Best non-fiction reads of 2015

A few years ago I began tracking my reading across the year and I realised I did not read non-fiction at all … I’ve begun to rectify this in 2015 and can cite the following three as my best non-fiction reads of 2015.

Yuval Noah Harari

I came across this book by Yuval Noah Harari, listening to an interview from the Hay festival and was inspired to read the book as a result.

Imagine if there was only one type of dog in the world, or one type of cat. There is only one type of human in the world today when in the distant past there were more. This gives us an understanding of why there is only one type of human in the world today. The book presents an insight into who we really are and it’s not particularly worthy or pretty. The future view is challenging also and makes pertinent reading for us and the next generations of sapiens. Thought-provoking and accessible. Highly recommended.

The Golden Age of Murder
Martin Edwards

I’ve heard Martin Edwards speak at a number of crime writing conferences now and he has written a series of legal thrillers and stand alone murder mysteries set in the Lake District. I learned about his book, The Golden Age of Murder, at one of his talks and decided to read it as I grew up surrounded by books by many of the authors he covers within this book.

A fascinating exploration of the individual authors in the golden age (between the world wars in the 20th century), such as Sayers, Christie and  Nicholas Blake amongst many others. This is also an introduction to the group effect within crime writing – the detective club which they set up with rules and so on and a collaborative attempt at novel writing. Martin Edwards also presents the progression of crime fiction from simple puzzle-solving to the more complex exploration of motive and insight into the mind of the criminal. This book is an excellent starting point for anyone who is interested in learning more about their favourite golden age authors or in understanding more about the history and development of crime fiction at this time of great change in the twentieth century. Thoroughly recommended.

And you can hear Martin talk about one of his books, The Arsenic Labyrinth here.

Future Crimes
Marc Goodman

I learned about this book from Manda Scott (aka MC Scott) at Bristol’s Crimefest in May 2015. This was a taster session on cyber crimes and crimes of the future and Manda recommended this book. 

This book about cyber crime maps the technological changes that are here now and that may have bypassed many of us. This book reads like a thriller and is packed with real-life examples of cyber crimes and technological advances that opens our eyes to what is really going on when we log on to social media sites or conduct our lives across the Internet. Frightening stuff but very interesting.