The Summer Without Men
By Siri Hustvedt
After Mia Fredricksen's husband of thirty years asks for a pause - so he can indulge his infatuation with a young French colleague - she cracks up (briefly), rages (deeply), then decamps to her prairie childhood home.There, gradually, she is drawn into the lives of those around her: her mother's circle of feisty widows; the young woman next door; and the diabolical teenage girls in her poetry class. By the end of the summer without men, Mia knows what's worth fighting for - and on whose terms. Provocative, mordant, and fiercely intelligent, this is a gloriously vivacious tragi-comedy about women and girls, love and marriage, and the age-old war between the sexes.
The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves
By Siri Hustvedt
While speaking at a memorial event for her father, the novelist Siri Hustvedt suffered a violent seizure from the neck down. Was it triggered by nerves, emotion - or something else entirely?In this profoundly thought-provoking and revealing book, Hustvedt takes the reader on her journey through psychiatry, philosophy, neuroscience and medical history in search of a diagnosis. Conveying the often frightening mysteries of illness, she illuminates the perenially mysterious connection between mind and body and what we mean by 'I'.
The South Bank Show: Final Cut
By Melvyn Bragg
What drives a musician to write extraordinary songs? How do writers create their worlds? How does an actor achieve greatness? For over thirty years of The South Bank Show, Melvyn Bragg has interviewed many of the greatest cultural icons of our age. These interviews offer revelatory insights into the lives and work of writers, actors, artists and musicians. In The South Bank Show: Final Cut he has revisited some of these artists and used the interviews as the basis for fuller portraits. The range of artists is remarkable and this book is true to The South Bank Show's ethos of seeking out the highest quality whatever the art form. Melvyn Bragg's unique perspective makes this book indispensable for anyone interested in the work and lives of some of the best artists of our time.
By Bahaa Taher
As the 19th century draws to a close, the politically disgraced Mahmoud Abd El Zahir takes up his post as District Commissioner of the remote and dangerous Egyptian oasis of Siwa, knowing he has no choice. The hostile, warring natives are no surprise - but little did he expect to fall in love, his Irish wife to alienate the entire community, or a local beauty to prove a fatal ally. As the gulf between occupier and occupied, husband and wife, dreams and reality widens, tensions reach boiling point.
By Glen David Gold
From the author of CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL comes a panoramic tale of power and stardom, ambition and dreams that reaches from California in 1916 to the battlefields of France and the icy wastes of northern Russia. At the heart of its enthralling cast of characters - which includes a thieving Girl Scout, Mary Pickford, a charismatic British general and even the dog Rin Tin Tin - lies the troubled genius that was Charlie Chaplin.Here America debuts on the world stage in the Great War, Hollywood blossoms into a global phenomenon, and the cult of celebrity is born. Here, in a novel as darkly comic as it is thrilling, the modern age dawns.
By John Le Carré
The murdered man had been an agent - once, long ago. But George Smiley's superiors at the Secret Service want to see the crime buried, not solved. Smiley will not leave it at that, not when it might lead him all the way to Karla, the elusive Soviet spymaster . . .Smiley's People is a thrilling confrontation between one of the most famous spies in all fiction and his Cold War rival, Karla. Like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Honourable Schoolboy, it is as tense and unforgettable as only le Carré's novels can be.
Searching For Schindler
By Thomas Keneally
The extraordinary tale of Oskar Schindler, the Aryan who saved hundreds of Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, is now legendary, but as Tom Keneally reveals in this absorbing memoir, luck and the dogged persistence of one of 'Schindler's Jews' were vital in bringing it to the world's attention through his Booker Prize-winning novel, SCHINDLER'S ARK and the subsequent film, SCHINDLER'S LIST.Entertaining, inspiring and filled with anecdotes about the many people involved, from the survivors Keneally interviewed to Steven Spielberg and Liam Neeson, Searching for Schindler gives a revealing insight into a writer's mind and the creation of a modern classic. It also traces what happened in the decades after the war to Schindler, his wife, and the people they rescued - including Leopold Pfefferberg, who made it his mission to repay his priceless debt to Schindler. Above all, it sheds renewed light on a fascinatingly flawed man, and an instance of exceptional humanity amid the greatest inhumanity mankind has known.
The Sorrows of an American
By Siri Hustvedt
After their father's funeral, Erik and Inga Davidsen find a cryptic letter from an unknown woman among his papers, dating from his adolescence in rural Minnesota during the Depression. Returning to his psychiatric practice in New York, Erik sets about reading his father's memoir, hoping to discover the man he never fully understood.At the same time, another woman enters Erik's lonely, divorced life - a beautiful Jamaican who moves into his garden flat with her small daughter. As Erik gets drawn into the cat-and-mouse tactics of someone who appears to be stalking her, he finds out that his sister Inga is also being threatened, by a journalist in possession of a wounding secret from her past.A multi-layered novel that probes the mysteries of the heart and mind, THE SORROWS OF AN AMERICAN is compulsive, thought-provoking and profoundly affecting.
By Tim Ecott
A very different memoir about growing up in South Africa.'Funny, never self-pitying and a pleasure to read' - GUARDIAN'[An] affectionate, generous book' - IRISH TIMES'Both haunting and funny. [Ecott] writes with compassion and honesty to give us a truly memorable account of an extraordinary upbringing' - Fergal Keane'Unputdownable - never sentimental, extremely honest and with a positively Dickensian cast of characters' - Emma Thompson
By Taylor Clark
STARBUCKED is the first book to explore the incredible rise of the Starbucks Corporation and the caffeine-crazy culture that fuelled its success. Part Fast Food Nation, part social history, STARBUCKED combines investigative heft with witty cultural observation. How did Starbucks become an international juggernaut? What made the company so beloved that more than 40 million customers visit every week, yet so loathed that protestors have firebombed its stores? Why did Americans suddenly become willing to pay $4.50 for a cup of coffee? And why did the world follow? Taylor Clark provides an objective, meticulously reported look at how Starbucks manipulates psyches and social habits to snare loyal customers, and why many of the things we think we know about the coffee chain are false.
By Gregory Norminton
In the early 1990s, at an old-fashioned boarding school, two boys form an intense friendship that will shape the course of their lives. Bruno Jackson, the shy and lonely son of British expats, is infatuated by the glamorous but troubled Anthony Blunden. Taken under the wing of an idealistic English teacher, the boys are encouraged to explore the 'more serious things' of life beyond college. But in the hothouse of the school, a slight from their mentor seems of earth-shattering importance, with fateful consequences. Years later, with the memories of that time almost buried, Bruno leads a blameless, uneventful life. The sudden reappearance of Anthony forces him to revisit the dark corners of his past and to decide how far he's prepared to go to assuage his conscience. From the acclaimed writer of GHOST PORTRAIT and THE SHIP OF FOOLS, this is a gripping tale of vengeance, morality and the complex paths that can lead to redemption.
By Thomas Keneally
Made into the award-winning film 'Schindler's List'. In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womaniser, a heavy drinker and a bon viveur, but to them he became a saviour. This is the extraordinary story of Oskar Schindler, who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland and who was transformed by the war into a man with a mission, a compassionate angel of mercy.
The Soldier's Return
By Melvyn Bragg
When Sam Richardson returns in 1946 from the 'Forgotten War' in Burma to Wigton in Cumbria, he finds the town little changed. But the war has changed him, broadening his horizons as well as leaving him with traumatic memories. In addition, his six-year-old son now barely remembers him, and his wife has gained a sense of independence from her wartime jobs. As all three strive to adjust, the bonds of loyalty and love are stretched to breaking point in this taut, and profoundly moving novel.
By Tracey Emin
The intimate memoirs of one of the most acclaimed and controversial artists of her generation.Here I am, a fucked, crazy, anorexic-alcoholic-childless, beautiful woman. I never dreamt it would be like this.Tracey Emin's Strangeland is her own space, lying between the Margate of her childhood, the Turkey of her forefathers and her own, private-public life in present-day London. Her writings, a combination of memoirs and confessions, are deeply intimate, yet powerfully engaging. Tracey retains a profoundly romantic world view, paired with an uncompromising honesty. Her capacity both to create controversies and to strike chords is unequalled in British life. A remarkable book - and an original, beautiful mind.
Single & Single
By John Le Carré
A corporate lawyer from the House of Single & Single is shot dead in cold blood on a Turkish hillside for crimes that he does not understand. A children's entertainer in Devon is hauled to his local bank late at night to explain a monumental influx of cash. A Russian freighter is arrested in the Black Sea. A celebrated London financier has disappeared into thin air. A British customs officer is on a trail of corruption and murder. SINGLE & SINGLE is a thrilling journey of the contemporary human heart - intimate, magical, riotous and subtly architected, showing us John le Carré at the height of his dramatic and creative powers.
By Donna Morrissey
Sylvanus Now is a young man of great charm and strength, most at home when fishing the great Newfoundland fishing banks. His world is simple, his desires direct. He wants Adelaide, a fiery beauty from the next village, but Adelaide swore she would never love a fisherman. She hates the sea, the fish, the prying eyes of an isolated 1950s community.But as their love for each other grows into marriage, the more they seem linked to the rhythms of the sea - a sea that takes as well as gives, something that Sylvanus knows all too well having lost both his brother and father to the depths. Worse is to come. Looming at the edge of the horizon are menacing congregations of giant fishing trawlers that threaten to suck not only fish from the sea but the life from a community.
Statues Without Shadows
By Anna Swan
Anna grew up accepting that her parents were glamorous but mysterious figures, who had both died by the time she was seven. It was only when she was in her thirties that she discovered they had both committed suicide. As she began to search for the truth about her parents, she uncovered details about their fascinating and incredibly divergent backgrounds: her father's family can trace their ancestry to King James II. Her mother came from a Welsh mining family. They met in 1950s literary London and fell in love. But a year after Anna was born, her mother was dead. The book explores the nature of loss, exile, betrayal and Anna's own deep-rooted instinct to refuse the horrors of her past and transcend the legacy of her parents. This is a compelling, moving story of uncovering the past in order to reclaim the future.
Sweetness and Light: The Mysterious History of the Honey Bee
By Hattie Ellis
The bee is the most studied creature on the planet after man, and down the ages this insect and its honey have been harnessed by doctors, philosophers, scientists, politicians, artists, writers and architects as both metaphor and material. In her buzzing narrative, Hattie Ellis tells how all these people have found inspiration in the honey bee. We also discover some of the mysterious ways of bees - how they can make up to 24,000 journeys to produce a pound of honey, with each bee producing one teaspoonful in a lifetime; we see how, charmingly, they communicate by dances; and we look under the lid of the hive to find as many as 100,000 bees living and working in total discipline. But we witness their dark side, too - such as the savage, untamed energy of the swarms of killer African bees that are sweeping through America. We also explore some of the many unsolved questions surrounding the honey bee, some of them at the very cutting edge of contemporary medical research. The bee existed long before man; and without bees, we would soon start to die. Hattie Ellis shows us how this small insect can tell us more about ourselves than any other living creature.
By Nigel Hawthorne
Very sadly, Nigel Hawthorne died on Boxing Day 2001. He had just completed his exceptional autobiography about a life which had by no means taken a straight path. His ambitions to be an actor when a young man in South Africa were strongly discouraged by his father. He came to England alone and struggled for many years to make his name - eventually joining the Royal Court, starring in the West End, and finally having his great TV break in Yes, Minister.He also struggled with his sexuality and it was not until meeting production manager Trevor Bentham in l977 that he finally found his life partner. A naturally private man, his media 'outing' in the run-up to the Oscar Ceremony for The Madness of King George was the source of much pain, although ultimately it became a liberation.At the peak of his career he was struck by cancer and his battle with illness forms a moving final section of the book.
A Son of War
By Melvyn Bragg
Longlisted for the Booker Prize After the upheavals of the Second World War, the Richardson family - Sam, Ellen and their young son Joe - settle back to working-class life in the Cumbrian town of Wigton. Yet for them, as for so many, life will never be the same again. As the old order begins to be challenged and new vistas open, Sam and Ellen forge their future together with differing needs and desires - and conflicting expectations of Joe, who grows up with his own demons to confront.