The Company of Trees
By Thomas Pakenham
'The master. Puts all other modern tree-writers in the shade' John Lewis-Stempel, author of MeadowlandThomas Pakenham is an indefatigable champion of trees. In The Company of Trees he recounts his personal quest to establish a large arboretum on the family estate, Tullynally in Ireland; his forays to other tree-filled parks and plantations; his often hazardous seed-hunting expeditions; and his efforts to preserve magnificent old trees and historic woodlands.Whether writing about the terrible storms breaking the backs of hundred-year-old trees or a fire in the peat bog on Tullynally which threatens to spread to the main commercial spruce-woods, his fear of climate change and disease, or the sturdy young saplings giving him hope for the future, his book is never less than enthralling.
By Liza Picard
'A holiday in the complex, joyful, indelicate medieval world' John Higgs, author of Watling Street'Weaves an infinity of small details into an arresting tapestry of life in fourteenth-century England' Paul Strohm, SpectatorThe Middle Ages were turbulent times. In the fourteenth century alone, England was ravaged by war, plague, revolt and the overthrow of a king. Among the surviving records, the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer is the most vivid. But what does it tell us about the everyday lives of medieval men and women? What did people eat, wear, read and think?Through the assorted cast of pilgrims Chaucer selected for The Canterbury Tales, Liza Picard brings medieval social history to life. These are lives led beyond the court circles frequented by most of Chaucer's well-heeled audience - lives spent at the pedal of a loom or in uncharted waters on the high seas.Chaucer would sometimes raise a thought-provoking query in an apparently simple portrait. The Prioress was a sweet, pretty, well-mannered young nun; what was she doing on the road to Canterbury with a mixed band of men, instead of staying in her convent to pray? The Knight was 'a very perfect gentle knight'; but why had his military service landed him in such distant places as Lithuania and Spain? By providing these characters with a three-dimensional framework - the times in which they lived - Picard opens up the fourteenth-century world to us. Drawing on contemporary experiences of a vast range of subjects including trade, religion, toe-curling remedies and hair-raising recipes, Chaucer's People recreates the medieval world in all its glorious detail.
By Parag Khanna
Which lines on the map matter most?It's time to reimagine how life is organized on Earth. In Connectography, Parag Khanna guides us through the emerging global network civilization in which mega-cities compete over connectivity and borders are increasingly irrelevant. Travelling across the world, Khanna shows how twenty-first-century conflict is a tug-of-war over pipelines and Internet cables, advanced technologies and market access.Yet Connectography also offers a hopeful vision of the future - beneath the chaos of a world that appears to be falling apart, a new foundation of connectivity is pulling it together.
The Color Purple
By Alice Walker
The classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that made Alice Walker a household name. Set in the deep American South between the wars, The Color Purple is the classic tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls 'father', she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker - a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.
By Walter Mosley
Seymour Brathwaite, a young physicist, was found standing over the body of a murdered man. Charcoal Joe, one of the deadliest men in America, wants Brathwaite cleared. Easy Rawlins, a renowned Los Angeles PI, cannot refuse Charcoal Joe. But what links the king of the LA underworld to Seymour Brathwaite? And can Easy find the evidence before he gets embroiled in something much, much worse?
Close But No Cigar
By Stephen Purvis
WINNER OF THE CRIME WRITERS' ASSOCIATION GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION 2017'In its tragic absurdity, Close But No Cigar reads like a Graham Greene story, with a cast of characters to make Hemingway proud' Daily TelegraphFor over a decade Stephen Purvis had been a pillar of Havana's expat community, one of many foreign businessmen investing in Cuba's crawl from Cold War communism towards modernity. But for reasons unknown to him he was also under State Security's microscope. One morning during the height of President Raúl Castro's purges in 2012, while his family slept the unmarked Ladas of State Security arrived at his home and he was taken away into the absurd and brutal world of Cuban justice.In this engrossing memoir, Purvis recounts his fifteen-month ordeal. Accused at first of selling state secrets, he is taken to the notorious interrogation centre Villa Marista, where he endures brutal conditions designed by the KGB and Stasi to break the bodies and minds of spies and political prisoners, and resists the paranoia and incompetence of his jailers. Later, held in a maximum-security prison, he finds himself surrounded by a motley crew of convicts: people-smugglers and drug-runners together with a handful of confused businessmen also awaiting formal charges.From his arrest to his farcical secret trial and sudden release, Purvis exposes the madness of modern Cuba with wit, grit and a sharp eye for character. As tourists flock to Havana to marvel at a city frozen in time, he shows that despite reforms and international reconciliation the Castro regime remains a corrupt, dictatorial relic. Close But No Cigar is part thriller, part comedy and part morality tale, but most of all a true story that takes the reader into a dark side of a sunny place that remains an enigma.
Charlie Martz and Other Stories
By Elmore Leonard
'Elmore Leonard is the crime-writer's crime-writer, king of all he surveys. For sharp plots and spot-on dialogue, he's in a different league' Ian RankinWhen Elmore Leonard died in 2013, he left behind a 60-year legacy of crime novels, many of which have become modern classics. He also left behind a treasure trove of unpublished early stories. Largely written during his years as a copywriter at a Detroit ad agency, these stories introduce us to unforgettable Leonard characters, some of whom star in his later works. Razor-sharp and effortlessly entertaining, this collection reveals a master who honed his craft from a young age, and reminds us why Leonard is so sorely missed.
Call the Midlife: TFI Friday, Top Gear and Other Middle-Aged Dilemmas
By Chris Evans
During his run into turning FIFTY, CHRIS EVANS is on a MISSION. To take stock of WHERE HE IS and WHERE HE'S AT in order to figure out how BEST to get the MOST out of what he BELIEVES are the BEST YEARS yet to come.His typically positive and upbeat journey involves ONE HUNDRED DAYS of contemplation, research, focus, frustration and DECISION MAKING while SECRETLY:*Training for The London MARATHON*Bringing back his cult Nineties TV show TFI FRIDAY*And the small matter of suddenly being asked to take over TOP GEAR.HEALTH, LOVE, MARRIAGE, SEX, DEATH and even RELIGION all come under his witty microscope as he poses the conundrum - MIDLIFE: CRISIS vs OPPORTUNITY ?There can only be one winner.
The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas
By Dylan Thomas
Like Shakespeare and Joyce before him, Dylan Thomas expanded our sense of what the English language can do. Rhythmically forceful yet subtly musical and full of memorable lines, his poems are anthology favourites; his 'play for voices' Under Milk Wood a modern classic. Much loved by The Beatles and Bob Dylan, he is a cultural icon and continues to inspire artists today.This new edition, released to commemorate the centenary of Thomas's birth, collects more of his poems together in a single volume than ever before. With recently discovered material and accessible critique from Dylan Thomas expert John Goodby, it looks at Thomas's body of work in a fresh light, taking us to the beating heart of his poetry.
Catherine the Great and Potemkin
By Simon Sebag Montefiore
'One of the great love stories of history, in a league with Napoleon and Josephine, and Antony and Cleopatra ... Excellent, with dazzling mastery of detail and literary flair' EconomistIt was history's most successful political partnership - as sensual and fiery as it was creative and visionary. Catherine the Great was a woman of notorious passion and imperial ambition. Prince Potemkin - wildly flamboyant and sublimely talented - was the love of her life and her co-ruler.Together they seized Ukraine and Crimea, defining the Russian empire to this day. Their affair was so tumultuous that they negotiated an arrangement to share power, leaving Potemkin free to love his beautiful nieces, and Catherine her young male favourites. But these 'twin souls' never stopped loving each other.Drawing on their intimate letters and vast research, Simon Sebag Montefiore's enthralling, widely acclaimed biography restores these imperial partners to their rightful place as titans of their age.
The Complete Michael Palin Diaries
By Michael Palin
Volume I: THE PYTHON YEARS (1969-1979)Michael Palin's diaries begin when he was newly married and struggling to make a name for himself in the world of television comedy. But Monty Python was just around the corner . . .Enjoying an unlikely cult status early on, the Pythons then proceeded to tour the USA and Canada. As their popularity grew, so Palin relates how the group went their separate ways, later to re-form for stage shows and the celebrated films THE HOLY GRAIL and LIFE OF BRIAN. Living through the three-day week and the miners strike, and all the trials of a peripatetic life are also essential ingredients of these perceptive and funny diaries.Volume II: HALFWAY TO HOLLYWOOD (1980-1988)After a live performance at the Hollywood Bowl, The Pythons made their last performance together in 1983 in the hugely successful MONTY PYTHON'S MEANING OF LIFE. Writing and acting in films and television then took over much of Michael's life, culminating in the smash hit A FISH CALLED WANDA (for which he won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor), and the first of his seven celebrated television journeys for the BBC. He co-produced, wrote and played the lead in THE MISSIONARY opposite Maggie Smith, who also appeared with him in A PRIVATE FUNCTION, written by Alan Bennett. Such was his fame in the US, he was enticed into once again hosting the enormously popular show Saturday Night Live, in one edition of which his mother makes a highly successful surprise guest appearance. He filmed several journeys for television and became chairman of the pressure group, Transport 2000. His family remains a constant as his and Helen's children enter their teens.Volume III: Travelling to Work (1988-1998)TRAVELLING TO WORK is a roller-coaster ride driven by the Palin hallmarks of curiosity and sense of adventure. Michael was not the BBC's first choice for the travel series AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, but after its success, the public naturally wanted more. Palin, however, had other plans. There was his film AMERICAN FRIENDS, a role in Alan Bleasdale's award-winning drama GBH, the staging of his West End play THE WEEKEND, a first novel, HEMINGWAY'S CHAIR, and a lead role in FIERCE CREATURES. He did find time for two more travel series, POLE TO POLE in 1991 and FULL CIRCLE in 1996, and wrote two bestselling books to accompany them. These ten years in different directions offer riches on every page.
By Vikram Seth
Widely celebrated as the author of the worldwide bestselling novels A SUITABLE BOY and AN EQUAL MUSIC, Vikram Seth is also a highly acclaimed poet with a substantial body of work. Here, for the first time in one volume, readers can appreciate the beauty and scope of his poetic vision. Including MAPPINGS, THE HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR'S GARDEN, ALL YOU WHO SLEEP TONIGHT, THREE CHINESE POETS, BEASTLY TALES FROM HERE AND THERE, ARION AND THE DOLPHIN, THE RIVERED EARTH and SUMMER REQUIEM, this collection displays the richness of Vikram Seth's imagination and the brilliant diversity of his craft.
The Color of Money
By Walter Tevis
The Color of Money was adapted for the screen by Martin Scorsese and starred Paul Newman and Tom CruiseIt has been twenty years since the epic match-up between Eddie Felson and Minnesota Fats. Having gone from bona fide stardom to playing in exhibition matches for cable television, Eddie decides that he'd like to give the game one more shot. With a failed marriage behind him and a new generation of competitors in his way, Eddie must face his demons and find the will to succeed once more.
The Character of Cats
By Stephen Budiansky
Unlike every other domestic animal, the cat evolved as a solitary animal, not a group-dweller. A cat in a household is almost literally a fish out of water. That cats can nonetheless get along with people and (sometimes) other cats when forced to, is testimony to a remarkable adaptability. But it also makes for an extraordinary range of behaviours. Cats have for years been the subjects of intensive research in the fields of developmental psychology, learning, emotions, brain chemistry, and perception. THE CHARACTER OF CATS is the first popular book to bring this knowledge to bear on the behaviour and nature of cats. Budiansky enables us to see that many of the things that puzzle and at times baffle or even infuriate cat owners have a rational - though often very surprising - explanation in science.
By Rebecca Front
Shortlisted for Non-fiction Book of the Year at the National Book AwardsRead on BBC Radio 4Sometimes things are more ordinary than you think. And sometimes they're a whole lot odder than you can possibly imagine . . .By turns poignant, comic and uplifting, CURIOUS is a book of stories from Rebecca Front's life, all of them true, though sometimes perhaps a little bent out of shape in the telling. It is a beguiling celebration of the curiosities of everyday life, and of what it is to be curious - in every sense of the word.
City of Lies
By Ramita Navai
Lying in Tehran is about survival. Welcome to Tehran, a city where survival depends on a network of subterfuge. Here is a place where mullahs visit prostitutes, drug kingpins run crystal meth kitchens, surgeons restore girls' virginity and homemade porn is sold in the sprawling bazaars; a place where ordinary people are forced to lead extraordinary lives. Based on extensive interviews, CITY OF LIES chronicles the lives of eight men and women drawn from across the spectrum of Iranian society and reveals what it is to live, love and survive in one of the world's most repressive regimes.
Call to Arms
By Charles Messenger
This is a comprehensive account of how the British Army coped with and adapted to the enormous challenges and pressures of the First World War -- the first major continental war that the army had had to fight for almost a hundred years. Following the course of the War, both on the Western Front and in other theatres, Charles Messenger tells how the British Army managed the challenges of command, training, technology and new weapons of war. He examines officer selection, medicine, discipline, the manpower crisis of 1918, the integration of women into the forces and many other topics.Based on years of original research, this will become the standard work of reference on the organization and administration of the biggest army Britain has ever put into the field.
Children of the Raj
By Vyvyen Brendon
Vyvyen Brendon's evocative, at times heart-tugging book, runs from the 18th century and the East India Company, through the Afghan wars, the Indian mutiny and the more settled era of the Queen Empress, and culminates in the conflict leading to Britain's hurried exit in 1947. Its subject is the young progeny of traders, soldiers, civil servants, missionaries, planters, engineers and what should be done with them.Until the coming of air travel these children often only saw their parents every few years. Then there were the children born of Anglo-Indian marriages and affairs. Sent back to Britain they were often reviled as 'darkies', 'a touch of the tar-brush'. And then there were the children educated in India. Brendon reveals appalling stories of abuse at the hands of servants. What frequently unites Brendon's wildly different subjects is their loneliness--drawing on letters, diaries, memoirs and interviews, she portrays children who had to discipline themselves to adapt (often ingeniously) to unfamiliar cultures, far away from family and forced to spend termtime in boarding schools and holidays with unfamiliar families.
The Cavalier Case
By Antonia Fraser
'As he turned ... he had the extraordinary impression of a man in full armour rearing up in front of him ... It was the last thing he saw, before he hurtled downwards to a certain death'An untimely death and the reappearance of a ghost lead television reporter Jemima Shore into a mysterious case of sex, violence and the supernatural.When the butler plummets from the battlements of Lackland Court, it becomes clear that the ghost of the legendary Civil War poet and soldier, Decimus Meredith, is not the only suspect. Jemima must look to history and delve deep into the ancient hall's past to solve yet another baffling mystery.
Children of the Jacaranda Tree
By Sahar Delijani
Tehran, 1983. A city paralysed by fear, its people silenced. And the beating heart of the regime is Evin prison. Yet even within its walls three women dare to dream of a life beyond tyranny. Azar gives birth to her daughter in captivity. One day the guards simply take her child from her. Parisa yearns for her tiny son, growing up a few miles away but completely out of reach. And Firoozeh, broken by cruelty, has turned her back on everything she was fighting for.But even in the most desolate places hope can take root . . .