The Telegraph Great Reads Spring 2016

The Telegraph Great Reads Spring 2016

Adventures in Being Human – Gavin Francis

If the body is a foreign country, then to practise medicine is to explore new territory: Francis leads the reader on an adventure through what it is to be human. A user’s guide to the body and a celebration of it, this book transforms the way you think about being alive, in sickness or in health.

“A sober and beautiful book about the landscape of the human body: thought-provoking and eloquent.”

Hilary Mantel

Chance – New Scientist

In Chance, a (not entirely) random selection of the New Scientist’s sharpest minds provide fascinating insights into luck, randomness, risk and probability. This book will open your eyes to the weird and wonderful world of chance – and help you see when some things, in fact, aren’t random at all.

“Excellent … it’s accessible to anyone with only the most cursory knowledge of science … Prepare to be surprised and amazed.”


Channel Shore: From the White Cliffs to Lands End – Tom Fort

The English Channel is the busiest waterway in the world. It helps define our Englishness, as an island people, a nation of seafarers. Tom Fort takes us on a fascinating journey to find out what the Channel means to us and what is so special about the English seaside, that edge between land and sea.

“Channel Shore is breezy and nostalgic, but it is at the same time shrewd and wonderfully informative – in Fort’s unique way, a masterpiece.”

The Observer

Natural Born Heroes – Christopher McDougall

Just as Born to Run got runners off the treadmill and into nature, Natural Born Heroes will get casual athletes to dump the gym for cross-training, mud runs and free-running.

“A fascinating means of super-fitness discovered by men fighting Hitler”

The Independent

Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig

Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he overcame crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive.

“For anyone who has faced the black dog, or felt despair, this marvellous book is a real comfort, dealing sympathetically with depression, written with candour and from first-hand experience. I think it is a small masterpiece. It might even save lives”

Joanna Lumley

Red Notice: How I Became Putin’s No.1 Enemy – Bill Browder

Red Notice is a searing expose of the wholesale whitewash by Russian authorities of Sergei Magnitsky’s imprisonment and murder, slicing deep into the shadowy heart of the Kremlin to uncover its sordid truths.

“A harrowing and inspiring story … a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the culture of corruption and impunity in Putin’s Russia today, and Browder’s heroic example of how to fight back.”

US Senator John McCain

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson

A captivating exploration of one of our world’s most underappreciated forces: shame. Powerful and hilarious in the way only Ronson can be, this is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws – and the very scary part we all play in it.

“I very much enjoyed Jon Ronson’s salutary examination of what happens when the internet turns on you: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed (Picador). One stupid picture, one misplaced joke, and your life can be completely trashed. The book examines a very dark corner of the times we live in but manages to be both entertaining and humane”

Anthony Horowitz, The Telegraph

The Crossing – Samar Yazbek

After conflict with the Assad regime Samar Yazbek was forced to flee Syria. After witnessing horrific suffering of her fellow Syrians Yazbek bears witness in this story of her return to her homeland. This painfully honest tale of brutality and humanity paints an extraordinary picture of Syria today.

“Sheds valuable light on day-to-day life inside Syria, something of which we know little…a sobering glimpse of the wreckage that will be discovered when the war is over”

Sunday Times

The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District – James Rebanks

* In evocative and lucid prose, Rebanks takes us through a shepherd’s year, giving a unique account of rural life and a connection with the land that most of us have lost. It is a story of working lives, his childhood, his parents and grandparents, a people who exist and endure in this changing world.

“This book makes you feel glad to be alive: James Rebanks is our modern equivalent of John Clare, Britain’s greatest writer of the hard labour and radiant grace of the shepherd’s life”

Sir Jonathan Bate

Touch: The Science of the Sense that makes us Human – David J. Levin

Touch is the most important sense we have. Without it, we cannot feel pleasure or pain – we are less than human. As Linden demonstrates, touch is central to who we are. Exploring the surprising facts and myths about touch, Linden reveals how, by understanding it, we can better know ourselves.

“The best science writers infect you with their fascination for their subject – that’s exactly what Linden achieves here.”

BBC Focus