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.
The Finch in My Brain
By Martino Sclavi
'Whenever I see Martino I am reminded of how little I know about life and death compared to him. How we don't know what is within us or what may lie on the other side. I hope it's as magical and beautiful as this book.' --Russell BrandWhen film producer Martino Sclavi began experiencing intense headaches, he attributed them to his frenetic lifestyle. As it turned out, he had grade 4 brain cancer and was given 18 months to live. After undergoing brain surgery - while awake - Martino found he had lost the ability to recognise words. His response was to close his eyes and begin to move his fingers across the keyboard to write this, an account of life before diagnosis and since. Defying all predictions Martino is still very much alive, words read out to him by the monotone of a computerised voice he calls Alex. But he must now live in a new way. This book - that he has written but cannot read - charts the effects of his experience: on his relationship with his young son, his marriage, his work and with himself. In the wake of his illness, everything must be reconfigured and Martino is made to question the habits, dreams and beliefs of his old life and confront the present. What he finds is strange and beautiful. Searching for the words between life and death, Sclavi shows that with determination and a subtle, persistent sense of humour, it is possible to change the story of our lives.
By Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Ranulph Fiennes has climbed the Eiger and Mount Everest. He's crossed both Poles on foot. He's been a member of the SAS and fought a bloody guerrilla war in Oman. And yet he confesses that his fear of heights is so great that he'd rather send his wife up a ladder to clean the gutters than do it himself.In Fear, the world's greatest explorer delves into his own experiences to try and explain what fear is, how it happens and how he's overcome it so successfully. He examines key moments from history where fear played an important part in the outcome of a great event. He shows us how the brain perceives fear, how that manifests itself in us, and how we can transform our perceptions.With an enthralling combination of story-telling, research and personal accounts of his own struggles to overcome fear, Sir Ranulph Fiennes sheds new light on one of humanity's strongest emotions.
By Brendan Cox
'Jo Cox's selfless service to others made the world a better place' Barack Obama, 44th President of the United StatesTHE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER'A desperately tender account ... part love story, part grief memoir ... resolutely uplifting' Decca Aitkenhead, Guardian 'A chance to get to know the woman behind the headlines - a tiny ball of energy with a heart as big as a lion, a person who wanted to make a difference' Lorraine Kelly, SunJo Cox's murder in June 2016 shocked the world. In the aftermath of her tragic death her husband Brendan Cox urged us to remember Jo's life and what she stood for and not the manner of her death. In this moving and impassioned portrait of Jo - as daughter, mother, wife, sister, MP and campaigner - we see how much she gave and much more she had to give. The values she embraced of togetherness, inclusion and compassion are needed now more than ever. A touching and very human portrait of an extraordinary woman, whose legacy will inspire others. 'We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.'All Brendan Cox's royalties will go to the Jo Cox Foundation.'Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full.'
I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons
By Kevin Hart
Superstar comedian and Hollywood box office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller.The question you're probably asking yourself right now is: What does Kevin Hart have that a book also has?According to the three people who have seen Kevin Hart and a book in the same room, the answer is clear:A book is compact. Kevin Hart is compact.A book has a spine that holds it together. Kevin Hart has a spine that holds him together.A book has a beginning. Kevin Hart's life uniquely qualifies him to write this book by also having a beginning.It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys.The odds, in short, were stacked against our young hero, just like the odds that are stacked against the release of a new book in this era of social media (where Hart has a following of over 100 million, by the way).But Kevin Hart, like Ernest Hemingway, JK Rowling, and Chocolate Droppa before him, was able to defy the odds and turn it around. In his literary debut, he takes the reader on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he's overcome each challenge to become the man he is today.And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion.He achieved this not just through hard work, determination, and talent: It was through his unique way of looking at the world. Because just like a book has chapters, Hart sees life as a collection of chapters that each person gets to write for himself or herself.'Not only do you get to choose how you interpret each chapter, but your interpretation writes the next chapter," he says. "So why not choose the interpretation that serves your life the best?'
The Grief Survival Guide
By Jeff Brazier
Jeff Brazier has experienced bereavement in many forms: In his childhood, helping his two boys through the devastating death of their mother, Jade Goody, witnessing the anguish of his own mum when she lost both of her parents, and hearing the stories of his coaching clients who are coming to terms with loss. No one can be an expert on grief, but within this book Jeff provides support and guidance from someone who has been there. Accessible and hands-on The Grief Survival Guide offers practical advice on everything from preparing for the eventuality of death, managing grief, how best to support family and friends, and moving forward. There is no 'one size fits all' approach so instead Jeff teaches us that the best we can do is understand, cope and survive.
The Gender Games
By Juno Dawson
'Opens minds, breaks down myths and vaporises prejudice - I loved it!' Rebecca Root, star of Boy Meets Girl'funny, thoughtful and honest ... I read most of it on the train and had to stifle laughs every few pages' Stylist'It's a boy!' or 'It's a girl!' are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world. Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes - before we, or anyone else, has any idea who we are. And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we've been getting it.Gender isn't just screwing over trans people, it's messing with everyone. From little girls who think they can't be doctors to teenagers who come to expect street harassment. From exclusionist feminists to 'alt-right' young men. From men who can't cry to the women who think they shouldn't. As her body gets in line with her mind, Juno tells not only her own story, but the story of everyone who is shaped by society's expectations of gender - and what we can do about it. Featuring insights from well-known gender, feminist and trans activists including Rebecca Root, Laura Bates, Gemma Cairney, Anthony Anaxagorou, Hannah Witton, Alaska Thunderfuck and many more, The Gender Games is a frank, witty and powerful manifesto for a world in which everyone can truly be themselves.
Muhammad Ali: A Memoir
By Michael Parkinson
Muhammad Ali: A Memoir is a fresh, revealing and personal account of the life of the most important and enduring cultural figures of our age. An icon of boxing who has inspired the biggest names in boxing, from Mike Tyson to Anthony Joshua, this is the story of boxing's biggest star. Sir Michael Parkinson interviewed Muhammad Ali four times and in this memoir you are given a ringside seat for all of the interviews.Muhammad Ali was God's Gift to the interviewer. Funny, articulate, outspoken with a fascinating life story, unparalleled talent and controversial views. These 4 interviews charted Ali's life, revealing significant phases at different times, charting the rise and fall of this kaleidoscope of a man.In Muhammad Ali: A Memoir Sir Michael Parkinson will bring his award-winning journalistic talents to bear on this extraordinary man. The book will mix personal recollections of the times they met with selected transcripts of the famous and, in the case of the 1974 meeting, infamous interviews all brought together and contextualised by a sober and honest assessment of the life and times of a figure that, it is certain, we will never see the like of again.
Mind of a Survivor
By Megan Hine
Surviving in the wild takes a great deal of strength. Often faced with frozen tundra, sweltering deserts, humid jungles, perilous mountains and fast-flowing rivers, Megan Hine is no stranger to perilous conditions. Whilst leading expeditions and bushcraft survival courses and in her work on television shows such as Bear Gryll's Mission Survive and Running Wild, she has explored the corners of the globe in pursuit of adventure.Faced with the toughest of conditions: bad weather; lack of food and being in the presence of predators, is the ultimate test of character and often the biggest challenge to overcome is in the head. In these situations, the human brain is simultaneously the greatest asset and biggest liability. Not everyone is suited to the great outdoors and when danger calls many aren't as well-equipped to survive, no amount of top of the range kit will save you if you don't have the right frame of mind. Here Megan Hine examines the human ability and instinct for survival, showing us how others have developed the attitudes and attributes to thrive in the most dangerous situations, and how those same attitudes and attributes help them confront problems and obstacles at work and at home. Being chased through the jungle by armed opium farm guards, abseiling past bears and lighting fires with tampons, Megan has seen and done it all. In Mind of a Survivor she takes you along for a series of life-and-death adventures and shows you what happens to people when they are pushed to their limits. Inspirational rather than instructional, Megan examines the human ability and instinct for survival sharing the life tools that she uses and showing how they can as easily be applied to more domestic everyday life - from careers to relationships, from overcoming adversity to decision making. Filled with her own experiences, Mind of a Survivor is packed full of adventure and can help people survive in any situation and cope with whatever life throws at them.
Boys Don't Cry
By Tim Grayburn
Boys Don't Cry is a book that will make sense of depression and anxiety for people who might not recognise those feelings in themselves or others.Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged 20-45 in the UK. Depression and undiagnosed mental illness are huge contributors to these deaths as they're often more difficult to diagnose in men. And those men don't tend to talk about the typical symptoms or visit their doctor.Meet Tim.For nearly a decade he kept his depression secret. It made him feel so weak and shameful he thought it would destroy his whole life if anyone found out. And Tim is not alone. After finally opening up he realised that mental illness was affecting many men around the globe - and he knew that wasn't ok.A brutally honest, wickedly warming and heart-breaking tale about what it really takes to be a 'real man', written by one who decided that he wanted to change the world by no longer being silent. This is Tim's story, but it could be yours too.
Growing Up With Comedians
By Roger Lewis
A collection of portraits of some of the finest comedians of our time. From the author of the acclaimed The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, as made into an award-winning film by HBO, and the dark and scabrous Seasonal Suicide Notes, which everybody loves, here at last comes the definitive book about comic genius by a man whom the Sunday Times has hailed as 'brilliantly funny... a comic genius.'Growing up in South Wales, the precocious Roger Lewis longed to lock himself away from the world and listen to bootleg cassettes of The Goon Show and count the fucks (144) and cunts (89) uttered on the Derek and Clive Live LPs. He screamed with horror at Jimmy Clitheroe. He was a connoisseur of Norman Wisdom and Terry-Thomas. He lapped up Marx Brothers films, Ealing films, and On the Buses, which to him was as sinister as Strindberg.Once he reached university, Lewis' love for the art of comedy never waned, and he could never fathom why the grisly hairy-nosed academics considered comedy trivial, comedians frivolous. In Lewis' view, comedy has more lasting significance than tragedy - the supposed pinnacle of art - because comedy, like real life, admits to misrule and incapacity, accepts the inconsequential, harbours extravagance and eccentricity, and endorses the fact that, in the end, nothing quite adds up.This book contains incisive portraits of the world's most treasured performers and complicated personalities - from Chaplin to Tati, Hancock to Hawtrey, Laurel and Hardy to Spike Milligan, Terry Gilliam to Barry Humphries, and Arthur Lowe to Benny Hill, amongst many others. The chapters comparing Kenneth Williams with Francis Bacon, Leonard Rossiter with John Reginald Christie, Groucho Marx with A.J. Ayer, Morecambe and Wise with Gilbert and George, and Joyce Grenfell with Kathleen Ferrier, in particular, will be heralded as criticism and commentary at their most profound and creative.Growing Up With Comedians asks what lurks beneath the public face; where does talent end, ego begin, and periods of madness take over? From pompous control freaks to unpredictable originals, Lewis, as only he knows how, examines the strangeness and hidden sorrow found behind the excrutiating facades.By turns lyrical, poignant, and always insanely perceptive, Growing Up With Comedians is another unforgettable high-heat masterpiece by Roger Lewis.
From Cradle to Stage
By Virginia Hanlon Grohl
Virginia Grohl, mother of Dave Grohl, had not seen any of it coming. Not the arenas of screaming fans, not Nirvana or the Foo Fighters, not the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and certainly not her son, Dave, performing with Sir Paul McCartney at The White House. Theirs had always been a life full of music - the Grohl family sang together on long car trips, harmonising to Motown and David Bowie - yet Virginia never expected her son to become a musician. But when Virginia saw Nirvana play for the first time to crazed applause from thousands of screaming fans, she knew nothing would ever be the same. She was the mother of a rock star.And as Virginia watched her son's star rise, she often wondered about the other mothers who raised sons and daughters who became rock stars. Were they as surprised as she was about their children's fame? Virginia often wondered about the mystical force that urges some of us to listen, to play, to surround ourselves with music. She wanted to talk about it with the other mothers whose sons and daughters were sharing stages with Dave, and she decided to seek them out wherever they were. So began a two-year odyssey, where she had conversations with such women from all over the world as Verna Griffin, Dr Dre's mother, Carolyn Williams, Pharell William's mother, Janis Winehouse, Amy Winehouse's mother, Patsy Noah, Adam Levine's mother, Donna Haim, mother to the Haim sisters and Hester Diamond, Mike D of The Beastie Boys' mother, to name just a few. From Cradle to Stage will appeal to mothers everywhere, but particularly to those with children who march (or play) to the beat of their own drum; and it's for those children who have their mothers to thank for everything. For music lovers and rock fans, it's the ultimate backstage pass-for anyone who has wondered what it's like to be on the inside...looking out at a packed arena. Featuring a foreword by Dave Grohl and exclusive family photographs, interviews are interwoven with the Grohl family story and the resultant book is a very intimate portrait of what makes a rock star.
Dear Michael, Love Dad
By Iain Maitland
'wonderful, moving, humorous ... extremely poignant' Charlie Mortimer, Dear Lupin'Iain's love for his son shines through every sentence of this affecting account, as does his guilt. He blames himself for being unable to demonstrate or verbalise his affection ... This is a wonderfully entertaining and moving book, with lessons for every parent.' Daily Mail'A moving read - honest, funny and sad' Woman and Home'Raising the issue of men's mental health is important ... loving and well meant mix of letters and commentary.' ExpressDear Michael, Moving your whatnots et al into the flat has put paid to any improvements in my back. Still, at least it's done now. Your mother is already worrying how you'll cope and is at work on reams of notes on all sorts of matters from how to tel if meat has gone off to washing whites. Smell it and wear black is my advice. When Iain Maitland's eldest son left home for university he wrote regularly to him: funny, curmudgeonly letters chronicling their family life and giving Michael unsolicited and hopeless advice on everything from car maintenance to women. He never expected a reply, they were just his way of continuing their relationship. What Iain didn't realise was that away from home his beloved boy was suffering from depression and anorexia. Only much later did it become apparent to Iain and his wife Tracey just how oblivious they had been, and for how very long. Told through Iain's letters and the unfolding truth of Michael's situation, Dear Michael, Love Dad is a frank and moving account of how we may unwittingly fail our loved ones, despite our best intentions. Above all it offers the hope of reparation and expresses the unbreakable bond between a father and son.