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Stories from the Kitchen

Diana Secker Tesdell (Edited by)

Stories from the Kitchen is a mouth-watering smorgasbord of stories with food in the starring role, by a rich variety of authors from Dickens, Chekhov and Saki to Isak Dinesen, Jim Crace and Amy Tan. The menu includes choice titbits from famous novels: the triumphant boeuf en daube served in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, Proust's rhapsodic memories of watching the family cook prepare asparagus in Remembrance of Things Past, Zola's extravagant 'cheese symphony' scene from The Belly of Paris.

Here are over-the-top amuse-bouches by Gerald Durrell, Nora Ephron and T. C. Boyle; a short story by famous food writer M. F. K. Fisher; and a delightful account of the perfect meal by eighteenth-century epicure Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, who famously said 'Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.'

Bedtime Stories

Diana Secker Tesdell (Edited by)

As Scheherazade proved long ago, good stories make the best bedtime entertainment. The tales collected here represent the essence of the storyteller's art, with its ancient roots in fantastical legends and tales told around a fire. From the surreal night visions of Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'Young Goodman Brown' to the unspeakable horror that haunts two little girls in A. S. Byatt's 'The Thing in the Forest', from Washington Irving's comical 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' to Ursula K. LeGuin's sly perspective on Sleeping Beauty in 'The Poacher', these spellbinding stories transform the stuff of fables and fairy tales into high art. Robert Louis Stevenson, H. G. Wells, Isak Dinesen, Vladimir Nabokov, Angela Carter, Haruki Murakami and many more mingle their voices in this one-volume gateway to dreams - the perfect bedside companion for fiction lovers everywhere

Shaken and Stirred

Diana Secker Tesdell (Edited by)

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.

Horse Stories

Diana Secker Tesdell (Edited by)

Horse Stories corrals two centuries of short fiction about the most majestic of domesticated animals. From writers old and new come stories of magnificent stallions, broken-down nags, racehorses, ponies, cowboy's steeds, workhorses, and beloved companions, in a wide variety of literary styles. Rudyard Kipling transports us the polo fields of India, Bret Harte to the ranches of the Wild West. Arthur Conan Doyle makes a famous thoroughbred disappear (or does he?), while Saki spins an amusing yarn about a notorious bolter. Isaac Babel tells of the horrors of war; Raymond Carver has a vision of runaway horses in the mist; Ted Hughes, Margaret Atwood and Jane Smiley explore the human passions horses can unleash. From the rollicking racetrack humour of Damon Runyon to the poignant lyricism of John Steinbeck, these stories testify to our varied and timeless fascination with the noblest of animals. A perfect gift.

Christmas Stories

Diana Secker Tesdell (Author)

As a literary subject, Christmas has inspired everything from intimate domestic dramas, to fanciful flights of the imagination, and the full range of its expression is represented in this wonderfully engaging collection. Goblins frolic in the graveyard of an early Dickens tale; a love-struck ghost disrupts a country estate in Elizabeth Bowen's 'Green Holly'; devils, witches, Cossacks and peasants cavort in Gogol's 'The Night Before Christmas'. The plight of the less fortunate haunts Chekhov's 'Vanka' and Willa Cather's 'The Burglar's Christmas', but takes a boisterously comic turn in Damon Runyon's 'Dancing Dan's Christmas' and John Cheever's 'Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor'. From Nabokov's intensely moving story of a father's grief in 'Christmas' to Truman Capote's hilarious yet heartbreaking 'A Christmas Memory', from Grace Paley's Jewish girl in the Christmas pageant in 'The Loudest Voice' to the dysfunctional family ski holiday in Richard Ford's 'Creche' - each of the stories is imbued with Christmas spirit of one kind or another, and all are richly and indelibly entertaining.

Paris Stories

Shaun Whiteside (Edited by)

In the eighteenth century, Laurence Sterne explores the temptations of the French capital in a teasing study of foreign mores and Restif de la Bretonne provides an eye-witness account of the Revolution. From the 1800s, Hugo, Balzac, Flaubert, and Zola offer fascinating portraits of the city's teeming humanity; the Goncourt brothers chronicle the explosion of artistic talent; Huysmans describes an evening at the Folies Bergère. Colette chronicles the pitfalls for a young girl in the decadent city of the early twentieth century; F. Scott Fitzgerald revels in the city's glamour; Jean Rhys's lost heroines wander from café to café; James Baldwin celebrates its sexual freedoms; and Raymond Queneau gleefully reinvents the language of the street. In our time, Michel Tournier's North African immigrant walks a camel along the boulevards, while Nobel Laureate Patrick Modiano brilliantly maps the city's many arrondissements. The alluring power of Paris has never dimmed and it is richly captured in all its facets in these compelling and seductive tales.

Stories of Fatherhood

Diana Secker Tesdell (Edited by)

This wide-ranging anthology pays tribute to fathers young and old. At one end of the spectrum, a touching story by Ann Packer tells of a man preparing for the wonder and terror of his first child’s birth, and from Frank O’Connor’s comes a hilarious tale of a small boy’s war against his paternal rival in ‘My Oedipus Complex’. At the other, John Updike’s ‘My Father’s Tears’ and Jim Shepard’s ‘The Mortality of Parents’ bring us face to face with a loss that is like no other. Maupassant, Kakfa, Nabokov, Edith Wharton, Raymond Carver, Graham Swift, Julian Barnes, Helen Simpson …all these and more offer a wonderful assortment of fictional takes on the paternal bond.

Fishing Stories

Henry Hughes (Edited by)

Fishing Stories nets an abundant catch of wonderful writing in a wide variety of genres and styles. The moods range from the rollicking humour of Rudyard Kipling’s “On Dry-Cow Fishing as a Fine Art” and the rural gothic of Annie Proulx’s “The Wer-Trout” to the haunting elegy of Norman Maclean’s “A River Runs Through It.”

Many of these tales celebrate human bonds forged over a rod, including Guy de Maupassant’s “Two Friends,” Jimmy Carter’s “Fishing with My Daddy,” and Ernest Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden. Some deal in reverence and romance, as in Roland Pertwee’s “The River God,” and some in adventure and the stuff of legend, as in Zane Grey’s “The First Thousand-Pounder” and Ron Rash’s “Their Ancient Glittering Eyes.” There are works that confront head-on the heartbreaks and frustrations of the sport, from Thomas McGuane’s meditation on long spells of inaction as the essence of fishing in “The Longest Silence” to Raymond Carver on a boy’s deflated triumph in the gut-wrenching masterpiece “Nobody Said Anything.” And alongside the works of literary giants are the memories of people both great and humble who have found meaning and fulfillment in fishing, from a former American president to a Scottish gamekeeper’s daughter.

Whether set against the open ocean or tiny mountain streams, in ancient China, tropical Tahiti, Paris under siege, or the vast Canadian wilderness, these stories cast wide and strike deep into the universal joys, absurdities, insights, and tragedies of life.

Rome Stories

Jonathan Keates (Edited by)

During its three-thousand-year history Rome has been an imperial metropolis, the capital of a nation and the spiritual core of a great world religion. For writers from antiquity to the present, however, the place holds an alternative significance as a realm of fantasy, aspiration and desire. Captivating and lethal at one and the same moment, its fatal gift of beauty both transfigures and betrays those in thrall to it. Rome Stories explores the city's fateful impact through the writing of classical historians, a Renaissance sculptor, 18th-century tourists, American, British and French novelists and the authors of modern Rome, each testing and unravelling the city's ageless paradoxes. Gibbon admires the Last of the Tribunes, Goethe decodes the mysteries of the Carnival and Stendhal's subversive aristocrats mingle revolution with a little cross-dressing amid their gilt mirrors and frescoed ceilings From Plutarch to Pasolini, from Hawthorne to Wharton, the city of Caesars and popes, of dreamers, chancers and hustlers confronts the questing imagination with its eternally unflinching gaze.

Stories of Art & Artists

Diana Secker Tesdell (Author)

Stories of Art and Artists gathers two centuries of stories from around the world. From Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Artist of the Beautiful” and Albert Camus’s “The Artist at Work” to Bernard Malamud’s “Rembrandt’s Hat” and Aimee Bender’s “The Color Master,” the tales collected here range from haunting fables about the power of art to vivid portraits of those who create.
Featured art forms include sculpture, pottery, architecture, miniatures, landscapes, portraits, and abstract painting, illumined in brilliant stories by such great writers as Honoré de Balzac, Hermann Hesse, Franz Kafka, Marguerite Yourcenar, John Berger, William Boyd, Doris Lessing, Valerie Martin, Julian Barnes, Orhan Pamuk, and A. S. Byatt. Writers have long been fascinated by the idea of artistic genius, the relationship between portraits and their subjects, the inspirational role of muses, and the effects on artists of ambition, failure, and success. Their dazzling literary evocations of the visual arts—using one art form to reflect on another—make Stories of Art and Artists an irresistible gift for lovers of art of all kinds.

Love Stories

Diana Secker Tesdell (Author)

Love Stories brings together a captivating assortment of short stories inspired by romantic entanglement in its many forms: first love, infatuation, obsession, unrequited love, marriage, adultery, jealousy, and the complicated bonds of those who have spent their lives together.
An array of writers evoke a variety of moods, from the raw, erotic passion of Lawrence and Colette to the wickedlycynical comedy of Dorothy Parker and Roald Dahl; from the agonizing madness of jealousy in Nabokov's 'That in Aleppo Once ...' to romantic illusions in Scott Fitzgerald's 'Winter Dreams'. Objects of passion range from a glamorous silent-movie star in Elizabeth Bowen's haunting 'Dead Mabelle' to a faithful ghost in Kawabata's 'Immortality' and a successful heart surgeon and serial husband in Margaret Atwood's 'Bluebeard's Egg'. Jhumpa Lahiri plumbs the depths of a couple sundered by tragedy while Lorrie Moore movingly portrays a husband and wife brought together by it.
Katherine Mansfield, Tobias Wolff and William Trevor explore the intricacies of long-term relationships, while Maupassant, Calvino and T. C. Boyle convey the elemental force of love in extremely different ways.
Together these nineteen stories make an enticing gift for lovers at any stage of life. Perfect for Valentine's Day.

London Stories

London has the greatest literary tradition of any city in the world. Its roll-call of story-tellers includes cultural giants who changed the way the world thought about writing, like Shakespeare, Defoe and Dickens. But there has also been an innumerable host of writers who have sought to capture the essence of London and what it meant for the people who lived there or were merely passing through. They found a city of boundless wealth and ragged squalor, of moving tragedy and riotous joy; and they faithfully transcribed what they saw and felt in the stories they told of London town.
They are stories of fact and fiction and occasionally something in between. Some voices will be familiar to many readers and others practically unknown. But all give us insights into these writers’ very varied Londons; and all tell their stories gratifyingly well.

Authors include John Evelyn, Thomas de Quincey, W. M. Thackeray, Henry Mayhew, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, George Gissing, J. B. Priestley, Jean Rhys, Graham Greene, Muriel Spark, Maeve Binchy, Doris Lessing, Hanif Kureishi and Shena Mackay.

Stories of Motherhood

Diana Secker-Tesdell (Edited by)

In this beautifully packaged anthology A. S. Byatt, Alice Munro, Elizabeth Bowen, Sherwood Anderson, Edith Wharton, Anita Desai, Colm Tóibín, Lorrie Moore and many others reflect upon all aspects of motherhood in stories lyrical and satirical, realistic and fantastic, hilarious and heartbreaking. Here at last is a gift-book that is neither sentimental nor 'inspirational', offering instead high-quality literary fiction which will continue to entertain long after the chocolates have been eaten and the flowers thrown away.

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