A profound novel of cultural displacement, The Mimic Men masterfully evokes a colonial man’s experience in a postcolonial world.
Born of Indian heritage and raised on a British-dependent Caribbean island, Ralph Singh has retired to suburban London, writing his memoirs as a means to impose order on a chaotic existence. His memories lead him to recognize the paradox of his childhood during which he secretly fantasized about a heroic India, yet changed his name from Ranjit Kripalsingh. As he assesses his short-lived marriage to an ostentatious white woman, Singh realizes what has kept him from becoming a proper Englishman. But it is the return home and his subsequent immersion in the roiling political atmosphere of a newly self-governed nation that ultimately provide Singh with the necessary insight to discover the crux of his disillusionment.
Quentin Tarantino - Pulp Fiction
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival, "Pulp Fiction" exploded onto the screen in 1994 and transformed the direction of contemporary cinema. This triplet of interwoven crime stories displays Tarantino's visceral approach to character and plot.
Susie Dent - How to Talk Like a Local
If you were a Londoner visiting Cornwall would you know how to recognise a grammersow? If you were from the West Country and took a trip up to Scotland, would you be bewildered if someone described you as crabbit? And what if you left your native Belfast for Liverpool, would you understand if someone called you a woollyback? "How to Talk Like a Local" is an entertaining guide that gathers together and explains hundreds of words that you would never find in an ordinary dictionary. From dardledumdue, which means day-dreamer in East Anglia, through forkin robbins, the Yorkshire term for earwigs, to clemt, a Lancashire word that means hungry, it covers the enormously rich variety of regional words that pepper the English language. Not only does it pick out unique and unusal local words, it also draws together the dozens of terms from all over the country that mean the same thing, such as knee-knabbed, crab-ankled and hurked-up for knock-kneed, and obzocky, butters and maftin for ugly. In addition, it digs down to uncover the origins of these words, tracing their routes in to the language. Many terms meaning left-handed, for example, are related to the Kerr family of Ferniehirst Castle in Scotland, who preferred left-handed warriors. And many seemingly new coinages have been around for centuries, such as chav, which derives from a Romany word meaning child, or scouse, which probably comes from lapskaus, a Norwegian word for a sailors' stew. If you're intrigued by these colourful words and phrases, if you're interested in how English is really spoken, or if you want to discover how our language has evolved over the years, "How to Talk Like a Local" will prove irresistible - and enlightening - reading.
Richard Curtis - Love Actually (Penguin Readers)
In London, Christmas is coming and the people in this story have love on their minds. Some have found love; some have lost it. Some accept their loneliness; others live in hope. Even the new British prime minister's thoughts are not always on his job because love, actually, is all around us. Penguin Readers Level 4 (Intermediate), Contemporary / British English
Marjane Satrapi - Persepolis I-II.
"Persepolis is a stylish, clever and moving weapon of mass destruction" _Sunday Telegraph_ The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. _Persepolis_ paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. This is a beautiful and intimate story full of tragedy and humoue - raw, honest and incredibly illuminating. "The magic of Marjane Satrapis's work is that it can condense a whole country's tragedy into one poignant, funny scene after another" _Independent on Sunday_
Jon Spence - Becoming Jane Austen
Jane Austen's quiet life is not very rewarding biographical material. While acknowledging that "there has been a long-observed tacit agreement that Jane Austen's work is off limits to the biographer as a source of information about her life," Spence, professor emeritus of English literature at Doshisha University, Kyoto, nevertheless scours Austen's letters and juvenilia for clues to the people, events, and impressions that helped shape the writer. He sees a connection, for example, between the family background of Tom Lefroy, whom it seemed for a time that Jane might marry, and the Bennets in Pride and Prejudice. Glamorous family friend Eliza de Feuillide is woven in various ways into the work, especially in the character of Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park. He says of Jane's letters, "She takes the most ordinary, insignificant bits of information and effortlessly enlivens them with wit and fresh turns of phrase"--an apt summary of the appeal of her fiction. Spence makes an interesting case, and his book, though academic in tone, will appeal to serious Janeites.
Michael Cunningham - A Home at the End of the World
From Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours, comes this widely praised novel of two boyhood friends: Jonathan, lonely, introspective, and unsure of himself; and Bobby, hip, dark, and inarticulate. In New York after college, Bobby moves in with Jonathan and his roommate, Clare, a veteran of the city's erotic wars. Bobby and Clare fall in love, scuttling the plans of Jonathan, who is gay, to father Clare's child. Then, when Clare and Bobby have a baby, the three move to a small house upstate to raise "their" child together and, with an odd friend, Alice, create a new kind of family. _A Home at the End of the World_ masterfully depicts the charged, fragile relationships of urban life today.
Paul Hains - Anna Johnson - Mastermind Use Of English
Mastermind Use of English provides grammatical and lexical practice for CAE, ALCE, ECPE and Proficiencey exams. • advanced-level grammar practice • vocabulary development covering Cambridge and Michigan Proficiency topics • phrasal verbs, words with multiple meanings, prepositions, collocations, word-formation, and metaphor and meaning • Cambridge and Michigan-style reviews • 5 appendices: grammar, spelling and punctuation, phrasal verbs, prepositional phrases, British and American English • mini-companion with definitions, example sentences, derivatives, opposites and review exercises Teacher's Edition with answers overprinted, discussion topics and phtocopiable tests is available.
Mark Leyner - Billy Goldberg - Why Do Men Have Nipples?
Do microwaves cause cancer? Is it bad to crack your knuckles? Written by a top physician and a top-notch humorist, this fascinating, silly, and downright educational reference book sets the record straight on the myriad folk remedies, urban legends, and "proven cures" that everybody's heard about.
Washington Irving - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The San Souci brothers (The Legend of Scarface have retold the story of Ichabod Crane's last days alive, admiring the lovely Katrina and attending, at her father's home, a party where he hears of the Headless Horseman. Like A Christmas Carol, this story has been routinely reworked in strange and terrible ways. Here the artist has provided full-color paintings that show an awkward, frightfully thin Ichabod and the sweetly petite Katrina, set in 18th century surroundings. The pursuit at the end is shown in sweeping, eerie scenes. For those who find Washington Irving's original version hard going, this one is a fine alternative, especially for reading aloud.
Tom Robbins - Still Life with Woodpecker
Still Life with Woodpecker is a sort of a love story that takes place inside a pack of Camel cigarettes. It reveals the purpose of the moon, explains the difference between criminals and outlaws, examines the conflict between social activism and romantic individualism, and paints a portrait of contemporary society that includes powerful Arabs, exiled royalty, and pregnant cheerleaders. It also deals with the problem of redheads.
Andy Hunt - Pragmatic Thinking and Learning
Software development happens in your head. Not in an editor, IDE, or design tool. You’re well educated on how to work with software and hardware, but what about wetware—our own brains? Learning new skills and new technology is critical to your career, and it’s all in your head. In this book by Andy Hunt, you’ll learn how our brains are wired, and how to take advantage of your brain’s architecture. You’ll learn new tricks and tips to learn more, faster, and retain more of what you learn. You need a pragmatic approach to thinking and learning. You need to Refactor Your Wetware.
A. G. Hawke - The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast
There are many reasons why you might need to learn a foreign language quickly. The author, a U.S. Army Green Beret, often travels to foreign countries on short notice and needs to be able to communicate with military and government officials, many of whom do not speak English. He tried all types of schools, classes, books and tapes, but none delivered what he needed when he needed it. So he developed his own method for learning foreign languages. It proved so effective for him and his fellow Green Berets that he decided to share his method with others who need to learn a language quickly. The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast is designed for people who have no interest in learning complicated rules of grammar. The author promises that his method will help anyone become functional in any language in seven days and proficient in 30. He's trimmed the fat, freeing your time for what's truly useful. Includes a day-by-day schedule, a handy workbook format and secret tips to help you master key elements quickly and easily.
Margaret Atwood - The Edible Woman
Ever since her engagement, the strangest thing has been happening to Marian McAlpin: she can't eat. First meat, then eggs, vegetables, cake, pumpkin seeds -- everything! Worse yet, she has the crazy feeling she's being eaten. She really ought to feel consumed with passion. But she just feels...consumed. A brilliant and powerful work rich in irony and metaphor, The Edible Woman is an unforgettable masterpiece by a true master of contemporary literary fiction.
William Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing
There are two love stories in this fast-moving comedy. Brave young CLaudio and Leonato's pretty daughter Hero are in Love and want to marry, but Don John has a wicked plan to stop their wedding. Will he succeed, or will the truth come out? Will Claudio and Hero marry, after all? Beatrice and Benedick are always arguing with each other, but how do they really feel? Perhaps they are more interested in each other than they seem to be! Their friends work hard to bring them closer together.
Zadie Smith - On Beauty
Howard Belsey, a Rembrandt scholar who doesn't like Rembrandt, is an Englishman abroad and a long-suffering professor at Wellington, a liberal New England arts college. He has been married for thirty years to Kiki, an American woman who no longer resembles the sexy activist she once was. Their three children passionately pursue their own paths: Levi quests after authentic blackness, Zora believes that intellectuals can redeem everybody, and Jerome struggles to be a believer in a family of strict atheists. Faced with the oppressive enthusiasms of his children, Howard feels that the first two acts of his life are over and he has no clear plans for the finale. Or the encore. Then Jerome, Howard's older son, falls for Victoria, the stunning daughter of the right-wing icon Monty Kipps, and the two families find themselves thrown together in a beautiful corner of America, enacting a cultural and personal war against the background of real wars that they barely register. An infidelity, a death, and a legacy set in motion a chain of events that sees all parties forced to examine the unarticulated assumptions which underpin their lives. How do you choose the work on which to spend your life? Why do you love the people you love? Do you really believe what you claim to? And what is the beautiful thing, and how far will you go to get it? Set on both sides of the Atlantic, Zadie Smith's third novel is a brilliant analysis of family life, the institution of marriage, intersections of the personal and political, and an honest look at people's deceptions. It is also, as you might expect, very funny indeed.
Hanif Kureishi - Gabriel's Gift
In 2001, Kureishi set teacups rattling in England with Intimacy, a sexually explicit novella about an extramarital affair, with possible real-life parallels. Here he concocts an appealing, deceptively breezy coming-of-age story recalling his screenplays (My Beautiful Laundrette; Sammy and Rosie Get Laid) in its tender evocation of London-area grunge. Since Mum banished Dad three months ago, 15-year-old Gabriel Bunch has been on the equivalent of house arrest. Nannied to death by hairy Hannah, a refugee from the Communist town of "Bronchitis," Gabriel copes by smoking pot, talking to his dead twin brother, Archie, and drawing objects that disturbingly come to life. Then his dad, Rex, a '60s-era guitarist now wallowing in a squalid bedsit, gets a call from Lester Jones, a David Bowie-like rock god who still packs 'em in. Rex brings Gabriel to meet Lester, who recognizes Gabriel's artistic gifts and gives him a painting that soon becomes central to a virtual custody battle between Mum and Dad and Gabriel himself. The plot is a familiar domestic triangle, as the parents vie for Gabriel's allegiance. But all three Bunches are rich characters capable of sudden growth spurts and surrounded by a crowd of psychedelically colorful friends and associates. Kureishi's loose, loopy style will keep readers off-balance ("She was a person around whom different odors seemed to congregate, like bums on a street corner"). Yet behind the apparent artlessness, this is a shrewd, warmly imagined portrayal of the healing powers of art. (Oct.)Forecast: Kureishi's rep and the psychedelic jacket should help sell this title, especially in big city stores.
Hanif Kureishi - Midnight All Day
In this astonishing collection of new stories, Hanif Kureishi confirms his reputation as Britain's foremost chronicler of the loveless, the lost and the dispossessed. The characters in Midnight All Day are familiar to all of us: frustrated and intoxicated, melancholic and sensitive, yet capable of great cruelty, and, if necessary, willing to break the constraints of an old life to make way for the new.
V. S. Naipaul - The Enigma of Arrival
A moving and beautiful novel of the transformation of rural England. Taking its title from the strangely frozen picture by surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico, the Enigma of Arrival is the story of a young Indian from the Crown Colony of Trinidad who arrives in post-imperial England and consciously, over many years, finds himself as a writer. As he does so, he also observes the gradual but profound and permanent changes wrought on the English landscape by the march of "progress", as an old world is lost to the relentless drift of people and things over the face of the earth. But while this is a novel of dignity, compassion and candour it is also, perhaps surprisingly, a work of celebration.
Susanna Clarke - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.
Nick Hornby - Juliet, Naked
Annie and Duncan are a mid-thirties couple who have reached a fork in the road, realising their shared interest in the reclusive musician Tucker Crowe (in Duncan's case, an obsession as well as an academic career) is not enough to hold them together any more. When Annie hates Tucker's 'new release', a terrible demo of his most famous album, it's the last straw - Duncan cheats on her and she promptly chucks him. Via an internet discussion forum, Annie's harsh opinion reaches Tucker himself, who couldn't agree more. He and Annie start an unlikely correspondence which teaches them both something about moving on from years of wasted time. Nick Hornby's compelling new novel, four years after A Long Way Down, is about the nature of creativity and obsession, and how two lonely people can gradually find each other.