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.
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.
By John Julius Norwich
I can still feel, as if it were yesterday, the excitement of my first Channel crossing (as a child of nearly 7) in September 1936; the regiment of porters, smelling asphyxiatingly of garlic in their blue-green blousons; the raucous sound all around me of spoken French; the immense fields of Normandy strangely devoid of hedges; then the Gare du Nord at twilight, the policemen with their képis and their little snow-white batons; and my first sight of the Eiffel Tower...This book is written in the belief that the average English-speaking man or woman has remarkably little knowledge of French history. We may know a bit about Napoleon or Joan of Arc or Louis XIV, but for most of us that's about it. In my own three schools we were taught only about the battles we won: Crécy and Poitiers, Agincourt and Waterloo. The rest was silence. So here is my attempt to fill in the blanks...John Julius Norwich (at 88) has finally written the book he always wanted to write, the extremely colourful story of the country he loves best. From frowning Roman generals and belligerent Gallic chieftains, to Charlemagne (hated by generations of French children taught that he invented schools) through Marie Antoinette and the storming of the Bastille to Vichy, the Resistance and beyond, FRANCE is packed with heroes and villains, adventures and battles, romance and revolution. Full of memorable stories and racy anecdotes, this is the perfect introduction to the country that has inspired the rest of the world to live, dress, eat -- and love better.
By Katja Pantzar
An engaging and practical guide to the easy and nature-inspired ways that Finns stay happy and healthy - including the powerful concept of sisu, or everyday courage.Sisu - a kind of everyday courage - is the Finnish approach to well-being that is turning lives around. In this beautiful book - part memoir, part guide - Katja shows how to embrace the daily practices that make Finns among the happiest people in the world.Discover sisu through... * Movement as medicine: How walking, biking and swimming every day are good for what ails us-and best done outside the confines of a gym * Forest therapy: Why there's no substitute for getting out into nature on a regular basis * Healthy eating: What the Nordic diet can teach us all about feeding body, mind and soul * The gift of sisu: Why Finns embrace a special form of courage, grit and determination as a national virtue - and how anyone can dig deeper to survive and thrive through tough times.In Finding Sisu discover the ways in which you too can integrate this age-old philosophy of hope and perseverance into your life, wherever you are in the world, whatever challenges you may face. Find your courage. Find your grit. Find your sisu.
Finding God in the Waves
By Mike McHargue
'Through the lens of neuroscience, McHargue makes his case for valuing religion not for its factual explanatory power but rather for its ability to give meaning to human existence . . . For those who fear science will rob them of both God and Christian community, this work may offer much-needed hope that Christianity and science can coexist.'-Publishers Weekly'I thoroughly recommend this book. It is written with humility, honesty and a liberal sprinkling of humour ... not only thought-provoking, but also a jolly good read ... A review does not do it justice, so I suggest you read the book!'- Methodist RecorderWhat do you do when God dies? It's a question facing millions today, as science reveals a universe that's self-creating, western culture departs from its Christian heritage and the idea of God begins to seem implausible at best and barbaric at worst. Mike McHargue understands the pain of unravelling belief. In Finding God in the Waves, Mike tells the story of how his evangelical faith dissolved into atheism as he studied the Bible, a crisis that threatened his identity, his friendships and even his marriage. Years later, Mike was standing on the shores of the Pacific Ocean when a bewildering, seemingly mystical moment motivated him to take another look. But this time, it wasn't theology or scripture that led him back to God - it was science. In Finding God in the Waves, 'Science Mike' draws on his personal experience to tell the unlikely story of how science led him back to faith. Among other revelations, we learn what brain scans reveal about what happens when we pray; how fundamentalism affects the psyche; and how God is revealed not only in scripture, but in the night sky, in subatomic particles, and in us.For the faithful and sceptic alike, Finding God in the Waves is a powerful, page-turning read about belonging, life's biggest questions, and the hope of knowing God in an age of science.
By John Julius Norwich
'Never before had the world seen four such giants co-existing. Sometimes friends, more often enemies, always rivals, these four men together held Europe in the hollow of their hands.' Four great princes - Henry VIII of England, Francis I of France, Charles V of Spain and Suleiman the Magnificent - were born within a single decade. Each looms large in his country's history and, in this book, John Julius Norwich broadens the scope and shows how, against the rich background of the Renaissance and destruction of the Reformation, their wary obsession with one another laid the foundations for modern Europe. Individually, each man could hardly have been more different - from the scandals of Henry's six wives to Charles's monasticism - but, together, they dominated the world stage. From the Field of the Cloth of Gold, a pageant of jousting, feasting and general carousing so lavish that it nearly bankrupted both France and England, to Suleiman's celebratory pyramid of 2,000 human heads (including those of seven Hungarian bishops) after the battle of Mohács; from Anne Boleyn's six-fingered hand (a potential sign of witchcraft) that had the pious nervously crossing themselves to the real story of the Maltese falcon, Four Princes is history at its vivid, entertaining best. With a cast list that extends from Leonardo da Vinci to Barbarossa, and from Joanna the Mad to le roi grand-nez, John Julius Norwich offers the perfect guide to the most colourful century the world has ever known and brings the past to unforgettable life.
By Ranulph Fiennes
Explorer and adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes explores the concept of fear, and shows us through his own experiences how we can push our boundaries in everyday life.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.
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.
By Rachel Roddy
WINNER OF THE GUILD OF FOOD WRITERS FIRST BOOK AWARD 2015 AND WINNER OF THE ANDRÉ SIMON FOOD BOOK AWARD 2015.'Of course I thought Rome was glorious, but I didn't want to stay. A month, three at most, then I'd take a train back to Sicily to finish the clockwise journey I'd interrupted, before moving even further southwards...'Instead, captivated by the exhilarating life of Testaccio, the wedge-shaped quarter of Rome that centres round the old slaughterhouse and the bustling food market, Rachel decided to rent a flat and live there. Thus began an Italian adventure that's turned into a brand new life. FIVE QUARTERS charts a year in Rachel's small kitchen, shopping, cooking, eating and writing, capturing a uniquely domestic picture of life in this vibrant, charismatic city. Combining Rachel's love of Italian food and cooking with a strong nostalgia for home and memories of growing up in England, this is a cookbook to read in bed as well as to use in the kitchen.Chapters include:Antipasti; Soup & Pasta; Meat & Fish; Vegetables; Dolci
By Eric Carter, Anthony Loveless
Second World War fighter pilot Eric Carter is one of only four surviving members of a secret mission, code-named 'Force Benedict'. Sanctioned by Winston Churchill in 1941 Force Benedict was dispatched to defend Murmansk, the USSR's only port not under Nazi occupation. If Murmansk fell, Soviet resistance against the Nazis would be hard to sustain and Hitler would be able to turn all his forces on Britain...Force Benedict was under the command of New Zealand-born RAF Wing Commander Henry Neville Gynes Ramsbottom-Isherwood, who led two squadrons of Hurricane fighters, pilots and ground crew which were shipped to Russia in total secrecy on the first ever Arctic Convoy. They were told to defend Murmansk against the Germans 'at all costs'. 'We all reckoned the government thought we'd never survive' - but Eric Carter did, and was threatened with Court Martial if he talked about where he'd been or what he'd done. Now he reveals his experiences of seventy years ago in the hell on earth that was Murmansk, the largest city north of the Arctic Circle. It will also include previously unseen photos and documents, as well as exploring - for the first time - other intriguing aspects of Force Benedict.
For the Love of Bob
By James Bowen
From best friends James Bowen and street cat Bob, stars of the number one bestselling A Street Cat Named Bob, comes a special edition of The World According to Bob for children aged 11 and above.Best friends James Bowen and street cat Bob have been on a remarkable journey together. In the years since their story ended in BOB: NO ORDINARY CAT James, with Bob's help, has begun to find his way in the world.Along with the adventures and the fun there have been tough times too, but through moments of real danger and sometimes illness Bob has always been there as James' protector and guardian angel.FOR THE LOVE OF BOB is the is the incredible story of James and Bob's life-saving friendship, and the lessons James has learnt from his street-wise cat.
Fighting on the Home Front
By Kate Adie
'History at its most celebratory' Daily Telegraph'Adie uses her journalistic eye for personal stories and natural compassion to create a book definitely worthy of her heroines' Big Issue'Fascinating, very readable . . . provides a complete wartime women's history' Discover Your History* * * * * *Bestselling author and award-winning former BBC Chief News Correspondent Kate Adie reveals the ways in which women's lives changed during World War One and what the impact has been for women in its centenary year.IN 1914 THE WORLD CHANGED forever. When World War One broke out and a generation of men went off to fight, bestselling author and From Our Own Correspondent presenter Kate Adie shows how women emerged from the shadows of their domestic lives.Now a visible force in public life, they began to take up essential roles - from transport to policing, munitions to sport, entertainment, even politics. They had finally become citizens, a recognised part of the war machine, acquiring their own rights and often an independent income.The former BBC Chief News Correspondent charts the seismic move towards equal rights with men that began a century ago and through unique first-hand research shows just how momentous the achievements of those pioneering women were.This is history at its best - a vivid, compelling account of the women who helped win the war as well as a revealing assessment of their legacy for women's lives today.
From Armageddon to the Fall of Rome
By Erik Durschmied
In the Mediterranean, this most fought-over region in the world, the figures of potentates and conquerors appear god-like: Thutmosis, Leonidas, Xerxes, Pyrrhus, Hannibal, Caesar and Vercingetorix. Ancient history, from Pharaonic Egypt and the Shahs of Persia, to the Golden Age of Greece and the conquests of Alexander the Great and his dream of a universal brotherhood, is dominated by these incredible characters. And then comes Rome, the supreme political event of Ancient History and the world's first superpower.Ancient Battles is the history of incredible men, brave and reckless, lucky and ill-fated, engaging their forces in battles that are prime examples of ruse, chance, and military brilliance. Erik Durschmied looks at seventeen of ancient history's most fascinating battles, many of which have been almost forgotten, but which in reality changed both the world and time itself.
For the Islands I Sing
By George Mackay Brown
George Mackay Brown wrote this memoir in the years before his death in 1996, but he did not want it published while he lived. Here we see the author's simple, bardic honesty turned on himself.In particular, he looks at Orkney, where he was born the youngest child in a poor family, and which he rarely left.
From the Heart
By Kym Marsh
KYM MARSH is one of our most-loved stars, but her life has been a rollercoaster ride through love, laughter and tears.Now Kym's ready to tell her full story for the first time, describing her difficult childhood growing up on a council estate in Wigan, and struggling at school with bullying and an eating disorder.She describes falling in love at 17 and finding herself pregnant while still a teenager. By the time she was 21, she was a single mum with two very young children, David and Emily, and it was a real struggle to make ends meet.But Kym had always dreamt of performing and even though the odds were stacked against her, she was determined to make her dream a reality. One day she auditioned for a new TV show called Popstars and her life changed forever.Kym now stars in the nation's favourite soap, Coronation Street. But her life off-screen hasn't been easy. She reflects on her marriage to Jack Ryder and how hard she tried to make it work. Kym found new love with Hollyoaks star Jamie Lomas and after tragically losing their first baby Archie in 2009, the couple were over the moon to welcome little Polly Lomas into the world earlier this year.Entertaining, funny and incredibly honest, From the Heart is a fantastic read all about how sometimes the best things happen in life when you refuse to give up hope.
By Ashley Dartnell
Ashley Dartnell's mother was a glamorous American, her father a dashing Englishman, each trying to slough off their past and upgrade to a more romantic and exotic present in Iran. As the story starts, Ashley is eight years old and living in Tehran in the 1960s: the Shah was in power, life for Westerners was rich and privileged. But somehow it didn't all add up to a fairytale. There were bankruptcies and prisons, betrayals and lovers, lies and evasions. And throughout it all, Ashley's passionate and strong-willed mother, Genie. Stories of mothers and daughters are some of the most compelling in contemporary memoir, from The Liar's Club and The Glass Castle to Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight and Bad Blood. Farangi Girl deserves to be in their company. It's an honest and endlessly recognisable portrait of a mother by a daughter who loved her (and was loved in return).Against this extraordinary background, Ashley's journey into adulthood was more helter-skelter than most and this portrait of a bewitching and endlessly inventive mother is surprising and deeply moving.
The Fight of my Life
By Barbara Clark
Barbara Clark is a former nurse, foster carer and mother of two children, one with special needs, and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in February 2005. During her treatment, she found that there was a drug existing, Herceptin, that would double survival chances for her particular form of cancer from 14%. However, it wasn't available on the NHS and therefore, for Barbara, unaffordable. In the midst of aggressive chemotherapy, Barbara, incredibly, found the strength to fight not just the NHS but the government, and to win the right to be prescribed the drug on the NHS, not just for herself but for thousands of other women. THE FIGHT OF MY LIFE will tell the story behind those headlines. It will tell how she first found her cancer, and what it was that gave her the will to battle on and take on, not just the disease but the authorities who were prepared to let her die for want of a drug. Barbara's reasons for living are her three children, two of whom she fosters and who have special needs: their stories and how they dealt with her cancer will also be central to this an amazing, uplifting, inspiring book. Herceptin has treated Barbara's cancer, but it doesn't guarantee a complete cure - rather, it buys her more time to care for the people who are most precious to her, to help other women and to pursue what she calls her 'passion for life'. THE FIGHT OF MY LIFE is the story of an extraordinary woman and of great human courage in the face of despair.
'A brilliant read, raw in its emotions and a real eye-opener.'Martina ColeMy name is Chyna. When I was thirteen years old I became part of a girl gang. This is my story.Chyna was born in the middle of gangland UK. From a young age she saw people all around her in gangs. They had the status, the ghetto-fabulous look and the money. So when girls from a rival school started picking on Chyna and her friends, they decided to take control of their lives and form their own gang. They called it Nothing 2 Lose. Soon Chyna was caught up in a world of thiefing phones, shoplifting and shanks. She rolled tight with her fam. The risk of arrest and beatings was always present, but so were the rewards: fast p's, bare liquor and draw, and the thrill of being above the law. Then boys came into their lives, and Chyna and her friends were attracted to some of gangland's most notorious boys. Now Chyna had found herself in a very glamorous world with VIP tables at the most exclusive clubs, big p's lavished on bling and champagne. She was living the highlife as the girlfriend of one of London's most feared gangstas.The deeper she got into this world, the more she discovered the dark side. The guns, the vicious drug dealers, the constant threat of prison: Chyna knew she had to find a way out. But it would take a devastating tragedy - one that ripped apart her world - before Chyna found the courage to leave gangland behind once and for all. 'Rich and dazzling.'The Sunday Times'This emotional story of a girl born on a tough London estate provides a shocking eye-opener on gang culture . . . gritty and hard-hitting . . . Written in London slang, the story has a real spirit which really shines through.'New of the World'A scary insight into the lives of youngsters born into poverty in Britain.'Sun'This isn't an expose to ease middle-class guilt. We're not asked to pity Chyna. Nor does FAM seek to glamourise the horrors of gang life. It is, simply, crudely, an account of a side of London you probably know absolutely nothing about and about which very little is written (aside from social care reports). These are the intimidating girls at the back of the bus, the kids storming through shopping centres, the ones who mug you for your phone and purse, the names in the newspaper your eyes sip over following yet another stabbing on a council estate.'Time Out
By Phil Craig, Tim Clayton
Seventy years ago, as Hitler's army continued its relentless advance across Europe, Britain - a country ill-prepared for war - faced its darkest hour.Acclaimed as 'Brilliant' by the Daily Mail and 'Compelling' by the Telegraph, Finest Hour recreates the terror, tragedy and triumph of the Battle of Britain through the testimony of the very men and women who were there. Taken from the diaries, letters and memoirs of those who survived it - and those who lost their lives - Finest Hour creates a powerful and incisive account of the events of 1940. Containing individual accounts of love and loss by these witnesses of war, the book also contains a provocative analysis of the conflicts and the politics of the period, and questions some cherished national myths. Cutting through the nostalgic haze, Finest Hour enables readers to experience a time when a nation's darkest hour became its finest.
By Ruth Dee
Imagine what it would be like if your thoughts weren't the only ones in your head.Ruth has lived with other people in her head since she was four years old. She splintered off into different selves when her grandfather began sexually abusing her. It was her way of coping with the dreadful things she endured at home. The worse things got, the more personalities Ruth created in order to try to escape her life.Ruth eventually left home and after years of hard work, Ruth came to terms with her past and now helps others suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder. Fractured is the story of a life torn apart by abuse and a remarkable woman who pieced herself back together again.