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.
MANTRAS AND MISDEMEANORS
By Vanessa Walker
Vanessa Walker went to the home of the Dalai Lama to explore her religion through the eyes of its people. She wasn't there looking for love, let alone a husband, and she certainly didn't plan on falling pregnant to a disrobed Tibetan monk. But sometimes karma works in mysterious ways ¿Nestled in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, McLeod Ganj is a place of quiet beauty and surprising violence, where reality has the wide-open sense of a dream. It is a place where a government consults an ancient oracle for matters of importance, where monasteries flourish and people believe wholeheartedly in the truth of miracles.Full of contradictions, McLeod Ganj is also a place where monks wear the latest Nike trainers, where the Dalai Lama's brother struggles with his own inner demons, and where a divided town must choose between protesting the death sentence of a much-loved monk or joining a pelvis-thrusting gangsta-rapping Tibetan and his bevy of beauties at the Miss Tibet beauty pageant.Tumultuous and funny, insightful and poignant, Mantras and Misdemeanors is a compelling and lyrical journey to the heart of Tibetan Buddhism.