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The Road to Wigan Pier

George Orwell (Author)

A searing account of George Orwell's observations of working-class life in the bleak industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire in the 1930s, The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time. His graphically unforgettable descriptions of social injustice, cramped slum housing, dangerous mining conditions, squalor, hunger and growing unemployment are written with unblinking honesty, fury and great humanity. It crystallized the ideas that would be found in Orwell's later works and novels, and remains a powerful portrait of poverty, injustice and class divisions in Britain.

Published with an introduction by Richard Hoggart in Penguin Modern Classics.

'It is easy to see why the book created and still creates so sharp an impact ... exceptional immediacy, freshness and vigour, opinionated and bold ... Above all, it is a study of poverty and, behind that, of the strength of class-divisions'
Richard Hoggart

Down and Out in Paris and London

George Orwell (Author)

George Orwell's vivid memoir of his time living among the desperately poor and destitute, Down and Out in Paris and London is a moving tour of the underworld of society.

'You have talked so often of going to the dogs - and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them.'

Written when Orwell was a struggling writer in his twenties, it documents his 'first contact with poverty'. Here, he painstakingly documents a world of unrelenting drudgery and squalor - sleeping in bug-infested hostels and doss houses of last resort, working as a dishwasher in Paris's vile 'Hôtel X', surviving on scraps and cigarette butts, living alongside tramps, a star-gazing pavement artist and a starving Russian ex-army captain. Exposing a shocking, previously-hidden world to his readers, Orwell gave a human face to the statistics of poverty for the first time - and in doing so, found his voice as a writer.

Orwell and the Dispossessed

George Orwell (Author) , Peter Davison (Edited by)

This volume brings together Orwell's powerful writings of his personal exepriences of poverty and life outside mainstream society. The complete texts of DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON is included.

The Road to Wigan Pier

George Orwell (Author) , Richard Hoggart (Introducer) , Peter Davison (Notes by)

A searing account of George Orwell's observations of working-class life in the bleak industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire in the 1930s, The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time. His graphically unforgettable descriptions of social injustice, cramped slum housing, dangerous mining conditions, squalor, hunger and growing unemployment are written with unblinking honesty, fury and great humanity. It crystallized the ideas that would be found in Orwell's later works and novels, and remains a powerful portrait of poverty, injustice and class divisions in Britain.

Published with an introduction by Richard Hoggart in Penguin Modern Classics.

'It is easy to see why the book created and still creates so sharp an impact ... exceptional immediacy, freshness and vigour, opinionated and bold ... Above all, it is a study of poverty and, behind that, of the strength of class-divisions'
Richard Hoggart

Automate This

Christopher Steiner (Author)

In Automate This, Christopher Steiner looks at how the rise of computerized decision making affects every aspect of business and daily life

These days, high-level tasks-such as diagnosing an illness or interpreting legal documents-are increasingly being handled by algorithms that can do precise work with speed and nuance. These "bots" started on Wall Street, but now their reach has spread beyond anything their original creators expected.

In this fascinating book, Steiner tells the story of how algorithms took over-and shows why the "bot revolution" is about to spill into every aspect of our lives. We meet bots that are driving cars, penning haikus, and writing music mistaken for Bach's. They listen in on customer service calls and figure out what Iran would do in the event of a nuclear standoff.

But what will the world look like when algorithms control our hospitals, our roads, our culture, and our national security? What happens to businesses when we automate judgment and eliminate human instinct? And what role will be left for doctors, lawyers, writers, truck drivers, and many others?

Romantic Fairy Tales

Carol Tully (Author)

The four works collected in this volume reveal the fascinating preoccupations of the German Romantic movement, which revelled in the inexplicable, the uncanny and the unknown and, especially, the mysterious world of the fairy tale. Goethe's richly imaginative Fairy Tale (1795) depicts an ethereal underground realm and the marriage of a beautiful man and woman, whose union heralds a new age. In Tieck's Eckbert the Fair (1797) two outsiders seek refuge in the solitude of dark woods to conceal their incestuous passion from the world, while in Fouque's Undine (1811) a water nymph falls in love and acquires a soul, and so discovers the reality of human suffering. And Brentano's Tale of Honest Casper and Fair Annie (1817) portrays the tragedy of a young couple, destroyed by a false sense of honour and pride.

Not On the Label

Felicity Lawrence (Author)

Felicity Lawrence's Sunday Times bestseller Not on the Label, updated with extraordinary new material on the horsemeat scandal

In 2004 Felicity Lawrence published her ground-breaking book, Not on the Label, where, in a series of undercover investigations she provided a shocking account of what really goes into the food we eat. She discovered why beef waste ends up in chicken, why a single lettuce might be sprayed six times with chemicals before it ends up in our salad, why bread is full of water. And she showed how obesity, the appalling conditions of migrant workers, ravaged fields in Europe and the supermarket on our high street are all intimately connected.

Her discoveries would change the way we thought about the UK food industry for ever. And, when the horsemeat scandal hit the headlines in 2013, her book seemed extraordinarily prescient once again. Now, in this new edition of her seminal work, Felicity Lawrence delves deeply into that scandal and uncovers how the great British public ended up eating horses.

'A brave examination of the calamities caused by a policy laughingly called one of 'cheap food'' Jeremy Paxman, Observer 'Book of the Year'

'Challenges each and every one of us to think again about what we buy and eat. It's almost like uncovering a secret state within the state' Andrew Marr, BBC Radio 4's Start The Week

'A thorough, complex and shocking insight into the food we eat in the twenty-first century . . . Perhaps this should be sold as the most effective diet book ever written' Daily Mail

Felicity Lawrence is an award-winning journalist and editor who has been writing on food-related issues for over twenty years. She lives in London.

Straight

Boy George (Author)

From his days as a club face alongside Philip Sallon, Marilyn and Steve Strange, through the years of global pop superstardom with Culture Club, his rebirth as a world-class DJ, as a leading light of musical theatre with the award-winning Taboo, a cutting edge photographer and a confrontational and acclaimed fashion designer, one of the many things you can say about George is: he's never stood still.

It's been one hell of a trip. A decade and a half ago, George was coming to terms with the fall-out from serious drug addiction, the failure of his relationship with Jon Moss and the collapse of Culture Club.For lesser men this would have been the end but for George it became the start of a period of remarkable reinvention.

Told with George's trademark biting wit, brutal honesty and sparkling insight, this book reveals the whole story, reappraising his rise to stardom and all the madness that followed.He talks about his solo singing career, his initiation into the dance music scene, and his role as the driving force behind theatrical sensation Taboo.George also discusses the achievement of the apparently impossible task of reuniting the famously fractious Culture Club.

It is only now, many years on from the glittering, glossy Eighties, that George makes an insightful and often hilarious assessment of the impact of that extraordinary era.

Patrimony

Philip Roth (Author)

Patrimony is a true story about the relationship between a father and a son.

Philip Roth watches as his eight-six-year-old father, famous for his vigour, his charm and his skill as a raconteur - lovingly called 'the Bard of Newark' - battles with the brain tumour that will kill him. The son, full of love, anxiety and dread, accompanies his father through each fearful stage of his final ordeal, and, as he does so, discloses the survivalist tenacity that has distinguished his father's long engagement with life. Written with fierce tenderness, Patrimony is a classic work of memoir by a master storyteller.

The Unthinkable

Amanda Ripley (Author)

It was 8.46 a.m. on 9/11 when Elia Zedeño, who had worked in the World Trade Center for twenty-one years, heard a booming explosion and felt the building lurch violently to the south. She grabbed her desk, taking her feet off the floor, and screamed, 'What's happening?'

How would you react to a disaster? Would you be paralysed with fear? Would you panic and lose control? Or might you suddenly discover hidden strengths in yourself?

In The Unthinkable, award-winning journalist Amanda Ripley investigates some of the most harrowing catastrophes in history in order to piece together exactly how we react in a crisis. Through compelling interviews with survivors and experts she uncovers our instinctive reactions, shows how primitive parts of our brains take over when we're put under pressure, and demonstrates that we can, in fact, train ourselves to do better.

We all have a 'disaster personality' that reveals itself at moments of crisis. In The Unthinkable you can become acquainted with yours.Who knows? One day, understanding how it works may save your life.

Where Willy Went

Nicholas Allan (Author)

Another timeless classic from the creator of Father Christmas Needs A Wee! and The Queen's Knickers.

Willy is a little sperm who lives inside Mr Browne. The trouble is, Willy is one of 300 million sperm and they all want the same prize - an egg. It's lucky Willy is such a good swimmer ...

Hilariously funny, warm, endearing and totally non-threatening - this small masterpiece presents the facts of life to young children in a unique but totally accessible way. A Godsend for any parent faced with awkward questions.

Robin Hood Will You Tolerate This?

Kirsty Neale (Author) , Richard Armitage (Read by)

Robin of Locksley returns from the crusades to find his people starving and oppressed by the new Sheriff of Nottingham. Under this tyrannical regime, the slightest crime attracts the heaviest punishment, and dissent is impossible. Robin soon discovers that the only way to reason with the Sheriff is with bow and arrow – even if it means sacrificing his lands and becoming an outlaw.... An action adventure read by Richard Armitage, who plays Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, and featuring Robin and his loyal band of brothers, as seen in the hit BBC TV series. This exciting new adaptation of the classic tale, starring Jonas Armstrong, is crammed with action, humour, wit and romance, bringing the legendary outlaw hero to life for a whole new generation. Also included is a bonus interview with Richard Armitage, giving an exclusive behind-the-scenes account of filming for the TV series.

2 CDs. 1 hr 31 mins.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Bernard O'Donoghue (Translator)

'Tomorrow I must set off to receive that blow, to seek out that creature in green, God help me!'

J.R.R. Tolkien spent much of his life studying, translating and teaching the great epic stories of northern Europe, filled with heroes, dragons, trolls, dwarves and magic. He was hugely influential for his advocacy of Beowulf as a great work of literature and, even if he had never written The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, would be recognised today as a significant figure in the rediscovery of these extraordinary tales.

Legends from the Ancient North brings together from Penguin Classics five of the key works behind Tolkien's fiction.They are startling, brutal, strange pieces of writing, with an elemental power brilliantly preserved in these translations.They plunge the reader into a world of treachery, quests, chivalry, trials of strength.They are the most ancient narratives that exist from northern Europe and bring us as near as we will ever get to the origins of the magical landscape of Middle-earth (Midgard) which Tolkien remade in the 20th century.

The Wanderer

Michael Alexander (Translator)

Part of a new series Legends from the Ancient North, The Wanderer tells the classic tales that influenced JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

'So the company of men led a careless life,
All was well with them: until One began
To encompass evil, an enemy from hell.
Grendel they called this cruel spirit...'

J.R.R. Tolkien spent much of his life studying, translating and teaching the great epic stories of northern Europe, filled with heroes, dragons, trolls, dwarves and magic. He was hugely influential for his advocacy of Beowulf as a great work of literature and, even if he had never written The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, would be recognised today as a significant figure in the rediscovery of these extraordinary tales.

Legends from the Ancient North brings together from Penguin Classics five of the key works behind Tolkien's fiction.They are startling, brutal, strange pieces of writing, with an elemental power brilliantly preserved in these translations.They plunge the reader into a world of treachery, quests, chivalry, trials of strength.They are the most ancient narratives that exist from northern Europe and bring us as near as we will ever get to the origins of the magical landscape of Middle-earth (Midgard) which Tolkien remade in the 20th century.

The Condition of the Working Class in England

Friedrich Engels (Author) , Victor Kiernan (Edited by)

This forceful polemic explores the staggering human cost of the Industrial Revolution in Victorian England. Engels paints an unforgettable picture of daily life in the new industrial towns, and for miners and agricultural workers in a savage indictment of the greed of the bourgeoisie. His later preface, written for the first English edition of 1892 and included here, brought the story up to date in the light of forty years' further reflection.

The Plagiarist in the Kitchen

Jonathan Meades (Author)

I adore Meades’s book . . . I want more of his rule-breaking irreverence in my kitchen.New York Times

The Plagiarist in the Kitchen is hilariously grumpy, muttering at us “Don’t you bastards know anything?” You can read it purely for literary pleasure, but Jonathan Meades makes everything sound so delicious that the non-cook will be moved to cook and the bad cook will cook better.’ David Hare, Guardian


The Plagiarist in the Kitchen is an anti-cookbook. Best known as a provocative novelist, journalist and film-maker, Jonathan Meades has also been called ‘the best amateur chef in the world’ by Marco Pierre White. His contention here is that anyone who claims to have invented a dish is delusional, dishonestly contributing to the myth of culinary originality.

Meades delivers a polemical but highly usable collection of 125 of his favourite recipes, each one an example of the fine art of culinary plagiarism. These are dishes and methods he has hijacked, adapted, improved upon and made his own. Without assuming any special knowledge or skill, the book is full of excellent advice. He tells us why the British never got the hang of garlic. That a purist would never dream of putting cheese in a Gratin Dauphinois. That cooking brains in brown butter cannot be improved upon. And why – despite the advice of Martin Scorsese’s mother – he insists on frying his meatballs.

Adorned with his own abstract monochrome images (none of which ‘illustrate’ the stolen recipes they accompany), The Plagiarist in the Kitchen is a stylish object, both useful and instructive. In a world dominated by health fads, food vloggers and over-priced kitchen gadgets, it is timely reminder that, when it comes to food, it’s almost always better to borrow than to invent.

A Practical Guide to Racism

C. H. Dalton (Author)

Meet C. H. Dalton, a professor of racialist studies and an expert on inferior people of all ethnicities, genders, religions, and sexual preferences. Presenting evidence that everyone should be hated, A Practical Guide to Racism contains sparkling bits of wisdom on such subjects as:

· The good life enjoyed by blacks, who shuffle through life unhindered by the white man's burdens, to become accomplished athletes, rhyme smiths, and dominoes champions
· The sad story of the industrious, intelligent Jews, whose entire reputation is sullied by their taste for the blood of Christian babies
· A close look at the bizarre, sweet-smelling race known as women, who are not very good at anything - especially ruling the free world
· A crucial manual to Arabs, a people so sensitive they are liable to blow up at any time. Literally.

Where Good Ideas Come From

Steven Johnson (Author)

Where do good ideas come from? And what do we need to know and do to have more of them? In Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson, one of our most innovative popular thinkers, explores the secrets of inspiration.

Steven Johnson has spent twenty years immersed in creative industries, was active at the dawn of the internet and has a unique perspective that draws on his fluency in fields ranging from neurobiology to new media. Why have cities historically been such hubs of innovation? What do the printing press and Apple have in common? And what does this have to do with the creation and evolution of life itself? Johnson presents the answers to these questions and more in his infectious, culturally omnivoracious style, using examples from thinkers in a range of disciplines - from Charles Darwin to Tim Berners-Lee - to provide the complete, exciting, and encouraging story of inspiration.

He identifies the five key principles to the genesis of great ideas, from the cultivation of hunches to the importance of connectivity and how best to make use of new technologies. Most exhilarating is his conclusion: with today's tools and environment, radical innovation is extraordinarily accessible to those who know how to cultivate it. By recognizing where and how patterns of creativity occur - whether within a school, a software platform or a social movement - he shows how we can make more of our ideas good ones.

Everything Bad is Good for You

Steven Johnson (Author)

We're constantly being told that popular culture is just mindless entertainment - but, as Steven Johnson shows in Everything Bad is Good for You, it's actually making us more intelligent.

Steven Johnson puts forward a radical alternative to the endless complaints about reality TV, throwaway movies and violent video games. He shows that mass culture - The Simpsons, Desperate Housewives, The Apprentice, The Sopranos, Grand Theft Auto - is actually more sophisticated and challenging than ever before.

When we focus on what our minds have to do to process its complex, multilayered messages, it becomes clear that it's not dumbing us down - but smartening us up.

'As witty as Seinfeld and as wise as ER'
  New Statesman

'Wonderfully entertaining'
  Malcolm Gladwell

'A vital, lucid exploration of the contemporary mediascape'
  Time Out

'A guru for Generation Xbox'
  Financial Times

'A must-read'
  Mark Thompson, former Director-General of the BBC

Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of Mind Wide Open, Where Good Ideas Come From, and Emergence: The Connected Lives Of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software, named as one of the best books of 2001 by Esquire, The Village Voice, Amazon.com, and Discover Magazine, and a finalist for the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Emergence

Steven Johnson (Author)

Steven Johnson's Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software is a fascinating look at how self-organising systems are changing the world.

  • Why do people cluster together in neighborhoods?
  • How do internet communities spring up from nowhere?
  • Why is a brain conscious even though no single neuron is?
  • What causes a media frenzy?

The answer, as Steven Johnson's groundbreaking book shows, is emergence: change that occurs from the bottom up. When enough individual elements interact and organize themselves, the result is collective intelligence - even though no-one is in charge. It is a phenomenon that exists at every level of experience, and will

revolutionize the way we see the world.

'Exhilarating'
  J.G. Ballard

'A dizzying, dazzling romp through fields as disparate as urban planning, computer-game design, neurology and control theory'
  Economist

'Mind-expanding ... intelligent, witty and tremendously thought-provoking ... Popular science books interesting enough to read twice don't come along all that often'
  Guardian

'Not just a fascinating quirk of science: it's the future'
  The New York Times

Steven Johnson is the author of the acclaimed books Everything Bad is Good for You, Mind Wide Open, Where Good Ideas Come From, Emergence and Interface Culture. His writing appeared in the Guardian, the New Yorker, Nation and Harper's, as well as the op-ed pages of The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is a Distinguished Writer In Residence at NYU's School Of Journalism, and a Contributing Editor to Wired.

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