New books

Women Talking About Cars

Victoria Coren Mitchell (and others)

Victoria Coren Mitchell interviews Dawn French, Olivia Colman, Sarah Millican and Germaine Greer in this new four-part BBC Radio 4 series. Using cars as a 'vehicle' for sharing memories, Victoria and guests take a comic look at life, love, sex, work, childhood, adulthood and adventure. At the heart of the show is an exploration of what cars symbolise to women today, including freedom, power, refuge, novelty and familiarity. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC Radio Theatre, Women Talking About Cars offers a fresh and funny new perspective on the lives of four amazing women. Duration: 2 hours approx.

Collective Choice and Social Welfare

Amartya Sen

Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen's first great book, now reissued in a fully revised and expanded second edition

'Can the values which individual members of society attach to different alternatives be aggregated into values for society as a whole, in a way that is both fair and theoretically sound? Is the majority principle a workable rule for making decisions? How should income inequality be measured? When and how can we compare the distribution of welfare in different societies?'

These questions, from the citation by the Swedish Academy of Sciences when Amartya Sen was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, refer to his work in Collective Choice and Social Welfare, the most important of all his early books. Originally published in 1970, this classic work in welfare economics has been recognized for its ground-breaking role in integrating economics and ethics, and for its influence in opening up new areas of research in social choice, including aggregative assessment. It has also had a large influence on international organizations, including the United Nations, particularly in its work on human development. In its original version, the book showed that the 'impossibility theorems' in social choice theory-led by the pioneering work of Kenneth Arrow-need not be seen as destructive of the possibility of reasoned and democratic social choice.

Sen's ideas about social choice, welfare economics, inequality, poverty and human rights have continued to evolve since the book's first appearance. This expanded edition, which begins by reproducing the 1970 edition in its entirety, goes on to present eleven new chapters of new arguments and results. As in the original version, the new chapters alternate between non-mathematical chapters completely accessible to all, and those which present mathematical arguments and proofs. The reader who prefers to shun mathematics can follow all the non-mathematical chapters on their own, to receive a full, informal understanding. There is also a substantial new introduction which gives a superb overview of the whole subject of social choice.

The Penny Dreadfuls: Volume 1

David Reed (and others)

The Penny Dreadfuls examine the life of Guy Fawkes, undertake a satirical version of the French Revolution and turn their comic eye towards Hereward the Wake

The Penny Dreadfuls – Humphrey Ker, David Reed and Thom Tuck – are a comedy trio who specialise in retelling historical events in their own, inimitable way. In these riotous revisionist plays, they present alternative takes on three famous tales, ably assisted by guests including Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Marek Larwood, Justin Edwards, Miles Jupp, Richard E Grant, and Sally Hawkins.

Guy Fawkes: What exactly are we supposed to remember on the 5th of November? The Penny Dreadfuls take a fresh look at the build-up to and aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot. Starring Kevin Eldon as Guy.

Revolution: The Penny Dreadfuls tell the epic story of the French Revolution – including the execution of the King and the slaughter of thousands at the guillotine – in just one hour, with jokes. Starring Richard E Grant as Robespierre and Sally Hawkins as Marie-Therese.

Hereward the Wake: Why has this Englishman, responsible for leading the fight against the occupation of William The Conqueror, been forgotten? The Penny Dreadfuls explain how the story didn't end when they ran out of embroidery cotton on the Bayeux Tapestry...

Produced by Julia McKenzie.

The Penny Dreadfuls: Volume 2

David Reed (and others)

Comedy trio The Penny Dreadfuls recount the story of the much-maligned Macbeth, revisit Odysseus’ epic journey and reveal the truth behind Darwin’s famous voyage

The Penny Dreadfuls – Humphrey Ker, David Reed and Thom Tuck – are a comedy trio who specialise in retelling historical events in their own, inimitable way. In these riotous revisionist plays, they present alternative takes on three famous tales, ably assisted by guests including Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Lolly Adefope, Robert Webb and Susan Calman.

Macbeth Rebothered: It’s the Scottish Play, but not as we know it: The Penny Dreadfuls present a rebooted version of the classic story that paints the noble King in a very different light. Starring Greg McHugh as Macbeth and Susan Calman as the Narrator.

The Odyssey: The Penny Dreadfuls take on Homer's tale of Odyseuss's epic journey home from the Trojan Wars and the incredible monsters and enchantress he encounters en route. Starring Robert Webb as Odysseus.

The Curse of the Beagle: In 1831, a 22-year-old Charles Darwin set sail on HMS Beagle for a five-year voyage that changed the course of his life. He later published his stories of the trip, but in this reimagining The Penny Dreadfuls uncover the untold story that Darwin kept to himself.

Produced by Julia McKenzie.

Clean Beauty

Dominika Minarovic (and others)

Join the clean beauty revolution that’s taking the nation by storm and discover the delights of making your own beauty products in the comfort of your own home. Gone are the days of paying a premium for fancy-pants moisturizers and toners, whose ingredients read like a chemistry lesson. The Clean Beauty girls challenge you to take control over what you put on your skin and hair by making it yourself!

Green and clean beauty is growing up, and the London-based Clean Beauty Co are leading the way with luxury beauty recipes packed full of only the good stuff. Scrub that bad day away with a coffee body scrub, or take a long restorative bath with a coconut milk soak. Perhaps you fancy fixing those split ends with a banana split hair mask. Whatever the problem, the Clean Beauty girls have a homemade recipe that you can whip up in no time. So what are you waiting for? Join the revolution today!

The Happiness Equation

Neil Pasricha

What’s the formula for a happy life?

Neil Pasricha is a Harvard MBA, a Walmart executive, a New York Times–bestselling author, and a husband and dad. After selling more than a million copies of his Book of Awesome series, he now shifts his focus from observation to application.

In The Happiness Equation, Pasricha illustrates how to want nothing, do anything, and have everything. If that sounds like a contradiction, you simply haven’t unlocked the 9 Secrets to Happiness.

Each secret takes a common ideal, flips it on its head, and casts it in a completely new light. Pasricha then goes a step further by providing step-by-step guidelines and hand-drawn scribbles that illustrate exactly how to apply each secret to live a happier life today.

Controversial? Maybe. Counterintuitive? Definitely.

The Happiness Equation will teach you such principles as:
· Why success doesn’t lead to happiness
· How to make more money than a Harvard MBA
· Why multitasking is a myth
· How eliminating options leads to more choice

Insane Clown President

Matt Taibbi

One of the most important voices in contemporary American journalism - Independent

Matt Taibbi is one of the few journalists in America who speaks truth to power - Bernie Sanders

Matt Taibbi is the best polemic journalist in America - Felix Salmon



"The thing is, when you actually think about it, it's not funny. Given what's at stake, it's more like the opposite, like the first sign of the collapse of the United States as a global superpower. Twenty years from now, when we're all living like prehistory hominids and hunting rats with sticks, we'll probably look back at this moment as the beginning of the end."


In this groundbreaking battery of dispatches from the heartland of America, Matt Taibbi tells the full story of the Trump phenomenon, from its tragi-comic beginnings to the apocalyptic election. Full of sharp, on-the-ground reporting and gallows humour, his incisive analysis goes beyond the bizarre and disturbing election to tell a wider story of the apparent collapse of American democracy. Taibbi saw the essential themes right from the start: the power of spectacle over truth; the end of a shared reality on the left and right; the nihilistic rebellion of the white working class; the death of the political establishment; and the emergence of a new, explicit form of white nationalism.

From the thwarted Bernie Sanders insurgency to the aimless Hillary Clinton campaign, across the flailing media coverage and the trampled legacy of Obama, this is the story of ordinary voters forced to bear witness to the whole charade. At the centre of it all, "a bumbling train wreck of a candidate who belched and preened his way past a historically weak field" who, improbably, has taken control of the world's most powerful nation.

This is essential and hilarious reading that explores how the new America understands itself, and about the future of the world just beyond the horizon.

Bernard Buffet

Nicholas Foulkes

It is said that asphyxiation brings on a state of hallucinatory intoxication...in which case the 71 year old artist who lay in his sprawling Provencal villa died happy. In the early afternoon of Monday 4 October 1999, wracked with Parkinson's, and unable to paint because of a fall in which he had broken his wrist, Bernard Buffet calmly placed a plastic bag over his head, taped it tight around his neck and patiently waited the few minutes it took for death to arrive.

Bernard Buffet:The Invention of the Modern Mega-artist tells the remarkable story of a French figurative painter who tasted unprecedented critical and commercial success at an age when his contemporaries were still at art school. Then, with almost equal suddenness the fruits of fame turned sour and he found himself an outcast. Scarred with the contagion of immense commercial success no leper was more untouchable. He was the first artist of the television age and the jet age and his role in creating the idea of a post-war France is not to be underestimated. As the first of the so-called Fabulous Five (Francoise Sagan, Roger Vadim, Brigitte Bardot and Yves Saint Laurent) he was a leader of the cultural revolution that seemed to forge a new France from the shattered remains of a discredited and demoralized country.

Rich in incident Buffet’s remarkable story of bisexual love affairs, betrayal, vendettas lasting half a century, shattered reputations, alcoholism, and drug abuse, is played out against the backdrop of the beau monde of the 1950s and 1960s in locations as diverse as St Tropez, Japan, Paris, Dallas, St Petersburg and New York, before coming to its miserable conclusion alone in his studio.

Coming soon

The Bughouse

Daniel Swift

In 1945, the American poet Ezra Pound was due to stand trial for treason for his broadcasts in Fascist Italy during the Second World War.

Before the trial could take place, however, he was pronounced insane. Escaping a possible death sentence, he was sent to St Elizabeths Hospital near Washington, DC, where he was held for over a decade.

At the hospital, Pound was at his most infamous, and most contradictory. He was a genius and a traitor; a great poet and a madman. He was also an irresistible figure and, in his cell on Chestnut Ward and in the elegant hospital grounds, he was visited by the major poets and writers of his time. T. S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, John Berryman, Charles Olson and Frederick Seidel all went to sit with him. They listened to him speak, and wrote of what they had seen. This was perhaps the world’s most unorthodox literary salon: convened by a fascist, held in a lunatic asylum, with chocolate brownies and mayonnaise sandwiches served for tea.

Pound continues to divide all who read and think of him. At the hospital, the doctors who studied him and the poets who learned from him each had a different understanding of this wild and most difficult man. Tracing Pound through the eyes of his visitors, The Bughouse tells the story of politics, madness and modern art in the twentieth century.

The Airbnb Story

Leigh Gallagher

In 2008, two broke art school graduates and their coder-whiz friend set up a platform that – in less than a decade – became the largest provider of accommodations in the world. Now valued at $30 billion, Airbnb is in the very top tier of Silicon Valley’s ‘unicorn’ startups.
Yet the company has not been without controversy – disrupting a $500 billion hotel industry makes you a few enemies. This is also a story of regulators who want to shut it down, hotel industry leaders who want it to disappear and neighbourhoods that struggle with private homes open for public rental. But beyond the headlines and the horror stories, Airbnb has changed the terms of travel for a whole generation – where a sense of belonging has built trust between hosts and guests seeking a more original travel experience that hotels have struggled to replicate.
This is the first, definitive book to tell the remarkable story behind Airbnb in all its forms – cultural zeitgeist, hotel disruptor, enemy to regulators – and the first in-depth character study of its leader Brian Chesky, the company’s curious co-founder and CEO. It reveals what got Airbnb where it is today, why they are nothing like Uber, and where they are going next.

The Female Lead

Edwina Dunn (and others)

Sixty inspirational women, from many walks of life. All have changed the world in a variety of fields. Among them are politicians and artists, journalists and teachers, engineers and campaigners, fire fighters and film stars. Together they form an arresting gallery of portraits, each one illustrated with original photography by Brigitte Lacombe.

Some have led their professions; some have broken new ground for women; some have inspired changes through relentless endeavour. All were chosen for their ambitions and achievements and all tell their stories in their own words.

For girls, it can be hard to identify role models in our society. This book will help and inspire women everywhere to realize their hopes and ambitions.

You Are the Universe

Deepak Chopra (and others)

In this book, that combines cutting edge science with real world applications, Chopra and Kafatos redefine our nature of reality and what is possible.

Here they ask 9 questions:

What Came Before the Big Bang?
Why Does the Universe Fit Together So Perfectly?
Where Did Time Come From?
What Is the Universe Made Of?
Is There Design in the Universe?
Is the Quantum World Linked to Everyday Life?
Do We Live in a Conscious Universe?
How Did Life First Begin?
Does the brain create the mind?

You Are The Universe offers answers that open up new possibilities for all of us to lead more fruitful, peaceful and successful lives.

Deaths of the Poets

Michael Symmons Roberts (and others)

From Chatterton’s Pre-Raphaelite demise to Keats’ death warrant in a smudge of arterial blood; from Dylan Thomas’s eighteen straight whiskies to Sylvia Plath’s desperate suicide in the gas oven of her Primrose Hill kitchen or John Berryman’s leap from a bridge onto the frozen Mississippi, the deaths of poets have often cast a backward shadow on their work.

The post-Romantic myth of the dissolute drunken poet – exemplified by Thomas and made iconic by his death in New York – has fatally skewed the image of poets in our culture. Novelists can be stable, savvy, politically adept and in control, but poets should be melancholic, doomed and self-destructive. Is this just a myth, or is there some essential truth behind it: that great poems only come when a poet's life is pushed right to an emotional knife-edge of acceptability, safety, security? What is the price of poetry?

In this book, two contemporary poets undertake a series of journeys – across Britain, America and Europe – to the death places of poets of the past, in part as pilgrims, honouring inspirational writers, but also as investigators, interrogating the myth. The result is a book that is, in turn, enlightening and provocative, eye-wateringly funny and powerfully moving.

The Vaccine Race

Meredith Wadman

Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant; there was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated foetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia, using tissue extracted from an aborted foetus from Sweden, produced safe, clean cells that allowed the creation of vaccines against rubella and other common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a devastating German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would one day wipe out homegrown rubella. The rubella vaccine and others made with those foetal cells have protected more than 150 million people in the United States, the vast majority of them preschool children. The new cells and the method of making them also led to vaccines that have protected billions of people around the world from polio, rabies, chicken pox, measles, hepatitis A, shingles and adenovirus.

Meredith Wadman’s masterful account recovers not only the science of this urgent race, but also the political roadblocks that nearly stopped the scientists. She describes the terrible dilemmas of pregnant women exposed to German measles and recounts testing on infants, prisoners, orphans and the intellectually disabled, which was common in the era. These events take place at the dawn of the battle over using human foetal tissue in research, during the arrival of big commerce in campus labs, and as huge changes take place in the laws and practices governing who 'owns' research cells and the profits made from biological inventions. It is also the story of yet one more unrecognized woman whose cells have been used to save countless lives.

With another frightening virus imperilling pregnant women on the rise today, no medical story could have more human drama, impact, or urgency today than The Vaccine Race.

The Best of Adam Sharp

Graeme Simsion

The heart warming new novel from Graeme Simsion, the international bestselling author of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect

Can you define your life by a single song?

Adam Sharp - former pianist in a hip Melbourne bar, now a respectable IT consultant in Norwich - can. And it's 'You're Going to Lose that Girl' . . .

On the cusp of fifty and a happy introvert, Adam is content. He's the music expert at his local pub-quiz and he and his partner Claire rumble along. Life may not be rock n' roll, but neither is it easy listening. Yet something has always felt off-key.

And that's his nostalgia for what might have been, his blazing affair - more than twenty years ago, on the other side of the world - with Angelina Brown, a smart and sexy, strong-willed actress who taught him for the first time, as he played piano and she sang, what it meant to find - and then lose - love. How different might his life be if he hadn't let her walk away?

Then, out of nowhere, Angelina gets in touch. Adam has sung about second chances, but does he have the courage to believe in them?

The Best of Adam Sharp is about growing old and feeling young, about happy times and sad memories, about staying together and drifting apart, but most of all, it's about how the music we make together creates the soundtrack that shapes our lives.

Rock My Wedding

Charlotte O'Shea

Just like you, your wedding day will be personal, one-of-a-kind, and completely unique. We're not here to tell you what you should do to make your day perfect, only that you can do it.

With advice and guidance on the individual aspects to consider when planning your wedding day - from where to begin and recommended questions to ask your supplier, to plenty of alternative decor ideas - we hope that you'll find inspiration, reassurance and a little bit of escapism in these pages as you embark on planning one of the most special and joyful days of your lives.