Scenes and Apparitions
By Roy Strong
'Viper wit from the gardener, writer and Knight of exquisite taste' DAILY TELEGRAPH'Funny, barbed and moving ... magnificently readable' THE TIMESScenes and Apparitions covers a period of Roy Strong's life from 1988 to 2003. A sequel to Splendours and Miseries, it is an unmissable record of how a citizen at the close of the second Elizabethan age observed and chronicled his own world at the turn of the century. Although it is not without tragedy - the murder of his friend Gianni Versace, and the death of his beloved wife Julia Trevelyan Oman - there is plenty to enjoy from his descriptions of Elton John's fiftieth birthday party, to a concert for the Queen Mother, and his portraits of marriage, friendship, work and his celebrated garden, The Laskett.
The Stolen Child
By Lisa Carey
'Some books set up house inside your soul. Utterly magnificent' - M. R. CareyA remote island off the west coast of Ireland, St Brigid's, is a barren landscape, its small community dwindling. But, according to rumour, it is a magical place, a home to a healing well. Rose and Emer have resisted the call to the mainland. They are sisters but opposites in every way. Rose, beautiful and blessed with a large family, dotes on the bitter and defiant Emer. When a stranger arrives in search of a miracle, the islanders are determined to keep their secrets close. Little do they realise that the stranger's quest will endanger the lives of all who remain on the island.
Some Fantastic Place
By Chris Difford
Chris Difford is a rare breed. As a member of one of London's best-loved bands, the Squeeze co-founder has made a lasting contribution to English music with hits such as 'Cool For Cats', 'Up The Junction', 'Labelled With Love', 'Hourglass' and 'Tempted'. Even before his first release in 1977, his love of writing lyrics has never wavered. Over the course of a thirteen-album career with Squeeze, it was clear from the very beginning that Difford has few peers when it comes to smart, pithy lyricism. His 'kitchen-sink drama' style has drawn plaudits from fans on both sides of the Atlantic, and his influence is keenly felt today. The likes of Lily Allen. Mark Ronson, Kasabian, Razorlight and many more have recognized the debt they owe to Squeeze's music and to Difford's way with words, while journalists were moved by his winning combination with Glenn Tilbrook to dub the pair 'The New Lennon and McCartney'.In Some Fantastic Place, Chris Difford charts his life from his early days as a dreaming boy in south London with a talent for poetry to becoming a member of one of Britain's greatest bands and beyond. Along the way he reveals the inspiration and stories behind Squeeze's best-known songs, and his greatest highs and lows from over four decades of making music.
Splendours and Miseries: The Roy Strong Diaries, 1967-87
By Roy Strong
'The Alan Clark diaries of cultural politics' Sunday Times'At every word a reputation dies' A. N. WilsonRoy Strong is best known as the flamboyant former director of two great cultural institutions - the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum. In his first volume of diaries, he takes the reader into the heart of his career, revealing himself to be not just a mercurial and brilliant administrator, but also a shrewd observer of the glittering and political milieu into which he was drawn.We encounter David Hockney in his studio, the poignant figure of Cecil Beaton in decline, Nureyev fizzing with ideas and the Philistine Mrs Thatcher among many others, including a bevy of the Royal Family. And throughout the diaries runs the thread of an exceptional marriage, following his elopement with the designer Julia Trevelyan Oman.Splendours and Miseries provides a unique panorama of the world of the arts, fashion and society, taking us from the outrageous Swinging Sixties to the hard-edged glitz of Thatcher's Britain.
By Pippa Malmgren
She predicted the financial crisis. She predicted Brexit. She predicted Trump. Now Dr Pippa Malmgren shares the signals that will protect you from the next surprise.Drawing on a wonderful range of examples - from magazine covers and supermarkets to public protests - SIGNALS is the fascinating story of the world economy told in the language of everyday objects, places and events. Malmgren explains why the size of chocolate bars, steaks and apartments are shrinking, and why the increasing near misses between America's spy planes and the fighter jets of China and Russia are no coincidence. Rising costs and inflation are breaking the social contract between citizens and their states, causing the rise of anti-establishment voting, the return of social unrest to emerging markets and resistance to mass immigration. If the only solution is innovation, then the key question is whether governments support efforts to invest in the economy of tomorrow. Written with refreshing clarity, SIGNALS shows us who is already building the future and how to be part of it.
By Geoffrey West
Geoffrey West's research centres on a quest to find unifying principles and patterns connecting everything, from cells and ecosystems to cities, social networks and businesses.'The sort of big-ideas book that comes along only every few years' Sunday Times'Magisterial . . . you reach the end of this profound, revealing book rewarded' Matthew Syed, The Times'This book will expand your thinking from three dimensions to four' Nassim Nicholas Taleb'Scale is a firework display of popular science' Niall FergusonBy applying the rigour of physics to questions of biology, Geoffrey West found that despite the riotous diversity in the sizes of mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other. This speaks to everything from how long we can expect to live to how many hours of sleep we need. He then made the even bolder move of exploring his work's applicability to cities and to the business world. These investigations have led to powerful insights into the sustainability of cities and why some companies thrive while others fail.Scale is a thrilling scientific adventure story about the elemental natural laws that bind us together in profound ways. Through the brilliant mind of Geoffrey West, we can envision how cities, companies and biological life alike are dancing to the same simple tune, however diverse and unrelated they may seem.
Stiff Upper Lip
By Alex Renton
'A brave and necessary book' GUARDIAN'Shocking, gripping and sobering' SUNDAY TELEGRAPHThis is the story of generations of parents, Britain's richest and grandest, who believed that being miserable at school was necessary to make a good and successful citizen. Childish suffering was a price they accepted for the preservation of their class, and their entitlement. The children who were moulded by this misery and abuse went on - as they still do - to run Britain's public institutions and private companies.Confronting the truth of his own schooldays and the crimes he witnessed, Alex Renton has revealed a much bigger story. It is of a profound malaise in the British elite, shown up by tolerance of the abuse of its own children that amounts to collusion. This culture and its traditions, and the hypocrisy, cronyism and conspiracy that underpin them, are key to any explanation of the scandals over sexual abuse, violence and cover-up in child care institutions that are now shocking the nation.As Renton shows, complicity in this is the bleak secret at the heart of today's British elite.
By Dan Vyleta
Imagine a world in which every bad thought you had was made visible. Where anger, hatred and envy appeared as a thick, infectious smoke pouring from your body, leaving soot on your skin. A society controlled by an elite who have learned to master their darkest desires.Thomas and Charlie are friends at a boarding school near Oxford, where the children of the rich and powerful are trained to be future leaders. Charlie is naturally good, but Thomas's father was accused of a terrible crime, and Thomas fears that the same evil lies coiled inside him. Then, on a trip to London - a forbidden city shrouded in darkness - they learn all is not as it appears. So begins a quest to understand the truth about this world of smoke, soot and ash - and perhaps to change it.'Mesmerising and imaginative ... a novel that tackles the most fundamental question of good versus evil' Hannah Beckerman, Observer'Like an adult version of the Harry Potter books with a touch of Dickensian dystopia ...a sheer delight' Maxim Jakubowski, Lovereading'A novel that stays in the imagination long after it is read' Adam Roberts, Guardian
A Short History of the Motorcycle
By Richard Hammond
It's cold, wet and dangerous, so why do we do it? Richard Hammond's A SHORT HISTORY OF THE MOTORCYCLE attempts to explain what it is about bikes and biking that calls to some people, leaving them powerless to resist. This entertaining guide charts the history of the bike from its origins as a cheap and modest means of transport for the masses to its modern incarnations: a terrifying symbol of rebellion and menace, a high-tech racing machine and the rich kid's plaything. We look at the bikes that have propelled people across the world to work, to school and to their doom.As for the bikers ... Edwardian ladies did it, though not in large numbers. Young bucks desperate to prove their manhood did it, because it was the cheapest speed available. Hammond examines bikers of every type, from the happy farmer trundling through fields on their Honda Cub to the Hell's Angel terrorising Californian towns on their hog.Wittily written and lavishly illustrated, A SHORT HISTORY OF THE MOTORCYCLE is a thrilling ride for bikers and non-bikers alike.
Stranger Than We Can Imagine
By John Higgs
'An illuminating work of massive insight' Alan Moore'A sensational book. Heartily recommended' Rufus HoundIt is the century about which we know too much, yet understand too little. With disorientating ideas such as relativity, cubism, the id, existentialism, chaos mathematics and postmodernism to contend with, the twentieth century, John Higgs argues, cannot fit easily into a traditional historical narrative. Time, then, for a new perspective. Higgs takes us on a refreshingly eclectic journey through the knotty history of the strangest of centuries. In the company of radical artists, scientists, geniuses and eccentrics, he shows us how the elegant, clockwork universe of the Victorians became increasingly woozy and uncertain; and how in the twentieth century we discovered that our world is not just stranger than we imagine, but 'stranger than we can imagine'.
By Vikram Seth
'I have so carefully mapped the corners of my mindThat I am forever waking in a lost country...'SUMMER REQUIEM traces the immutable shifting of the seasons, the relentless rhythms of a great world that both 'gifts and harms'. Luminous, resonant and profound, these poems trace the dying days of summer, 'the hour of rust', when memory is haunted by loss and decay. But in the silence that follows, as the soul is cast adrift, there is also reconciliation with the transience of all things; the knowledge that there is a place, 'changeable, that will not betray'.
By Melanie Finn
A Tatler Sizzling Summer ReadSpectator Best Books of 2015 Shortlisted for the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize 'Intense, impressive... Told with force and bracing directness... It's a book that smashes into you' Guardian'Both disturbing and ultimately uplifting . . . the images she conjures up are so subversively creepy they haunt you for days' Spectator 'Deserves major attention' New York TimesPilgrim Jones doesn't belong here.She belongs in the cities of Europe, by her handsome husband's side. But here she is, in a village on the edge of Africa. No one knows why she is here and what she is hiding from. And she is not going to tell them - about her husband's betrayal, or the children she killed in a crash. But two men from Pilgrim's past are coming to find her - two men with very different motives.
By David Whitehouse
In The Sun, David Whitehouse takes us on a journey to the heart of our local star and beyond, relating how it was born, the many ways it influences life on Earth and how it will die. He recounts the many myths surrounding the Sun and the fascinating stories of scientists throughout history who have attempted to discover its secrets - occasionally at the price of their lives.The Sun explores the role of the sun for those on Earth, from the earliest civilizations that worshipped it, through its emulation in art and literature to the present day. He describes the inferno at its core, the magnetic chaos of its surface and the furthest reaches of its atmosphere that stretches beyond the planets out into the galaxy. Within our lifetimes he considers that changes in the sun will become noticeable, an issue that we ignore at our peril.Finally, David Whitehouse speculates on the future of life on Earth with a sun that must ultimately turn into a red giant. From its birth in a cloud of gas and dust, its long lifetime nurturing life on our own planet, to its death as a cosmic cinder, this is our Sun's story.
By Jeffrey A. Lieberman, Ogi Ogas
A world-renowned psychiatrist reveals the fascinating story of psychiatry's origins, demise and redemption. Psychiatry has come a long way since the days of chaining 'lunatics' in cold cells and parading them as freakish marvels before a gaping public. But, as Jeffrey Lieberman reveals in his extraordinary and eye-opening book, the path to legitimacy for 'the black sheep of medicine' has been anything but smooth. In SHRINKS, Dr Lieberman traces the field from its birth as a mystic pseudo-science through its adolescence as a cult of 'shrinks' to its late blooming maturity since the Second World War as a science-driven profession that saves lives. With fascinating case studies and portraits of the luminaries of the field, from Sigmund Freud to Eric Kandel, SHRINKS is a gripping and illuminating read. It is also an urgent call-to-arms to dispel the stigma surrounding mental illness and to start treating it as a disease rather than a state of mind.
By Antonia Honeywell
Welcome to London, but not as you know it. Oxford Street burned for three weeks; Regent's Park has been bombed; the British Museum is occupied by those with nowhere else to go.Lalla has grown up sheltered from the chaos, but now she's sixteen, her father decides it's time to use their escape route - a ship big enough to save five hundred people. Once on board, as day follows identical day, Lalla's unease grows. Where are they going? What does her father really want? What is the price of salvation?
The Sheep, the Haggis, the Sister-in-Law and the Drunken Trip to Glasgow
By Colin MacIntyre
Ewan should not have accepted a lift to Glasgow from The Professor. He had bought a train ticket, had brought a packed lunch - he had been all set. All he had needed to say was 'No'. Two letters. Instead he nodded his head gratefully to The Professor's kind offer. Now he's driving down the ferry's ramp, ready for the 96 mile (96.2, actually) journey from Mull to Glasgow on Burns Night, sat next to a bagpipe-playing, kilt-wearing, adulterous, foul-mouthed Scot . . . in the snow. Buckle up!
By Peter Guralnick
Rock 'n' roll was born in rural Alabama, 1923, in the form of Sam Phillips, the youngest son of a large family living in a remote colony called the Lovelace Community. His father had a gift for farming, which was brought to an end by the Depression. His mother picked guitar and showed the kind of forbearance that allowed her to name her son after the doctor who delivered him drunk and then had to be put to bed himself. And yet from these unprepossessing origins, in 1951 Phillips made what is widely considered to be the first rock 'n' roll record, Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston's 'Rocket 88'. Just two years later a shy eighteen-year-old kid with sideburns, fresh out of high school, wandered into his recording studio to make a record 'for his mother', secretly hoping that it might somehow get him noticed. His name was Elvis Presley. Elvis's success, and the subsequent triumph of rock 'n' roll, was initially propelled to an almost astonishing degree by a limited number of releases by Carl 'Blue Suede Shoes' Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis - all from this tiny, one-man label. An engaging mix of biography and anecdote, Peter Guralnick's book brilliantly recreates one shining moment in the history of popular culture. And Sam Phillips was the man who brought it all about.
By Jostein Gaarder
The international bestseller about life, the universe and everything.When 14-year-old Sophie encounters a mysterious mentor who introduces her to philosophy, mysteries deepen in her own life. Why does she keep getting postcards addressed to another girl? Who is the other girl? And who, for that matter, is Sophie herself? To solve the riddle, she uses her new knowledge of philosophy, but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined.An addictive blend of mystery, philosophy and fantasy, Sophie's World is an international phenomenon which has been translated into 60 languages and sold more than 40 million copies.
The Small Back Room
By Nigel Balchin
A true modern classic, THE SMALL BACK ROOM is a towering novel of the Second World War.Sammy Rice is a weapons scientist, one of the 'back room boys' of the Second World War. A crippling disability has left him cynical and disillusioned - he struggles with a drink problem at home, and politics and petty pride at work. Worse still, he fears he is not good enough for the woman he loves.The stakes are raised when the enemy begin to drop a new type of booby-trapped bomb, causing many casualties. Only Sammy has the know-how to diffuse it - but as he comes face to face with real danger, all his old inadequacies return to haunt him.Can he, at last, prove his worth and put his demons to rest?
By Henry Roth
This book collects all of Henry Roth's published writings, other than Call it Sleep, Mercy of a Rude Stream and A Diving Rock on the Hudson, into one major body of work, spanning a period that beings in 1925 and ends in 1987. The thirty-one pieces include all of Roth's short stories, the only remaining chapter of the unfinished second novel that he wrote for Maxwell Perkins (and later burned), and other articles and memoir materials.Edited with and introduction by Mario Materassi, the distinguished Italian translator and Roth's longtime friend, the book contains writings that have appeared in such well-known publications as the Atlantic, Commentary and The New Yorker, as well as in small magazines and periodicals long since defunct. For any reader who has been held spellbound by the sheer lyrical power and psychological brilliance of Roth's novels, Shifting Landscape is essential reader - for within its melodic stories we gain insight into the reasons for Roth's legendary sixty-year writer's block and discern the first intimations of the literary renaissance that has become Roth's in the 1990's.