426 results 1-20

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.

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.

The Islamic Enlightenment

Christopher de Bellaigue (Author)

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2017

'An eye-opening, well-written and very timely book' Yuval Noah Harari

'The best sort of book for our disordered days: timely, urgent and illuminating' Pankaj Mishra

'It strikes a blow…for common humanity' Sunday Times

The Muslim world has often been accused of a failure to modernise and adapt. Yet in this sweeping narrative and provocative retelling of modern history, Christopher de Bellaigue charts the forgotten story of the Islamic Enlightenment – the social movements, reforms and revolutions that transfigured the Middle East from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Modern ideals and practices were embraced across the region, including the adoption of modern medicine, the emergence of women from purdah and the development of democracy.

The Islamic Enlightenment looks behind the sensationalist headlines in order to foster a genuine understanding of Islam and its relationship to the West. It is essential reading for anyone engaged in the state of the world today.

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.

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*
*Shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2018*
*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

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.

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?

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

Do You Mr Jones?

Neil Corcoran (Author)

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

The Marches

Rory Stewart (Author)

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.

I Contain Multitudes

Ed Yong (Author)

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

Enough Said

Mark Thompson (Author)

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.

The Kingdom of Speech

Tom Wolfe (Author)

'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.

The Gardener and the Carpenter

Alison Gopnik (Author)

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.

Threads

Julia Blackburn (Author)

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.

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