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The Secret Doctor (Author)
I have walked in and out of the lives of countless numbers of patients. I have stood in rooms, in corners; sat on beds, chairs, and knelt on floors. I have been the visitor who is there when you find yourself most vulnerable, when you lie on a hospital bed or on a trolley in the resus department of A&E. I have been the visitor that you may never even know was there at all.
How much do you know about the doctor who walked in and out of your life? Who diagnosed your mum, nursed your granddad in his last few days, or who saved your sister’s life? And have you ever wondered what they felt? If they cried later with joy, or with grief?
Told through the lens of six emotions that all of us can 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. Through the Secret Doctor’s eyes we see how grief can be found in many forms, and what happens when you see fear in a patient’s eyes. We find out how to cope when you’ve made a life-threatening mistake; or what joy looks like when you feel it, and how long it lasts.
These real stories from an anonymous doctor blur the lines between patient and doctor, showing us what a doctor sees of humanity as it comes through the revolving door of the hospital, what we have in common and what makes us human.
‘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.
WINNER OF THE SOMERSET MAUGHAM AWARD
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
In 2016, Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition’. This collection of essays by leading poets and critics – with a new foreword by Will Self – examines Dylan’s poetic genius, as well as his astounding cultural influence over the decades.
‘From Orpheus to Faiz, song and poetry have been closely linked. Dylan is the brilliant inheritor of the bardic tradition’ Salman Rushdie
‘The most significant Western popular artist in any form or medium of the past sixty years’ Will Self
‘For fifty and some years he has bent, coaxed, teased and persuaded words into lyric and narrative shapes that are at once extraordinary and inevitable’ Andrew Motion
‘His haunting music and lyrics have always seemed, in the deepest sense, literary’ Joyce Carol Oates
‘There is something inevitable about Bob Dylan… A storyteller pulling out all the stops – metaphor, allegory, repetition, precise detail… His virtue is in his style, his attitude, his disposition to the world’ Simon Armitage
LONGLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE 2017
‘This is travel writing at its best.’
Katherine Norbury, Observer
An Observer Book of the Year
His father Brian taught Rory Stewart how to walk, and walked with him on journeys from Iran to Malaysia. Now they have chosen to do their final walk together along ‘the Marches’ - the frontier that divides their two countries, Scotland and England. Brian, a ninety-year-old former colonial official and intelligence officer, arrives in Newcastle from Scotland dressed in tartan and carrying a draft of his new book You Know More Chinese Than You Think. Rory comes from his home in the Lake District, carrying a Punjabi fighting stick which he used when walking across Afghanistan.
On their six-hundred-mile, thirty-day journey - with Rory on foot, and his father ‘ambushing’ him by car – the pair relive Scottish dances, reflect on Burmese honey-bears, and on the loss of human presence in the British landscape. On mountain ridges and in housing estates they uncover a forgotten country crushed between England and Scotland: the Middleland. They cross upland valleys which once held forgotten peoples and languages – still preserved in sixth-century lullabies and sixteenth-century ballads. The surreal tragedy of Hadrian’s Wall forces them to re-evaluate their own experiences in the Iraq and Vietnam wars. The wild places of the uplands reveal abandoned monasteries, border castles, secret military test sites and newly created wetlands. They discover unsettling modern lives, lodged in an ancient land. Their odyssey develops into a history of nationhood, an anatomy of the landscape, a chronicle of contemporary Britain and an exuberant encounter between a father and a son.
And as the journey deepens, and the end approaches, Brian and Rory fight to match, step by step, modern voices, nationalisms and contemporary settlements to the natural beauty of the Marches, and a fierce absorption in tradition in their own unconventional lives.
LONGLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE 2017
How do we discuss serious ideas in the age of 24-hour news? What was rhetoric in the past and what should it be now? And what does Islamic State have in common with Donald Trump?
We’ve never had more information or more opportunity to debate the issues of the day. Yet the relationship between politicians, the media and the public is characterised by suspicion, mistrust and apathy. What has gone wrong?
Enough Said reveals how political, social and technological change has transformed our political landscape – and how we talk about the issues that affect us all. Political rhetoric has become stale and the mistrust of politicians has made voters flock to populists who promise authenticity, honesty and truth instead of spin, evasiveness and lies.
Featuring Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin, Tony Blair and George Osborne, Silvio Berlusconi and many more star performers, Enough Said shows how public language is losing its power, and how an ominous gap is opening between the governed and those who govern. The result of decades of first-hand experience of politics and media, this is an essential, brilliant diagnosis of what we should stop doing and what we should start doing in order to reinvigorate Western democracy.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE 2017 AND THE ROYAL SOCIETY INSIGHT INVESTMENT SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE 2017
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Your body is teeming with tens of trillions of microbes. It’s an entire world, a colony full of life.
In other words, you contain multitudes.
They sculpt our organs, protect us from diseases, guide our behaviour, and bombard us with their genes. They also hold the key to understanding all life on earth.
In I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong opens our eyes and invites us to marvel at ourselves and other animals in a new light, less as individuals and more as thriving ecosystems.
You'll never think about your mind, body or preferences in the same way again.
'Super-interesting... He just keeps imparting one surprising, fascinating insight after the next. I Contain Multitudes is science journalism at its best' Bill Gates
'A great journalist with a whip-like satirical prose style… Wolfe’s great gift is to make the heavy seem light and this book is such an entertaining polemic that I read it in a day and immediately wanted to read it again.' - Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times
Tom Wolfe, whose legend began in journalism, takes us on an eye-opening journey through language. The Kingdom of Speech is a paradigm-shifting argument that speech - not evolution - is responsible for humanity's complex societies and achievements.
From Alfred Russel Wallace, the Englishman who beat Darwin to the theory of natural selection but later renounced it, and through the controversial work of modern-day anthropologist Daniel Everett, who defies the current wisdom that language is hard-wired in humans, Wolfe examines the solemn, long-faced, laugh-out-loud zig-zags of Darwinism, old and Neo, and finds it irrelevant here in our Kingdom of Speech.
Selected as a Book of the Year by the Financial Times
‘The Gardener and the Carpenter should be required reading for anyone who is, or is thinking of becoming a parent’ Financial Times
Caring deeply about our children is part of what makes us human. Yet the thing we call ‘parenting’ is a surprisingly new invention. In the past thirty years, the concept of parenting and the huge industry surrounding it have transformed childcare into obsessive, controlling, and goal-orientated labour intended to create a particular kind of child, and therefore a particular kind of adult.
Drawing on the study of human evolution and her own cutting-edge scientific research into how children learn, Gopnik shows that although caring for children is profoundly important, it is not a matter of shaping them to turn out a particular way. Children are designed to be messy and unpredictable, playful and imaginative, and to be very different both from their parents and from each other. The variability and flexibility of childhood lets them innovate, create, and survive in an unpredictable world. ‘Parenting’ won't make children learn – but caring parents let children learn by creating a secure, loving environment.
In The Gardener and the Carpenter, the pioneering developmental psychologist and philosopher Alison Gopnik argues that the familiar twenty-first-century picture of parenting is profoundly wrong – it's not just based on bad science, it's bad for children and their parents too.
In the summer of 1953, maverick neurosurgeon William Beecher Scoville performed a groundbreaking operation on an epileptic patient named Henry Molaison. But it was a catastrophic failure, leaving Henry unable to create long-term memories.
Scoville's grandson, Luke Dittrich, takes us on an astonishing journey through the history of neuroscience, from the first brain surgeries in ancient Egypt to the New England asylum where his grandfather developed a taste for human experimentation. Dittrich's investigation confronts unsettling family secrets and reveals the dark roots of modern neuroscience, raising troubling questions that echo into the present day.
Winner of the East Anglian Book of the Year 2015
Winner of the New Angle Book Prize 2017
John Craske, a Norfok fisherman, was born in 1881 and in 1917, when he had just turned thirty-six, he fell seriously ill. For the rest of his life he kept moving in and out of what was described as ‘a stuporous state’. In 1923 he started making paintings of the sea and boats and the coastline seen from the sea, and later, when he was too ill to stand and paint, he turned to embroidery, which he could do lying in bed. His embroideries were also the sea, including his masterpiece, a huge embroidery of The Evacuation of Dunkirk.
Very few facts about Craske are known, and only a few scattered photographs have survived, together with accounts by the writer Sylvia Townsend Warner and her lover Valentine Ackland, who discovered Craske in 1937. So - as with all her books - Julia Blackburn’s account of his life is far from a conventional biography. Instead it is a quest which takes her in many strange directions - to fishermen’s cottages in Sheringham, a grand hotel fallen on hard times in Great Yarmouth and to the isolated Watch House far out in the Blakeney estuary; to Cromer and the bizarre story of Einstein’s stay there, guarded by dashing young women in jodhpurs with shotguns.
Threads is a book about life and death and the strange country between the two where John Craske seemed to live. It is also about life after death, as Julia’s beloved husband Herman, a vivid presence in the early pages of the book, dies before it is finished.
In a gentle meditation on art and fame; on the nature of time and the fact of mortality; and illustrated with Craske’s paintings and embroideries, Threads shows, yet again, that Julia Blackburn can conjure a magic that is spellbinding and utterly her own.
Selected as a Book of the Year by The Times and The Economist
China's history is an epic tapestry of courtly philosophies, warring factions and imperial intrigue. Yet, over five thousand years, one ancient element has so dramatically shaped the country's fate that it remains the key to unlocking China's story. That element is water.
In The Water Kingdom Philip Ball takes us on a grand tour of China's defining element, from the rice terraces and towering karts of its battle-worn waterways, to the vast engineering projects that have struggled to contain water's wrath. What surfaces is the secret history of a people and a nation, drawn from its deep reverence for nature's most dynamic force.
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017
Selected as a Book of the Year – Observer, Sunday Times, Times, Guardian, i magazine
Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he’s staging a Tempest like no other. It will boost his reputation. It will heal emotional wounds.
Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. Also brewing revenge.
After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him. It’s magic! But will it remake Felix as his enemies fall?
Winner of the Saltire Society First Book Award 2016
An Economist Book of the Year 2016
A Spectator Book of the Year 2016
In 2011, Isabel Buchanan, a twenty-three-year-old Scottish lawyer, moved to Pakistan to work in a new legal chambers in Lahore. The chambers was run by a determined thirty-three-year-old Pakistani lawyer, Sarah Belal, who had finally found her calling in defending inmates on Pakistan’s death row.
Belal and Buchanan struck up an unlikely friendship, forged through working in a system that was instinctively hostile to newcomers – and doubly so if they were female. At Sarah’s side, and with the help of Nasar, the firm’s legendary clerk, Buchanan plunged into the strange and complex world of Pakistan’s justice system. The work was arduous, underfunded, and dangerous. But for a young Scottish lawyer like Buchanan it was an unparalleled education, offering a window onto a much-misunderstood country and culture. Filled with beautifully drawn characters, she creates a narrative brimming with ideas and bursting with humanity. It is a story of Pakistan, but it is also a universal story of the pursuit of justice in an uncertain world.
Selected as a Book of the Year 2016 by the Financial Times, Guardian, New Statesman, Observer, The Millions and Emerald Street
'Flâneuse [flanne-euhze], noun, from the French. Feminine form of flâneur [flanne-euhr], an idler, a dawdling observer, usually found in cities.
That is an imaginary definition.'
If the word flâneur conjures up visions of Baudelaire, boulevards and bohemia – then what exactly is a flâneuse?
In this gloriously provocative and celebratory book, Lauren Elkin defines her as ‘a determined resourceful woman keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk’. Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse traces the relationship between the city and creativity through a journey that begins in New York and moves us to Paris, via Venice, Tokyo and London, exploring along the way the paths taken by the flâneuses who have lived and walked in those cities.
From nineteenth-century novelist George Sand to artist Sophie Calle, from war correspondent Martha Gellhorn to film-maker Agnes Varda, Flâneuse considers what is at stake when a certain kind of light-footed woman encounters the city and changes her life, one step at a time.
Our world as it once was
In August 2014, Farida was, like any ordinary teenager, enjoying the last days of summer before her final year at school. However, her peaceful mountain village in northern Iraq was an ISIS target as their genocide against the Yazidi people began.
ISIS murdered the men and boys in the village, including Farida's father and brother, and took the women hostage. Farida was one of them. She was held in a slave camp, in the homes of ISIS members and finally in a desert training camp. Continually she struggled, resisted and fought against her captors, showing unimaginable strength and bravery.
This is my story
Eventually, Farida managed to plot her escape and fled into the desert with five young girls in her care, but defeating ISIS was just the first step in her journey. In this book she tells her remarkable and inspiring story.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
WATERSTONES NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH
ON THE SATURDAY MORNING OF JANUARY 9, 1993, WHILE JEAN CLAUDE ROMAND WAS KILLING HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN, I WAS WITH MINE IN A PARENT-TEACHER MEETING...
With these chilling first words, acclaimed master of psychological suspense, Emmanuel Carrère, begins his exploration of the double life of a respectable doctor, eighteen years of lies, five murders, and the extremes to which ordinary people can go.
'As a writer, Carrère is straight berserk; as a storyteller he is so freakishly talented, so unassuming in grace and power that you only realize the hold he's got on you when you attempt to pull away... You say: True crime and literature? I don't believe it. I say: Believe it' Junot Díaz
'Mesmerising' Sunday Telegraph
'Stunning' Evening Standard
'Unputdownable' Washington Post
'A masterpiece' New York Times
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOLFSON HISTORY PRIZE 2017
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ELIZABETH LONGFORD PRIZE 2017
A New Statesman, Spectator, History Today, Guardian and Sunday Times Book of the Year
When Martin Luther nailed a sheet of paper to the church door of a small university town in 1517, he set off a process that changed the Western world for ever.
Within a few years Luther’s ideas had spread like wildfire. His attempts to reform Christianity by returning it to its biblical roots split the Western Church, divided Europe and polarised people’s beliefs, leading to religious persecution, social unrest and war; and in the long run his ideas would help break the grip of religion on every sphere of life.
Yet Luther was a deeply flawed human being: a fervent believer tormented by spiritual doubts; a prolific writer whose translation of the Bible would shape the German language yet whose attacks on his opponents were vicious and foul-mouthed; a married ex-monk who liberated human sexuality from the stigma of sin but who insisted that women should know their place; a religious fundamentalist, Jew-hater and political reactionary who called ‘for the private and public murder of the peasants’ who had risen against their lords in response to his teaching. And perhaps surprisingly, the man who helped create in the modern world was not modern himself: for him the devil was not a figure of speech but a real, physical presence.
As an acclaimed historian, Lyndal Roper explains how Luther’s impact can only be understood against the background of the times. As a brilliant biographer, she gives us the flesh-and-blood figure. She reveals the often contradictory psychological forces that drove Luther forward and the dynamics they unleashed, which turned a small act of protest into a battle against the power of the Church.
In December 1888, Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear. It is the most famous story about any artist in history. But what really happened on that dark winter night?
In Van Gogh's Ear, Bernadette Murphy reveals the truth. She takes us on an extraordinary journey from major museums to forgotten archives, vividly reconstructing Van Gogh's world. We meet police inspectors and café patrons, prostitutes and madams, his beloved brother Theo and fellow painter Paul Gauguin.
Why did Van Gogh commit such a brutal act? Who was the mysterious 'Rachel' to whom he presented his macabre gift? Did he really remove his entire ear? Murphy answers these important questions with her groundbreaking discoveries, offering a stunning portrait of an artist edging towards madness in his pursuit of excellence.
BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK
PRIMETIME BBC2 DOCUMENTARY WITH JEREMY PAXMAN