By Tim Harford
The 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.
A Midsummer's Equation
By Keigo Higashino
When a man's body is discovered at the base of some cliffs in the small resort town of Hari Cove, the police at first suspect a tragic accident, a misstep that cost the man his life. However, when the victim is found to have been a former policeman and that the cause of death was actually carbon monoxide poisoning, they begin a murder investigation. Manabu Yukawa, the physicist known as 'Detective Galileo', is in Hari Cove to speak at a conference on a planned underwater mining operation, and finds himself drawn into the case. Did the murder have something to do with the fight of the small community to rebuild itself, or does it have its roots in the town's history? In a series of twists as complex and surprising as any in Higashino's brilliant, critically acclaimed work, Yukawa uncovers the hidden relationship behind the tragic events that led to this murder.
The Mountain Shadow
By Gregory David Roberts
The first glimpse of the sea on Marine Drive filled my heart, if not my head. I turned away from the red shadow. I stopped thinking of that pyramid of killers, and Sanjay's improvidence. I stopped thinking about my own part in the madness. And I rode, with my friends, into the end of everything.Shantaram introduced millions of readers to a cast of unforgettable characters through Lin, an Australian fugitive, working as a passport forger for a branch of the Bombay mafia. In The Mountain Shadow, the long-awaited sequel, Lin must find his way in a Bombay run by a different generation of mafia dons, playing by a different set of rules. It has been two years since the events in Shantaram, and since Lin lost two people he had come to love: his father figure, Khaderbhai, and his soul mate, Karla, married to a handsome Indian media tycoon. Lin returns from a smuggling trip to a city that seems to have changed too much, too soon. Many of his old friends are long gone, the new mafia leadership has become entangled in increasingly violent and dangerous intrigues, and a fabled holy man challenges everything that Lin thought he'd learned about love and life. But Lin can't leave the Island City: Karla, and a fatal promise, won't let him go.
The Man Who Invented the Calendar
By B. J. Novak
The Man Who Invented the Calendar provides a taster of the darkly hilarious treasures that can be found in B. J. Novak's One More Thing. We'll meet a vengeance-minded hare, obsessed with scoring a rematch against the tortoise who ruined his life; find out how February got its name; and learn the truth about the icing on carrot cake.
The Man Who Dropped the Le Creuset on His Toe and Other Bourgeois Mishaps
By Christopher Matthew, Tony Ross
The path trodden by the middle-aged middle classes in Britain, smooth though it may appear to the less privileged, is in reality a peculiarly dangerous one, dogged by its own set of terrors, pitfalls and opportunities for social humiliation. In The Man Who Dropped the Le Creuset on his ToeChristopher Matthew follows up the huge success of Now We Are Sixty with a collection of mordant, witty, cautionary verses on the subject of the British bourgeoisie and its foibles and failings.Not only can expensive, enamelled, cast-iron cookware be very dangerous in the wrong hands, but so too can Pilates, open-air opera in evening dress, weekending in Wales with a pug, gastro-tourism in Tuscany, the mid-life parachute jump as an alternative to physiotherapy, and pushing a trolley in Waitrose.As for the middle-aged Lothario's quest for a younger, Mark Two model, this can all too often end in ignominy rather than fun and games and feather boas in Cap Ferrat.Sharply observed and gloriously mischievous, The Man Who Dropped the Le Creuset on his Toe gently punctures the pride and sense of entitlement enjoyed by the pesto-loving middle classes.
By Dennis Lehane
Sixteen-year-old Amanda McCready has disappeared. Her anxious aunt contacts Patrick Kenzie to investigate. It is not the first time she has gone missing, as Patrick well knows - he was the investigator who worked on her case when she was kidnapped before, as a four-year-old.But this is not a simple case of a runaway girl. In fact, nothing in Amanda's life has been simple: brought up by the world's worst mother, neglected throughout her childhood, she has nonetheless blossomed into a formidably intelligent young woman. A young woman so bright that she can seemingly out-think and out-manoeuvre anyone...For Patrick, the case leads him down Boston's darkest, most dangerous streets - and into a world of shocking secrets that will threaten not only Amanda's life, but also his own and that of his partner Angie Gennaro.
By Gerald Scarfe
Gerald Scarfe, Britain's most controversial satirical artist, is famous for having worked with a broad and eclectic mix of British and American icons, including Pink Floyd and Disney. But he is perhaps best known for his political cartoons, which have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, notably in the Sunday Times. Published to coincide with a major exhibition of the original artworks in the Houses of Parliament, this new book brings together fifty years of Scarfe's political drawings in a brilliantly entertaining journey through the history of our nation's leaders, from Churchill's last visit to the House of Commons in 1965 to the Thatcher years to Tony Blair's legacy and Gordon Brown's succession in 2007. With razor-sharp wit and exuberant energy, Scarfe's drawings lampoon our leaders' political ambitions, scandals and disasters in inimitable style.