Home/Adult Non-Fiction

Our Online Shop will be temporarily closed while we re-open our bookshops to the public and process outstanding orders. Sorry for any inconvenience but we are simply overwhelmed by all your support! Bob. We’ve picked out our favourite non-fiction titles – from biography to science, there’s something here for everyone, and if you choose click-and-collect from either of our bookshops at checkout there’s no postage to pay!

  • The Irish language has thirty-two words for field. Among them are: Geamhar - a field of corn-grass Tuar - a field for cattle at night Reidhlean - a field for games or dancing Cathairin - a field with a fairy-dwelling in it The richness of a language closely tied to the natural landscape offered our ancestors a more magical way of seeing the world. Before we cast old words aside, let us consider the sublime beauty and profound oddness of the ancient tongue that has been spoken on this island for almost 3,000 years. In Thirty-Two Words for Field, Manchán Magan meditates on these words - and the nuances of a way of life that is disappearing with them. ISBN 9780717187973
  • Patrick Freyne has tried a lot of stupid ideas in his life. Now, in his scintillating debut, he is here to tell you about them: like the time (aged 5) he opened a gate and let a horse out of its field, just to see what would happen; or the time (aged 19) he jumped out of a plane for charity, even though he didn't much care about the charity and was sure he'd end up dead; or the time (aged old enough to know better) he used a magazine as a funnel for fuel when the petrol cap on his band's van broke. He has also learned a few things: about the power of group song; about the beauty of physically caring for another human being; about childlessness; about losing friends far too young. Life as seen through the eyes of Patrick Freyne is stranger, funnier and a lot more interesting than life as we generally know it. Like David Sedaris or Nora Ephron, he creates an environment all his own - fundamentally comic, sometimes moving, always deeply humane. 'Patrick Freyne is a comic genius' Marian Keyes 'Clever, lovely and great, great fun' Roddy Doyle ISBN 9781844884889
  • Old Ireland in Colour brings to life the rich history of Ireland and the Irish through the colour restoration of these stunning images of all walks of Irish life throughout nineteenth and twentieth century. From the chaos of the Civil War to the simple beauty of the islands; from legendary revolutionaries to modest fisherfolk, every image has been exquisitely transformed and every page bursting with life. Using a combination of cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology and his own historical research, John Breslin has meticulously colourised these pictures with breath-taking attention to detail and authenticity. With over 250 photographs from all four provinces, and accompanied by fascinating captions by historian Sarah-Anne Buckley, Old Ireland in Colour breathes new life into the scenes we thought we knew, and brings our ancestors back to life before our eyes. ISBN 9781785373701
  • We have been expecting fresh reprinted copies of this title since late-October. Sadly, a Covid-19 outbreak at the printers delayed the publisher's reprint. We will supply all orders just as soon as the publisher can provide us with fresh stock. We currently expect copies to arrive on around 27th November. Thank you for your patience. Bob. In his fascinating and thought-provoking new book, Professor Luke O'Neill, one of the leading voices of authority during the COVID-19 pandemic, grapples with life's biggest questions and tells us what science has to say about them:Do we have control over our lives?Can we escape working in bullshit jobs?Must we vaccinate our children?Are men and women's brains different?Will we destroy the planet?Covering topics from global pandemics to gender, addiction to euthanasia, Luke's trademark easy wit and clever pop-culture references deconstruct the science to make complex questions accessible. Arriving at science's definitive answers to some of the most controversial topics human beings have to grapple with, Never Mind the B#ll*ocks is a celebration of science and hard facts in a time of fake news and sometimes unhelpful groupthink. ISBN 9780717186396
  • The book that sparked a national conversation. Exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to understand race relations today. ISBN 9781408870587
  • Cocooning with her ninety-year-old Aunt is not the life Helen imagined when she came home to Dublin after 30 years in London. Bickering, bitching, masking-up for rare outings, The Stairlift Ascends is a Twitter diary of our time trying to live together, surviving the pandemic: and each other! Aunt: *calling loudly from sitting room* Helen, can you help me? Me: *drops everything, rushes to front room, expecting her to have fallen* Aunt: The cat’s on my lap, could you pour me a small Jameson? Cocooning with my ninety-year-old Aunt is not the life I’d imagined when I came back to live in Dublin after 30 years of being a high-flying media executive in London. From the Groucho Club to our North Dublin coastal cocoon, it was back to earth with a bump. Funny and frustrating, living with the Aunt in our Covid bubble has been quite the eye-opener. Bickering, bitching, masking-up for rare outings, The Stairlift Ascends is a Twitter diary of our time trying to live together, of surviving the pandemic ... and each other. Love, lashings of apple tart, laughter and a longing for trips to Arnotts have seen us through, so far ... A hugely popular, funny and compassionate view on 2020 from @HelenORahilly ISBN 9781788492539
  • *This title is currently sold out due to huge sudden demand. We are hoping to get more stock by mid-June but all the warehouses have currently run out of stock as well! We will fulfill orders just as soon as we can source more stock.* From women's solidarity and friendship to forgotten African scholars and the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian's braids, the scope of black hairstyling ranges from pop culture to cosmology, from prehistoric times to the (afro)futuristic. Uncovering sophisticated indigenous mathematical systems in black hairstyles, alongside styles that served as secret intelligence networks leading enslaved Africans to freedom, Don't Touch My Hair proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation. SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 IRISH BOOK AWARDS 'Groundbreaking . . .a scintillating, intellectual investigation into black women and the very serious business of our hair, as it pertains to race, gender, social codes, tradition, culture, cosmology, maths, politics, philosophy and history' Bernardine Evaristo ISBN 9780141986289
  • Over the course of fifteen years, John Delaney ran the Football Association of Ireland as his own personal fiefdom. He had his critics, but his power was never seriously challenged until last year, when Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan published a sequence of stories in the Sunday Times containing damaging revelations about his personal compensation and the parlous financial situation of the FAI. Delaney's reputation as a great financial manager was left in tatters. He resigned under pressure, and the FAI was left hoping for a massive bail-out from the Irish taxpayer. In Champagne Football, Tighe and Rowan dig deep into the story of Delaney's career and of the FAI's slide into ruin. They show how he surrounded himself with people whose personal loyalty he could count on, and a board that failed to notice that the association's finances were shot. They detail Delaney's skilful cultivation of opinion-formers outside the FAI. And they document the culture of excess that Delaney presided over and benefited from, to the detriment of the organization he led. Champagne Football is a gripping, sometimes darkly hilarious and often enraging piece of reporting by the award-winning journalists who finally pulled back the curtain on the FAI's mismanagement. ISBN 9781844884933
  • Diary of a Young Naturalist chronicles the turning of 15-year-old Dara McAnulty’s world. From spring and through a year in his home patch in Northern Ireland, Dara spent the seasons writing. These vivid, evocative and moving diary entries about his connection to wildlife and the way he sees the world are raw in their telling. ISBN 9781908213792
  • “For over thirty years, bodies have been my business. The lucky ones have died peacefully in their own bed, surrounded by loved ones. But, life, or should I say death, is not always like that. This is your opportunity to duck under the police tape with me. Walk carefully in my footprints and follow me into the scene but don’t touch anything, just look. Remember Locard’s principle, every contact leaves a trace . . .” Marie Cassidy was Ireland’s State Pathologist from 2004 until 2018. During that time, she was involved in many high-profile cases, including the Stardust exhumation and the deaths of Siobhan Kearney, Rachel O’Reilly, Robert Holohan and Tom O’Gorman. In Beyond the Tape, she invites us into the world of forensic pathology, and shares her remarkable personal journey, from working-class Glasgow to becoming Ireland’s head pathologist. A fascinating, behind-the-scenes account of real-life forensics, the intricate processes central to solving modern crime, and the stories from behind the crime tape. ISBN 9781529352573
  • A book of hope for uncertain times. Enter the world of Charlie's four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons. The conversations of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared thousands of times online, recreated in school art classes, hung on hospital walls and turned into tattoos. In Charlie's first book, you will find his most-loved illustrations and some new ones too. 'A wonderful work of art and a wonderful window into the human heart' Richard Curtis ISBN 9781529105100
  • Is it possible to be young, progressive and a Catholic? Ellen Coyne is about to find out ... 'You know, this isn't a Catholic country anymore,' someone proudly declared in a Dublin pub where Ellen Coyne was celebrating the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. About to turn 30, like many her age, Ellen had left the Church a long time ago, but she had never stopped believing in and talking to God. Now, she suddenly realised she wasn't quite ready for this statement to be true, however much of a contradiction it seemed to present with some of her most strongly held views. Abandoning the Church had been an act of protest, a form of punishment. However, she began to wonder: who had really lost the most? Why should those who did the damage to the Church get to keep it and all its good bits, like going to Mass for the ritual and the community, having a clear guide for living a better life, and the comfort of believing it's not the end when somebody dies?But how could she ally herself to an institution she doesn't entirely agree with? In her first book, Ellen tries to figure out how much she really wants to go back to the Church, and if it is even the right thing to do. A stunningly intelligent and thoughtful debut work of non-fiction. ISBN 9780717188949
  • When Layla Saad began an Instagram challenge called #MeAndWhiteSupremacy, she never predicted it would spread as widely as it did. She encouraged people to own up and share their racist behaviors, big and small. She was looking for truth, and she got it. Thousands of people participated in the challenge, and over 90,000 people downloaded the Me and White Supremacy Workbook. The updated and expanded Me and White Supremacy takes the work deeper by adding more historical and cultural contexts, sharing moving stories and anecdotes, and including expanded definitions, examples, and further resources. Awareness leads to action, and action leads to change. The numbers show that readers are ready to do this work - let's give it to them. Me and White Supremacy teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of colour, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. ISBN 9781529405095
  • Laura de Barra is quite simply a Gaff Goddess. Expanding on her popular online home hacks, Laura will teach you how to handle the problems we all encounter in our homes. Straight-talking and hilarious and packed with Laura's stunning illustrations, her step-by-step guides will prepare you to handle the most common household emergencies with style. From dripping taps to hanging a frame, how best to look after your white goods, how to treat moths, mould and everything in between, and with invaluable design ideas to improve the living spaces in your home, this book is for everyone who has ever wanted to tackle a bit of She-IY without really knowing how. Ingenious and sure to be an instant household must-have, Gaff Goddess will empower you to make those repairs and rediscover your space saving you time, money and stress in the process. ISBN 9781848272620
  • From the prize-winning author of To Be a Machine - meet the men and women preparing for the end of the world In the remote mountains of Scotland, in high-tech bunkers in South Dakota and in the lush valleys of New Zealand, small groups of determined men and women are getting ready. They are environmentalists who fear the ravages of climate change; billionaire entrepreneurs dreaming of life on Mars; and right-wing conspiracists yearning for a lost American idyll. One thing unites them: their certainty that we are only years away from the end of civilization as we know it. Not unconcerned himself by the possibility of the end of days, Mark O'Connell set out to meet them. ISBN 9781783786374
  • A thrilling Cold War story about a KGB double agent, by one of Britain's greatest historians - now with a new afterwordOn a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket. The man was a spy. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia. So began one of the boldest and most extraordinary episodes in the history of spying. Ben Macintyre reveals a tale of espionage, betrayal and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War forever... ISBN 9780241972137
  • As Governor of Galicia, SS Brigadesfuhrer Otto Freiherr von Wachter presided over an authority on whose territory hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles were killed, including the family of the author's grandfather. By the time the war ended in May 1945, he was indicted for 'mass murder'. Hunted by the Soviets, the Americans, the Poles and the British, as well as groups of Jews, Wachter went on the run. He spent three years hiding in the Austrian Alps before making his way to Rome and being taken in by a Vatican bishop. He remained there for three months. While preparing to travel to Argentina on the 'ratline' he died unexpectedly, in July 1949, a few days after having lunch with an 'old comrade' whom he suspected of having been recruited by the Americans. In THE RATLINE Philippe Sands offers a unique account of the daily life of a Nazi fugitive, the love between Wachter and his wife Charlotte, who continued to write regularly to each other while he was on the run, and a fascinating insight into life in Rome and among American and Soviet spies active at the start of the Cold War. Using modern medical expertise, the door is unlocked to a mystery that haunts Wachter's youngest child, who believes his father was a good man - what was Wachter doing while in hiding, and what exactly caused his death? Dublin Festival of History 2020 Event - Sunday 4th October 7pm. Watch Philippe Sands in conversation with Robert Gerwarth. Booking required HERE. ISBN 9781474608138
  • A remarkable first collection by an important new poet. In this collection, Seán Hewitt gives us poems of a rare musicality and grace. By turns searing and meditative, these are lyrics concerned with the matter of the world, its physicality, but also attuned to the proximity of each moment, each thing, to the spiritual. Here, there is sex, grief, and loss, but also a committed dedication to life, hope and renewal. Drawing on the religious, the sacred and the profane, this is a collection in which men meet in the woods, where matter is corrupted and remade. There are prayers, hymns, vespers, incantations, and longer poems which attempt to propel themselves towards the transcendent. In this book, there is always the sense of fragility allied with strength, a violence harnessed and unleashed. The collection ends with a series of elegies for the poet's father: in the face of despair, we are met with a fierce brightness, and a reclamation of the spiritual. 'This is when / we make God, and speak in his voice.'Paying close attention to altered states and the consolations and strangeness of the natural world, this is the first book from a major poet. ISBN 9781787332263
  • In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency - a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil. Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation's highest office. A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective - the story of one man's bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of "hope and change," and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible. ISBN 9780241491515
  • The Dictionary of Hiberno-English is the leading reference book on Hiberno-English - the form of English commonly spoken in Ireland. It connects the spoken and the written language, and is a unique national dictionary that bears witness to Irish history, struggles and the creative identities found in Ireland. Reflecting the social, political, religious and financial changes of people's ever-evolving lives, it contains words and expressions not usually seen in a dictionary, such as 'kibosh', 'smithereens', 'Peggy's Leg', 'hames', 'yoke', 'blaa', 'banjax' and 'luban'. It is a celebration of an irrepressible gift for the creative, expressive and reckless manipulation of the English language. This updated edition includes a new introduction by Blindboy Boatclub. ISBN 9780717190201
  • The first volume in Tim Robinson's phenomenal Connemara Trilogy - which Robert Macfarlane has called 'One of the most remarkable non-fiction projects undertaken in English'. In its landscape, history and folklore, Connemara is a singular region: ill-defined geographically, and yet unmistakably a place apart from the rest of Ireland. Tim Robinson, who established himself as Ireland's most brilliant living non-fiction writer with the two-volume Stones of Aran, moved from Aran to Connemara nearly twenty years ago. This book is the result of his extraordinary engagement with the mountains, bogs and shorelines of the region, and with its folklore and its often terrible history: a work as beautiful and surprising as the place it attempts to describe. ISBN 9781844880669
  • *Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2020* *Winner of non-fiction book of the year at the Irish Book Awards* -'Utterly magnificent. Raw, thought-provoking and galvanising; this is a book every woman should read.'Eimear McBride. I have come to think of all the metal in my body as artificial stars, glistening beneath the skin, a constellation of old and new metal. A map, a tracing of connections and a guide to looking at things from different angles. How do you tell the story of a life in a body, as it goes through sickness, health, motherhood? How do you tell that story when you are not just a woman but a woman in Ireland? In the powerful and daring essays in Constellations Sinead Gleeson does that very thing. All of life is within these pages, from birth to first love, pregnancy to motherhood, terrifying sickness, old age and loss to death itself. Throughout this wide-ranging collection she also turns her restless eye outwards delving into work, art and our very ways of seeing. In the tradition of some of our finest life writers, and yet still in her own spirited, generous voice, Sinead takes us on a journey that is both uniquely personal and yet universal in its resonance. Here is the fierce joy and pain of being alive. ***SHORTLISTED FOR DALKEY LITERARY AWARDS 2020*** 'Breathtaking and sublime.' - Nina Stibbe. 'Absolutely extraordinary and life-enhancing.' - Daisy Buchanan, author of How to be Grown-up. ISBN 9781509892778
  • Until alarmingly recently, the Catholic Church, acting in concert with the Irish state, operated a network of institutions for the concealment, punishment and exploitation of 'fallen women'. In the Magdalene laundries, girls and women were incarcerated and condemned to servitude. And in the mother-and-baby homes, women who had become pregnant out of wedlock were hidden from view, and in most cases their babies were adopted - sometimes illegally. Mortality rates in these institutions were shockingly high, and the discovery of a mass infant grave at the mother-and-baby home in Tuam made news all over the world. The Irish state has commissioned investigations. But the workings of the institutions and of the culture that underpinned it - a shame-industrial complex - have long been cloaked in secrecy and silence. For countless people, a search for answers continues. Caelainn Hogan - a brilliant young journalist, born in an Ireland that was only just starting to free itself from the worst excesses of Catholic morality - has been talking to the survivors of the institutions, to members of the religious orders that ran them, and to priests and bishops. She has visited the sites of the institutions, and studied Church and state documents that have much to reveal about how they operated. Reporting and writing with great curiosity, tenacity and insight, she has produced a startling and often moving account of how an entire society colluded in this repressive system, and of the damage done to survivors and their families. In the great tradition of Anna Funder's Stasiland and Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea - both winners of the Samuel Johnson Prize - Republic of Shame is an astounding portrait of a deeply bizarre culture of control. 'Achingly powerful... There will be many people who don't want to read Republic of Shame, for fear it will be too much, too dark, too heavy. Please don't be afraid. Read it. Look it in the eye' Irish Times' ISBN 9780241984123
  • Out of stock
    Vol 6 of Winter Papers, Ireland’s annual anthology for the arts, is published by Curlew Editions. It offers fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, visual arts, along with craft interviews and in-conversation pieces on writing, film, theatre, photography and music. – ‘a treasure trove of soul fuel with deep roots in Irish soil’ Irish Times – Picked as an ‘Irish art book of the year’ Sunday Times Ireland Edited by Kevin Barry and Olivia Smith. Kevin Barry is the award winning author of the novels Beatlebone and City of Bohane and the story collections Dark Lies the Island and There are Little Kingdoms. Olivia Smith has published widely as an academic. ISBN 9780993302954
Go to Top