By Roland Huntford
Ernest Shackleton was the quintessential Edwardian hero. A contemporary - and adversary - of Scott, he sailed on the 'Discovery' expedition of 1900, and went on to mount three expeditions of his own. Like Scott, he was a social adventurer; snow and ice held no particular attraction, but the pursuit of wealth, fame and power did. Yet Shackleton, and Anglo-Irishman who left school at 16, needed status to raise money for his own expeditions. At various times he was involved in journalism, politics, manufacturing and City fortune-hunting - none of them very effectively. A frustrated poet, he was never to be successful with money, but he did succeed in marrying it. At his height he was feted as a national hero, knighted by Edward VII, and granted £20,000 by the government for achievements which were, and remain, the very stuff of legend. But the world to which he returned in 1917 after the sensational 'Endurance' expedition did not seem to welcome surviving heroes. Poverty-stricken by the end of the war, he had to pay off his debts through writing and endless lecturing. He finally obtained funds for another expedition, but dies of a heart attack, aged only 47, at it reached South Georgia.
Sex In History
By Reay Tannahill
SEX IN HISTORY chronicles the pleasures- and perils- of the flesh from the time of mankind's distant ancestors to the modern day; from a sexual act which was bried, crude and purposeful, to the myriad varieties of contemporary sexual mores.Reay Tannahill's scholarly, yet accessible study ranges from the earliest form of contraception (one Egyptian concoction included crocodile dung) to some latter- day misconceptions about it- like the men who joined their lovers in taking the pill 'just to be on the safe side.' It surveys all manner of sexual practice, preference and position (the acrobatic 'wheelbarrow' position, the strenuous 'hovering butterflies' position...) and draws on souces as diverse as THE ADMIRABLE DISCOURSES OF THE PLAIN GIRL, the EXHIBTION OF FEMALE FLAGELLANTS, IMPORTANT MATTERS OF THE JADE CHAMBER and THE ROMANCE OF CHASTISEMENT.Whether writing on androgyny, courtly love, flagellation or zoophilia, Turkish eunuch's Greek dildoes, Taoist sex manuals or Japanses geisha girls, Reay Tannahill is consistently enlightening and entertaining.
By Philippe Djian
They were predicting storms for the end of the day but the sky stayed blue and the wind died down. I went to take a look in the kitchen - make sure things weren't getting clogged up in the bottom of the pot. Everything was just fine. I went out onto the porch armed with a cold beer and stayed there for a while, my face in the sun. It felt good. It had been a week now that I'd been spending my mornings in the sun, squinting like some happy idiot - a week now since I'd met Betty.'BETTY BLUE remains a cult book and film nearly twenty years since its first outing. The extraordinary story of an erotic, doomed love affair has transfixed hundreds of thousands of readers around the world.
Tales From The South China Seas
By Charles Allen
This work chronicles the adventures of the last generation of British men and women who went East to seek their fortunes. Drawn into the colonial territories scattered around the South China Sea, they found themselves in an exotic, intoxicating world. It was a land of rickshaws and shanghai jars, sampans and Straits Steamers, set against a background of palm-fringed beaches and tropical rain-forests. But it was also a world of conflicting beliefs and many races, where the overlapping of widely differing moral standards and viewpoints created a heady and dangerous atmosphere.
The March Of Folly
By Barbara W. Tuchman
From the distinguished American historian whose work has been acclaimed around the world, a major new book that penetrates one of the most bizarre and fascinating paradoxes in history: the persistent pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own intersts. Across the march of thirty centuries, Tuchman brings to life the dramatic events which constitute folly's hallmark in government; the fall of Troy, symbolic prototype of freely chosen disaster; the Protestant secession, provoked by six decades of spectacularly corrupt papcy; the British forfeiture of the American colonies; and America's catastrophic thirty year involvement with vietnam.The March of Folly, a work of profound and poignant relevance today, is breathtaking in its scope, originality and vision, and represents the writing of Barbara Tuchman at it's finest.
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.
Closely Observed Trains
By Bohumil Hrabal
For gauche young apprentice Milos Hrma, life at the small but strategic railway station in Bohemia in 1945 is full of complex preoccupations. There is the exacting business of dispatching German troop trains to and from the toppling Eastern front; the problem of ridding himself of his burdensome innocence; and the awesome scandal of Dispatcher Hubicka's gross misuse of the station's official stamps upon the telegraphist's anatomy. Beside these, Milos's part in the plan for the ammunition train seems a simple affair.CLOSELY OBSERVED TRAINS, which became the award-winning Jiri Menzel film of the 'Prague Spring', is a classic of postwar literature, a small masterpiece of humour, humanity and heroism which fully justifies Hrabal's reputation as one of the best Czech writers of today.
Black Faces, White Faces
By Jane Gardam
A loosely connected sequence of stories, offering vignettes of human foibles from the holiday island of Jamaica. Mrs Filling sees something nasty in the midday sun; an English lawyer dallies while his wife goes mad in England; sexuality flares and everywhere farce and racial tension lurk.
By Katherine Dunn
A National Book Award Finalist: This 'wonderfully descriptive' novel from an author with a 'tremendous imagination' tells the unforgettable story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias have bred their own exhibit of human oddities. (The New York Times Book Review)The Binewskis arex a circus-geek family whose matriarch and patriarch have bred their own exhibit of human oddities (with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes). Their offspring include Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan, Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins, albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family's most precious - and dangerous - asset. As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the US, inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, Geek Love throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same.Praise for Geek Love'If Flannery O'Connor had consumed vast quantities of LSD, she might have written like this' Literary Review 'The most romantic novel about love and family I have read. It made me ashamed to be so utterly normal' Terry Gilliam 'I felt electrocuted when I read that first page with Crystal Lil and her freak brood. I stood there in the bookstore and my jaw came unhinged. No book I've read, before or since, has given me that specific jolt' Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia
Franz Kafka Stories 1904-1924
By Franz Kafka
From the expressionism of his early prose pieces to his very last work, JOSEPHINE, these stories cover the full range of Kafka's writing career, culminating in THE METAMORPHOSIS, which Elias Canetti described as "one of the few great and perfect works of poetic imagination written during this century."Kafka's stories, argues Borges in his foreword, are superior even to his novels, which is why this collection "gives us the full dimesion of this unique writer.' J.A Underwood's acclaimed translation gives the reader all the chilling atmosphere of Kafka's darkly comic universe, as reflected in the commanding precision of his language.
If This Is A Man/The Truce
By Primo Levi
With the moral stamina and intellectual pose of a twentieth-century Titan, this slightly built, duitful, unassuming chemist set out systematically to remember the German hell on earth, steadfastly to think it through, and then to render it comprehensible in lucid, unpretentious prose. He was profoundly in touch with the minutest workings of the most endearing human events and with the most contempible. What has survived in Levi's writing isn't just his memory of the unbearable, but also, in THE PERIODIC TABLE and THE WRENCH, his delight in what made the world exquisite to him. He was himself a "magically endearing man, the most delicately forceful enchanter I've ever known" - PHILIP ROTH
By Danny Sugerman
At the age of thirteen, Danny Sugerman- the already wayward product of Beverley Hills wealth and privilege- went to his first Doors concert. He never looked back. He became Jim Morrison's protégé and- still in his teens- manager of the Doors and then Iggy Pop. He also plunged gleefully into the glamorous underworld of the rock 'n' roll scene, diving headfirst into booze, sex and drugs: every conceivable kind of drug, ever day, in every possible permutation. By the age of twenty-one he had an idyllic home, a beautiful girlfriend, the best car in the world, two kinds of hepatitis, a diseased heart, a $500 a day heroin habit and only a week to live. He lived.This is his tale. Excessive, scandalous, comic, cautionary and horrifying, it chronicles the 60s dream gone to rot and the early life of a Hollywood Wild Child who was just brilliant at being bad.
The New Primal Scream
By Arthur Janov
When THE PRIMAL SCREAM was published in 1970 it caused an international sensation. In introduced a revolutionary new approach to psychological thinking- Primal Therapy, which encourages patients to relive core experiences instead of taking refuge from reality in a comfortable half-world of neurosis. Twenty years on, THE NEW PRIMAL SCREAM takes the theory even further, showing that repressed pain is bad not only for mental but also for physical health. Citing case histories, Dr Janov shows how the application of his therapy has helped victims of incest and other abuse overcome subsequent illness. The implications are as devastating as the therapy is revolutionary.THE NEW PRIMAL SCREAM discusses and reaches some startling conclusions about illness and Primal Therapy, exploring; *Primal pain: the great hidden secrets, *Repression: the gates of the brain and loss of feeling, *How early experience is imprinted, *Illness as the silent scream, *Sex, sensuality and sexuality, *The role of weeping in psychotherapy, *Why we have to relive our childhood to get well.