7 fascinating non-fiction books to read this Chinese New Year

New books from the last few months to get your brain going

Featuring Stephen Hawking's last work, Jackie Chan's incredibly personal memoir, networking tools from the editorial director of Twitter and a graphic novel cocktail recipe book, these recently published non-fiction books will give you hope, inspiration, guidance... or maybe just something to ponder while you're on holiday. You can find them all in English on the Chinese Amazon website.
Inside Black Mirror

Inside Black Mirror

Authors Charlie Brooker, Annabel Jones, Jason Arnopp
Published Nov 2018

About Black Mirror has become one of the biggest cult TV shows in Britain. Since first being broadcast in 2011, the show has gone on to air four different seasons, with the fifth to be released in 2019. Covering themes associated with modern technology, albeit with a distinct dystopian feel, the show has garnered critical acclaim worldwide. Now, the creator and producer (Brooker and Jones) take readers on a journey from the original idea to the hit show it is today. With visuals, behind-the-scenes shots, stories from actors involved and explanations from the writers, this insight into Black Mirror is the first official companion book and offers an in-depth oral history for readers to enjoy.

‘Brooker continues to solidify himself as one of the most creative writers in the medium. Even when the unfair creep of expectations rears up, Black Mirror and Brooker deliver.’ – The Hollywood Reporter

Price 108RMB.

Never Grow Up

Never Grow Up

Author Jackie Chan
Published Dec 2018

About The man so well known for his blockbuster films featuring fights and stunts lays it all on the line in this very candid memoir. From alcohol and family to Hong Kong and Hollywood, Chan tells his story with warmth and humility, explaining both the personal and professional sides of his illustrious life.

'A legendary life, with many fascinating stories waiting for you to discover.' – Jet Li

Price 126RMB.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Author Stephen Hawking
Published Oct 2018

About This book may have a few die-hard science fans tearing up by the end. Completed by colleagues and family after his death in March 2018, this last work by Stephen Hawking carries on his legacy of uncovering the universe's greatest mysteries. Hawking asks four 'big questions' in the book: Why are we here? Will we survive? Will technology save us or destroy us? and How can we thrive? His brief answers are as insightful as you may expect, and the published book comes complete with a foreword written by Eddie Redmayne (who played Hawking in The Theory of Everything) and an afterword by Lucy Hawking, Stephen's daughter.

'Hawking’s parting gift to humanity... a book every thinking person worried about humanity’s future should read.' – NPR

Price 146RMB.

The Dark Heart: A True Story of Greed, Murder, and an Unlikely Investigator

The Dark Heart: A True Story of Greed, Murder, and an Unlikely Investigator

Author Joakim Palmkvist
Published Nov 2018

About Guess what? It's a Swedish journalist finding out more about crime. Although most murders don't occur in Sweden or the surrounds – as much as TV shows and thriller authors would have you believe – this particular case did, and with it came a host of secrets, lost love and family feuds. After the case went cold, a working-class mum decides to pick up the pieces and uncover the truth. What happens next... well, read Plamkvist's account to find out.

'The Dark Heart is an extraordinary examination of a rather ordinary crime… The Dark Heart is such pleasurable reading because it is chock-full [of] fascinatingly rich people.' – New York Journal of Books

Price 169RMB.

Taking the Work Out of Networking

Taking the Work Out of Networking

Author Karen Wickre
Published Nov 2018

About Coming from a rather unlikely source – a former Google executive and editorial director of Twitter – this 'self-help' book doles out advice on how to get through painfully awkward meetings, mixers and social gatherings while still maintaining contacts and your job. Wickre's thoughtful guidance for introverts looking to secure connections could probably apply to us all, but she makes sure to point out that introverts, herself included, can do much more than just 'overcome' their fear.

'A very user-friendly tool for those of us introverts masquerading as extroverts.' – Amanda Bennett, journalist and author

Price 130RMB.

Mixology & Mayhem

Mixology & Mayhem

Authors Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry, Jillian Vose
Published Oct 2018

About From the founders of the award-winning bar the Dead Rabbit (named as one of the top 50 bars in the world multiple times), comes a unique little non-fiction book that isn't so much a good read as a good reference manual for all time. The authors (the two founders and the bar manager of the Dead Rabbit) use their bar's menu to tell a graphic story of heroes and villains from the modern bar world. It features 90 cocktail recipes throughout the pages of this stunning work of art.

'The Dead Rabbit doesn’t do drinks lists, it builds worlds in which its cocktails exist. With Mixology & Mayhem, the team kicks open the doors to its creative process – and lets us travel deep into its award-winning comic book menus. Cocktail books have never been this fun, this daring or this outrageous.' – Hamish Smith, Deputy Editor of Drinks International, Editor of CLASS magazine

Price 190RMB.

Math with Bad Drawings

Math with Bad Drawings

Author Ben Orlin
Published Sep 2018

About Don't skip this one just because of the word 'math' (that's 'maths' to probably most of you). Orlin's book, which aims to 'illuminat[e] the ideas that shape our reality', isn't really about math. Asking the questions we've all asked for years (why do I need to learn this? When am I ever going to use it? Why is it so hard?), Ben Orlin uses terrible drawings and simple language to explain some of the most fundamental principles that govern our world. Learn something, laugh about something and come away having a slightly better understanding of how and why our world works the way it does.

'Ben Orlin is terribly bad at drawing. Luckily he's also fantastically clever and charming. His talents have added up to the most glorious, warm, and witty illustrated guide to the irresistible appeal of mathematics.' – Hannah Fry, mathematician, University College London and BBC presenter

Price 190RMB.

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