Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
In London in 1806, a dangerous battle begins between two rival magicians - the scholarly Gilbert Norrell, intent on reviving a centuries old tradition of magic, and the young and reckless Jonathan Strange - and their dark arts are unleashed into the politics of the Napoleonic wars. Published to critical and popular acclaim in 2004, the novel was Time magazine's Book of the Year.
E. M. Forster
A New Life
One of the mysteries of EM Forster's life is why, after the appearance of A Passage to India in 1924, he never published another novel, despite living to be 90. Based on new interviews and access to Forster's previously restricted diaries, this sensitive biography shows how deeply his ideas on individual freedom, love and sexuality permeated his subsequent career as an essayist, broadcaster and public intellectual, and how they have shaped the more tolerant society we enjoy today. Off-mint.
On Heaven and Earth
Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century
In a series of dialogues, Cardinal Bergoglio – the future Pope Francis – and the rabbi and biophysicist Abraham Skorka discuss the big issues facing humanity today, and their implications for the faithful. The two proponents of inter-faith dialogue engage with theological topics including guilt and prayer; church debates over same-sex marriage, abortion and divorce; and political concerns such as communism and capitalism, fundamentalism, and the challenge of globalization.
We Chose to Speak of War and Strife
The World of the Foreign Correspondent
Foreign correspondents risk their own safety to report from the most dangerous places in the world, and are often witnesses to pivotal moments in history. In this celebration of the profession, John Simpson recalls his experiences in Kosovo, Kabul and Baghdad and tells the stories of past and present journalists including Martha Gellhorn, Ernest Hemingway, Don McCullin and Marie Colvin, offering an insight into the origin, development and practice of his challenging occupation.
The Superior Person's Book of Words
Peter Bowler’s 'superior person' has command of words such as egregious, quotidian and uxorious, and 'we yield to him in debate, not because his arguments are more cogent, but because they are less intelligible'. This A–Z of 500 words could set the reader on the road to superiority. The definitions are accompanied by the all-important notes on usage, lest one lose lexical credibility.
So High a Blood
The Life of Margaret, Countess of Lennox
The niece of Henry VIII and half-sister of James V of Scotland, Lady Margaret Douglas (1515–1578) held a uniquely influential position in the Tudor Court. As the Protestant Reformation gathered momentum and the royal line of succession remained in doubt, her main objective was to see her descendants rule a united, Catholic Britain. This biography draws on previously unexamined archival sources to tell her complex story.
Rice's Architectural Primer
This visual guide to the language of architecture explores the key components and periods of British buildings, from medieval to modern. The hand-drawn, coloured illustrations focus on the main elements to help identify and date British buildings. The primer starts with the grammar of architecture, has an extensive chapter on vocabulary, and continues with exemplars, materials and a gazetteer of notable buildings. At the back are lists of architects, monarchs, places and terms.
Painters, Ploughmen and Places
This blend of history, nature writing and memoir examines how people have responded to the land from the 18th century to the present day, including the Romantic poets’ fascination with the Lake District, and the more practical considerations of the agricultural improvers. Anna Pavord celebrates the beauty of the British landscape, considers how it has affected and inspired its inhabitants, and explores the ways in which a sense of place can help to define cultural identity.
How to Sound Really Clever
600 Words You Need to Know
The sequel to How to Sound Clever, this compendium presents over 600 useful and slightly more unusual words. Each entry is presented with clear definitions and guidance on pronunciation and usage, along with the word’s linguistic roots and everyday examples. Associated idioms such as ‘feet of clay’ are explored through stories from history, mythology and daily life.
An Illustrated History
Due to the expensive materials and craftsmanship required, shoes have often been regarded as status symbols; the desire of owners to display their wealth resulting in extreme designs such as the absurdly elongated toes of 14th-century 'poulaines'. This well-illustrated history of shoe design analyses the many fads of the 20th century and the latest models of contemporary designers as well as investigating footwear styles dating back as far as 3500 BCE – the oldest shoe ever found.
The Guide to Living Well
‘Essential reading’ says Age UK. Many of the problems associated with getting older can be postponed or prevented according to Sir Muir Gray, who shows how you can take control of the ageing process through exercise, by adopting various strategies and developing a positive outlook.
The Man Who Knew
The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan
Sebastian Mallaby, the economist, journalist and author of the bestseller, More Money Than God, presents an exhaustively researched biography of Alan Greenspan, the chairman of America’s Federal Reserve 1987–2006, and ‘the most influential economic statesman of his age’.
In His Own Words
In 2013, Benedict XVI became the only Pope to resign from office in modern times. In these conversations with the religious journalist Peter Seewald, he discusses the reasons for his resignation and his admiration for his successor, speaking frankly about the controversies that have dogged the Church, including ‘Vatileaks’ and the child abuse scandal, and revealing his thoughts about his life, his philosophy, his mistakes, and the future of Christianity.
Our view of the Holocaust is shaped by the industrialized death camps of Auschwitz and Treblinka, but the reality was more complex. Drawing on survivors’ testimonies, this revelatory study moves the focus from the forests of Eastern Europe to the transient networks of the Reich’s railways, to reveal how the location and the methods of genocide altered in the course of the war – and how our perceptions of it have shifted over subsequent decades.
Mapping the City
From the bird’s-eye views and flat maps of Renaissance Europe to GPS-derived imagery and digital mapping of the present day, and from Asia to North America, Jeremy Black traces the development of the city and its representation by cartographers over the last 500 years. More than 150 reproductions illustrate the variety of maps and plans and their increasing sophistication through the centuries, ending with past visions of what the future city might look like and plans of new-build eco-cities today.
Off the Deep End
A History of Madness at Sea
As well as isolation, cramped conditions and alcoholism, there are many reasons why madness is ‘seven times more likely’ at sea. In this survey of maritime distemper, Nic Compton documents numerous cases of mental illness on board ships, yachts and lifeboats, many of which led to suicide and occasionally cannibalism. Particularly poignant is the story of Donald Crowhurst, the singlehanded sailor who, becoming delusional, faked his position in a 1968 round-the-world race, only to jump overboard to his death.
Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots
This illustrated collection by a favourite children’s poet incorporates subjects ranging from Frisbees to fruit and family members. Featuring plenty of Rosen wordplay, exuberant verses are contrasted with more thought-provoking works, and the author performs the poems on the accompanying CD. Age 4+
A is for Arsenic
The Poisons of Agatha Christie
Poisons are used frequently in Agatha Christie’s stories, testament to her lifelong interest in toxicology. Fourteen of her poisons are analysed in this book, from arsenic (Murder is Easy) to veronal (Lord Edgware Dies). Harkup provides information on their chemical composition, the tests which can detect them, their lethal effects on the body and the uses to which they have been put, particularly in the real-life murder cases that may have inspired Christie. Off-mint.
and the First Yacht Race Across the Atlantic
Proprietor of the New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett Jr was famous for being eccentric, impetuous and wealthy, qualities that resulted in a $30,000 bet and the first transatlantic yacht race. With a cast of New York socialites, oddballs and adventurers, this book tells the story of the record-breaking race through the voyage of Bennett’s winning vessel, the Henrietta, which left New York in high winds in midwinter 1866.
Crafted in Britain
The Survival of Britain's Traditional Industries
Essential to the brewing and whisky distilling industries, malt has been made from barley in the traditional way at Warminster Maltings in Wiltshire since the 1850s, raking out the grain onto large floors for it to germinate for several days and then drying it in a kiln. From bell casting and stone masonry to brick making and book binding, this book reveals the processes of 27 craft industries still alive and well in Britain today.
Nick Baker's British Wildlife
A Month-by-Month Guide
For wildlife enthusiasts, birdwatchers and weekend walkers of all ages, television presenter Nick Baker explains what is happening in nature throughout the course of the year, from the Dorset heaths to the Scottish Highlands. Illustrated with colour photographs and artwork to aid identification of species, this guide explains which mammals, birds, insects and plants will appear each month, and offers practical advice on how and where to find them.
Songs of Love and War
The Dark Heart of Bird Behaviour
From a commentary on the dawn chorus in a Dorset village, with quotations from the poets as well as explanations of the behaviour compelling the birds to sing, to his final, powerful argument for conserving birds’ habitats, Dominic Couzens’s book illuminates the realities of life for songbirds. Here are the grim truths of sparrows killed by sparrowhawks, the aggression inspired by feeding tables and crows made homeless by tree-felling as well the marvels of the skylark’s song and starlings’ murmurations.
A Ruler and His Reputation
More than five centuries after his death, Richard III remains a compelling but divisive figure, the subject of myth and counter-myth. In this biography, Horspool ‘aims at neutrality’, focusing on contemporary accounts while also examining how competing narratives have created the ‘composite figure who is at once so familiar and so alien’. He ends with reflections on the enduring fascination with Richard and describes events surrounding the recent rediscovery and reburial of his body.
Out of Time
1966 and the End of Old-Fashioned Britain
Peter Chapman was 18 years old in 1966, the year of Harold Wilson, the seamen’s strike, London ‘swinging’ to a soundtrack of Beatles and Rolling Stones, and England’s victory in the World Cup. Chapman, whose hopes of being a professional footballer had been dashed, but who would become an outstanding football journalist, gives a vivid picture of the lost world of Britain in the Sixties from the perspective of his world in Islington, north London.
Journeying with Jesus
Personal Reflections on the Stations of the Cross and Resurrection
In this collection of moving personal testimonies, modern people relate their experiences to the Stations of the Cross and resurrection. Contributors include Archbishops John Sentamu and Vincent Nicholls; Sister Wendy Beckett; Peter Hitchens; Margaret Mizen, the mother of a murdered teenager; Kelly Connor, who ran over and killed an innocent victim; and Anne Maguire, of the wrongfully convicted Maguire Seven. Slightly off-mint.