Impromptu in Moribundia
By Patrick Hamilton
'I recommend Hamilton at every opportunity, because he was such a wonderful writer and yet is rather under-read today. All his novels are terrific' Sarah Waters'If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man' Nick HornbyImpromptu in Moribundia is a satirical fable about one (nameless) man's trespass (through a fantastical machine called the 'Asteradio') into a parallel universe on a far-off planet where the 'miserably dull affairs of England' are mirrored and transformed into an apparent idyll of bourgeois English imagination.Moribundia is the 'physical enactment of the stereotypes and myths of English middle-class culture and consciousness.' Yet the narrator comes to discover that he has stumbled among a people characterised by 'cupidity, ignorance, complacence, meanness, ugliness, short-sightedness, cowardice, credulity, hysteria and, when the occasion called for it . . . cruelty and blood-thirstiness.
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.
I Hid My Voice
By Parinoush Saniee
This is the story, based on fact, of a boy who couldn't speak until the age of seven. Now twenty, he describes the events of his life.Four-year-old Shahaab has not started talking. The family doctor believes there is no cause for concern; nevertheless, Shahaab is ridiculed by others who call him 'dumb'. Young Shahaab doesn't understand what the word means and thinks it is a compliment, until one day his cousin plays a trick on him to prove to everyone that the boy truly is the neighbourhood idiot.When his mother recounts the incident to her husband, Shahaab is crushed to learn that his father also thinks the boy's speech impediment indicates that his son is an idiot and thus brings shame on the family. Shahaab soon recognizes that his father's love and esteem is concentrated on his older brother, Arash, and his younger sister, Shadee. In his innocent and deeply hurt child's mind, he begins to believe that the 'good' and 'intelligent' children like his older brother are their fathers' sons. On the other hand, children like him who are 'clumsy' and 'problematic' are their mothers' sons. From that moment on, his world, which he thought was filled with beauty and kindness, suddenly turns harsh, full of anger and insult. He begins to lash out, taking childish revenge on those around him, encouraged by his two imaginary friends, Esi and Bibi.No one in the family can understand Shahaab's wild behaviour except his maternal grandmother, who seems to possess the understanding and the kindness he so desperately craves. Their growing bond leads to a deep friendship in which Shahaab is able to experience some happiness and finally find his voice.
In the All-Night Café
By Stuart David
One afternoon, in 1994, I had an idea.So begins Stuart David's magical, evocative memoir about Belle and Sebastian. Determined to make his living writing stories and songs, Stuart had spent several years scraping by on the dole in his small, industrial home town. Then he had the fateful idea to learn bass guitar, and to head for Glasgow in search of like-minded artists. Within one extraordinary year he had helped create one of the most influential, beloved bands of all time. Set against a vivid background of early 90s Glasgow, In the All-Night Café describes Stuart's fortuitous meeting with the band's co-founder Stuart Murdoch on a course for unemployed musicians. It tells of their adventures in two early incarnations of Belle and Sebastian and culminates in the recording of the band's celebrated debut album, Tigermilk.A fascinating portrait of the group and its origins, it is also a story that will resonate with anyone who has put together - or thought of putting together - a band. It is a story of a group of friends who wanted to create a different kind of band and a different kind of music. And how - against all expectations - they succeeded. Written with wit, affection and a novelist's observant eye, In the All-Night Café brings to life the music and the early days of this most enigmatic and intriguing of bands.
If This Is A Woman
By Sarah Helm
Winner of the Longman-History Today Book Prize 2016On a sunny morning in May 1939 a phalanx of 800 women - housewives, doctors, opera singers, politicians, prostitutes - were marched through the woods fifty miles north of Berlin, driven on past a shining lake, then herded through giant gates. Whipping and kicking them were scores of German women guards.Their destination was Ravensbrück, a concentration camp designed specifically for women by Heinrich Himmler, prime architect of the Nazi genocide.For decades the story of Ravensbrück was hidden behind the Iron Curtain and today is still little known. Using testimony unearthed since the end of the Cold War, and interviews with survivors who have never spoken before, Helm has ventured into the heart of the camp, demonstrating for the reader in riveting detail how easily and quickly the unthinkable horror evolved.
The Island at the Center of the World
By Russell Shorto
When the British wrested New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664, the truth about its thriving, polyglot society began to disappear into myths about an island purchased for 24 dollars and a cartoonish peg-legged governor. But the story of the Dutch colony of New Netherland was merely lost, not destroyed. Drawing on the archives of the New Netherland Project, Russell Shorto has created a gripping narrative that transforms our understanding of early America.The Dutch colony pre-dated the 'original' thirteen colonies, yet it seems strikingly familiar. Its capital was cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic, and its citizens valued free trade, individual rights, and religious freedom. Their champion was a progressive, young lawyer named Adriaen van der Donck, who emerges in these pages as a forgotten American patriot and whose political vision brought him into conflict with Peter Stuyvesant, the autocratic director of the Dutch colony. The struggle between these two strong-willed men laid the foundation for New York City and helped shape American culture. The Island at the Center of the World uncovers a lost world and offers a surprising new perspective on our own.
I Told You So
By Gore Vidal, Jon Wiener
"I exist to say, 'No, that isn't the way it is,' or 'What you believe to be true is not true for the following reasons.' I am a master of the obvious. I mean, if there's a hole in the road, I will, viciously, outrageously, say there's a hole in the road and if you don't fill it in you'll break the axle of your car. One is not loved for being helpful."Gore Vidal, one of America's foremost essayists, screenwriters, and novelists, died July 31, 2012. He was, in addition, a terrific conversationalist. Dick Cavett once described him as "the best talker since Oscar Wilde." And Vidal was never more eloquent, or caustic, than when let loose on his favorite topic, the history and politics of the United States.This book is made up from four interviews conducted with his long-time interlocutor, the writer and radio host Jon Wiener, in which Vidal grapples with matters evidently close to his heart: the history of the American Empire, the rise of the National Security State, and his own life in politics, both as a commentator and candidate.The interviews cover a twenty-year span, from 1988 to 2008, when Vidal was at the height of his powers. His extraordinary facility for developing an argument, tracing connections between past and present, and drawing on an encyclopedic knowledge of America's place in the world, are all on full display. And, of course, it being Gore Vidal, an ample sprinkling of gloriously acerbic one-liners is also provided.
In The Shadow Of The Sword
By Tom Holland
A SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER'A stunning blockbuster' Robert Fisk'A compelling detective story of the highest order' Sunday TimesIn the 6th century AD, the Near East was divided between two great empires: the Persian and the Roman. A hundred years on, and one had vanished for ever, while the other was a dismembered, bleeding trunk. In their place, a new superpower had arisen: the empire of the Arabs. So profound was this upheaval that it spelled, in effect, the end of the ancient world.But the changes that marked the period were more than merely political or even cultural: there was also a transformation of human society with incalculable consequences for the future. Today, over half the world's population subscribes to one of the various religions that took on something like their final form during the last centuries of antiquity. Wherever men or women are inspired by belief in a single god to think or behave in a certain way, they bear witness to the abiding impact of this extraordinary, convulsive age - though as Tom Holland demonstrates, much of what Jews, Christians and Muslims believe about the origins of their religion is open to debate.In the Shadow of the Sword explores how a succession of great empires came to identify themselves with a new and revolutionary understanding of the divine. It is a story vivid with drama, horror and startling achievement, and stars many of the most remarkable rulers ever seen.
In a Dark Wood
By Amanda Craig
Thirty-nine, divorced, jobless: Benedick Hunter is going nowhere, heading in the exact opposite direction he expected. So when he comes across a children's book that his mother, Laura, wrote, he decides that her life and work - haunting stories replete with sinister woods, wicked witches and brave girls who battle giants - hold the key to finding out why his own life is such a mess. Setting out to discover why Laura killed herself when he was six, Benedick travels to the US. As he grows more obsessed with what happened to his mother, Benedick enters into a dark wood - one that is both hilariously real and terrifyingly psychological. Dark humorous and inventive, In a Dark Wood casts light on the nature of depression, genius and of the healing power of storytelling.
In Spite Of The Gods
By Edward Luce
India is poised to become one of the world's three largest economies in the next generation and to overtake China as the world's most populous country by 2032. Well before then India's incipient nuclear deterrent will have acquired intercontinental range and air, sea and land capabilities. India's volatile relationship with its nuclear-armed neighbour, Pakistan, may prove to be the source of the world's next major conflict. And if you call anyone- from your bank to rail enquiries- your query may well be dealt with by a graduate in Gujarat. Any way one looks at it, India's fate matters. Edward Luce, one of the most incisive and talented journalists of his generation, assesses the forces that are forging the new nation. Cutting through the miasma that still clouds thinking about India, this extraordinarily accomplished book takes the measure of a society that is struggling to come to grips with modernity. Drawing on historical research, existing literature and his own unparalleled access as the New Delhi-based, South Asia correspondent of the FT, this is a book that will enthral as well as educate and will remain the definitive book on the country for many years.
Is God Still An Englishman?
By Cole Moreton
There has been a revolution. The God who ruled over us for five hundred years has been overthrown. The soul of England has been transformed, almost without anybody noticing. Gone are the shared values and confidence of a nation that seemed so sure of itself and what it believed in, even as recently as the wedding of Charles and Diana, our last great festival of certainty. Since then the number of people who go to church on Sunday has halved. More of us go to IKEA. Millions still believe in God but never want to go near a pew again. Why have we turned away, and what does it mean? Moreton uncovers the battles, blunders, sex scandals and financial disasters that caused the long predicted death of the established Church. But this extraordinary story is about all of us, not just the Christians. Can a new national identity emerge, now that we have a thousand gods instead of just one? Moreton says yes and reveals how a constantly evolving but uniquely English spirituality remains at the heart of who we are.
The Importance Of Being Seven
By Alexander McCall Smith
Despite inhabiting a great city renowned for its impeccable restraint, the extended family of 44 Scotland Street is trembling on the brink of reckless self-indulgence. Matthew and Elspeth receive startling - and expensive - news on a visit to the Infirmary, Angus and Domenica are contemplating an Italian ménage a trois, and even Big Lou is overheard discussing cosmetic surgery. But when Bertie Pollock - six years old and impatient to be seven - mislays his meddling mother Irene one afternoon, a valuable lesson is learned: that wish-fulfilment is a dangerous business.Warm-hearted, wise and very funny, The Importance of Being Seven brings us a fresh and delightful set of insights into philosophy and fraternity among Edinburgh's most loveable residents.
In Search Of England
By Roy Hattersley
Passionate, affectionate and indefatigably curious, In Search of England makes a journey around the English countryside and character. England is the most various of countries; within its borders, life changes mile on mile. Roy Hattersley celebrates crumbling churches and serene Victorian architecture, magnificent hills and wind-whipped coast, our music, theatre and local customs, and, above all, the quirky good humour and resilience of England's denizens. In Search of England is an unapologetic love story, a paean of praise for all the fascinating variety and flavour of England's places and people.
It's Not The Winning That Counts
By Max Davidson
Sport has always delivered thrilling victories and gut-wrenching defeats, but moments of good sportsmanship are increasingly rare. It's Not the Winning that Counts celebrates, among others, the football team who kicked their penalties wide because they refused to believe their opponents would foul them, the round-the-world yachtsman who turned back to rescue a rival; the tennis player (Jimmy Connors!) who deliberately double faulted in a Grand Slam final to cancel out line calls that had gone against his opponent. In the era of the dive, the head butt and the professional foul, Max Davidson takes a roll call of the white knights of sport, from David Beckham to Freddie Flintoff, Jesse Owens to Mohammed Ali.
In A Yellow Wood
By Gore Vidal
By night the glittering world of Times Square, cinemas, clubs and the brittle, played-out demi-monde . . . by day a wasteland of hollow men, lonely apartments and empty morning coffee stands . . . Robert Holton has just returned from the torment and strife of war in Europe and settled in a solitary existence working for a New York stockbroking business. The haunting memories of nights of love spent in Florence are suppressed as he struggles to succeed in an arid city.And when Carla turns up unexpectedly from his more passionate past, Robert finds he must choose between the fixed path of money-making and dull conventionality and the fraught, uncertain path of love and freedom.
By Philippe Legrain
Immigration divides our globalising world like no other issue. We are swamped by bogus asylum-seekers and infiltrated by terrorists, our jobs stolen, our benefit system abused, our way of life destroyed - or so we are told. Philippe Legrain, author of the critically acclaimed OPEN WORLD, has written the first book that looks beyond the headlines. Why are ever-rising numbers of people from poor countries arriving in Europe, North America and Australasia? Can we keep them out? Should we even be trying? Combining compelling first-hand reporting from around the world, incisive socio-economic analysis and a broad understanding of what is at stake politically and culturally, IMMIGRANTS is a passionate, but lucid book. In our open world, more people will inevitably move across borders, Legrain says - and we should generally welcome them. They do the jobs we can't or won't do - and their diversity enriches us all. Left and right; free-marketeers and campaigners for global justice; enlightened patriots - all should rally behind the cause of freer migration, because They need Us and We need Them.
In Search Of Elvis
By Charlie Connelly
Since his death in 1977 Elvis Presley has become an even greater cultural icon than when he was making records and consuming deep-fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches. IN SEARCH OF ELVIS sees Charlie Connelly set off on a journey to discover what makes Elvis so significant today and how his spirit is being kept alive more than half a century after he changed popular culture for ever. Charlie's odyssey takes him to Finland to meet an academic who performs Elvis songs in long-dead languages - while wearing a kilt; to Canada to find the orthodox Jewish Elvis tribute artist, Schmelvis; to Scotland to get fitted out with the Presley tartan; and culminates in Memphis, where Charlie stays at the Heartbreak Hotel (which is at the end of Lonely Street) and records a song in Sun Studio, the very room where Elvis arguably invented rock'n'roll. Hilarious yet informative, and written with Charlie Connelly's customary wit and charm, this book will appeal to Elvis fans of all ages, plus the many travel-book aficionados who delighted in ATTENTION ALL SHIPPING.
Ireland: In A Glass Of Its Own
By Peter Biddlecombe
Peter Biddlecombe has dragged his beleaguered expense account around no fewer than 170 countries of variable merit, which puts him literally miles ahead of every other travel writer. Wittily and informatively he brings a unique businessman's perspective to his destinations - Biddlecombe has to land running in order to survive. IRELAND: IN A GLASS OF ITS OWN - in many ways the perfect marriage of author and subject - marks a departure, as it focuses upon one comparatively small country. In this book Biddlecombe argues - in inimitable fashion - that the thirty-two counties can be said to represent the constituent parts of a pint of the black stuff. (Happily, the author has lost none of his famed thirst.) The roasted, malted barley, for example, comes from the farming counties: Wicklow, Kilkenny and Meath. This is Biddlecombe's hilarious account of Ireland - not just the coastal areas beloved of normal (I.e. lesser) travel writers but the bits in between. Particularly those bits with pubs on them. Well, just to save you the embarrassment of drinking on your own ... Cheers.
Is It Cowardly To Pray For Rain?
The Ashes 2005 saw an almighty clash between age-old enemies: England versus Australia; Freddie versus Gilly; the King of Spain versus the King of Spin; worker versus conscience. For up and down the land, the nation wondered the same question - how can I follow the cricket at work without being given my marching orders quicker than Ian Bell? Help was at hand with Guardian Unlimited's brilliant over-by-over coverage: witty, incisive and occasionally informative, this was a Test Match Special for the Internet generation. Now, for the first time, this unique take on the Ashes is available in wireless book format. Relive again the highlights of England's glorious summer; Kevin Pieteresen's fielding masterclass; Ricky Ponting's paean to substitute fielders; and Channel 4 going to the races as a crucial wicket is about to fall. 'I hope you guys realise that I'm risking my very job just being here?' wails James Holbrook from impending firedom. 'New ICT policy means I can only use t'internet for 5% of my working time. Stuff the economy, I'm on here from 10.30 til I bunk off early at four.' The chance of finishing at 4 on a Friday. Bah! It's alright for some.
In The Company Of Cheerful Ladies
By Alexander McCall Smith
Precious Ramotswe, that cheerful Botswanan private investigator of 'traditional build', is now married to Mr J.L.B. Matekoni of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. The Agency is busy, but Mma Ramotswe cannot ignore the plea which is made by a woman who comes to her with a tale of particular misfortune. Unfortunately, her attempts to help are interrupted by a close encounter between her tiny white van and a bicycle, and by a spectacular disagreement between her assistant, Mma Makutsi, and one of the apprentices at the garage. This apprentice has found a fancy girlfriend who drives a Mercedes-Benz. How can he be rescued from his folly? And as for Mma Makutsi, she has found a dancing class, and a man who may not be able to dance very well, but who admires her greatly. And all of this happens against a background of quiet sessions of bush tea, and of a land that stretches out forever under mile upon mile of empty sky...