This season Michelle Obama’s biography Becoming has kept her top number 1 for the category of adult non-fiction.
It is an ‘intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America-the first African American to serve in that role, she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world. She also helped changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives dramatically, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations-and whose story inspires us to do the same.’ (publisher)
While on the subject of biography/memoirs, you might want to read Leigh Sales story Any ordinary day. Leigh Sales is a public figure and people see her daily on ABC TV. “As a journalist, Leigh Sales often encounters people experiencing the worst moments of their lives in the full glare of the media. But one particular string of bad news stories – and a terrifying brush with her own mortality – sent her looking for answers about how vulnerable each of us is to a life-changing event…” (bookcover).
Another important personal account of autobiography, No friend but the Mountain’s : writing from Manus prison by Behrouz Boochani is very extraordinary. Firstly, it was a memoire written from a refugee camp. Secondly, this book has won Victorian Prize for Literature, the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Nonfiction, a Special Award in the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, and the Australian Book Industry Award (ABIA) for General non-fiction book of the year, although the author is still waiting for processing after years in the refugee facility on Manus Island. It is as the author said in his speech the publication of this work and award ‘is a victory. It is a victory not only for us but also for literature and art and above all it is victory for humanity. It is a victory against the system that has reduced us to numbers.’
Educated by Tara Westover is a very different life story. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her ‘head-for-the-hills’ bag. In summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged metal in her father’s junkyard. Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism…’ So it goes ‘with the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.’ (Publisher’s description)
Scott Page’s The barefoot investor: the only money guide you’ll ever need has continued its popularity, along with his new edition and new title The barefoot investor for families : the only kids’ money guide you’ll ever need. If you have ever wondered how to get “rich in a quick” way, this is the book for you.
Talking about money stuff, Rich dad poor dad : with updates for today’s world–and 9 new study session sections has been borrowed many times. It is Robert T. Kiyosaki’s 20th edition of the book.
The four letter word F… attracted many authors and publishers recently, although it is not my style at all. The subtle art of not giving a f*ck : a counterintuitive approach to living a good life by Mark Manson is certainly a book getting more and more attention. It is a book described by the publisher as a ‘self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. Manson makes the argument, backed both, by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited.’ (Publisher’s description) It sounds interesting and looking at one’s life from different perspective is not a bad idea.
History books are still very popular with our readers. For example, The land before Avocado : journeys in a lost Australia is written by Richard Glover, a journalist and SMH columnist. It describes the Australia of the 60’s and 70’s in a humorous and light- hearted way, yet still makes some serious points. What was Australia in the past really like? Richard Glover takes a journey to an almost unrecognisable Australia. It is a vivid portrait of a quite peculiar land: a place that is scary, weird, dangerous, and, now and then, surprisingly appealing…’ (Publisher’s description)
Inglorious Empire : what the British did to India by Shashi Tharoor has been surprisingly well received by our readers. We had to top up many copies to meet the demand. It ‘tells the real story of the British in India – from the arrival of the East India Company to the end of the Raj – revealing how Britain’s rise was built upon its plunder of India. In the eighteenth century, India’s share of the world economy was as large as Europe’s. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. Beyond conquest and deception, the Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalised racism, and caused millions to die from starvation. British imperialism justified itself as enlightened despotism for the benefit of the governed, but Shashi Tharoor takes on and demolishes this position, demonstrating how every supposed imperial ‘gift’ from the railways to the rule of law was designed in Britain’s interests alone. He goes on to show how Britain’s Industrial Revolution was founded on India’s deindustrialisation, and the destruction of its textile industry.’ (Publisher’s description)
Sapiens : a brief history of humankind by Yuval N. Harari has also continued its position on the top list. This is the first of three books in a series on human history. It is extraordinary and controversial in certain ways as the author goes against the normal grain and makes bold assertions. However, it makes very good points that bring us to human history from firstly, unremarkably long awakenings to significant evolutionary events that changed us forever. You may be surprised to discover that things you thought you knew, are not so.
Here are some more popular reads, new and old, still placing in our top loans:
The life-changing magic of tidying up : the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo, a book about decluttering, a trendy topic that has been around for a while; The 7 habits of highly effective people : powerful lessons in personal change by Stephen Covey that has been popularly read for 30 years, and still is.
In 12 rules for life : an antidote for chaos by clinic psychologist Jordan B. Peterson who talks about ‘what are the most valuable things that everyone should know?’ ‘With his lectures on topics from the Bible to romantic relationships to mythology drawing tens of millions of viewers, the author has influenced many people and ‘12 Rules for Life’ offers a deeply rewarding antidote to the chaos in our lives: eternal truths applied to our modern problems.’ (publisher’s description)
Stay healthy is something that really appeals to a lot readers. For example, The fast 800 : how to combine rapid weight loss and intermittent fasting for long-term health by Michael Mosley, that has confirmed its value, especially after his TV series, Trust me, I’m a doctor.
Some books are philosophical, such as Thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman. It is a book about thought and thinking, intuition and decision making. Books on personal motivation and happiness have all been popular reads in the last season, such as Rhonda Byrne’s The secret (which was sensationally top the list for many years and still is on our list today), The laws of human nature by Robert Greene, a motivational book, and The Principles by Ray Dalio on personal and business principles.