Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing
By Daniel Tammet
'Full of charm and fascination' The Bookseller'Would dazzle any storyteller in love with words and their deepest meanings' Amy Tan, author of Joy Luck Club'A generous book and a beguiling read' Rebecca Gowers* * * * * *From the bestselling author of Born on a Blue Day and Thinking in Numbers, a delightful and eclectic exploration of language, and what it can teach us about ourselves and our lives.Why is the name 'Cleopatra' not allowed in Iceland? Why do clocks 'talk' to the Nahua people of Mexico? And if we are what we eat, are we also what we say? These are just some of the questions Daniel Tammet answers in Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing, a mesmerising new collection of essays investigating the intricacies and profound power of human language. Tammet goes back in time to explore the numeric language of his autistic childhood; he looks at the music and patterns that words make, and how languages evolve and are translated. He meets one of the world's most accomplished lip readers in Canada, learns how endangered languages like Manx are being revived and corresponds with native speakers of Esperanto in their mother tongue. He studies the grammar of the telephone, contemplates the significance of disappearing dialects, and also asks: will chatbots ever manage to convince us that they are human?From the art of translation to the lyricism of sign language, Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing is a fascinating journey through the world of words, letters, stories and meanings, and an extraordinary testament to the stunning range of Tammet's literary and polyglot talents.
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 Levison Wood
Levison Wood was only 22 when he decided to hitch-hike from England to India through Russia, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but he wasn't the conventional follower of the hippy trail. A fascination with the deeds of the early explorers, a history degree in the bag, an army career already planned and a shoestring budget of £750 - including for the flight home - he was determined to find out more about the countries of the Caucasus and beyond - and meet the people who lived and worked there.EASTERN HORIZONS is a true traveller's tale in the tradition of the best of the genre, populated by a cast of eccentric characters; from mujahideen fighters to the Russian mafia. Along the way he meets some people who showed great hospitality, while others would rather have murdered him...
An Armful of Babies and a Cup of Tea
By Molly Corbally
For all fans of Call the Midwife - a touching memoir of a young health visitor in postwar England.After serving as a nurse in WW2, Molly Corbally joined the brand new NHS and became one of the first official District Health Visitors, attending to mothers and babies from all walks of life in the picturesque village near Coventry she came to call home. Social work was uncharted territory at the time, and Britain was very much worse for wear - TB, polio, measles and whooping cough were just some of the hazards new babies faced. Social conditions could also add to the problems, at a time when poverty and alcoholism were rife. Armed with only her nursing training, her common sense and a desire to serve, Molly set out to win over a community and provide a new and valuable service in times of great change. As well as the challenges there was also joy and laughter, from the woman who finally had a baby after fifteen years of trying, to the woman who thought she should use marmalade as nappy cream, because the hospital had never taken the label off the jar they were using to store it.Warm, witty and moving, An Armful of Babies is a vivid portrait of rural England in the post-war years, and a testament to an NHS in its own infancy and to what hasn't changed: the bond between parents and their children, and the importance of protecting that.
The Girl Who Climbed Everest
By Bonita Norris
'What I've learned from climbing mountains is that we can push ourselves far beyond what we think we are capable of, and it's outside of our comfort zones that the most amazing things happen.'What drives us to go to our limits and beyond? What does it take to make dreams come true over all else? And how can you turn fear into courage? From Everest to K2, The Girl Who Climbed Everest is the story of Bonita Norris' journey undertaking the world's toughest and most dangerous expeditions. Once an anxious teenager with an eating disorder it was the discovery of a passion for climbing that inspired Bonita to change her life. Drawing on her experiences to capture the agonies - both mental and physical - and joys of her incredible feats Bonita also imparts the lessons learned encouraging you to harness greater self-belief.The Girl Who Climbed Everest is an honest exploration of everything Bonita has learnt from climbing. Life lessons about ambition, values, risk, happiness, the courage to fail, and what's ultimately important. An indispensable and important book for anyone who has ever doubted their potential or put limits on themselves - whatever challenge you face or ambitions you want to achieve, The Girl Who Climbed Everest will inspire you to take action and live life more fearlessly.
Best Foot Forward
By Adam Hills
*The Sunday Times Bestseller*A hilarious and honest collection of stories, thoughts, and tales of a life in comedy from the presenter of The Last Leg, Adam HillsAdam Hills is one the UK's best-loved comedians. For thirty years he has been performing stand-up, hosting TV shows and winning the hearts of a nation.Taking us from the early days of the Sydney Stand Up scene to hosting his own radio show, touring the world and eventually landing on British TV, Best Foot Forward is a story of a life in comedy. Along the way Adam shares some childhood tales, a few backstage blunders and encounters some fairly famous faces - the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Connolly, and that guy who sang The Macarena. Yes, him. This is an utterly hilarious and honest collection of stories about Adam's ups and downs in the world of comedy. It's a lesson in following your heart, being positive and discovering that what makes you different also makes you unique.
The Back-Up Plan
By Alice Judge-Talbot
At 27 years old, I found myself with a broken down marriage and two children under two to raise on my own. I had no other option than to survive. Nah, scratch that, I needed to thrive. But where would I begin? I wasn't sure if I knew how to live alone, let alone how to boss it solo with a couple of kids in tow. It's been a hell of a journey signposted with dating fails, money worries and ex-husband woes, but when was a Back-up Plan ever straightforward? This book is the one I needed to read in the lonely 3am darkness of an unfixable marriage, lying next to a man I was sure I didn't want to be tied to anymore but whom I was too scared to leave. This book is the one I needed to read when I picked up my first packet of anti-depressants and read Elizabeth Wurtzel's Prozac Nation to feel off-the-cuff and cool (but just felt more depressed). This book is the one I needed to read in the infinitely long days that stretched ahead of me alone with two infants, minimal sleep and no hope. This book is the one I needed to read when shamefully I carted my two toddlers to Boots to pick up my very first Morning After Pill after my very first One Night Stand. This book is the I needed to read when my world was about to fall apart.
I Will Be Complete
By Glen David Gold
'I Will Be Complete is the best memoir I've read in years. It's likely the best memoir published in years.' Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life and Chang and EngFrom the bestselling author of Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside, a shocking, big-hearted memoir about his bizarre upbringing in California in the 1970s and how he survived it. Glen David Gold grew up rich on the beaches of 1970s California, until his father lost a fortune and his parents divorced when he was ten.Glen and his English mother moved to San Francisco, where she was fleeced by a series of charming con men and turned increasingly wayward. When he was twelve, she took off for New York without telling him, leaving him to fend for himself. On midnight streets and at drug-fuelled parties, wise-cracking his way through an alarming adult world, Glen watched his mother's countless, wild attempts to reinvent herself. In this exceptional memoir, acclaimed novelist Glen David Gold captures his bizarre, lonely upbringing and how it shaped him as an adult with stunning insight and unsparing candour. Shocking, mordantly funny and achingly affecting, he tells an unforgettable story of the years he spent trying to rescue his mother - and his ultimate realisation that only by breaking free could he ever hope to be complete.'The prose is crystalline, hard as real diamonds, flashing, revealing. The story is simple, just a boy and his mother's long disintegration, but the journey is darkly complicated, heartbreaking, beautiful as hell.' Mark Childress, author of Crazy in Alabama
By Tamsin Treverton Jones
Trees are part of the British psyche. We care if just one tree is cut down unnecessarily. So what happens when 15 million are blown down in one night? Part travelogue, part memoir, part celebration of nature's ability to heal itself, Windblown is as rich in character and story-telling as the rings of an ancient oak.'Windblown is a marvellously original mixture of reportage and memoir, holding a memorable event in recent history up to the light and making sense of it' Bel Mooney'A wonderful read' Michael Fish'Vivid ... thoroughly researched and informative' TLS'This eloquently written account shows that the Great Storm was a wake-up call, providing a wealth of information that helps us manage our treescape today.' Tony Kirkham, Head of the Kew Gardens Arboretum
The Finch in My Brain
By Martino Sclavi
'Raw, brave, heart-lifting.' STEF PENNY, author of UNDER THE POLE STAR'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.
The Ashes: It's All About the Urn
By Graeme Swann
Shortlisted for Cricket Book of the Year at the British Sports Book AwardsGraeme Swann leads us on a compelling adventure through one of world sport's most engrossing rivalries. He knows as much as anybody about the heat of England v Australia battles, having played in three series wins and also the whitewash defeat of 2013-14 when its intensity ended his international career. However, it brought out some of his best displays in Test cricket. But he is just one of dozens of colourful characters to have added their chapters to this great tome. The mock obituary of English cricket in the Sporting Times of 1882 was the forerunner of summers and winters of heaven and hell, depending on which side of the divide you were situated. When it comes to on-field relations nothing quite compares to the over-my-dead-body feel of the Ashes.From Grace to Sir Don, the most graceful of them all. From the foulest play to the fairest - contrast the 1932-33 Bodyline series affair to the image of Andrew Flintoff hunched over a distraught Brett Lee in 2005. From Ray Illingworth's famous walk-off in the Seventies, when an England team-mate was assaulted by a spectator, to Steve Waugh's hugely emotional lap of honour when he retired a quarter of a century later. Swann's book will reveal the magic of a series that first gripped him in his front room in Northampton as an aspiring spin bowler in the mid-1980s.
The Blink of an Eye
By Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard
'As gripping as a thriller' SUNDAY EXPRESS'Heartbreaking and life-affirming' MAX PEMBERTON, author of TRUST ME, I'M A (JUNIOR) DOCTOR'The most spellbinding and harrowing story I believe I have ever heard. It is the story you are about to read' From the Foreword by BILL BRYSON* * *The powerful and moving memoir by a scientist and mother of three of how she learned to live again, after a sudden severe infection caused her to die and then revive, but locked in - completely paralysed, and only able to blink an eye. Foreword by Bill Bryson.At the age of 38, Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard, a Danish scientist, wife and mother of three, is struck down by an acute bout of bacterial meningitis. She awakes from a coma in intensive care to find herself locked in, unable to show she is conscious except by blinking her eye. It becomes her only form of communication as in the months that follow, Kjærgaard's husband Peter sits beside her helping to interpret every eye movement. She struggles with every basic of life - painfully learning how to breathe, move, eat and speak again. Despite being given a five per cent chance of survival, she works intensively to recover and to achieve every small breakthrough. The Blink of an Eye is a celebration of love and family and every little thing that matters when life is in the balance - written by a scientist uniquely able to describe her physical and mental journey to recovery.
'A potent combination of autobiography and political history which holds up a mirror to contemporary Britain' Independent'A history lesson of the kind you should get in school, but don't' Stylist'Powerful ... The kind of disruptive, aggressive intellect that a new generation is closely watching' Afua Hirsch, Guardian 'Part biography, part polemic, this powerful, wide-ranging study picks apart the British myth of meritocracy' David Olusoga, Guardian'Inspiring' Madani Younis, ObserverA searing modern polemic and Sunday Times bestseller from the BAFTA- and MOBO-award-winning musician and political commentator, Akala.From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers - race and class have shaped Akala's life and outlook. In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, Natives will speak directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain's racialised empire.'A book bristling with intelligence and insight' Irish Times