By Laura Kaye
'A joy to read' Amanda Craig'Shades of Cold Comfort Farm...Charming' GuardianEnglish Animals is a subversive, wry debut that fans of Marina Lewycka's A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian will love. When Mirka gets a job in a country house in rural England, she has no idea of the struggle she faces to make sense of a very English couple, and a way of life that is entirely alien to her. Richard and Sophie are chaotic, drunken, frequently outrageous but also warm, generous and kind to Mirka, despite their argumentative and turbulent marriage.Mirka is swiftly commandeered by Richard for his latest money-making enterprise, taxidermy, and soon surpasses him in skill. After a traumatic break two years ago with her family in Slovakia, Mirka finds to her surprise that she is happy at Fairmont Hall. But when she tells Sophie that she is gay, everything she values is put in danger and she must learn the hard way what she really believes in.
Einstein's Greatest Mistake
By David Bodanis
Widely considered the greatest genius of all time, Albert Einstein revolutionised our understanding of the cosmos with his general theory of relativity and helped to lead us into the atomic age. Yet in the final decades of his life he was also ignored by most working scientists, his ideas opposed by even his closest friends. This stunning downfall can be traced to Einstein's earliest successes and to personal qualities that were at first his best assets. Einstein's imagination and self-confidence served him well as he sought to reveal the universe's structure, but when it came to newer revelations in the field of quantum mechanics, these same traits undermined his quest for the ultimate truth. David Bodanis traces the arc of Einstein's intellectual development across his professional and personal life, showing how Einstein's confidence in his own powers of intuition proved to be both his greatest strength and his ultimate undoing. He was a fallible genius. An intimate and enlightening biography of the celebrated physicist, Einstein's Greatest Mistake reveals how much we owe Einstein today - and how much more he might have achieved if not for his all-too-human flaws.
The End of Alchemy
By Mervyn King
By Janice Y. K. Lee
I raced through this enthralling story' Liane Moriarty'Brilliantly plotted and written, utterly absorbing' Daily Mail'An emotionally gripping page-turner' ElleMercy, a young Korean American and recent Columbia graduate, is adrift, undone by a terrible incident in her recent past. Hilary, a wealthy housewife, is haunted by her struggle to have a child, something she believes could save her foundering marriage. Meanwhile, Margaret, once a happily married mother of three, questions her identity in the wake of a shattering loss. As each woman struggles with her own demons, their lives collide in ways that have irreversible consequences for them all. The Expatriates is an atmospheric, moving, and utterly compelling story of motherhood and family set against the unforgettable backdrop of Hong Kong.
Every Time a Friend Succeeds Something Inside Me Dies
By Jay Parini
An intimate yet frank biography of Gore Vidal, one of the most accomplished, visible and controversial American novelists and cultural figures of the past century. The product of thirty years of friendship and conversation, Jay Parini's biography probes behind the glittering surface of Vidal's colourful life to reveal the complex emotional and sexual truth underlying his celebrity-strewn life. But there is plenty of glittering surface as well - a virtual Who's Who of the American Century, from Eleanor Roosevelt on down.The life of Gore Vidal was an amazingly full one; a life of colourful incident, famous people and lasting achievements that calls out for careful evocation and examination. Through Jay Parini's eyes and words comes an accessible, entertaining story that puts the life and times of one of the great American figures of the post-war era into context, that introduces the author to a generation who didn't know him before and looks behind-the-scenes at the man and his work in frank ways never possible before his death. Parini, provided with unique access to Vidal's life and his papers, excavates buried skeletons, but never loses sight of his deep respect for Vidal and his astounding gifts.
By Mark Urban
The size of western armed forces, their stocks of weaponry and their readiness for combat are declining. Meanwhile, growing nationalism is hampering international cooperation and fuelling conflict everywhere. The west's will - as well as its capability - to shape the world is ebbing away.Beset by economic woes, western countries are continuing the post-Cold War process of disarmament at the very moment that many believe a new Cold War is starting. NATO members have compared Vladimir Putin's foreign policy to that of Adolf Hitler, newly empowered groups such as ISIS, not to mention some governments, are tearing up the rulebook of acceptable international behaviour, and the military prowess that the western world once regarded as its prerogative is being dwarfed by countries like India and China.Tightly argued by Newsnight's diplomatic and defence editor Mark Urban, THE EDGE is a sharp polemic that breaks new ground in examining the workings and consequences of these geo-political tectonics, and shows just how rapidly the balance of power has been upended.
By Juliet Barker
The dramatic and shocking events of the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 are to be the backdrop to Juliet Barker's latest book: a snapshot of what everyday life was like for ordinary people living in the middle ages. The same highly successful techniques she deployed inAgincourt and Conquest will this time be brought to bear on civilian society, from the humblest serf forced to provide slave-labour for his master in the fields, to the prosperous country goodwife brewing, cooking and spinning her distaff and the ambitious burgess expanding his business and his mental horizons in the town.The book will explore how and why such a diverse and unlikely group of ordinary men and women from every corner of England united in armed rebellion against church and state to demand a radical political agenda which, had it been implemented, would have fundamentally transformed English society and anticipated the French Revolution by four hundred years. The book will not only provide an important reassessment of the revolt itself but will also be an illuminating and original study of English medieval life at the time.
Everything I Never Told You
By Celeste Ng
'There is much here that might impress Pulitzer and Man Booker judges...Ng brilliantly depicts the destruction that parents can inflict on their children and on each other' Mark Lawson, Guardian Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee; a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue - in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the centre of every party. But Lydia is under pressures that have nothing to do with growing up in 1970s small town Ohio. Her father is an American born of first-generation Chinese immigrants, and his ethnicity, and hers, make them conspicuous in any setting. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, James is consumed by guilt and sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to make someone accountable, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is convinced that local bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest in the family - Hannah - who observes far more than anyone realises and who may be the only one who knows what really happened. And if you loved Everything I Never Told You, don't miss Celeste Ng's second novel Little Fires Eveywhere, now available
Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England
By Lesley Adkins, Roy Adkins
Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England explores the real England of Jane Austen's lifetime. It was a troubled period, with disturbing changes in industry and agriculture and a constant dread of invasion and revolution. The comfortable, tranquil country of her fiction is a complete contrast to the England in which she actually lived. From forced marriages and the sale of wives in marketplaces to boys and girls working down mines or as chimney sweeps, this enthralling social history reveals how our ancestors worked, played and struggled to survive. Taking in the horror of ghosts and witches, bull baiting, highwaymen and the stench of corpses swinging on roadside gibbets, this book is a must-read for anyone wanting to discover the genuine story of Jane Austen's England and the background to her novels.
East Into Upper East
By Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
This brilliant collection spans two worlds - the restless, aspiring society of New York's Upper East Side and the world of India's capital city, New Delhi, where the old India symbolized by Gandhi's spinning wheel is giving way to one powered by industry and property development. A rich cast of characters inhabits these stories - Indian businessmen and holy women, students, society hostesses and ambitious young politicians; New Yorkers preoccupied with money yet also in search of meaning - anxious and often manipulative parents, alienated children, men and women struggling with their longings and failures and their complicated sex lives. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's quiet but insistent probing goes to the very heart of her characters, showing us all their complexities and contradictions. In these absorbing stories, there is a feeling of ambivalence, a subtle sensuality and a poignant sense of time passing. Like all great storytellers, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala suggests many questions but supplies no easy answers. This is a fascinating and wonderfully readable collection which is also a literary event.
By Iain Banks
Daniel Weir used to be a famous - not to say infamous - rock star. Maybe still is. At thirty-one he has been both a brilliant failure and a dull success. He's made a lot of mistakes that have paid off and a lot of smart moves he'll regret forever (however long that turns out to be). Daniel Weir has gone from rags to riches and back, and managed to hold onto them both, though not much else. His friends all seem to be dead, fed up with him or just disgusted - and who can blame them? And now Daniel Weir is all alone. As he contemplates his life, Daniel realises he only has two problems: the past and the future. He knows how bad the past has been. But the future - well, the future is something else.
The Evolution Of God
By Robert Wright
In The Evolution of God, Robert Wright, award-winning author of the bestselling books Nonzero and The Moral Animal, takes us on a sweeping journey through religious history, from the Stone Age to the Information Age, unveiling along the way an astonishing discovery: that there is a hidden pattern in the way that Judaism, Christianity and Islam have all evolved.Through the prisms of archaeology, theology, evolutionary psychology and a careful re-reading of the scriptures, Wright's findings repeatedly overturn conventional wisdom and basic assumptions about the great monotheistic faiths.Looking at the forces that have moved the Abrahamic faiths away from belligerence and intolerance to a higher moral plane, Wright finds that this previously unrecognized evolutionary logic points not toward continued religious extremism as the media would have us believe, but towards future harmony.
By Alexander McCall Smith
In Espresso Tales, Alexander McCall Smith returns home to Edinburgh and the glorious cast of his own tales of the city, the residents of 44 Scotland Street, with a new set of challenges for each one of them. Bruce, the intolerably vain and perpetually deluded ex-surveyor, is about to embark on a new career as a wine merchant, while his long-suffering flatmate Pat MacGregor, set up by matchmaking Domenica Macdonald, finds herself invited to a nudist picnic in Moray Place in the pursuit of true love. Prodigious six-year-old Bertie Pollock wants a boy's life of fishing and rugby, not yoga and pink dungarees, and he plots rebellion against his bossy, crusading mother Irene and his psychotherapist Dr Fairbairn. But when Bertie's longed-for trip to Glasgow with his ineffectual father Stuart ends with Bertie taking money off legendary Glasgow hard man Lard O'Connor at cards, it looks as though Bertie should have been more careful what he wished for. And all the time it appears that both Irene Pollock and Dr Fairbairn are engaged in a struggle with dark secrets and unconscious urges of their own.
By Roy Hattersley
Edwardian Britain is the quintessential age of nostalgia, often seen as the last long summer afternoon before the cataclysmic changes of the twentieth century began to take form. The class system remained rigidly in place and thousands were employed in domestic service. The habits and sports of the aristocracy were an everyday indulgence. But it was an age of invention as well as tradition. It saw the first widespread use of the motor car, the first aeroplane and the first use of the telegraph. It was also a time of vastly improved education and the public appetite for authors such as Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and E. M. Forster was increased by greater literacy. There were signs too, of the corner history was soon to turn, with the problematic Boer War hinting at a new British weakness overseas and the drive for Votes for Women and Home Rule for Ireland pushing the boundaries of the social and political landscape. In this major work of history, Roy Hattersley has been given exclusive access to many new documents to produce this magisterial new appraisal of a legendary age.
By David Bodanis
For centuries, electricity was viewed as little more than a curious property of certain substances that sparked when rubbed. Then, in the 1790s, Alessandro Volta began the scientific investigation that ignited an explosion of knowledge and invention, transforming our world. The force that once seemed inconsequential was revealed to be responsible for everything from the structure of the atom to the functioning of our brains. A superb storyteller, Bodanis weaves tales of romance, divine inspiration, and fraud through lucid accounts of scientific breakthrough. The great discoverers come to life in all their brilliance and idiosyncrasy, including the visionary Michael Faraday, who struggled against the prejudices of the British class system, and Alexander Graham Bell, driven to invent by his love for a young deaf student. From the cold waters of the Atlantic, to the streets of Hamburg during a World War II firestorm and the interior of the human body, Electric Universe is a mesmerizing journey of discovery by a master science writer.
The Englishman's Boy
By Guy Vanderhaeghe
1873. Under a full moon, two Assiniboine Indians rustle twenty horses from a group of sleeping white men, wolf hunters taking in their pelts to trade. This sets the scene for two parallel narratives. One is the haunting story of a young drifter known as 'the Englishman's boy' who joins the wolf hunters en route north to Canada on the trail of the horse thieves. Vanderhaeghe's rendering of the stark, dramatic beauty of the landscape becomes a perfect backdrop for vivid scenes of action, adventure and violence. The other story is set in 1920s Hollywood, where Harry Vincent, a struggling young hack writer in a movie studio, is plucked from obscurity by the enigmatic studio head, Damon Ira Chance. Vincent is enlisted to find the elusive old-time Western actor, Shorty McAdoo. Chance believes McAdoo will be able to provide him with the authentic material he needs to fulfil his ambition to make the big film about the American West. But Chance has a darker ambition and the story Vincent painfully extracts brings the two narratives together in a brutal climax.
By Clare Boylan
When Charlotte Bronte died in 1855, she left behind the beginnings of a new novel - twenty pages of a work in progress called Emma. Now, almost 150 years later, Clare Boylan has returned to this most intriguing of fragments, and turned them into an astonishing story of mystery, atmosphere and page-turning suspense.When Conway Fitzgibbon arrives at Fuchsia Lodge with his daughter Matilda, the headmistress Miss Wilcox couldn't be more delighted. The ladies' school is limited in numbers and eager for new pupils, particularly ones so finely dressed, and boasting a father who is 'quite the gentleman'. But as Christmas approaches, and Miss Wilcox inquires about arrangements for the holidays, she is in for a shock. Conway Fitzgibbon, like the address he left behind, does not exist. So who is Matilda? With Miss Wilcox unable to extract any information out of the girl, it falls to a local lawyer, Mr Ellin, and a young widow, Isabel Chalfont, to unravel the truth. What they discover is a tale that travels the highs and lows of nineteenth-century England, an investigation that begins as curiosity and ends up changing all their lives forever . . .
By Jennifer Vanderbes
Set on the cusp of World War One, and in the 1970s, EASTER ISLAND tells the passionate, heart-breaking and ultimately redemptive story of two remarkable women. Elsa, an Edwardian Englishwoman, is forced by circumstance to leave the man she loves and agree to a marriage of convenience. The marriage enables her to fulfil her great dream: to visit Easter Island and to study its mysterious history. But as Elsa becomes bewitched by the island and engrossed in her work, she fails to notice that her beloved sister Alice is becoming caught up in desires of her own, that will threaten not only their work, but also their lives. Sixty years later, Dr Greer Faraday, recently widowed, makes her own journey to the island. Born into a different time and country, Greer nevertheless shares Else's passion for this strange and haunting place. Troubled by unhappy secrets, Greer takes solace in her work, making an island of herself. But as the two women's stories begin to entwine and passions are played out, both Greer and Else must struggle against what society expects of them, and what fate has planned...
Eight Men And A Duck
By Nick Thorpe
Nick Thorpe was innocently travelling around South America with his wife, Ali, when he came across an American adventurer planning to sail from Chile to Easter Island on a Bolivian boat made of reeds. Inspired by the great Thor Heyerdahl, Phil Buck had recruited seven men to join him on this experiment to discover whether it might have been possible that Polynesia was first settled from South America rather than Asia. But when one of them dropped out a place in the crew became available for Nick.What followed was a somewhat bizarre expedition undertaken by a rather makeshift vessel, a couple of ducks (one of which could have only guessed at its fate) and a group of men, who, when all was said and done, weren't quite sure how to sail a boat...Brilliantly told, EIGHT MEN AND A DUCK is a feel-good, hilarious tale of storms, amateur seamen and the occasional shark.
The Essence Of Wisdom
By The Dalai Lama
His Holiness The Dalai Lama's indispensible advice for achieving wisdom, balance and happiness.