Sunday Non-Fiction Spotlight: White House Histories

This week I’m spotlighting three interesting non-fiction books about the White House, which each reveal three very different narratives about the building, its many presidents, and American politics more widely.

The White House is a symbol for many things in America. It is the home to presidents, their families; it is the workplace of staffers, advisors, journalists and commentators; it is the creche for First Children; it is the beating political heart of a nation. However it also embodies many of the core contradictions of the United States. The White House is a symbol of freedom, and yet it was built by slaves. It represents equality, and yet there have been no female presidents. It embodies honesty and authenticity, despite the years of presidential mishaps, cover-ups and mistakes. It is a symbol which exists out of a desire for the purity it stands for; a desire which has so far outweighed the political reality. Let’s see how the symbolic meaning of the White House continues to develop and change under President #45.

Continue reading “Sunday Non-Fiction Spotlight: White House Histories”

The 12 Books of Christmas – part two

It’s difficult to find the time to sit down with a good book during the holidays, but if you’ve doled out your cards and crossed off all your lists, then why not unwind with a holiday-themed read from this list?

I’ve already uploaded part one, with books 1-6, here.

Continue reading “The 12 Books of Christmas – part two”

The 12 Books of Christmas – part one

At this time of year, after the presents are wrapped and the festive food is laid to cool on the proverbial ledge, it’s nice to unwind with a festive book. This is a list of twelve books that were inspired by, or otherwise depict, Christmas- including a few that you can share with children.

Today I’m uploading 1-6, so look out for part two, with numbers 7-12, tomorrow.

Continue reading “The 12 Books of Christmas – part one”

Sunday Non-Fiction Spotlight: Five #HistoryBooksByWomen

If you head over to twitter right now you’ll see #HistoryBooksByWomen trending like you wouldn’t believe. This week I’m going to pick out five very different histories written by women about gender, sexuality and themes of oppression and discrimination.

Continue reading “Sunday Non-Fiction Spotlight: Five #HistoryBooksByWomen”

2016 Cundill Prize – Thomas W Laquer, The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains

It may not be as famous as the Booker or the Pulitzer, but recently McGill University in Montreal announced the 2016 winner of their Cundill Prize in Historical Literature. The Cundill Prize is the largest non-fiction history prize in the world. It’s important because it reflects a genuine desire to reward historians and researchers for publications which are “determined to have had, or likely to have, a profound literary, social and intellectual impact.” The Cundill Prize website states that they aim to recognise “outstanding works of non-fiction that are grounded in scholarly research while retaining wide appeal and interest to the general public.”

Continue reading “2016 Cundill Prize – Thomas W Laquer, The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains”