Testament Of Youth
By Vera Brittain
With a new introduction by her biographer, Mark Bostridge.In 1914 Vera Brittain was eighteen and, as war was declared, she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life - and the life of her whole generation - had changed in a way that was unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era. TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain's account of how she survived the period; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
By Zora Neale Hurston
She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her . . .When sixteen-year-old Janie is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before she finally meets the man of her dreams - who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds.'Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive. There is no novel I love more' - Zadie Smith Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame
By Jessica J. Lee
'The water slips over me like cool silk. The intimacy of touch uninhibited, rising around my legs, over my waist, up to my collarbone. When I throw back my head and relax, the lake runs into my ears. The sound of it is a muffled roar, the vibration of the body amplified by water, every sound felt as if in slow motion . . .' Summer swimming . . . but Jessica Lee - Canadian, Chinese and British - swims through all four seasons and especially loves the winter. 'I long for the ice. The sharp cut of freezing water on my feet. The immeasurable black of the lake at its coldest. Swimming then means cold, and pain, and elation.'At the age of twenty-eight, Jessica Lee, who grew up in Canada and lived in London, finds herself in Berlin. Alone. Lonely, with lowered spirits thanks to some family history and a broken heart, she is there, ostensibly, to write a thesis. And though that is what she does daily, what increasingly occupies her is swimming. So she makes a decision that she believes will win her back her confidence and independence: she will swim fifty-two of the lakes around Berlin, no matter what the weather or season. She is aware that this particular landscape is not without its own ghosts and history.This is the story of a beautiful obsession: of the thrill of a still, turquoise lake, of cracking the ice before submerging, of floating under blue skies, of tangled weeds and murkiness, of cool, fresh, spring swimming - of facing past fears of near drowning and of breaking free.When she completes her year of swimming Jessica finds she has new strength, and she has also found friends and has gained some understanding of how the landscape both haunts and holds us.This book is for everyone who loves swimming, who wishes they could push themselves beyond caution, who understands the deep pleasure of using their body's strength, who knows what it is to allow oneself to abandon all thought and float home to the surface.
By Asne Seierstad
One morning in October 2013, nineteen-year-old Ayan Juma and her sixteen-year-old sister Leila left their family home in Oslo. Later that day they sent an email to their parents. 'Peace, God's mercy and blessings upon you, Mum and Dad ... Please do not be cross with us...' Leila and Ayan had decided to travel to Syria, 'and help out down there as best we can'. They had been planning for months. By the time their desperate father Sadiq tracks them to Turkey, they have already crossed the border. But Sadiq is determined to find them. What follows is the gripping, heartbreaking story of a family ripped apart. While Sadiq risks his own life to bring his daughters back, at home his wife Sara begins to question their life in Norway. How could her children have been radicalised without her knowledge? How can she protect her two younger sons from the same fate? Åsne Seierstad - with the complete support of the Juma family - followed the story from the beginning, through its many dramatic twists and turns. It's a tale that crosses from Sadiq and Sara's original home in Somalia, to their council estate in Oslo, to Turkey and to Syria - where two teenage sisters must face the shocking consequences of their decision.
Tipping The Velvet
By Sarah Waters
Piercing the shadows of the naked stage was a single shaft of rosy limelight, and in the centre of this was a girl: the most marvellous girl - I knew it at once! - that I had ever seen. A saucy, sensuous and multi-layered historical romance, Tipping the Velvet follows the glittering career of Nan King - oyster girl turned music-hall star turned rent boy turned East End 'tom'. It launched the career of one of Britain's most exciting and successful writers. `One of the best storytellers alive today' - Independent. Sarah Waters has written five subsequent bestselling novels, all of which have been filmed or are currently in production and she has received critical and popular acclaim and prize shortlists. She was awarded the Stonewall Writer of the Decade in 2016.Tipping the Velvet was adapted by Andrew Davies and filmed by Sally Head Productions for the BBC
Talking As Fast As I Can
By Lauren Graham
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER: with a new bonus chapterWINNER of the GoodReads Choice Awards 2017 for HumourIn this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood-along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.In Talking As Fast As I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, "Did you, um, make it?" She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood ("Strangers were worried about me; that's how long I was single!"), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge onProject Runway ("It's like I had a fashion-induced blackout").In "What It Was Like, Part One," Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay "What It Was Like, Part Two" reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she's aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls ("If you're meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you've already set the bar too high"), and she's a card-carrying REI shopper ("My bungee cords now earn points!").Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and-of course-talking as fast as you can.
Trans Like Me
By CN Lester
What does it mean to be transgender?How do we discuss the subject?In this eye-opening book, CN Lester, academic and activist, takes us on a journey through some of the most pressing issues concerning the trans debate: from pronouns to Caitlyn Jenner; from feminist and LGBTQ activists, to the rise in referrals for gender variant children - all by way of insightful and moving passages about the author's own experience. Trans Like Me shows us how to strive for authenticity in a world which often seeks to limit us by way of labels.'I finished with more insight and knowledge than I ever expected' Stylist'One of the year's most important books on transgender identity' Gay Times'A moving, learned and essential voice at the razor edge of gender politics' Laurie Penny
The Two Faces of January
By Patricia Highsmith
Now a major motion picture starring Viggo Mortenson and Kirsten Dunst.'Highsmith is a giant of the genre. The original, the best, the gloriously twisted Queen of Suspense' Mark BillinghamTwo men meet in the picturesque backstreets of Athens. Chester MacFarlane is a conman with multiple false identities, near the end of his rope and on the run with his young wife Colette. Rydal Keener is a young drifter looking for adventure: he finds it in one evening as the law catches up to Chester and Colette, and their fates become fatally entwined.Patricia Highsmith draws us deep into a cross-European game of cat and mouse in this masterpiece of suspense from the author of The Talented Mr Ripley.
This Sweet Sickness
By Patricia Highsmith
Too much love can be a bad thing.'Highsmith was every bit as deviant and quirky as her mischievous heroes, and didn't seem to mind if everyone knew it' J. G. Ballard, Daily TelegraphDavid Kelsey has an invincible conviction that life is going to work out just as he has planned it - if he can just fix 'the situation'. His one true love, the brilliant, beautiful Annabelle, has married another man. But that doesn't mean they can't still be friends. And even though she is pregnant with her husband Gerald's baby, that surely doesn't mean she won't one day get back together with David. She still loves him, of that he is certain. David is sure she'll take him back, and, under an alias, is setting up a wonderful home for the two of them in a town close by. And everything is just about going to plan until things take a murderous turn, leaving David a desperate man on the run.
Trials of Passion
By Lisa Appignanesi
This book journeys into the heart of dark passions and the crimes they impel. When passion is in the picture, what is criminal, what sane, what mad or simply bad?Brighton, 1870: A well-respected spinster infuses chocolate creams with strychnine in order to murder her lover's wife.Paris, 1880: A popular performer stalks her betraying lover through the streets of the city for weeks and finally takes aim.New York, 1906: A millionaire shoots dead a prominent architect in full view of a theatre audience.Through court and asylum records, letters and newspaper accounts,this book brings to life a period when the psychiatric professions were consolidating their hold on our understanding of what is human. An increasingly popular press allowed the public unprecedented insight into accounts of transgressive sexuality,savage jealousy and forbidden desires. With great story-telling flair, Lisa Appignanesi teases out the vagaries of passion and the clashes between the law and the clinic as they stumble towards a (sometimes reviled) collaboration. Sexual etiquette and class roles, attitudes to love, madness and gender, notions of respectability and honour, insanity and lunacy, all are at play in that vital forum in which public opinion is shaped - the theatre of the courtroom.
The Temporary Bride
By Jennifer Klinec
A relationship was a mathematical formula: the correct variables of age, beauty, morality and finances were entered and the output was a successful, peaceful marriage. It couldn't be, therefore, that their Iranian son could feel desire for someone six years his senior,someone who didn't come to him pure and untouched. I was an amusing visitor from another world and soon enough I should return to it, fading quietly into an anecdote ... In her thirties, Jennifer Klinec abandons a corporate job to launch a cooking school from her London flat. Raised in Canada to Hungarian-Croatian parents, she has already travelled to countries most people are fearful of, in search of ancient recipes. Her quest leads her to Iran where, hair discreetly covered and eyes modest, she is introduced to a local woman who will teach her the secrets of the Persian kitchen.Vahid, her son, is suspicious of the strange foreigner who turns up in his mother's kitchen; he is unused to seeing an independent woman. But a compelling attraction pulls them together and then pits them against harsh Iranian laws and customs. Getting under the skin of one of the most complex and fascinating nations on earth, The Temporary Bride is a soaring story of being loved, being fed, and the struggle to belong.
The Talented Mr Ripley
By Patricia Highsmith
A stunning hardback edition of one of the most influential, groundbreaking crime novels ever written.'I'm a huge Highsmith fan. If there's one book I wish I'd written, it's The Talented Mr Ripley' Sarah WatersTom Ripley travels to Italy with a commission to coax a prodigal young American back to his wealthy father. But Ripley finds himself very fond of Dickie Greenleaf. He wants to be like him - exactly like him. Suave, agreeable and utterly amoral, Ripley will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal. The Talented Mr. Ripley serves as an unforgettable introduction to this smooth confidence man, whose talent for murder and self-invention is chronicled in four subsequent Ripley novels.
The Tremor of Forgery
By Patricia Highsmith
A gripping novel that explores the shifting sands of moral values - is murder still murder when committed in a lawless place?'Highsmith is the poet of apprehension rather than fear . . . Highsmith's finest novel to my mind is The Tremor of Forgery, and if I were asked what it is about I would reply, "apprehension"' Graham GreeneHoward Ingham finds it strange that no one has written to him since he arrived in Tunisia - neither the film director that he is supposed to be meeting in Tunis, nor his lover in New York who is, he hopes, missing him. While he waits around at a beach resort, unable to progress on the film script he is there to write, he starts work on a new novel, about a man living an amoral double life. Howard also befriends a fellow American who has a taste for Scotch and a suspicious interest in the Soviet Union, and a Dane who appears to distrust Arabs intensely. When bad news finally arrives from home, Howard thinks he may as well stay and continue writing, despite the tremors in the air of violence, tensions and ambiguous morals.
Those Who Walk Away
By Patricia Highsmith
'The setting is Venice, the characterisation brilliant, the syle spare and superb' Daily MailThe honeymoon is over; the bride dead by her own hand. Ray Garrett, the grieving husband, convinces the police in Rome of his innocence, but not his father-in-law, Ed Coleman, who shoots him at point-blank range and leaves him for dead. Ray survives and follows Coleman to Venice, where the two fall into an eerie game of cat-and-mouse - Coleman obsessed with vengeance and Ray determined to save his reputation, and himself. Each is at once the hunter and the hunted in a tense duel that, as each manages to walk away, draws them nearer to death.
By Muriel Spark
Robert wants nothing more than to become a serious art historian. But his hopes for an academic life are put on hold when he's driven from London to Venice to escape one lover and seek out another: the enigmatic Bulgarian refugee Lina Pancev. In Venice, Robert encounters a grand carnival of lust, lies, blackmail, cocktail parties and regicide. As he chases Lina, his heart's desire, the city itself provides a priceless education in love, art and beauty.
Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes
By Patricia Highsmith
'Master storyteller Highsmith offers an eerily up-to-date collection of modern horror tales' Publishers WeeklyPatricia Highsmith, an American who lived most of her life in Europe, was the author of such bestselling crime novels as Strangers on a Train, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. The stories collected here are classic Highsmith - eerie, prescient and chilling, catastrophes caused by human error and dark motives. Whether evoking the White House under siege by the homeless or a 190-year-old woman perpetually near death and dimly glowing, each tale refuses to release you from its tense grip.
These Wonderful Rumours!
By May Smith
May Smith is twenty-four at the outbreak of World War Two; at night, the sirens wail, and the young men of the village leave to fight. But still, ordinary life goes on: May goes shopping, plays tennis, takes holidays and even falls in love - while recording it faithfully in her diary.'May is simply a joy, a bright spark in dark times' The Times
By Rumer Godden
Doone Penny is a child with a gift - he was born to dance. But though others recognise his talent, there is little encouragement from his family. His mother preens over his pretty sister, Crystal, also a dancer, but fiercely competitive and vain. Doone's father would never allow a son of his to have ballet lessons, and his brothers think he's a sissy.But Doone has passion and ambition beyond his years, and knows he can succeed, if only he is given the chance. If he can make it into Queen's Chase, Her Majesty's Junior Ballet School, he'll show them all . ..
Tin Toys Trilogy
By Ursula Holden
Born into an affluent family, Bonnie, Tor and Ula have been left to the feckless embrace of the cook and their nanny. Their father is dead. Their glamorous mother is away entertaining the troops.When their infant brother falls ill and dies, the household disintegrates. In Tin Toys, Ula escapes with Cook, barely out of girlhood herself, and lands at the mansion of an enigmatic matriarch. In Unicorn Sisters, the three sisters are sent to a shabby English boarding school where the pupils are pitted against an anarchic gang of East End evacuees. A Bubble Garden finds the girls in Ireland, where they scrape a life in a crumbling, once-grand farmhouse, while their mother and her new husband are mired in their private traumas. A uniquely compelling and powerful coming-of-age classic.
Tea By The Nursery Fire
By Noel Streatfeild
Emily Huckwell spent almost her entire life working for one family. Born in a tiny Sussex village in the 1870s, she went into domestic service in the Burton household before she was twelve, earning £5 a year. She began as a nursery maid, progressing to under nurse and then head nanny, looking after two generations of children. One of the children in her care was the father of Noel Streatfeild, the author of Ballet Shoes and one of the best-loved children's writers of the 20th century. Basing her story on fact and family legend, Noel Streatfeild here tells Emily's story, and with her characteristic warmth and intimacy creates a fascinating portrait of Victorian and Edwardian life above and below stairs.