Friday, 25 February 2011

Friday Five: Astronauts, Library Cats, Dave Gorman, Hedgehogs, and The Perfect Storm

I've decided to do something a little different for this week's Friday Five; non-fiction. I've read all of the following and can highly recommend them:

1. We Can't All Be Astronauts by Tim Clare. Tim Clare dreamt of writing a critically-acclaimed bestseller, but he was single, still living with his parents, and, worst of all, his friends had beat him to it. Read how he decided to give his publication dream one last shot, grovelled to Jeffrey Archer on a reality TV programme, and suffered a mental breakdown before finally answering this question: Could things get any worse?

2. Dewey by Vicki Myron. The true tale of how one small-town library cat touched not only the people in his hometown, but the rest of the world. This is an inspirational story of the power of one animal to unite people and provide comfort through the worst of times. Have your hankies ready.

3. Are You Dave Gorman? by Dave Gorman and Danny Wallace. I first read this book in 2001 and have read it again several times. It is a hilarious and touching account of two friends who decide upon a drunken bet late one night in their local pub. Dave Gorman thought there must be hundreds of people who shared his name. Danny didn't. Read how they travelled around the world in search of Dave Gormans and tested both their friendship and Danny Wallace's long-suffering girlfriend to the limit.

4. A Prickly Affair by Hugh Warwick. Given the topic of the book - hedgehogs - you might be forgiven for asking how could a book about Hedgehogs be interesting? But it is about far more than facts and figures; it is about our relationship and fascination with them. Read how Warwick, an ecologist and member of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, travelled to American to take part in the International Hedgehog Olympics, to China to find the rarest breed of all, and many other adventures.

5. The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger. The first thing to say about this book is that it is not one of those awful based-on-the-movie books. The Perfect Storm does tell the tale of the Andrea Gail and the awful events of October 1991, but it is about so much more. Junger tells the human story of the tragedy and the myriad of people whose lives revolved around the sea and fishing. The fact that it remained on the international bestseller list for four years is an indication of the quality of Junger's writing.

Well, that is it for this week. What non-fiction books would you recommend?


  1. The first and fifth one sound the most intriguing. I actually really think my mom would enjoy the perfect storm.

  2. I like the sound of Dewey, a most ingenious idea for a story,

    Have a good week-end Ellie,

  3. Like the sound of all the books, Ellie. Will add them to my TBR pile.

  4. I have the Dewey book, somewhere in my TBR piles . . . The rest of the books sound great too! My non-fiction book of choice right now is Alone In The Kitchen with an Eggplant, edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler. Writers talking about dining alone. Love it!

  5. Number 3 sounds interesting. I've seen several books whose stories were products of drunken pub bets. Hmmm...maybe I should hang out at pubs more often!

    I really enjoyed Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. Mortenson goes from backpacker to humanitarian and opens schools for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Wonderful :D

    Happy weekend!

  6. I've read Dewey and LOVED IT!!!!!!! I would also recommend A Friend Like Ben!! Especially if you want to ratchet up the AWWWWWWWWWW!!! factor a notch or ten!! :-)

    I think I found my soulmate in Tim Clare.
    :-) I so relate. Although I draw the line to grovelling to Jeffrey Archer!!!!!

    I remember getting most traumatised watching the Perfect Storm and going "nooooooooooooo"!!! when Mr Clooney went all heroic at the end! Sob.

    Take care

  7. I love Sebastien Junger. The Perfect Storm was incredible and I read it a long time before the film ever came out. He has a way of drawing you into the subject and showing you the ehart of the matter.

    These others sound fantastic and I'll definitely be adding them to my TBR list. Have a great weekend.

  8. I love the sound of the first one and I have a soft spot for hedgehogs too! Thanks Ellie.

  9. I'll have to take a look at these the next time I'm in the good ol' book store. Thanks for the heads up!

  10. The Perfect Storm is an excellent book! I devoured it in days. Nothiing like the movie at all.

  11. I love 'Running for the Hills' by Horatio Clare. LOVE!

  12. A Perfect Storm interests me.

    Aren't there so many amazing books to read--both fiction and non-fiction!! It's finding the time to read them all.

    I love your header picture! And I'm happy to meet you. I came over here from your comment on L'Aussie's blog where I'm the last person on her list to host re: The writer's journey to publication.

    You commented: "What an amazing journey, Ann. I must congratulate you on first writing your memoir and then having it accepted. I'm sure your book will bring comfort to many others who have been through or are going through the same situation as yourself."

    Thank you, Ellie. I do hope it does bring comfort, and that it will interest other readers as well.

    Keep writing away on your two novels! Step by step you'll get there. (I'm nor a follower.)

    Ann @ Long Journey Home

  13. I actually enjoyed Jupiter's Travels. a book by Ted Simon who went on a four-year journey through 126,000 km across 45 countries on a motorcycle in the 70's

  14. My husband got me a gift certificate for a bookstore. I was wondering what to buy. This is a big help. I think I'll get 1 & 3.

  15. Thanks for the recommendations! They sound fun and interesting! I hope you have a great weekend. I'm a new follower! :)

    ♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥


I love comments. They make my day!