A Poke in the Eye
(With a Sharp Stick)
The original Secret Policeman’s Ball in 1976 revolutionized thinking about charity fundraising. Published to celebrate Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary, this illustrated collection includes scripts of the funniest moments from the 12 major shows, which have featured comedians including Python members, Peter Cook and Rowan Atkinson as well as stars such as Eddie Izzard, Dylan Moran and Victoria Wood.
A Fortunate Man
The Story of a Country Doctor
First published in 1967, this book follows the GP John Sassall as he goes about his rounds in rural Gloucestershire. What emerges, in the words of John Berger and the photographs of Jean Mohr, is a portrait of a community, and of a remarkable man who combined breadth of vision with a deep appreciation of the minutiae of everyday life.
How to Stop Time
Tom Hazard looks like an ordinary 41-year-old history teacher, but he has lived for centuries, moving through Elizabethan England, gold-rush Arizona and jazz-age Paris, witnessing wars and witch hunts, and continually changing his identity. The one thing he must never do is fall in love.
How the World Became Obsessed with Time
‘Technology is making everything faster, and because we know that things will become faster in the future, it follows that nothing is fast enough now.’ Surveying how, over the last 250 years, time has come to dominate our lives, Simon Garfield considers its practical applications rather than theoretical physics: the subjects of his ‘illuminating stories’ include – definitely not in chronological order – football, Beethoven’s Ninth, railway timetables, Roger Bannister, Swiss watchmakers, The Clock (Christian Marclay’s film) and the British Museum.
A Boy Called Christmas
Young Nikolas lived in the second smallest cottage in Finland, his life was hard, and his only toy was a doll carved out of a turnip, but Nikolas believed in magic and grew up to be Father Christmas. Matt Haig’s wonderful book, with pictures by Chris Mould, tells the story of young Nikolas and his journey to the realm of elves where ‘an impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet’. Age 7+
The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine
Jann Wenner created a new type of magazine with Rolling Stone in 1967, mixing politics with serious pop-music journalism. This biography was written with extensive access to the controversial editor as well as interviews with leading rock stars.
The Caribbean and the World
From the moment Columbus gazed on the land he mistook for India, the islands of the Caribbean have been the subject of daydreams and fantasy. The result of ten years’ travel, this book strips away the myths to reveal the real Caribbean, a region that has produced some of the world’s most influential artists, activists, writers, musicians and sportsmen, as its people speak for themselves about their home and its place in the world.
Off to the Vet
The YouTube adventures of Simon's Cat, which first appeared in 2008, have attracted millions of viewers and the hapless cat's exploits have since extended to newspaper cartoon strips, books and even a game. Identifying feline foibles that will chime with cat owners everywhere, this collection includes the colour story 'Off to the Vet' as well as other cartoons in the signature black-and-white style.
A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music
‘Music has, quite literally, saved my life.’ After experiencing sexual abuse, addiction and a devastating mental breakdown, James Rhodes found solace in listening to music and has since become a renowned concert pianist. In this memoir, by turns shocking, witty and outspoken, he describes his emotional turmoil, discusses the great composers and performers who mean the most to him, reflects on the state of classical music today and conveys his passionate belief in music’s power to transform all our lives.
Things That Are
Encounters with Plants, Stars and Animals
Amy Leach’s debut collection of creative non-fiction displays a remarkable fusion of enchanting poetic language, quirky humour and factual information relating to the natural world and our communion with it. From lilies and peas, frogs and beavers to the moon, constellations and exploding stars, each of these 26 short pieces is filled with what Olivia Laing has called a ‘tumultuous, incantatory rejoicing in the astonishing multiplicity of the Earth’.
A Notable Woman
The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt
Jean Pratt was a trainee architect, journalist and publicist who lived in a Buckinghamshire cottage and ran a local bookshop. Though she was well-known in bookselling circles, none of her friends had any idea that, from the age of 16, she kept a diary, which ran to more than a million words by the time she died in 1986. It recounts, with aching honesty and infectious humour, love and loss, wartime privations, books read, indiscreet gossip – and her many feline companions.
The War Diaries
An Anthology of Daily Wartime Diary Entries throughout History
War, especially modern war, involves soldiers and civilians alike, and nothing captures its terror, boredom and privations as vividly as a first-hand account. This absorbing anthology ranges from the 17th century to the 21st, from Davy Crockett at the Alamo to Anna Politkovskaya in Chechnya. The extracts - by such diverse figures as Tolstoy, Goebbels, Primo Levi, George Orwell and Virginia Woolf - capture the daily essence of life in wartime, by turns horrific and comic, epic and trivial.
Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception
Why does life speed up as we get older? Why does time seem to slow down when we fear we are about to die? Using research from psychology, neuroscience and biology, the presenter of BBC Radio 4's All In The Mind examines the idea that the experience of time is created by our minds. She also presents her own research into people's visualizations of time and suggests how we can use our brain's warping of it to our advantage.
Inside the Divide
One City, Two Teams, The Old Firm
When Celtic football club was established in 1888 to raise money for Scotland’s Catholic underclass a religious divide between them and the predominantly Protestant Rangers developed, locking the clubs into an intense rivalry. Focusing on their New Year Derby on 2 January 2010, a fixture that had been banned for ten years due to the violence previous matches had generated, Richard Wilson explores the historic enmity between the teams and its continuing cultural significance.