The Spectator Book of Wit, Humour and Mischief
By Marcus Berkmann
Approaching its 200th birthday in the rudest of health, the Spectator is known for the quality of its writing and the deep eccentricity of some of its writers. Given the freedom to say what they want, they take that freedom and more, and the result is original, provocative, often very funny, sometimes plain wrong. From Jeffrey Bernard's reports from the Soho frontline and Auberon Waugh fulminating about hamburger gases in the early 1990s, we encounter in turn the wild stream of consciousness of Deborah Ross's restaurant reviews, the pinpoint etiquette advice of Mary Killen, Rod Liddle's frothing but elegantly sculpted outrage and the magazine's secret weapon, low life adventurer Jeremy Clarke. This bumper selection, which also includes eminent diarists, mad letter-writers and Boris Johnson, amounts to a masterclass in comic writing, lovingly compiled and edited by Marcus Berkmann, who still can't believe he wrote a monthly pop column for the magazine for twenty-eight years without being fired.
The Girl in the Fog
By Donato Carrisi
Sunday Times Crime Book Club PickMail on Sunday Thriller of the Week'A coldly brilliant exposé of the depths of human nature' SUNDAY TIMES'Compelling, beautifully constructed and atmospheric' DAILY MAIL Sixty-two days after the disappearance . . .A man is arrested in the small town of Avechot. His shirt is covered in blood. Could this have anything to do with a missing girl called Anna Lou?What really happened to the girl? Detective Vogel will do anything to solve the mystery surrounding Anna Lou's disappearance. When a media storm hits the quiet town, Vogel is sure that the suspect will be flushed out. Yet the clues are confusing, perhaps false, and following them may be a far cry from discovering the truth at the heart of a dark town. FOR FANS OF DONNA LEON AND MICHELE GIUTTARI, GET READY FOR THE CRIME THRILLER OF THE YEAR. 'Carrisi is an expert at misdirection . . . this is a thoroughly disconcerting, addictive thriller guaranteed to freeze your soul' METRO
By Iain Banks
The twenty-fifth anniversary edition of a modern classic: 'ingenious, daring and brilliant' - GuardianCOMPLICITYn. 1. the fact of being an accomplice, esp. in a criminal actA few spliffs, a spot of mild S&M, phone through the copy for tomorrow's front page, catch up with the latest from your mystery source - could be big, could be very big - in fact, just a regular day at the office for free-wheeling, substance-abusing Cameron Colley, a fully paid-up Gonzo hack on an Edinburgh newspaper.The source is pretty thin, but Cameron senses a scoop and checks out a series of bizarre deaths from a few years ago - only to find that the police are checking out a series of bizarre deaths that are happening right now. And Cameron just might know more about it than he'd care to admit ...Involvement; connection; liability - Complicity is a stunting exploration of the morality of greed, corruption and violence, venturing fearlessly into the darker recesses of human purpose.
At the End of the Century
By Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
'A magnificent selection of the Booker winner's short stories' Sunday TimesWith an introduction by Anita Desai.Over the course of her glittering literary career, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala wrote some of the most wonderful novels of the twentieth century and screenplays to some of the most beloved films - but she was also a master of the short story form. This stunning new collection brings together the jewels in the crown of her writing: it is a showcase of astonishing storytelling power.
Do I Make Myself Clear?
By Harold Evans
Harold Evans has edited everything from the urgent files of battlefield reporters to the complex thought processes of Henry Kissinger, and he has been knighted for his services to journalism. In Do I Make Myself Clear?, his definitive guide to writing well, Evans brings his indispensable insight to the art of clear communication.The right words are oxygen to our ideas, but the digital era, with all of its TTYL, LMK and WTF, has been cutting off that oxygen flow. The compulsion to be precise has vanished from our culture, and in writing of all kinds we see a trend towards more - more speed and more information, but far less clarity. Evans provides practical examples of how editing and rewriting can make for better communication, even in the digital age. Do I Make Myself Clear? is an essential text, and one that will provide every reader an editor at their shoulder.
Locking Up Our Own
By James Forman, Jr.
Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-FictionLonglisted for the National Book AwardOne of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2017Former public defender James Forman, Jr. is a leading critic of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of colour. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand the war on crime that began in the 1970s and why it was supported by many African American leaders in the nation's urban centres.Forman shows us that the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges and police chiefs took office amid a surge in crime and drug addiction. Many prominent black officials, including Washington, DC mayor Marion Barry and federal prosecutor Eric Holder, feared that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by lawlessness - and thus embraced tough-on-crime measures, including longer sentences and aggressive police tactics. In the face of skyrocketing murder rates and the proliferation of open-air drug markets, they believed they had no choice. But the policies they adopted would have devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighbourhoods.A former public defender, Forman tells riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants and crime victims. He writes with compassion about individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas - from the men and women he represented in court to officials struggling to respond to a public safety emergency. Locking Up Our Own enriches our understanding of why American society became so punitive and offers important lessons to anyone concerned about the future of race and the criminal justice system.
By John McGhie
Shortlisted for the Author's Club First Novel Award'Remarkable and redemptive . . . like the best of John le Carre' A. L. KennedyKenya, 1952, a colony on the edge. Settlers drink sundowners on the veranda but the servants can't be trusted. Beyond manicured lawns, in the dark of the forest, freedom is stirring. Johnny Seymour has seen too much war and seeks solace photographing East African wildlife. But when isolated white families are slaughtered by Mau Mau gangs, the British respond brutally and Johnny is reluctantly pulled into the horror. After his African driver Macharia disappears, Johnny is forced to confront shocking truths about his own country and ask how far he'll go to help a friend. Nearly sixty years later, disgraced young barrister Sam Seymour knows nothing about her grandfather. Even his name is taboo. All she understands is that Johnny did something so awful that his only son - her father - had to be rescued from Kenya. With veteran Mau Mau fighters demanding reparations for past sins, she's been offered a chance to unpeel history and discover why. In a narrative spanning the generations, White Highlands follows Sam and Johnny as they confront the might of the British state. One man stands in both their way - Grogan Littleboy, a ruthless colonial survivor who'll do anything to defeat Mau Mau, past and present. A startlingly original novel set in both the present day and Kenya in the 1950s during the Mau Mau uprising - one of the least known and darkest episodes in British colonial history.
Viva la Revolucion
By Eric Hobsbawm
Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012) wrote that Latin America was the only region of the world outside Europe which he felt he knew well and where he felt entirely at home. He claimed this was because it was the only part of the Third World whose two principal languages, Spanish and Portuguese, were within his reach. But he was also, of course, attracted by the potential for social revolution in Latin America. After the triumph of Fidel Castro in Cuba in January 1959, and even more after the defeat of the American attempt to overthrow him at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961, 'there was not an intellectual in Europe or the USA', he wrote, 'who was not under the spell of Latin America, a continent apparently bubbling with the lava of social revolutions'.'The Third World brought the hope of revolution back to the First in the 1960s'. The two great international inspirations were Cuba and Vietnam, 'triumphs not only of revolution, but of Davids against Goliaths, of the weak against the all-powerful'.
The Old Man and the Knee
By Christopher Matthew
Although in his seventies, Christopher Matthew is convinced he is not yet old. No one one has ever stood up for him on a crowded bus or tube. He plays golf and walks the dog. He has all his own teeth, hair, and does not require a hearing aid. He is, in short, enjoying late middle age and is making the best of it while he still can. 'I know it can't last for ever, but while it does, it gives me the chance to look at life in the last lane, as I am now experiencing it, and to consider what might be to come.' Subjects range from what's the point of a grandparent; the perils and pleasures of replacing one's partner with a younger model; and acquiring new interests and hobbies (bridge? ocean cruising? ballet? marathon running?) to the arrival of old age and the last leg of all. How do we know when we are old? Does old age creep up slowly or arrive out of the blue? Will we be able to summon up some half-decent last words and what should they be? Witty, like Oscar Wilde's about the wallpaper, or helpful like the 1st Lord Grimthorpe's 'We are low on marmalade'?
The King's City
By Don Jordan
'The cruelty and magnificence of Restoration London provides endless fascination . . . there's much to delight in this volume' The Times'Don Jordan's history captures the shifts [Charles II] engineered in trade and culture' NatureDuring the reign of Charles II, London was a city in flux. After years of civil war and political turmoil, England's capital became the centre for major advances in the sciences, the theatre, architecture, trade and ship-building that paved the way for the creation of the British Empire.At the heart of this activity was the King, whose return to power from exile in 1660 lit the fuse for an explosion in activity in all spheres of city life. London flourished, its wealth, vibrancy and success due to many figures famous today including Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys and John Dryden - and others whom history has overlooked until now.Throughout the quarter-century Charles was on the throne, London suffered several serious reverses: the plague in 1665 and the Great Fire in 1666, and severe defeat in the Second Anglo-Dutch War, which brought about notable economic decline. But thanks to the genius and resilience of the people of London, and the occasionally wavering stewardship of the King, the city rose from the ashes to become the economic capital of Europe.The King's City tells the gripping story of a city that defined a nation and birthed modern Britain - and how the vision of great individuals helped to build the richly diverse place we know today.
Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy
By Tim Harford
Based on the series produced for the BBC World ServiceWho thought up paper money? How did the contraceptive pill change the face of the legal profession? Why was the horse collar as important for human progress as the steam engine? How did the humble spreadsheet turn the world of finance upside-down?The world economy defies comprehension. A continuously-changing system of immense complexity, it offers over ten billion distinct products and services, doubles in size every fifteen years, and links almost every one of the planet's seven billion people. It delivers astonishing luxury to hundreds of millions. It also leaves hundreds of millions behind, puts tremendous strains on the ecosystem, and has an alarming habit of stalling. Nobody is in charge of it. Indeed, no individual understands more than a fraction of what's going on. How can we make sense of this bewildering system on which our lives depend?From the tally-stick to Bitcoin, the canal lock to the jumbo jet, each invention in Tim Harford's fascinating new book has its own curious, surprising and memorable story, a vignette against a grand backdrop. Step by step, readers will start to understand where we are, how we got here, and where we might be going next.Hidden connections will be laid bare: how the barcode undermined family corner shops; why the gramophone widened inequality; how barbed wire shaped America. We'll meet the characters who developed some of these inventions, profited from them, or were ruined by them. We'll trace the economic principles that help to explain their transformative effects. And we'll ask what lessons we can learn to make wise use of future inventions, in a world where the pace of innovation will only accelerate.
The Influential Mind
By Tali Sharot
Selected as a best book of 2017 by Forbes, The Times, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, Greater Good Magazine, Stanford Business School and more.'A timely, intriguing book' Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take'This profound book will change your life. An instant classic' Cass R. Sunstein, bestselling co-author of NudgePart of our daily job as humans is to influence others; we teach our children, guide our patients, advise our clients, help our friends and inform our online followers. We do this because we each have unique experiences and knowledge that others may not. But how good are we at this role? It turns out we systematically fall back on suboptimal habits when trying to change other's beliefs and behaviors. Many of these instincts-from trying to scare people into action, to insisting the other is wrong or attempting to exert control-are ineffective, because they are incompatible with how the mind operates.
By John Fairfax
'Vivid and exciting' The TimesWINNER OF THE PRIX DU MASQUEShe was found hanging in a dingy London bedsit with a blood orange in her mouth. Diane Heybridge, a young woman without a past or much of a future, has captured in death the compassion denied her in life. For the prosecution, this seeming suicide is nothing more than a bungled killing and a disgusted public looks to Court 2 of the Old Bailey for justice. Her callous, jilted partner Brent Stainsby stands accused of her murder and he's turned to the maverick legal team William Benson and Tess de Vere to defend him. However, as the trial unfolds it soon becomes clear that there is far more to Diane Heybridge than meets the eye. She wasn't the weak and downtrodden victim now being presented to the jury. She was capable of a sophisticated form of vengeance. By the same token, Brent Stainsby isn't who he seems to be either. He's hiding a motive for murder unknown to the police and may well be playing a deadly game of poker with the judicial process. What began as a simple trial rapidly turns into a complex search for the truth beyond the confines of the courtroom...