Born Lippy RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK
By Jo Brand
'Feisty and funny' Sunday ExpressSometimes it's hard to be a woman and sometimes it's time to be a hard woman . . . This is a book for all those times.Once upon a (very very) long time ago Jo Brand was what you might describe as 'a nice little girl'. Of course, that was before the values of cynicism, misogyny and the societal expectation that Jo would be thin, feminine and demure sent her off down Arsey Avenue. The plot thickened, when due to a complicated fusion of hormones, horrible family dynamics and a no-good boyfriend they hated, Jo ended up leaving home at 16. Now she's considerably further along life's inevitable bloody 'journey' - and she's fucked up enough times to feel confident she has no wisdom to offer anyone. But who cares? She's going to do it anyway...Born Lippy is a gathering of all the things Jo Brand wishes she'd known, all the things she's learnt, and all the things she hopes for the future. A century after women got the vote (albeit married women over the age of 28) it's time to take stock of exactly what it means to be female today. And if there's one thing women are entitled to, it's having a bloody good moan about things big and small - so here goes . . .HOW TO MANAGE A BULLY * YOUR FAMILY AND HOW TO SURVIVE IT * WHAT NO-ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT THE FEMALE BODY * BEING DIFFERENT * SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT SOCIABLE * HOW NOT TO FALL IN LOVE * FEMINISM: A RE-BRANDING * ADVENTURES IN YOUR HEAD * HAVING FUN * NOT HAVING FUN: WHAT TO DO WHEN IT ALL GOES WRONG * STAYING SANE * YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU WEAR * MODERN MANNERS* HOW TO DO WHAT YOU WANT: OR NOT DO WHAT OTHERS WANT * BEING HEALTHY * GETTING ON A BIT * THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES: MORE DEADLY THAN THE MALE?
Dear Mr Murray
By David McClay
The publishing house of John Murray was founded in Fleet Street in 1768 and remained a family firm over seven generations. Published to coincide with this 'remarkable achievement' and in the anniversary year, Dear Mr Murray is a collection of some of the best letters from the hundreds of thousands held in the John Murray Archive. They reveal not only the story of some of the most interesting and influential books in history but also the remarkable friendships - as well as occasional animosities - between author and publisher, as well as readers, editors, printers and illustrators.Despite the incredible number of letters that were retained by the Murray family, some failed to arrive, others were delayed and some barely survived, but longevity added to the reputation and fame of John Murray and a correspondent in Canada who addressed his letter merely to 'John Murray, The World-wide famous Book & Publishing House, London, England' as early as 1932 could be confident that his letter would arrive.Intended to entertain and inspire, and spanning more than two hundred years, Dear Mr Murray is full of literary history and curiosities: from Charles Darwin's response to the negative reviews of On the Origin of Species to Adrian Conan Doyle challenging Harold Nicolson to a duel for insulting his father in the press; from David Livingstone's displeasure at the proposed drawing of a lion to represent his near-death encounter in Missionary Travels to William Makepeace Thackeray apologising for his drunken behaviour; from Byron berating John Murray for being fooled by his girlfriend's forgery of his signature to the poet James Hogg so desperate for money that he claims he won't be able to afford a Christmas goose; and from Jane Austen expressing concern about printing delays to Patrick Leigh Fermor beseeching Jock Murray not to visit him until he'd completed A Time of Gifts. Complemented by illustrations and reproductions of letters and envelopes, this is the perfect gift for book lovers everywhere.
Brief Answers to the Big Questions
By Stephen Hawking
By Astrid Holleeder, Astrid Holleeder
Willem Holleeder is one of the most notorious criminals in contemporary history. Best known for his involvement in the 1983 kidnapping of Alfred Heineken, CEO and Chairman of Heineken, and his infamous 2006 trial in which he was convicted of extortion, money laundering and membership of a criminal organization, Willem Holleeder captured the attention of the world. What few knew was how Willem had terrorized, extorted and threatened his family for thirty years, just as his alcoholic father - an employee at Heineken - had dominated and mistreated the family for years. Children, sisters, women, in-laws and mother: no one escaped the despotic behaviour of father and son.But Willem's latest conviction is quickly becoming the trial of the century. Charged for his involvement in multiple assassinations, including that of his former partner and brother-in-law, Willem is finally being put on trial for murder, all due to the shocking and incriminating testimony of his own family. Having spent years as his unwilling consigliere, Willem's own sister Astrid is finally breaking her silence and going on the record. In this stunning memoir, Astrid finally reveals decades of familial manipulation and fear and her own thrilling experience working as a double cross, preserving enough trust to attain the information that would convict her brother for life.
By A N Wilson
'Hugely enjoyable' - Spectator'A lucid, elegantly written and thought-provoking social and intellectual history' - Evening Standard'As a historian trying to put Darwin in the context of his time, there is surely no better biographer than Wilson' - The Times'A work of scholarship that is hard to put down' - Deborah CadburyCharles Darwin: the man who discovered evolution? The man who killed off God? Or a flawed man of his age, part genius, part ruthless careerist who would not acknowledge his debts to other thinkers?In this bold new life - the first single volume biography in twenty-five years - A. N. Wilson, the acclaimed author of The Victorians and God's Funeral, goes in search of the celebrated but contradictory figure Charles Darwin.Darwin was described by his friend and champion, Thomas Huxley, as a 'symbol'. But what did he symbolize? In Wilson's portrait, both sympathetic and critical, Darwin was two men. On the one hand, he was a naturalist of genius, a patient and precise collector and curator who greatly expanded the possibilities of taxonomy and geology. On the other hand, Darwin, a seemingly diffident man who appeared gentle and even lazy, hid a burning ambition to be a universal genius. He longed to have a theory which explained everything.But was Darwin's 1859 master work, On the Origin of Species, really what it seemed, a work about natural history? Or was it in fact a consolation myth for the Victorian middle classes, reassuring them that the selfishness and indifference to the poor were part of nature's grand plan? Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker is a radical reappraisal of one of the great Victorians, a book which isn't afraid to challenge the Darwinian orthodoxy while bringing us closer to the man, his revolutionary idea and the wider Victorian age.
Dashing for the Post
By Patrick Leigh Fermor
A revelatory collection of letters written by the author of The Broken Road.Handsome, spirited and erudite, Patrick Leigh Fermor was a war hero and one of the greatest travel writers of his generation. He was also a spectacularly gifted friend. The letters in this collection span almost seventy years, the first written ten days before Paddy's twenty-fifth birthday, the last when he was ninety-four. His correspondents include Deborah Devonshire, Ann Fleming, Nancy Mitford, Lawrence Durrell, Diana Cooper and his lifelong companion, Joan Rayner; he wrote his first letter to her in his cell at the monastery Saint Wandrille, the setting for his reflections on monastic life in A Time to Keep Silence. His letters exhibit many of his most engaging characteristics: his zest for life, his unending curiosity, his lyrical descriptive powers, his love of language, his exuberance and his tendency to get into scrapes - particularly when drinking and, quite separately, driving. Here are plenty of extraordinary stories: the hunt for Byron's slippers in one of the remotest regions of Greece; an ignominious dismissal from Somerset Maugham's Villa Mauresque; hiding behind a bush to dub Dirk Bogarde into Greek during the shooting of Ill Met by Moonlight, the film based on the story of General Kreipe's abduction; his extensive travels. Some letters contain glimpses of the great and the good, while others are included purely for the joy of the jokes.
Love from Boy
By Donald Sturrock
'Dear Mama, I am having a lovely time here. We play football every day here. The beds have no springs . . .'So begins the first letter that a nine-year-old Roald Dahl penned to his mother, Sofie Magdalene, under the watchful eye of his boarding-school headmaster. For most of his life, Roald Dahl would continue to write weekly letters to his mother, chronicling his adventures, frustrations and opinions, from the delights of childhood to the excitements of flying as a World War II fighter pilot and the thrill of meeting top politicians and movie stars during his time as a diplomat and spy in Washington. And, unbeknown to Roald, his mother lovingly kept every single one of them.Sofie was, in many ways, Roald's first reader. It was she who encouraged him to tell stories and nourished his desire to fabricate, exaggerate and entertain. Reading these letters, you can see Roald practicing his craft, developing the dark sense of humour and fantastical imagination that would later produce such timeless tales as The BFG, Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches.The letters in Love from Boy are littered with jokes and madcap observations; sometimes serious, sometimes tender, and often outrageous. To eavesdrop on a son's letters to his mother is to witness Roald Dahl turning from a boy to a man, and finally becoming a writer.
Fascinating Footnotes From History
By Giles Milton
'Giles Milton is a man who can take an event from history and make it come alive . . . an inspiration for those of us who believe that history can be exciting and entertaining' Matthew Redhead, The TimesDid you know that Hitler took cocaine? That Stalin robbed a bank? That Charlie Chaplin's corpse was filched and held to ransom? Giles Milton is a master of historical narrative: in his characteristically engaging prose, Fascinating Footnotes From History details one hundred of the quirkiest historical nuggets; eye-stretching stories that read like fiction but are one hundred per cent fact.There is Hiroo Onoda, the lone Japanese soldier still fighting the Second World War in 1974; Agatha Christie, who mysteriously disappeared for eleven days in 1926; and Werner Franz, a cabin boy on the Hindenburg who lived to tell the tale when it was engulfed in flames in 1937. Fascinating Footnotes From History also answers who ate the last dodo, who really killed Rasputin and why Sergeant Stubby had four legs. Peopled with a gallery of spies, rogues, cannibals, adventurers and slaves, and spanning twenty centuries and six continents, Giles Milton's impeccably researched footnotes shed light on some of the most infamous stories and most flamboyant and colourful characters (and animals) from history.
The Invention of Nature
By Andrea Wulf
WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARDWINNER OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE 2016'A thrilling adventure story' Bill Bryson'Dazzling' Literary Review 'Brilliant' Sunday Express'Extraordinary and gripping' New Scientist'A superb biography' The Economist'An exhilarating armchair voyage' GILES MILTON, Mail on Sunday Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist - more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world's highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar's revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne's Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, 'the greatest man since the Deluge'.Taking us on a fantastic voyage in his footsteps - racing across anthrax-infected Russia or mapping tropical rivers alive with crocodiles - Andrea Wulf shows why his life and ideas remain so important today. Humboldt predicted human-induced climate change as early as 1800, and The Invention of Nature traces his ideas as they go on to revolutionize and shape science, conservation, nature writing, politics, art and the theory of evolution. He wanted to know and understand everything and his way of thinking was so far ahead of his time that it's only coming into its own now. Alexander von Humboldt really did invent the way we see nature.
The Lost Imperialist
By Andrew Gailey
Winner of the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography 2016Frederick Hamiton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, enjoyed a glittering career which few could equal. As Viceroy of India and Governor-General of Canada, he held the two most exalted positions available under the Crown, but prior to this his achievements as a British ambassador included restoring order to sectarian conflict in Syria, helping to keep Canada British, paving the way for the annexation of Egypt and preventing war from breaking out on India's North-West Frontier.Dufferin was much more than a diplomat and politician, however: he was a leading Irish landlord, an adventurer and a travel writer whose Letters from High Latitudes proved a publishing sensation. He also became a celebrity of the time, and in his attempts to sustain his reputation he became trapped by his own inventions, thereafter living his public life in fear of exposure. Ingenuity, ability and charm usually saved the day, yet in the end catastrophe struck in the form of the greatest City scandal for forty years and the death of his heir in the Boer War.With unique access to the family archive at Clandeboye, Andrew Gailey presents a full biography of the figure once referred to as the 'most popular man in Europe'.
Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories
By Thomas Grant
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLERSHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA NON-FICTION DAGGER'Thomas Grant has brought together Hutchinson's greatest legal hits, producing a fascinating episodic cultural history of post-war Britain that chronicles the end of deference and secrecy, and the advent of a more permissive society . . . Grant brings out the essence of each case, and Hutchinson's role, with clarity and wit' Ben Macintyre, The Times'An excellent book . . . Grant recounts these trials in limpid prose which clarifies obscurities. A delicious flavouring of cool irony, which is so much more effective than hot indignation, covers his treatment of the small mindedness and cheapness behind some prosecutions' Richard Davenport-Hines, GuardianBorn in 1915 into the fringes of the Bloomsbury Group, Jeremy Hutchinson went on to become the greatest criminal barrister of the 1960s, '70s and '80s. The cases of that period changed society for ever and Hutchinson's role in them was second to none. In Case Histories, Jeremy Hutchinson's most remarkable trials are examined, each one providing a fascinating look into Britain's post-war social, political and cultural history.Accessibly and entertainingly written, Case Histories provides a definitive account of Jeremy Hutchinson's life and work. From the sex and spying scandals which contributed to Harold Macmillan's resignation in 1963 and the subsequent fall of the Conservative government, to the fight against literary censorship through his defence of Lady Chatterley's Lover and Fanny Hill, Hutchinson was involved in many of the great trials of the period. He defended George Blake, Christine Keeler, Great Train robber Charlie Wilson, Kempton Bunton (the only man successfully to 'steal' a picture from the National Gallery), art 'faker' Tom Keating, and Howard Marks who, in a sensational defence, was acquitted of charges relating to the largest importation of cannabis in British history. He also prevented the suppression of Bernardo Bertolucci's notorious film Last Tango in Paris and did battle with Mary Whitehouse when she prosecuted the director of the play Romans in Britain.Above all else, Jeremy Hutchinson's career, both at the bar and later as a member of the House of Lords, has been one devoted to the preservation of individual liberty and to resisting the incursions of an overbearing state. Case Histories provides entertaining, vivid and revealing insights into what was really going on in those celebrated courtroom dramas that defined an age, as well as painting a picture of a remarkable life.To listen to Jeremy Hutchinson being interviewed by Helena Kennedy on BBC Radio 4's A Law Unto Themselves, please follow the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04d4cpvYou can also listen to him on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03ddz8m
Test of Time
By John Lazenby
John Lazenby's interest in cricket began with a glimpse of his grandfather's old leather cricket bag stored among the rafters. His curiosity piqued, one day he decided to climb up and explore its contents. The faded blazer, heavy ball and linseed-scented bats exerted a subtle influence on him. This re-emerged decades later when he discovered a box of letters written by his grandfather, the England cricketer J. R. Mason, while on a boat to Australia for the 1897-8 Ashes tour. Inspired by these extraordinary letters, John Lazenby retraces the journey. His tour becomes a cricketing pilgrimage and a voyage of discovery as he passes through Australian cities and remote towns his grandfather visited more than a hundred years ago. During his travels he uncovers a wealth of memorabilia and anecdotes, and his wide-reaching narrative encompasses not only Mason and his team-mates, but also a wider insight into late Victorian mores.
A History of Silence
By Lloyd Jones
A History of Silence is a touching memoir about a country and a landscape. It's about the devastation in Christchurch after the 2011 earthquake and the faultlines that this event opened up in Lloyd Jones' understanding of his own family. It's about how easily we erase from our history, the stories that we find inconvenient. In his typically lyrical and engaging prose, Jones embarks on a journey of discovery. On this journey he finds out more about his country and the landscape that surrounds him, but he also uncovers the truth about his family. This truth is completely unexpected and changes everything. This deeply moving book is about loss and survival and silence.