It's Not The Winning That Counts
By Max Davidson
From Ancient Greece to the Beijing Olympics, sport has delivered thrilling victories and gut-wrenching defeats, but moments of good sportsmanship are increasingly rare. Is chivalry dead? Or have rumours of its demise been exaggerated? Whether displayed by an Australian sculler or an Egyptian judoka, sportsmanship has come in many guises. It's Not the Winning that Counts celebrates the Boy's Own heroism of yachtsman Pete Goss's mercy dash across the Southern Ocean to rescue a capsized French rival; recalls the high ideals of the gentleman-amateurs of the Corinthian Football Club; salutes Freddie Flintoff, hero of the 2005 Ashes, commiserating with an opponent before celebrating with team-mates; and takes its hat off to Jack Nicklaus, conceding a two-foot putt on the final green of the 1969 Ryder Cup. At its best, sportsmanship has reverberated around the world - from German athlete Lutz Long publicly befriending the black American runner Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics to Russian chess player Boris Spassky conducting himself impeccably during his Cold War showdown with Bobby Fischer.
By Thurston Clarke
ISLOMANIA is not really about the famous fictional castaway at all - it is more about the place he was forced to make his temporary home, and other places like it. Renowned travel writer Thurston Clarke has long been obsessed with islands, an affliction he calls 'islomania', and his new book is a kind of love letter to these little (and not so little) worlds surrounded by sea.Beginning with the accepted model for Robinson Crusoe's remote abode, Mas à Tierra in the Pacific, Clarke then takes us on a hugely enjoyable tour of his favourite islands, exploring their geography, history and culture. From George Orwell's Jura, where he wrote '1984', to the beautiful (but slowly sinking) Maldives in the Indian Ocean, this is a book about some of the most curious and evocative places on earth. And over every island falls the shadow of Crusoe, persuading us that islands are more liberating than confining, more contemplative than lonely, more holy than barbaric . . .
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.
By Jane Rogers
The island is a place where things are not quite as they appear; a magical place where the murder of a reclusive woman is not a cut and dried case.'I thought I had come to the island to wrest control of my life back from the woman who had sabotaged it. But I was wrong. My mother was still writing my plot.'Nikki Black, intent on punishing the mother who abandoned her at birth, goes to the island with only one aim in mind: revenge. But her plans are confounded by the discovery that she has a brother. Not just any brother but a brother strangely possessed by their mother; a brother with a terrifying violent streak; an apparent simpleton whose head is filled with the stories of past islanders, Crofters, Vikings, Little People. A brother whose dangerous love and strange way of seeing the world transform Nikki's life.
Isadora: A Sensational Life
By Peter Kurth
Known by many as the greatest dancer of her time, Isadora Duncan was the matriarch of creative self-expression. A pioneer in the dance world and the women's movement, her name is synonymous with originality, spontaneity, and intrigue. She was the first woman to break simultaneously the barriers of art, love, fashion, sex, religion and marriage. Dorothy Parker christened her 'Duncan disorderly', praising her as 'magnificent, generous, gallant and fated'. Finally, here is a biography that does justice to the life of this unforgettable and exceptional woman. Hers was a life marked by tragedy - she never recovered from the accidental drowning of her two small children and was plagued by alcoholism. She died in a car accident in 1927; her scarf became entangled in the wheel of her car during a joy ride on the French Riviera and she was strangled.Never before has the life of Isadora Duncan been given such thorough and sweeping treatment.
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.
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 Irish R M
By E.OE. Somerville, Martin Ross
Major Sinclair Yeates leaves England to work as an Irish Resident Magistrate convinced that two and two make four. But as he passes judgement on a range of cases and characters that would have driven Solomon to drink he learns that in Ireland, two and two are just as likely to make five, or three, or even nothing at all...First published at the turn of the century as EXPERIENCES OF AN IRISH R.M., these stories were quickly recognised as classics of Anglo- Irish literature and as some of the funniest prose in the English language. This collection- containing all thirty-four stories- inspired the hugely successful television series.
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.
By Eric Hobsbawm
Born in 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution, the eighty-five years of Eric Hobsbawm's life are backdropped by an endless litany of wars, revolutions and counter-revolutions. He has led a remarkably fulfilling and long life; historian and intellectual, fluent in five languages, a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, until it dissolved itself, and writer of countless volumes of history. He has personally witnessed some of the critical events of our century from Hitler's rise to power in Berlin to the fall of the Berlin wall. Hobsbawm has kept his eyes and ears open for eighty-five years, and has been constantly committed to understanding the 'interesting times' (as the Chinese curse puts it) through which he has lived. His autobiography is one passionate cosmopolitan Jew's account of his travels through that past which is another country, where they do things differently, and how it became the world we now live in.
By Beryl Bainbridge
Edward is throwing a dinner party with Binny , his mistress. Aware that she has long been denied those small intimacies that his wife takes for granted - choosing a birthday present for his sister, for example, or sorting his socks - he wants to give her a chance to feel more involved in his life, to socialise with some of his friends (the discreet ones). Things are a little awkward to begin with - a late start and him having to be away by half past ten - but everything seems to be going well. But then some uninvited, and reather forceful guests arrive, and it doesn't look like Edward is going to make it home on time.
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 David Foster Wallace
'A writer of virtuostic talents who can seemingly do anything' New York Times'Wallace is a superb comedian of culture . . . his exuberance and intellectual impishness are a delight' James Woods, Guardian'He induces the kind of laughter which, when read in bed with a sleeping partner, wakes said sleeping partner up . . . He's damn good' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian'One of the best books about addiction and recovery to appear in recent memory' Sunday TimesSomewhere in the not-so-distant future the residents of Ennet House, a Boston halfway house for recovering addicts, and students at the nearby Enfield Tennis Academy are ensnared in the search for the master copy of INFINITE JEST, a movie said to be so dangerously entertaining its viewers become entranced and expire in a state of catatonic bliss . . . 'Wallace's exuberance and intellectual impishness are a delight, and he has deep things to say about the hollowness of contemporary American pleasure . . . sentences and whole pages are marvels of cosmic concentration . . . Wallace is a superb comedian of culture' James Wood, GUARDIAN
By Paul Richardson
Everybody loves chocolate. From Willy Wonka to Ferrero Rocher, the Cadbury's Flake girl to the man from Milk Tray, it is embedded in our culture like no other foodstuff. The 'Prozac of Candy' produces the same chemicals in your brain as when you fall in love.Paul Richardson has had a sweet tooth ever since his grandmother fed him Lindt milk chocolate animals as a boy. Now, in this fascinating new book, he satisfies a lifelong craving by travelling the world to find out the history of this most popular of foodstuffs. It is a journey that begins in the cacao groves of Guatemala and Mexico, and takes him from the old world to the new, to mainland Europe and the chocolatiers of Paris and Zurich, to Britain and America, and the homes of Cadbury and Hershey.For chocolate lovers everywhere - and let's face it, that's most of us - INDULGENCE is a treat. Witty, insightful and wonderfully readable, this is the tastiest book you'll devour all year, bar none.
By Will Randall
While attempting to teach at an inner London comprehensive Will Randall is taken up by an elderly German woman who asks him to accompany her to India. Nothing ventured, he agrees and so begins a wonderful life-changing adventure. Set down in Puna (3 hours from Bombay) he begins work teaching English at a slum school. Most of the children are orphans or parentless (one lost his parents four years previously when his mother had let go of his hand at a railway station and he 'd boarded the wrong train ). When zamidars -slum barons - arrive and threaten to pull down the school Randall has to put on a fund-raising performance of the Indian epic The Ramayana in order to help the slum dwellers buy their own land. Meanwhile he's also been spotted by a Bollywood Director who persuades him to take the role of leading man in his new film.Will Randall is 'the teacher who travels' and, as in SOLOMON TIME, this is a funny and heart-warming account of how one man's enthusiasm and old-fashioned desire to do good have helped to preserve a community.
The Incurable Romantic
By Frank Tallis
'Frank Tallis brings a lifetime's clinical experience and wise reflection to a condition that, by its own strange routes, leads us into the very heart of love itself. This is a brilliant, compelling book' Ian McEwanLove is a great leveller. Everyone wants love, everyone falls in love, everyone loses love, and everyone knows something of love's madness. But the experience of obsessive love is no trivial matter. In the course of his career psychologist Dr Frank Tallis has treated many unusual patients, whose stories have lessons for all of us.A barristers' clerk becomes convinced that her dentist has fallen in love with her and they are destined to be together for eternity; a widow is visited by the ghost of her dead husband; an academic is besotted with his own reflection; a beautiful woman searches jealously for a rival who isn't there; and a night porter is possessed by a lascivious demon. These are just some of the people whom we meet in an extraordinary and original book that explores the conditions of longing and desire - true accounts of psychotherapy that take the reader on a journey through the darker realms of the amorous mind.Drawing on the latest scientific research into the biological and psychological mechanisms underlying romance and emotional attachment, The Incurable Romantic demonstrates that ultimately love dissolves the divide between what we judge to be normal and abnormal.
In The Shadow Of The Sword
By Tom Holland
In The Footsteps Of Adam
By Thor Heyerdahl
Thor Heyerdahl is one of the greatest explorers of our day. At the age of 84 he has chosen to take a journey through his memories. This is not a chronological autobiography but rather an epic exploration of the world and the amazing events that Heyerdahl has pioneered, participated in and observed. IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ADAM is an account of life where personal experiences of a dramatic and emotional nature - secret missions during the war and near-fatal accidents - are woven together with his views on religious fatih politics and ecology. It is a book that focuses on the author's own remarkable life, and also brings us back to the dawn of civilization and out into the future. Thor Heyerdahl has spent a long lifetime wandering in the footsteps of mankind. He invites the reader to participate in that journey by sharing generously the details of his private and public life, his accumulated wisdom, and his friendships with a wide range of influential world leaders such as Fidel Castro and Mikhail Gorbachev.
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...
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.