Didn't tick off all the non-fiction reads of 2022? Here's what to catch up on

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Non-fiction reads topped the charts last year – and with January a notoriously quiet month, now is the time to catch up on your reading list before all the new releases hit our bookshelves.

Check out our pick of the best memoirs, biographies and non-fiction from 2022 – and feel smug in the knowledge that they’re almost all are currently being sold at discount prices in Waterstones.

Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman

Drawing on rarely seen sources, this lively and entertaining biography by Lucy Worsley rescues the Queen of Crime from the fusty trappings of the Edwardian era, to present her as a thoroughly modern woman.

Learn how Agatha Christie went surfing in Hawaii, and how her deceptively simple whodunnits betrayed her interest in the new science of psychology.

Not so cosy after all then.

Buy for £21.99 from Waterstones.

Madly Deeply: The Alan Rickman Diaries

Spanning from 1993 to December 2015, just before his death from pancreatic cancer, these diaries from the much-missed Harry Potter star Alan Rickman, edited by Alan Taylor, are everything you might wish from an actor’s memoir: gossipy, anguished, and full of sumptuous detail.

There are the first nights, the lunches (Rickman seems to have spent most of his time in The Ivy) and of course, his waspish views of fellow luvvies.

‘Never divulge anything to her that you do not want spread like soft margarine,’ he writes of Frances Barber. Ouch.

Buy for £12.50 from Waterstones.

Friends, Lovers And The Big Terrible Thing

‘You can track the trajectory of my addiction if you gauge my weight from season to season,’ writes Matthew Perry, aka Chandler, in this no-holds-barred account of the dark underbelly of Friends.

‘When I’m carrying weight, it’s alcohol; when I’m skinny it’s pills. When I have a goatee, it’s lots of pills.’

Friends made him stinking rich but also desperately unhappy and Perry – who writes well if not without self-regard – spares readers not an inch of the whole sorry tale.

Buy from Waterstone for £18.99.

Faith, Hope And Carnage

Comprising a series of extended conversations between Nick Cave and the journalist Seán O’Hagan, this book has a lot to say on Cave’s history of heroin addiction, his views on the creative process, and the turbulence of life with the Bad Seeds.

Primarily, though, it’s a book about grief, with Cave almost unbearably articulate on the loss of his 15-year-old son Arthur in 2015.

Strangely life-affirming in its own unique Cave way.

Buy from Waterstones for £18.99.

Ready For Absolutely Nothing

The lives of the extremely rich invariably have a gruesome fascination, and so it proves in this outlandish endearing memoir from What Not To Wear’s Susannah Constantine.

It’s full of fabulous Sloaney tidbits, including hanging out with Princess Margaret and dating Imran Khan – who apparently wooed her with the immortal line: ‘You have perfect breasts’. Great fun.

Buy from Waterstones for £10.

And Finally

The latest memoir by the retired neurosurgeon Henry Marsh recounts his experiences on the front line of life and death not as a surgeon, but as a patient.

Diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, he ruminates here on the side of illness he never got to witness in his career: the private loneliness, grief and sheer frustration of it all.

As ever he writes beautifully, his interest in the human body and mind as hummingly alive as ever.

Buy from Waterstones for £8.49.

The Palace Papers

Last year was yet another tumultuous one the royals.

Thank goodness then for Tina Brown to help guide us through it with her usual scissor-sharp wit.

Scything her way though the last 25 years, from the death of Diana to the schism of Megxit, she saves almost no one, including the late Queen, her gimlet eye, although its fair to say Prince Andrew emerges the least smelling of roses.

Of all the books about the Royals published last year, this is the most indecently enjoyable.

Buy from Waterstones for £9.49.

The Fall Of Boris Johnson

A hugely vivid fly-on-the-wall account of Boris’s last nine months in office from a man who saw most of it: the FT’s Whitehall editor Sebastian Payne. It has all the pace, intrigue, complexity and dirt worthy of the finest Netflix drama.

Buy from Waterstones for £22.00.

Diary Of An Invasion by Andrey Kurkov

Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov’s diaries recount the first six months since Russia invaded in Ukraine and those who lived there had their lives changed forever.

With the sort of eye-witness detail missing from even the most rigorous newspaper account, this book makes for essential reading. (Mountain Leopard)

Buy from Waterstones for £14.99.

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