’I don’t believe in God, but I miss him.’ Julian Barnes’ new book is, among many things, a family memoir, an exchange with his brother (a philosopher), a meditation on mortality and the fear of death, a celebration of art, an argument with and about God, and a homage to the French writer Jules Renard. Though he warns us that ‘this is not my autobiography’, the result is like a tour of the mind of one of our most brilliant writers.
Dubravka Ugrešić - Have A Nice Day
The fictional dictionary of a Croatian exile in the USA. In this book, American life and culture are seen through the eyes of a woman whose country is being destroyed by war; barbarism is seen through the comforting veil of Western obsessions. Escaping from a dreadful situation in Zagreb, Dubravka Ugresic finds herself living in Middletown, Connecticut. There she compiles a witty, sardonic dictionary of everyday American life shot through with absurdity and her awareness of the barbaric realities of Sarajevo and Dubrovnik. This book is a combination of diary, autobiography, travel book and fiction.
Dubravka Ugrešić - The Museum Of Unconditional Surrender
An unusual beautifully written East European novel in the tradition of Kundera and Borges. This is a deeply East European novel in flavour reminiscent of Kundera and Borges. Through weaving together fragments, stories and diaries Dubravka Ugresic, a prize winning novelist in the former Yugoslavia, captures the world group of characters living in Berlin and Lisbon. Even though this is a novel with little plot, there is something extremely compelling and memorable about Ugresic's beautifully crafted writing. She convincingly brings to life a world and characters preoccupied by questions of exile, nationalism, angels, parables, the Berlin zoo, the layers of meaning in 1's past and future frozen by the camera. Underpinned by a calm note of tragedy, The museum of unconditional Surrender is a beautifully written novel, both bitter and funny in tone.
Helen Forrester - By the Waters of Liverpool
The third and fourth parts of Helen Forrester’s autobiography takes Helen from her poverty-stricken upbringing into adulthood and her account of the war years in Blitz-torn Liverpool. Helen Forrester continues the moving story of her early poverty-stricken life with an account of her teenage years and the devastating effect of the Second World War on her hometown of Liverpool. At seventeen, Helen Forrester's parents are still as irresponsible as ever, wasting money while their children still lack adequate food and clothing. But for Helen, having won a small measure of independence, things are looking up. Having educated herself at night school and now making friends in her first proper job, she meets a handsome seaman and falls in love for the first time. But the storm clouds of war are gathering and Helen will experience at first hand the horror of the blitz and the terrible toll that the war exacted on ordinary people. As ever, Helen faces the future with courage and determination.
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.
e. e. cummings - The Enormous Room
In 1917 young Edward Estlin Cummings went to France as a volunteer with a Red Cross ambulance unit on the western front. But his free-spirited, insubordinate ways soon got him tagged as a possible enemy of La Patrie, and he was summarily tossed into a French concentration camp at La Ferte-Mace in Normandy. Under the vilest conditions, Cummings found fulfillment of his ever elusive quest for freedom. The Enormous Room, his account of his four-month confinement, reads like a latter-day Pilgrim's Progress, a journey into dispossession, to a place among the most debased and deprived of human creatures. Cummings's hopeful tone reflects the essential paradox of his existence: to lose everything is to become free, and so to be saved.
Gordon Ramsay - Playing with Fire
"In the beginning there was nothing. Not a sausage - penniless, broke, fucking nothing - and although, at a certain age, that didn′t matter hugely, there came a time when hand-me-downs, cast-offs and football boots of odd sizes all pointed to a problem that seemed to have afflicted me, my mum, my sisters, Ronnie and the whole lot of us. It was as though we had been dealt the ′all-time dysfunctional′ poker hand. I wish I could say that, from this point on, the penny dropped and I decided to do something about it, but it wasn′t like that. It would take years before the lessons of life, business and money began to click into place - before, as they say, I had a pot to piss in. This is the story of how those lessons were learned." This is Gordon Ramsay at his raw, rugged best. PLAYING WITH FIRE is the amazing story of Gordon′s journey from sous-chef to superstar. In his no-holds-barred style, Gordon shares his passion for risk and adventure and his hard-won success secrets.
Craig Ferguson - American on Purpose
In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark—as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer. To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: in 1993, the washed-up Ferguson washed up in the United States. Finally sober, Ferguson landed a breakthrough part on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, a success that eventually led to his role as the host of CBS's The Late Late Show. By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008, just before his command performance for the president at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared.
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.
Julian Barnes - Before She Met Me
At the start of this fiendishly comic and suspenseful novel, a mild-mannered English academic chuckles as he watches his wife commit adultery. The action takes place before she met him. But lines between film and reality, past and present become terrifyingly blurred in this sad and funny tour de force from the author of Flaubert's Parrot.
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.
Laura Ingalls Wilder - On the Banks of Plum Creek
The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they leave their little house on the prairie and travel in their covered wagon to Minnesota. Here they settle in a little house made of sod beside the banks of beautiful Plum Creek. Soon Pa builds a wonderful new little house with real glass windows and a hinged door. Laura and her sister Mary go to school, help with the chores, and fish in the creek. At night everyone listens to the merry music of Pa's fiddle. Misfortunes come in the form of a grasshopper plague and a terrible blizzard, but the pioneer family works hard together to overcome these troubles. And so continues Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America's frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.
Laura Ingalls Wilder - The Long Winter
The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat. Finally a joyous Christmas is celebrated in a very unusual way in this most exciting of all the Little House books.
Laura Ingalls Wilder - Little Town on the Prairie
The little settlement that weathered the long, hard winter of 1880-81 is now a growing town. Laura is growing up, and she goes to her first evening social. Mary is at last able to go to a college for the blind. Best of all, Almanzo Wilder asks permission to walk home from church with Laura. And Laura, now fifteen years old, receives her certificate to teach school.
Laura Ingalls Wilder - The First Four Years
Laura and Almanzo Wilder have just gotten married and live in their own little house on the prairie. They work hard every day to provide for themselves and their new daughter, Rose. The battle sickness, weather, fire, and making sure their daughter is provided for.
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.
Piper Kerman - Orange Is the New Black
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.
John Le Carré - The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
In this classic, John le Carré's third novel and the first to earn him international acclaim, he created a world unlike any previously experienced in suspense fiction. With unsurpassed knowledge culled from his years in British Intelligence, le Carré brings to light the shadowy dealings of international espionage in the tale of a British agent who longs to end his career but undertakes one final, bone-chilling assignment. When the last agent under his command is killed and Alec Leamas is called back to London, he hopes to come in from the cold for good. His spymaster, Control, however, has other plans. Determined to bring down the head of East German Intelligence and topple his organization, Control once more sends Leamas into the fray — this time to play the part of the dishonored spy and lure the enemy to his ultimate defeat.
Julian Barnes - Staring at the Sun
Jean Serjeant, the heroine of Julian Barnes's wonderfully provocative novel, seems ordinary, but has an extraordinary disdain for wisdom. And as Barnes--author of The Porcupine and Talking It Over--follows her from her childhood in the 1920s to her flight into the sun in the year 2021, he confronts readers with the fruits of her relentless curiosity: pilgrimages to China and the Grand Canyon; a catalog of 1940s sexual euphemisms; and a glimpse of technology in the twenty-first century (when The Absolute Truth can be universally accessed).
Laura Ingalls Wilder - By the Shores of Silver Lake
The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they move from their little house on the banks of Plum Creek to the wilderness of the unsettled Dakota Territory. Here Pa works on the new railroad until he finds a homestead claim that is perfect for their new little house. Laura takes her first train ride as she, her sisters, and their mother come out to live with Pa on the shores of Silver Lake. After a lonely winter in the surveyors' house, Pa puts up the first building in what will soon be a brand-new town on the beautiful shores of Silver Lake. The Ingallses' covered-wagon travels are finally over.