Edinburgh: A Traveller's Reader
By David Daiches
Edinburgh is a city whose history is written on its face. The Old Town on its crowded rock, sloping down from the Castle to Holyroodhouse, has not significantly changed its atmosphere since the turbulent fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when riots, processions, or public executions jammed the High Street. And the very different era that followed the bloody religious wars of the seventeenth century is epitomized by the elegant streets and squares of the New Town - the eighteenth-century Enlightenment whose writers, philosophers and lawyers made Edinburgh famous. This anthology of extracts from letters, memoirs, diaries, novels and biographies of interesting visitors and inhabitants, including the writings of Scott, Boswell, Cockburn, John Knox and many others, recreates for today's visitors the drama, the history, and the life of the city in buildings and places that can still be visited. The daring Scottish recapture of the Castle from the English in 1313; the confrontation between Calvinist John Knox and Catholic Mary Queen of Scots in Holyroodhouse; an eye-witness account of the execution of Montrose at the Mercat Cross in 1650; reeking slop-pails in the wynds and polite manners in the ballrooms. . .
By Andrew Stevenson
Twelve years after his classic travel narrative Annapurna Circuit Andrew Stevenson returns alone once again to the Himalayas on a deeply personal quest, a journey both corporal and spiritual. Narrowly escaping paralysis after shattering his spine in a motorbike accident weeks after his younger brother's untimely death, Stevenson's hike up to Everest Base Camp is as much introspective passage of healing as intriguing depiction of his fellow backpackers and the Sherpa people. Lying in a hospital bed in a morphine-induced state of hallucination after his accident, Stevenson promises himself to go back to the Himalayas, to heal. Five months after his mishap, and against all the odds, this recuperative solitary climb into high mountain valleys provides a spectacular backdrop to an emotional acknowledgment and acceptance of a lost sibling. Interlaced with the hardships of pushing to the edge of personal physical endurance and beyond, The Envelope: Walking up to Everest Base Camp is a richly rewarding read on every level.
E Street Shuffle
By Clinton Heylin
Bruce Springsteen is one of the most important and controversial rock stars of our times: this is the story of the man - a complex, poetic loner whose albums went on to sell 18 million copies - and the band that gave his inner vision a punch and a swagger. Clinton Heylin has written the most factually accurate, informative book on Springsteen to date. As in Heylin's definitive Bob Dylan title Revolution in the Air, E Street Shuffle will focus on Bruce Springsteen and his work: the songs he's written, the way they were recorded, how they sounded live. Heylin also has unparalleled access to the people around Springsteen: current and former members of the E Street Band; CBS A&R personnel; Springsteen's 'New Dylan' contemporaries, as well as fellow Asbury Park musicians and scenesters, and rock critics. This is the essential book for any fan of the Boss.Praise for Clinton Heylin:"Arguably the world's greatest rock biographer." - The Irish Independent."The only Dylanologist worth reading." - The New York Times.
By Charley Boorman
Charley Boorman is back on his bike exploring the world's second largest country - home to some of the most stunning and challenging terrain known to man. Canada is a country of extremes, and Charley knows all about pushing the limits. He goes dirt biking in New Brunswick, dives through old shipwrecks in Tobermory and rides along Butch Cassidy's old Outlaw Trail. He also meets a fascinating mix of people on his journey. As he heads across Canada, he plays ice hockey with a legend of the game; spends a day as a Mountie cadet and nearly meets a ghost in Winnipeg . . . Written with Charley's trademark enthusiasm and humour, Extreme Frontiers is fast-paced, hugely entertaining and packed with adventure (and rather a lot of mosquitoes).
Exile on Main Street
By Robert Greenfield
Recorded during the blazing hot summer of 1971 at Villa Nellcôte, Keith Richards's seaside mansion in southern France, Exile on Main Street has been hailed as one of the greatest rock records of all time. Yet its improbable creation was difficult, torturous...and at times nothing short of dangerous. In self-imposed exile, the Stones-along with wives, girlfriends, and an unrivaled crew of hangers-on-spent their days smoking, snorting, and drinking whatever they could get their hands on, while at night, Villa Nellcôte's basement studio became the crucible in which creative strife, outsized egos, and all the usual byproducts of the Stones' legendary hedonistic excess fused into something potent, volatile, and enduring. Here, for the first time, is the season in hell that produced Exile on Main Street .
By Lea Aschkenas
Es Cuba is a poignant and passionate travel memoir about falling in love with a country and one of its compatriots. Aschkenas never strays from her acute awareness that there is no way to separate her foreignness (intensified by U.S.-Cuba relations) from the complex mix of emotions, devotion and rejection, enrapture and apprehension that she develops toward the country. Her tale is filled with beautifully woven descriptions of Cuba and the customs and habits of its people. Aschkenas is a discerning observer, taking in the innocence, isolation, contradictions, and resolute optimism of a people who have persevered against the collective disappointment bestowed upon them by a government that has been unable to deliver the utopia promised by socialism. Aschkenas, already a seasoned traveller by the time she arrives in Cuba for the first time in 1999, is overcome by her own passion for Cuba and her unraveling affection for Alfredo as she comes to appreciate his naïveté, sincerity, and ability to live for the moment, something she comes to realize is the effect of growing up in a culture where nothing is ever certain.
Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing
By Benjamin Nugent
Best known for his Oscar-nominated song "Miss Misery" from the Good Will Hunting soundtrack, Elliott Smith was catapulted to the status of indie rock star after performing at the 1997 Academy Awards. Some of his albums, XO and Either/Or among them, would become'90s classics, helping to define an understated aesthetic that owed as much to the melodic emphasis of The Beatles as it did to punk. In the afterglow of the success of "Miss Misery," Smith's fame grew- alongside his struggles with depression and substance abuse. First relocating to Brooklyn, and then finally to L.A., he fell into a downward spiral evident to friends and fans alike, even as he continued to write such beautifully realized songs as "Waltz #2" ( XO ). Drawing on new interviews with those who knew and loved Smith, and focusing on the crucial interplay between Smith's life and music, Ben Nugent compellingly and sympathetically portrays an enormously gifted, yet troubled, artist.
Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright
By Hank Bordowitz
Throughout Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and America, Bob Marley represents far more than just the musician who translated spiritual and political beliefs into hypnotic, hard-hitting songs such as "Get Up, Stand Up," "No Woman, No Cry," and "Jammin'." Marley was born in rural Jamaica and reared in the mean streets of Kingston's Trenchtown his ascent to worldwide acclaim, first with The Wailers- Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingstone- and later as a solo artist, is a riveting story of the spiritual awakening of a uniquely talented individual.Now, for the first time, a symphony of voices has joined together to offer perspective on one of this century's most compelling figures. Dealing with Bob Marley as a man and myth, from his "rude boy" teens to international fame and his tragic death at the age of thirty-six, Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright then explores the larger picture, examining Marley as the spokesman for Jamaica's homegrown religion of Rastafarianism, as a flash point for the pressure cooker of Jamaican politics, and his unique status as the first pop musical superstar of the so-called "Third World."
By Christina Henry de Tessan
For generations, literary figures from Ernest Hemingway to Frances Mayes have fueled our fantasies about the romance of expatriate life. But it's one thing to dream about living abroad and quite another to actually do it. In Expat a diverse group of women explores in vivid detail how the reality of life abroad matches up to the fantasy. Tonya Ward Singer craves a roasted chicken in China and must buy it alive and kicking. Karen Rosenberg reevaluates both her family's Judaism and her own when invited to a Passover seder in a remote Japanese village. Mandy Dowd tries to teach the French about Thanksgiving. Emily Miller admits that in Italy she craves the Hollywood entertainment she generally deplores when on U.S. soil. Tall and fair, Meg Wirth tries hard to blend in, in Borneo,to no avail. Expat taps into the bewilderment, joys, and surprises of life overseas, where challenges often take unexpected forms and overcoming obstacles (finding Drano in Ukraine, shrimp paste in Prague) feels all the more triumphant. Featuring an astonishing range of perspectives, destinations, and circumstances, Expat offers a beautiful portrait of life abroad.
Elements Of Italy
By Lisa St. Aubin De Teran
The turnstile into Italy has clicked continually for centuries - Lord Byron loved here and continues to draw romantics in his wake, Stendhal concluded: 'The charm of Italy is akin to that of being in love'. Yet Italians love their country more than any foreigner ever can, it is a place where labourers do hum Verdi, quote Dante and find their lunch delicious. Italians love of art, architecture and life itself is what drew Lisa St Aubin to this beautiful country. She extracts the work of, among others, Dante, Edith Wharton, Leonardo da Vinci, Rosetta Loy, Mary McCarthy, Goethe, Primo Levi, Turner, Shelley, Claire Sterling, Truman Capote, Cecil Beaton, Elsa Morante, Molly Lefebure and Keats. 'Italy is mostly an emotion' - Henry James'All the dreams of my youth I now behold realised before me' - Goethe'They make love a great deal - and assassinate a little' - Byron
By Barry Tepperman, Vladimir Simosko
In his tragically short life (1928-1964), Eric Dolphy was a titanic force in the development of the sixties avant-garde (or "new thing") from the hard bop of the late fifties. The searing intensity and sonic exploration of his work on alto sax, clarinets, and flute derived in part from the concurrent innovations of Coltrane, Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, and Andrew Hill, among others previous jazz styles such as New Orleans and bop various non-Western musics and modern classical music (e.g., Varese). Dolphy pioneered extended solo jazz compositions, was prominent in the "third stream" movement (led by John Lewis and Gunther Schuller), and remains a major influence on musicians today for the personal, speech-like inflections of his playing. Jazz scholars Simosko and Tepperman examine every aspect of this stunning musical achievement from Dolphy's early big band work and association with Chico Hamilton to his own last groups in Europe, emphasizing the rich legacy of his recordings. Now completely updated to include the most recent discoveries concerning his life and recordings, this book will long stand as the definitive treatment of Eric Dolphy's music.
By Stuart Nicholson
The life of the very private and media-shy Ella Fitzgerald has long been shrouded in a mixture of half-truths and fiction. What emerges in Stuart Nicholson's ground-breaking biography is a remarkable story of a poor black girl's determination to realize the American Dream in the face of racial and sexual prejudice. She succeeded, and is now the definition of "jazz singer" to millions, one of the greatest of all jazz musicians. In this fullest account ever of her life, Nicholson draws on fresh research and interviews with Ella's friends and colleagues. Supplemented by Phil Schaap's authoritative discography, Ella Fitzgerald is a rich and revealing portrait of one of the most popular American singers in history.
By Harry Shapiro
Eric Clapton's position as the world's greatest rock guitarist is unlikely to change in our lifetime. His career over the past four decades has been closely followed by millions of fans, as a member of the influential Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominoes, and for many years as a highly successful solo artist. He has a vast catalogueue behind him. His rise to guitar hero in the 60s led to a much documented involvement with drugs. The historic Rainbow concert marked the beginning of his return. His turbulent marriage to Patti Boyd was another media favourite. Ultimately it is Clapton's music and complete mastery of the electric guitar which is his most important attribute. Unavailable for several years, Shapiro's earlier study, Slowhand, established itself as one of the classics of rock biography. Here the life is fully reappraised and brought up-to-date to cover the tragic death of Clapton's son, Conor, in 1991 and includes a complete discography and many previously unpublished photographs.