Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing
By Daniel Tammet
'Tammet's intriguing cases of linguistic idiosyncrasies expand our notions on what it means to be human . . . Would dazzle any storyteller in love with words and their deepest meanings' (Amy Tan)'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.
The End of Your Life Book Club
By Will Schwalbe
'A wonderful book about wonderful books and mothers and sons and the enduring braid between them.' - Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays With Morrie'a true meditation on what books can do.' - Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare with Amber EyesMary Anne Schwalbe is waiting for her chemotherapy treatments when Will casually asks her what she's reading. The conversation they have grows into tradition: soon they are reading the same books so they can have something to talk about in the hospital waiting room. Their choices range from classic (Howards End) to popular (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), from fantastic (The Hobbit) to spiritual (Jon Kabat-Zinn), with many in between. We hear their passion for reading and their love for each other in their intimate and searching discussions. A profoundly moving testament to the power of love between a child and parent, and the power of reading in our lives.
By Mary Robinson
Shortlisted for the Political Book Awards 2013 Political Book of the YearThe first woman President of Ireland, who became UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson has spent her life in pursuit of a fairer world.Now, for the first time, she reveals what lies behind the vision, strength and determination that has helped her to achieve so much for human rights around the globe.She describes the upbringing which gave her her strong sense of values and how she came into painful conflict with her parents - marrying against their wishes and, later, helping to legalise contraception in a deeply Catholic Ireland.As a barrister she won landmark cases advancing the causes of women and the marginalised against the prejudices of the day. When - to the surprise of many - she became the first woman President of Ireland in 1990, she put Ireland firmly on the international stage.Accepting the position of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 1997 was her biggest challenge and here she describes the huge political difficulties she encountered among the many triumphs. Subsequently, based in New York, she led Realizing Rights for eight years, pioneering how to implement in practice economic and social rights: working in African countries on health, decent work, corporate responsibility and women's empowerment in peace and security. Now heading her own Climate Justice foundation she has succeeded in finding the independence she needs to work effectively on behalf of the millions of poor around the world most affected by climate change. Told with the same calm conviction and modest pride that has guided her life, Everybody Matters will inspire everyone who reads it with the belief that each of us can, in our own way, help to change the world for the better.
The Elephant to Hollywood
By Michael Caine
The most up-to-date, definitive, bestselling autobiography of a British Hollywood icon.It's been a long journey for Maurice Micklewhite - born with rickets in London's poverty-stricken Elephant & Castle - to the bright lights of Hollywood.With a glittering career spanning more than five decades and starring roles which have earned him two Oscars, a knighthood, and an iconic place in the Hollywood pantheon, the man now known to us as Michael Caine looks back over it all.Funny, warm, honest, Caine brings us his insider's view of Hollywood (where there's neither holly nor woods). He recalls the films, the legendary stars, the off-screen moments with a gift for story-telling only equalled by David Niven. Hollywood has been his home and his playground. But England is where his heart lies. And where he blames the French for the abundance of snails in his garden.A plaque now celebrates him at the Elephant in London. His handprint is one of only 200 since 1927 to decorate the hallowed pavement outside that mecca of Hollywood stars, Grauman's Chinese Theatre.A very British star, The Elephant to Hollywood is the remarkable full circle of Michael Caine's life.
By Roberto Escobar
Murderer, philanthropist, drug dealer, politician, devil, saint: many words have been used to describe Pablo Escobar, but one is irrefutable - legend. For the poor of Colombia, he was their Robin Hood, a man whose greatness lay not in his crimes, but in his charity; for the Colombian rich he was just a bloodthirsty gangster, a Bogie Man used to scare children in their beds; for the rest of the world flush with his imported cocaine, he was public enemy number one. During his reign as the world's most notorious outlaw, he ordered the murder of thousands - at one point even bombing a passenger jet - smuggled drugs into the US in mini-submarines inspired by Bond films, was elected to parliament, staged midnight escapes through the jungle from whole army battalions, built his own prison, consorted with presidents, controlled an estimated fortune of over $20 billion, and for over 3 years outwitted the secret American forces sent to kill him. His ambition was as boundless as his violence, and neither was ever satisfied. This is the first major, and definitive, biography of this remarkable criminal life, told in jaw-dropping detail by the one man who, more than any other, can understand just how far he came and just how low he fell: his brother, Roberto Escobar.
Embracing the Wide Sky
By Daniel Tammet
Daniel Tammet captivated readers with his bestselling memoir, Born On A Blue Day, and its vivid depiction of a life with autistic savant syndrome. In his fascinating new book, Embracing the Wide Sky, Daniel combines the latest scientific research with insights drawn from his personal experience to shed light on the mysteries of how our minds work and the incredible feats of which each one of us is capable.A unique and brilliantly imaginative portrait of how we think, learn, remember and create, Embracing the Wide Sky is a profound and provocative book that will transform our understanding and respect for every kind of mind.
The Essential Dave Allen
By Graham Mccann
When Dave Allen passed away in March 2005, we lost a true comedy great. Sitting cross-legged on a high stool, whiskey in one hand, cigarette in the other, Dave Allen's exasperated commentaries on the absurdities of modern life struck a chord with millions of fans in Britain, Ireland and Australia for over four decades. He was a compelling storyteller - able to spin shaggy dog stories out of the almost any subject, including the missing tip of his fourth finger of his left hand, for which he provided various unlikely explanations. But his gentle, laconic wit could also give way to ferocious attacks on the media, the state and, most famously, the Catholic Church. He was a unique talent - a comic who could make his audiences laugh, cry, and be shocked, all in one.This official celebration of Dave Allen's comedy has been drawn together by Graham McCann - Britain's best-loved entertainment writer. It is a treasure trove of stories, stand-up routines, sketches, interviews and photos, which takes us on a journey from the cradle to the grave. It will delight Dave Allen's million of fans, old and new alike.'Dave Allen was our greatest storyteller and nobody ever came close to his ability to spin a yarn. He was unique, right up there with the greats.' Jack Dee
Eight Feet in the Andes
By Dervla Murphy
The eight feet belong to Dervla Murphy, her nine-year-old daughter Rachel and Juana, an elegant mule, who together clambered the length of Peru, from Cajamarca near the border with Ecuador, to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital, over 1300 miles to the south.With only the most basic necessities to sustain them and spending most of their time above 10,000 feet, their journey was marked by extreme discomfort, occasional danger and even the temporary loss of Juana over a precipice. Yet mother and daughter, a formidable duo, were unflagging in their sympathetic response to the perilous beauty and impoverished people of the Andes.In this extraordinary adventure, Dervla Murphy is at her intrepid best, facing up to the terrors, horrors and joys of her journey along the mountain paths.
Einstein: Life and Times
By Ronald Clark