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‘Most people I know who have read anything by Curtis Sittenfeld would read anything else the woman wrote, me included’ The Times
The title story of this first collection by Curtis Sittenfeld is about a married woman who flirts with a man she meets at parties, playfully putting into words the bitchy things she guesses he's thinking about their fellow guests.But she is in for a shock when, in time, she finds out what was really in his mind. The Nominee sees Hillary Clinton confessing her surprising true feelings about a woman journalist who has interviewed her over the years. In Gender Studies, a visiting academic sleeps with her taxi driver, for all the wrong reasons.
The theme that unites these stories is how even clever people tend to misread others, and how much we deceive ourselves. Sharp and tender, funny and wise, this collection shows Sittenfeld’s knack for creating real, believable characters that spring off the page, while also skewering contemporary mores with dazzling dry wit.
We are living in the anthropocene – an epoch where everything is being determined by the activities of just one soft-skinned, warm-blooded, short-lived, pedestrian species. How best to live in the ruins that we have made?
This anthology of commissioned work tries to answer this as it explores new and enduring cultural landscapes, in a celebration of local distinctiveness that includes new work from some of our finest writers. We have memories of childhood homes from Adam Thorpe, Marina Warner and Sean O’Brien; we journey with John Burnside to the Arizona desert, with Tim Ingold to the Canadian Arctic; going from Tessa Hadley’s hymn to her London garden to caving in the Mendips with Sean Borodale to shell-collecting on a Suffolk beach with Julia Blackburn.
Helen Macdonald, in her remarkable piece on growing up in a 50-acre walled estate, reflects on our failed stewardship of the planet: ‘I take stock,’ she says, ‘During this sixth extinction, we who may not have time to do anything else must write now what we can, to take stock.’ This is an important, necessary book.
'Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four. If that is granted, all else follows.'
This selection of George Orwell’s writing, from both his novels and non-fiction, gathers together his thoughts on the subject of truth. It ranges from discussion of personal honesty and morality, to freedom of speech and political propaganda. Orwell’s unique clarity of thought and illuminating scepticism provide the perfect defence against our post-truth world of fake news and confusion.
'The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.'
Includes an introduction by Alan Johnson and passages from Burmese Days, The Road to Wigan Pier, Coming Up for Air, The Lion and the Unicorn, Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell’s letters, war-time diary, criticism and essays including ‘Fascism and Democracy’, ‘Culture and Democracy’, ‘Looking Back on the Spanish War’, ‘As I Please’, ‘Notes on Nationalism’, ‘The Prevention of Literature’, ‘Politics and the English Language’ and ‘Why I Write’.
For more than forty years I have collected and read travel books... I marked passages that enthused me and so gathered a library that was annotated by triangular corner-folds and barely decipherable jottings. This was my own inadvertent wool-gathering...
Scraps of Wool is a celebration of travel writing, bringing together in a single volume passages that have enthralled generations of readers, encouraged them to dream of exploration and set off on journeys of their own.
Compiled by Bill Colegrave, its excerpts have been selected by today’s travel writers and journalists, who have revealed the books that influenced them: Dervla Murphy, Tony Wheeler, Rory MacLean, Pico Iyer, Jan Morris, Colin Thubron, Artemis Cooper, Sara Wheeler, Alexander Frater and many more.
Each of these scraps is a document of the writer’s passion for place – thick equatorial jungle, the soft ergs of the Sahara, Patagonian steppe – and each story, each memory will transport you to a different corner of the globe, and maybe even inspire you to plan your own great adventure.
An indelible portrait of one of the most famous and beloved authors in the canon of American literature – a collection of letters between Harper Lee and one of her closest friends that reveals the famously private writer as never before, in her own words.
The violent racism of the American South drove Wayne Flynt away from his home in Alabama, but the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s classic novel about courage, community and equality, inspired him to return in the early 1960s and craft a career documenting and teaching Alabama history. His writing resonated with many, in particular three sisters: Louise, Alice and Nelle Harper Lee. The two families first met in 1983, and a mutual respect and affection for the state’s history and literature matured into a deep friendship between them.
Wayne Flynt and Nelle Harper Lee began writing to one other while she was living in New York – heartfelt, insightful and humorous letters in which they swapped stories, information and opinions on topics including their families, books, social values, health concerns and even their fears and accomplishments. Though their earliest missives began formally – ‘Dear Dr Flynt’ – as the years passed, their exchanges became more intimate and emotional, opening with ‘Dear Friend’ and closing with ‘I love you, Nelle.’
This is a remarkable compendium of a correspondence that lasted for a quarter century – until Harper Lee’s death in February 2016 – and it offers an incisive and compelling look into the mind, heart and work of one of the most beloved authors in modern literary history.
How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?
Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?
Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.
Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.
Published: 6 Apr 2017
Perhaps no fairy tale is as widely known as 'Beauty and the Beast' - and perhaps no fairy tale exists in as many variations. Nearly every culture tells the story in one fashion or another - such cultural phenomena as The Fault in Our Stars and Me Before You are recent examples - and it is impossible to find one version that laid the foundation for the rest. From Cupid and Psyche, India's Snake Bride to South Africa's 'Story of Five Heads', the partnering of beast and beauties has beguiled us for thousands of years.
In this fascinating volume preeminent fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar brings together tales from ancient times to the present and from a wide variety of cultures.
Published: 30 Mar 2017
Published: 2 Mar 2017
Philip Hensher (Edited by)
'A bold anthology ... alive with provocations and insights' John Carey, Sunday Times
'The Boy-scouts mistook my signal, and have killed the postman. I've had very little practice in this sort of thing, you see'
The British short story tradition is probably the richest, most varied and historically extensive in the world. This new anthology celebrates the full diversity and energy of its writers, subjects and tones, from the story's origins with Defoe, Swift and Fielding, to the 'golden age' of the fin de siècle and Edwardian period, ending with the First World War. Including the most famous authors as well as some magnificent, little-known stories never republished since their first appearance in magazines and periodicals, these stories are by turns topical and playful, ghostly and theatrical, rumbustious and sublime.
Edited with an introduction by Philip Hensher
Philip Hensher (Edited by)
'Eclectic, entertaining ... almost all British, if not human, life is here' Boyd Tonkin, Independent
'Mind-stretching, heart-breaking, beautifully-crafted fiction' Claire Harman, Evening Standard
'She would tear the house down - shatter the windows, slash the furniture, flood the baths, fire the curtains!'
Hilarious, exuberant, surreal, subtle, tender, brutal, spectacular and above all unexpected: this extraordinary selection celebrates the British short story from the 1920s to the present day. From Angela Carter to V. S. Pritchett, Elizabeth Taylor to J. G. Ballard, Ali Smith to a host of little-known works from magazines and periodicals, and including tales of air-raids, phone sex, snobbery, modern-day slavery, grief, desire, the familiar and the strange, here is the short story in all its limitless possibilities.
Edited and with an introduction by Philip Hensher, the award-winning novelist, critic and journalist.
'Man perishes; his corpse turns to dust; all his relatives pass away. But writings make him remembered'
In ancient Egypt, words had magical power. Inscribed on tombs and temple walls, coffins and statues, or inked onto papyri, hieroglyphs give us a unique insight into the life of the Egyptian mind. For this remarkable new collection, Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson has freshly translated a rich and diverse range of ancient Egyptian writings into modern English, including tales of shipwreck and wonder, first-hand accounts of battles and natural disasters, obelisk inscriptions, mortuary spells, funeral hymns, songs, satires and advice on life from a pharaoh to his son. Spanning over two millennia, with many pieces appearing in a general anthology for the first time, this is the essential guide to a complex, sophisticated culture.
Translated with an introduction by Toby Wilkinson
In this lively collection, wine snobs receive their comeuppance at the hands of Roald Dahl and Edgar Allan Poe; innocents over-imbibe in tales by Jack London and Alice Munro; riotous partying exacts a comic price in stories by P. G. Wodehouse and Kingsley Amis; Charles Jackson and Jean Rhys chronicle liquor-soaked epiphanies; while John Cheever, Vladimir Nabokov and Robert Coover set their characters afloat on surreal, soul-revealing adventures. Here, too, are well-lubricated tales by Dickens, Twain, Beckett, Colette, Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Doris Lessing, Frank O'Connor, Penelope Lively, and many more.
The settings include hotels and restaurants, a wine cellar in Italy, a café in Paris, a bar in Dublin, a New York nightclub, Jazz Age speakeasies, suburban lawn parties and the occasional gaol cell, and are peopled by lovers and loners, barmen and chorus girls, youths taking their first sips and experienced tipplers nursing hangovers.
Whether living it up or drowning their sorrows, the vividly drawn characters in these sparkling pages will leave you shaken and stirred.
Published: 7 Jul 2016
Lucy Popescu (Edited by)
A Country of Refuge is a poignant, thought-provoking and timely anthology of writing on asylum seekers from some of Britain and Ireland’s most influential voices.
Compiled and edited by human rights activist and writer Lucy Popescu, this powerful collection of short fiction, memoir, poetry and essays explores what it really means to be a refugee: to flee from conflict, poverty and terror; to have to leave your home and family behind; and to undertake a perilous journey, only to arrive on less than welcoming shores.
These writings are a testament to the strength of the human spirit. The contributors articulate simple truths about migration that will challenge the way we think about and act towards the dispossessed and those forced to seek a safe place to call home.
‘A powerful, and frequently harrowing, collection … I read it with fascination’ – Penelope Lively
‘A beautiful insight into the painful individuality of the refugee’ – Jon Snow
Erica Wagner (Edited by)
For more than 50 years, Alan Garner has enraptured generations of readers with works like The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Owl Service, Red Shift, and The Stone Book Quartet. Described by Philip Pullman as 'the most important British writer of fantasy since Tolkein', Alan Garner has inspired readers and writers alike.
Now, in celebration of his 80th birthday, comes First Light. A collaboration by many of the acclaimed writers, artists, archaeologists and historians he has influenced over the years, this anthology includes original contributions from David Almond, Margaret Atwood, John Burnside, Susan Cooper, Helen Dunmore, Stephen Fry, Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Garner, Paul Kingsnorth, Katherine Langrish, Helen Macdonald, Robert Macfarlane, Gregory Maguire, Neel Mukherjee, Philip Pullman, Ali Smith, Elizabeth Wein, Michael Wood, and many, many more.
Whether a literary essay, a personal response to Alan's work, a memory of the first time they read his work, or a story about the man himself, each piece is a tribute to his remarkable impact.
Edited by the acclaimed literary journalist and novelist, Erica Wagner, First Light is a striking collection that will touch the heart of anyone who grew up reading the works of Alan Garner.
When Toby Little was five years old, he decided to write to someone in every country in the world.
With the help of his mum, Toby started handwriting and posting letters to everyone from research scientists in Antarctica to game-keepers in Chad and even the Pope. Not only did Toby achieve his goal but the world wrote back.
Dear World, How Are You? is a collection of the most fascinating and heart-warming letters he sent and received. It shows that the world is only as big as your imagination and is full of potential friends, waiting to be discovered, no matter where you live.
Published: 4 Feb 2016
‘O tell me the truth about love.’ W.H. Auden
Many of the most popular works in the English language celebrate love in all its forms: that heady first flush, the agony of heartbreak, joyful reunions, the love of a parent for a child… And what better way to share these beautiful pieces than to read them aloud, to someone you love?
Research has shown that being read to makes us healthier and happier, it enriches our hearts and minds. Bring real pleasure with poetry and prose, favourites and new discoveries, especially chosen to be shared. Read ‘Our places by the fire place’ to a parent, ‘My love is come to me’ to a partner, ‘Most near, most dear’ to a child or ‘A need to reach out sometimes’ to a friend. Discover Haruki Murakami’s quirky take on love at first sight and, alongside it, enjoy the immortal wisdom of Walt Whitman.
‘Reading aloud is pleasure. Pure pleasure.’ Stephen Fry
‘Reading aloud is an activity that everyone can take part in. It sharpens the intellect, invigorates the imagination and enlarges the scope of human sympathy. If we all read aloud every day, the world would be a better place.’ Philip Pullman
The publisher is donating all royalties from this book to The Reader, the leading UK agency for reading and health.
Conceived expressly for Aveek Sarkar, the Chief Editor of the Ananda Bazar Group of Publications and indisputably one of the most prominent personalities in the journalism, publishing and media industries of India, Honoris Causa is a unique anthology of essays whose subject matter is as varied as the interests and enthusiasms of the man for whom these pieces were written.
From literature and the arts to academia and the sciences to history and biography, the selections found within this volume reveal an extraordinary intellectual terrain, explored by contributors who are not only among Aveek's circle of friends and acquaintances, but also some of the world's most respected experts in their fields.
With essays by David Bell, Harold Evans, Amitav Ghosh, Charles Gray, Mahan Mj, Pratapaditya Pal, Fiona Ross, Alexis Sanderson, Marjorie Scardino and Brian Sutton and a foreword by John Makinson.
Published: 10 Dec 2015
Sebastian Faulks (Edited by) , Hope Wolf (Edited by)
Edited by the bestselling author of Birdsong and Dr Hope Wolf, this is an original and illuminating non-fiction anthology of writing on the First World War.
A lieutenant writes of digging through bodies that have the consistency of Camembert cheese; a mother sends flower seeds to her son at the Front, hoping that one day someone may see them grow; a nurse tends a man back to health knowing he will be court-martialled and shot as soon as he is fit.
In this extraordinarily powerful and diverse selection of diaries, letters and memories, the testament from ordinary people whose lives were transformed are set alongside extracts from names that have become synonymous with the war, such as Siegfried Sassoon and T.E. Lawrence. A Broken World is an original collection of personal and defining moments that offer an unprecedented insight into the Great War as it was experienced and as it was remembered.