By David Sedaris
'Unquestionably the king of comic writing . . . Calypso is both funnier and more heartbreaking than pretty much anything out there' Hadley Freeman, GuardianIf you've ever laughed your way through David Sedaris's cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you're getting with Calypso. You'd be wrong. When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it's impossible to take a vacation from yourself.With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny - it's a book that can make you laugh 'til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris's writing has never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumour joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris's darkest and warmest book yet - and it just might be his very best.
A Time of Love and Tartan
By Alexander McCall Smith
Catch up with the delightful goings-on in the fictitious 44 Scotland Street from Alexander McCall Smith . . .'A joyous, charming portrait of city life and human foibles, which moves beyond its setting to deal with deep moral issues and love, desire and friendship' Sunday ExpressIf only Pat Macgregor had an inkling of the embarrassment romantic, professional, even aesthetic that flowed from accepting narcissistic ex-boyfriend Bruce Anderson's invitation for coffee, she would never have said yes. And if only Matthew, her boss at the art gallery, hadn't wandered into his local bookshop and picked up a particular book at a particular time, he would never have knocked over his former English teacher or attracted the attentions of the police.Whether caused by small things such as a cup of coffee and a book, or major events such as Stuart's application for promotion and his wife Irene's decision to go off and study for a PhD in Aberdeen, change is coming to serial fiction's favourite street. But for three seven-year-old boys Bertie Pollock, Ranald Braveheart Macpherson, and Big Lou's foster son Finlay - it also means a getting a glimpse of perfect happiness.Alexander McCall Smith's delightfully witty, wise and sometimes surreal comedy spirals out to include tennis-playing Rwandan Forest People, researches into levitating Celtic saints, bogus headhunters in Papua New Guinea and primary school performances of Beckett. But its heart remains where it has always been true to life, love and laughter in Edinburgh's New Town.
Love Among the Ruins
By Judith Weinberger
Judith Weinberger was brought up in the 1930s in a comfortable family home by the side of the River Danube. Then, in 1944, everything changed with the coming of the Nazis.Judith's father told the family, 'Remember this. When the Germans offer you an easy or a difficult choice, always take the difficult one' . They were put on a train whose journey ended at Auschwitz. When they got out an officer told them they could either walk, or take a bus - the easy option - to their huts. Those who took the bus were taken straight to the gas chambers.Some months later Judith, her mother and her sister were spotted by a young doctor who selected them as patients. He was Dr Mengele - a man whose name still stands out in the annals of those who perpetrated the Nazi atrocities.Judith Weinberger survived to tell this remarkable tale, and later married a young Scottish soldier who had been evacuated from the Dunkirk beaches and then returned in 1944 to help liberate Europe. This is a wonderful story of courage and survival against seemingly impossible odds.
RCP 9: Simples and Rarities Suitable and Honourable to the College
By Alastair Compston
The Killing Habit
By Mark Billingham
From multi-million-copy number one bestseller Mark Billingham comes a twisting, unbearably gripping DI Tom Thorne and Nicola Tanner thriller inspired by a dramatic real-life case.How do you catch a killer who is yet to kill?We all know the signs. Cruelty, lack of empathy, the killing of animals. Now, pets on suburban London streets are being stalked by a shadow, and it could just be the start.DI Tom Thorne knows the psychological profile of such offenders all too well, so when he is tasked with catching a notorious killer of domestic cats, he sees the chance to stop a series of homicides before they happen.Others are less convinced, so once more, Thorne relies on DI Nicola Tanner to help him solve the case, before the culprit starts hunting people. It's a journey that brings them face to face with a killer who will tear their lives apart.----------'A new Mark Billingham is always a treat and The Killing Habit hurls the reader straight into the action. Thoroughly enjoyable for being so very real' SUSIE STEINER'Mark Billingham on superb form. A finely paced and polished procedural, with twists and turns galore and an ending that will chill your soul' CARA HUNTER'An unconventional literary superstar' MAIL ON SUNDAY'As ever with Billingham, a rich cast of characters and tense situations are marshalled with panache, leading to a final terrifying encounter' FINANCIAL TIMES'Thorne is a terrific invention' IRISH INDEPENDENT
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 defines us. It shapes the individual, ensures the preservation of the species, and is the principal subject we - as a culture - choose to examine in our art forms. The experience of being in love is powerful and it inevitably changes how we feel and how we behave. Even when love is normal it is so intense that for thousands of years doctors and poets have described love as a kind of madness; however, love can also go wrong. When this happens the consequences for the individual and those around them can be far reaching and in some instances truly astonishing. Lovesickness is not a trivial matter. Unrequited love is a frequent cause of suicide (particularly among the young) and over ten percent of murders are connected with sexual jealousy. In the course of his career, Frank Tallis has treated many fascinating patients, and their stories, told here, are dramatic, bizarre and revealing. From flagship NHS hospitals to luxury apartments, as well as notorious council estates Tallis has treated aristocrats, billionaires, film stars, middle managers and people in unspeakable poverty. The jilted Lord is just as vulnerable to the maladies of love as the jilted bus driver.Love is a great leveller. Everyone wants love, everyone falls in love, everyone loses love, and everyone knows something of love's madness. And when love goes wrong, wealth, education and status count for nothing. In this astonishing, honest book, we learn of love's myriad maladies, and witness first-hand the ways they can drive us to madness.
China's Great Wall of Debt
By Dinny McMahon
The world has long considered China a juggernaut of economic strength, but since the global financial crisis, the country's economy has ballooned in size, complexity, and risk. Once dominated by four state-owned banks, the nation's financial system is a tangle of shadow banking entities, informal financial institutions, and complex corporate funding arrangements that threaten growth, stability, and reform efforts. The country has accumulated so much debt so quickly that economists increasingly predict a financial crisis that could make 'Brexit' or Greece's economic ruin seem minor, and could undermine China's ascent as a superpower. Earlier this year, President Xi Jinping issued an urgent call for reform that gives the country until 2020 to transform its economy - a vaguely-defined objective that most economists agree is unrealistic. Whether or not China will be responsible for the next global recession, as some experts forecast, the fate of its economy will have far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world. Yet the inner workings of China's financial system are still very much a mystery to most outsiders. Now more than ever, as the country's slowing economy is being felt around the globe, it is essential to understand how China allowed its economy to become so mired in debt. China's Great Wall of Debt is a penetrating examination of the country's opaque financial system and the complex factors - demographic shifts; urbanization; industrialization; a pervasive over-reliance on debt-fueled investments - that have brought the country to the brink of crisis. Anchored by stories of China's cities and its people; from factory workers and displaced farmers to government officials and entrepreneurs, the narrative will take readers inside the country's ghost cities, zombie companies, start-ups, and regulatory institutions as McMahon explains how things got so bad, why fixing the problems is so hard, and what the economic outlook means for China and for the rest of us.
The Quiet Side of Passion
By Alexander McCall Smith
The nursery gate is a good place for parents to meet one another. As the mother of two small children, Isabel finds herself enlarging her circle of friends to include other parents. She meets Patricia, an Irishwoman, a musician and the single mother of a small boy called Basil Phelps. Isabel hears from her husband, Jamie, that this child is allegedly the unacknowledged son of a well-known Edinburgh organist, Basil Phelps. Patricia takes to Isabel, but Isabel is suspicious - there is something about Patricia that she does not quite like, but, with her usual attention to moral obligation, she does her best to be civil and supportive. That is until she sees Patricia with a mysterious, freckled man. Isabel gets it into her head that this is Patricia's lover, and that he must be the real father of young Basil. When further discoveries are made, everything is turned on its head.Despite Jamie's discouragement, Isabel decides that she is going to get to the bottom things. Yet, when the truth is finally revealed, it seems that Isabel has misjudged Patricia; in fact, she has misjudged just about everybody.
Too Many Pills
By James Le Fanu
The number of prescriptions issued by family doctors has soared threefold in just fifteen years with millions now committed to taking a cocktail of half a dozen (or more) different pills to lower the blood pressure and sugar levels, statins, bone strengthening and cardio protective drugs. In Too Many Pills, doctor and writer James Le Fanu examines how this progressive medicalisation of people's lives now poses a major threat to their health and wellbeing, responsible for a hidden epidemic of drug induced illness (muscular aches and pains, lethargy, insomnia, impaired memory and general decrepitude), a sharp increase in the number of emergency hospital admissions for serious side effects and implicated in the recently noted decline in life expectancy.The paradoxically harmful, if increasingly well recognised, consequences of too much medicine are illustrated by the remarkable personal testimony of the readers of James Le Fanu's weekly medical column, coerced into taking drugs they do not need, debilitated by their adverse effects - and their almost miraculous recovery on discontinuing them. The only solution, he argues, is for the public to take the initiative. His review of the relevant evidence for the efficacy, or otherwise, of commonly prescribed drugs should allow readers of Too Many Pills to ask much more searching questions about the benefits and risks of the medicines they are taking.
By Rowan Hooper
This is a book about what it feels like to be exceptional - and what it takes to get there. Why can some people achieve greatness when others can't, no matter how hard they try? What are the secrets of long life and happiness? Just how much potential does our species have?In this inspirational book, New Scientist Managing Editor Rowan Hooper takes us on a tour of the peaks of human achievement. We sit down with some of the world's finest minds, from a Nobel-prize winning scientist to a double Booker-prize winning author; we meet people whose power of focus has been the difference between a world record and death; we learn from international opera stars; we go back in time with memory champions, and we explore the transcendent experience of ultrarunners. We meet people who have rebounded from near-death, those who have demonstrated exceptional bravery, and those who have found happiness in the most unexpected ways.Drawing on interviews with a wide range of superhumans as well as those who study them, Hooper assesses the science of peak potential, reviewing the role of genetics alongside the famed 10,000 hours of practice.For anyone who ever felt that they might be able to do something extraordinary in life, for those who simply want to succeed, and for anyone interested in incredible human stories, Superhuman is a must-read.
The Good Son
By You-jeong Jeong
'The queen of crime . . . You-jeong Jeong is shaking up the world of suspense' Glamour'For fans of Jo Nesbo and Patricia Highsmith' A. J. Finn, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window'South Korea's answer to Stephen King' Cosmopolitan YOU WAKE UP COVERED IN BLOODTHERE'S A BODY DOWNSTAIRSYOUR MOTHER'S BODYYOU DIDN'T DO IT. DID YOU?HOW COULD YOU, YOU'VE ALWAYS BEEN THE GOOD SONTHE INTERNATIONAL SENSATION FROM KOREA'S MILLION-COPY BESTSELLING AUTHOR YOU-JEONG JEONG.When Yu-jin wakes up covered in blood, and finds the body of his mother downstairs, he decides to hide the evidence and pursue the killer himself. Then young women start disappearing in his South Korean town. Who is he hunting? And why does the answer take him back to his brother and father who lost their lives many years ago.The Good Son is inspired by a true story.
By Taylor Downing
1983 was a supremely dangerous year - even more dangerous than 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the US, President Reagan massively increased defence spending, described the Soviet Union as an 'evil empire' and announced his 'Star Wars' programme, calling for a shield in space to defend the US from incoming missiles.Yuri Andropov, the paranoid Soviet leader, saw all this as signs of American aggression and convinced himself that the US really meant to attack the Soviet Union. He put the KGB on alert to look for signs of an imminent nuclear attack. When a Soviet fighter jet shot down Korean Air Lines flight KAL 007 after straying off course over a sensitive Soviet military area, President Reagan described it as a 'terrorist act' and 'a crime against humanity'. The temperature was rising fast.Then at the height of the tension, NATO began a war game called Able Archer 83. In this exercise, NATO requested permission to use the codes to launch nuclear weapons. The nervous Soviets convinced themselves this was no exercise but the real thing.This is an extraordinary and largely unknown Cold War story of spies and double agents, of missiles being readied, of intelligence failures, misunderstandings and the panic of world leaders. With access to hundreds of extraordinary new documents just released in the US, Taylor Downing is able to tell for the first time the gripping but true story of how near the world came to the brink of nuclear war in 1983.1983: The World at the Brink is a real-life thriller.
Edge of Chaos
By Dambisa Moyo
Why our democracies need urgent reform, before it's too lateA generation after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world is once again on the edge of chaos. Demonstrations have broken out from Belgium to Brazil led by angry citizens demanding a greater say in their political and economic future, better education, heathcare and living standards. The bottom line of this outrage is the same; people are demanding their governments do more to improve their lives faster, something which policymakers are unable to deliver under conditions of anaemic growth. Rising income inequality and a stagnant economy are threats to both the developed and the developing world, and leaders can no longer afford to ignore this gathering storm.In Edge of Chaos, Dambisa Moyo sets out the new political and economic challenges facing the world, and the specific, radical solutions needed to resolve these issues and reignite global growth. Dambisa enumerates the four headwinds of demographics, inequality, commodity scarcity and technological innovation that are driving social and economic unrest, and argues for a fundamental retooling of democratic capitalism to address current problems and deliver better outcomes in the future. In the twenty-first century, a crisis in one country can quickly become our own, and fragile economies produce a fragile international community. Edge of Chaos is a warning for advanced and emerging nations alike: we must reverse the dramatic erosion in growth, or face the consequences of a fragmented and unstable global future.