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Dec 22

Top Books For December

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Becoming Hitler. The Making of a Nazi by Thomas Weber

A fascinating and well researched book. 

The story of the making of Adolf Hitler that we are all familiar with is the one Hitler himself wove in his 1924 trial, and then expanded upon in Mein Kampf. It tells of his rapid emergence as National Socialist leader in 1919, and of how he successfully rallied most of Munich and the majority of Bavaria’s establishment to support the famous beer-hall putsch of 1923. It is an account which has largely been taken at face value for over ninety years. Yet, on closer examination, Hitler’s account of his experiences in the years immediately following the First World War turns out to be every bit as unreliable as his account of his experiences as a soldier during the war itself.

In Becoming Hitler, Thomas Weber continues from where he left off in his previous book, Hitler’s First War, stripping away the layers of myth and fabrication in Hitler’s own tale to tell the real story of Hitler’s politicization and radicalization in post-First World War Munich. It is the gripping account of how an awkward and unemployed loner with virtually no recognizable leadership qualities and fluctuating political ideas turned into the charismatic, self-assured, virulently anti-Semitic leader with an all-or-nothing approach to politics with whom the world was soon to become tragically familiar. As Weber clearly shows, far from the picture of a fully-formed political leader which Hitler wanted to portray in Mein Kampf, his ideas and priorities were still very uncertain and largely undefined in early 1919 ― and they continued to shift until 1923.

It was the failed Ludendorff putsch of November 1923 – and the subsequent Ludendorff trial ― which was to prove the making of Hitler. And he was not slow to spot the opportunity that it offered. As the movers and shakers of Munich’s political scene tried to blame everything on him in the course of the trial, Hitler was presented with a golden opportunity to place himself at the centre of attention, turning what had been the ‘Ludendorff trial’ into the ‘Hitler trial’. Henceforth, he would no longer be merely a local Bavarian political leader. From now on, he would present himself as a potential ‘national saviour’. In the months after the trial, Hitler cemented this myth by writing Mein Kampf from his comfortable prison cell. His years of metamorphosis were now behind him. His years as Führer were soon to come.

Becoming Hitler. The Making of a Nazi by Thomas Weber is available here.

Enid Blyton Five Get On The Property Ladder

Hilarious. It is impossible to not be amused by this funny and clever book. Perfect for fans of The Famous Five but also timely. Both retro and modern.

Enid Blyton’s books are beloved the world over and The Famous Five have been the perennial favourite of her fans. Now, in this new series of Enid Blyton for Grown-Ups, George, Dick, Anne, Julian and Timmy turn their attention to finding a property they can call their very own.

Join the Five as they struggle to get their feet (and paws) on the first rung of the property ladder. Luckily cousin Rupert is on hand to help. But not before they’ve had some very exciting adventures. Who knew that it was all going to be so difficult?

Enid Blyton Five Get On The Property Ladder is available here.

Sketchy Muma By Anna Lewis

A wonderful illustrated book which tells the truth about motherhood. 

This gorgeous little book charts the various bewildering stages of becoming a mother, from those tell-tale blue lines in the pregnancy test, to labour, birth, coming home and venturing out. Breastfeeding nightmares, eating dinner with one hand, soft play hell and chronic sleep deprivation – but also the sheer beauty of falling in love again and the amazing discovery of what it’s like to have a family – these are all captured in Sketchy Muma’s glorious drawings.

This is the perfect gift book for both young and experienced parents. Anna Lewis understands the light and shade that comes with motherhood, and it is those universal truths that will connect all those parents who delight in her sketches.

Sketchy Muma By Anna Lewis is available here.

The Book of Forgotten Authors By Christopher Fowler

This is a great book full of authors who deserve to be more famous. Will have you rushing to the bookshop or nodding your head in agreement, or disapproval. 

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you’re dead.

So begins Christopher Fowler’s foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from our shelves.

Whether male or female, domestic or international, flash-in-the-pan or prolific, mega-seller or prize-winner – no author, it seems, can ever be fully immune from the fate of being forgotten. And Fowler, as well as remembering their careers, lifts the lid on their lives, and why they often stopped writing or disappeared from the public eye.

These 99 journeys are punctuated by 12 short essays about faded once-favourites: including the now-vanished novels Walt Disney brought to the screen, the contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, and the women who introduced us to psychological suspense many decades before it conquered the world.

This is a book about books and their authors. It is for book lovers, and is written by one who could not be a more enthusiastic, enlightening and entertaining guide.

The Book of Forgotten Authors By Christopher Fowler is available here.

You Do You By Sarah Knight

More great (anti) advice from Sarah Knight. Funny and tough: this book is perfect to kick you into action in January. 

In The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, our favourite ‘anti-guru’ Sarah Knight unleashed the power of saying no. In Get Your Sh*t Together, she prioritised the sh*t you need and want to do so you can achieve your hopes and dreams. Now she’s back, doubling down on your happiness with her latest message: You Do You.

Being yourself should be the easiest thing in the world. Yet instead of leaning in to who we are, we fight it, listening too closely to what society tells us. You Do You helps you shake off those expectations, say f**k perfect, start looking out for number one and keep on with your badass self. From career and finances to relationships and family, lifestyle and health, Sarah Knight rips up the rulebook.

Writing about her mistakes and embarrassments in her own personal quest to ‘do me’ – because nobody gets everything right all day, every day – Sarah Knight shows why you can and should f**k up and teaches you to let yourself off the hook, bounce back and keep standing tall.

You Do You By Sarah Knight is available here.

Etiquette Rules! A Field Guide to Modern Manners By Nancy R. Mitchell

Full of common-sense and excellent advice. A book that everyone should read. 

Has there ever been a time when courtesy and kindness are needed more? We need only follow the news, drive down a road, look around our communities, or visit a favorite social-media site to know there is an etiquette crisis. With rudeness rampant and civility on life support, it’s time for each and every one of us to take a hard look at our behaviors to determine if we are contributing to the problem or helping to combat it.

Enter Etiquette Rules! A Field Guide to Modern Manners, a common-sense examination of etiquette as an operating system for living life with kindness and courtesy as we work, play, shop, drive, dine, and interact in our real and virtual communities. Arranged by events and settings, the book clearly and succinctly defines rudeness and suggests corrective measures. Readers will not only raise their etiquette IQ, but will change their mindset about manners because Etiquette Rules! jettisons the old-school notion that etiquette is how to properly hold a teacup. In reality, it is a powerful tool that can help everyone feel comfortable and confident in a variety of situations, build personal and business relationships more easily, demonstrate respect for others, and live lives that flow more smoothly. Courtesy is contagious, and Etiquette Rules!will help to jump-start a saving pandemic.

Etiquette Rules! A Field Guide to Modern Manners By Nancy R. Mitchell is available here.

How To Draw Almost Every Animal. An Illustrated Sourcebook By Chika Miyata

A perfect book for any artist. A brilliant how-to to help you draw (almost) any animal. 

Not sure how to start your drawing of a flamingo or a flying squirrel? Boggled by how to draw an antelope, an armadillo, or a cheetah? How to Draw Almost Every Animal is here to help!

Have you ever wondered how to draw a hippopotamus? Or a lazy, brown dog? Or a hedgehog? Then this collection of over 75 adorable animals to draw and doodle is just the book for you!

This teaching tool does more than just show you completed pictures of the animals. Each illustration is broken down with step-by-step diagrams and helpful tips to truly teach you how to draw. Plus, we’ve included extra images to teach you how to draw animals relaxing in their natural habitats and on the move.

A helpful how-to section includes valuable coloring tips and techniques for mastering fur and feather, spots, stripes, scales, spines, and everything else animals are covered in.

How To Draw Almost Every Animal. An Illustrated Sourcebook By Chika Miyata is available here.

Please Don’t Do Coke In The Bathroom: Irreverent Hand Lettering For Every F*cking Occasion By Sami Christianson

An inappropriate sweary book. This is your guide to lettering told in an adult- and funny- way. 

Who says art has to be delicate and proper? Get angry, get creative, get your sweary soul out and do it beautifully! Please Don’t Do Coke in the Bathroom is your guide to mature (and funny) lettering.

Creatively express your irreverent attitude and sarcastic sentiments with beautiful calligraphy and hand lettering! Send an artfully lettered note telling your boss to f*ck off, let a friend know her cat is kind of an a$$hole, or share your true feelings about kale with the help of this laugh-out-loud lettering book for adults.

Featuring a crash course in calligraphy and hand lettering the alphabet, this book also includes a selection of removable hand-lettered signs with inappropriate sayings like “Monday is a D*ck,” “Your Spirit Animal is an A$$hole,” and more.

Now you can create your own brazen billboards or hostile stationery, or tell the sh*tty person in your life how you really feel, with delicate swirls and hand-drawn letters gleaned from Please Don’t Do Coke in the Bathroom. After all, if you’re going to tell someone they suck, it might as well look good when you do it!

Please Don’t Do Coke In The Bathroom: Irreverent Hand Lettering For Every F*cking Occasion By Sami Christianson.

How The Universe Works

A wondrous book. Excellently illustrated and fascinating. 

It’s hard to imagine how big the universe is, but with help from How the Universe Works, you can get to know what makes it tick.

The cosmos is a complex and intricate system that astronomers have been trying to dissect for years. From Galileo and Copernicus to the Space Race and Modern Day NASA missions, humanity has craved more knowledge about the universe and how it works. Hundreds of years of scientific discovery, and there’s still so much to learnHow the Universe Works is the latest installment in a series of books that deconstructs how things work and explains in a format that is easy to understand.

With beautiful and detailed visuals in the form of info-graphics, 3D illustrations, cutaways and renderings, How the Universe Works offers a tiny glimpse of the massive stretch of the universe.  Each page delves more into the composition of the stars and shows the information in such a way that makes even the most complex phenomenons easy to understand. Learn how different cosmic bodies interact with one another, why, and how humanity has worked to understand space.

The observable universe spans billions and billions of light yearsHow the Universe Works is a work intended to put the cosmos in the hands of its readers. Understanding the most complex mechanisms that rule space is quite a task, but with information for the entire family, this editorial ally is perfect for getting immersed in the intricacies of the observable universe and all its natural beauty.

How The Universe Works is available here