Fear: A Cultural History by Joanna Bourke
A book which looks at how fears such as phobias, nuclear holocaust, terrorism and war have developed and changed in social consciousness in the last 150 years. Well worth reading.
The Physiognomy by Jeffrey Ford
A peculiar, extremely well written and gripping weird fantasy about a physiognomist who determines character from taking measurements of their bodies (for example, width between the eyes, nose to top lip) and acts as a sort of government investigator to uncover criminals or potential criminals through his art. I also recommend Mr Ford’s shorter work, in particular, The Empire of Ice Cream, which you can read online. But I also hope you will help him feed his family buy buying his terrific books.
Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton
I love a good space opera. And this two-parter, while hugely long at around 3,000 pages, combine multiple storylines that will appeal to lovers of science fiction, crime, westerns, romance, horror, and outdoor adventure (a la Jack London). Hamilton manages to mash together a host of genres seamlessly. Impressive stuff. Oh, and I loved one of the central conceits. How do you get from one planet to another in across a vast galactic commonwealth? By train, naturally. Only a British writer could come up with that one. You can also listen to a postcast review with Peter at www.dragonpage.com.