Where Shall We Run To?
The acclaimed children’s author recalls his wartime childhood on Alderley Edge, the distinctive Cheshire landscape that shaped his fictions such as The Owl Service. He recalls the sounds of German bombers, air-raid sirens and ack-ack guns, his father joining the army, life at the village school, and the arrival of the Americans with sweets and chewing gum. From this vivid evocation of a vanished England, he leaps forward to the 21st century and a reunion with a childhood friend.
How a Misunderstood Punctuation Mark Can Improve your Writing, Enrich Your Reading and Even Change your Life
From its first appearance in the pages of De Aetna (an essay about climbing Mount Etna) in 1494, the semicolon has undergone a ‘transformation from a mark designed to create clarity to a mark destined to create confusion’. Cecelia Watson delves into the history of punctuation rules and our anxieties about them; she examines examples of how great writers have used semicolons creatively; and shows how this humble punctuation mark can enrich your reading and improve your writing.
In the Days of Rain
Rebecca Stott was born into a closed Christian sect that believed the world was ruled by Satan. In this memoir, she tells how her father, on his deathbed, begged her to write the story of their family, who for generations had worshipped in the ‘Iron Room’, and to tell of his own part in enforcing the cult’s draconian rules.
The Things They Carried
4th Estate Matchbook Classics
Drafted into the US Army, Tim O’Brien served as foot soldier in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970, and drawing on that experience, his storytelling blurs fiction and reality. This sequence of short stories, together as powerful as a novel, describes both the madness of the war and the burden of the experience on those who fought. First published in 1990, when the Guardian described it as ‘one of the best war books of this century’.
A Life Backwards
Told backwards, from his sudden death to a brawling 10-year old, this is the biography of Stuart Shorter, a chaotic ex-rough sleeper and ex-prisoner who occasionally ‘loses it’ and throws the television at the wall. Stuart dismisses Masters’s first draft as ‘bollocks boring’ and suggests doing it the other way round; the result is a compelling story, veering from funny to tragic, of a life lived among the ‘underclass’. Strong themes and language.
This bestselling tragicomic memoir tells the story of three generations of the literary critic’s family. During the Second World War Lorna lived in a Welsh village with her philandering grandfather (whose ‘bad blood’ she was accused of inheriting) and long-suffering grandmother. Her father’s return and happy marriage calmed things down, until Lorna became pregnant aged 16 and went on to analyse her own marriage through the prism of her family.
We Must Be Brave
As German bombs fall on Southampton, the city's residents flee to the surrounding villages. When an unaccompanied child arrives in Upton, local woman Ellen volunteers to take her in until she can be reunited with her parents, but as the war progresses, the days turn to years. Slightly off-mint.
My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London
Legend has it that without its ravens the Tower of London would crumble into dust and the kingdom would fall, so there are always at least six ravens living at the Tower. Another resident, Yeoman Warder Chris Skaife, is the Ravenmaster, responsible for the birds’ safety and welfare. Chris’s love for his charges is obvious from his light-hearted account of their work together and his character sketches of the seven ravens: Munin, Merlina, Erin, Rocky, Jubilee II, Gripp II and Harris.
When They Go Low, We Go High
Speeches that Shaped the World – and Why We Need Them
An experienced speechwriter for politicians including Tony Blair, Philip Collins explains how the right words, at the right time, can change the world. His analysis of 25 great speeches, by Pericles, Lincoln, Emmeline Pankhurst, Churchill, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and others, demonstrates how oratory can shape national identity, give voice to the people, and establish peace in place of war. In an age of fake news and populism, he argues, attention to how democratic ideas are expressed is more important than ever.
Kingdom of Olives and Ash
Writers Confront the Occupation
Edited in cooperation with Breaking the Silence, an NGO of former Israeli soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories, this collection of essays reflects on the human cost of 50 years of occupation, conflict and destruction in the West Bank and Gaza. The contributors include such celebrated international writers as Mario Vargas Llosa, Colm Tóibín, Eimear McBride, Hari Kunzru, Dave Eggers and Rachel Kushner.
The End of the End of the Earth
Concentrating on his great loves – literature, which ‘invites you to ask whether you might be somewhat wrong’, and birds, from East African warblers to Antarctic penguins – Franzen’s collection of frank, ironic pieces reflect his thoughts on the modern world and environmental changes in particular.
The Glass Universe
The Hidden History of the Women Who Took the Measure of the Stars
Before women could vote, Harvard Observatory was employing them to interpret astronomical observations. This book tells the stories of a Cambridge student, a young deaf woman, a pregnant Scottish housemaid and several others who between them helped to unravel the principles governing the universe.
Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum
Lady Flora Hastings’s belly, Charles Darwin’s beard, George Eliot’s hand, Fanny Cornforth’s mouth and Sweet Fanny Adams: though close studies of these five famous or controversial body parts Hughes aims to understand ‘what it meant to be a human animal in the 19th century’.
Postcard From The Past
The postcard shows charming views of the Yorkshire Dales, but the sender writes, 'Huge hordes of wild sheep, cows and rabbits ready to attack at any time'; and on the back of four views of Weymouth, one word: 'Murder'. Tom Jackson describes this book of holiday postcards, with captions taken from their messages, as 'a collection of very short and cryptic stories set in that drowned Atlantis of the sixties and seventies'.
Dataclysm: Who We Are*
*When We Think No One's Looking
OkCupid founder Christian Rudder mines the big data of social media to reveal how age, beauty, gender, race and numerous other ‘tick-box’ signifiers influence our decision-making during the myriad of interactions that shape our lives online and beyond.
The Poetry of a People
Over many centuries, from Caedmon to Carol Ann Duffy, Britons have recorded their joys and sorrows, their loves and losses, in verse. In this anthology, which accompanied Radio 4's celebration of National Poetry Day in 2015, Andrew Marr tells the story of the country through the words of its poets. Alongside the work of such acclaimed writers as Chaucer, Shakespeare and Wordsworth are many lesser-known gems, offering us a glimpse of people's lives and experiences in every era.
The Lost Landscape
A Writer's Coming of Age
In this candid and moving memoir, one of America’s most acclaimed novelists recounts her tough rural upbringing in upstate New York. Through the eyes of her younger self, the book evokes the emotions of childhood and adolescence, from early friendships to her first encounters with death. Recalling her burgeoning desire to tell stories about the world and the people she meets, Oates reveals how those experiences coloured her later writing.
The Man Without a Shadow
Through the relationship between research scientist Margot Sharpe and her patient, the charismatic but tortured amnesiac Elihu Hoopes, this poignant, unsettling novel explores the line between science, ethics and obsession, and probes the darkest corners of the human psyche.
Riverford Farm Cook Book
Tales from the Fields, Recipes from the Kitchen
Guy Watson started the Riverford veg-box scheme and Jane Baxter set up the Riverford Field Kitchen, and both businesses influence the content of this cookbook. Each section features a different vegetable, providing an introduction, recipes and advice on storage and preparation. From Beetroot Haters’ Soup or Kale, Chorizo and Potato Hash to Chocolate Courgette Cake, the authors show that local, seasonal veg can be just as appetizing as exotic varieties found on supermarket shelves.
The New English Kitchen
How to Make Your Food Go Further
First published in 2005, when it was described by the Observer as ‘Mrs Beeton’s 21st-century equivalent’, The New English Kitchen presents over 280 easy recipes, using cheaper cuts of better-quality meat and leftovers and, as far as possible, UK-grown ingredients. Much of the emphasis is on ‘rolling food into more than one meal’, but there are also chapters on store-cupboard food, making the most of gluts of fruit and vegetables, and ethical dairy shopping.
The Science Behind the Hype and How to Navigate to a Healthy, Symptom-Free Life
Thousands of people have adopted a gluten-free diet, believing it to be healthier. This book reveals how little scientific evidence there is to justify this trend, and shows that while a gluten-free diet is a lifesaver for those with coeliac disease, for others, it may injure their health. Dr Green provides an in-depth examination of every symptom and condition associated with gluten, how gluten works in the body, what the gluten-free diet cures – and what it doesn’t. Off-mint.