You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed…
Julian Barnes’s new book is about ballooning, photography, love and grief: about putting two things together, and about tearing them apart. One of the judges who awarded him the 2011 Man Booker Prize described him as ‘an unparalleled magus of the heart’. This book confirms that opinion.
Edmund de Waal - The Hare with Amber Eyes
264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox: potter Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in the Tokyo apartment of his great uncle Iggie. Later, when Edmund inherited the 'netsuke', they unlocked a story far larger than he could ever have imagined...The Ephrussis came from Odessa, and at one time were the largest grain exporters in the world; in the 1870s, Charles Ephrussi was part of a wealthy new generation settling in Paris. Marcel Proust was briefly his secretary and used Charles as the model for the aesthete Swann in _Remembrance of Things Past._ Charles' passion was collecting; the netsuke, bought when Japanese objects were all the rage in the salons, were sent as a wedding present to his banker cousin in Vienna. Later, three children - including a young Ignace - would play with the netsuke as history reverberated around them. The Anschluss and Second World War swept the Ephrussis to the brink of oblivion. Almost all that remained of their vast empire was the netsuke collection, smuggled out of the huge Viennese palace (then occupied by Hitler's theorist on the 'Jewish Question'), one piece at a time, in the pocket of a loyal maid - and hidden in a straw mattress. In this stunningly original memoir, Edmund de Waal travels the world to stand in the great buildings his forebears once inhabited. He traces the network of a remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century. And, in prose as elegant and precise as the netsuke themselves, he tells the story of a unique collection which passed from hand to hand - and which, in a twist of fate, found its way home to Japan.
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.
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 - 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.
James Herriot - The Christmas Day Kitten
"Christmas can never go by without my remembering a certain little cat." So begins The Christmas Day Kitten, another true story from James Herriot's rich experience as a country vet. As always, the tale includes a vivid group of characters on two legs and four: Mrs. Pickering and her three stately Basset hounds, James himself, and Debbie, the self-possesed stray cat who makes a special contribution to Christmas at the Pickering house. This is one of James Herriot's own favorite stories, and it is sure to be one of yours.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
James Herriot - All Things Wise and Wonderful
Readers adored his tales as a Yorkshire animal doctor in _All Creatures Great and Small_ and _All Things Bright and Beautiful_ -- now James Herriot treats us to another delightful volume of memoirs rich with his own brand of humor and wisdom. In the midst of World War Two, James is training for the Royal Air Force, while going home to Yorkshire whenever possible to see his very pregnant wife, Helen. Musing on past adventures through the dales, visiting with old friends, and introducing scores of new and amusing characters-- animal and human alike-- Herriot enthralls us once again with his uncanny ability to spin a most engaging and heartfelt yarn.
Richard Wright - Black Boy
Black Boy is a classic of American autobiography, a subtly crafted narrative of Richard Wright's journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. An enduring story of one young man's coming off age during a particular time and place, Black Boy remains a seminal text in our history about what it means to be a man, black, and Southern in America.
Jennifer Worth - Call the Midwife
Jennifer Worth came from a sheltered background when she became a midwife in the Docklands in the 1950s. The conditions in which many women gave birth just half a century ago were horrifying, not only because of their grimly impoverished surroundings, but also because of what they were expected to endure. But while Jennifer witnessed brutality and tragedy, she also met with amazing kindness and understanding, tempered by a great deal of Cockney humour. She also earned the confidences of some whose lives were truly stranger, more poignant and more terrifying than could ever be recounted in fiction. Attached to an order of nuns who had been working in the slums since the 1870s, Jennifer tells the story not only of the women she treated, but also of the community of nuns (including one who was accused of stealing jewels from Hatton Garden) and the camaraderie of the midwives with whom she trained. Funny, disturbing and incredibly moving, Jennifer's stories bring to life the colourful world of the East End in the 1950s.
Vicki Myron - Bret Witter - Dewey
How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa. Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility, (for a cat) and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most. As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history
Christine Arnothy - I am Fifteen and I Do Not Want to Die
The compelling and moving narrative of a young girl caught by the tides of marching armies during the siege of Budapest in 1945. Told with calm compulsive force, and with an intimacy and maturity that defies the author's youth, I am fifteen is a poignant coming-of-age memoir, and a remarkable tale of ordinary lives destroyed by war. Budapest in early 1945: the siege - which was to kill some 40,000 civilians - raged around Christine Arnothy, her family and the various inhabitants of their building. Hiding in cellars, venturing out in a desperate search for food and water only when the noise of battle momentarily receded, they wondered if the Germans from the West or the Russians from the East would be victorious and under which they would fare best. Praying she would survive, and mourning the loss of some of her fellow refugees, Christine found solace in her writing - in pencil on a small notepad in the cellar - and dreamt of becoming a writer at the end of the war. Her subsequent adventures include a dramatic escape over the frontier into Austria, to Vienna and freedom (or so she imagined); then the difficult decision to leave her parents in an Allied refugee camp, while she searched for a new life in Paris.
Gerald Durrell - A Zoo in my Luggage
The true and hilarious story of how Gerald Durrell and his wife set up their own zoo. Journeying to the Cameroons he and his wife, helped by the renowned Fon of Bafut, managed to collect 'plenty beef.' Their difficulties began when they found themselves back at home, with Cholmondely the chimpanzee, Bug-eye the bush-baby, and other founder-members - and nowhere to put them.
James Bowen - The World According to Bob
'Since Bob has appeared, I've made huge strides in my life. For more than a decade I was a homeless drug addict. I was lost to the world and had forgotten what was important in life. Now I've got myself back on my two feet, but as I put the past behind me, I'm still stepping unsteadily into the future. I still need help in the right direction. Bob is always there to offer guidance and friendship.' James and his street cat Bob have been on a remarkable journey together. In the years since their story ended in the bestselling A STREET CAT NAMED BOB James, with Bob's help, has begun to find his way back to the real world. Almost every day, Bob provides moments of intelligence, bravery and humour, at the same time opening his human friend's eyes to important truths about friendship, loyalty, trust - and the meaning of happiness. In the continuing tale of their life together James shows the many ways in which Bob has been his protector and guardian angel through times of illness, hardship, even life-threatening danger. As they high five together for their crowds of admirers, James knows that the tricks he's taught Bob are nothing compared to the lessons he's learnt from his street-wise cat.
Andrea Levy - The Long Song
Small Island introduced Andrea Levy to America and was acclaimed as 'a triumph' (San Francisco Chronicle). It won both the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, and has sold over a million copies worldwide. With The Long Song, Levy once again reinvents the historical novel. Told in the irresistibly willful and intimate voice of Miss July, with some editorial assistance from her son, Thomas, The Long Song is at once defiant, funny, and shocking. The child of a field slave on the Amity sugar plantation, July lives with her mother until Mrs. Caroline Mortimer, a recently transplanted English widow, decides to move her into the great house and rename her 'Marguerite.' Resourceful and mischievous, July soon becomes indispensable to her mistress. Together they live through the bloody Baptist war, followed by the violent and chaotic end of slavery. Taught to read and write so that she can help her mistress run the business, July remains bound to the plantation despite her 'freedom.' It is the arrival of a young English overseer, Robert Goodwin, that will dramatically change life in the great house for both July and her mistress. Prompted and provoked by her son's persistent questioning, July's resilience and heartbreak are gradually revealed in this extraordinarily powerful story of slavery, revolution, freedom, and love.
Philippa Gregory - The King's Curse
The final novel in the Cousins’ War series, the basis for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries, The White Queen, by #1 New York Times bestselling author and “the queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) Philippa Gregory tells the fascinating story of Margaret Pole, cousin to the “White Princess,” Elizabeth of York, and lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon. Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (known as the White Princess) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter—Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret’s contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple, hiding her own royal connections in service to the Tudors. After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her deathbed promise to her husband by marrying his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret’s world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and “holiest” woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors.