By Anthony DeCurtis
A GUARDIAN AND CHOICE BOOK OF THE YEAR'A walk on the wild side with the alt-rock pioneer' GQ'DeCurtis is well placed to trace Reed's five-decade career, drawing on insider knowledge but skilfully balancing it with detailed research and fascinating interviews' Mojo MagazineAs lead singer and songwriter for the Velvet Underground and a renowned solo artist, Lou Reed invented alternative rock. His music, at once the height of sanctity and perversity, transcended a genre, speaking to millions of listeners, inspiring a new generation of musicians, and forever changing the way we think of that iconic era of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Throughout his five-decade career, Reed embodied artistic self-awareness and captured the beauty, paranoia, and vivacity of his time into an array of hit songs, experimental albums, and a larger-than-life persona. With such masterpieces as 'Sweet Jane' and 'Walk on the Wild Side', Reed exerted an influence on popular music rivaled only by the likes of Bob Dylan and the Beatles and is recognized to this day as one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.Now, just a few years after Reed's death, comes the thrilling, provocative story of his complex life. An acclaimed Rolling Stone contributor, Anthony DeCurtis interviewed Reed extensively and knew him well. With unparalleled access to Reed's friends, family, and dozens of other intimate relations, DeCurtis brings Reed's story compellingly alive and deepens our understanding of his indelible music. We travel deep into the underground artist clubs, listen along in the studio as the Velvet Underground record their signature work, and revel in Reed's relationship with legendaries like Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, and David Bowie. Insightful, revelatory, and intimate, Lou Reed is a gripping tribute to a quintessential American icon.
By Mick Herron
'Mick Herron is an incredible writer and if you haven't read him yet, you NEED to' Mark BillinghamDieter Hess, an aged spy, is dead, and John Bachelor, his MI5 handler, is in deep, deep trouble. Death has revealed that the deceased had been keeping a secret second bank account - and there's only ever one reason a spy has a secret second bank account. The question of whether he was a double agent must be resolved, and its answer may undo an entire career's worth of spy secrets.
The Last Voice You Hear
By Mick Herron
'Unexpected and satisfying . . . The engaging heroine never loses her cool, from the melancholy opening to the whirlwind finale, a marvellously extended set-piece' Kirkus ReviewsZoë Boehm has harbored a distinct aversion to death ever since she shot the man intent on killing her. So when Caroline Daniels takes a deadly fall in front of a train and her lover fails to turn up at the funeral, Zoë wants nothing to do with the case. But Caroline's boss is persistent, and as Zoë attempts to unlock the secrets of a woman she's never met while in search of a man who could be anywhere, she starts to wonder if he's found her first. And if he has, will that make her the next victim, or prove to be her salvation from a paralyzing fear?
By Mick Herron
LONGLISTED FOR THE CWA GOLD DAGGER AND IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER'The UK's new spy master' Sunday TimesLondon Rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one.Cover your arse.Regent's Park's First Desk, Claude Whelan, is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he's facing attack from all directions himself: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboat's wife, a tabloid columnist, who's crucifying Whelan in print; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who's alert for Claude's every stumble.Meanwhile, the country's being rocked by an apparently random string of terror attacks, and someone's trying to kill Roddy Ho.Over at Slough House, the crew are struggling with personal problems: repressed grief, various addictions, retail paralysis, and the nagging suspicion that their newest colleague is a psychopath. But collectively, they're about to rediscover their greatest strength - that of making a bad situation much, much worse.It's a good job Jackson Lamb knows the rules. Because those things aren't going to break themselves.******Praise for Mick Herron'The new spy master' Evening Standard'Herron is spy fiction's great humorist, mixing absurd situations with sparklingly funny dialogue and elegant, witty prose' The Times'Herron draws his readers so fully into the world of Slough House that the incautious might find themselves slipping between the pages and transformed from reader to spook' Irish Times
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.
By Andrew Michael Hurley
THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 10 BESTSELLER. WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD. THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016.A brilliantly unsettling and atmospheric debut full of unnerving horror - 'The Loney is not just good, it's great. It's an amazing piece of fiction' Stephen KingTwo brothers. One mute, the other his lifelong protector.Year after year, their family visits the same sacred shrine on a desolate strip of coastline known as the Loney, in desperate hope of a cure.In the long hours of waiting, the boys are left alone. And they cannot resist the causeway revealed with every turn of the treacherous tide, the old house they glimpse at its end . . .Many years on, Hanny is a grown man no longer in need of his brother's care.But then the child's body is found.And the Loney always gives up its secrets, in the end.'This is a novel of the unsaid, the implied, the barely grasped or understood, crammed with dark holes and blurry spaces that your imagination feels compelled to fill' Observer'A masterful excursion into terror' The Sunday Times
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'.
Lillian on Life
By Alison Jean Lester
'I absolutely loved it. A delight . . . so fresh and clever and subversive' Kate Atkinson'I completely loved Lillian on Life. What a great voice, what energy and wit . . . very original and often extremely funny' Karen Joy FowlerLillian, a single, well-travelled woman of a certain age, wakes up next to her married lover and looks back at her life. It's not at all the life she expected.Walking the unpaved road between traditional and modern options for women, Lillian has grappled with parental disappointment, society's expectations and the vagaries of love and sex. As a narrator she's bold and witty, and her reflections - from 'On Getting to Sex' to 'On the Importance of Big Pockets' or 'On Leaving in Order to Stay' - reverberate originally and unpredictably.In Lillian on Life, Alison Jean Lester has created a brutally honest portrait of a woman living through the post-war decades of change in Munich, Paris, London and New York. Her story resonates with the glamour and energy of those cities. Charming, sometimes heartbreaking, never a stereotype, Lillian is completely herself; her view of the world is unique. You won't soon forget her.
A Lovely Way to Burn
By Louise Welsh
As heard on BBC Radio 4 Book at BedtimeIt doesn't look like murder in a city full of death. A pandemic called 'The Sweats' is sweeping the globe. London is a city in crisis. Hospitals begin to fill with the dead and dying, but Stevie Flint is convinced that the sudden death of her boyfriend Dr Simon Sharkey was not from natural causes. As roads out of London become gridlocked with people fleeing infection, Stevie's search for Simon's killers takes her in the opposite direction, into the depths of the dying city and a race with death. A Lovely Way to Burn is the first outbreak in the Plague Times trilogy. Chilling, tense and completely compelling, it's Louise Welsh writing at the height of her powers.
The Lost Art of Having Fun
By Gyles Brandreth, Saethryd Brandreth
One good thing about a recession is that we need to go back to making our own fun. Games are in the Brandreths' blood, they have spent thousands of weekends and rainy holidays playing them and now Gyles, Saethryd and eight-year-old Rory want to share the very best with you. THE LOST ART OF HAVING FUN picks out over 250 games, guaranteed to make even the grumpiest child or adult laugh, and then with all kinds of interesting stories and lovely illustrations, it shows you clearly (and very entertainingly) how to play them. There are classic parlour games alongside all kinds of interesting ones you might not have come across yet. Nine chapters cover pretty much every eventuality: Rainy Day Games, Car Journey, Analogue Fun in a Digital World, Music and Drama, Word Games and Brainteasers, Racing Games, Party Games (split between children's birthday parties and dinner parties), Country House Weekend and last but not least Seasonal Games: Christmas, New Year and Easter. Forget consoles and board games, this beautiful book is all you need. And Queen Victoria (whose favourite games are here too) would be amused. Very amused.
Love Among The Artists
By George Bernard Shaw
With his inimitable wit and sparkle, George Bernard Shaw brings us the character of Owen Jack, a salty non-conformist composer said to have been suggested by Beethoven. The relations between Jack and the other wayward bohemians of the story with the more conventional socialites around them offers shrewd insight into the nature of the artistic temperament, with its need for a kind of commitment that overrides the everyday claims of the heart.A novel which anticipated Shaw's first plays by more than ten years, LOVE AMONG THE ARTISTS shows him already mocking the respectable morality of the Victorian society around him.
Let Not the Waves of the Sea
By Simon Stephenson
LET NOT THE WAVES OF THE SEA is Simon Stephenson's account of his journey following the loss of his brother in the Indian Ocean tsunami. If it is a story of grief, it is also a story of hope and of the unexpected places where healing can be found. Simon's journey takes him from Edinburgh in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, to Downing Street in London, to Thailand and the island where his brother died, to the scene of an ancient tsunami on the north-west coast of the United States, and to the town where he and his brother's favourite childhood film was made. Along the way there is heartbreak, dengue fever, Greek mythology, and hard physical labour in the tropical heat, but there is also memory, redemption and humour as well.
By Philip Mansel
Levant is a book of cities. It describes Smyrna, Alexandria and Beirut when they were windows on the world, escapes from nationality and tradition, centres of wealth, pleasure and freedom. Using unpublished family papers, Philip Mansel describes their colourful, contradictory history, from the beginning of the French alliance with the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century to their decline in the mid twentieth century. Smyrna was burnt; Alexandria Egyptianised; Beirut lacerated by civil war.
The Language Wars
By Henry Hitchings
The English language is a battlefield. Since the age of Shakespeare, arguments over correct usage have been acrimonious, and those involved have always really been contesting values - to do with morality, politics and class. THE LANGUAGE WARS examines the present state of the conflict, its history and its future. Above all, it uses the past as a way of illuminating the present. Moving chronologically, the book explores the most persistent issues to do with English and unpacks the history of 'proper' usage. Where did these ideas spring from? Which of today's bugbears and annoyances are actually venerable? Who has been on the front line in the language wars?THE LANGUAGE WARS examines grammar rules, regional accents, swearing, spelling, dictionaries, political correctness, and the role of electronic media in reshaping language. It also takes a look at such niggling concerns as the split infinitive, elocution and text messaging. Peopled with intriguing characters such as Jonathan Swift, H. W. Fowler and George Orwell as well as the more disparate figures of Lewis Carroll, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lenny Bruce, THE LANGUAGE WARS is an essential volume for anyone interested in the state of the English language today or intrigued about its future.
The Longest Winter
By Meredith Hooper
Scott's 'Northern Party' played an important role in his iconic last expedition, but how did they survive? Their tents were torn, their food was nearly finished and the ship had failed to pick them up as winter approached. Stranded and desperate, the six men dug out an ice cave with no room to stand upright. Circumstances forced them closer together and somehow they made it through the longest winter. Working from diaries, journals and letters written by expedition members, Meredith Hooper tells the intensely human story of Scott's other expedition.
A Long Lunch
By Simon Hoggart, Simon Hoggart
Simon Hoggart has long been admired as one of our leading commentators on modern life. His memoirs encompass his radio career, most notably as chair of the News Quiz, his life as a journalist and as an observer of the people he has met along the way.A Long Lunch is both funny and quirky, whilst also being full of wisdom and insight.During his career, Simon has met every British prime minister from Harold Macmillan onwards. His memoirs will divulge what Alan Clark thought about Melvyn Bragg, what really happened at the Lady Chatterley trial, what Cherie Blair said to Simon and how he riposted, how John Sergeant drove an air stewardess to a raging fury and much more. From drunken episodes behind the scenes at the House of Commons to unexpected meetings in TV green rooms, Simon Hoggart both entertains and delights.
By Tim Mackintosh-Smith
For Ibn Batuttah of Tangier, being medieval didn't mean sitting at home waiting for renaissances, enlightenments and easyJet. It meant travelling the known world to its limits. Seven centuries on, Tim Mackintosh-Smith's passionate pursuit of the fourteenth-century traveller takes him to landfalls in remote tropical islands, torrid Indian Ocean ports and dusty towns on the shores of the Saharan sand-sea. His zigzag itinerary across time and space leads from Zanzibar to the Alhambra (via the Maldives, Sri Lanka, China, Mauritania and Guinea) and to a climactic conclusion to his quest for the man he calls 'IB' - a man who out-travelled Marco Polo by a factor of three, who spent his days with saints and sultans and his nights with an intercontinental string of slave-concubines.Tim's journey is a search for survivals from IB's world - material, human, spiritual, edible - however, when your fellow traveller has a 700-year head start, familiar notions don't always work.
By Anne Boston
Lesley Blanch, writer, artist and adventuress, called herself a romantic traveller; her appetite for the exotic colours all her books. The first, The Wilder Shores of Love, became a worldwide bestseller. Emotions, she insisted, can be transposed to places or countries and in this she was her own best example. Her guiding passion for Russia began in childhood; later she found the 'eternal Slav' in Romain Gary, Franco-Slav diplomat and writer, and with him embarked on a series of postings from Bulgaria to Los Angeles. After their divorce she transferred her obsession to Turkey, Persia and the Islamic East where she travelled widely, before eventually settling on the Côte d'Azur. Lesley Blanch loved mystery; vivid yet elusive, she hid as much as she revealed and created a legend about her early past. In this first biography, Anne Boston draws on publishers' archives, unpublished journals and conversations with those who knew her, to piece together the portrait of an escapist for whom 'character plus opportunity equals fortune'.
By John Wilcockson
Few champions have astonished the world as much as Lance Armstrong. A cancer survivor who went on to win the Tour de France an unprecedented seven times, he is an inspiration to millions. Now the full story can be told. With complete access to Armstrong, and to his inner circle, and drawing on interviews with family members and training partners, coaches and celebrities, team-mates and rivals, friends and foes, sportswriter John Wilcockson tells of those who helped Armstrong along the way - including his mother Linda, his ex-wife Kristin and one-time fiancée Sheryl Crow - and explores the traits of character that made Armstrong unique. The story of Lance Armstrong is one of brutal, painful effort, of natural brilliance, of relentless ambition, of extraordinary glory. His achievement is all the more stunning for its unconventionality: a boy from small-town America who beat the world. Brash and fiercely competitive, Armstrong has never been without close friends or bitter enemies. His achievements have been dogged by accusations of doping, accusations of secrecy, and by questions about how triumph on such a grand scale could be possible - questions that are addressed head on in LANCE ARMSTRONG. Tracing the highs and lows, and bringing alive the drama of the races in which Armstrong smashed expectations time after time, LANCE ARMSTRONG gives the complete story of a matchless champion.
By Leo McKinstry
The Spitfire and the Lancaster were the two RAF weapons of victory in the Second World War, but the glamour of the fighter has tended to overshadow the performance of the heavy bomber. Yet without the Lancaster, Britain would never have been able to take the fight to the German homeland. Highlights the scale of the bomber's achievements, including the famous Dambusters attacks. With its vast bomb bay, ease of handling and surprising speed, the mighty Lancaster transformed the effectiveness of the Bomber Command. Whilst addressing the political controversy surrounding the bombing offensive against Germany, Leo McKinstry also weaves individual tales into this compelling narrative. Rich characters are brought to life, such as Roy Chadwick the designer, who taught himself engineering at night school and Sir Arthur Harris, the austere head of the Bomber Command. This is a rich saga, a story of triumph over disaster and the history of an iconic plane.