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The Secret Doctor

The Secret Doctor (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 an elderly person dies alone. Disgust at having to care for a convicted rapist. But there’s also the hope found in the resilience of a family and the joy that comes with a meaningful connection with a patient, however fleeting it may be.

These real stories reveal what a doctor sees of humanity as it comes through the revolving door of the hospital. Told through seven emotions that we can all empathise with, this book from the British Medical Association’s own Secret Doctor gives us a unique window onto the other side of a hospital experience, showing us how it feels to care for a living.

This Is Just My Face

Gabourey Sidibe (Author)

This Is Just My Face is the whirlwind tour of Gabourey Sidibe’s life so far. In it, we meet her polygamous father, her gifted mother who fed the family by busking on the subway, and the psychic who told her she’d one day be ‘famous like Oprah’.

Gabby shows us round the Harlem studio apartment where she grew up, relives the debilitating depression that hit her at college, and reminisces about her first ever job as a phone sex ‘talker’ (less creepy than you’d think).

With exhilaratingly honest (and often hilarious) dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight, This Is Just My Face will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different - and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true.

Wrestling with the Devil

Ngugi wa Thiong'o (Author)

Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s powerful prison memoir begins half an hour before his release on 12 December 1978. A year earlier, he recalls, armed police arrived at his home and took him to Kenya’s Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. There, Ngugi lives in a block alongside other political prisoners, but he refuses to give in to the humiliation. He decides to write a novel in secret, on toilet paper – it is a book that will become his classic, Devil on the Cross.

Wrestling with the Devil is Ngugi’s unforgettable account of the drama and challenges of living under twenty-four-hour surveillance. He captures not only the pain caused by his isolation from his family, but also the spirit of defiance and the imaginative endeavours that allowed him to survive.

Deaths of the Poets

Michael Symmons Roberts (Author) , Paul Farley (Author)

From Dylan Thomas’s eighteen straight whiskies to Sylvia Plath’s desperate suicide in the gas oven of her Primrose Hill kitchen; from Chatterton’s Pre-Raphaelite demise to Keats’ death warrant in a smudge of arterial blood, the deaths of poets have often cast a backward shadow on their work.

The post-Romantic lore of the dissolute drunken poet has fatally skewed the image of poets in our culture. Novelists can be stable, savvy, politically adept and in control, but poets should be melancholic, doomed and self-destructive. Is this just an illusion , or is there some essential truth behind it? What is the price of poetry?

In this book, two contemporary poets embark on a series of journeys to the death places of poets of the past, in part as pilgrims, but also as investigators, interrogating the myth.

The Bughouse

Daniel Swift (Author)

‘An extraordinary book of real passionate research’ Edmund de Waal

In 1945, Ezra Pound was due to stand trial for treason for his broadcasts in Fascist Italy during the Second World War. But before the trial could take place Pound was pronounced insane. Escaping a potential death sentence he was shipped off to St Elizabeths Hospital near Washington, DC, where he was held for over a decade.

At the hospital, Pound was at his most contradictory and most controversial: a genius writer – ‘The most important living poet in the English language’ according to T. S. Eliot – but also a traitor and now, seemingly, a madman. But he remained a magnetic figure. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell and John Berryman all went to visit him at what was perhaps the world’s most unorthodox literary salon: convened by a fascist and held in a lunatic asylum.

Told through the eyes of his illustrious visitors, The Bughouse captures the essence of Pound – the artistic flair, the profound human flaws – whilst telling the grand story of politics and art in the twentieth century.

Against Empathy

Paul Bloom (Author)

In a divided world, empathy is not the solution, it is the problem.

We think of empathy – the ability to feel the suffering of others for ourselves – as the ultimate source of all good behaviour. But while it inspires care and protection in personal relationships, it has the opposite effect in the wider world. As the latest research in psychology and neuroscience shows, we feel empathy most for those we find attractive and who seem similar to us and not at all for those who are different, distant or anonymous. Empathy therefore biases us in favour of individuals we know while numbing us to the plight of thousands. Guiding us expertly through the experiments, case studies and arguments on all sides, Paul Bloom ultimately shows that some of our worst decisions – in charity, child-raising, criminal justice, climate change and war – are motivated by this wolf in sheep's clothing.

Brilliantly argued, urgent and humane, Against Empathy overturns widely held assumptions to reveal one of the most profound yet overlooked sources of human conflict.

A Bold and Dangerous Family

Caroline Moorehead (Author)

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD

Mussolini was not only ruthless: he was subtle and manipulative. Black-shirted thugs did his dirty work for him: arson, murder, destruction of homes and offices, bribes and intimidation. His opponents – including editors, union representatives, lawyers and judges – were beaten into submission. But the tide turned in 1924 when his assassins went too far, horror spread across Italy, and antifascist resistance was born. Among those whose disgust hardened into bold and uncompromising resistance was a family from Florence: Amelia, Carlo and Nello Rosselli. Caroline Moorehead draws readers into the lives of this remarkable family – their loves, their loyalties, their laughter and their ultimate sacrifice.

Once Upon A Time in the East

Xiaolu Guo (Author)

*Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award 2017*
*Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2017*
*Selected as a 2017 Book of the Year in the Sunday Times*

Xiaolu Guo meets her parents for the first time when she is almost seven. They are strangers to her.

When she is born in 1973, her parents hand her over to a childless peasant couple in the mountains. Aged two, and suffering from malnutrition on a diet of yam leaves, they leave Xiaolu with her illiterate grandparents in a fishing village on the East China Sea.

Once Upon a Time in the East takes Xiaolu from a run-down shack to film school in a rapidly changing Beijing, navigating the everyday peculiarity of modern China: censorship, underground art, Western boyfriends. In 2002 she leaves Beijing on a scholarship to study in Britain. Now, after a decade in Europe, her tale of East to West resonates with the insight that can only come from someone who is both an outsider and at home.

'This generation's Wild Swans' Daily Telegraph

Take Courage

Samantha Ellis (Author)

'I was wowed and moved' Tracy Chevalier

Anne Brontë is the forgotten Brontë sister, overshadowed by her older siblings - virtuous, successful Charlotte, free-spirited Emily and dissolute Branwell. Tragic, virginal, sweet, stoic, selfless, Anne. The less talented Brontë, the other Brontë.

Take Courage is Samantha's personal, poignant and surprising journey into the life and work of a woman sidelined by history. A brave, strongly feminist writer well ahead of her time - and her more celebrated siblings - and who has much to teach us today about how to find our way in the world.

A Life's Work

Rachel Cusk (Author)

When it was first published, Cusk’s memoir of new motherhood shocked readers and critics alike: it was called ‘as compulsive as a thriller’ by the Observer, ‘an incitement to riot’ by Esther Freud and ‘career suicide’ by the New York Times. Cusk was accused of self-obsession, of hating her child and of having post-natal depression, just as she was being celebrated by others for having the courage to speak the truth about being a mother.

A modern classic and the antithesis of a parenting manual, in A Life’s Work Cusk writes with unflinching honesty and wry humour about the sleepless nights, the loneliness, the moments of despair but also of fierce heart-stopping love.

McMafia

Misha Glenny (Author)

The extraordinary real stories that inspired the major BBC series

Have you ever illegally downloaded a DVD? Taken drugs? Fallen for a phishing scam?

Organised crime is part of all our worlds - often without us even knowing. McMafia is a journey through the new world of international organised crime, from gunrunners in Ukraine to money launderers in Dubai, by way of drug syndicates in Canada and cyber criminals in Brazil.

This edition comes with a new introduction and epilogue from author Misha Glenny.

Of All That Ends

Günter Grass (Author) , Breon Mitchell (Translator)

The final work of Nobel Prize-winning writer Günter Grass – a witty and elegiac series of meditations on writing, growing old, and the world.

Suddenly, in spite of the trials of old age, and with the end in sight, everything seems possible again: love letters, soliloquies, scenes of jealousy, swan songs, social satire, and moments of happiness.

Only an ageing artist who had once more cheated death could get to work with such wisdom, defiance and wit. A wealth of touching stories is condensed into artful miniatures. In a striking interplay of poetry, lyric prose and drawings, Grass creates his final, major work of art.

A moving farewell gift, a sensual, melancholy summation of a life fully lived.

Big Questions In Science

Harriet Swain (Author)

What is life about? How are men and women different? How did the universe begin? We all ponder these questions from time to time but some scientists spend their lives investigating them. Are they anywhere near finding answers? In this exciting new book, leading scientific thinkers address twenty of the really big questions that people have been asking for hundreds of years. The contributors include: John Sulston, who led the British side of the Human Genome Project and who offers his views on whether we can ever end disease; Susan Greenfield, Oxford University professor of pharmacology, who describes what she thinks is a thought; John Barrow, Cambridge professor of mathematical sciences, who tells us what is time; and American psychologist David Buss, who suggests why we fall in and out of love. Their answers are each put into context by more general commentaries discussing the differing views of other leading contemporary scientists and looking at how people have tackled the question in the past. The result is a breathtaking tour of scientific thought through the ages and a peek at some of the most cutting-edge and controversial research today. Packed with fascinating insights, it shows how science is investigating problems that affect us all on a large scale and suggests that we are closer to finding solutions to some of life's big questions than we might think.

Absolutely on Music

Haruki Murakami (Author) , Seiji Ozawa (Author) , Jay Rubin (Translator)

An unprecedented glimpse into the minds of two maestros.

Haruki Murakami's passion for music runs deep. Before turning his hand to writing, he ran a jazz club in Tokyo, and the aesthetic and emotional power of music permeates every one of his much-loved books. Now, in Absolutely on Music, Murakami fulfills a personal dream, sitting down with his friend, acclaimed conductor Seiji Ozawa, to talk about their shared interest.

They discuss everything from Brahms to Beethoven, from Leonard Bernstein to Glenn Gould, from record collecting to pop-up orchestras, and much more.

Birth of a Dream Weaver

Ngugi wa Thiong'o (Author)

‘Exquisite in its honesty and truth and resilience, and a necessary chronicle from one of the greatest writers of our time’ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Selected as a Book of the Year 2016 in the Guardian

When Ngugi wa Thiong’o arrives at the prestigious Makerere University, it embodies all the potential and excitement of the early 1960s. Campus is a haven of opportunity for the brightest African students, a meeting place for thinkers and writers from all over the world, and its alumni are filling Africa’s emerging political and cultural positions.

Despite the challenges he faces as a young black man in a British colony, it is here that Ngugi begins to find his voice as a playwright, journalist and novelist, writing his first, pivotal works just as the countries of East Africa enter the final stages of their independence struggles.

The Man Who Ate the Zoo

Richard Girling (Author)

Frank Buckland was an extraordinary man – surgeon, natural historian, popular lecturer, bestselling writer, museum curator, and a conservationist before the concept even existed.

Eccentric, revolutionary, prolific, he was one of the nineteenth century’s most improbable geniuses. His lifelong passion was to discover new ways to feed the hungry. Rhinoceros, crocodile, puppy-dog, giraffe, kangaroo, bear and panther all had their chance to impress, but what finally - and, eventually, fatally - obsessed him was fish.

Forgotten now, he was one of the most original, far-sighted and influential natural scientists of his time, held as high in public esteem as his great philosophical enemy, Charles Darwin.

Home and Away

Karl Ove Knausgaard (Author) , Don Bartlett (Translator) , Fredrik Ekelund (Author) , Sean Kinsella (Translator)

Selected as a Book of the Year in The Times and Evening Standard

Karl Ove Knausgaard is sitting at home in Skåne with his wife, four small children and a dog. He is watching football on TV and falls asleep in front of the set. He likes 0-0 draws, cigarettes, coffee and Argentina.

Fredrik Ekelund is away in Brazil, where he plays football on the beach and watches matches with friends. Fredrik loves games that end up 4-3 and teams that play beautiful football. He likes caipirinhas and Brazil.

In Home and Away, two writers use football and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to reflect on life and death, art and politics, class and literature and the most important question: was this the best football championship ever?

You Will Not Have My Hate

Antoine Leiris (Author) , Sam Taylor (Translator)

'A beacon of hope in a dark world' Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Pool

One night in November 2015, when Antoine Leiris was at home looking after his baby son, his wife Hélène was killed, along with 88 other people, at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris. Three days later, Antoine wrote an open letter to his wife’s killers on Facebook. He refused to be cowed or to let his baby son’s life be defined by their acts. ‘For as long as he lives, this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom,’ he wrote. Instantly, that short post caught fire and was shared thousands of times around the world. An extraordinary and heartbreaking memoir, You Will Not Have My Hate is a universal message of hope and resilience in our troubled times.

Far and Away

Andrew Solomon (Author)

In 1991 Andrew Solomon faced down tanks in Moscow with a band of Russian artists protesting the August coup. We find him on the quest for a rare bird in Zambia in 1998, and in Greenland in 2001 researching widespread depression among the Inuit. In 2002 he was in Afghanistan for the fall of the Taliban. He was brought in for questioning in Qaddafi’s Libya in 2006. In 2014 he travelled to Myanmar to meet ex-political prisoners as the country fitfully pushed towards freedom. Far and Away tells these and many other stories. With his signature compassion, Solomon demonstrates both how history is altered by individuals, and how personal identities shift when governments change.

A journalist and essayist of remarkable perception and prescience, Solomon chronicles a life’s travels to the nexus of hope, courage, and the uncertainty of lived experience and tracks seismic shifts – cultural, political and spiritual. He takes us on a magnificent journey into the heart of extraordinarily diverse experiences via intimate, deeply moving stories that reveal and revel in our common humanity.

The Invention of Angela Carter

Edmund Gordon (Author)

WINNER OF THE SOMERSET MAUGHAM AWARD

NBCC AWARD FINALIST

Selected as a Book of the Year 2016 in The Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Financial Times, Spectator and Observer

Angela Carter’s life was as unconventional as anything in her fiction. Through her fearlessly original and inventive books, including The Bloody Chamber and Nights at the Circus, she became an icon to a generation and one of the most acclaimed English writers of the last hundred years. This is her first full and authorised biography.

Edmund Gordon uncovers Carter’s life story – from a young woman trying to write in a tiny bedsit in Tokyo, to one of the most important and daring writers of her day. From a life full of adventure sprang work so fantastic, dazzling and seductive that it permanently changed and reinvigorated British literature. This is the story of how Angela Carter invented herself.

'An exemplary piece of work... Everyone should read it' Spectator

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