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 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 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
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.
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 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.
Fidel and Che
By Simon Reid-Henry
FIDEL AND CHE is the story of the remarkable and revolutionary friendship between two of the most iconic figures in 20th century history - Fidel Castro and Ernesto (Che) Guevara.Not yet thirty, Fidel Castro and Ernesto (Che) Guevara met in 1955 while both in exile in Mexico City. Guevara, the Argentine doctor plagued by asthma, had reached the end of the travels he began by motorcycle several years before. Fidel Castro, peasant's son, scholar and rebel, had just fled Cuba, fearing for his life. Over the next twelve years, until Guevara's death in 1967, their journey together would take them from the safe houses of Mexico's political underground, to war in the Cuban mountains and ultimately into the heart of the Cold War. Drawing on extensive research, including declassified material and interviews with key figures in Havana, Moscow and Washington, Simon Reid-Henry uncovers, for the first time, the full story behind the central relationship of the Cuban revolution: their shared revolutionary ambitions, their conflicting personalities, the wilfulness that bound them together and the pressures that would tear them apart. FIDEL AND CHE is set against the tide of revolution that swept across the world during the middle of the twentieth century. It is the story of two men who shared a common dream; who became friends, comrades and brothers-in-arms; and who, finally, would make an epic choice between their friendship and their beliefs.
By Graham Mccann
Fawlty Towers was only on our screens for 12 half-hour episodes, but it has stayed in our lives ever since. The Major; 'Don't mention the war!'; 'He's from Barcelona'; Basil the Rat - everyone has a favourite line, moment or character. In this, the first biography of the show, Graham McCann holds up to the light each of the unpredictable elements - the demented brilliance of John Cleese, his creative partnership with Connie Booth - that added up to an immortal sitcom, beloved all over the world, even in Barcelona.
A Friend Like Henry
By Nuala Gardner
This is the inspiring account of a family's struggle to break into their son's autistic world - and how a beautiful retreiver dog made the real difference.Dale was still a baby when his parents realised that something wasn't right. Worried, his mother Nuala took him to see several doctors, before finally hearing the word 'autism' for the first time. Scared but determined that Dale should live a fulfilling life, Nuala describes her despair at her son's condition, her struggle to prevent Dale being excluded from a 'normal' education and her sense of hopeless isolation. Dale's autism was severe and violent and family life was a daily battleground.But the Gardner's lives were transformed when they welcomed a gorgeous Golden Retriever into the family. The special bond between Dale and his dog Henry helped them to produce the breakthrough in Dale they had long sought. From taking a bath to saying 'I love you', Henry helped introduce Dale to all the normal activities most parents take for granted, and set him on the road to being the charming and well-adjusted young man he is today.This is a heartrending and fascinating account of how one devoted and talented dog helped a little boy conquer his autism.
The First Emperor
By Anthony Everitt
Caesar Augustus is one of the most fascinating figures in history. Plucked as teenager from provincial obscurity by his great-uncle Julius Caesar, who adopted him posthumously in his will, Augustus transformed the chaotic Republic into an orderly imperial autocracy. His consolidation of the Roman empire arguably laid the foundations of Europe.Although a sickly young man, with a tendency to fall seriously ill at moments of crisis, Augustus taught himself to be brave and was intelligent, painstaking and patient. He worked extraordinarily hard, and, within a generation, had rebuilt Rome, transforming it into a splendid metropolis and centre for civil government and the arts. In this dynamic and engaging biography, Anthony Everitt uncovers the deeply human character of this extraordinary man. It is also an exhilarating portrait of Roman social customs and politics.
By Brenda Maddox
Ernest Jones was a born empire builder, who imported the intellectual ferment of early twentieth-century European analysis to our shores. In 1938 he daringly flew to Vienna to rescue Freud from the Nazi threat. With the media frenzy that greeted Freud's arrival in England, psychoanalysis hit the mainstream. When Jones subsequently wrote the definitive, three-volume biography of his mentor, Freud's trailblazing reputation was secured. Jones himself was a remarkable man, mercurial and quixotic. The son of a colliery clerk in South Wales, his insinuation into the inner circle of psychoanalysis is an improbable story. Likewise, the devastating, if dubious, sexual success he enjoyed with female patients caused intrigue among his contemporaries. As Jones's analytic reputation reached new heights, rumours as to what Freud dubbed his 'dark inconsistencies' grew. Award-winning biographer Brenda Maddox insightfully and gracefully breathes life into this enigmatic character. Freud's Wizard is a riveting resurrection of a critical, heretofore overlooked, architect of our modern intellectual landscape.
For the Love of My Son
By Margaret Davis
This is the story of an ordinary woman whose grief - and love - for her only son compelled her to do something extraordinary. When Margaret Davis's beloved son Steven was murdered by his own wife, a Philippino former prostitute, she travelled across continents to track down her son's killers and bring them to justice, and to rescue her grandchildren. Based on Margaret's own diaries, notes and emails, this tells not only the awful but utterly compelling story of her perilous journey, but also of how she has dealt with her crippling grief, and how she has striven to save and protect two small children caught up in the violent crossfire of their parents' failing marriage. It is a tale of two cultures that clashed, with terrible results. And it is a tale of how one mother, faced with her worst nightmare, has fought for justice for her son and some kind of healing for herself and the others left behind after his appalling death.