer by Ben Fogle

Book cover imageBen Fogle's life to date has been action-packed to say the least. He has rowed across the Atlantic, walked to the South Pole, run the Sahara and skated across Sweden. He has encountered remote tribespeople in deepest Papua New Guinea This is not just another tale of derring-do for its own sake. Rather it's a book about defying expectations, conquering shyness, battling laziness and, just occasionally, winning.

 

Preventing the Future by Tom Garvin

Book cover imageFrom the mid-thirties through to 1960, independent Ireland suffered from economic stagnation, and also went through a period of intense cultural and psychological repression. While external circumstances account for much of the stagnation, Garvin argues that the situation was aggravated by internal circumstances. The key domestic factor was the failure to extend higher and technical education and training to larger sections of the population. This resulted in large numbers of young people being denied preparation for life in the modern world and, arguably, denied Ireland a sufficient supply of trained labour and educated citizens.

 

Father and I: A Memoir by Carlo Gebler

Book cover imageCarlo Gebler's childhood was one of prohibitions: no sweets, no comics, no toys, no friends to the house to play; a childhood dominated by his father Ernest’s belief in discipline and Joseph Stalin. When Carlo’s mother, Edna O'Brien, eclipsed her husband's literary success, Ernest Gebler convinced himself that he was the writer of her books, a strain which broke up the family. After years of silence, Carlo finally discovered both the truth about his father and feelings which he had not known himself capable of. "You cannot change the past, but with understanding you can sometimes draw the poison out of It”.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Book cover imageIt’s 3am and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties; she has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby, but she doesn’t want any of it. Following a bitter divorce and a love affair, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises that it is time for her to pursue her own journey in search of three things which she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. She travels to Rome, India and Bali in search of these things.

 

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin

Book cover imageIn 1996, when his father suffers a heart attack, award-winning journalist Peter Godwin, returns to Zimbabwe, his birthplace. He finds his country, once a post-colonial success story, descending into a vortex of violence and racial hatred under Robert Mugabe’s regime. Over the next few years Godwin travels regularly between his family life in Manhattan and the increasing chaos of Zimbabwe, with its rampant inflation and land seizures making famine a very real prospect. It is against this backdrop that Godwin discovers a fifty-year-old family secret, which changes everything he thought he knew about his father and his own place in the world.

 

My Life in Orange by Tim Guest

Book cover imageLondon journalist Guest shares the bittersweet story of his nomadic childhood as a member of the sannyasin, a group of people who swathed themselves in orange and lived in the various communes of the infamous Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Honest and vivid, this is an absorbing book about survival and good intentions gone awry.

The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton

Book cover image"We wear Aran sweaters and Lederhosen. We are forbidden from speaking English. We are trapped in a language war. We are the Speckled People." Hugo Hamilton tells the haunting story of his German-Irish childhood in 1950s Dublin. His Gaelic-speaking, Irish nationalist father rules the home with tyranny, while his German-speaking mother rescues her children with cakes and stories of her own struggle against Nazi Germany. Out on the streets of Dublin is another country, where they are taunted as Nazis and subjected to a mock Nuremberg trial. Through the eyes of a child, this rare and shockingly honest book gradually makes sense of family, language, and identity, unlocking at last the secrets that his parents kept in the wardrobe.

 

Opened Ground: Poems 1966-1996 by Seamus Heaney

Book cover imageIn ‘Digging’, the first poem in this collection, Heaney likens his pen to both spade and gun. With these metaphors in place, he makes clear his difficult poetic task: to delve into the past, both personal and historic, while ever mindful of the potentially fatal power of language.

 

Sunny Side Plucked by Rita Ann Higgins

Book cover image“Exposing the lies, the posturing and petty cruelties of the powerful, these poems tear away the shameful veil of hypocrisy to bit deep into the very bones of contemporary Irish society…These are poems of survival and resistance, for a time when both are difficult” – Ailbhe Smyth

 

The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling by James Hillman

Book cover imagePlato and the Greeks called it 'daimon', the Romans 'genius', the Christians 'Guardian Angel' - and today we use terms such as 'heart', 'spirit' and 'soul'. For James Hillman it is the central and guiding force of his utterly unique and compelling 'acorn theory' which proposes that each life is formed by a particular image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny, just as the mighty oak's destiny is written in the tiny acorn.

 

Mosaic: Portraits in Fragments by Michael Holroyd

Book cover imageMichael Holroyd pieces together some remarkable stories about his family. Some are pleasant surprises, others more startling. There is the discovery that his Swedish grandmother was the mistress of the French anarchist writer Jacques Prevert; and a letter from Margaret Forster about the beauty of his mother, that leads to his remarkable account of a decade-long affair. A love story, a detective story, a book of secrets, Mosaic is both a beautifully written journey into a forest of family trees, and a fascinating insight into the workings of genealogy.

 

Stones in His Pockets by Marie Jones

Book cover imageTwo plays by award-winning playwright Marie Jones. Stones in His Pockets, about the filming of a Hollywood epic in rural Ireland, features a pair of film extras, Charlie and Jake, who tell the story by taking on all the roles themselves. A Night in November follows Kenneth McCallister, family man and Ulsterman, on the fateful night in November in Belfast when the Republic of Ireland qualifies against Northern Ireland for the World Cup, and Kenneth finds himself watching the sectarian hatred of the crowd rather than the football.

 

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Author Surnames   K-O

Book cover imageClick, Click by June Kavanagh

The story of the three Kavanagh sisters Joyce, June and Paula who were abused by their father throughout their childhood. In 1989, the sisters made the brave decision to bring charges against their father and, in 1990, he was convicted and imprisoned. The Kavanagh sisters have refused to allow their abuse to define them. With fierce humour, insight and honesty, they now share their story and show that with love and determination, you can indeed conquer all.

 

Four Quarters of Light: An Alaskan Journey by Brian Keenan

Book cover imageBrian Keenan's fascination with Alaska began as a small boy choosing his first library book in a Belfast school. The book was Jack London's wondrous Call of the Wild and it has permeated Keenan's life ever since. A short visit to Fairbanks several years ago was enough to seal his connection with the place and he resolved to return. In the course of a journey that takes him through four geographical quarters from snowmelt in May to snowfall in September, he discovers a land as fantastical as a fairytale but whose vastness has a very peculiar type of allure.

 

The Governor by John Lonergan

Book cover imageAfter 42 years in the service, 26 of them as the governor of Mountjoy prison, John Lonergan tells his fascinating life story - from his idyllic childhood in rural Tipperary, to coming face to face with the ugliest face of Irish life, to grappling with the politics of working in a service that was the plaything of officials and politicians. His description of life in the prison service is not only a gripping account of humanity at its rawest, but also an invaluable primer for anyone in top level management.

 

Grimalkin and Other Poems by Thomas Lynch

Book cover imageThe poems in this volume are all concerned, one way or another, with achieving a balance in the face of gravity. Lynch looks for this equilibrium between equal and opposing forces, such as sex and death, love and grief- all the things that make us mortal and memorable.

 

Memoir by John McGahern

Book cover imageThis is the story of John McGahern's childhood, his mother's death, his father's anger and violence, and how, through his discovery of books, his dream of becoming a writer began. At the heart of Memoir is a son's unembarrassed tribute to his mother. His memory of walks with her through the narrow lanes to the country schools where she taught and his happiness as she named for him the wild flowers on the bank remained conscious and unconscious presences for the rest of his life. A classic family story, told with exceptional restraint and tenderness, Memoir cannot fail to move all those who read it.

 

Renegades: Irish Republican Women 1900 - 1922 by Ann Matthews

Book cover imageRenegades details the tragedies, triumphs, politics and conflicts experienced by Irish women during the country's War of Independence and Civil War. It will shock and possibly disturb any romanticised views of their role in this period of Irish history because the reality of the abuse of women within the general population by both sides in both Wars is absent in most histories of the period. But this 'war on women', which manifested itself in the form of physical and sexual assaults meant that many women suffered a terror that was not confined to armed conflict.

 

Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall by Spike Milligan

Book cover image“At Victoria station the R.T.O. gave me a travel warrant, a white feather and a picture of Hitler marked 'This is your enemy'. I searched every compartment, but he wasn't on the train’'. Spike Milligan's on the march, blitzing friend and foe alike with his uproarious recollections of army life from enlistment to the landing at Algiers in 1943.

 

 

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

Book cover imageFor two years before she left Iran in 1997, Azar Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail. Shy and uncomfortable at first, they soon began to open up and speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments.

 

Just Mary by Mary O’Rourke

Book cover imageMary O’Rourke writes of personal and political events; of her family background and her early involvement in politics: of the many senior political figures to whom she was close, especially Charles Haughey and Bertie Ahern; of her two beloved Brians, her brother and nephew, both of whom died before their time; of her successes and disappointments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Surnames   P-T

Once Upon a Hill by Glenn Patterson

Book cover imageFor Glenn Patterson’s grandparents, Jack and Kate, sedate old age in Lisburn belies the turmoil of their early life together, but also apart - they had to wait ten years to marry. Part personal memoir and part family story, Once Upon a Hill is a detective story written against the simple erosion of memory and the reluctance of family members to talk. It is a rich, clear-sighted book which deals with love, violence, fortitude and finally, forgiveness.

 

Diamonds and Holes in My Shoes by Deirdre Purcell

Book cover imageWhen Deirdre Purcell turned sixty, she cheered. Never again would she have to worry about fitting into a size ten dress, and while her dream of crossing the US on a Harley remains active, if it is never realised, well, she'll live. In Diamonds and Holes in My Shoes , for the first time, this much-loved storyteller takes stock of her years to date and reveals very personal memories and reflections.

 

Honey from Stone by Chet Raymo

Book cover imageA series of lyrical meditations on science, nature and religion in which the author takes as his inspiration a small corner of the West of Ireland, a place of mountain, sea and sky. "Precisely lyrical, deeply prayerful despite mystical skepticism, this is the work of one who, besides being a science professor, is a true poet". - Publishers Weekly

 

The Essential Rumi by Jelaluddin Rumi

Book cover imageThe writing of inspirational Persian mystic Jelaluddin Rumi is central to the literature of Sufism, an ancient contemplative form of Islam. A revered teacher and founder of the order of the Whirling Dervishes, he writes illuminatingly on a wide range of themes, from beauty and love to the experience of God and the attainment of true knowledge.

 

The Boy with the Topknot by Sathnam Sanghera

Book cover imageFor Sathnam Sanghera, growing up in Wolverhampton in the eighties was a confusing business. On the one hand, these were the heady days of George Michael mix-tapes and Dallas on TV. On the other, there was his wardrobe of tartan smocks, his job at the local sewing factory and the continual challenge of how to tie the perfect top-knot. Then there was his family whose strange and often difficult behaviour he took for granted until, when he was twenty-four, Sathnam made a discovery which changed everything he ever thought he knew about them.

 

Fool for Love by Sam Shepard

Book cover image'Set in a desolate motel room on the edge of the Mojave desert, the play has something of the timeless universality of a Greek tragedy . . . Like ancient classical drama, too, the action is at once brief and relentless. By the end of the 90-minute play you feel you have lived through a cataclysm . . . This is a tremendous play, bleak but savagely funny, apparently naturalistic yet also resonant and dreamlike.' - Daily Telegraph

Fool for Love is accompanied in this volume by The Sad Lament of Pecos Bill on the Eve of Killing his Wife, a comic operetta by Sam Shepard and Catherine Stone, which takes an irreverent view of American heroes and heroics.

 

 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Book cover imageHer name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. Born a poor black tobacco farmer, her cancer cells - taken without her knowledge - became a multimillion-dollar industry and one of the most important tools in medicine. Yet Henrietta's family did not learn of her 'immortality' until more than twenty years after her death, with devastating consequences. Balancing the beauty and drama of scientific discovery with dark questions about who owns the stuff our bodies are made of, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is an extraordinary journey in search of the soul and story of a real woman, whose cells live on today in all four corners of the world.

 

The Child that Books Built by Francis Spufford

Book cover imageWhat would you find if you went back and reread all of your favourite books from childhood? Francis Spufford discovers both delight and sadness, in this beautifully written memoir. Fairy tales, Where the Wild Things Are, Lord of the Rings, the Narnia books, The Little House on the Prairie, The Earthsea Trilogy Re-reading and re-living these books, and investigating their literary origins and rich histories, Spufford reveals what it was like to be an obsessive reader as a child. As the book unfolds, he gradually uncovers his own childhood, and his unique reason for taking refuge in stories.

 

Every Man in this Village is a Liar: an Education in War by Megan Stack

Book cover imageA few weeks after the planes crashed into the World Trade Centre on 9/11, journalist Megan K. Stack, a twenty-five year old national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, was thrust into Afghanistan and Pakistan, dodging gunmen and prodding warlords for information. From there, she travelled to war-ravaged Iraq and Lebanon and to other countries scarred by violence, including Israel, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, witnessing the changes that swept the Muslim world and labouring to tell its stories. Every Man in This Village Is a Liar is Megan Stack's riveting account of what she saw in the combat zones and beyond.

 

Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Book cover imageWhen he was almost sixty years old, worried that he might have lost touch with the sights, the sounds and the essence of America's people, Steinbeck took note of his itchy feet and prepared to travel. He was accompanied by his French poodle, Charley, diplomat and watchdog, across the states of America from Maine to California. Moving through the woods and deserts, dirt tracks and highways to large cities and glorious wildernesses, Steinbeck observed - with remarkable honesty and insight, with a humorous and sometimes sceptical eye - America, and the Americans who inhabited it

 

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale

IBook cover imaget is midnight on June 30th 1860 and all is quiet in the Kent family’s elegant house in Wiltshire. The next morning, however, they wake to discover that their youngest son has been murdered. But the house was bolted from the inside. As the case is investigated, the murder provokes national hysteria at what might be festering behind the closed doors of respectable middle-class homes. This true story has all the hallmarks of a classic gripping murder mystery.

 

Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale

Book cover imageHeadstrong, high-spirited, and already widowed, Isabella Walker became Mrs. Henry Robinson at age 31 in 1844. A successful civil engineer, Henry travelled often and was cold and remote when home. Isabella recorded her innermost thoughts, and especially her infatuation with a married Dr. Edward Lane, in her diary. Over five years the entries mounted: passionate, sensual, suggestive. One fateful day in 1858 Henry chanced on the diary and read Isabella’s intimate entries. Aghast at his wife’s perceived infidelity, Henry petitioned for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Their trial would be a cause celebre, threatening the foundations of Victorian society with the spectre of "a new and disturbing figure: a middle class wife who was restless, unhappy, avid for arousal”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Surnames   U-Z

Shadow of the Titanic by Andrew Wilson

Book cover imageIn the early hours of 15 April 1912, after the majestic liner Titanic had split apart and the 1,500 men, women and children struggled to stay alive in the freezing Atlantic, the sea was alive with the sound of screaming. Then, as the ship sank to the ocean floor and the passengers slowly died from hypothermia, a deathly silence settled over the sea. Yet the echoes of that night reverberated through the lives of each of the 705 survivors. Shadow of the Titanic tells the extraordinary stories of some of those who survived.

 

Why be Happy When You Could be Normal by Jeanette Winterson

Book cover imageIn 1985 Jeanette Winterson's first novel, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, was published. It was Jeanette's version of the story of a terraced house in Accrington, an adopted child, and the thwarted giantess Mrs Winterson. It was a cover story, a painful past written over and repainted. It was a story of survival. This book is that story's the silent twinIt is full of hurt and humour and a fierce love of life. It is about the pursuit of happiness, about lessons in love, the search for a mother and a journey into madness and out again. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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