Lines in the Sand
By A.A. Gill
'By miles the most brilliant journalist of our age' Lynn Barber'A golden writer' Andrew MarrA. A. Gill was rightly hailed as one of the greatest journalists of our time. This selection of some of his recent pieces, which he made himself before his untimely death, spans the last five years from all corners of the world. It shows him at his most perceptive, brilliant and funny.His subjects range from the controversial - fur - to the heartfelt - a fantastic crystallisation of what it means to be European. He tackles life drawing, designs his own tweed, considers boyhood through the prism of the Museum of Childhood, and spends a day at Donald Trump's university. In his final two articles he wrote with characteristic wit and courage about his cancer diagnosis - 'the full English - and the limits of the NHS. But more than any other subject, a recurring theme emerges in the overwhelming story of our times: the refugee crisis. In the last few years A. A. Gill wrote with compassion and anger about the refugees' story, giving us both its human face and its appalling context. The resulting articles are journalism at its finest and fiercest.
From Here to Eternity
By Caitlin Doughty, Landis Blair
As a practising mortician, Caitlin Doughty has long been fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies. In From Here to Eternity she sets out in search of cultures unburdened by such fears. In rural Indonesia, she observes a man clean and dress his grandfather's mummified body. She meets Bolivian ñatitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and discovers the Japanese ritual of kotsuage, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones' bones from cremation ashes. With curiosity and morbid humour, Doughty introduces us to inspiring death-care innovators, participates in powerful death practices almost entirely unknown in the West and explores new spaces for mourning - including a futuristic glowing-Buddha columbarium in Japan, a candlelit Mexican cemetery, and America's only open-air pyre. In doing so she expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with 'dignity' and reveals unexpected possibilities for our own death rituals.
By Julia Buckley
Julia Buckley needs a miracle. Like a third of the UK population, she has a chronic pain condition. According to her doctors, it can't be cured. She doesn't believe them. She does believe in miracles, though. It's just a question of tracking one down.Julia's search for a cure takes her on a global quest, exploring the boundaries between science, psychology and faith with practitioners on the fringes of conventional, traditional and alternative medicine. From neuroplastic brain rewiring in San Francisco to medical marijuana in Colorado, Haitian vodou rituals to Brazilian 'spiritual surgery', she's willing to try anything. Can miracles happen? And more importantly, what happens next if they do?Raising vital questions about the modern medical system, this is also a story about identity in a system historically skewed against 'hysterical' female patients, and the struggle to retain a sense of self under the medical gaze. Heal Me explains why modern medicine's current approach to chronic pain is failing patients. It explores the importance of faith, hope and cynicism, and examines our relationships with our doctors, our beliefs and ourselves.
The Best of A. A. Gill
By A.A. Gill
For over twenty years, people turned to A. A. Gill's columns every Sunday - for his fearlessness, his perception, and the laughter-and-tear-provoking one-liners - but mostly because he was the best. 'By miles the most brilliant journalist of our age', as Lynn Barber put it. This is the definitive collection ofa voice that was silenced too early but that can still make us look at the world in new and surprising ways.In the words of Andrew Marr, A..A. Gill was 'a golden writer'. There was nothing that he couldn't illuminate with his dazzling prose. Wherever he was - at home or abroad - he found the human story, brought it to vivid life, and rendered it with fierce honesty and bracing compassion. And he was just as truthful about himself. There have been various collections of A. A. Gill's journalism - individual compilations of his restaurant and TV criticism, of his travel writing and his extraordinary feature articles. This book will collect examples of the very best of his work: the peerlessly funny criticism, the extraordinarily knowledgeable food writing, assignments throughout the world, and reflections on life, love, and death. Drawn from a range of publications, including the Sunday Times, Vanity Fair, Tatler and Australian Gourmet Traveller, The Ivy Cookbook and his books on England and America, it will be by turns hilarious, uplifting, controversial, unflinching, sad, funny and furious.
By Mark Mason
Which major UK retailer has the same name as Odysseus's dog in Greek mythology?In the original version of the Band Aid hit 'Do They Know It's Christmas?', who sang the opening line?Which is the only US state whose name can be typed on a single row of a QWERTY keyboard?Travel writer and quiz fan Mark Mason decided to combine two of his greatest loves by setting off on a tour of Britain's quizzes. From a pub quiz in Edinburgh to a charity quiz in Hampshire, from a corporate quiz in Birmingham to a journalists' quiz in Parliament, he finds answers aplenty while asking some questions of his own. Just what is it that attracts us to these tests of our knowledge? What are the ingredients of the perfect quiz question? And which is the only English city whose official name begins with H?The only travel book ever to discuss Winston Churchill's use of language and reveal Donald Duck's middle name, QUESTION TIME is an affectionate tribute to Britain and one of its most cherished institutions - the quiz.
By Robert Twigger
Home to mythical kingdoms, wars and expeditions, and strange and magical beasts, the Himalayas have always loomed tall in our imagination. Overrun at different times by Buddhism, Taoism, shamanism, Islam and Christianity, they are a grand central station of the world's religions. They are also a plant hunter's paradise, a climber's challenge, and a traveller's dream.In his quest to explore the region's seismic history, Twigger seeks out the Nagas, who helped his grandfather build a camp for Allied soldiers near Imphal during the Second World War and takes the most scenic bike ride in the world from Lhasa to Kathmandu. The result is a sweeping, fascinating and surprising journey through the history of the world's greatest mountain range.
By John Higgs
A journey along one of Britain's oldest roads, from Dover to Anglesey, in search of the hidden history that makes us who we are today.Long ago a path was created by the passage of feet tramping through endless forests. Gradually that path became a track, and the track became a road. It connected the White Cliffs of Dover to the Druid groves of the Welsh island of Anglesey, across a land that was first called Albion then Britain, Mercia and eventually England and Wales. Armies from Rome arrived and straightened this 444 kilometres of meandering track, which in the Dark Ages gained the name Watling Street. Today, this ancient road goes by many different names: the A2, the A5 and the M6 Toll. It is a palimpsest that is always being rewritten.Watling Street is a road of witches and ghosts, of queens and highwaymen, of history and myth, of Chaucer, Dickens and James Bond. Along this route Boudicca met her end, the Battle of Bosworth changed royal history, Bletchley Park code breakers cracked Nazi transmissions and Capability Brown remodelled the English landscape. The myriad people who use this road every day might think it unremarkable, but, as John Higgs shows, it hides its secrets in plain sight. Watling Street is not just the story of a route across our island, but an acutely observed, unexpected exploration of Britain and who we are today, told with wit and flair, and an unerring eye for the curious and surprising.
By Steve Backshall
Steve Backshall's love affair with the mountains has taken him to some of the world's wildest places, environments that have the power to make a human being feel very small, very vulnerable and very alive. MOUNTAIN: A LIFE OF THE ROCKS is an account of his most breathtaking expeditions: heading into the 'Death Zone' on the roof of the world in the Himalayas, and picking a precarious route up hundreds of metres of rock in the Arctic and Alps. There are expeditions of exploration, as Steve makes the first ascent of jungle peaks and scales the tabletop mountains of the 'Lost World', Venezuela's Gran Sabana, in search of undiscovered animal species on their summits. Steve recalls his apprenticeship in the art of mountaineering with the Indian army, and the terror and near-disaster of some of his more ill-fated adventures, including the aftermath of the fall that should have ended his life.This is a tale of terror and ecstasy, a book that tries to get to the heart of why we risk our lives to climb and conquer. But most of all, MOUNTAIN is a love letter to the wilderness, from one of the world's most adventurous spirits.
By Mark Mason
'FASCINATING' Daily Mail'FULL OF AMAZING FACTS' The QI ElvesEach of the United Kingdom's 124 postcode areas has a story to tell, an unexpected nugget to dust off and treasure. Mark Mason has embarked on a tour of the country, immersing himself in Britain's history on a roundabout journey from AB to ZE. On the lookout for interesting place names and unusual monuments, along the way he discovers what the Queen keeps in her handbag, why the Jack Russell has a white coat and how Jimi Hendrix got confused by the M1. At the same time Mason paints an affectionate portrait of Britain in the 21st century, from aggressive seagulls in Blackpool to 'seasoned' drinkers in Surrey. And his travels offer the perfect opportunity to delve into the history of the Royal Mail, complete with pillar boxes, posties and Penny Reds - plus Oscar Wilde's unconventional method of posting a letter. A playful mix of fact, anecdote and overheard conversation, MAIL OBSESSION pays homage to Britain's wonderful past and its curious present.
La Vie en Rose
By Jamie Ivey
In Jamie Ivey's sequel to Extremely Pale Rosé, he finds out whether it is possible to run a successful rosé bar in France. French friends think it's a crazy idea: bar customers are largely men and rosé is seen as a woman's drink; rosé is a seasonal drink and Jamie's trade will vanish come September - and rosé isn't supposed to accompany food. Yet France seems to be on the brink of a rosé revolution: rosé sales are booming. If Jamie can find a small bar in a pretty square and chalk up a selection of different rosés, a rosé bar could be a great success. Bars in Uzes, Aix en Provence and Nimes agree to help Jamie sell some rosé, and he discovers what the French attitude to rosé really is. Are gnarled old men discarding their pastis and sipping pale rosé? Is it just a myth that the French don't drink rosé with food? Are the young the real reason for booming sales? For readers who enjoyed Extremely Pale Rosé, and envied Jamie and Tanya Ivey's researches, La Vie En Rose is the perfect second glass.
Rose En Marche
By Jamie Ivey
Rosé en Marché, the third title in the 'rosé' series by Jamie Ivey, involves Tanya and Jamie selling rosé in French markets. They rent a flat in Saint Remy de Provence and work in the town's market as well as three or four other local markets. There is, of course, the odd flying visit from their old friend Peter. The Iveys decide to set up their own market stall in the exquisite Provencal town of Saint Remy. But they quickly uncover a battleground. Artisan traders fight competitors selling imports of lavender from Bulgaria, rip-off tableware from China and wholesale vegetables artificially smattered with dirt. Rumours of bribery and corruption are ever present as traders scramble for the best pitches. But can the Iveys make a go of their own stall . . .?
Extremely Pale Rose
By Jamie Ivey
A chance conversation with a Provençal vigneron leads to the most unlikely of quests - a hunt to find France's palest rosé. Extremely Pale Rosé is a richly entertaining and informative account of the travels of Jamie, his wife Tanya and their ebullient friend Peter, as they take up this challenge. Giving up their lives in London, they quickly discover an unfortunate truth - the French won't treat rosé or their quest seriously. Rosé is seen as a poor cousin to red and white wine, drunk as an aperitif or to wash away the taste of spicy food. In bars, boulangeries and boucheries from Bordeaux to Bandol, Jamie, Tanya and Peter are recommended diverse vineyards to visit, and as they travel they encounter the beginnings of a rosé revolution - French attitudes to pale pink wine appear to be changing, but is it too little too late to help them succeed in their quest? With wit, candour and wonderful storytelling, Jamie Ivey maintains a tradition of excellence in food and travel writing. Readers are left with dreams of France, summer days, baguettes, and . . . extremely pale rosé.
The Greedy Bastard Diary
By Eric Idle
Eric Idle, the legendary star of Monty Python fame, takes fans on a deeply personal and hilarious whirlwind tour around America.'I still feel somewhat nervous encroaching on the Palin territory of writing a travel diary based on a journey ... though it is true, I reason, that all the Pythons have been involved in documentaries. So this must be a Python thing. What is this urge to probe and examine by ex-comedians? Are they tired of dressing up as women? Surely not.' - Eric IdleThe man who brought you the anthems 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' and 'Sit on my Face' shows his naughty bits - and much more! As he crossed the US on The Greedy Bastard Tour, Eric Idle kept a diary on the Monty Python website updating fans with his experiences, insights and observations. Inspired by those blogs, THE GREEDY BASTARD DIARY is an honest, hysterical and moving book - part travelogue, part memoir - that chronicles those 80 days on the road, offering Idle's thoughts on his career, personal life and the country he now calls his home. Reflective, ironic, and stamped with his renowned wit, this illuminating work takes readers on a personal tour with the legendary star and offers an intimate, close-up look inside the man as never before.