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Dancer from the Dance

Andrew Holleran (Author)

‘An astonishingly beautiful book. The best gay novel written by anyone of our generation’ Harpers

‘A life changing read for me. Describes a New York that has completely disappeared and for which I longed - stuck in closed-on-Sunday's London’ Rupert Everett

Young, divinely beautiful and tired of living a lie, Anthony Malone trades life as a seemingly straight, small town lawyer for the disco-lit decadence of New York’s gay scene. An unbridled world of dance parties, saunas, deserted parks and orgies – at its centre Malone befriends the flamboyant queen, Sutherland, who takes this new arrival under his preened wing.

But for Malone, the endless city nights and Fire Island days, are close to burning out. It is love that Malone is longing for, and soon he will have to set himself free.

First published in 1978, Dancer from the Dance is widely considered the greatest, most exciting novel of the post-Stonewall generation. Told with wit, eroticism and unashamed lyricism, it remains a heart-breaking love letter to a lost city of hope, and a testament to the brilliance of our passions as they burn brightest.

'The story of youth and beauty and money and drugs. But overarchingly…the story of a new queer future’ Michael Cunningham

Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism

Kristen Ghodsee (Author)

The argument of this book can be summed up succinctly: unregulated capitalism is bad for women, and if we adopt some ideas from socialism, women will have better lives.

If done properly, socialism leads to economic independence, better labour conditions, better work/family balance, and, yes, even better sex.

That’s it. If you like the idea of such outcomes, then come along for an exploration of how we might change things.

If you are dubious because you don’t understand why capitalism as an economic system is uniquely bad for women, and if you doubt that there could ever be anything good about socialism, this short treatise will provide some illumination.

If you don’t give a whit about women’s lives because you’re a gynophobic right-wing internet troll, save your money and get back to your parents’ basement right now; this isn’t the book for you.

Galatea 2.2

Richard Powers (Author)

From one of America’s greatest writers, a thrilling and beautiful novel about why we make the choices we do – and, ultimately, about what makes us human

After many years of living abroad, a young writer returns to the United States to take up the position of Humanist-in-Residence at the Centre for the Study of Advanced Sciences. There he encounters Philip Lentz, an outspoken cognitive neurologist intent on using computers to model the human brain. Lentz involves the writer in an outlandish and irresistible project: to train a neural net by reading a canonical list of Great Books. Through repeated tutorials, the machine grows gradually more worldly, until it demands to know its own age, sex, race, and reason for existing...

The Gold Bug Variations

Richard Powers (Author)

From one of America’s greatest writers, an enthralling story about desire, new love and the mysteries of science

The Gold Bug Variations is a double love story of two young couples separated by a distance of twenty-five years. Stuart Ressler, a brilliant young molecular biologist, sets out in 1957 to crack the genetic code. His efforts are sidetracked by other, more intractable codes – social, moral, musical, spiritual – and he falls in love with a member of his research team. Years later, another young man and woman team up to investigate a different scientific mystery – why did the eminently promising Ressler suddenly disappear from the world of science? Strand by strand, these two love stories twist about each other in a double helix of desire.

Talking to My Daughter

Yanis Varoufakis (Author)

‘Why is there so much inequality?’ Xenia asks her father, the world-famous economist Yanis Varoufakis.

Drawing on memories of her childhood and a variety of well-known tales – from Oedipus and Faust to Frankenstein and The Matrix – Varoufakis explains everything you need to know in order to understand why economics is the most important drama of our times.

In answering his daughter’s deceptively simple questions, Varoufakis disentangles our troubling world with remarkable clarity, while inspiring us to make it a better one.

'Utterly accessible, deeply humane and startlingly original - a potent democratic tool at the perfect time' Naomi Klein

Seven Signs of Life

Aoife Abbey (Author)

Grief. Anger. Joy. Fear. Distraction. Disgust. Hope. All emotions we expect to encounter over our lifetime.

But what if this was every day? And what if your ability to manage them was the difference between life and death?

For a doctor in Intensive Care this is part of the job. Fear in the eyes of a terminally ill patient who pleads with you to not let them die. Grief when you make a potentially fatal mistake. Disgust at caring for a convicted rapist. But there are also moments of joy, like the rare bright spots of lucidity for a dementia patient, or when the ward unexpectedly breaks into song.

Dr Aoife Abbey shows us what a doctor sees of humanity as it comes through the revolving door of the hospital and takes us beyond a purely medical perspective. Told through seven emotions, Seven Signs of Life is about what it means to be alive and how it feels to care for a living.

Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days

Bill Clegg (Author)

What makes one of the most gifted, charismatic and successful young literary agents in New York fall into full-blown crack-addiction: a collapse that would cost him his business, his home, many of his friends and - very nearly - his life? In his utterly compulsive narrative, Bill Clegg leads us through the grimiest back-rooms of Manhattan's underbelly, through scenes of blank-eyed sex and squalor, into the febrile paranoia of a mind gone out of control.

Ninety Days begins where Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man ends - and tells the wrenching story of Bill Clegg's battle to reclaim his life. The goal is ninety: just ninety clean and sober days to loosen the hold of the addiction. But as any recovering addict knows, hitting rock bottom is just the beginning. . .

Published for the first time in one volume: Bill Clegg's unflinching account of the addiction that nearly ended everything.

The Story Of The Jews: Belonging 1492-1900

Simon Schama (Author)

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE

SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 BY THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, MAIL ON SUNDAY AND OBSERVER

Belonging is a magnificent cultural history abundantly alive with energy, character and colour. From the Jews’ expulsion from Spain in 1492 it tells the stories not just of rabbis and philosophers but of a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a boxer in Georgian England; a general in Ming China; an opera composer in nineteenth-century Germany. The story unfolds in Kerala and Mantua, the starlit hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California. It sails in caravels, rides the stage coaches and the railways; trudges the dawn streets of London, hobbles along with the remnant of Napoleon’s ruined army.


The Jewish story is a history that is about, and for, all of us. And in our own time of anxious arrivals and enforced departures, the Jews’ search for a home is more startlingly resonant than ever.

Shakespeare for Grown-ups

Elizabeth Foley (Author) , Beth Coates (Author)

Need to swot up on your Shakespeare?

Do you find yourself dozing off during A Winter’s Tale?
Can you complete the line: ‘O Romeo, Romeo…’?
Are you guilty of uttering the phrase ‘hoist with his own petard’ without really knowing what a ‘petard’ is?
Feeling a bit shaky when it comes to your knowledge of Shakespeare?

From the authors of the number-one bestselling Homework for Grown-ups, Shakespeare for Grown-ups is the essential book for anyone keen to deepen their knowledge of they plays and sonnets.

For parents helping with their children’s homework, casual theatre-goers who want to enhance their enjoyment of the most popular plays and the general reader who feels they should probably know more about Britain’s most splendid scribe, Shakespeare for Grown-ups covers Shakespeare's time; his personal life; his language; his key themes; his less familiar works and characters; his most famous speeches and quotations; phrases and words that have entered general usage, and much more.

With lively in-depth chapters on all the major works including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Antony and Cleopatra, Richard II, Henry V, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth, Shakespeare for Grown-ups is the only guide you’ll ever need.

Dawn of the New Everything

Jaron Lanier (Author)

Jaron Lanier, ‘the father of Virtual Reality … a high-tech genius’ (Sunday Times), tells the extraordinary story of how in just over three decades Virtual Reality went from being a dream to a reality – and how its power to turn dreams into realities will transform us and our world.

Virtual Reality has long been one of the dominant clichés of science fiction. Now Virtual Reality is a reality: those big headsets that make people look ridiculous, even while radiating startled delight; the place where war veterans overcome PTSD, surgeries are trialled, aircraft and cities are designed. But VR is far more interesting than any single technology, however spectacular. It is, in fact, the most effective device ever invented for researching what a human being actually is – and how we think and feel.

More than thirty years ago, legendary computer scientist, visionary and artist Jaron Lanier pioneered its invention. Here, in what is likely to be one of the most unusual books you ever read, he blends scientific investigation, philosophical thought experiment and his memoir of a life lived at the centre of digital innovation to explain what VR really is: the science of comprehensive illusion; the extension of the intimate magic of earliest childhood into adulthood; a hint of what life would be like without any limits.

As Lanier shows, we are standing on the threshold of an entirely new realm of human creativity, expression, communication and experience. While we can use VR to test our relationship with reality, it will test us in return, for how we choose to use it will reveal who we truly are.

Welcome to a mind-expanding, life-enhancing, world-changing adventure.

Cuz

Danielle Allen (Author)

'Devastating' J. M. Coetzee, Winner of the Man Booker Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature

Aged 15 and living in LA, Michael Allen was arrested for a botched carjacking. He was tried as an adult and sentenced to thirteen years behind bars. After growing up in prison Michael was then released aged 26, only to be murdered three years later.

In this deeply personal yet clear-eyed memoir, Danielle Allen reconstructs her cousin’s life to try and understand how this tragedy was the end result. We become intimate with Michael’s experience, from his first steps to his first love, and with the events of his arrest, his coming of age in prison, and his attempts to make up for lost time after his release. We learn what it’s like to grow up in a city carved up by invisible gang borders; and we learn how a generation has been lost.

With breathtaking bravery and intelligence, Cuz circles around its subject, viewing it from all angles to expose a shocking reality. The result is both a personal and analytical view of a life that wields devastating power.

This is the new American tragedy.

Unwinnable

Theo Farrell (Author)

A Sunday Times Book of the Year

It could have been a very different story.

British and US forces could have successfully withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2002, having done the job they set out to do: to defeat al-Qaeda and stop it from launching further terrorist attacks against the West. Instead, in the years that followed, the British paid a heavy price for their presence in Helmand province; and when Western troops departed from Afghanistan in 2014, they had failed to stop a Taliban resurgence.

Drawing on unprecedented access to military reports and government documents, as well as hundreds of interviews, Farrell demonstrates conclusively that the West's failure to understand the dynamics of local conflict in the country, and to tackle Afghan government corruption, meant that the war was unwinnable.

Late Essays

J M Coetzee (Author)

A fascinating collection of essays on literary subjects ranging from Daniel Defoe to Samuel Beckett by a Nobel and Booker Prize-winning writer

Late Essays gathers together J.M. Coetzee’s literary essays from 2006 to 2017. The subjects covered in this stunning collection range from Daniel Defoe in the early eighteenth century to Coetzee’s contemporary Philip Roth. Coetzee has had a long-standing interest in German literature and here he engages with the work of Goethe, Hölderlin, Kleist and Walser. There are four fascinating essays on fellow Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett and he looks at the work of three Australian writers: Patrick White, Les Murray and Gerald Murnane. There are essays too on Tolstoy’s great novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich, on Flaubert’s masterpiece Madame Bovary, and on the Argentine modernist Antonio Di Benedetto.

The Wife

Meg Wolitzer (Author)

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING GLENN CLOSE

A husband. A wife. A secret. Behind any great man, there’s always a greater woman.

Joe and Joan Castleman are on an aeroplane, 35,000 feet above the ocean. Joe is thinking about the prestigious literary prize he is about to receive and Joan is plotting how to leave him. For too long Joan has played the role of supportive wife, turning a blind eye to his misdemeanours, subjugating her own talents and quietly being the keystone of his success.

The Wife is an acerbic and astonishing take on a marriage from its public face to the private world behind closed doors. Wolitzer has masterfully created an expose of lives lived in partnership and the truth that behind the compromises, dedication and promise inherent in marriage there so often lies a secret...

White Chrysanthemum

Mary Lynn Bracht (Author)

'Look for your sister after each dive. Never forget. If you see her, you are safe.'

Hana and her little sister Emi are part of an island community of haenyo, women who make their living from diving deep into the sea off the southernmost tip of Korea.

One day Hana sees a Japanese soldier heading for where Emi is guarding the day’s catch on the beach. Her mother has told her again and again never to be caught alone with one. Terrified for her sister, Hana swims as hard as she can for the shore.

So begins the story of two sisters suddenly and violently separated by war. Moving between Hana in 1943 and Emi as an old woman today, White Chrysanthemum takes us into a dark and devastating corner of history — and two women whose love for one another is strong enough to triumph over the evils of war.

Queens of the Conquest

Alison Weir (Author)

Full of passion and betrayal, murder and war, the first volume of an epic new series from bestselling historian Alison Weir, bringing five of England's medieval queens to life.

A Daily Telegraph Book of the Year

Love, murder, war, betrayal

This is the story of the five extraordinary queens who helped the Norman kings of England rule their dominions. Recognised as equal sharers in the royal authority, their story is packed with tragedy, high drama, even comedy.

Heroines, villains, stateswomen, lovers

Beginning with Matilda of Flanders, who supported William the Conqueror in his invasion of England in 1066, and culminating in the turbulent life of the Empress Maud, whoc claimed to be queen of England in her own right and fought a bitter war to the end, the five Norman queens are revealed as hugely influential figures and fascinating characters.

In Alison Weir's hands, these pioneering women reclaim their rightful roles at the centre of English history.

The Accordionist

Fred Vargas (Author) , Sian Reynolds (Translator)

SHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA INTERNATIONAL DAGGER 2018

When two Parisian women are murdered in their homes, the police suspect young accordionist Clément Vauquer. As he was seen outside both of the apartments in question, it seems like an open-and-shut case.

Desperate for a chance to prove his innocence, Clément disappears. He seeks refuge with old Marthe, the only mother figure he has ever known, who calls in ex-special investigator Louis Kehlweiler.

Louis is soon faced with his most complex case yet and he calls on some unconventional friends to help him. He must show that Clément is not responsible and solve a fiendish riddle to find the killer...

The Children Act

Ian McEwan (Author)

Fiona Maye, a leading High Court judge, renowned for her fierce intelligence and sensitivity is called on to try an urgent case. For religious reasons, a seventeen-year-old boy is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life. Time is running out.

She visits the boy in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. But it is Fiona who must ultimately decide whether he lives or dies and her judgement will have momentous consequences for them both.

The Hungry Empire

Lizzie Collingham (Author)

'A wholly pleasing book, which offers a tasty side dish to anyone exploring the narrative history of the British Empire' Max Hastings, Sunday Times

WINNER OF THE GUILD OF FOOD WRITERS BOOK AWARD 2018

The glamorous daughter of an African chief shares a pineapple with a slave trader… Surveyors in British Columbia eat tinned Australian rabbit… Diamond prospectors in Guyana prepare an iguana curry…

In twenty meals The Hungry Empire tells the story of how the British created a global network of commerce and trade in foodstuffs that moved people and plants from one continent to another, reshaping landscapes and culinary tastes. The Empire allowed Britain to harness the globe’s edible resources from cod fish and salt beef to spices, tea and sugar.

Lizzie Collingham takes us on a wide-ranging culinary journey, revealing how virtually every meal we eat still contains a taste of empire.

Fatal Sunset

Jason Webster (Author)

In the hills above Valencia is a notorious nightclub called Sunset. When its larger-than-life owner, Jose Luis, dies suddenly, everyone assumes it was a heart attack.

Meanwhile, all is not well for Max Cámara at HQ. His new boss, Rita Hernández, has it in for him and his idiosyncratic methods. He must abandon a complex investigation to check out what looks like a routine death at Sunset. But an anonymous phone call suggests otherwise, leading him to an unholy network of drug dealers, priests and shady officials protecting a dark government secret.

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