Books: Fact & Fiction
If you’re a bookworm, Cambridge’s Trinity Street – home to two of the city’s best-loved bookshops – is the place to go. Each month, the teams at Cambridge University Press and Heffers select their top fact and fiction titles
Alan M Turing by Sara Turing
Written from a mother's point of view, this biography provides a uniquely personal examination of Alan Turing's life from infancy to his untimely death. Giant in the mathematical/computing world, it is the range of his talents that fascinate - such as his prowess in sports, including rowing, mountaineering, cycling, and running. His brother’s additional comments, printed for the first time alongside his mother’s, provide a very different perspective, especially of Alan’s relationship with his mother. There is plenty here too for the more mathematically-minded, ensuring this book appeals to an unusually broad readership.
Re-Engineering Humanity by Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger
This timely book looks at the hot topic of how technology is taking over not just our day-to-day lives, but also our humanity. Frischmann and Selinger examine how all of the artificial intelligence around us - in, for example: robotics; social media; data collection; wearable and ‘smart’ technology - is a threat not just to our jobs and democracy as is often reported, but also to our concept of self and our autonomy. One of the main ideas discussed is that we develop as a species in response to what we learn over time, hence there is a danger that our closeness to technology will lead us to become more robotic. It’s the stuff of dystopian science fiction, but this book is a thorough and balanced sociological and philosophical study, that encourages the reader to think about what they do and don’t want from the future.
Darwin and Women: A Selection of Letters edited by Samantha Evans
Darwin is not renowned for thinking much of the female sex, believing women to be intellectually inferior to men; however his private communication reveals a different side of things. The women among his family and friends are shown to have had sharp, witty, and intellectual exchanges that make for a very entertaining read. Samantha Evans - one of the editors of the mammoth Darwin Correspondence Project at the University Library - has given voice to his wife and daughters, fellow scientists, women’s rights campaigners - all fascinating, strong, funny, intelligent and pioneering, blazing a trail in professionalization and the fight against gender imbalance. Inspirational.
Selected by Alice Tranah, bookseller at Cambridge University Press Bookshop, 1 Trinity Street, Cambridge CB2 1SZ. Call (01223) 333333.
This Lovely City by Louise Hare
This Lovely City is a piece of Windrush-inspired fiction to dive into this spring. Lawrie Matthews has answered England's call for help, as London reels from the after-effects of the war. He takes a tiny room in south London lodgings, and falls in love with the girl next door. Touring Soho's music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home - until, one morning, he makes a terrible discovery. As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms . . . Louise Hare’s debut is ultimately a novel about hope and is a definite talking point.
Knock ‘em Dead by Peter Morfoot
Chicanery, corruption and murder: Knock ‘em Dead is the fourth instalment in the excellent Captain Darac series by local author Peter Morfoot. This time, the jazz-loving Darac is called to investigate a fatality at Nice’s Saint-Laurent train station, the circumstances of which are suspicious. The case becomes international news, and Darac’s hopeful, high-summer mood is stolen away by complications and ultimately, a life and death struggle.
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
This is not so much of a brick as a breeze block of a book – but fantasy fiction fans will find it well worth it! Sarah J Maas is known for her teen fiction and this is her first foray into writing fantasy for adults. Faes and angels; murder and mystery; from the nightclubs of Lunathion to the underbelly of the city and into the deepest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir . . . A richly imagined tale that’s full of suspense.
Selected by Kate Fleet, events and marketing manager at Heffers, 20 Trinity Street, Cambridge CB2 1TY. Call (01223) 463200.
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More by this authorAlice Ryan