In the Company of Cats
Illustration through the Ages
Medieval cats from the Sforza Hours, cartoon cats by Louis Wain, Arthur Rackham’s fearsome Black Cat from Grimms’ Fairy Tales and Les chats by Edouard Manet... This collection of over 100 illustrations, drawn from the collections of the British Library, presents images ranging from fluffy kittens to battle-scarred toms, interwoven with short quotations from literary cat lovers.
The Baffle Book
Fifteen Fiendishly Challenging Detective Puzzles
If you revel in armchair criminal investigation, this book is just your cup of poisoned orange pekoe. Here are 15 old-fashioned 'detective puzzles', the unravelling of which requires well-honed powers of observation and deduction. In words, charts and diagrams, the authors put you at the crime scene and present you with the facts established by the police. Solving the questions that each case poses is your challenge. Answers at the back - if you must.
Whatever Happened to Tanganyika?
The Place Names that History Left Behind
Described by Alexander McCall Smith in his Foreword as the pioneering work of a new discipline, 'nostalgic geography', this intriguing book tells the stories of 46 old names, their origins and their demise. Beginning with the bizarre history of Pleasant Island (now the Republic of Nauru), his tales of places that are no more include such evocative names as Hispaniola, Rangoon, Fernando Po and Skye (now officially Eilean a' Cheo).
There Are Tittles in This Title
The Weird World of Words
Names of things you didn't know had names (a tittle is the dot on the letter i); the ten possible origins of 'OK'; rude words that mean something different in other countries; mnemonics you will never remember: this compendium of language oddities is packed with information that might come in handy one day, or might not; plus hilariously wrong information from students' exam papers and how dogs bark in 30 languages.
Tyger Tyger, Burning Bright
Much-Loved Poems You Half-Remember
Ana Sampson has put together a delightful collection of verse by more than 80 poets, dating from the 13th century to the present day, whose work has proved enduringly popular in schools and stuck, more or less accurately, in our memories. She has also provided entertaining notes on the poets and arranged the poems by themes such as the natural world, battle and talking to gods.
I Don't Believe It!
Original Complaints of Tunbridge Wells
The British used to be better at complaining, as this sequel to the bestselling Outraged of Tunbridge Wells demonstrates. Before the internet debased the subtle art of invective, newspaper readers would take up their pens to inform editors of their disgust and outrage, perfectly balancing insouciance with sarcasm. The letters collected here appeared in Kent newspapers between Georgian times and the Second World War, and range from the pedantic and humorous to the poignant and political.
Heath Robinson Masterpieces of Art
Social commentator, illustrator, cartoonist and landscape artist, William Heath Robinson (1872-1944) was gifted in many fields, but his fame today rests on the cartoons poking fun at human foibles and his marvellous contraptions, such as The Pilsner Pump for Tapping the Enemy’s Beer (1916). In this volume from the Masterpieces of Art series, Susan Grange introduces Heath Robinson’s life and many-faceted artistic career, and presents around 90 full page reproductions of his literary illustrations, cartoons and contraptions.
The Philosophy of Cats
Federica Sgarbi combines her passions for philosophy and felines in this heart-warming account of her successful project to rehome all 78 residents of her local cattery. She tells how she wrote 'lonely-cat ads' for them, and describes their character and appearance before reflecting on what their stories teach us about our relationship with animals, as theorized by philosophers from Plutarch and Schopenhauer to contemporary thinkers on animal rights.
How We Got the Past Wrong
Did Mussolini make the trains run on time? Did Galileo invent the telescope? How 'Roman' was Roman Britain? Examining these and 28 more historical fallacies, Emma Marriott shows that some of our most cherished beliefs about the great events of history are inaccurate, either through error and misunderstanding - or deliberate cover-up.
A Very British Revolution
150 Years of John Lewis
From catering for Victorian mourners with 50 shades of black fabric in its first shop in Oxford Street in the 1860s, to 12 million YouTube viewings of its Christmas ad for 2013, this is a 150-year retailing success story. Jonathan Glancy looks back over John Lewis's history, describing its roots in drapery and fabrics, the radical partnership structure set up in 1929, its architecturally distinguished flagship stores, the success of the online store and its future plans - more shops.
The Illustrated Herdwick Shepherd
A shepherd on the family farm in the Lake District, James Rebanks became a bestselling author and gathered a huge following on Twitter for his wonderfully entertaining writings and his photographs of the uplands landscape, sheep and working dogs of Matterdale. This book brings together a generous selection of pictures and Rebanks's poetic and sometimes hilarious descriptions of a shepherd's life, the Herdwick sheep, his collie sheepdogs, the local wildlife and local characters.
The Christmas Eve Ghost
Set in the back streets of 1930s Liverpool, the 'once upon a time' this picture book evokes is one of hardship and a poor widow who takes in washing to provide for her two young children, but the story with its simple message of kindness and toleration is every bit as magical as princesses in palaces.
The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life
of William Marshal, the Power behind Five English Thrones
William Marshal (1147-1219) was the Lancelot of his era - a landless younger son who rose through the ranks to serve as right-hand man to five English monarchs, including Richard the Lionheart and his brother John. Drawing on contemporary evidence, including the sole surviving copy of a 13th-century biography, this compelling study resurrects a courageous warrior, tournament champion, wily politician and, ultimately, regent of the realm, against a rich tapestry of chivalry, grandeur and barbarity.
Botanical Wall Chart
Art from the Golden Age of Scientific Discovery
This magnificently illustrated volume celebrates a convergence of disciplines - art, science and education - that flourished in the late-19th and early-20th centuries to produce the botanical wall chart. Arranged alphabetically by plant family, from Amaryllis to Vitaceae (Grape), and reproduced in colour, with texts examining their pedagogical use and their historical, botanical and artistic contexts, this collection of around 120 charts from countries across the world represents some of the finest botanical illustration of the period.
You Have Been Warned!
A Complete Guide to the Road
In the 1930s cars were a novel feature of British life as motorists and pedestrians came to terms with the increasing traffic and the application of the new Highway Code. In this classic book, first published in 1935, Punch cartoonist Fougasse and broadcaster and humourist Donald McCullough poke fun at all aspects of pre-war motoring, from the state of the roads to taking the driving test.
Comic, Curious and Quirky
News Stories from Centuries Past
Rona Levin, of the British Library's Newspaper Archive, has tracked down an eclectic variety of stories, ranging in date from 1729 to 1930, which cover dastardly crimes, sexual scandals, animal antics and medical oddities. Some (such as the lady offended by seeing footballers' knees) reveal profound shifts in British society, while others (horsemeat fraud and doctors' poor handwriting) remind us that many things haven't changed.
I Think I Can See Where You're Going Wrong
And Other Wise and Witty Comments from Guardian Readers
Gathered from the daily crop of some 47,000 online comments on www.theguardian.com, this compilation ranges between heartfelt opinion and daft puns. It is unfailingly entertaining as Guardian readers air their views 'below the line' on everything from the pronunciation of quinoa to theatre-going: 'I can't resist a good nap during a visit to the theatre. Comfy seats, warmth, people talking in the background - lovely.'
Mix & Match to Create 1000 Crazy Creatures
This ingenious and attractive book, first published in 1997, features ten animals, including an alligator, a baboon, a platypus and a trunkfish, each illustrated with a quirky description on pages split vertically into three parts. Flipping the parts creates bizarre new creatures and the text changes too, in a modern twist on the traditional parlour game Consequences. Age 3+
The Seven Noses of Soho
and 191 Other Curious Details from the Streets of London
London's lesser-known features are the subject of this quirky little book. Each chapter covers locations on one line on the London Underground (plus the Overground and the Docklands Light Railway), and the delightful details revealed include a Belgian village; tigers and flamingos; knights and devils; rock stars and spies; and a cul-de-sac that is officially part of Cambridgeshire. All of these curiosities, hiding in plain sight, show that the story of London is the story of the world.
Who are we, and why are we here? In the beautifully illustrated book of their BBC Two series Professor Cox and his Executive Producer Andrew Cohen tackle some of the biggest questions that humans have asked about the past, present and future of our species. They follow the intellectual journeys that led to discoveries about gravity, relativity and the Big Bang, then track down the earliest evidence for life on Earth and reflect on our quest to learn whether we are truly alone in the cosmos.
The Complete Collection
'When Edward Bear said that he would like an exciting name all to himself, Christopher Robin said at once, without stopping to think, that he was Winnie-the-Pooh. And he was.' This slip-cased set contains the four children's classics by AA Milne, all with their original line drawings by EH Shepard: Winnie-the-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.
Illustrator Carolina Rabei has adapted a number of short, seasonal poems by Walter de la Mare (1873-1956) into charming, beautifully produced picture books - this was the first. A family prepares for the perfect Christmas in a tiny, lovingly portrayed village as snow 'whirls softly down' and gradually covers the buildings and countryside with white. Age 3+
An Enchanted Place
The harbour town of Dartmouth has long attracted writers and artists, from Daniel Defoe and Turner to Robert Graves and Lucien Pissarro. This well-illustrated volume includes many examples of their work, while also recording the history of the port, whose sailors were among the first to explore the Atlantic and whose merchants established vital trade routes. The book also covers the town's experience of the Second World War and its association with the Royal Naval College.
Conan Doyle's War
Great Writers on the Great War
Unable to serve as a soldier, Arthur Conan Doyle devoted himself to gathering information from first-hand sources and writing a chronicle of the war. This book is an abridged version of his first volume, covering the opening of the war and the battles of Mons, Le Cateau and First Ypres, up to the end of 1914.
Richard, Duke of York
King by Right
Inheriting his dukedom at the age of four, Richard, 3rd Duke of York became the wealthiest man in England at 13 and later rebelled against his king. Although remembered as the man who ignited the Wars of the Roses, the Duke has been largely eclipsed by his sons, Edward IV and Richard III. Lewis's biography challenges the myth of the Duke as a man of insatiable ambition who dragged a nation into civil war, and reveals a family man, yet one with unparalleled power and responsibilities.
A History of Linguistic Aggravation
'Our language is a glorious hodge-podge that is the result of invasion, exploration, linguistic inventiveness and, yes, simple error.' Those errors, or perceived errors, how they originated and how they have developed is the subject of Ammon Shea's book. Rather than a prescriptive guide to the elusive 'proper English', Shea discusses 'cherished linguistic peeves' such as verbs used as nouns, split infinitives and ain't, and shows how English takes mistakes and changing usage in its stride.
Poetry of the First World War
Edited and with a substantial introduction by Marcus Clapham, this anthology is arranged alphabetically by poet and includes both obscure soldier-poets and the great writers of the war years such as Edward Thomas, Siegfried Sassoon, Isaac Rosenberg and Wilfred Owen. A final section provides brief biographical notes on the poets.
Simon Jenkins describes our medieval cathedrals as 'the most spectacular and lasting accomplishment of the English people', and they take pride of place in this engrossing volume. A companion to his bestselling England's Thousand Best Churches, it comprises illustrated architectural histories and personal, keenly observed appreciations of 42 Anglican diocesan cathedrals in England, plus Westminster Abbey and a selection of Roman Catholic cathedrals. The buildings are arranged alphabetically, with one or more colour photographs accompanying each entry.
Death Comes to Pemberley
A much-acclaimed sequel to Pride and Prejudice, PD James’s bestselling thriller is set in 1803, six years after Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage. Their orderly world at Pemberley is shattered when Elizabeth’s sister, Lydia Wickham, arrives in distress, screaming that her husband has been murdered.
The First Crowned Queen of England
The kings of Anglo-Saxon England were reluctant to allow a woman to sit beside them on the throne; when Elfrida shared her husband Edgar's coronation at Bath in 973, she broke the mould. A powerful queen, she ruthlessly disposed of rivals in pursuit of the crown for her son, Ethelred the Unready. In this first biography of Elfrida, Norton asks whether she really was the black-hearted woman who murdered King Edward the Martyr, her stepson, to make way for Ethelred.
Cats in Movies
A frantic tabby flees down the runway in North by Northwest; the marmalade Lawrence of Arabia with startling blue eyes leads the way across the desert... These notecards feature ‘stills’ from 20 great movies, all with feline stars. The paintings by the very distinctive cat artist Susan Herbert (1945-2014) are drawn from her bestselling Cats Galore: A Compendium of Cultured Cats (2015). There are 20 blank notecards with envelopes. Boxed.
Trick Riding for Amateurs
With the aid of a collection of instructional photographs of soberly dressed Edwardian gentleman and lady cyclists, this book demonstrates a series of stunts of varying difficulty, from a stationary balance to riding backwards seated on the handlebars. An amusing curiosity for today's army of cycling enthusiasts, the book is a facsimile edition of a volume first published in 1901.
RSPB Nature Guide
Even on car journeys you can look for wildlife: the game of 'spotter bingo' in this book awards 5 points for a cow or sheep and 20 for a bird of prey. Organized season by season, this guide encourages young nature watchers to discover the wildlife all around them, with tips and activities from picking berries to making plaster casts of animal footprints.
Oranges and Lemons
Rhymes from Past Times
In the earliest recorded version of the rhyme London Bridge, from 1744, the first line is 'London Bridge is broken down', no doubt referring directly to the decrepit state of the 12th-century crossing at that date. This diverting volume investigates the origins of nursery rhymes, playground songs and children's ditties from the mists of medieval folklore to the inventions of more modern authors.
The Carriage and Wagon Works of the GWR at Swindon
The GWR Swindon Works produced some of the iconic locomotives of the steam era, but its rolling stock - the all-important freight wagons and passenger cars - have received less attention from steam enthusiasts and historians. This study tells the story of the other half of the GWR Works, traces the development of carriage and wagon design and, with the help of archive photographs, explains how carriages and wagons were built at Swindon in its heyday.
One afternoon in 1930, JRR Tolkien idly scribbled down the word ‘hobbit’, thereby sowing the first seed of his mysterious fictional world. Meaning ‘hole-builder’, it was just one of many fantastical words created by the eminent philologist to describe the Shire and its inhabitants. Charmingly illustrated by Lidia Postma, this guide to his coinages is full of etymological insights and will help hobbit-enthusiasts to unravel the crafty puns, riddles, hidden meanings and mythical associations that pervade Tolkien’s rich lexicon.
Ride a Cock Horse
And Other Nursery Rhymes
Although best remembered today as the author of the Gormenghast trilogy, Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) was also a brilliant and prolific illustrator. This collection of nursery rhymes, first published in 1940, brings his dark magic to such perennial favourites as Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Sing a Song of Sixpence and Little Jack Horner.
Press Out and Build Human Skeleton
Once you've built your skeleton from this press-out kit, the simple text and colourful diagrams in the accompanying book explain how the body works - not just the bones, but muscles, organs and other systems that make us function. This Press Out and Build Science set contains 20 sheets of white card with the press-out skeleton parts, the instructions (an adult may be required) and the 24-page Human Body book. The finished skeleton stands 1.2m, or 47 inches tall. Age 9+
The Last Foundling
Tom H Mackenzie was one of the last children to be taken into the Foundling Hospital at its Berkhamsted site. Here, he tells the story of his mother, a desperate young woman who had no choice but to give up her illegitimate baby son; and the story of his own life, from a childhood spent in the harsh discipline of the institution, up to 1959 when, aged 20, he met his mother for the first time.
The Times History of the World in Maps
The Rise and Fall of Empires, Countries and Cities
For millennia maps have not only reflected our growing knowledge of the world, but have driven the events that have shaped it. This volume reproduces more than 70 maps - from Babylonian tablets to Google - charting their history. Every one tells a tale, from the discovery of the Americas to the Berlin Wall, demonstrating how borders change, empires rise and fall, trade and exploration connect far-flung parts of the globe, and key historical events unfold.
Philip's Glow-in-the-Dark Planisphere
For Latitude 51.5 Degrees N
A practical tool for the young astronomer, and suitable for use in the British Isles, Northern Europe, northern USA and Canada, the planisphere makes it possible to learn the position of the stars (down to magnitude 5) that are visible at specific hours throughout the year and to work out the times of sunrise and sunset. Its plastic wallet also contains step-by-step instructions for setting it correctly, making it glow and getting your bearings at night. Age 7+
The Sherlock Holmes Collection
This is our very own set of Sherlock Holmes mysteries. It comprises the first and last of the novels, A Study in Scarlet (1887) and The Valley of Fear (1915); two celebrated cases, The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles; and three volumes of short stories (The Adventures of the Engineer's Thumb, The Five Orange Pips and The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, each with at least 12 'Other Cases'). This seven-volume, slip-cased set is exclusive to Postscript.
The Victorian City
Everyday Life in Dickens' London
Much as Mr Micawber offered to guide the young David Copperfield, new to London, through 'the arcana of the Modern Babylon', Judith Flanders aims to explore the streets of the city as Dickens and his fellow Londoners experienced them. In four parts, the book covers travelling and working, markets, slums and food, street entertainments, nightlife and violence; and vividly describes every facet of city life from produce sellers arriving at dawn to prostitutes on the streets after dark.
Thomas the Tank Engine Manual
1945 Onwards (All Aboard): Owners' Workshop Manual
For Thomas the Tank Engine fans who are curious about the nuts and bolts of the little blue locomotive, the Manual is full of information about how steam engines work. It has big, cutaway drawings of Thomas and friends and simple explanations of things such as fireboxes and tenders; and there are illustrated guides to other parts of the railway, such as tracks and cranes; a diesel engine (Mavis); a map of Sodor's railways; and Thomas's really useful words. Age 3-8