Looking for Easter reading? Our staff make some recommendations

7th April 2017

The Easter long weekend is around the corner, the sun is shining and the pile of Christmas books is finally dwindling.  Now is a perfect time to pick a new book to enjoy in the sunshine, escape a family lunch or just enjoy over your time off.  

We’ve put our heads together in the office and come up with some personal recommendations.  These are all books that have inspired, amused or challenged us and, in most cases, shaped how we approach our lives or work.  From the sublime to the ridiculous, there’s something for everyone here.  Let us know if you read any of them and what you think.

Emily Cabon, Membership Officer, ‘This Is London’ by Ben Judah.

‘With the hype of ‘fake news’ leaving the world in constant uncertainty, ‘This is London‘ is a raw and refreshing report of the city from the eyes of its immigrants. From the outset Judah explains “I don’t trust statistics, I have to see everything for myself” and he allows you to see it with him, through his intimate account of the people he meets. This book will challenge any pre-existing opinions you may have and truly highlights the importance of neutrality when viewing the world.’


Sam Castles, Fundraising and Communications Assistant, ‘Hegemony or Survival’ by Noam Chomsky.

‘One of the first books I read by Chomsky, it gave me answers to many questions I held about Western dominance around the globe. Discussing US Foreign Policy up until 2003, he gives a concise yet extremely informative overview of the quest for global dominance at whatever cost may come. Over a decade on, this book can still explain many of the questions we have about interventions and interests abroad, and can explain to many who feel that “the west” are targeted and vilified, the reasons why. For those looking for answers, it has them.’


Dan Craddock, Education Projects Manager, ‘My Promised Land ’ by Ari Shavit.

‘As one of the most contentious international issues in the world today much has been written about the situation in Israel and Palestine. Ari Shavit’s ‘My Promised Land ‘ provides a refreshing and detailed examination of how Israel has developed into the country it is today. He gives an honest and balanced account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict viewing it through a variety of perspectives throughout the book. ‘My Promised Land’ is a beautifully written book and must read for anyone with an interest in geo-politics in this area of the world.’


Katie Cresswell-Maynard, Head of Engineering Education, ‘Human Evolution’ by Robin Dunbar.

‘Bought for me by an anthropology friend after I’d raved about the human biology aspects of ‘Born to Run‘. ‘Human Evolution‘ is a classic anthropological text that runs through the science behind our evolution. Have no fear, this is not a boring read, I found it fascinating to discover how we have evolved to overcome the stresses of living in significantly larger numbers compared to any other animal species (competition for food, space and reproduction) and as a result, rise to the top of the food chain. Even the graphs are interesting.’


Eve Gyimah, Head of Fundraising and Communications, ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe.

‘A book that continues to pose important questions, Achebe’s novel was one of the first books to write about European colonisation from an African perspective. Written when Nigeria was on the cusp of independence, the novel tackles the dangers of a single story.  The power of the storyteller and the responsibility they have is far too often forgotten (insert Facebook post of someone getting on their soapbox about a topical issue). Even the most well intentioned storyteller poses a danger if the whole story is not offered, especially when the those in the story have no platform to be heard.’


Annabel Fleming, International Programmes Coordinator, ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell.

‘This book unpicks the success of some of history’s best known figures from sport, business and popular culture to demonstrate how lives are shaped by time, place, people and a hefty dose of luck. Gladwell’s compelling argument looks to societal ‘outliers’ to explain how, in fact, they are not that different from you and I. It might make you reevaluate the secret to success, or dedicate 10,000 hours to practising something, or, failing all that, you might get a few good analogies to lord over people at a dinner party.”


Doug Harper, Chief Executive, ‘Easternisation: War and Peace in the Asian Century’ by Gideon Rachman.  

‘We acknowledge the remarkable fact that, since 1990, more than one billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty in our 2016-21 strategy.  However, if we exclude Chinese and Indian development, the global trend is rather less impressive.  Reflecting this concentration of economic (and population) growth in Asia, Rachmann’s excellent book examines the seemingly remorseless shift in political and economic influence from the west to the east.  Engaging and easy to read, this book is a must read for anyone interested in the international political landscape over the next 50 years.’

Sylvia Roberge, International Partnerships Manager, ‘The Trouble with Women’ by Jacky Fleming.

‘This comic book takes a humorous look at why women have been absent from history books, art, medicine, science and politics through the ages: the diameter of their big frocks, smaller brains, and the absence of ‘genius hair’. It quotes Schopenhauer (“Only men have the total objectivity necessary for genius”), Maupassant (“Any attempt by any woman to achieve anything is futile”), and other ‘geniuses’ to show their true feelings about women’s (in)abilities. A short, hilarious read.’


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