The Only Girl
By Robin Green
Observer Book of the YearA raucous and vividly dishy memoir by the only woman on the masthead of Rolling Stone Magazine in the Sixties. A female Almost Famous.In 1971, Robin Green had an interview with Jann Wenner at the offices Rolling Stone Magazine. She had just moved to Berkley, California, a city that promised "Good Vibes All-a Time." Those days, job applications asked just one question, "What are your sun, moon and rising signs?" Green thought she was interviewing for clerical job like the other girls in the office, a "real job." Instead, Green was hired as a journalist.A brutally honest, intimate memoir of the first girl on the masthead of Rolling Stone magazine, The Only Girl chronicles the beginnings of Robin Green's career. In this voice-driven humorous careening adventure, Green spills stories of stalking the Grateful Dead with Annie Liebowitz, sparring with Dennis Hopper on a film set in the desert, scandalizing fans of David Cassidy and spending a legendary evening on a water bed in the dorm room of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.In the seventies, Green was there as Hunter S. Thompson crafted Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Now, she presents that tumultuous time in America, written with a distinctly gonzo female voice.
By Lyndall Gordon
Outsiders tells the stories of five novelists - Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner, Virginia Woolf - and their famous novels.We have long known their individual greatness but in linking their creativity to their lives as outsiders, this group biography throws new light on the genius they share. 'Outsider', 'outlaw', 'outcast': a woman's reputation was her security and each of these five lost it. As writers, they made these identities their own, taking advantage of their separation from the dominant order to write their novels.All five were motherless. With no female model at hand, they learnt from books; and if lucky, from an enlightened man; and crucially each had to imagine what a woman could be in order to invent a voice of their own. They understood female desire: the passion and sexual bravery in their own lives infused their fictions.What they have in common also is the way they inform one another, and us, across the generations. Even today we do more than read them; we listen and live with them.Lyndall Gordon's biographies have always shown the indelible connection between life and art: an intuitive, exciting and revealing approach that has been highly praised and much read and enjoyed. She names each of these five as prodigy, visionary, outlaw, orator and explorer and shows how they came, they saw and left us changed.
On Smaller Dogs and Larger Life Questions
By Kate Figes
Coming up to her sixtieth birthday, Kate Figes found herself turning to the larger questions of family, love and life's meaning. It is like this author to examine different stages in writing, and her books - from new motherhood and adolescence to coupledom and infidelity - testify to this way of understanding herself and others: so naturally she turned to writing to explore the challenges of becoming sixty. And then - a horrible, and sudden diagnosis of breast cancer which had metastasised.Instead of a gentle journey into middle age, Kate Figes began to write for her life. Now, clawing back confidence and control was not just the ordinary business of these years: it was the only way to try and survive great pain and emotional turmoil. As her writing became an honest reflection on ageing, failing, regrets and the importance of childhood memory, friends, family and love she found a new determination to live to the full and about finding ways to face up to a shortened life expectancy with dignity.Original, passionate, funny and moving, On Smaller Dogs and Larger Life Questions will resonate with anyone dealing with the many griefs and freedoms of midlife. It is about living with a life-threatening disease but it is even more: an intelligent and passionate look at the way we can approach disappointment and trouble, friendship and love - every day.
The Observing Eye
By Muriel Spark
The Observing Eye is a collection of Muriel Spark's brilliant asides, sayings, and aphorisms. No other writer can hold a candle to her wry, puckish observations:'Neurotics are awfully quick to notice other people's mentalities.''It is impossible to persuade a man who does not disagree, but smiles.''The sacrifice of pleasure is of course itself a pleasure.''Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time in your life it may occur.''Ridicule is the only honourable weapon we have left.'Spark's striking insights are precise and unforgettable - they will make you laugh and nod in agreement, with a wicked smile on your face. Her wise words never fail to hit exactly the right note.
On the Wilder Shores of Love
By Lesley Blanch, Georgia de Chamberet
Most famous for The Wilder Shores of Love, her book about four women travellers, Lesley Blanch was a scholarly romantic and a bold writer. Her lifelong passion was for Russia, the Balkans and the Middle East. At heart a nomad, she spent the greater part of her life travelling the remote areas her books record so vividly.Edited by her goddaughter Georgia de Chamberet, who was working with her in her centenary year, this book collects together the story of Blanch's marriage, previously published only in French; a selection of her journalism which brings to life the artistic melting pot that was London between the wars; and a selection of her most evocative travel pieces.Illustrated with photos alongside a selection of line drawings by Lesley Blanch
The Orchard on Fire
By Shena Mackay
'What made the orchard miraculous was an abandoned railway carriage, set down as if by magic, its wheels gone, anchored by long grass and nettles. Ruby and I stared at it and each other . . . dark-windowed, out of place in a thicket of thorns, it was the perfect hide-out, house, the camp of our dreams'When April's parents move from London to rural Kent she makes her first best friend. With flame-haired, fearless Ruby, April shares secrets, dares and laughter. But Ruby has secrets of her own -bruises that she hides.Also seeking April's friendship is old Mr Greenidge, immaculate in his linen suit, with eyes like blue glass. He follows her around the village with his beguiling dachshund, and wants to learn everything about her.
One of Us
By Asne Seierstad
INSPIRATION FOR THE NETFLIX FILM 22 JULY - DIRECTED BY PAUL GREENGRASSOn 22 July 2011 Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 of his fellow Norwegians in a terrorist atrocity that shocked the world. One of Us is the definitive account of the massacres and the subsequent trial. But more than that, it is the compelling story of Anders Breivik and a select group of his victims. As we follow the path to their inevitable collision, it becomes clear just what was lost in that one day.SHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA NON-FICTION DAGGER 2015A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Owls Do Cry
By Janet Frame
Owls Do Cry is the story of the Withers family: Francie, soon to leave school to start work at the woollen mills; Toby, whose days are marred by the velvet cloak of epilepsy; Chicks, the baby of the family; and Daphne, whose rich, poetic imagination condemns her to a life in institutions. 'Janet Frame's first full-length work of fiction, Owls Do Cry, is an exhilarating and dazzling prelude to her long and successful career. She was to write in several modes, publishing poems, short stories, fables and volumes of autobiography, as well as other novels of varied degrees of formal complexity, but Owls Do Cry remains unique in her oeuvre. It has the freshness and fierceness of a mingled cry of joy and pain. Its evocation of childhood recalls Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience, as well as the otherworldly Shakespearean lyric of her title and epigraph, but her handling of her dark material is wholly original' Margaret Drabble
By Shena Mackay
The transition of Coral Fairweather from village beauty to village outcast begins in the short golden days of autumn with the fathering of her first child by a vagrant painter. Soon, fuelled by the suspicion and gossip of those who see, in Coral's hand-to-mouth existence and crumbling cottage, a rejection of all that is respectable, rather than the fierce pride that prevents her from seeking help from the Authorities or from the man who would love her. Spurred on by a malicious widow, the Parish Council agree to purge their neat village of this 'pariah' and her children. This bitter witch hunt speeds towards a terrifying climax in a distinctive novel enriched by crystalline images of the natural world.
On Writers and Writing
By Margaret Atwood
By the author of THE HANDMAID'S TALE and ALIAS GRACEWhat is the role of the writer? Prophet? High Priest of Art? Court Jester? Or witness to the real world? Looking back on her own childhood and the development of her writing career, Margaret Atwood examines the metaphors which writers of fiction and poetry have used to explain - or excuse! - their activities, looking at what costumes they have seen fit to assume, what roles they have chosen to play. In her final chapter she takes up the challenge of the book's title: if a writer is to be seen as 'gifted', who is doing the giving and what are the terms of the gift?Margaret Atwood's wide and eclectic reference to other writers, living and dead, is balanced by anecdotes from her own experiences as a writer, both in Canada and on the international scene. The lightness of her touch is underlined by a seriousness about the purpose and the pleasures of writing, and by a deep familiarity with the myths and traditions of western literature.Praise for On Writers and Writing: '...a streetwise, erudite suggestive enquiry into problems and myths of the writer's role. Her light touch on hard thoughts, her humour and eclectic quotations, lend enchantment to an argument that has as many undulating tentacles as a well developed sea anemone' -INDEPENDENT'Her witty, occasionally self-deprecating and always ingenious approach is a delight' -SUNDAY TIMES'A witty and profound rumination about writing' -THE TIMES
Our Cheating Hearts
By Kate Figes
By the author known and respected for her acclaimed books on relationships.Most of us manage to be monogamous, most of the time, but who cannot imagine themselves committing the 'crime' of adultery? Does being 'faithful' mean the same to everyone? Why DO people have affairs?Using real life testimony alongside the most current research, Our Cheating Hearts looks at the big questions around love and commitment. It lifts taboos, asks the tough questions and shows how in our progressive time monogamy has become the new ideal.Some people manage monogamy. For the countless others that don't, Our Cheating Hearts opens the debate and provides the honest approach that's essential.
One Pair of Feet
By Monica Dickens
As the effects of the war raging in Europe begin to be felt at home in London, Monica Dickens decides to do her bit and to pursue a new career, and so enrols as a student nurse at a hospital in rural Hertfordshire. By nature clever and spirited, she struggles to submit to the iron rule of the Matron and Sisters, and is alternately infuriated and charmed by her patients. That's not to mention the mountains of menial work that are a trainee's lot. But there are friends among the staff and patients, night-time escapades to dances with dashing army men, and her secret writing project to keep her going.
Oryx And Crake
By Margaret Atwood
By the author of THE HANDMAID'S TALE and ALIAS GRACE* Pigs might not fly but they are strangely altered. So, for that matter, are wolves and racoons. A man, once named Jimmy, lives in a tree, wrapped in old bedsheets, now calls himself Snowman. The voice of Oryx, the woman he loved, teasingly haunts him. And the green-eyed Children of Crake are, for some reason, his responsibility. *Praise for Oryx and Crake:'In Jimmy, Atwood has created a great character: a tragic-comic artist of the future, part buffoon, part Orpheus. An adman who's a sad man; a jealous lover who's in perpetual mourning; a fantasist who can only remember the past' -INDEPENDENT'Gripping and remarkably imagined' -LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS
Once Upon a Time There Was a Traveller
Virago Press and the Asham Award, the foremost prize for stories by women, present a collection of tales to send you to places you've never been before . . . Here are tales of people who travel far and those who stay at home and dream; of strange things in suitcases; of roads that should not have been taken; of exotic cities and shabby towns. Some are running away, and some are travelling to come home. With new stories from well-known writers, including Helen Dunmore, and an Angela Carter fable, this is a book to tuck in your backpack, your valise or to enjoy, deep in your armchair, for no one can fail to be hooked by those beguiling words: once upon a time there was a traveller . . .
Our Spoons Came From Woolworths
By Barbara Comyns
Pretty, unworldly Sophia is twenty-one years old and hastily married to a young painter called Charles. An artist's model with an eccentric collection of pets, she is ill-equipped to cope with the bohemian London of the 1930s, where poverty, babies (however much loved) and husband conspire to torment her. Hoping to add some spice to her life, Sophia takes up with Peregrine, a dismal, ageing critic, and comes to regret her marriage - and her affair. But in this case virtue is more than its own reward, for repentance brings an abrupt end to the cycle of unsold pictures, unpaid bills and unwashed dishes . . .
On Food, Sex And God
By Michele Roberts
Food, sex and God' is what Michèle Roberts answers when strangers ask what she writes about, and indeed, she has made these subjects her own in her fiction and her poetry. Now we see that extended to non-fiction in this collection of essays, reviews and articles. Ranging over people and places, writing and imagination, books, spirituality, art and food, Roberts shows herself to be a perceptive and provocative commentator on contemporary life. From a funny monologue on would-be writers who prefer last year's creative writing teacher (male); to musings on a writer's life and work; to reviews of Marina Warner and Jeanette Winterson; to a magnificent piece on autobiographical writing and the imagination, this collection adds to our understanding of her as writer. Her keen sense of the outrageous, her striving for intellectual honesty and her ability to find the sensual in the everyday, leave one in no doubt about a talent that is as original and generous in non-fiction as in her celebrated novels.
By Lisa St. Aubin De Teran
I was born in 1934 in a little lost village near San Cristobel de Torondoy eleven months after my brother. Unlike him, who was astonishingly handsome, I was astonishingly ugly. I was covered in black hair from head to foot like some kind of monkey. For some reason my ear-drums burst within days of my birth. The local doctor told my mother ''This little boy is not going to live, and if he does, he's going to be daft or half-witted''. But against all the hopes of the family, it was my brother who died, and I survived.'This extraordinary novel is based on a true story of a revolutionary who was advisor to Castro, friend of President Salvador Allende, and married to a woman who became one of the leaders of the Kurdish rebellion in Iran. There is a poignancy in his life, forever underlined by the leading roles thrown on him - like hoopla rings at a fair. Code-named Otto, he became an enemy of both the KGB and the CIA and all by chance, by a twist of fate, or by someone else's design. From the mountains of Venezuela, to the streets of Paris, from the heart of Cuba to rain-drenched London, this is a fabulous and picaresque journey of the lives and loves (plenty of those) of an astonishing man.
Out Of The Picture
By Polly Samson
Quite unlike her fair stepsisters, Lizzie is dark and secretive: 'Just like your father' says her mother. But what was her father like? Photos of him are hidden away; snatches of overheard conversation between her mother and her stepfather deepen the mystery. Only her best friend Savannah - also abandoned by her father when she was a baby - knows what it feels like to wonder, to try and piece together an earlier story. But when events propel Lizzie alone to London she stops wondering and starts searching...Beautifully evoking the ache of childhood loss, the scrappy joys of chaotic families, and the hurt and relief of understanding, OUT OF THE PICTURE reveals Polly Samson's talent for laying bare the uncomfortable truths that lie just under the skin - in every family, in every secret.
Orchids On Your Budget
By Marjorie Hillis
First published in 1937, ORCHIDS ON YOUR BUDGET gives advice on all manner of subjects, from entertaining and creating the perfect capsule wardrobe to relinquishing the family estate. Lest you worry about how to put the advice into practice, each chapter concludes with a case study providing examples of women who heeded - and those lamentable souls who ignored - Marjorie's wise words.'It's not difficult to have fun out of economising (up to a point), both because of the sense of achievement it gives you and because everyone else is doing it, too ... A slight financial pressure sharpens the wits, though it needn't sharpen the disposition. But it takes an interesting person to have an attractive ménage on a shoe-string and to run it with gaiety and charm ... Maybe you would rather play polo than pingpong, but if you've got an old pingpong set and no ponies, you'll get a lot more fun out of life from being a pingpong champion than from taking a dispirited whack with a polo mallet every now and then.
One Of Ours
By Willa Cather
Since childhood, Claude Wheeler has believed that 'something splendid' would restore the faith he had lost in modern life and the personal compromises and materialism that it brings. The calls of the First World War offers escape from his prosperous farm in Nebraska and marriage of convenience and brings the opportunity to fight for a worthy cause. In action in France he discovers the faith and happiness he has yearned, but not without the heavy cost that war inevitably brings. Willa Cather looks back at the pioneering myth and forward to a new kind of modern heroism through One of Ours, a novel championing democracy.