My Father's Wake
By Kevin Toolis
Death is a whisper in the Anglo-Saxon world. But on a remote island, off the coast of County Mayo, death has a louder voice. Along with reports of incoming Atlantic storms, the local radio station runs a thrice-daily roll-call of the recently departed. The islanders have no fear of death. They go in great numbers, often with young children, to wake with their dead. They keep vigil through the night with the corpse and share in the sorrow of the bereaved. They bear the burden of the coffin on their shoulders and dig the grave with their own hands. The living and the dead remain bound together in the Irish Wake - the oldest rite of humanity.For twenty years writer and filmmaker Kevin Toolis hunted death in famine, war and plague across the world before finding the answer to his quest on the island of his forebears. In this beautifully written and highly original memoir, he gives an intimate, eye-witness account of the death and wake of his father, and explores the wider history of the Irish Wake. With an uplifting, positive message at its heart, My Father's Wake celebrates the spiritual depth of the Irish Wake and shows how we too can find a better way to deal with our mortality, by living and loving in the acceptance of death.
Memoirs and Reflections
By Evgeny Kissin
Evgeny Igorevitch Kissin is a Russian-British-Israeli classical pianist. He first came to international fame as a child prodigy. He has been a British citizen since 2002 and an Israeli citizen since 2013. He has a wide repertoire and is especially known for his interpretations of the works of the Romantic era, particularly those of Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Franz Liszt.The first two parts describe Kissin's childhood in Russia and his family's decision to live abroad after the attempted putsch at the Moscow White House. The third part consists mostly of his views of other pianists and conductors, as well as memories of people he met during his early years and career.Kissin writes about his parents, his sister, his grandparents and his teachers with tender affection and touching detail that gives his memoirs the transparency of water. Here are the things and the people and events that formed him, nurtured and challenged him, and the individuals who made him feel gratitude, amazement and awe. And, of course, it is infused with his lifelong engagement with making music, an obsessive love that captured him when he was young.The book throws a good deal of light on the life and attitudes of the mainly Russian Jewish intelligentsia, the problems of visas to America, Britain and other countries, and his views on performance of music, his own compositions in music and verse, and his personal approach to concerts. It also offers Kissin's philosophy of life and his understanding of human nature derived from meetings with learned people, books and his own day-to-day experience. He does not indulge in false modesty, but takes a realistic view of who he is in the eyes of the world.
My Beautiful Struggle
By Jordan Bone
A girl with her whole life ahead of her. A terrible accident. An inspiring story of triumph over trauma. Aged 15, Jordan was a happy-go-lucky girl; having fun with friends and loving life. In one fateful moment, everything changed. A car accident left her paralysed from the chest down and shocked her into deep depression. She was on the brink of giving up. But gradually Jordan realised there is hope beyond utter devastation, and life beyond disability.Painstakingly re-learning how to apply her beloved make-up, Jordan began to rebuild her sense of self and empowerment. Her body may have been broken but her spirit was not. She is now a successful beauty blogger and her journey of positivity inspires millions around the world.MY BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE is the incredible true story of how one young woman overcame immense challenges, of inner strength that lies beneath outer beauty, of how to believe in yourself and find the light when it feels like all hope is gone.
The Most Beautiful
By Mayte Garcia
In The Most Beautiful, a title inspired by the hit song Prince wrote about their legendary love story, Mayte Garcia for the first time shares the deeply personal story of their relationship and offers a singular perspective on the music icon and their world together: from their unconventional meeting backstage at a concert (and the long-distance romance that followed), to their fairy-tale wedding (and their groundbreaking artistic partnership), to the devastating losses that ultimately dissolved their romantic relationship for good. Throughout it all, they shared a bond more intimate than any other in Prince's life. No one else can tell this story or can provide a deeper, more nuanced portrait of Prince--both the famously private man and the pioneering, beloved artist--than Mayte, his partner during some of the most pivotal personal and professional years of his career. The Most Beautiful is a book that will be returned to for decades, as Prince's music lives on with generations to come.
My Life with Wagner
By Christian Thielemann
'Idiosyncratic, humorous, enlightening and written by one of the finest conductors alive ... This is the book to buy if you are going to see Wagner or listen to him at home' LITERARY REVIEWOver a distinguished career conducting some of the world's finest orchestras, Christian Thielemann has earned a reputation as the leading modern interpreter of Richard Wagner. MY LIFE WITH WAGNER chronicles his ardent personal and professional engagement with the composer whose work has shaped his thinking and feeling from early childhood.Thielemann retraces his journey with Wagner - from Berlin to Bayreuth via Venice, Hamburg and Chicago. Next he takes each opera in turn, his appraisal illuminated by a deep affinity for the music, an intimate knowledge of the scores and the inside perspective of an outstanding practitioner. And yet for all the adulation Wagner's art inspires in him, Thielemann does not shy away from unpalatable truths about the man himself, explaining why today he is venerated and reviled in equal measure. The result is a richly rewarding read for admirers of a composer who continues to fascinate long after his death.
By Michael Coveney
'Coveney is the only writer who could get under Smith's skin, capturing her steeliness and vulnerability' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAYFrom her days as a star of West End comedy and revue, Dame Maggie's path has led to international renown and numerous accolades including two Academy Awards. Recently she has been as prominent on our screens as ever, with high-profile roles as the formidable Dowager Countess of Grantham in DOWNTON ABBEY, as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the HARRY POTTER movie franchise and as the eccentric Miss Shepherd in the film version of THE LADY IN THE VAN by Alan Bennett. Paradoxically she remains an enigmatic figure, rarely appearing in public and carefully guarding her considerable talent. Drawing on personal archives, interviews and encounters with the actress, as well as conversations with immediate family and dear friends, Michael Coveney's biography is a captivating portrait of the real Maggie Smith.
Making it Happen
By Carl Hester, Bernadette Hewitt
Carl Hester is one of the greatest ever equestrians, leading Great Britain to Gold Medal victory at the London 2012 Olympics. In these vibrant memoirs, he tells the incredible story of the passion for horse-riding which revolutionised his life and made him the champion he is today.Carl grew up on the remote Channel Island of Sark, moving to the UK mainland at the age of 16 to work with horses, mainly as a way to leave home. He could never have predicted what a great affinity he would have for dressage. Carl's career enjoyed a stratospheric rise as he progressed from working as a groom/rider to riding international dressage horses full time for renowned owners Dr and Mrs Bechtolsheimer, to training his own horses, and other top riders, to international success.Carl's early career revealed someone capable of monumental achievements. He provides a rare insight into both the people and the horses that drove him to victory, initially the skewbald mare Jolly Dolly on which he won the 1985 Young Riders Dressage Championship. During the early 1990s he rode in the World Championships, the European Championships and the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, becoming Great Britain's youngest ever rider to compete in the Games. His riding skills have increased with age, culminating in the hugely successful years as part of the Gold Medal teams that won the 2011 European Dressage Championships and, of course, that made history at London 2012. He achieved both feats on the same extraordinary horse, Uthopia, while as a trainer he produced the even more remarkable combination of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro.A first-class sportsman and a witty and engaging writer, Carl now offers his admirers the opportunity to read an intelligent, humorous and, above all, inspiring account of his life - from the ups and downs of his career to the motivations and techniques which have helped him to win 66 national titles, represent Team GB at four Olympic Games, two World Championships and seven European Championships, and become one of the best riders - and horsemen - in the world.
Margot at War
By Anne de Courcy
Margot Asquith was perhaps the most daring and unconventional Prime Minister's wife in British history. Known for her wit, style and habit of speaking her mind, she transformed 10 Downing Street into a glittering social and intellectual salon. Yet her last four years at Number 10 were a period of intense emotional and political turmoil in her private and public life. In 1912, when Anne de Courcy's book opens, rumblings of discontent and cries for social reform were encroaching on all sides - from suffragettes, striking workers and Irish nationalists. Against this background of a government beset with troubles, the Prime Minister fell desperately in love with his daughter's best friend, Venetia Stanley; to complicate matters, so did his Private Secretary. Margot's relationship with her husband was already bedevilled by her stepdaughter's jealous, almost incestuous adoration of her father. The outbreak of the First World War only heightened these swirling tensions within Downing Street. Drawing on unpublished material from personal papers and diaries, Anne de Courcy vividly recreates this extraordinary time when the Prime Minister's residence was run like an English country house, with socialising taking precedence over politics, love letters written in the cabinet room and gossip and state secrets exchanged over the bridge table. By 1916, when Asquith was forced out of office, everything had changed. For the country as a whole, for those in power, for a whole stratum of society, but especially for the Asquiths and their circle, it was the end of an era. Life inside Downing Street would never be the same again.
By John Hussey
John Churchill was born in 1650, the son of a defeated Cavalier captain, in a household which had been ravaged and rendered almost destitute by the English Civil War. Yet by the time of his death in 1722 he was among the richest men in the country, with a dukedom, a palace and a principality to call his own.His rise to power came through a combination of good luck, astute political manoeuvring, and a brilliance on the battlefield that made him easily the most successful general of his time. In this concise biography of the man and his military genius, John Hussey describes in detail the campaigns that made Marlborough famous: the 1704 campaign to save the Austrian empire, which culminated in the great victory of Blenheim, and the audacious invasion across Louis XIV's Ne Plus Ultra lines in 1711. These campaigns are put in the context of the times, to create a portrait of a man who is still celebrated as one of the world's greatest ever military commanders.
By Guillem Balague
The story of one of the greatest footballers of all time, Barcelona and Argentina's Lionel Messi.'I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentine football and his name is Messi' Diego MaradonaDespite all the fame and adulation, remarkably little is known about Lionel Messi, the modest and intensely private footballing genius. Just how did the boy from Rosario, Argentina, become the world's greatest player?Guillem Balague has had unprecedented access to Messi's inner circle: his coaches, team-mates and family. In addition, Pep Guardiola has provided exclusive analysis of the player. The result is an authoritative and compelling account of the wonderful mystery that is Messi.'I can tell my grandkids one day that I coached Lionel Messi' Pep Guardiola
By Colin Montgomerie
The autobiography of Colin Montgomerie, the triumphant Ryder Cup captain and one of Britain's most successful golfers.Colin Montgomerie is a golfing legend. Ranked Europe's No. 1 for an unparalleled seven years in a row, he is equally renowned as a player of great passion. The son of a keen Scottish golfing family, Colin was already showing his prodigious talent as a young boy. After completing his education in America, where he benefited from a golf scholarship, Colin turned professional in 1987, beginning a truly remarkable career.Even with more than 40 international tournament victories and eight European Order of Merit titles to his name, Monty is perhaps best known for his amazing contributions to the European Ryder Cup team, eight times as a player, winning five times and undefeated in singles, and most recently as a victorious European Ryder Cup captain, amid unforgettable scenes at Celtic Manor in October 2010.Montgomerie's autobiography is the story of both a fantastic talent and a complex personality, and of a golfer who remains determined to add to his already impressive achievements. It is a book about one of the greatest golfing characters in the world trying to achieve a personal and professional balance. And it is about a true hero of the Ryder Cup.
By A.P. McCoy
The fully updated autobiography of Tony 'A.P.' McCoy, Grand National and BBC SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR winner and unquestionably the greatest jump jockey ever.Tony 'A.P.' McCoy is without doubt the greatest and most successful jump jockey of all time. He has collected a record 16 consecutive jump-jockey titles to date, since 1992 he has ridden more than 3,000 winners, saying 'I never stop dreaming of the day I'll reach 4,000', and in 2002 he beat Sir Gordon Richards's record of 269 winners in a season by riding 289. In April 2010, A.P. achieved his lifelong ambition when he won the Grand National at Aintree on Don't Push It. It was his 15th attempt to win the race, a victory that captured the public's imagination and further enhanced a glittering career in which he had seemingly won all there was to win. It was the missing piece in the racing jigsaw for a champion jockey who had already had famous victories in the King George VI Chase, Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup.This powerfully honest autobiography looks at life at the very top in National Hunt racing, and includes the highs and lows of A.P. winning his second Gold Cup, in 2012 on Synchronised, fifteen years after his first, only to see the horse put down after a fall in that year's Grand National.These are the memoirs of a true champion, an icon of sport, whose astonishing achievements are unlikely to be surpassed. It is a great story of courage and modesty, pain and professional setbacks, strong family values and sporting triumphs, the good guy coming first - and staying there.
By H.F.M. Prescott
A highly-readable popular biography of 'Bloody Mary' - winner of the James Tait Black prize.Mary I is notorious for her persecution of Protestants and has been vilified by generations of partisan historians. H.F.M. Prescott brings a more humane and measured perspective to the life of this tormented woman. First published in 1940 under the title SPANISH TUDOR, Prescott's biography won the James Tait Black prize the following year. An extensively revised and updated edition was published in 1953 under the title MARY TUDOR.Prescott sums up her subject's life as follows: 'Perhaps no other reign in English history has seen such a great endeavour made, and so utterly defeated. All that Mary did was undone, all she intended utterly unfulfilled...mistaken often, almost always misguided in her public office, with much blindness, some rancour, some jealousy, some stupid cruelty to answer for, she had yet trodden, lifelong and manfully, the way that other sinners know.'
Memos from Purgatory
By Harlan Ellison
Hemingway said, "A man should never write what he doesn't know." In the mid-fifties, Harlan Ellison - kicked out of college and hungry to write - went to New York to start his writing career. It was a time of street gangs, rumbles, kids with switchblades and zip guns made from car radio antennas. Ellison was barely out of his teens himself, but he took a phony name, moved into Brooklyn's dangerous Red Hook section and managed to con his way into a "bopping club." What he experienced (and the time he spent in jail as a result) was the basis for the violent story that Alfred Hitchcock filmed as the first of his hour-long TV dramas...This autobiography is a book whose message you won't be able to ignore or forget.
By Nana Mouskouri
Nana Mouskouri, the Greek singer and one of the world's most popular entertainers, tells her life story for the first time.For more than 40 years Nana Mouskouri has been a global singing sensation, from her earliest childhood memories of mid-Thirties Greece to her unstoppable rise to the summit of her profession. She tells of life as a child, experiencing the horrors of war and privation, victimised by bitter parental discord, stigmatised by her father's fatal addiction to gambling.She was a shy inhibited teenager with a passion for singing, a girl compelled to choose between her love of classical music and her fascination with popular song. As a highly successful adult, she has been racked by uncertainty and the torments of love, a woman struggling to balance music - her raison d'etre - with her role as wife and mother.Here she describes the life of the star we all know, from her beginnings in the nightclubs of Athens to her triumphs on the world's most glittering stages. Nana launches us into her international tours, taking us to Canada, the United States, Japan and Australasia as well as every country in Europe. She describes how she fought to win over audiences everywhere. In Britain, for example, she enjoyed dazzling success after her first English album Over and Over was released. In quick succession, twenty-three of her titles appeared in the charts. In Australia, she achieved fourteen gold discs in 1974 alone.Hers is a rich and astonishing life, studded with exceptional encounters and friendships: the incomparable trumpeter Quincy Jones, a musician Nana had secretely worshipped since childhood, introduced her to the United States and became her producer; Yvonne Littlewood, the BBC producer, made Nana a leading star of British television in the 1960s and remains one of her closest friends. Queen Elizabeth II, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, and the Empress Farah Diba of Iran are among the galaxy of extraordinary figures who played a vital part in Nana's career. Intimate, rich in humanity and music, a spotlit global tour, Nana's book is an event.
Michael Buble: Crazy Life
By Olivia King
The long-awaited illustrated biography of Michael BubleMichael Buble is the most successful male artist in the world at the moment. Born in British Columbia to a family of Italian fishermen, music is in the family blood and it was Michael's grandfather first introduced him to the kind of music he would later make his own - Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Dean Martin and Elvis. Since his debut in 2003, he has sold 25 million albums, won two Grammys and multiple Junos, reached the top 5 in countries around the world as well as numerous number 1s, his concerts have been sell outs and he has cultivated a huge and loyal fanbase. Michael Buble is a music phenomenon and this beautifully designed biography will celebrate his success. Packed with stunning photographs and lavishly designed spreads charting his story - both personal and professional - and his meteoric rise to stardom, this book is a must-have for the millions of Michael Buble fans around the world.
My Life Behaving Badly
By Leslie Ash
The full and honest story from one of the UK's favourite celebrities, including her astonishing fightback from the superbug that nearly killed herLeslie Ash has been one of Britain's most popular actresses for many years now, having made her big break in the film 'Quadrophenia'. In the 1980s she starred in 'Cat's Eyes', but it is as Deb in 'Men Behaving Badly' that she is best known. Yet this hugely successful career is only a part of the story.Her marriage to Lee Chapman has been turbulent, as they lived (and partied) the celebrity lifestyle to the full. Viewed as a 'beaten' spouse, a blonde bimbo and the 'victim' of plastic surgery, she has been pigeon-holed by many but understood by few. Now, in her long-awaited memoirs, she tells the whole story from the day she first appeared on TV at four to advertise Fairy Liquid, through to her battle to recover from the superbug that nearly killed her and how it transformed her life and made her understand what is really important. Leslie now campaigns for better hygiene in hospitals. This is an astonishing, moving and yet very funny memoir.
By Nicholas Crane
A biography of the genius who mapped the world and for ever changed the face of the planet - by a bestselling author.Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) was born at the dawn of the Age of Discovery, when the world was beginning to be discovered and carved up by navigators, geographers and cartographers. Mercator was the greatest and most ingenious cartographer of them all: it was he who coined the word 'atlas' and solved the riddle of converting the three-dimensional globe into a two-dimensional map while retaining true compass bearings. It is Mercator's Projection that NASA are using today to map Mars. How did Mercator reconcile his religious beliefs with a science that would make Christian maps obsolete? How did a man whose imagination roamed continents endure imprisonment by the Inquisition? Crane brings this great man vividly to life, underlying it with colour illustrations of the maps themselves: maps that brought to a rapt public wonders as remarkable as today's cyber-world.
Moon River And Me
By Andy Williams
The remarkable life story of the legendary singer, from impoverished Iowa farm boy to superstardom.Andy Williams is one of the greatest singers of all time. During a remarkable career spanning eight decades, he has sold over 100 million albums, hosted a hugely successful TV show and worked with a roll-call of showbusiness legends. Now for the first time Andy tells the whole remarkable story.An Iowa farm boy who grew up during the Great Depression, Andy began performing at the age of seven as one quarter of the Williams Brothers. After going solo, he endured his wilderness years, barely scraping a living in 'rust-belt' supper clubs - to re-emerge as one of the greatest television and recording stars of his era. THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW topped TV ratings around the world, and a string of smash hits, including his signature tune 'Moon River', went on to earn him eighteen gold and three platinum discs.Still singing, still holding audiences in the palm of his hand, Andy Williams looks back on an extraordinary showbusiness life. Revelatory, honest, funny and touching, MOON RIVER AND ME is the inspiring autobiography of an icon.
By Martin Stannard
The long-awaited biography of one of the great writers of the twentieth century - 'a wonderful blend of scholarly fact and juicy storytelling' MAIL ON SUNDAY.Muriel Spark ended was one of the great writers of the twentieth century. Hers is a Cinderella story, the first thirty-nine years of which she presented in her autobiography, CURRICULUM VITAE (1992), politely blurring the intensity of her darker moments: her relations with her brother, mother, son, husband; a terrifying period of hallucinations and subsequent depression; and the disastrously misplaced love she had felt for two men she had wanted to marry, Howard Sergeant and Derek Stanford. Aged nineteen, Spark left Scotland to marry in Southern Rhodesia, escaping back to Britain on a troopship in 1944 after her divorce. Her son returned in 1945 to be brought up by her parents in Edinburgh while she established herself as a poet and critic in London. After becoming a Roman Catholic in 1954, she began a novel, THE COMFORTERS (1957), and with MEMENTO MORI, THE BALLAD OF PECKAM RYE and THE BACHELORS rose rapidly into the literary stratosphere. THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE (1961), with its adaptation into a successful stage-play and film, marked her full translation into international celebrity and from that point she went to live first in New York, then Rome, and finally Tuscany where for over thirty years, until her death in 2006, she shared a house with her companion, the artist Penelope Jardine.