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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Unseen

Reggie Yates (Author)

From Grange Hill to Top of the Pops, Reggie Yates has been on camera nearly all of his life, but it’s as a documentary filmmaker – and a pretty fearless one at that – where he has truly been making his mark, investigating everything from gun crime in Chicago, to life as a refugee in Iraq.

In his first book, Unseen, Reggie takes us behind the scenes on his journey from TV host to documentary storyteller. Using some of the key moments and extreme circumstances he has found himself in, Reggie examines what he has learned about the world, and himself as a person.

Beginning as a brief exploration of Reggie’s relationship with the camera and life growing up on screen, Unseen explores the journey Reggie has taken in the documentary world. Initially resistant to documentary making, Reggie was convinced his point of view as a young black working class man with a history in music, children’s TV and entertainment would not make his films remotely credible. Through conflict and challenges on screen, the understanding gained from the very thing once seen as a weakness would become his strength on camera, as the eye of the everyman and voice of the audience. Unseen unpicks the stories behind the fascinating characters and situations Reggie encounters across a series of films, as well as chronicling the personal growth through each testing shoot for Yates himself.

Regarding the Pain of Others

Susan Sontag (Author)

Regarding the Pain of Others is Susan Sontag's searing analysis of our numbed response to images of horror.

From Goya's Disasters of War to news footage and photographs of the conflicts in Vietnam, Rwanda and Bosnia, pictures have been charged with inspiring dissent, fostering violence or instilling apathy in us, the viewer. Regarding the Pain of Others will alter our thinking not only about the uses and meanings of images, but about the nature of war, the limits of sympathy, and the obligations of conscience.

'Powerful, fascinating. Sontag is our outstanding contemporary writer in the moralist tradition' Sunday Times

'A coruscating sermon on how we picture suffering' The New York Times

'A far-reaching set of ruminations on human suffering, the nature of goodness, the lures, deceptions and truth of images . . . in short, a summary of what it means to be alive and alert in the twentieth century' Independent

'Sontag is on top form: firing devastating questions' Los Angeles Times

'Simple, elegant, fiercely persuasive' Metro

One of America's best-known and most admired writers, Susan Sontag was also a leading commentator on contemporary culture until her death in December 2004. Her books include four novels and numerous works of non-fiction, among them Regarding the Pain of Others, On Photography, Illness as Metaphor, At the Same Time, Against Interpretation and Other Essays and Reborn: Early Diaries 1947-1963, all of which are published by Penguin. A further eight books, including the collections of essays Under the Sign of Saturn and Where the Stress Falls, and the novels The Volcano Lover and The Benefactor, are available from Penguin Modern Classics.

Dear Zari

Zarghuna Kargar (Author)

Dear Zari gives voice to the secret lives of women across Afghanistan and allows them to tell their stories in their own words: from the child bride given as payment to end a family feud; to a life spent in a dark, dusty room weaving carpets; to a young girl brought up as a boy; to life as a widow shunned by society. Compelling and enlightening, Dear Zari uncovers the reality of life in Afghanistan in stories that are by turn heart-breaking and uplifting.

The Fall of the House of Murdoch

Peter Jukes (Author)

Structured around the fourteen days in 2011, from the moment the News of the World's hacking of the phone of a murdered 13-year-old schoolgirl was exposed, The Fall of the House of Murdoch is a riveting account of the scandal that closed the world's best-selling English-language newspaper, forced one of the most powerful families in the world to appear before Parliament and finally prompted Murdoch's departure from the UK newspaper world he dominated for three decades.

But the book covers more than just Hackgate. It is a forensic expose of News Corp's culture, through the early days in Australian media, the purchase of the News of the World, the Sun and the Times group, the Wapping move to the move into satellite broadcasting and the creation of the Fox Network. Exhaustively researched and fully sourced, The Fall of the House of Murdoch is a morality tale for our times, a family drama played out on a world stage and required reading for anyone seeking to understand the hidden connections that bind politics, business and culture together.

A Separate Creation

Chandler Burr (Author)

In August 1991 newspaper headlines around the world announced an amazing discovery: a difference in the brains of heterosexuals and homosexuals. In 1993 American scientists claimed they had discovered a gay gene. Sexual orientation, it now seems, is not a choice, not a disease nor a faddish whim, but a fundamental biological part of who we are.

Chandler Burr's ground-breaking work is the first and only comprehensive look at this revolutionary new science, biology on the farthest edges of current scientific practice. A Separate Creation: How Biology Makes Us Gay takes us into laboratories where researchers are using incredible technologies to discover what makes us straight or gay. From studies of male rats that ovulate and a species of African animal in which the female has a penis, to the political fire-storm surrounding the claim of a gay gene, from a new silicon chip made of human DNA that could discern the sexual orientation of the foetus in a woman's womb, to a working theory that homosexuality is a genetic/bacterial condition that could be 'cured' with an antibiotic, Burr explores this fascinating and often ethically ambiguous territory with clarity and an objective eye.

Things I've Been Silent About

Azar Nafisi (Author)

In Azar Nafisi's personal story of growing up in Iran, she shares her memories of a life lived in thrall to a powerful and complex mother, against the background of a country's political revolution.

Nafisi's intelligent and complicated mother, disappointed in her dreams of leading an important and romantic life, created mesmerising fictions about herself, her family, and her past. But her daughter soon learned that these narratives of triumph hid as much as they revealed. When her father began to see other women, young Azar began to keep his secrets from her mother. Nafisi's complicity in these childhood dramas ultimately led her to resist remaining silent about other personal - as well as political, cultural, and social - injustices.

Things I've Been Silent About is also a powerful historical picture of a family that spans the many periods of change leading up to the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79. This unforgettable portrait of a woman, a family, and a troubled homeland is a new triumph from a modern master of the memoir.

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