Titans of History
By Simon Sebag Montefiore
NEW EDITION - FEATURING UPDATED INTRODUCTION AND NEW CHAPTERS The giant characters of history - from Mozart to Michelangelo, Shakespeare to Einstein, Henry VIII to Hitler, Catherine the Great to Margaret Thatcher, Jesus Christ to Genghis Khan - lived lives of astonishing drama and adventure, debauchery and slaughter, but they also formed our world and will shape our future. In this eclectic and surprising collection of short and entertaining life stories, Simon Sebag Montefiore introduces his choice of kings, empresses, sultans and conquerors, as well as prophets, explorers, artists, actresses, courtesans and psychopaths. From the ancient times, via crusades and world wars, up to the 21st century, this accessible history introduces readers to the titans who changed the world: the characters we should all know, and the stories we should never forget.
Today Will Be Different
By Maria Semple
Eleanor Flood knows she's a mess. But today will be different. Today she will shower and put on real clothes. She will attend her yoga class after dropping her son, Timby, off at school. She'll see an old friend for lunch. She won't swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action - life happens.For today is the day Timby has decided to pretend to be ill to weasel his way into his mother's company. It's also the day surgeon Joe has chosen to tell his receptionist - but not Eleanor - that he's on vacation. And just when it seems that things can't go more awry, a former colleague produces a relic from the past - a graphic memoir with pages telling of family secrets long buried and a sister to whom Eleanor never speaks.
A Twist of the Knife
By Becky Masterman
'Wow! An absolute pleasure. Chilling, smart, funny, and what a voice she has' GILLIAN FLYNNBlown away. What else can I tell you? Brigid Quinn is a heroine to cheer for, and Masterman writes like an angel who has seen far too many ungodly things - LINWOOD BARCLAYBrigid Quinn is tough, determined, steely and sharper than sharp. As an ex-agent of the FBI she has seen it all, and survived. But nothing can cut her closer to the bone than family... When Brigid gets a call from her mother saying her father is in hospital with pneumonia, she decides to check on her former colleague Laura Coleman who is living nearby. Having saved Brigid's life, Laura is now working on an 'innocence project', investigating cold cases. And one in particular seems to have caught her attention. Fifteen years before, Marcus Creighton was accused of killing his wife and three children. Now the state governor has signed the warrant for his execution.Worried that her friend is getting in too deep, Brigid promises to help. But what if her instincts are betraying her?
By David Render, Stuart Tootal
A gripping account of the Second World War, from the perspective of a young tank commander.In 1944, David Render was a nineteen-year-old second lieutenant fresh from Sandhurst when he was sent to France. Joining the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry five days after the D-Day landings, the combat-hardened men he was sent to command did not expect him to last long. However, in the following weeks of ferocious fighting in which more than 90 per cent of his fellow tank commanders became casualties, his ability to emerge unscathed from countless combat engagements earned him the nickname of the 'Inevitable Mr Render'.In Tank Action Render tells his remarkable story, spanning every major episode of the last year of the Second World War from the invasion of Normandy to the fall of Germany. Ultimately it is a story of survival, comradeship and the ability to stand up and be counted as a leader in combat.
Trenchard: Father of the Royal Air Force
By Russell Miller
Hugh 'Boom' Trenchard was embarrassed by being described as 'The Father of the Royal Air Force' - he thought others were more deserving. But the reality was that no man did more to establish the world's first independent air force and ensure its survival in the teeth of fierce opposition from both the Admiralty and the War Office. Born in Taunton in 1873, Trenchard struggled at school, not helped by the shame of his solicitor father's bankruptcy when he was sixteen. He failed entrance examinations to both the Royal Navy and the Army several times, eventually obtaining a commission through the 'back door' of the militia. After service in India, South Africa - where he was seriously wounded - and Nigeria, he found his destiny when he joined the fledgling Royal Flying Corps in 1912, where he was soon known as 'Boom' thanks to his stentorian voice. Quick to recognise the huge potential aircraft offered in future conflicts, he rose rapidly to command the RFC in France during the First World War despite handicaps that would have blighted conventional military careers: he was obstinate, tactless, inarticulate and chronically unable to remember names - yet he was able to inspire unflagging loyalty among all ranks. Despite his conspicuous distrust of politicians, he served as a successful Chief of the Air Staff for a decade after the war and then, at the personal request of the King, took over as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, which he reorganised and reformed. He never wavered in his belief that mastery of the air could only be achieved by relentless offensive action, or in his determined advocacy of strategic bombing. His most enduring legacy was the creation of the finest air force in the world, engendered with the spirit that won the Battle of Britain.
Traveling with Ghosts
By Shannon Leone Fowler
'A cross between H is for Hawk and Wild, this beautifully written tale follows Fowler's travels through Eastern Europe after her fiancé was killed by a jellyfish' Stylist'A brave and necessary record of love, as beautiful as it is heartbreaking' Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth'A rich and absorbing memoir that shows the reader what it feels like to lose your future in a matter of seconds in a faraway land . . . Shannon learns to travel on, to get back in the ocean and to build a new life' Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love'Gloriously rendered, beautifully written, but utterly devastating . . . an intimate and inspiring experience . . . balm to the soul, as well as being a necessary witness account of the blackest depths of grief' Viv Groskop, ObserverIn the summer of 2002, Shannon Leone Fowler was backpacking with her fiancé Sean in Thailand. The couple were planning to return home after their excursion to the island of Koh Pha Ngan but their plans were devastated when a box jellyfish - the most venomous animal in the world - wrapped itself around Sean's legs, stinging and killing him in minutes. Rejecting the Thai authorities' attempt to label Sean's death as 'drunk drowning', Shannon accompanied his body home to his stunned family - a family to which she suddenly no longer belonged.Shattered, untethered and alone, Shannon set out on a journey to make sense of her loss. From contemplating the silence of Auschwitz to learning the rules for sitting shiva amid daily bombings in Israel, to finding humour and creativity in Sarajevo, a city still scarred by the recent war, Shannon charts a path through sorrow towards recovery. Traveling with Ghosts is a beautiful memorial to love and an intensely personal account of learning to live with grief. It is the story of a brave journey towards survival.
By H.G. Wells
George Ponderevo, a student of science, is enlisted to help with the promotion of Tono-Bungay. Tono-Bungay is a harmful stimulant disguised as a miraculous cure-all, the creation of his ambitious uncle Edward. As the tonic prospers, George experiences a swift rise in social status, elevating him to riches and opportunities that he had never imagined, nor indeed desired. Meanwhile, George ricochets romantically between his unsuccessful marriage to Marion, his affair with the liberated Effie and his doomed relationship with the Hon. Beatrice Normandy, a childhood friend. But the Tono-Bungay empire eventually over-extends itself and George must try to prop up his uncle's finances by stealing the radioactive compound 'quap' from an island near Africa...
By Elaine Feinstein
Ted Hughes is one of the greatest English poets of this century, yet his life was dogged by tragedy and controversy. His marriage to the American poet Sylvia Plath marked his whole life and he never entirely recovered from her suicide in 1963, though he chose to remain silent on the subject for more than 30 years. Many people, including his friend Al Alvarez, have held Hughes's adultery responsible for Plath's death. Elaine Feinstein first met Hughes in 1969, and she was a good friend of his and his sister Olwyn's, both of whom guarded the Plath estate. She knows many of the European and America poets who so influenced Hughes - Seamus Heaney, Thom Gunn, Miroslav Holub, and knows the world in which both he and Plath moved.
By Keith Lee Morris
The Addisons - Julia and Tonio, ten-year-old Dewey, and Uncle Robbie - are driving home after collecting Robbie from yet another trip to rehab. When a terrifying blizzard strikes outside the town of Good Night, Idaho, they seek refuge at the Travelers Rest, a formerly opulent but now crumbling hotel.With nowhere else to go, they decide to stay the night. But once inside, the family becomes separated and the hotel begins to work its eerie magic. As Julia and Tonio drift through the maze of the hotel's spectral interiors, Dewey ventures outside. Meanwhile, a desperate Robbie quickly succumbs to his old vices. As they desperately try to reach each other, they relive the same day over and over again. The mother, Julia, holds the key to their release - but can she save her family from the fate of becoming Souvenirs - those citizens trapped forever in Good Night-or, worse, from disappearing entirely?
The Truth About Dogs
By Stephen Budiansky
Stephen Budiansky holds that virtually everything previously written about dogs is either wrong or misguided. Instead he maintains that to understand the true nature of dogs we need to stop interpreting their behaviour in the human terms of loyalty and betrayal. The truth is far more complex and surprising.The Dog Genome Project is currently laying the groundwork for identifying the genetic basis of why our dogs behave in the way they do. Other research investigates canine intelligence, and some remarkable experiments reveal what dogs can and cannot see. Budiansky brings together the disciplines of behavioural science, genetics, neuroscience and archaeology to show us how wrong we have been about man's best friend.
The Tipping Point
By J.G. Jurado
'I am no saint, no martyr, no terrorist, no madman and no murderer...I am a father. That's my story.'Dr David Evans, a top neurosurgeon at a hospital in Washington, faces the ultimate dilemma: if his next patient leaves the operating theatre alive, his daughter will die at the hands of a psychopath. He has 55 hours to save her. But Evans' patient is no ordinary man; he's the most important person in the US and what happens on the operating table may well change the course of history.
Travelling to Work
By Michael Palin
The third volume of Michael Palin's celebrated diaries.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.
A Tuscan Childhood
By Kinta Beevor
'Wonderful ... I fell immediately into her world' Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan SunKinta Beevor was five years old when she fell in love with her parents' castle facing the Carrara mountains. She and her brother ran barefoot, exploring an enchanted world. They searched for wild mushrooms in the hills with Fiore the stonemason, and learned how to tickle trout. The freedom and beauty of life at the castle attracted poets, writers and painters, including D.H. Lawrence and Rex Whistler. The other side to Kinta's childhood was very different, for it was spent with her formidable great aunt, Janet Ross, in a grand villa outside Florence. But soon the old way of life and Kinta's idyllic world were threatened by war.Nostalgic, yet unsentimental and funny, A TUSCAN CHILDHOOD is a book which transports the reader to bohemian, aristocratic Italy and the sound of bells from a distant campanile.
Two Eerie Tales of Suspense
By Paul Torday
In BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL DÉJÀ VU, Bobby Clarke arrives at a hotel on the Mediterranean shore. A former MP, unseated by the expenses scandal, he is spending time abroad to recover from a major illness. The other purpose of his stay is to write his memoirs in order to demonstrate that he was unfairly treated, having valiantly served his country for 30 years. He settles into his new surroundings but it soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems. For a start Bobby seems to have no memory of the immediate past. Each time he sits down to continue his memoirs he finds only a blank page. Every morning as he comes downstairs the same scene replays itself in front of him: a young woman and her son pass him on the stairs. And what has become of his wife?In THEO, John Elliott is the recently appointed vicar of St Joseph's - a dilapidated church with a congregation of 16 and a leaky roof. Having entered the Church more by default than through any great calling, he struggles to inject some life into his ailing parish. His wife Christine longs for them to escape the endless rounds of coffee mornings and cake sales. Then Theo, a child at her school, starts to exhibit strange marks on his hands and feet that vanish almost as soon as they have appeared. What has produced these marks - is it physical violence or something stranger? And what really did happen to the previous vicar of St Joseph's...
By Antonia Fraser
An atmospheric and gripping mystery set in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland from Lady Antonia Fraser's Jemima Shore series.'I warned you, Jemima Shore, things up here are seldom all they seem . . .'The body of a young man has been found floating in a pool on a remote island in the Scottish Highlands. It just happens to be the island that TV reporter Jemima Shore has rented for a holiday - a holiday that is rapidly falling apart. Confronted with a foreboding stone house, a bitter family feud and cryptic warnings from locals Jemima begins to regret her choice.It is only when another body is found tangled in weeds in the river she begins to realize she has become caught up in something very dark indeed. As she tries to fight her attraction to a suspect, Jemima struggles to work out just who she can trust. In this lonely spot it seems that nobody is quite as they first appear...
This One Is Mine
By Maria Semple
The sparkling debut novel of Maria Semple, author of the WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION-shortlisted WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE, including reading group notes.Violet Parry is living the quintessential life of luxury in the Hollywood Hills with David, her rock-and-roll manager husband, and her darling toddler, Dot. She has the perfect life - but she's deeply unhappy. David expects the world of Violet but gives little of himself in return. When she meets Teddy, a roguish small-time bass player, Violet comes alive, and soon she's risking everything for the chance to find herself again. Also in the picture are David's hilariously high-strung sister, Sally, on the prowl for a successful husband, and Jeremy, the sportscaster savant who falls into her trap.
Testament of Youth
By Vera Brittain
This classic memoir of the First World War is now a major motion picture starring Alicia Vikander and Kit Harington. Includes an afterword by Kate Mosse OBE.In 1914 Vera Brittain was 20, and as war was declared she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life - and the life of her whole generation - had changed in a way that would have been unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era.TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain's account of how she survived those agonising years; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time, and has lost none of its power to shock, move and enthral readers since its first publication in 1933.
Three Roads to Quantum Gravity
By Lee Smolin
A leading theoretical physicist describes the search for a 'theory of everything'.The Holy Grail of modern physics is the search for a 'quantum gravity' view of the universe that unites Einstein's general relativity with quantum theory. Until recently, these two foundational pillars of modern science have seemed incompatible: relativity deals exclusively with the universe at the large scale (planets, solar systems and galaxies), whereas quantum theory is restricted to the domain of the very small (molecules, atoms, electrons). Here, Lee Smolin provides the first accessible overview of current attempts to reconcile these two theories.Written with wit and style, Three Roads to Quantum Gravity touches on some of the deepest questions about the nature of the universe - are space and time continuous or infinitely divisible? Is there a limit to how small things can be? - while speculating on what developments we can expect at the frontiers of physics in the twenty-first century.
By MacKenzie Bezos
Four women set off on journeys that will bring their lives into startling alignment, in ways that will transform them for ever.Dana is a beautiful young bodyguard who has the expertise to disarm a bomb but cannot commit to marrying the man she loves. Jessica is a reclusive movie star and the mother of two young daughters whose fame has left her a near hostage in her own home. Vivian is a 17-year-old who has lost her way and will do anything to protect her twin babies. And Lynn is a recovering alcoholic living in isolation on a ranch, shielding herself from the mistakes of her past and a husband and daughter from whom she has long been estranged.How their fates collide - and how that collision offers each of them a chance at redemption and renewal - is the subject of MacKenzie Bezos's stunning novel.
By Richard Morris
A personal and lyrical rediscovery of the history of England through archaeology and the imagination.History thrives on stories. TIME'S ANVIL explores archaeology's influence on what such stories say, how they are told, who tells them and how we listen.In a dazzlingly wide-ranging exploration, Richard Morris casts fresh light on three quarters of a million years of history in the place we now think of as England. Drawing upon genres that are usually pursued in isolation - like biography, poetry, or physics - he finds potent links between things we might imagine to be unrelated. His subjects range from humanity's roots to the destruction of the wildwood, from the first farmers to industrialization, and from Tudor drama to 20th-century conflict. Each topic sits at a different point along the continuum between epoch and the fleeting moment.In part, this is a history of archaeology; in part, too, it is a personal account of the author's history in archaeology. But mainly it is about how the past is read, and about what we bring to the reading as well as what we find. The result is a book that defies categorisation, but one which will by turns surprise, enthrall and provoke anyone who cares for England, who we are and where we have come from. TIME'S ANVIL was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013.