Close But No Cigar
By Stephen Purvis
'In its tragic absurdity, Close but No Cigar reads like a Graham Greene story, with a cast of characters to make Hemingway proud ... [This] tale should be read by anyone who wants to understand what lies beyond the beaches and Bacardi [of Cuba]' 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.
By Guillem Balague
The definitive biography of Cristiano Ronaldo, named Football Book of the Year at the Cross Sports Book Awards 2016Fully updated to include the 2015-16 seasonCristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers of all time, a dream he pursued from the age of just twelve when he left his humble origins on Madeira behind.It wasn't long before he had the biggest clubs in Europe knocking on his door, but it was Manchester United who won the race for his signature. Under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson, Ronaldo developed into the complete footballer and athlete, winning three league titles and a Champions League along the way.He then became the biggest galáctico of them all when he transferred to Real Madrid for a record-breaking fee. However, he has endured a difficult relationship with managers, teammates and the fans - and his time at the club has often been overshadowed by his fierce rivalry with Barcelona and Lionel Messi.Guillem Balagué, respected football journalist and expert on the Spanish game, provides the definitive account of what has made Ronaldo the player and man that he is today.
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.
By Jo Berry
Caspar Lee is a social media sensation. As part of the YouTubing elite, Caspar has risen to the top of online fame and he shares his world with millions of viewers every day. This book will be the ultimate fan guide, full of his original brand of comedy and general silliness. Jam-packed with everything from fun facts, pranks, puzzles and personal stories, to travel tips, celebrity friends and pure Caspar comedy gold, this book will be the must-have fan book for all of his followers.
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 Michael Connelly
'Death is my beat.' Those words, spoken by the narrator and hero of The Poet, Jack McEvoy, could also apply to Michael Connelly. Time and time again in these riveting pieces, we make the connection between Connelly the crime reporter and Connelly the novelist: 'On the day I arrived in Los Angeles I sat in the newspaper editor's office being interviewed for a job on the crime beat. The day before there had been a bank heist in which the thieves had gone into the city's labyrinthine storm water tunnel system to get beneath the bank before tunnelling upward.' Years later that story would become The Black Echo. 'Moments. They kept coming. One morning an editor called me and told me to swing by a murder scene on my way to the office. Just like that, like I was picking up a coffee on the way to work. The murder was on Woodrow Wilson Drive in the Hollywood Hills. I went as instructed and got the story. I also got the place where I would put the home of the fictional detective [Harry Bosch] I had secretly begun writing about . . .' The cops, the killers, the cases - it's all here in a collection that is a MUST for Connelly fans.
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.
Churchill and Empire
By Lawrence James
A genuinely new biography of Churchill, focusing on his contradictory and lifelong relationship with the British Empire.One of our finest narrative historians, and journalist for the SUNDAY TIMES and LITERARY REVIEW, Lawrence James, has written a genuinely new biography of Winston Churchill, set within a fully detailed historical context, but solely focusing on his relationship with the British Empire. As a young army officer in the late 19th century, Churchill's first experience of the Empire was serving in conflicts in India, South Africa and the Sudan. His attitude towards the Empire at the time was the stereotypical Victorian paternalistic approach - a combination of feeling responsible and feeling superior. Conscious even then of his political career ahead, Churchill's natural benevolence towards the Empire was occasionally overruled for political reasons, and he found himself reluctantly supporting - or at least not publicly condemning - British atrocities.As a politician he consistently relied on the Empire for support during crises, but was angered by any demands for nationalisation. He held what many would regard today as racist views, in that he felt that some nationalities were superior to others, but he didn't regard those positions as fixed. His (some might say obsequious) relationship with America reflected that view. America was a former colony where the natives had become worthy to rule themselves, but - he felt - still had that tie to Britain. Thus he overlooked the frequently expressed American view that the Empire was a hangover from a bygone era of colonisation, and reflected poorly on Britain's ability to conduct herself as a political power in the current world order.This outmoded attitude was one of the reasons the British voters rejected him after a Second World War in which - it was universally felt - he had led the country brilliantly. His attitude remained Victorian in a world that was shaping up very differently. However, it would be a mistake to consider Churchill merely as an anachronistic soldier. He grasped the problems of the Cold War immediately, believing that immature nations prematurely given independence would be more likely to be sucked into the vortex of Communism. This view chimed with American foreign policy, and made the Americans rather more pragmatic about their demands for self-governance for Empire countries.Lawrence James has written a fascinating portrait of an endlessly interesting statesman - and one that includes tantalising vignettes about his penchants for silk underwear and champagne.
A Child Called It
By Dave Pelzer
A harrowing, yet inspiring true story of a young boy's abusive childhood, from internationally bestselling author Dave Pelzer.Dave Pelzer was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother - a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games. She no longer considered Dave a son, but a slave; no longer a boy, but an 'it'.His bed was an old army cot in the basement, his clothes were torn and unwashed, and when he was allowed the luxury of food it was scraps from the dog's bowl. The outside world knew nothing of the nightmare played out behind closed doors. But throughout Dave kept alive dreams of finding a family to love him. This book covers the early years of his life and is an affecting and inspirational book of the horrors of child abuse and the steadfast determination of one child to survive.
Countdown to Lockdown
By Mick Foley
See the world through the eyes of champion wrestler Mick Foley as he looks back on his days in the WWE.As one of the most bizarre and fearless stars of wrestling in recent times, Mick is known for taking extraordinary risks to remain at the peak of his game. COUNTDOWN TO LOCKDOWN is a no-holds-barred, behind-the-scenes account of his mental and physical preparation for the TNA Lockdown - in many ways, the most important wrestling match of his career. This is placed in context by Foley's memories, thoughts and opinions of WWE as well as his life outside the ring, from the Benoit deaths and the 'Royal Rumble' to Sierra Leone and his meeting with former president, Bill Clinton.Full of action from inside the ring, the drama of his last days with the WWE, Foley's trademark humour as well as an industry insider's view of professional wrestling today, Foley's many fans will not be disappointed.
The Complete Olive Series Collection
By Carol Drinkwater
The bestselling Olive Farm series by writer and actress Carol Drinkwater, now available as a complete ebook collection.Carol Drinkwater's much-loved Olive Farm memoirs, THE OLIVE FARM, THE OLIVE HARVEST, THE OLIVE ROUTE, THE OLIVE SEASON, THE OLIVE TREE and RETURN TO THE OLIVE FARM chart the adventures of Carol and her husband Michel on their Provencal Olive farm in the south of France.THE COMPLETE OLIVE SERIES COLLECTION includes all six books in Carol's vibrant and heartwarming series, from the humble beginnings of the organic olive farm and the highs and lows of life in provincial France; to Carol's sixteen month journey across the Mediterranean in search of the routes that olive growing has taken over the centuries; and back again to France for more life and love, olive oil and beehives at the farm in Provence.
Cobwebs and Cream Teas
By Mary Mackie
A warm and funny account of what it is like to live in and run a National Trust house: Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk.When Mary Mackie's husband became Houseman at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk she suddenly found herself running one of the most elegant 17th-century houses in East Anglia. During their first year living in the National Trust house she was endlessly running up and down corridors, making visitors welcome, keeping unwelcome visitors at bay, arranging concerts, dinners and vast cleaning programmes. But leavening all the hard work were the exciting discoveries - hidden staircases, treasures in the attic and an ice house in the woods. COBWEBS AND CREAM TEAS reveals the tribulations and excitement that occur in any house open to the public, and it assures us that living in a National Trust house provides only the certainty that life will never be dull, or idle, again.
The Children's Nurse
By Susan Macqueen
The memoir of a Great Ormond Street nurse.This is the inspirational story of life as a nurse during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, most of which was spent at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. Susan Macqueen was 12 years old when she accompanied her mum to see her friend Ms Fairweather, the matron at the local nursing home and from that day on she knew she wanted to be a nurse. A few years later, despite being told that her grades weren't good enough and having left school with only two O-Levels, Susan was accepted on the three-year nurses training course at Addenbooke's hospital in Cambridge. It wasn't long before Susan knew she wanted to work with children and set her sights on a job at Great Ormond Street. Thirty-five years later, on her third attempt, Susan has finally retired from that iconic hospital and is enjoying a more leisurely pace of life.Hope, despair, laughter and tears, Susan's stories move the reader through the incredible stories that she was faced with on an every day basis.
The Complete Call the Midwife Stories
By Jennifer Worth
The East-End stories that inspired the BBC TV series, CALL THE MIDWIFE, in a gorgeous gift box.London's East End in the 1950s was a tough place: the struggles of post-war life - bombsites, overcrowded tenements, crime, brothels - bred a culture of tight-knit family communities, larger-than-life characters and a lively social scene. It was into this world that Jennifer Worth entered as a trainee midwife. But docklands life was tough, and babies were often born in slum conditions.In funny, disturbing and heartbreaking stories, Jennifer Worth recounts her time among nuns, prostitutes, abortionists, bigamists, gangsters and expectant mothers, portraying East Enders' amazing resilience - and their warmth and humour in the face of hardship. Written with affection and nostalgia, her midwife stories chronicle the lives, traditions and tales of a bygone era.
Call the Midwife: Illustrated Edition
By Jennifer Worth
This is a large beautifully illustrated edition of CALL THE MIDWIFE with never-before-seen photographs which bring the real London and real lives to life. Pictures of the docklands, photos of how life was lived at the time, the families, housing, health service, food and of course the nuns and the midwives who brought so many babies into the world will be a beautiful addition to Jennifer Worth's bestselling memoir.
By Joyce Kavanagh, June Kavanagh, Paula Kavanagh
A true story of abuse. Three sisters. A shattered Irish childhood.Joyce, June and Paula Kavanagh were three sisters born to a family of ten in Ballyfermot, Dublin in the 1960s. Their father abused all three of them in the family home throughout their childhood. In 1989, the sisters made the brave decision to bring charges against their father and, in 1990, the state took a successful case against him. He was convicted and imprisoned.Click, Click is the story of their abuse; the exposure of a man prolific in his paedophilia; and an Irish childhood lost in a dysfunctional, abusive and torturous environment. Importantly, however, it is also the story of three women's healing; their coming to terms with their abuse, and their forgiveness of themselves and others.The Kavanagh sisters have refused to allow their abuse to define them. With fierce humour, insight and honesty, they now share their story and show that with love and determination, you can indeed conquer all.
The Chicken Chronicles
By Alice Walker
A memoir about keeping chickens from the author of THE COLOR PURPLEWhen Alice Walker grew up in the deep south of America, her family always kept chickens - for meat and for eggs - and her job was to chase down the Sunday dinner! In later life, when she settled in Mexico and was growing her own food, she realised how much she missed keeping them and decided to get a brood of her own. So into her life came Gertrude Stein, Babe, Babe 2, Hortensia, Splendor, Glorious, Rufus and Agnes of God, not to mention a few others. She discovered a deep contentment in keeping chickens, looking after them and watching them develop. This also made her think about her own life and brought back severed memories of her childhood. This book isn't a 'how to' on keeping chickens, it is a warm memoir chronicling her journey and the way in which keeping chickens led her to a fuller understanding of herself.
Call The Midwife
By Jennifer Worth
Jennifer Worth's tales of being a midwife in 1950s London, now a major BBC TV series.Jennifer Worth came from a sheltered background when she became a midwife in the Docklands in the 1950s. The conditions in which many women gave birth just half a century ago were horrifying, not only because of their grimly impoverished surroundings, but also because of what they were expected to endure. But while Jennifer witnessed brutality and tragedy, she also met with amazing kindness and understanding, tempered by a great deal of Cockney humour. She also earned the confidences of some whose lives were truly stranger, more poignant and more terrifying than could ever be recounted in fiction. Attached to an order of nuns who had been working in the slums since the 1870s, Jennifer tells the story not only of the women she treated, but also of the community of nuns (including one who was accused of stealing jewels from Hatton Garden) and the camaraderie of the midwives with whom she trained. Funny, disturbing and incredibly moving, Jennifer's stories bring to life the colourful world of the East End in the 1950s.
By Michael Grant
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, was also a scholar, murderer, lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and one of the most remarkable women in history.The distinguished historian and classicist Michael Grant confirms that her reputation as a temptress was well-founded. However, by unravelling the sources behind the tangle of myth, gossip and invention he shows that the popular image of a wayward woman opting for a life of sensuous luxury and neglecting her affairs of state is far from the truth.A brilliant linguist and the first of her Greek-speaking dynasty who learned Egyptian, she was reputed to be the author of treatises on agriculture, make-up and alchemy. Her love affairs were carefully calculated to further her plans to restore her empire to its former greatness and she was a ruthless foe to all who stood in her way.But dead on her golden couch in the palace at Alexandria her life seemed to have ended in failure; her dreams of empire shattered; her lover Mark Antony a suicide himself and she a prisoner of her conqueror Octavian.An unforgettable portrait of an extraordinary queen and her stormy life.