This is What Happened
By Mick Herron
Something's happened. A lot of things have happened. If she could turn back time, she wondered how far she would go.Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes is someone you would never look at twice. Living alone in a month-to-month sublet in London, with no family but an estranged sister, no boyfriend or partner, and not much in the way of friends, Maggie is just the kind of person who could vanish from the face of the earth without anyone taking notice.Or just the kind of person MI5 needs to thwart an international plot that puts all of Britain at risk.Now one young woman has the chance to be a hero - if she can think quickly enough to stay alive.
By Josh Ireland
'An epic tale of love, dishonour, bravery, cowardice, betrayal and high-treason. Beautifully written. A stunning debut' Damien LewisPlayboy. Fascist. Strongman. Thief.Traitors.John Amery is a drunk and a fanatic, an exiled playboy whose frail body is riven by contradictions. Harold Cole is a cynical, murderous conman who desperately wants to be seen as an officer and a gentleman. Eric Pleasants is an iron-willed former wrestler; he is also a pacifist, and will not be forced into fighting other men's battles. William Joyce can weave spells when he talks, but his true gifts are for rage and hate. By the end of the Second World War, they will all have betrayed their country. The Traitors is the story of how they came to do so. Drawing on declassified MI5 files, it is a book about chaotic lives in turbulent times; idealism twisted out of shape; of torn consciences and abandoned loyalties; and the tragic consequences that treachery brings in its wake.
By Randall Munroe
From the No. 1 bestselling author of What If? - the man who created xkcd and explained the laws of science with cartoons - comes a series of brilliantly simple diagrams ('blueprints' if you want to be complicated about it) that show how important things work: from the nuclear bomb to the biro. It's good to know what the parts of a thing are called, but it's much more interesting to know what they do. Richard Feynman once said that if you can't explain something to a first-year student, you don't really get it. In Thing Explainer, Randall Munroe takes a quantum leap past this: he explains things using only drawings and a vocabulary of just our 1,000 (or the ten hundred) most common words.Many of the things we use every day - like our food-heating radio boxes ('microwaves'), our very tall roads ('bridges'), and our computer rooms ('datacentres') - are strange to us. So are the other worlds around our sun (the solar system), the big flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), and even the stuff inside us (cells). Where do these things come from? How do they work? What do they look like if you open them up? And what would happen if we heated them up, cooled them down, pointed them in a different direction, or pressed this button?In Thing Explainer, Munroe gives us the answers to these questions and many, many more. Funny, interesting, and always understandable, this book is for anyone -- age 5 to 105 -- who has ever wondered how things work, and why.
Tweet of the Day
By Brett Westwood, Stephen Moss
Imagine a jazz musician, improvising on a theme. Then imagine that he is able to play half a dozen instruments - not one after another, but almost simultaneously, switching effortlessly between instruments and musical styles with hardly a pause for breath. If you can countenance that, you are halfway towards appreciating the extraordinary song of the nightingale . . .Wherever we are, there are birds. And wherever there are birds, there is birdsong. It's always a pleasure (and a relief) to hear sounds which prove the world's still spinning: whether it's the sighing of migrating redwings on a damp October night, the twitter of swallows fresh in from South Africa in April or the call of the cuckoo in May. Based on the scripts of BBC Radio 4's beloved year-long series, and distilling two lifetimes' knowledge, insight and enthusiasm into these pages, Brett Westwood and Stephen Moss take you month by month through the year, and the changing lives of our favourite birds. From peregrines swapping sea-cliffs for skyscrapers to swifts spending almost their entire lives on the wing; from charms of goldfinches to murmurations of starlings; from ptarmigans thriving in the Highland snow to the bright green parakeets thronging London's parks; this book is packed full of extraordinary insights and memorable facts. Tweet of the Day is a book for everyone who loves Britain's birds.(Illustrations © Carry Akroyd)
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.
Thistle Versus Rose
By Albert Jack
'It is tremendously good fun winding up the Scots. It is terribly easy, particularly Scottish politicians. They can take things far too seriously.' Jeremy Paxman* It's 700 years since England fought Scotland at the Battle of Bannockburn. Miraculously - we still don't understand how - the Scots actually won. It's pretty much the only time they've ever beaten us at anything. So has there ever been a better opportunity to celebrate seven centuries of winding up the Scots?Exploring everything from food, class, the empire and the weather to language, love and landscape, Thistle vs Rose is a hilarious miscellany of Anglo-Scots rivalry. Introduced by bestselling popular historian Albert Jack, it features quotes, jokes and trivia from Stephen Fry, Bill Bryson, Jimmy Carr, George Mikes, Michael McIntyre and many, many others.* published alongside Susan's Morrison's rival Ebook 700 YEARS OF WINDING UP THE ENGLISH (9781473604933) *
By George Mackay Brown
These unknown and sometimes unexpected poems by the Orcadian master have all his characteristic simplicity and power.In these poems readers will find new ideas previously unexplored, but they will also find those qualities that made George Mackay Brown different from anyone else.
A Time to Keep
By George Mackay Brown
The second collection of stories published by George Mackay Brown, this volume includes 12 stories arising from both ancient and modern life on the island of Orkney.
Travels with a Tangerine
By Tim Mackintosh-Smith
Ibn Battutah set out in 1325 from his native Tangier on the pilgrimage to Mecca. By the time he returned twenty-nine years later, he had visited most of the known world, travelling three times the distance Marco Polo covered. Spiritual backpacker, social climber, temporary hermit and failed ambassador, he braved brigands, blisters and his own prejudices. The outcome was a monumental travel classic.Captivated by this indefatigable man, award-winning travel writer Tim Mackintosh-Smith set out on his own eventful journey, retracing the Moroccan's eccentric trip from Tangier to Constantinople. Tim proves himself a perfect companion to this distant traveller, and the result is an amazing blend of personalities, history and contemporary observation.
By Michael Jones
In February 1943, German forces surrendered to the Red Army at Stalingrad and the tide of war turned. By May 1945 Soviet soldiers had stormed Berlin and brought down Hitler's regime. Total War follows the fortunes of these fighters as they liberated Russia and the Ukraine from the Nazi invader and fought their way into the heart of the Reich. It reveals the horrors they experienced - the Holocaust, genocide and the mass murder of Soviet POWs - and shows the Red Army, brutalized by war, taking its terrible revenge on the German civilian population. For the first time Russian veterans are candid about the terrible atrocities their own army committed. But they also describe their struggle to raise themselves from the abyss of hatred. Their war against the Nazis - which in large part brought the Second World War in Europe to an end - is a tarnished but deeply moving story of sacrifice and redemption.
Tintin: Hergé and His Creation
By Harry Thompson, Harry Thompson
The little black-and-white cartoon figure of Tintin first appeared in Belgium in 1929 in a Catholic newspaper where his creator, Hergé, worked. Harry Thompson looks at the story of Hergé, of Tintin and his origins, and beyond to when President de Gaulle could call Tintin 'his only rival'.
By Henry Hemming
Together is about the extraordinary revival of small groups in Britain today.What happens when a room full of people decide to work towards the same dream? Why is it that when we come together in small groups we are so much more than the sum of our parts?From druids to bingo-clubbers, eco-warriors to flash-mobbers, historical re-enactors to bee-keepers, books groups and knitting circles, W.I.s, Young Farmers and the fan-owners of a football club, Together reveals the true story of modern Britain. The country we live in is in fact an extraordinary composition of small groups powered by shared interests and common ideals. Hemming reveals a different way of seeing society, one that recognizes the massive, untapped potential of these hundreds of thousands of small groups, how they work and what they enable us to do that we can't do alone.Witty and provocative, Together gives us an extraordinary cast of characters, a series of unlikely alliances and most importantly, a vision of what we can achieve Together.
To War with Wellington
By Peter Snow
The seven-year campaign that saved Europe from Napoleon told by those who were there.What made Arthur Duke of Wellington the military genius who was never defeated in battle? In the vivid narrative style that is his trademark, Peter Snow recalls how Wellington evolved from a backward, sensitive schoolboy into the aloof but brilliant commander. He tracks the development of Wellington's leadership and his relationship with the extraordinary band of men he led from Portugal in 1808 to their final destruction of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo seven years. Having described his soldiers as the 'scum of the earth' Wellington transformed them into the finest fighting force of their time. Digging deep into the rich treasure house of diaries and journals that make this war the first in history to be so well recorded, Snow examines how Wellington won the devotion of generals such as the irascible Thomas Picton and the starry but reckless 'Black Bob' Crauford and soldiers like Rifleman Benjamin Harris and Irishman Ned Costello. Through many first-hand accounts, Snow brings to life the horrors and all of the humanity of life in and out of battle, as well as shows the way that Wellington mastered the battlefield to outsmart the French and change the future of Europe. To War with Wellington is the gripping account of a very human story about a remarkable leader and his men.
Two Little Boys
By Duncan Sarkies
It's got penguins and toasted sandwiches.It's got a dead cat and an incredible climax.It's got a really little dolphin.It's got sea lions.It's got God.It's got a really cool lighthouse.When Nige runs over a Norwegian backpacker while attempting to save petrol, his life really turns to shit. He throws the body in a nearby road works and runs to his best mate of fifteen years, Deano. The trouble is, Deano's not really the guy you should turn to in a crisis.
Towards the Sun
By Christopher George
Harry Brinkman's head is in a noose. His pension has been slashed, his wife is having an affair, his misguided children are beyond his control.With more to regret than savour in his past, and more to fear than look forward to in his future, Harry opts to end his life.But as he's tying the rope to the beam, he's interrupted by a cold-caller who urges him to think again. The act of resistance, she says, matters more than anything it achieves. With his beautiful Chechen cleaner crunching up the drive, and his 'surprise' sixtieth birthday party looming as a deadline, Harry decides to pack the rope away and give the cold caller's advice a try.Towards the Sun is the wry, heart-warming story of one man's vainglorious attempt to right the wrongs in his life.
Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me
By Lucia Van Der Post
Packed full of golden rules from one of Britain's most stylish women, Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me is a woman's companion for life. Lucia van der Post reveals the secrets of dressing stylishly with advice on everything from how to organise your wardrobe, what to wear to travel and where to buy delicious underwear, great cashmere and sassy skirts. Practical health and beauty tips will help you to choose a sophisticated scent, get fitter and decide whether cosmetic surgery is for you. Once you've mastered looking fantastic, learn how to add some elegance to other areas of your life. Discover great shortcuts to entertaining your guests as well as suggestions, from designers around the world, on how to make your home match the elegant new you. With advice on relationships, motherhood and how to juggle work, love and children, this is the essential handbook for women of all ages. Whether you are just starting out in life or want to age gracefully and make 60 the new 40, let Lucia van der Post guide you towards a new life and a new you with a touch of style.
Talking Myself Home
By Ian McMillan
A regular on Radio 4, he had been described by the Observer as the funniest, quirkiest, sharpest poet, comedian and broadcaster in the business. Born in Yorkshire in 1956, he still lives there today and is poet-in-residence at Barnsley FC. With signature down-to-earth charm, Talking Myself Home tells Ian's life story in poems. Hilarious memories blend with acute observations: from his formation of Barnsleys first folk-rock band Oscar and the Frog and his stint working at a tennis-ball factory, to raising his three children and coming to terms with his parents' deaths. It is the story of a place where coal-pits once dominated the skyline. With its milk floats and jumble sales, municipal library and church halls, it is a small corner of the world. Yet its a corner that sings.Talking Myself Home is also Ian's personal homage to the power of words in shaping his life. And these playful, haunting poems are, themselves, testaments to the imaginative delights of words.
Tennis Whites and Teacakes
By John Betjeman, Stephen Games
Tennis Whites and Teacakes brings together the best of Betjeman's poetry, private letters, journalism and musings to present a fully rounded picture of what he stood for. From his arguments for new steel buildings to his amusement about the etiquette of village teashops, it reveals Betjeman not just as a sentimentalist but as a passionate observer with a wonderful sense of humour and an acute eye.
By Horatio Clare
At thirteen Horatio Clare was a boarder at a boy's public school, a privileged member of an apparently blessed generation. A rebel - one of those who detested the system, who thought it not just fun but right to break its laws - he was expelled for smoking dope. He became one of the thousands who gleefully ignored the warnings and set out, in search of experience and intensity, to slalom on the slippery slope. He was a truant in its original sense: one who beggars himself through choice, not necessity. From university campuses to the rooftops of New York; from Brixton basements to fear and loathing in mid Devon, through psychosis, mania and depression, from sanity to madness and back again, this is a portrait drawn from a generation that turned to drugs. And it is a search for understanding: why do we do these things, and what do they do to us? What were we looking for and what did we find?
By Robin Harris
A renegade bishop and aristocratic revolutionary, he helped make and break the power of Napoleon. With bravura he then dominated the Congress of Vienna which re-shaped Europe, but soon discovered that the Bourbons had, in his own words, 'learned nothing and forgotten nothing'. Disgrace followed. The Revolution of July 1830 finally brought a renewal of Talleyrand's former influence. So, in his late seventies, he arrived as ambassador in London, where he and his beautiful companion, the duchesse de Dino, dazzled and captivated British society. At the end, his famous death-bed reconciliation with the Catholic Church created almost as great a scandal as his notorious early life. In this authoritative new biography, Talleyrand emerges as always ahead of his times. He urged the advantages of peace, while Europe was racked by war; he consistently advocated political moderation, a free press and a liberal constitution; he was a forceful proponent of Anglo-French entente; he understood the importance of free trade as the route to national prosperity; and he foresaw the rise of America as a great power. Robin Harris depicts a statesman of truly world-class stature.