A User's Guide To The Brain
By John J. Ratey
Bringing order and relevance to the cascade of recent brain findings, Dr John Ratey explains the brain's most important systems, the role they play in determining how we interact with the world and ways in which we can influence their operations for the better. Throughout, he illustrates his points with vivid and often surprising examples drawn from his own practice, research and everyday life. Ratey answers such compelling questions as: What does it mean to be linguistically ambidextrous? How does a mother's cradling of her child on her left shoulder relate to the development of language skills? Why does listening to music while doing homework improve accuracy? Why do people like spicy foods? He also analyses the ways in which things can go wrong, detailing causes and treatments for diseases such as autism, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, as well as numerous neurological disorders. As Dr. Ratey demonstrates throughout the book, the brain is astonishingly flexible, able to be retrained and reprogrammed. Like a muscle, it responds to use, adapting to new demands and conditions, allowing, as the title of the book suggests, the guidance of the user.
By Nick Thorpe
Hunched exhausted at his computer one ordinary Monday morning, world-class workaholic Nick Thorpe has reached the end of his tether. Fearing for his health and family life, he knows something has to change. But where to start when trying too hard is part of the problem? Nick makes a bold resolution: he will spend a year learning to let go. Beginning with a plunge off a Cornish cliff, he soon graduates to wing-walking on a bi-plane, city-centre clowning and a revealing weekend at a naturist convention. But the more he tries to relax, the bigger the questions: can you be happy if you're not in control? Is true contentment all in the mind? And what does his small, brown dog know that Nick doesn't?From a school where pupils make the rules, to meditation and rafting in Sweden; from the chaos of a Durban street shelter to a silent monastery in New Mexico, URBAN WORRIER charts a humorous and often moving quest for the ultimate modern grail: how to find balance and fulfilment in today's high-speed world.
Upon Dark Waters
By Robert Radcliffe
31st December 1942. In the middle of the North Atlantic, the deadly 'gap' where aircraft cannot protect them, a destroyer and 4 corvettes are shepherding a convoy of ships from America to Britain. But as midnight passes, the New Year is marked by a white flash on the horizon - a German torpedo. What follows is a night scarred forever in the memory of its survivors. But for Michael Villiers, officer on the HMS Daisy, it is just another chapter in an extraordinary life. The son of a beautiful socialite and a British diplomat, Michael is brought up in Sombreado, Uruguay alongside his guardian's daughter Maria, and the pair are inseparable. Even when he is sent to school in England, the family ranch remains Michael's home and when his schooling is complete, there is never any doubt that he will return to Sombreado, to Maria. But when Michael returns to Montevideo in 1939, his steamer crosses paths with a German warship - an ominous sign of the conflict to come. And though Uruguay is neutral in the coming conflict, Michael is to be allowed no such luxury: the British Legation want him to make the most of his family connections. In a war, the English ambassador explains, everyone has to take sides . . .
By Charles Jennings
The North.Where does it begin? Where does it end? And is it all whippets, black pudding and queer folk going rounds saying "There's nowt so queer as folk"?Fresh from the PJ O'Rourke School of Diplomatic Journalism, southern jessie Charles Jennings finds himself in need of Answers. With something approaching trepidation, Jennings packs his big girl's blouse in a suitcase full of prejudice and ventures fearfully into the great melting-pot that is the North of England - undergoing in the process a series of life changing experiences such as being mistaken for an exhibit at the Wigan Pier: Where History Comes Alive! Museum and voluntarily attending a concert featuring Roy Walker.Scandalous, astonishingly rude, scabrously funny, Up North presents the quintissential northern experience.
Unusual Uses For Olive Oil
By Alexander McCall Smith
Life is so unfair, and it sends many things to try Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, author of Portuguese Irregular Verbs and pillar of the Institute of Romance Philology in the proud Bavarian city of Regensburg.There is the undeserved rise of his rival (and owner of a one-legged dachshund), Detlev Amadeus Unterholzer; the interminable ramblings of the librarian, Herr Huber; and the condescension of his colleagues with regard to his unmarried state. But when his friend Ophelia Prinzel takes it upon herself to match-make, and duly produces a cheerful heiress with her own Schloss, it appears that the professor's true worth is about to be recognised.Maddening, idiotic and hugely entertaining, von Igelfeld is an inspired comic creation.
By Steven Poole
Unspeak is language as a weapon. Every day, we are bombarded with those apparently simple words or phrases that actually conceal darker meanings. 'Climate change' is less threatening than 'global warming'; we say 'ethnic cleansing' when we mean mass murder. As we absorb and repeat Unspeak we are accepting the messages that politicians, businessmen and military agencies wish us to believe. Operation Iraqi Freedom did more than put a positive spin on the American war with Iraq; it gave the invasion such a likeable name that the American news networks quickly adopted it as their tagline for reporting on the war. By repackaging the language we use to describe international affairs or domestic politics, Unspeak tries to make controversial issues unspeakable and, therefore, unquestionable.In this thought-provoking and important book, Steven Poole traces the globalizing wave of modern Unspeak from culture wars to the culture of war and reveals how everyday words are changing the way we think.
The Universe In A Single Atom
By The Dalai Lama
In this rare personal investigation, His Holiness the Dalai Lama discusses his vision of science and faith working hand in hand to alleviate human suffering. Drawing on a lifetime of scientific study and religious practice, he explores the great debates and makes astonishing connections between seemingly disparate topics - such as evolution and karma - that will change the way we look at the world.While he sees science and faith as 'complementary but different investigative approaches with the same goal of seeking the truth,' the fact is that the two have often been at the root of human conflict for centuries. The Dalai Lama challenges us to see that the benefits of opening our hearts and minds to the connections between science and faith are far preferable to perpetuating the divisive rhetoric that often surrounds them. Now, as we face such troubled and uncertain times, the need has never been greater for this extraordinary man's compassion and wisdom.
By Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal's reputation as America's finest essayist is an enduring one. This collection, chosen by the author from 40 years of work, contains about two-thirds of what he published in various magazines and journals. He has divided the essays into three categories, or states. State of the art covers literature, including novelists and critics, bestsellers, pieces on Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Suetonius, Nabakov and Montaigne (a previosly uncollected essay from 1992). State of the union deals with politics and public life: sex, drugs, money, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, The Holy Family (his essay on the Kennedys), Nixon, and finally Monotheism and its Discontents , a scathing critique of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In state of being, we are given personal responses to people and events: recollections of his childhood, E. Nesbit, Tarzan, Tennessee Williams and Anais Nin.
The Unfinished Revolution
By Philip Gould
The Unfinished Revolution is the definitive story of New Labour from its genesis to its election defeat 2010 - covering over 25 years and six general elections of strategy, rebuilding and reinvention. In this extraordinary book, Philip Gould, one of the world's leading political strategists and a key adviser to Tony Blair during the period, brilliantly describes how New Labour came to dominate, falter and fall, assessing how successful it was in government, and where it should go from here. Drawing on his years of experience at the heart of New Labour he gives us his unique perspective on how best to understand the electorate, how to communicate policy and how to adapt in a rapidly changing world.
Underneath the Lemon Tree
By Mark Rice-Oxley
On paper, things looked good for Mark Rice-Oxley: wife, children, fulfilling job. But then, at his 40th birthday party, his whole world crumbled as he succumbed to depression...How many men do you know who have been through periods when their lives haven't seemed right? How badly askew were things for them? Many men suffer from depression yet it is still a subject that is taboo. Men often don't visit the doctor, or they don't want to face up to feelings of weakness and vulnerability. By telling his story, Mark Rice-Oxley hopes it will enable others to tell theirs. In this intensely moving memoir he retraces the months of his utmost despair, revisiting a landscape from which at times he felt he would never escape.Written with lyricism and poignancy, Mark captures the visceral nature of this most debilitating of illnesses with a frightening clarity, while at the same time offering a sympathetic and dispassionate view of what is happening, and perhaps why. This is not a self-help book but a memoir that is brimful of experience, understanding and hope for all those who read it. It is above all honest, touching and surprisingly optimistic.
By Stephen Smith
For Stephen Smith, author of UNDERGROUND LONDON, beneath the dales and downs of England's green and pleasant land there exists another country, its equal in beauty and fascination. On his underworld odyssey from Newcastle to Brighton, from the Welsh Marches to the Suffolk coast, Smith uncovers smugglers' tunnels and drowned cities, burial mounds and underground waterfalls, and investigates the errant nuns and secret societies, the eighteenth-century rakes and troglodyte communities who have made the netherworld their home. Erudite, curious and unfailingly entertaining, UNDERGROUND ENGLAND is at once subterranean ghost train, rollercoaster ride, and passport to a mysterious other world.
By Stephen Smith
What is visible to the naked eye has been exhaustively raked over; in UNDERGROUND LONDON, acclaimed travel writer Stephen Smith provides an alternative guide and history of the capital. It's a journey through the passages and tunnels of the city, the bunkers and tunnels, crypts and shadows. As well as being a contemporary tour of underground London, it's also an exploration through time: Queen Boudicca lies beneath Platform 10 at King's Cross (legend has it); Dick Turpin fled the Bow Street Runners along secret passages leading from the cellar of the Spaniards pub in North London; the remains of a pre-Christian Mithraic temple have been found near the Bank of England; on the platforms of the now defunct King William Street Underground, posters still warn that 'Careless talk costs lives'. Stephen Smith uncovers the secrets of the city by walking through sewers, tunnels under such places as Hampton Court, ghost tube stations, and long lost rivers such as the Fleet and the Tyburn. This is 'alternative' history at its best.
The Undercover Economist
By Tim Harford
Who makes most money from the demand for cappuccinos early in the morning at Waterloo Station? Why is it impossible to get a foot on the property ladder? How does the Mafia make money from laundries when street gangs pushing drugs don't? Who really benefits from immigration? How can China, in just fifty years, go from the world's worst famine to one of the greatest economic revolutions of all time, lifting a million people out of poverty a month?Looking at familiar situations in unfamiliar ways, THE UNDERCOVER ECONOMIST is a fresh explanation of the fundamental principles of the modern economy, illuminated by examples from the streets of London to the booming skyscrapers of Shanghai to the sleepy canals of Bruges. Leaving behind textbook jargon and equations, Tim Harford will reveal the games of signals and negotiations, contests of strength and battles of wit that drive not only the economy at large but the everyday choices we make.
The Undercover Economist Strikes Back
By Tim Harford
A million readers bought The Undercover Economist to get the lowdown on how economics works on a small scale, in our everyday lives. Since then, economics has become big news. Crises, austerity, riots, bonuses - all are in the headlines all the time. But how does this large-scale economic world really work? What would happen if we cancelled everyone's debt? How do you create a job? Will the BRIC countries take over the world? Asking - among many other things -- what the future holds for the Euro, why the banks are still paying record bonuses and where government borrowing will take us, in The Undercover Economist Strikes Back, Tim Harford returns with his trademark clarity and wit to explain what's really going on - and what it means for us all.
Under An English Heaven
By Robert Radcliffe
1943. The sleepy Suffolk village of Bedenham is jerked into the twentieth century and the harsh realities of war by the arrival on its doorstep of an American bomber base and its three thousand inhabitants. For Billy Street, fourteen, a London evacuee uneasily billeted with the village blacksmith, the American invasion is heaven sent - unlimited opportunities and acceptance at last within a community he loves. Yet a concealed past threatens his new happiness. Billy's schoolteacher, Heather Garrett, awaits word of a husband missing for eighteen months. A stranger to Bedenham, Heather's sense of isolation - and village suspicions - are heightened when troubled American pilot John Hooper, reaches for her friendship. And daily the skies fill with the bombers and their ten-man crews who, during that bleak autumn of 1943, suffered losses on a catastrophic scale. For Hooper, tormented by earlier loss, leading Misbehavin' Martha and her disorderly crew safely through their 25 designated bombing missions becomes a personal crusade.
The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds
By Alexander McCall Smith
As a mother, wife, employer and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, Isabel Dalhousie is aware that to be human is to be responsible. So when a neighbour brings her a new and potentially dangerous puzzle to solve, once again Isabel feels she has no option but to shoulder the burden.A masterpiece painting has been stolen from Duncan Munrowe, old-fashioned philanthropist, father to two discontented children, and a very wealthy man. As Isabel enters into negotiations with the shadowy figures who are in search of a ransom, a case where heroes and villains should be clearly defined turns murky: the list of those who desire the painting - or the money - lengthens, and hasty judgement must be avoided at all cost. Morals, it turns out, are like Scottish clouds: complex, changeable and tricky to get a firm grip on; they require a sharp observational eye, a philosophical mindset, and the habit of kindness. Fortunately for those around her, Isabel Dalhousie is in possession of all three.
By Eric Hobsbawm
This collection of 26 essays range over the history of working men and women between the late 18th century and the present day, and brings back into print a selection of this celebrated historian's pioneering studies into labour history, together with more recent reflections previously unpublished in book form.Eric Hobsbawm's penetrating essays on labour history and social protest opened up a new field of study and set standards of wide-ranging, evocative, incisive analysis. Essays in this collection include the formation of the British working class; labour custom and traditions; the political radicalism of 19th century shoemakers; male and female images in revolutionary movements; revolution and sex; peasants and politics; and the common-sense of Tom Paine. More recent essays include meditations on the May Day holiday; the Vietnam War; socialism and the avantgarde; Mario Puzo, the Mafia and the Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuliano; and the cultural consequences of Christopher Columbus. Throughout these essays runs a passionate concern for the lives and struggles of ordinary men and women - uncommon people, all of them.
The Unbearable Lightness Of Scones
By Alexander McCall Smith
To the casual observer, the great enlightened city of Edinburgh, home of no-nonsense philosophers and cream teas, might appear immune to the rollercoaster of strong emotions. But at 44 Scotland Street, as Matthew and Elspeth embark on the risky enterprise of married love, the raffish portrait painter Angus Lordie has a premonition of disaster. And soon enough Irene Pollock is shocked to learn that her small son Bertie harbours a highly unsuitable ambition; the gloriously vain Bruce discovers a wrinkle and confronts rejection; and Angus finds himself facing the grave consequences of unbridled bliss, not to mention a large Glaswegian gangster bearing gifts . . .