The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
By Alexander McCall Smith
Fans around the world adore the best-selling No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series and its proprietor, Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's premier lady detective. In the first book of the bestselling series, Mma Ramotswe - with help from her loyal associate, Grace Makutsi - navigates her cases and her personal life with wisdom, good humour and the occasional cup of tea.Wayward daughters. Missing Husbands. Philandering partners. Curious conmen. If you've got a problem, and no one else can help you, then pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's only - and finest - female private detective.Her methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple, but she's got warmth, wit and canny intuition on her side, not to mention Mr J. L. B. Matekoni, the charming proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. And Precious is going to need them all as she sets out on the trail of a missing child, a case that tumbles our heroine into a hotbed of strange situations and more than a little danger . . .Delightfully different, THE NO.1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY offers a captivating glimpse of an unusual world.The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is the 1st book in the series, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order
No Need for Geniuses
By Steve Jones
Paris at the time of the French Revolution was the world capital of science. Its scholars laid the foundations of today's physics, chemistry and biology. They were true revolutionaries: agents of an upheaval both of understanding and of politics. Many had an astonishing breadth of talents. The Minister of Finance just before the upheaval did research on crystals and the spread of animal disease. After it, Paris's first mayor was an astronomer, the general who fought off invaders was a mathematician while Marat, a major figure in the Terror, saw himself as a leading physicist. Paris in the century around 1789 saw the first lightning conductor, the first flight, the first estimate of the speed of light and the invention of the tin can and the stethoscope. The metre replaced the yard and the theory of evolution came into being. The city was saturated in science and many of its monuments still are. The Eiffel Tower, built to celebrate the Revolution's centennial, saw the world's first wind-tunnel and first radio message, and first observation of cosmic rays.Perhaps the greatest Revolutionary scientist of all, Antoine Lavoisier, founded modern chemistry and physiology, transformed French farming, and much improved gunpowder manufacture. His political activities brought him a fortune, but in the end led to his execution. The judge who sentenced him - and many other researchers - claimed that 'the Revolution has no need for geniuses'. In this enthralling and timely book Steve Jones shows how wrong this was and takes a sideways look at Paris, its history, and its science, to give a dazzling new insight into the City of Light.
The Novel Habits of Happiness
By Alexander McCall Smith
Isabel Dalhousie is one of Edinburgh's most generous (but discreet) philanthropists - but should she be more charitable? She wonders, sometimes, if she is too judgmental about her niece's amorous exploits, too sharp about her housekeeper's spiritual beliefs, too ready to bristle in battle against her enemies. As the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, she doesn't, of course, allow herself actual enemies, but she does feel enmity - especially towards two academics who have just arrived in the city. Isabel feels they're a highly destabilizing influence; little tremors in the volcanic rock upon which an Enlightened Edinburgh perches. Equally troubling is the situation of the little boy who is convinced he had a previous life. When Isabel is called upon to help, she finds herself questioning her views on reincarnation. And the nature of grief. And - crucially - the positioning of lighthouses. The only questions Isabel doesn't have to address concern her personal life. With her young son and devoted husband her home life is blissfully content. Which is the best possible launching pad for the next issue of the Review - the Happiness issue. As Isabel is beginning to appreciate, happiness, for most people, is not quite what it seems . . .
By Taylor Downing
The loss of British bombers over Occupied Europe began to reach alarming levels in 1941. Could it be that the Germans were using a sophisticated form of radar to direct their night fighters and anti-aircraft guns at the British bombers? British aerial reconnaissance discovered what seemed to be a rotating radar tower on a clifftop at Bruneval, near Le Havre. The truth must be revealed. The decision was taken to launch a daring raid on the Bruneval site to try and capture the technology for further examination. The planned airborne assault would be extremely risky. The parachute regiment had only been formed a year before on Churchill's insistence. This night raid would test the men to the extreme limits of their abilities. Night Raid tells the gripping tale of this mission from the planning stages, to the failed rehearsals when the odds seemed stacked against them, to the night of the raid itself, and the scientific secrets that were discovered thanks to the paras' precious cargo - the German radar. Its capture was of immense importance in the next stages of the war and the mission itself marked the birth of the legend of the 'Red Devils'.
The New Biographical Dictionary Of Film 6th Edition
By David Thomson
With more than one hundred new entries, from Amy Adams, Benedict Cumberbatch and Cary Joji Fukunaga to Joaquin Phoenix, Mia Wasikowska and Robin Wright, and completely updated, here from David Thomson - 'The greatest living writer on the movies' (John Banville, New Statesman); 'Our most argumentative and trustworthy historian of the screen' (Michael Ondaatje) - is the latest edition of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, which topped Sight & Sound's poll of international critics and writers as THE BEST FILM BOOK EVER WRITTEN.
The Naked Scientist: Everyday Life Under the Microscope
By Chris Smith
Why use expensive beauty products when you can moisturise with jellyfish? Have you ever suspected pollution was to blame for your children's plummeting IQ? Ready to take a sea change . . . on Mars? And how about chopping an onion that doesn't make you cry? This is the perfect present for enquiring minds. Compelling, quirky and packed fully of curious facts, The Naked Scientist: Life Under the Microscope is a treasure trove of cutting-edge research, far-flung factoids and the ability to see into our scientific future, answering those fascinating questions you never thought to ask.
Night Falls On The City
By Sarah Gainham
Vienna, 1938. Beautiful actress Julia Homburg and her politician husband Franz Wedeker embody all the enlightened brilliance of their native city. But Wedeker is Jewish, and just across the border the tanks of the Nazi Reich are primed for the Anschluss. When the SS invades and disappearances become routine, Franz must be concealed. With daring ingenuity, Julia conjures a hiding place. In the shadow of oppression, a clear conscience is a luxury few can afford, and Julia finds she must strike a series of hateful bargains with the new order if she and her husband are to survive.A highly acclaimed bestseller when first published in the 1960s, Night Falls on the City is a true lost classic, and an unforgettable portrait of wartime.
By James Harkin
As high street and main street businesses continue to suffer, there's a new rule in business: forget about the general audience and instead stake out an identifiable niche.Woolworths suffered from a lack of identity and found that low quality and low price wasn't enough; General Motors crashed as motorists failed to distinguish between cars in their range. Yet HBO, Moleskine and specialist media like The Economist have all succeeded by building their authority over narrow areas of expertise and cultivating a passionate following - and their profits have mushroomed. Fascinating and thought-provoking, Niche is a superb examination of how innovation and profitability are moving to a series of tightly defined but globally scattered niches, bound together by the reach of the net.
The Naked Scientist
By Chris Smith
Is it possible to tell how happy a dog is by watching the way it wags its tail? Why is the Eiffel Tower 15 centimetres taller in mid-summer than it is in mid-winter? Does sound travel faster in water or air? Can one really read other people like a book? Why do so many people hate eating their greens? Firmly in the tradition of DOES ANYTHING EAT WASPS? new scientific kid on the block Chris Smith - aka THE NAKED SCIENTIST - explores present-day predicaments and tomorrow's technologies, from the most surprising facts to the most innovative new inventions, from staggering stats to serious developments that will transform the world around us.In this fascinating book, top scientist Chris Smith uses his wit and charm to lift the lid on the curious, crazy and compelling - and answer those questions you never thought to ask.
The New Biographical Dictionary Of Film 5Th Ed
By David Thomson
This book is both more and less than history, a work of imagination in its own right, a piece of movie literature that turns fact into romance.' Gavin Lambert was reviewing the first edition of David Thomson's monumental work in 1975. In the eight years since the third edition was published, careers have waxed and waned, reputations been made and lost, great movies produced, trends set and scorned.This fourth edition has 200 entirely new entries and every original entry has been re-examined. Thus the roster of directors, actors, producers, screenwriters and cameramen is both historical and contemporary, with old masters reappraised in terms of how their work has lasted.Each of the 1,000 profiles is a keenly perceptive, provocative critical essay. Striking the perfect balance between personal bias and factual reliability, David Thomson - novelist, critic, biographer and unabashed film addict - has given us an enormously rich reference book, a brilliant reflection on the art and artists of the cinema.
The Night Of The Mi'raj
By Zoe Ferraris
When Nouf ash-Shrawi, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a wealthy Saudi dynasty, disappears from her home in Jeddah just days before her arranged marriage, desert guide Nayir is asked to bring her home.But when her battered body is found, Nayir feels compelled to uncover the disturbing truth, travelling away from the endless desert to the vast city of Jeddah, where, most troubling of all, Nayir finds himself having to work closely with Katya Hijazi, a forensic scientist. The further into the investigation he goes, the more Nayir finds himself questioning his loyalties: to his friends, faith and culture.
Never Trust A Rabbit
By Jeremy Dyson
With the intelligent, surreal humour we might expect from a member of THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN, NEVER TRUST A RABBIT breathes new life into the drama of the ordinary urban thirty-something, in a series of modern morality tales about enchantment in everyday life' THE TIMESUnsettling premonitions, fortune-telling cashpoints and disappearing mazes all converge in Jeremy Dyson's first book - a collection of short stories that established him as a formidable storyteller on original publication. Reissued in Abacus with a new introduction by the author, NEVER TRUST A RABBIT has already become a cult favourite.
By David Sedaris
A riotous collection of memoirs which explores the absurd hilarity of modern life and creates a wickedly incisive portrait of an all-too-familiar world. It takes Sedaris from his humiliating bout with obsessive behaviour in 'A Plague of Tics' to the title story, where he is finally forced to face his naked self in the company of lunatics. At this soulful and moving moment, he brushes cigarette ashes from his pubic hair and wonders what it all means.This remarkable journey into his own life follows a path of self-effacement and a lifelong search for identity leaving himself both under suspicion and over dressed.
Never Had It So Good
By Dominic Sandbrook
In 1956 the Suez Crisis finally shattered the old myths of the British Empire and paved the way for the tumultuous changes of the decades to come. In NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD, Dominic Sandbrook takes a fresh look at the dramatic story of affluence and decline between 1956 and 1963. Arguing that historians have until now been besotted by the supposed cultural revolution of the Sixties, Sandbrook re-examines the myths of this controversial period and paints a more complicated picture of a society caught between conservatism and change. He explores the growth of a modern consumer society, the impact of immigration, the invention of modern pop music and the British retreat from empire. He tells the story of the colourful characters of the period, like Harold Macmillan, Kingsley Amis and Paul McCartney, and brings to life the experience of the first post-imperial generation, from the Notting Hill riots to the first Beatles hits, from the Profumo scandal to the cult of James Bond. In this strikingly impressive debut, he combines academic verve and insight with colourful, dramatic writing to produce a classic, ground-breaking work that will change forever how we think about the Sixties.
By Jonathan Smith
Someone has stolen Patrick Balfour's identity. A successful headmaster of a London school, a regular broadcaster and a writer of historical novels, as well as having a fairly spicy private life, Balfour is the object of some unsurprising envy. Yet who would be so malicious as to commit identity fraud and frame Patrick as a thief and a paedophile, using his national insurance number and impersonating his handwriting? As Patrick is teased by a series of letters, it becomes apparent that his adversary is certainly better-read than him and he is sent off on a tense literary chase, picking up clues from Kafka's The Trial to R L Stevenson and to Joseph Clark, a 17th Century contortionist. Patrick's morale begins to collapse - the police don't believe him and his daughter rejects him. Desperate, he decides he must pursue his pursuer.
By John Lister-Kaye
As I write Hermione's twelfth year is drawing to a close. The years of innocence are waning. But we have had the good fortune to live through a period when a child's mind is wide open and as absorbent as a sponge. Blessed years of exploration and discovery, fat and full of the natural world, which surrounds her here ... the mountains and forests and ospreys, eagles, otters and pine martens of a beautiful land.' NATURE'S CHILD is John Lister-Kaye's account of bringing up his daughter to appreciate the nature around her so beloved to himself. It is also a moving meditation on that world, and on their relationship, as he shows her how caterpillars metamorphose into moths; how beavers build dams in Norway; how half a million sea birds migrate to Shetland once a year to breed; how white rhinos behave in the wilds of Swaziland; how baby polar bears are raised on an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. As John puts it: 'Life is a collection of fragments of time charged with deeply personal sensation and meaning ... we had watched polar bears for a few minutes, but the recollection of those images are locked in for life. What is love if not time given in joy and delight?
By Roland Huntford
Behind the great polar explorers of the early twentieth century - Amundsen, Shackleton, Scott in the South and Peary in the North - looms the spirit of Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930), the mentor of them all. He was the father of modern polar exploration, the last act of territorial discovery before the leap into space began.Nansen was a prime illustration of Carlyle's dictum that 'the history of the world is but the biography of great men'. He was not merely a pioneer in the wildly diverse fields of oceanography and skiing, but one of the founders of neurology. A restless, unquiet Faustian spirit, Nansen was a Renaissance Man born out of his time into the new Norway of Ibsen and Grieg. He was an artist and historian, a diplomat who had dealings with Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin, and played a part in the Versailles Peace Conference, where he helped the Americans in their efforts to contain the Bolsheviks. He also undertook famine relief in Russia. Finally, working for the League of Nations as both High Commissioner for Refugees and High Commissioner for the Repatriation of Prisoners of War, he became the first of the modern media-conscious international civil servants.
By Robert Wright
In a book sure to stir argument for years to come, Robert Wright challen+ges the conventional view that biological evolution and human history are aimless. Ingeniously employing game theory - the logic of 'zero-sum' and 'non-zero-sum' games - Wright isolates the impetus behind life's basic direction: the impetus that, via biological evolution, created complex, intelligent animals, and then via cultural evolution, pushed the human species towards deeper and vaster social complexity. In this view, the coming of today's independent global society was 'in the cards' - not quite inevitable, but, as Wright puts it, 'so probable as to inspire wonder'. In a narrative of breathtaking scope and erudition, yet pungent wit, Wright takes on some of the past century's most prominent thinkers, including Isaiah Berlin, Karl Popper, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Dawkins. Wright argues that a coolly specific appraisal of humanity's three-billion-year past can give new spiritual meaning to the present and even offer political guidance for the future. This book will change the way people think about the human prospect.
The Nazi Officer's Wife
By Edith Hahn Beer, Susan Dworkin
Edith Hahn was a young law student in Vienna when Hitler absorbed Austria in 1938. Madly in love with a young man called Pepi who was half-Jewish, she was separated from him and sent to a forced labour camp. So began the extraordinary chain of events that led to her return to Vienna, her life as a 'hidden' Jew with an identity given to her by a German girlfriend, her marriage to a Nazi who knew she was Jewish and protected her, her intervention through her husband on behalf of Pepi, and her life at the end of the war in Eastern Germany where she was appointed a judge over the persecutors of her people. She fled the Communist regime there because of the conflicting emotions she felt for these who had NOT informed on her. She settled and married in London, and now lives in Israel, aged 84.
The New Century
By Eric Hobsbawm
Eric Hobsbawm's AGE OF EXTREMES was a remarkable phenomenon, a book of serious and challenging historical analysis that became a worldwide bestseller. Now, THE NEW CENTURY continues Hobsbawm's analysis of our twentieth century, asking crucial questions about our inheritance from the century of conflict and its meanings for the years to come. Looking back over the last decade to learn something of the new era, Hobsbawm finds the distinction between internal and international conflicts and between state of war and state of peace disappearing. He goes on to analyse the crisis of the multi-ethnic state and shows the distortions of history involved in the creation of its myths. He expresses his anxiety over the system of international relations between states that have so far ruled by colonialism and nuclear terror. Hobsbawm then assesses the impact that a popular global culture has had on every aspect of life, from happiness and social hierarchy to nutrition and the environment. Published this year in dozens of countries throughout the world, THE NEW CENTURY is a concise summary of the thinking of one of the pre-eminent historians.