J. G. Ballard has been, for over fifty years, one of this country’s most significant writers. Beginning with the events that inspired his classic novel, ‘Empire of the Sun’, in this revelatory autobiography he charts the course of his astonishing life.
‘Miracles of Life’ takes us from the vibrant surroundings of pre-war Shanghai, to the deprivations and unexpected freedoms of Lunghua Camp, to Ballard’s arrival in a devastated Britain. Ballard recounts his first attempts at fiction and his part in the social and artistic revolutions of the 60s. He describes his friendships with figures as diverse as Kingsley Amis, Michael Moorcock and Eduardo Paolozzi alongside recollections of his domestic life in Shepperton – raising three children as a single father following the unexpected and premature death of his wife.
‘Miracles of Life’ is both a captivating narrative of the experiences that have shaped this extraordinary writer’s works, his distinctive outlook and his original visions of the future, and is also an account of a remarkable life.
James Herriot - Every Living Thing
Celebrate the return of the most beloved storyteller of our time! The waiting is finally over. For the first time in over a decade, the world's favorite veterinarian, James Herriot, returns us in a twinkle to the rural green enclave of England called Yorkshire for more irresistible tales of animals and people. At long last, another treat from Herriot! In stories of wonders great and small, James reintroduces many old friends like Mrs. Pumphrey, his partner Siegfried Farnon, and of course, his wife Helen. But there are wonderful new faces too, especially his children Rosie and Jimmy, and his latest assistant, Calum Buchanan. Herriot works his magic again! Offering readers an even more intimate view of the life and dreams of a country vet than any of his previous volumes, James Herriot's Every Living Thing is a book that will warm your heart, make you laugh out loud, and feel so good you'll never want it to end. Herriot really does love Every Living Thing...and so will you!
Gerald Durrell - Birds, Beasts and Relatives
Part coming-of-age autobiography and part nature guide, Gerald Durrell’s dazzling sequel to My Family and Other Animals is based on his boyhood on Corfu, from 1933 to 1939. Originally published in 1969 but long out of print, Birds, Beasts, and Relatives is filled with charming observations, amusing anecdotes, boyhood memories, and childlike wonder.
Gerald Durrell - The Garden of the Gods
The enchanted island of Corfu was home to Gerald Durrell and his family for five years before the Second World War. For the passionate young zoologist, Corfu was a natural paradise, teeming with strange birds and beasts that he could collect, watch and care for. But life was not without its problems - Gerald's family often objected to his animal-collecting activities, especially when the beasts wound up in the family's villa or even worse - the fridge. Gerald Durrell evokes his island paradise with the passion and wonder of a small boy in the concluding novel of the warm and humorous trilogy begun with My Family and Other Animals and Birds, Beasts and Relatives.
Jeanette Winterson - Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
In 1985 Jeanette Winterson's first novel, _Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit_, was published. It tells the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents. The girl is supposed to grow up and be a missionary. Instead she falls in love with a woman. Disaster. Written when Jeanette was only twenty-five, her novel went on to win the Whitbread First Novel award, become an international bestseller and inspire an award-winning BBC television adaptation. Oranges was semi-autobiographical. Mrs Winterson, a thwarted giantess, loomed over that novel and its author's life. When Jeanette finally left her home, at sixteen, because she was in love with a woman, Mrs Winterson asked her: _why be happy when you could be normal_? This book is the story of a life's work to find happiness. It is a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a tyrant in place of a mother, who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the duster drawer, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in an northern industrial town now changed beyond recognition, part of a community now vanished; about the Universe as a Cosmic Dustbin. It is the story of how the painful past Jeanette Winterson thought she had written over and repainted returned to haunt her later life, and sent her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her real mother. It is also a book about other people's stories, showing how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life-raft which supports us when we are sinking. Funny, acute, fierce and celebratory, this is a tough-minded search for belonging, for love, an identity, a home, and a mother.
Malala Yousafzai - Christina Lamb - I Am Malala
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.
David Mitchell - Back Story
David Mitchell, who you may know for his inappropriate anger on every TV panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, his look of permanent discomfort on C4 sex comedy Peep Show, his online commenter-baiting in The Observer or just for wearing a stick-on moustache in That Mitchell and Webb Look, has written a book about his life. As well as giving a specific account of every single time he's scored some smack, this disgusting memoir also details: • the singular, pitbull-infested charm of the FRP (‘Flat Roofed Pub’) • the curious French habit of injecting everyone in the arse rather than the arm • why, by the time he got to Cambridge, he really, really needed a drink • the pain of being denied a childhood birthday party at McDonalds • the satisfaction of writing jokes about suicide • how doing quite a lot of walking around London helps with his sciatica • trying to pretend he isn’t a total **** at Robert Webb’s wedding • that he has fallen in love at LOT, but rarely done anything about it • why it would be worse to bump into Michael Palin than Hitler on holiday • that he’s not David Mitchell the novelist. Despite what David Miliband might think
William Boyd - The New Confessions
The New Confessions is equal parts Laurence Sterne, Charles Dickens, Robertson Davies and Saul Bellow, with a wry 1980s touch that is pure Boyd.The New Confessions is the outrageous, extraordinary, hilarious and heartbreaking autobiography of John James Todd, Scotsman born in 1899 and one of the great self-appointed (and failed) geniuses of the twentieth century.The New Confessions takes us from Todd's boyhood in Scotland to the trenches of World War I, to his fretful progress as film maker in the Weimar Republic, to deportation and exile in Mexico and the Allied invasion of St. Tropez, and finally to dark Hollywood days, and the obscurity of the blacklist, during the McCarthy era.The New Confessions is told from the questionable vantage point of not-so-serene old age and self-imposed exile in Mediterranean. Charming and exasperating, shrewd and foolish, vain and disarmingly candid, Todd lets us in on the secrets of his chaotic and beguiling life.The New Confessions is one man's astonishing march through chaos and adventure of three quarters of a century.
Robert Graves - Count Belisarius
The sixth century was not a peaceful time for the Roman empire. Invaders threatened on all fronties, but they grew to respect and fear the name of Belisarius, the Emperor Justinian's greatest general. With this book, Robert Graves again demonstrates his command of a vast historical subject, creating a startling and vivid picture of a decadent era.
Diane Setterfield - The Thirteenth Tale
Vida Winter, a bestselling yet reclusive novelist, has created many outlandish life histories for herself, all of them invention. Now old and ailing, at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to biographer Margaret Lea - a woman with secrets of her own - is a summons. Vida's tale is one of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family: the beautiful and wilful Isabelle and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline. Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling, but as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction and she doesn't trust Vida's account. As she begins her researches, two parallel stories unfold. Join Margaret as she begins her journey to the truth - hers, as well as Vida's.
Antony Beevor - The Mystery of Olga Chekhova
In his latest work, Antony Beevor--bestselling author of Stalingrad and The Battle of Arnhem and one of our most respected historians of World War II--brings us the true, little-known story of a family torn apart by revolution and war. Olga Chekhova, a stunning Russian beauty, was the niece of playwright Anton Chekhov and a famous Nazi-era film actress who was closely associated with Hitler. After fleeing Bolshevik Moscow for Berlin in 1920, she was recruited by her composer brother Lev to become a Soviet spy--a career she spent her entire postwar life denying. The riveting story of how Olga and her family survived the Russian Revolution, the rise of Hitler, the Stalinist Terror, and the Second World War becomes, in Beevor's hands, a breathtaking tale of survival in a merciless age.
Sting - Broken Music
Having been a songwriter most of my life, condensing my ideas and emotions into short rhyming couplets and setting them to music, I had never really considered writing a book. But upon arriving at the reflective age of fifty, I found myself drawn, for the first time, to write long passages that were as stimulating and intriguing to me as any songwriting I had ever done. And so Broken Music began to take shape. It is a book about the early part of my life, from childhood through adolescence, right up to the eve of my success with the Police. It is a story very few people know. I had no interest in writing a traditional autobiographical recitation of everything that’s ever happened to me. Instead I found myself drawn to exploring specific moments, certain people and relationships, and particular events which still resonate powerfully for me as I try to understand the child I was, and the man I became.
Caitlin Moran - Moranifesto
'I’ve lived through ten iOS upgrades on my Mac – and that’s just something I use to muck about on Twitter. Surely capitalism is due an upgrade or two?’ When Caitlin Moran sat down to choose her favourite pieces for her new book she realised that they all seemed to join up. Turns out, it’s the same old problems and the same old ass-hats. Then she thought of the word ‘Moranifesto’, and she knew what she had to do… This is Caitlin’s engaging and amusing rallying call for our times. Combining the best of her recent columns with lots of new writing unique to this book, Caitlin deals with topics as pressing and diverse as 1980s swearing, benefits, boarding schools, and why the internet is like a drunken toddler. And whilst never afraid to address the big issues of the day – such as Benedict Cumberbatch and duffel coats – Caitlin also makes a passionate effort to understand our 21st century society and presents us with her ‘Moranifesto’ for making the world a better place. The polite revolution starts here! Please.
Jacqueline Wilson - My Secret Diary
Have you ever wondered what Jacqueline Wilson was like as a teenager? Did she have crushes on boys, argue with her parents and get embarrassed at school? Was teen life fifty years ago very different from today? Read this totally engaging memoir to discover the innermost thoughts and feelings of fourteen-year-old Jacqueline, later become Britain's best-loved children's author. As compelling as any of her novels, it includes extracts from her own real diary and original photos of Jacqueline and her friends!
Jacqueline Wilson - Jacky Daydream
Everybody knows Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson's best loved character. But what do they know about Jacqueline herself? In this fascinating book, discover... ... how Jacky played with paper dolls like April in _Dustbin Baby._ ... how she dealt with an unpredictable father like Prue in _Love Lessons._ ... how she chose new toys in Hamleys like Dolphin in _The Illustrated Mum._ ... how she enjoyed Christmas like Em in _Clean Break._ ... how she sat entrance exams like Ruby in _Double Act. _ But most of all how Jacky loved reading and writing stories. Losing herself in a new world was the best possible way she could spend her time. From the very first story she wrote, it was very clear that this little girl had a very vivid imagination. But who would've guessed that she would grow up to be mega-bestselling, award-winning author! Includes previously unseen photos, Jacqueline's own school reports and a brand new chapter from Jacqueline on the response to the book, her teenage years and more!
George Orwell - Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays
'Shooting An Elephant' is Orwell's searing account of his experience as a police officer in imperial Burma: killing an escaped elephant in front of a crowd "solely to avoid looking a fool". The other masterly essays in this collection include classics such as 'My Country Right Or Left', 'How The Poor Die' and 'Such Were The Joys', his memoir of the horrors of public school, as well as discussions of Shakespeare, sleeping rough, boys' weeklies and a spirited defence of English cooking. Opinionated, uncompromising, provocative and hugely entertaining, all show Orwell's unique ability to get to the heart of any subject.
Elizabeth Gaskell - The Letters of Elizabeth Gaskell
This collection of letters includes correspondence between Mrs Gaskell and over 100 coresspondents including: Carlyle; Ruskin; Rossetti; Dickens; and the Brownings. In addition Mrs Gaskell's own writing is considered, including her biography of Charlotte Brontë.
Gerald Durrell - My Family and Other Animals
When the unconventional Durrell family can no longer endure the damp, gray English climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sunny Greek isle of Corfu. My Family and Other Animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the island but ended up as a delightful account of Durrell's family's experiences, from the many eccentric hangers-on to the ceaseless procession of puppies, toads, scorpions, geckoes, ladybugs, glowworms, octopuses, bats, and butterflies into their home.
Winston S. Churchill - My Early Life
Here, in his own words, are the fascinating first thirty years in the life of one of the most provocative and compelling leaders of the twentieth century, Winston Churchill. As a visionary, statesman, and historian, and the most eloquent spokesman against Nazi Germany, Winston Churchill was one of the greatest figures of the twentieth century. In this autobiography, Churchill recalls his childhood, his schooling, his years as a war correspondent in South Africa during the Boer War, and his first forays into politics as a member of Parliament. My Early Life not only gives readers insights into the shaping of a great leader but, as Churchill himself wrote, "a picture of a vanished age." If you want to fully understand Winston Churchill, My Early Life is essential reading.