Related to: 'Don Stephens'

Hodder & Stoughton

A Daily Dose of Mercy

Don Stephens
Don Stephens

'And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.' Micah 6:8 NIVThis book contains 365 short daily devotions on the theme of mercy. Each day's reading will take about one minute to read, and is accompanied by a short scripture passage and a gentle tug on your heart to be the light of mercy in someone's life each day, because a merciful heart looks beyond its own difficulties and encourages others. Written by Don Stephens, bestselling author of Ships of Mercy, and founder of the charity Mercy Ships which offers free surgical care to people in desperate need in Africa, these daily devotional readings are inspired by the very best stories from the work of the people who volunteer on the ship. But each day's reflection points to the need for mercy everywhere... not just across the ocean, but down the street, next door, and even in our very own homes.

Hodder & Stoughton

Growing Pains

Dr Mike Shooter
Dr Mike Shooter

'A remarkable, powerful, tender and insightful book that will change lives. I cannot doubt that hundreds - I would hope thousands - of families can be helped by Mike Shooter's profound, careful and utterly convincing insights.' STEPHEN FRY'A unique book . . . The stories [Shooter] tells are poignant and powerful testimonies to the resilience of the human spirit and will fascinate all of us who struggle to make sense of our own and other people's lives.' MARJORIE WALLACE CBE'Brilliant book. Mike Shooter has . . . given us a truly 3D picture of the struggles of growing up.' PROFESSOR DAME SUE BAILEY, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges* * * * * * * * * *Child psychiatrist Dr Mike Shooter sheds light on the painful issues and universal experience of growing up, through the stories of his patients and their families.Growing up isn't easy. We can be at our most vulnerable and confused. And the right help isn't always there when we need it most. For over forty years psychiatrist Mike Shooter has listened to children and adolescents in crisis, helping them to find their stories and begin to make sense of their lives. Mike Shooter's own life has been shaped by his battle with depression. It makes him question received wisdom. He knows labels won't always fit and one diagnosis will not work for all. His patients' stories are at the heart of this book. Mike Shooter shares their journey as, through therapy, they confront everything from loss and family breakdown to bullying, grief and illness. We see how children begin to make breakthroughs with depression or anxiety, destructive, even sometimes violent behaviour.Growing Pains is compelling and compassionate - a book to make us wiser and braver, and to help us see how children's stories can find happier endings.

Two Roads

Where Memories Go

Sally Magnusson
Sally Magnusson

'A fine book' The Sunday Times 'Powerful' Guardian 'Wonderful' The Telegraph'Moving, funny, warm' Mail on Sunday'Brave, compassionate, tender and honest' Metro'This book began as an attempt to hold on to my witty, storytelling mother with the one thing I had to hand. Words. Then, as the enormity of the social crisis my family was part of began to dawn, I wrote with the thought that other forgotten lives might be nudged into the light along with hers. Dementia is one of the greatest social, medical, economic, scientific, philosophical and moral challenges of our times. I am a reporter. It became the biggest story of my life.' Sally MagnussonSad and funny, wise and honest, Where Memories Go is a deeply intimate account of insidious losses and unexpected joys in the terrible face of dementia, and a call to arms that challenges us all to think differently about how we care for our loved ones when they need us most.Regarded as one of the finest journalists of her generation, Mamie Baird Magnusson's whole life was a celebration of words - words that she fought to retain in the grip of a disease which is fast becoming the scourge of the 21st century. Married to writer and broadcaster Magnus Magnusson, they had five children of whom Sally is the eldest. As well as chronicling the anguish, the frustrations and the unexpected laughs and joys that she and her sisters experienced while accompanying their beloved mother on the long dementia road for eight years until her death in 2012, Sally Magnusson seeks understanding from a range of experts and asks penetrating questions about how we treat older people, how we can face one of the greatest social, medical, economic and moral challenges of our times, and what it means to be

Hodder & Stoughton

Ships of Mercy

Don Stephens
Don Stephens

Ships of Mercy tells the riveting true story of Mercy Ships, the astonishing fleet of hospital ships that sail the globe, bringing dramatic change to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the most impoverished and disease-stricken corners of the world.Ships of Mercy is a page-turner of the highest quality, an inspiring testimony both to the essence of the human spirit and God's amazing providence.It tells the story of a teenager's extraordinary vision brought to reality in the form of a multi-million dollar life-saving mission. It also tells the story of a family of people from diverse backgrounds who have sacrificed their comfort and security in order to perform remarkable acts of grace and kindness.

Chapter One

A MOST WANTED MAN, by John le Carré

Read the first chapter of John le Carré's A MOST WANTED MAN.

Chapter One: Murdering Mrs Durance

THE DAUGHTERS OF MARS, by Thomas Keneally

Read the first chapter of Sceptre Booker prize-winning author Thomas Keneally's newest novel, THE DAUGHTERS OF MARS.

An excerpt from the Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing

CLOUD ATLAS, by David Mitchell

Read an excerpt of David Mitchell's international bestseller, CLOUD ATLAS, now also releasing as a film.


GOLD by Chris Cleave

Read an excerpt of Chris Cleave's GOLD.

Chapter One


Read the first chapter of Bernardine Bishop's new book, UNEXPECTED LESSONS IN LOVE, published by John Murray in January 2013.

Chapter One

RIVER OF SMOKE, by Amitav Ghosh

Read the first chapter of Amitav Ghosh's RIVER OF SMOKE, the second book of his Ibis trilogy.

Chapter One: A Morning in Vermillion

SHADES OF GREY, by Jasper Fforde

Read the first chapter of Jasper Fforde's brilliant SHADES OF GREY.

Chapter One

COME SUNDAY, by Isla Morley

Read the first chapter of Isla Morley's COME SUNDAY.

My South Africa

Deon Meyer on the new South Africa

If books are windows on the world,1 crime fiction mostly provides a view of the underbelly and back alleys of cities and countries. This is my only genuine regret writing as an author in this genre. Because the real South Africa, the one that I love so passionately, is very different from the narrow and dim view my books probably allow. It is also quite unlike the one you see in those pessimistic fifteen second television news reports in the UK, Europe or Australia. So let me try and set the record straight. My country is breathtakingly beautiful – from the lush, sub-tropical east coast of Kwazulu-Natal, to the serene semi-desert stretching along the Atlantic in the west (which blooms in inde- scribable colour and splendour in Spring). In between, there’s the magnificence of the Lowveld, the Bushveld, the Highveld, the towering Drakensberg mountains, the aching vastness of the Karoo and the dense silence of the Knysna forests . . . Diversity is everywhere. In the climate (mostly perfect sunshine and balmy weather, but we have extremes too, summer highs of more than 50°C in Upington, and winter lows of -15°C in Sutherland – both in the same Northern Cape province), and in the cities (Durban is an intoxicating fusion of Zulu, Indian and British colonial cultures, Cape Town is a heady mix of Malay, Dutch-Afrikaans and Xhosa, Johannesburg is . . . well, modern African-cosmopolitan, utterly unique, and always exciting). The biodiversity of South Africa is truly astonishing. “With a land surface area of 1.2 million square kilometres representing just 1% of the earth’s total land surface, South Africa boasts six biospheres, and contains almost 10% of the world’s total known bird, fish and plant species, and over 6% of the world’s mammal and reptile species.”2 Of course we are also world-famous for our huge collection of wildlife regions and game parks – both public and private – encompassing every possible landscape from deserts to forests, mountains to coast, teeming with wildlife species, including Africa’s Big Five: Leopard, Lion, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhinoceros.3 But most of all, the diversity is in the people who constitute the Rainbow Nation. Our black ethnic groups include the Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Bapedi, Venda, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi and Ndebele.The so-called ‘coloured’ (no, it’s not a derogatory term over here) population is mainly concentrated in the Western Cape region, and come from a combination of ethnic backgrounds including Malay, White, Khoi, San, and Griqua. White South Africans are descendants of Dutch, German, French Huguenots, English and other European and Jewish settlers. And our Indian population came to South Africa as indentured labourers to work in the sugar plantations in the British colony of Natal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The population of more than fifty million people is made up of African (40.2 million, or 79.5%),White (4.6 million, or 9.0%), Coloured (4.5 million, or 9.0%), and Indian/Asian (1.3 million, or 2.5%). And, having travelled most of the world, I can confidently say, you won’t find friendlier, more hospitable and accommodating people anywhere, irrespective of their race, culture, language or creed. We have nine provinces (Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu- Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West, Free State, and Western Cape) and eleven official languages: Afrikaans (13%), English (8%), isiNdebele (1.6%), isiXhosa (18%), isiZulu (24%), Sesotho sa Leboa (9%), Sesotho (8%), Setswana (8%), siSwati (3%),Tshivenda (2%), and Xitsonga (4%).4 Throw all of this together in a democracy not quite twenty years old (a tempestuous teenager, if ever there was one), and you get an effervescent, energetic, dynamic, and often a little chaotic, melting pot – of cultures, people, views, politics, opinions, and circumstance. After the tragedy and oppression of Apartheid, we are still very much coming to terms with – and are sometimes a little overwhelmed by – all the facets of the freedom-diamond. Which means that we argue incessantly, shout, point fingers, blame, accuse, denounce, complain, and criticize, mostly loudly and publicly, like all enthusiastic democrats should. But when our beloved Bafana-Bafana (the national football team), Springboks (our twice World Cup-winning rugby team) or Proteas (the cricket guys) walk onto the field, we stand united, shoulder to shoulder. And mostly, in our day-to-day-lives, we get along rather well. We increasingly study and work and live and love and socialise together, in great harmony. Of course, we have our problems. Poverty is the major one. “There is a consensus amongst most economic and political analysts that approximately 40% of South Africans are living in poverty – with the poorest 15% in a desperate struggle to survive.” However, we are making steady progress. The percentage of the South African population with access to clean drinking water has increased from 62% in 1994, to 93% in 2011. Access to electricity has increased from 34% in 1994, to 84% in 2011.5 In 2010, 13.5 million South Africans benefited from access to social grants, 8.5 million of whom were children, 3.5 million pensioners and 1.5 million people with disabilities. In 1994, only 2.5 million people had access to social grants, the majority of whom were pensioners. And since 1994, 435 houses have been built every day for the poor.6 And you might have heard about our other challenge – South Africa has a bit of a reputation when it comes to crime. I am most definitely going out on a limb here, but having studied the statistics, and looked at the (often unfair) comparisons over the past five years, I honestly believe we don’t quite deserve it. “. . . in relation to the overall risk of victimisation, South Africans are not much more likely to become victims of crime than people in other parts of the world,” Anthony Altbeker recently wrote in a carefully considered and exhaustively researched contribution to the marvellous Opinion Pieces by South African Thought Leaders.7 To put the matter into further perspective: In the two years leading up to the FIFA World Cup held in South Africa in 2010, almost every British, French and German journalist who interviewed me, asked the same question, more or less: “How big a slaughter is it going to be for fans attending the games?” Some were downright accusatory: “How dare you host this magnificent event in such a hazardous country?” A British tabloid even predicted a ‘machete race war’ waiting for visitors.8 And how many soccer fans died during the tournament? None.9 Furthermore, the attendees who were affected by crime-related incidents represented a very meagre 0.009% of the fans. That is far, far less than, for instance, the crime rate in Wales. When World Cup tourists were asked if they would consider visiting South Africa again, 96% said ‘yes’. As a matter of fact, if you are a tourist from the Northern Hemisphere visiting my beautiful country, your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime is less than 0.67%.10 (Compare this to the fact that “the 2011 British Behaviour Abroad Report published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) noted that the death rate (including murder and natural causes) of Britons in Thailand was forty-one per 100,000 tourists and for those visiting Germany was twenty-four. Tourists from the UK are far safer visiting South Africa”11 – with just 14.6 per 100,000.12) South Africa’s murder rate dropped by 6.5% in 2010-2011, attempted murder by 12.2%, robbery with aggravating circumstances was down by 12%, and house robberies by 10%.13 Our police services are slowly but surely turning the tide. We struggle with inadequate service delivery, our politicians don’t always live up to our expectations, and our unemployment rate is too high. But our economy is robust, and easily out-performs first-world countries like Greece (no surprise there), Italy, and Spain. South African Tax Revenue has increased from R100 billion in 1994 to R640 billion in 2010. Our debt to GDP ratio is 32% (USA 100%, Japan 200%, UK 90%). (The World Bank recommends a ratio of 60%.) And we are ranked first out of 142 countries in respect of regulation of security exchanges by the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2011/12.14 According to the Open Budget Index, South Africa has the most transparent budget in the world. We are the only African country that is a member of the G20. In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Survey of Democratic Freedom, South Africa ranks 31st out of 184 countries. And according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2010/11, South Africa has the 34th most efficient government out of the 139 countries ranked.15 The number of tourists visiting South Africa has grown from 3.9 million in 1994 to 11.3 million in 2010. South Africa is ranked among the top five countries in the world in respect of tourism growth (growing at three times the global average).16 I could go on. South Africa’s learner-to-teacher ratio improved from 1:50 in 1994 to 1:31 in 2010. According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2011/12, South Africa is ranked 13th out of 142 countries for its quality of management schools. 61% of South African primary school children and 30% of high school children receive free meals as part of the school feeding scheme.17 But none of these facts and figures, as inspiring as they are, will reveal the real reason why I am so unwaveringly optimistic about my country’s future. It is one of the major reasons for the peaceful transition miracle of 1994, it is something woven into the texture of everyday South African life, hidden from the fleeting eyes of foreign journalists on a flying visit, mostly talking only to important folks: The goodwill of ordinary people. Every day, in cities, towns, and tiny villages, small acts of kindness happen between human beings. Individuals who extend a helping hand across racial, cultural, political and linguistic divides, who extend friendship and kindness and empathy. I have been witnessing this for more than forty years, and I absolutely believe it is this goodwill that will carry us through, no matter how challenging the future may be. 1 “Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. They are engines of change, windows on the world, lighthouses erected in the sea of time.” - Barbara W. Tuchman, American popular historian and author, 1912-1989. 2 3
 4 (percentages rounded off)
 6 Ibid. 7 Penguin, 2011. p. 47.
 12 Ibid.
 13 murder_rate.html
 14 15 Ibid.
 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid.

Chapter One: The House of Punk Sleep

WIDE AWAKE, by Patricia Morrisroe

Read an excerpt of the first chapter of Patricia Morrisroe's brilliant memoir about insomnia, WIDE AWAKE.

Chapter One: Suicide Corner

SCARP by Nick Papadimitriou

Read the first chapter of Nick Papadimitriou's SCARP.

Chapter One


Read the first chapter of John le Carré's acclaimed TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, now a major film.

Chapter One: Fellow Travellers


Read the first chapter of James Bowen's inspiring A STREET CAT NAMED BOB.

Chapter One

COLD GRAVE by Kathryn Fox

Read the first chapter of Kathryn Fox's latest thriller, COLD GRAVE.

Reading Group Guide

MISERY by Stephen King

Reading guide for use alongside Stephen King's MISERY.

Chapter One

BROKEN HARBOUR, by Tana French

Read the first chapter of Tana French's newest novel, BROKEN HARBOUR.