By Patrick Hamilton
'If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man' Nick Hornby'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'Beyond the fact that it was, in face of a vivid and calamitous ending, to reveal from his own experience the ardent splendours of Youth's adventure, he didn't quite know what his novel was going to be about.'Monday Morning wryly tells the story of Anthony, a young man taking his passionate first steps in life, in London, and in love. Not yet worn down by the world, Anthony is determined to write the novel that will bring him fame and fortune - and to marry the beautiful Diane. Patrick Hamilton's witty, playful first novel introduces us to the grimy world of metropolitan boarding houses and provincial theatrical digs that would be the setting for his later masterpieces Hangover Square and The Slaves of Solitude, and the hopes, dreams and regrets those who live there.
By Tim Harford
'Ranging expertly across business, politics and the arts, Tim Harford makes a compelling case for the creative benefits of disorganization, improvisation and confusion. His liberating message: you'll be more successful if you stop struggling so hard to plan or control your success. Messy is a deeply researched, endlessly eye-opening adventure in the life-changing magic of not tidying up' Oliver BurkemanThe urge to tidiness seems to be rooted deep in the human psyche. Many of us feel threatened by anything that is vague, unplanned, scattered around or hard to describe. We find comfort in having a script to rely on, a system to follow, in being able to categorise and file away. We all benefit from tidy organisation - up to a point. A large library needs a reference system. Global trade needs the shipping container. Scientific collaboration needs measurement units. But the forces of tidiness have marched too far. Corporate middle managers and government bureaucrats have long tended to insist that everything must have a label, a number and a logical place in a logical system. Now that they are armed with computers and serial numbers, there is little to hold this tidy-mindedness in check. It's even spilling into our personal lives, as we corral our children into sanitised play areas or entrust our quest for love to the soulless algorithms of dating websites. Order is imposed when chaos would be more productive. Or if not chaos, then . . . messiness.The trouble with tidiness is that, in excess, it becomes rigid, fragile and sterile. In Messy, Tim Harford reveals how qualities we value more than ever - responsiveness, resilience and creativity - simply cannot be disentangled from the messy soil that produces them. This, then, is a book about the benefits of being messy: messy in our private lives; messy in the office, with piles of paper on the desk and unread spreadsheets; messy in the recording studio, the laboratory or in preparing for an important presentation; and messy in our approach to business, politics and economics, leaving things vague, diverse and uncomfortably made-up-on-the-spot. It's time to rediscover the benefits of a little mess.
The Middle Class
By Lawrence James
My Italian Bulldozer
By Alexander McCall Smith
'While My Italian Bulldozer certainly advocates a kind, considerate, some might even say old-fashioned approach to resolving affairs of the heart, it also succeeds in subtly, almost imperceptibly ripping up the traditional rules of the romantic comedy and creating something refreshingly original' ScotsmanWhen writer Paul Stewart heads to the idyllic Italian town of Montalcino to finish his already late book, it seems like the perfect escape from stressful city life. Upon landing, however, things quickly take a turn for the worse when he discovers his hired car is nowhere to be found. With no record of any reservation and no other cars available it looks like Paul is stuck at the airport. That is, until an enterprising stranger offers him an unexpected alternative. While there may be no cars available there is something else on offer: a bulldozer.With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts and so begins a series of laugh out loud adventures through the Italian countryside, following in the wake of Paul and his Italian Bulldozer. A story of unexpected circumstance and lesson in making the best of what you have, My Italian Bulldozer is a warm holiday read guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
A Midsummer's Equation
By Keigo Higashino
When a man's body is discovered at the base of some cliffs in the small resort town of Hari Cove, the police at first suspect a tragic accident, a misstep that cost the man his life. However, when the victim is found to have been a former policeman and that the cause of death was actually carbon monoxide poisoning, they begin a murder investigation. Manabu Yukawa, the physicist known as 'Detective Galileo', is in Hari Cove to speak at a conference on a planned underwater mining operation, and finds himself drawn into the case. Did the murder have something to do with the fight of the small community to rebuild itself, or does it have its roots in the town's history? In a series of twists as complex and surprising as any in Higashino's brilliant, critically acclaimed work, Yukawa uncovers the hidden relationship behind the tragic events that led to this murder.
The Mountain Shadow
By Gregory David Roberts
The first glimpse of the sea on Marine Drive filled my heart, if not my head. I turned away from the red shadow. I stopped thinking of that pyramid of killers, and Sanjay's improvidence. I stopped thinking about my own part in the madness. And I rode, with my friends, into the end of everything.Shantaram introduced millions of readers to a cast of unforgettable characters through Lin, an Australian fugitive, working as a passport forger for a branch of the Bombay mafia. In The Mountain Shadow, the long-awaited sequel, Lin must find his way in a Bombay run by a different generation of mafia dons, playing by a different set of rules. It has been two years since the events in Shantaram, and since Lin lost two people he had come to love: his father figure, Khaderbhai, and his soul mate, Karla, married to a handsome Indian media tycoon. Lin returns from a smuggling trip to a city that seems to have changed too much, too soon. Many of his old friends are long gone, the new mafia leadership has become entangled in increasingly violent and dangerous intrigues, and a fabled holy man challenges everything that Lin thought he'd learned about love and life. But Lin can't leave the Island City: Karla, and a fatal promise, won't let him go.
The May Bride
By Suzannah Dunn
I didn't stand a chance: looking back over thirteen years, that's what I see. In the very first instant, I was won over, and of course I was: I was fifteen and had been nowhere and done nothing, whereas Katherine was twenty-one and yellow-silk-clad and just married to the golden boy...Jane Seymour is a shy, dutiful fifteen-year-old when her eldest brother, Edward, brings his bride home to Wolf Hall. Katherine Filliol is the perfect match for Edward, as well as being a breath of fresh air for the Seymour family, and Jane is captivated by the older girl. Over the course of a long, hot country summer, the two become close friends and allies, while Edward is busy building alliances at court and advancing his career.However, only two years later, the family is torn apart by a dreadful allegation made by Edward against his wife. The repercussions for all the Seymours are incalculable, not least for Katherine herself. When Jane is sent away, to serve Katharine of Aragon, she is forced to witness another wife being put aside, with terrible consequences. Changed forever by what happened to Katherine Filliol, Jane comes to understand that in a world where power is held entirely by men, there is a way in which she can still hold true to herself.
By Keigo Higashino
Acclaimed bestselling novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered in his home on the night before he's planning to leave Japan and relocate to Vancouver. His body is found in his office, in a locked room, within his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, both of whom have rock solid alibis. Or so it seems. Police Detective Kyochiro Kaga recognizes Hidaka's best friend. Years ago when they were both teachers, they were colleagues at the same high school. Kaga went on to join the police force while Osamu Nonoguchi left to become a full-time writer, though with not nearly the success of his friend Hidaka. But Kaga thinks something is a little bit off with Nonoguchi's statement and investigates further, ultimately executing a search warrant on Nonoguchi's apartment. There he finds evidence that shows that the two writers' relationship was very different than the two claimed. Nonoguchi confesses to the murder, but that's only the beginning of the story. In a brilliantly realized tale of cat and mouse, the detective and the writer battle over the truth of the past and how events that led to the murder really unfolded. Which one of the two writers was ultimately guilty of malice?
By Philippa Stockley
London, 1784. A stinking metropolis. One freezing April morning, a veiled woman steps off the boat from Holland. She is a former French aristocrat, on the run and in fear for her life. But she is far from helpless. With the deceitful ease with which she has played so many roles before, she assumes an alias befitting one who is hunted: she becomes the alluring Mrs Fox. It takes Mrs Fox little time to insinuate herself into London society. Immoral and beautiful, she has always manipulated others for her own gain or amusement and begins to revel in this pastime once more. It is only when she encounters the degenerate predator Earl Much that she discovers an adversary whose sadistic viciousness is a match for her own. In a dark, quick world of liars and lechers, where infidelity and intellect cross swords with desire and death, the two begin a deadly game. 'What makes [Murderous Liaisons] such a great pleasure, apart from its uncanny ability to inhabit the past, is its glee in its own lack of moral heart . . . Virtue has never seemed so unappealing, nor quite as badly dressed' Guardian Murderous Liaisons is a sequel to the classic Les Liaisons dangereuses.
By Nicholas Griffin
Off the coast of Liguria, 1713 - accompanied by his valet Thomas Noon and tutor Lucius Jelbourne, young aristocrat Lord Stilwell is bound for Genoa and that essential part of an English gentleman's education; the Grand Tour of Italy. Jelbourne has long been wary of Noon: his standing at Dengby Hall, his relationship with Stilwell and his intelligence do not tally with his role as a servant. Noon, likewise is suspicious of Jelbourne: why does Stilwell's tutor enjoy better hospitality than Stilwell himself? And why, when Jelbourne is purchasing Italian pictures supposedly a century old, is the paint still fresh?The English who visit eighteenth-century Italy normally consider it only for its past: Jelbourne, as Noon is to discover, is different. For there is a new king on the throne of England - a German, a protestant - and not all of his subjects are loyal. As the Grand Tour weaves its way to Venice, Rome and Naples, Noon finds himself drawn into a deadly world of intrigue, and double lives: a world where nothing and no-one are as they seem. And though Noon would like to unmask the mysterious Jelbourne, his attentions are drawn to the delectable Natalia Silver, and the unmistakable lure of love . . . THE MASQUERADE is a sophisticated literary thriller that confirms Nicholas Griffin's growing reputation as one our finest exponents of historical fiction.
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
By Alexander McCall Smith
As Botswana awaits the familiar blessing of the rains and the resumption of the eternal cycle, seismic upheaval is taking place at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Not only is Mr J. L. B. Matekoni attempting to reform himself into a modern husband, but after her marriage to Phuti Radiphuti, Mma Ramotswe's challenging but irreplaceable associate Mma Makutsi has joyful news.With the arrival of an heir to the Double Comfort furniture empire and Mma Makutsi busy with motherhood, Mma Ramotswe must tackle tea-making and detective work alone. Well-known troublemaker Violet Sephotho may or not be behind a smear campaign against the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, and a dispute over the will of a local dignitary points to a shocking family secret. But the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is resilient and adaptable, and change brings salutary lessons: that our enemies are not always obvious, that a snake under the bed may be an ally, and that a mother's love conquers all.
The Man In The Wooden Hat
By Jane Gardam
'It's a cliche to compare novelists to Jane Austen, but in the case of Jane Gardam it happens to be true. Her diamond-like prose, her understanding of the human heart, her formal inventiveness and her sense of what it is to be alive - young, old, lonely, in love - never fades' Amanda Craig'Her work, like Sylvia Townsend Warner's, has that appealing combination of elegance, erudition and flinty wit' Patrick GaleFilth (Failed In London, Try Hong Kong) is a successful lawyer when he marries Elisabeth in Hong Kong soon after the War. Reserved, immaculate and courteous, Filth finds it hard to demonstrate his emotions. But Elisabeth is different - a free spirit. She was brought up in the Japanese Internment Camps, which killed both her parents but left her with a lust for survival and an affinity with the Far East. No wonder she is attracted to Filth's hated rival at the Bar - the brash, forceful Veneering. Veneering has a Chinese wife and an adored son - and no difficulty whatsoever in demonstrating his emotions . . . How Elisabeth turns into Betty and whether she remains loyal to stolid Filth or is swept up by caddish Veneering, makes for a page-turning plot in a perfect novel which is full of surprises and revelations, as well as the humour and eccentricites for which Jane Gardam's writing is famous.
The Makers Of the 20th Century: Martin Luther King
By Adam Fairclough
Part of a series of biographies of statesmen and women who have shaped the modern world, this book concerns Martin Luther King, who from both the pulpit and from jail, inspired black Americans to defy white supremacy and in so doing, re-invigorated American democracy.
The Missing Shade Of Blue
By Jennie Erdal
When translator Edgar Logan arrives from his home in Paris to work in Edinburgh he anticipates a period of enlightenment and calm. But when he is befriended by the philosopher Harry Sanderson and his captivating artist wife, Edgar's meticulously circumscribed life is suddenly propelled into drama and crisis. Drawn into the Sandersons' troubled marriage, Edgar must confront both his own deepest fears from the past and his present growing attraction to the elusive Carrie.Moving, witty and wise, The Missing Shade of Blue is a compelling portrait of the modern condition, from the absence of faith to the scourge of sexual jealousy and the elusive nature of happiness.
The Mirror Maker
By Primo Levi
I hope the reader will be indulgent toward the extreme dispersion of themes, tones, and angles of approach that he will find in this collection. My justification is: the 'pieces' are situated in an arc of time that is close to a quarter of a century, the time of my almost total fidelity to LA STAMPA: and in twenty-five years many things change, inside us and around us. Furthermore, they are conditioned by my intrinsic libertinage, in part willed, in part due to the itinerary fate has reserved for me; I've drunk at various founts and breathed different airs, some salutary, others quite polluted . . .I'm a normal man with a good memory who fell into a maelstrom and got out of it more by luck than by virtue, and who from that time on has preserved a certain curiosity about maelstroms large and small, metaphorical and actual.From Primo Levi's introduction to The Mirror Maker, his eloquent, witty and wise collection of short stories and essays.
A Million Heavens
By John Brandon
In a hospital in a small New Mexico town, a father sits by the bed of his young son, who is in a coma. Outside, a group of locals gather to hold vigil for the boy, each drawn by their own reasons.Every member of the group has their own story. There's Dannie, a 33-year-old woman, desperate for children, and fighting to salvage her relationship with her 20-year-old boyfriend. Then there's Cecelia - a musician who is grieving for a man who never knew he was the love of her life. And then there's Mayor Carbrera - half-heartedly trying to keep the town afloat, and holding out hope that a religious cult will move in and become the answer to all his problems.Hugely acclaimed when published in the US, A Million Heavens is an extraordinary novel by one of the most promising young American authors.
Missing The Midnight
By Jane Gardam
Jane Gardam reveals again her brilliant diversity and deep understanding of the human condition. In 'Light', an evocative, lyrical piece of magic realism, a beautiful Himalayan girl defies the destiny laid out for her by her mother, but in so doing destroys the village in which she was born. In 'Missing the Midnight', a young woman having failed her exams and lost the man she loves, journeys home to the family she despises, on Christmas Eve. In 'Grace', an apparently ordinary man lives his whole life with a diamond under his skin at the back of his neck, and dies when it is finally removed. Jane Gardam weaves strange and magical occurrences into the fabric of beautifully realised lives in this stunning collection.
A Mountain In Tibet
By Charles Allen
Throughout the East there runs a legend of a great mountain at the centre of the world, where four rivers have their source. Charles Allen traces this legend to Western Tibet where there stands Kailas, worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists alike as the home of their gods and the navel of the world. Close by are the sources of four mighty rivers: the sacred Ganges, the Indus, the Sutlej and Tsangpo-Brahmaputra.For centuries Kailas remained an enigma to the outside world. Then a succession of remarkable men took up the challenge of penetrating the hostile, frozen wastelands beyond the Western Himalayas, culminating in the great age of discovery, the final years of the Victorian era.A Mountain in Tibet is an extraordinary story of exploration and high adventure, full of the excitement and colour expected from the author of Plain Tales from the Raj.
Mum and Mr Armitage
By Beryl Bainbridge
Women in fox furs, not-quite travelling salesmen, the twilight zone of genteel hotels and lodging houses - these newly reissued short stories are quintessential Bainbridge territory. Blazing with her irreplaceable talent, Mum and Mr Armitage takes us on a journey through a unique fictional terrain; from a country house in Sussex to a script-writing course on a cruise liner. Macabre, witty and brilliantly observed, they confirm Beryl Bainbridge's place as one of our greatest writers of fiction.
Made In Britain
By Evan Davis
What are countries famous for making? For Japan, the answer might be electronic goods. For Germany, automobiles. For France, perhaps a Louis Vuitton bag. But what about Britain?Here, Evan Davis sets himself the task of finding out. Offering a fascinating look at our manufacturing industries and revealing the various companies that might not be household names, but are very much world leaders in their fields, he shows how we have learnt to specialise in high end and niche areas that are the envy of the world. Taking in our disappointments and successes, Made in Britain is a brilliantly readable tour of our economic history, exploring the curious blend of resilience, innovation and economic free-thinking that makes us who we are.