Hilarious True Stories from a Country Practice
Following the success of his Diary of a Rural GP, Dr Mike Sparrow recalls how he stumbled into his profession, before delving into his casebook to reveal yet more remarkable stories from his medical career. Here he recounts the unsuccessful resuscitation of the wrong patient, being held at gunpoint and trying to convince a blind man not to drive.
Deeper Into the Wood
After 20 years tending the four-acre wood that she created and described so lyrically in A Wood of One’s Own, Ruth Pavey now reflects on the fate of her ‘Somerset microcosm of the natural world’, prompted by the sudden disappearance of the rabbits. In this book she recounts a year in the life of the wood, from snowdrops in January to fallen, but undefeated, apple trees in December, and considers the challenges facing wild flora and fauna.
Un Amico Italiano
Eat, Pray, Love in Rome
When Luca Spaghetti was asked to show American writer Elizabeth Gilbert around his home city, he had little idea that he would become a character in her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love. Here, he gives his side of the story, alongside many anecdotes about the food, language and life of Rome, and his own adventures in the USA. Slightly off-mint
Sex Versus Survival
The Life and Ideas of Sabina Spielrein
Known principally as patient-turned-mistress to Carl Jung, Sabina Spielrein became a highly accomplished and influential figure in psychoanalysis before dying, near-anonymous, in the Holocaust. This biography draws on her personal diaries, papers and correspondence to reassess her contributions to fields including psycholinguistics and developmental psychology, and reveals her relationship to Jung, and Freud and their professional differences.
The Secret Life of Bones
Their Origins, Evolution and Fate
A palaeontologist, usually dealing with dinosaurs, Brian Switek turns his attention to the human skeleton and bone, ‘one of the most fantastic building materials that evolution has accidentally spit out’. Starting in the distant prehistoric past and tracing the evolution of bone, he goes on to examine the biology of the human skeleton and tell the stories of our bones in their many cultural and religious roles, whether worshipped as relics or symbols of conquest.
How the Bicycle Reinvented Modern Britain
The perfection of the safety bicycle in the late 19th century did not just provide a more secure, comfortable ride for enthusiasts, it opened up cycling to everyone: cheap travel for the working classes, the means for city dwellers to visit the countryside and liberation from the home for women. This social history explores the profound effects the bicycle had on British society in the early 20th century.
One Kiss or Two?
The Art and Science of Saying Hello
This in-depth exploration of the complex world of greetings and how they have developed across cultures and throughout history delves into the science of body language, the neuroscience of greeting strangers and friends, and etiquette as an artform, with an investigation into the evolutionary sources of one of the most unusual greetings of all – the genital grab.
The Nine Lives of John Ogilby
Britain's Master Map Maker and His Secrets
John Ogilby is remembered today as the creator of Britain’s first road atlas, Britannia, in 1675. It was, as this biography recounts, the crowning achievement of a long and chequered career. Pursuing its elusive subject through the turbulent 17th century, the book follows his fortunes as a poet, prisoner, soldier, sea captain and shipwreck survivor, and reveals how his seemingly innocent road maps contained cyphers designed to conceal a royal conspiracy.
The Life and Loves of E Nesbit
The award-winning biographer Eleanor Fitzsimons uncovers the lesser-known details of the life of Edith Nesbit (1858–1924), exploring how her experiences influenced the vivid characters she created. Using letter extracts and a variety of primary sources, she reveals her to be a woman of contradictions, whose avant-garde literary output and fervent social activism contrasted with her tolerance of her husband's philandering and misogyny and her own avowed opposition to female suffrage.
Every Breath You Take
A User's Guide to the Atmosphere
Mark Broomfield, a chemist by training, explores what makes the earth’s atmosphere special and what its condition means for human life. After a broad look at how it compares to that of other planets, and explanations of issues such as holes in the ozone layer and disappearing gases, he discusses air quality and the measures needed to improve it.
Empire of Guns
The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution
Challenging the conventional narratives of cotton mills and inspired innovators, Priya Satia argues that the constant state of war and Britain’s thriving gun trade were driving forces in the Industrial Revolution. Discussing the economic impact of war on political and industrial progress, she scrutinizes the claims by Samuel Galton Jnr, the leading gun manufacturer, that his industry was no worse than any other as everyone was participating in war manufacturing, and that guns were instruments of civilization, essential for preserving property.
Diary of a Rural GP
Hilarious True Stories from a Country Practice
For almost 30 years on the Devon–Cornwall border, Dr Mike Sparrow attended to his patients in his village surgery or in their farms and hamlets scattered across the countryside. Now retired from General Practice, he looks back on his most memorable cases: sewing fingers back on, delivering babies vet-style, burying beagles ... but Sparrow was never a man for Standard Operating Procedure.
The Remarkable Lives of Numbers
A Mathematical Compendium from 1 to 200
For those who have never heard of Keith numbers or Euler bricks but think they sound interesting, Derrick Niederman offers an engrossing miscellany to satisfy the ‘intellectually curious’. He sets out the arithmetic, geometry and stories of every number from 1 to 200: the 20-sided icosahedron, we learn, is the structure within many viruses; and 42, apart from being the answer to everything, was how many boxes Lewis Carroll gave the Baker in The Hunting of the Snark.
Through Two Doors at Once
The Elegant Experiment that Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality
A science writer with a gift for making the complicated comprehensible, Anil Ananthaswamy tells the story of quantum mechanics from the perspective of the seemingly simple, but utterly confounding double-slit experiment. He traces the various attempts to explain the enigma, from Thomas Young in 1793 to Richard Feynman, who described ‘the experiment with two holes’ as containing ‘all the mystery of quantum mechanics‘.
The Ballad of Blind Tom
Tom Wiggins (1849–1908) was born a slave; blind and probably autistic, he soon displayed a remarkable memory for sound. This biography traces his career as an international piano virtuoso and shows how attitudes to celebrity, race and disability intersected in the response to his skills. Slightly off-mint.
A Wood of One's Own
After years in London, Ruth Pavey wanted to reconnect with the countryside and plant a wood of her own. Combining childhood memories, local history and nature writing, she tells how she bought four acres of scrubland in the Somerset Levels and set about transforming it, tree by tree, into a haven for wildlife. Illustrated with her own drawings, this is an account of the challenges she faced, the satisfaction she achieved, and the local characters she encountered.
Word for Word
A Translator's Memoir of Literature, Politics, and Survival in Soviet Russia
A Russian Jew, who lived in Germany, France and Palestine before her family settled in the USSR in 1933, Lilianna Lungina (1920–1998) became a celebrated literary translator, introducing Russian readers to the work of writers including Knut Hamsun, Heinrich Böll, Colette and Ibsen. Lilya lived through some of the most harrowing events of the 20th century, yet her memoir, as told to Oleg Dorman and illustrated with personal photographs, shows how misfortune can lead to ‘surprising and improbable happiness and richness’.
Wealth, Rivalry and Asia's New Geopolitics
Michael Wesley assesses the battle for primacy in Asia between the United States and other nations, particularly China, examining the local geopolitical and cultural power dynamics of a rapidly enriched continent that holds 60 per cent of the world’s population.
Russia’s magnificent literary tradition has immortalized many places, from the streets of Dostoyevsky’s St Petersburg to Tolstoy’s country estate. Starting in Moscow, this guidebook charts the city’s literary museums and writers’ houses before moving to St Petersburg, and then through the entire country. The authors provide an overview of Russian literature as well as an insight into the contemporary social and political landscape, and five specially commissioned maps show the locations of the sites. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Sunday Books
Mervyn Peake’s Sunday Books were stories and drawings made for his two sons during the 1940s, when the family lived on Sark. None of the stories were written down, but the brightly coloured drawings of pirates, cowboys, monsters and jungle animals have survived. Peake’s friend and fellow writer Michael Moorcock has written tales of piracy, a shipwrecked circus and nightmare horse races to accompany these hugely entertaining pictures.
Prophecy and Power in the Ancient World
The female prophets known as sibyls were renowned across the Greco-Roman world and their pronouncements were considered a source of authoritative wisdom. Guillermo focuses on the stories that were told about four prominent sibyls, at Erythrae, Cumae, Delphi and Tibur. He also reflects on the wider cultural associations between women and prophecy and asks how the ancient pagan tradition was later fused with Christianity so successfully that sibyls feature in Michelangelo’s decoration of the Sistine Chapel.
The Russian Symbolist Theatre
An Anthology of Plays and Critical Texts
In the years before the Russian Revolution, many of the country’s leading dramatists rejected the realism of their predecessors in favour of a symbolism inspired by Ibsen and Maeterlinck. This unique anthology brings to life the heady fin-de-siècle Russian theatre with translations of plays by Blok, Sologub and Kuzmin, alongside polemical essays by Briusov, Bely and others. A general introduction and insightful prefaces set the writers and their work in their cultural and historical context.
A Memoir of Iris Murdoch
If there was ever a marriage made in heaven, it was that of Dame Iris Murdoch, philosopher and novelist, and John Bayley, Professor of English, literary critic and novelist. Their life together was cruelly interrupted as Iris began, in her own words, 'sailing into the darkness' of Alzheimer's disease. In this frank and moving memoir, written before Iris's death, John Bayley recalls their marriage and describes how they coped after the onset of Alzheimer's in 1994.
Churchill's Cold War
How the Iron Curtain Speech Shaped the Post War World
On VE Day, 8 May 1945, Winston Churchill was the victorious leader who had steered Britain through five years of war. By VJ Day in August, he had been ejected from office and his great ally Franklin Roosevelt was dead. This history provides a month-by-month account of how Churchill, increasingly fearful of Stalin’s ambitions in Europe, became a voice in the wilderness once again, warning of the danger of Communism as he had warned against Nazism in the 1930s.
Build Your Own Time Machine
The Real Science of Time Travel
Although HG Wells’s Victorian time machine would not have worked, there is no law of physics that prevents travel through the fourth dimension. Brian Clegg combines his enthusiasm for science fiction with his insights as a writer on real science to explore ways in which time travel could theoretically be achieved. He also traces the development of our modern understanding of time, from Einstein’s first daydreams about the speed of light to neutrino experiments and the latest theories about wormholes.
Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem
Columbus is history’s most famous mariner, the man who discovered the New World and proved that the Atlantic could be crossed. But his religious motivations are less well-known; in this reappraisal a cultural anthropologist examines Columbus in the context of his times, revealing that he was driven by a fervent desire to finance a crusade which would recapture Jerusalem and usher in Christ’s Second Coming.
How British Aristocrats Staked a Claim to the American West 1830–1890
From the 1830s onwards, a succession of British aristocrats headed for the American West, taking with them their valets, their dogs – and their prejudices. This sparkling account describes the newcomers' experiences as they crossed the country to meet Native Americans, hunt buffalo and build cattle empires. Packed with lively incident and colourful personalities, it also charts their reception by Americans often less than pleased at the return of their former colonial overlords.