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Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

By Alyssa Mastromonaco, Lauren Oyler
Authors:
Alyssa Mastromonaco, Lauren Oyler
'Always fascinating and very funny, Alyssa's book is full of juicy stories from one of the world's most glamorous jobs' Mindy KalingIf your funny older sister were the former deputy chief of staff to President Barack Obama, her behind-the-scenes political memoir would look something like this . . .Alyssa Mastromonaco worked for Barack Obama for almost a decade, and long before his run for president. From the then-senator's early days in Congress to his years in the Oval Office, she made Hope and Change happen through blood, sweat, tears and lots of briefing binders.But for every historic occasion - meeting the queen at Buckingham Palace, bursting in on secret climate talks, or nailing a campaign speech in a hailstorm - there were dozens of less-than-perfect moments when it was up to Alyssa to save the day. Like the time she learned the hard way that there aren't nearly enough bathrooms at the Vatican.Full of hilarious, never-before-told stories, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? is an intimate portrait of a president, a book about how to get stuff done, and the story of how one woman challenged, again and again, what a 'White House official' is supposed to look like. Here Alyssa shares the strategies that made her successful in politics and beyond, including the importance of confidence, the value of not being a jerk, and why ultimately everything comes down to hard work (and always carrying a spare tampon).Told in a smart, original voice and topped off with a couple of really good cat stories, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? is the brilliantly funny, frank and inspirational memoir from a savvy political star.
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  • Want You Gone

    By Chris Brookmyre
    Authors:
    Chris Brookmyre
    From the award-winning, million-selling author of Black Widow comes a twist-filled story of secrets and lies.What if your deepest secret was revealed?Sam Morpeth is growing up way too fast, left to fend for a younger sister when their mother goes to prison and watching her dreams of university evaporate. But Sam learns what it is to be truly powerless when a stranger begins to blackmail her.Who would you turn to?Meanwhile, reporter Jack Parlabane has finally got his career back on track, but his success has left him indebted to a volatile, criminal source. Now that debt is being called in, and it could cost him everything. What would you be capable of?Thrown together by a vindictive and mysterious mutual enemy, Sam and Jack are about to discover they might be each other's only hope.
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    White Highlands

    By John McGhie
    Authors:
    John McGhie
    Shortlisted for the Author's Club First Novel Award'Remarkable and redemptive . . . like the best of John le Carre' A. L. KennedyKenya, 1952, a colony on the edge. Settlers drink sundowners on the veranda but the servants can't be trusted. Beyond manicured lawns, in the dark of the forest, freedom is stirring. Johnny Seymour has seen too much war and seeks solace photographing East African wildlife. But when isolated white families are slaughtered by Mau Mau gangs, the British respond brutally and Johnny is reluctantly pulled into the horror. After his African driver Macharia disappears, Johnny is forced to confront shocking truths about his own country and ask how far he'll go to help a friend. Nearly sixty years later, disgraced young barrister Sam Seymour knows nothing about her grandfather. Even his name is taboo. All she understands is that Johnny did something so awful that his only son - her father - had to be rescued from Kenya.Now as veteran Mau Mau fighters demand reparations for past sins, she's been offered a chance to unpeel history and discover why. In a narrative spanning the generations, White Highlands follows Sam and Johnny as they confront the might of the British state. One man stands in both their way - Grogan Littleboy, a ruthless colonial survivor who'll do anything to defeat Mau Mau, past and present. A startlingly original novel set in both the present day and Kenya in the 1950s during the Mau Mau uprising - one of the least known and darkest episodes in British colonial history.
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    The Word Detective

    By John Simpson
    Authors:
    John Simpson
    Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going but the best way to future-cast is to look at the past. John Simpson animates for us a tradition of researching and editing, showing us both the technical lexicography needed to understand a word, and the careful poetry needed to construct its definition. He challenges both the idea that dictionaries are definitive, and the notion that language is falling apart. With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, John Simpson gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself. He splices his stories with entertaining and erudite diversions into the history and origin of words such as 'kangaroo', 'hot-dog' , 'pommie', 'bicycle' , not ignoring those swearwords often classed as 'Anglo-Saxon' ! The book will speak to anyone who uses a dictionary, 'word people' , history lovers, students and parents.
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  • When The Devil Drives

    By Chris Brookmyre
    Authors:
    Chris Brookmyre
    Is the devil merely the name we give the worst in ourselves?When private investigator Jasmine Sharp is hired to find Tessa Garrion, a young woman who has vanished without trace, it becomes increasingly clear that there are those who want her to stay that way. What begins as a simple search awakens a malevolence that has lain dormant for three decades, putting Jasmine in the crosshairs of those who would stop at nothing to keep their secrets buried.Uncovering a hidden history of sex, drugs, ritualism and murder, Jasmine realises she may need a little help from dark places herself if she's going to get to the truth. But then needs must...
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    When I Die

    By Philip Gould
    Authors:
    Philip Gould
    On 29 January 2008 Philip Gould was told he had cancer. He was stoical, and set about his treatment, determined to fight his illness. In the face of difficult decisions he sought always to understand the disease and the various medical options open to him, supported by his wife Gail and their two daughters, Georgia and Grace.In 2010, after two hard years of chemotherapy and surgery, the tests came up clear - Philip appeared to have won the battle. But his work as a key strategist for the Labour party took its toll, and feeling ill six months later, he insisted on one extra, precautionary test, which told him that the cancer had returned. Thus began Philip's long, painful but ultimately optimistic journey towards death, during which time he began to appreciate and make sense of his life, his work and his relationships in a way he had never thought possible. He realized something that he had never heard articulated before: death need not be only negative or painful, it can be life-affirming and revelatory.Written during the last few months of his life, When I Die describes the journey Philip took with his illness, leaving to us what he called his lessons from the death zone. This courageous, profoundly moving and inspiring work is as valuable a legacy to the world as anyone could wish to bestow - hugely uplifting, beautifully written with extraordinary insight.
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