Samuel Johnson Prize
As well as the many novels I want to read, I also love to plunge into a well-written factual book, one that introduces me to a really interesting topic. One source of fascinating reads is the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction: there is always something to catch my fancy on the list. Previous winners include ‘The Suspicions of Mr Whicher’ by Kate Summerscale, ‘Nothing to Envy: Real lives in North Korea’ by Barbara Demick and ‘Into the Silence:the Great War, Mallory and the conquest of Everest’ by Wade Davis.
The shortlist this year is
Empires of the Dead: How one man’s vision led to the creation of WWW1’s War Graves by David Crane
Return of a King by William Dalrymple (the story of the first Afghan War)
A Sting in the Tale by Dave Goulson (reintroducing and protecting bumblebees)
Under Another Sky by Charlotte Higgins (what Roman Britain has meant to people through the ages)
The Pike by Lucy Hughes-Hallett (an attempt to create a utopian fascist state in Croatia)
Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Volume One: Not for Turning by Charles Moore.
What a rich and varied list! I’ve read all of William Dalrymple’s books. He is one of my favourite factual writers so I know I’ll be reading Return of a King and I think Under Another Sky will be on my Christmas list. Do you like reading factual books and do any of these attract you?