The Retreat of Western Liberalism
By Edward Luce
'A panorama of the unravelling world order as riveting as any beach read' New Yorker'Read this book: in the three hours it takes you will get a new, bracing and brilliant understanding of the dangers we in the democratic West now face. Luce is one of the smartest journalists working today, and his perceptions are priceless' Jane Mayer, staff writer on the New Yorker'No one was more prescient about the economic malaise and popular resentment that has hit the United States than Ed Luce in his previous book, Time to Start Thinking. His new book, Retreat of Western Liberalism, broadens that picture to cover the Western world. It is a must read for anyone trying to make sense of the waves of populism and nationalism we face today' Liaquat AhamedIn his widely acclaimed book Time to Start Thinking, Financial Times columnist and commentator Edward Luce charted the course of American economic and geopolitical decline, proving to be a prescient voice on our current social and political turmoil.In The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of western hegemony and the crisis of democratic liberalism - of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a symptom. Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance towards society's losers, and complacency about our system's durability - attitudes that have been emerging since the fall of the Berlin Wall, treated by the West as an absolute triumph over the East. We cannot move forward without a clear diagnosis of what has gone wrong. Luce contrasts Western democratic and economic ideals, which rest on an assumption of linear progress, with more cyclical views of economic strength - symbolized by the nineteenth-century fall and present-day rise of the Chinese and Indian economies - and with the dawn of a new multipolar age.Combining on-the-ground reporting with intelligent synthesis of the vast literature already available, Luce offers a detailed projection of the consequences of the Trump administration and a forward-thinking analysis of what those who believe in enlightenment values must do to defend them from the multiple onslaughts they face in the coming years.
The Stars are Fire
By Anita Shreve
'Long before Liane Moriarty was spinning her Big Little Lies, Shreve was spicing up domestic doings..She still is, as effectively as ever, this time with a narrative literally lit from within' New York TimesThe brilliantly gripping new novel from the New York Times best-selling author of The Pilot's Wife (an Oprah's Book Club selection).Hot breath on Grace's face. Claire is screaming, and Grace is on her feet. As she lifts her daughter, a wall of fire fills the window. Perhaps a quarter of a mile back, if even that. Where's Gene? Didn't he come home? 1947. Fires are racing along the coast of Maine after a summer-long drought, ravaging thousands of acres, causing unprecedented confusion and fear. Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her difficult and unpredictable husband Gene joins the volunteers fighting to bring the fire under control. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie's two young children, the women watch in horror as their houses go up in flames, then walk into the ocean as a last resort. They spend the night frantically trying to save their children. When dawn comes, they have miraculously survived, but their lives are forever changed: homeless, penniless, and left to face an uncertain future.As Grace awaits news of her husband's fate, she is thrust into a new world in which she must make a life on her own, beginning with absolutely nothing; she must find work, a home, a way to provide for her children. In the midst of devastating loss, Grace discovers glorious new freedoms - joys and triumphs she could never have expected her narrow life with Gene could contain - and her spirit soars. And then the unthinkable happens, and Grace's bravery is tested as never before.
Little Fires Everywhere
By Celeste Ng
'Just read it...Outstanding' Matt Haig'To say I love this book is an understatement...It moved me to tears' Reese Witherspoon'Beautifully written, completely charming, and extremely wise on the subject of adolescence and influence' Nick HornbyEveryone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town - and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost...What readers are saying:'Highly recommended, beautifully written and thought-provoking''An engrossing read' 'Absolutely brilliant''Great characters, interesting plot that leaves you desperate to read more and written beautifully. I loved it and highly recommend it!'
A Distant View of Everything
By Alexander McCall Smith
Recently distracted by the arrival of her and Jamie's second son, Magnus, Isabel Dalhousie - philanthropic editor of the Review of Applied Ethics - is anxious. The next issue of the Review is far from ready, her eldest, Charlie, is jealous, and their housekeeper, Grace, has an officious approach to childcare. With some relief, Isabel returns to helping out at her niece Cat's delicatessen, where surely the most taxing duty is the preparation of sandwiches.It's not long before Isabel's helpful, philosophical nature draws her into customers' problems, specifically that of ambitious, self-proclaimed matchmaker, Bea Shandon. Bea has staged a potentially dangerous liaison involving enigmatic plastic surgeon, Tony MacUspaig, who may not be quite who he claims to be - and Isabel's help is required in getting to the truth of the matter. Good-hearted Isabel proceeds with her usual thorough attention to task, and on Bea's advice talks to her friend Rob, a trustworthy regular on Bea's dinner party circuit, and known to have deep suspicions about MacUspaig. It becomes clear, however, that Rob has an agenda of his own and Isabel is now contending with that, along with a mysterious medical condition of Jamie's and some frustrating dead ends when it comes to Bea's predicament. When the truth finally reveals itself, Isabel must conclude that along with MacUspaig, Bea, Jamie - and even Cat - she herself is not immune to misunderstandings, or the neurotic fantasies that arise from keeping secrets . . .
Theft by Finding
By David Sedaris
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 'He's like an American Alan Bennett, in that his own fastidiousness becomes the joke, as per the taxi encounter, or his diary entry about waiting interminably in a coffee-bar queue' Guardian review of An Evening with David Sedaris The point is to find out who you are and to be true to that person. Because so often you can't. Won't people turn away if they know the real me? you wonder. The me that hates my own child, that put my perfectly healthy dog to sleep? The me who thinks, deep down, that maybe The Wire was overrated? For nearly four decades, David Sedaris has faithfully kept a diary in which he records his thoughts and observations on the odd and funny events he witnesses. Anyone who has attended a live Sedaris event knows that his diary readings are often among the most joyful parts of the evening. But never before have they been available in print. Now, in Theft by Finding, Sedaris brings us his favorite entries. From the family home in Ralegh, North Carolina, we follow Sedaris as he sets out to make his way in the world. As an art student and then teacher in Chicago he works at a succession of very odd jobs, meeting even odder people, before moving to New York to pursue a career as a writer - where instead he very quickly lands a job in Macy's department store as an elf in Santaland... Tender, hilarious, illuminating, and endlessly captivating, Theft by Finding offers a rare look into the mind of one of our generation's greatest comic geniuses.
A Gift from Darkness
By Patience Ibrahim, Andrea C Hoffmann
When Patience Ibrahim's husband died, she feared that her life was over. She had prayed every night for a baby to complete her family, and suddenly she found herself a nineteen-year-old widow, alone in the world. But when she fell in love again, a happy future seemed possible. Patience married once more , and was overjoyed to discover that she was pregnant.A few days later, everything fell apart. Men from Boko Haram arrived at her door, killing Patience's new husband and kidnapping her. This is the incredible true story of her and her baby daughter's survival, against all the odds.
By Evan Davis
'A Malcolm Gladwell-style social psychology/behavioural economics primer' Evening StandardLow-level dishonesty is rife everywhere, in the form of exaggeration, selective use of facts, economy with the truth, careful drafting - from Trump and the Brexit debate to companies that tell us 'your call is important to us'. How did we get to a place where bullshit is not just rife but apparently so effective that it's become the communications strategy of our times? This brilliantly insightful book steps inside the panoply of deception employed in all walks of life and assesses how it has come to this. It sets out the surprising logic which explains why bullshit is both pervasive and persistent. Why are company annual reports often nonsense? Why should you not trust estate agents? And above all, why has political campaigning become the art of stretching the truth? Drawing on behavioural science, economics, psychology and of course his knowledge of the media, Evan ends by providing readers with a tool-kit to handle the kinds of deceptions we encounter every day, and charts a route through the muddy waters of the post-truth age.
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 Little Breton Bistro
By Nina George
From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop, an extraordinary novel about self-discovery and new beginnings. 'A life-affirming novel' Sunday Express 'An enchanting, uplifting read' Independent on The Little Paris BookshopMarianne Messmann longs to escape her loveless marriage. On a trip to Paris, she throws herself into the Seine, but is rescued by a passer-by. While recovering in hospital, Marianne sees a painting of a beautiful port town and decides to embark on a final adventure.Once in Brittany, she befriends a host of colourful characters who gather in a seaside bistro called Ar Mor. Among food, music and laughter, Marianne discovers a new version of herself - passionate, carefree and powerful. That is until her past comes calling . . .The Little Breton Bistro is a captivating love letter to second chances. 'A true gem for fiction lovers' Good Housekeeping on The Little Paris Bookshop
By Thomas Mullen
'A brilliant blending of crime, mystery, and American history. Terrific entertainment' Stephen King on DarktownLightning Men follows the multi-award-nominated, highly acclaimed crime debut Darktown into a city on the brink of huge and violent change - and full of secrets. Atlanta, 1950. Crime divides, the fight unites. Officer Denny Rakestraw and 'Negro Officers' Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith face the Klan, gangs and family warfare in a rapidly changing Atlanta.Black families - including Smith's sister and brother-in-law - are moving into Rake's formerly all-white neighbourhood, leading his brother-in-law, a proud Klansman, to launch a scheme to 'save' their streets. When those efforts leave a man dead, Rake is forced to choose between loyalty to family or the law. Meanwhile, Boggs has outraged his preacher father by courting a domestic, whose dangerous ex-boyfriend is then released from prison. As Boggs, Smith, and their all-black precinct contend with violent drug dealers fighting for turf in new territory, their personal dramas draw them closer to the fires that threaten to consume Atlanta once again. Praise for Thomas Mullen 'Magnificent and shocking' Sunday Times'Written with a ferocious passion that'll knock the wind out of you' New York Times
The Middle Class
By Lawrence James
By Lawrence James
Modern Britain is a nation shaped by wars. The boundaries of its separate parts are the outcome of conquest and resistance. The essence of its identity are the warrior heroes, both real and imagined, who still capture the national imagination; from Boudicca to King Arthur, William Wallace to Henry V, the Duke of Wellington to Winston Churchill. In WARRIOR RACE, Lawrence James investigates the role played by war in the making of Britain. Drawing on the latest historical and archaeological research, as well as numerous unfamiliar and untapped resources, he charts the full reach of British military history: the physical and psychological impact of Roman military occupation; the monarchy's struggle for mastery of the British Isles; the civil wars of the seventeenth century; the 'total war' experience of twentieth century conflict. WARRIOR RACE is popular history at its very best: immaculately researched and hugely readable. Balancing the broad sweep of history with an acute attention to detail, Lawrence James never loses sight of this most fascinating and enduring of subjects: the question of British national identity and character.
The Lie of the Land
By Amanda Craig
CHOSEN AS BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE GUARDIAN, OBSERVER, TELEGRAPH, NEW STATESMAN, EVENING STANDARD, SUNDAY TIMES AND IRISHTIMES'Terrific, page-turning, slyly funny' India Knight'As satisfying a novel as I have read in years' Sarah Perry'Amanda Craig is one of the most brilliant and entertaining novelists now working in Britain' Alison LurieQuentin and Lottie Bredin, like many modern couples, can't afford to divorce. Having lost their jobs in the recession, they can't afford to go on living in London; instead, they must downsize and move their three children to a house in a remote part of Devon. Arrogant and adulterous, Quentin can't understand why Lottie is so angry; devastated and humiliated, Lottie feels herself to have been intolerably wounded.Mud, mice and quarrels are one thing - but why is their rent so low? What is the mystery surrounding their unappealing new home? The beauty of the landscape is ravishing, yet it conceals a dark side involving poverty, revenge, abuse and violence which will rise up to threaten them.Sally Verity, happily married but unhappily childless knows a different side to country life, as both a Health Visitor and a sheep farmer's wife; and when Lottie's innocent teenage son Xan gets a zero-hours contract at a local pie factory, he sees yet another. At the end of their year, the lives of all will be changed for ever. A suspenseful black comedy, this is a rich, compassionate and enthralling novel in its depiction of the English countryside, and the potentially lethal interplay between money and marriage.