A Good Likeness
By Paul Arnott
Paul Arnott has two very early memories. One is as a two-year-old having a bath in a hotel sink in Tenby; the other, a Bromley afternoon, when Mr and Mrs Arnott told Paul that 'his real Mummy and Daddy couldn't keep him' - & that they had adopted him. Then, for 30 years, he barely gave his adoption a moment's thought - until the observation of the likeness between his son & himself provoked a quest to find his own biological parents ... What he discovered was a near-complete family in Ireland - his parents had later married & had four other children, lighting a candle in his name every day for 33 years.A GOOD LIKENESS weaves historical, political, religious & psychological thought into a personal narrative of the hopes, 'what-ifs' & discoveries of the author's quest. He talks to those of his parent's generation who did not yield to the pressure to abandon the illegitimate & to the children with very different stories to tell, as well as priests & politicians, newfound families & the supportive or unreconciled adoptive relatives.
My Life So Far
By Denis Forman, Adam Forman
MY LIFE SO FAR (originally published as SON OF ADAM) is the story of the life of a small boy from his earliest childhood to the age of fourteen, at his family home in Dumfriesshire. The boy was Sir Denis Forman, the former chairman of Granada Television and of the Royal Opera Board; the house was Craigielands, a beautiful Palladian mansion set in wooded parkland beside a lake and teeming with a rich variety of characters whom Denis Forman brings vividly to life.These memoirs also describe the germination of his two main interests: entertaining an audience, and music. The first was to lead him - after service in World War Two - into films and television, culminating in CORONATION STREET and THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN. The second gave rise to his involvement with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
The Sound Of No Hands Clapping
By Toby Young
When even his friends refer to him as 'a balding, bug-eyed opportunist with the looks of a beach ball, the charisma of a glove-puppet and an ego the size of a Hercules supply plane,' the odds of Toby Young scoring - in any sense - appear to be slim. But then HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS, his memoir about failing to take Manhattan, becomes an international bestseller. Now Tinseltown beckons. After receiving a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from a Hollywood producer, Toby sets his sights anew on a high-flying career, this time on the West Coast. But it doesn't take long for Toby's self-sabotaging instincts to reassert themselves. On the home front, though, things are looking up: Toby persuades his girlfriend to marry him and move to Los Angeles - but then she decides to abandon her promising legal career in order to become a full-time housewife . . . and mother.Toby's hapless attempts to pursue a glamorous showbiz career while buried in nappies will strike a chord with all modern fathers struggling to find the right work/life balance . . . and with their exasperated wives. Failure - and fatherhood - have never been funnier.
When I Grow Up
By Bernice Rubens
In a rare foray outside that natural home, Booker Prize-winner Bernice Rubens penned these memoirs 'while I still have a memory'. Poignantly, the highly-acclaimed author, literary bon-vivante and celebrated film-maker died shortly after completing them. She wasn't quite expecting that but nor, as she reveals in these pages, did she expect to become a writer. It wasn't the sort of thing that happened to girls born in Glossop Terrace in Splott, the 'unmentionable and indisputable armpit of Cardiff'.In this delightful evocation of her own life, Rubens escorts us, with a flotilla of anecdotes, away from that armpit through her wartime childhood, her first 'major folly' (studying English at University) to stints as a teacher, lady's maid and actress before stumbling upon a career that bemused her until the end of her days. 'What shall I do,' was her constant internal refrain, 'when I grow up?'Bernice Rubens died in the autumn of 2004.
By Valerie Martin
Inspired by the great frescoes of St Francis of Assisi, the highly-praised author of PROPERTY has written a new and wholly original biography. Composed in a series of vividly realised 'panels', SALVATION begins with the dying Francesco - and the rivalry for his body among the towns of medieval Italy - and moves back in time toward his mystical conversion. The old friar, exhausted by illness and division among his brotherhood, gives way to the zealous missionary who joins the Fifth Crusade, confident that he can convert Sultan al-Kamil in Egypt. Later, we see the unwashed and innocent revolutionary, unafraid to lecture a pope on Christ's message, and finally the frivolous young Francesco on the deserted road where his encounter with a leper leads him to an ecstatic embrace of God. SALVATION is a window into a medieval world whose physicality and purity have rarely been rendered with such visceral power. Most important, it is a unique, immediate portrait of the great mystic, whose legend has resonated through the centuries in both religious and secular realms.
A Yorkshire Boyhood
By Roy Hattersley
It was not until he was dead and I was forty that I realised my father was once in Holy Orders,' Roy Hattersley tells us in the opening pages of A YORKSHIRE BOYHOOD; so setting the tone for an elegant, continually surprising book.A somewhat precocious only child, Roy grew up surrounded by protective, ever-anxious adults, equally determined to expose him to books and to shield him from germs -- second-hand books were decontaminated by a sharp session in the oven. Uncle Ernest, a timber merchant's clerk celebrated for his skill at 'fretwork and the manipulation of Indian clubs'; a ten-year feud with the next-door neighbours; unwavering devotion to Sheffield Wednesday - all the pleasures and pangs of northern working-class childhood are magnificently evoked as Roy Hattersley takes us through the hardships of the Thirties and the Blitz; and into the 1940s, the 11-plus examination and Grammar School.Completely updated, A YORKSHIRE BOYHOOD is an autobiographical essay of unusual wit, eloquence and candour.
Works On Paper
By Michael Holroyd
Michael Holroyd opens with a startling attack on biography, which is answered by two essays on the ethics and values of non-fiction writing. The book then examines the work of several contemporary biographers, the place of biography in fiction and of fiction in biography, and the revelations of some extravagant autobiographers, from Osbert Sitwell to Quentin Crisp - to which he adds some adventures of his own, in particular an important and unpublished piece THE MAKING OF GBS, a riveting story of deadly literary warfare. The book ends with a series of satires, celebrations, apologias and polemics which throw light not only on Michael Holroyd's progress as a biographer, but also his record as an embattled campaigner in the field of present-day literary politics.
By Jennifer Lauck
Separated from her brother Bryan, and passed from caretaker to caretaker, Jenny discovers -- as she rebels her way through high school and into adulthood -- that the past can never be truly locked away forever.She survived the stunning traumas of a lost childhood, but survival may not be a way of life. Now the secrets, lies and loneliness that once imprisoned her are brought into sharp focus, where an adult Jenny can make her peace at last. But one more mystery demands her attention: the quiet troubled soul of Bryan, who, lacking the inner strength of the survivor, chooses a sad and sorrowful destiny. And Jenny must dig deep to find the one bond that held them through the years, and the one reason any of us have for enduring; love.
The Cogwheel Brain
By Doron Swade
In 1821, 30-year-old inventor and mathematician Charles Babbage was poring over a set of printed mathematical tables with his friend, the astronomer John Herschel. Finding error after error in the manually evaluated results, Babbage made an exclamation, the consequences of which would not only dominate the remaining 50 years of his life, but also lay the foundations for the modern computer industry: 'I wish to God these calculations had been executed by steam!'A few days later, he set down a plan to build a machine that would carry out complex mathematical calculations without human intervention and, at least in theory, without human errors. The only technology to which he had access for solving the problem was the cogwheel escapement found inside clocks. Babbage saw that a machine constructed out of hundreds of escapements, cunningly and precisely linked, might be able to handle calculations mechanically. The story of his lifelong bid to construct such a machine is a triumph of human ingenuity, will and imagination.
The Tenth Circle Of Hell
By Rezak Hukanovic
On May 13 1992, the Bosnian civil war finally came to Prijedo, a once-peaceful city where Muslims, Croats and Serbs had lived side by side for centuries. The Serb occupation of Prijedor was an exercise in what the victors called 'ethnic cleansing' whereby the town's Muslim and Croat citizens were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Among those who lived though the nightmare was the journalist Rewak Hukanovic, whose riveting memoir chronicles the crimes against humanity that were committed by the Bosnian Serbs in the death camps of Omarska and Manjaca. Through the summer and fall of that endless year, Hukanovic and his friends, colleagues, relatives and neighbours were subjected to terror , torture, and grisly death. Through his unbelieving eyes we see the patina of civilization stripped away from aggressor and victim alike, revealing a brutality that calls into question all our notions of human decency.
Rosebud: The Story Of Orson Welles
By David Thomson
Rosebud is a riveting and powerful portrait of the rise and fall of one of Hollywood's greatest innovators - the man who brought us Citizen Kane and then lost himself to obesity, small talk and conjuring tricks on daytime television. With humour, pace and the twists of a mystery story, acclaimed film critic and writer David Thomson probes the essential questions surrounding Welles, exploring the ferocious energy and demonic intellect behind the boy genius. Challenging, idiosyncratic, compelling: Rosebud understands Welles as no other study has, and in a way that leaves the reader breathless, amused and deeply moved by the wonder that was once Orson.
By Norman Mailer
A work of meticulous research and breathtaking insight, Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery asks the essential question about the Kennedy Assassination: Who was Lee Harvey Oswald? Providing the first full account of his childhood, the years under KGB surveillance in Russia and the events from his return to the United States in 1961 to his death in Dallas. Norman Mailer brilliantly reconstructs the life of this ambitious, doom-laden young man, bringing to the task not only a sober respect for the facts but the power, as America's most distinguished novelist. To invest those facts with vibrant and haunting life.