Here is a list of some books that I thought were interesting. It will probably chop and change with time. I’ll put a link to the authors’ websites or independent bookstores so you can check them out yourself.
Professor David Nutt
I became familiar with David Nutt after writing about an Irish psychedelics research company he advises. In Drink?, he explains – in a non-judgemental way – the science behind what happens in the body and brain when we drink. Nutt also touches on the reasons why alcohol is given special treatment compared to other widely used substances. I have always been a fairly infrequent drinker, but the book has made the odd beer I have much more enjoyable. Now, I pay more attention to what I’m drinking, when and where, all of which has a huge impact on pleasure. Don’t be put off by the chapters on harms to health; the book as a whole made me much more cognisant of the positive effects of alcohol.
Kraftwerk: Future Music from Germany
Knowledge of Kraftwerk’s Catalogue helps with this one, especially when it comes to distinguishing between different recordings and remixes of the music. But Uwe Schütte still does a pretty good job at writing about the group in a way that is accessible to anyone. This is not a rock biography. It is more like an academic-style exploration of advances in techno music in Europe and America; performance art; German identity post-World War II; and a plethora of other topics such as French cycling culture – all told within the context of one of the world’s most influential bands.
Drug Use for Grown-ups
Dr Carl Hart
I decided to check this one out after reading Carl Hart’s interview with The Observer. As you can probably guess from the sub-title, the book is largely geared towards an American audience, but the core argument for the legalisation of drugs – with decriminalisation as a first step – is compelling for readers anywhere. Hart explains how bad science, misinterpreted data, prejudice and cognitive dissonance have contributed to the creation of damaging and racist policies that fail to look after the health and happiness of people. He uses a mixture of anecdotes, scientific experiments and case studies from America, Europe, Brazil and the Philippines that will challenge your thinking on the dangers of drug use.