How to be a Culture Vulture: Nonfiction titles coming out this month

We know we’re a month early when it comes to learning new things, but why not get a headstart? Every day’s a school day, amirite? Who needs to wait until September to broaden your horizons and learn that bit more about the world.

Here is a collection of nonfiction titles coming out this month, in which you can widen your mind about politics, pick your brain about philosophy, turn your hand to geopolitics, nature and preservation, learn about the realms of creation — wowie, you’ll be quite the culture vulture if you get your hands on these books.

The State is Your Enemy: Essays on Liberation and Racial Justice by James Kelman
PM Press, 9781629639680, PB, £18.989, Out 3/8/2023

Incendiary and heartrending, these sixteen essays lay bare government brutality against the working class, asylum-seekers, ethnic minorities, and all who are deemed of ‘a lower order.’ Drawing parallels between atrocities committed against the Kurds by the Turkish State, and the racist police brutality, and government sanctioned murders in the UK, James Kelman shatters the myth of Western exceptionalism, revealing the universality of terror campaigns levied against the most vulnerable, and calling on a global citizenship to stand in solidarity with victims of oppression. Neither preachy nor hopeless — this is a cool-headed take-down and an essential primer for revolutionaries.

In Pursuit of The Beautiful Soul by Justine Kolata
Double A Group Publishing, 9781739148201, PB, £9.99, Out 3/8/2023

Our society is in a state of crisis. Millennials and Generation Z find themselves lost in a world torn apart by extreme individualism, loneliness, culture wars, mob mentalities, and an epidemic of narcissism fuelled by our addiction to information technologies. In Pursuit of the Beautiful Soul by Justine Kolata offers a revolutionary solution to overcoming the soullessness of modern life. The book explores the untold relationship between the eighteenth-century philosophy of the Beautiful Soul and the salon culture in which it was enacted. This lost humanistic artform of self-cultivation inspires the pursuit of beauty, goodness, and truth in the act of creating a beautiful existence.

Kolata weaves together the essential features of this practical philosophy with an historical exploration of the German-Jewish salonnieres’ ground-breaking efforts to cultivate beautiful souls through the arts and conversation. She recounts vivid anecdotes from her own salons which revitalise this vibrant tradition.

In Pursuit of the Beautiful Soul explores how this philosophy’s prescient insights into the human condition provide a framework for today’s disenchanted generations to restore the ideals intrinsic to individual happiness and social flourishing.

Charleston: Race, Water & The Coming Storm by Susan Crawford
The Indigo Press, 9781911648543, PB, £13.99, Out 24/8/2023

An unflinching look at the beautiful, endangered, tourist-pummelled, and history-filled port city, founded by English settlers in 1669 as a hub of the sugar and slave trades, which now finds itself at the intersection of the twin crises of climate and race.

Unknown to the happy, mostly white visitors who hop from one restaurant to another on the charming streets of the Charleston peninsula, or to readers of the glossy magazines in which the city is named a top destination year after year, rapidly rising sea levels and increasingly devastating storms are mere years away from rendering the city uninhabitable. If this precarity is hidden, it is because the city and the state have a strong interest in keeping up appearances. And because the city’s Black and lower-income residents will bear the brunt of the storm. Susan Crawford shows how the city must quickly reimagine its future before rising waters stymie its ability to act at all. Along the way, its inhabitants will need to confront and right historic wrongs.

This evocative and profoundly important book crystallises human tendencies to value profit and property above all else, and explains that Charleston, like scores of other global coastal cities, urgently needs to chart a new future for its citizens in the light of the changes ahead.

Highway To Hell (Third Edition): The Life & Death of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott
by Clinton Walker
Verse Chorus Press, 9781959163039, PB, £25.99, Out 15/8/2023

A freshly updated edition of the definitive biography of an iconic rock and roll figure.

Clinton Walker’s biography traces Bon Scott’s musical apprenticeship in bubblegum pop band the Valentines and blues-rockers Fraternity through to joining up with Angus and Malcolm Young in AC/DC, where his racy lyrics, unique vocal style, and sheer charisma helped define a new, highly influential brand of rock and roll.

Drawing on exclusive first-person interviews and featuring a gallery of rare images, Clinton Walker traces AC/DC’s career through the life of their original front man, from the Scottish roots he shared with the Youngs to small-time gigs to recording studios and international success — right up to Scott’s shocking death in 1980, just as the band were getting the worldwide recognition they’d worked for so tirelessly. Wild speculations regarding the circumstances of Scott’s death have surfaced at intervals over the intervening forty years and flared up again recently. For this edition, Walker again reviews the evidence, including new details that have come to light. The result underlines Highway to Hell‘s status as the authoritative version of the life — and untimely death — of one of rock’s greatest characters.

All Good Things: A Treasury of Images to Uplift the Spirits and Reawaken Wonder
by Stephen Ellcock
September Publishing, 9781914613456, PB, £19.99, Out 17/8/2023

Master curator Simon Ellcock’s first collection of the best of the world’s beauty, creativity and curiosity, now in paperback.

A wondrous journey with the world renowned image hunter and social media art curator Stephen Ellcock. Designed to stimulate and inspire, All Good Things is an exciting, eclectic collection of over 200 images from world-leading museums as well as lesser known collections. In a finely calibrated procession of image, quote and myth, Stephen Ellcock leads us through the Realms of Creation from the Stars to the Seas, the Natural to the Supernatural to give us his extraordinary world vision. A treasure trove of 3,000 years of artistic creation, scientific enquiry and pan global magical, philosophical and religious traditions. The best of the world’s beauty, creativity and curiosity in a single book. Calm the soul and re-energise your spirits with an artistic journey through the realms of the universe.

An Opinionated Guide to London Hotels by Gina Jackson
Hoxton Mini Press, 9781914314360, PB, £10.99, Out 10/8/2023

40 fabulous hotels for design-conscious tourists and Londoners alike: the best beds, food and spas.

It’s not hard to find a decent hotel in London; what’s trickier is finding the really tasteful gems with both great food and treatments that aren’t stuffy. Whatever you’re looking for — a spontaneous getaway, pampering weekend, culture-rich adventure or special celebration — we’ve found the perfect place to go. These hand-picked hotels include amazing places to splash the cash for a weekend of unapologetic luxury as well as those offering a more wallet-friendly stay without skimping on style; from the best spots to treat your mum to afternoon tea to where to go to enjoy a relaxing spa day with friends or dinner among world class art. All give the lowdown on vibe, decor, facilities and service with the assured voice of someone who has experienced them first hand.

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