books

THE BEST OF MY GENERATION - ALLEN GINSBERG     ALLEN LANE ISBN: 0241187524

Allen GinsbergAcclaimed American poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) was one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the counterculture that followed. He fought against militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression, and had radical views on drugs, bureaucracy and Eastern religions. As one of the most important and fearless writers of his time, he hugely influenced other Beat authors such as Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso and William S. Burroughs, as well as later notables Bob Dylan and Lisa Simpson. Ginsberg is best known for his great poem ‘Howl’, in which he denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States (‘Listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox’). The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of the Beats (edited by Bill Morgan) is a unique history of the Beats in the words of Allen Ginsberg, based on a seminal series of his lectures in 1977 (twenty years after the publication of ‘Howl’ and Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’. Ginsberg decided it was time to teach a course on the literary history of the Beat Generation and saw this as an opportunity to present a complete history of Beat Literature, as well as to record and preserve his own personal stories and memories that otherwise might have been lost. The result was an intimate, candid and illuminating set of lectures, which form the basis of this book. Compiled and edited by renowned Beat scholar Bill Morgan, and with an introduction by Anne Waldman, The Best Minds of My Generation presents the lectures in edited form, revealing the Beats as Ginsberg knew them: friends, confidantes, literary mentors, and fellow revolutionaries. Ginsberg recounts anecdotes of meeting Kerouac, Burroughs, and other figures for the first time, elucidates the importance of music, and particularly jazz rhythms, to Beat writing, and discusses their many influences - literary, pharmaceutical and spiritual - to paint a portrait of a group who were leading a literary revolution. A unique document that works both as historical record and unconventional memoir, this is a vivid, personal and eye-opening look at one of the most important literary movements of the twentieth century. ‘Ginsberg is both tragic and dynamic, a lyrical genius, con man extraordinaire and probably the single greatest influence on American poetical voice since Whitman.’ - Bob Dylan.

CONFABULATIONS - JOHN BERGER       PENGUIN ISBN-13: 978-0141035796

ConfabulationsAcclaimed art critic, novelist, painter and poet John Berger was born in London on 5 November 1926. His novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize, and his essay on art criticism, Ways of Seeing, written as an accompaniment to a brilliant BBC television series, is still hugely influential. He has lived in France for over 50 years, mostly in a small village in the French Alps. ‘Language is a body, a living creature ... and this creature’s home is the inarticulate as well as the articulate’. John Berger’s work has revolutionised the way we understand visual language, and in Confabulations he writes about language itself, and how it relates to thought, art, song, storytelling and political discourse today. The book also contains Berger’s own drawings, notes, memories and reflections on everything from Albert Camus and the genius of Chaplin to swimming, global capitalism, the threadbare nature of political language, art, Rosa Luxemburg, the transformative power of song, and how to resist a state of forgetfulness. As a writer, thinker and artist, John Berger is rightly revered for his clarity of expression and independence of mind. Confabulations, taking us to what is ‘true, essential and urgent’, is a fine introduction to his insightful mind.

I ME MINE (EXTENDED EDITION) - GEORGE HARRISON     GENESIS PUBLICATIONS ISBN: 978-1905662401

I Me MineBorn in Liverpool in 1943, George Harrison became one quarter of the world’s greatest ever band and much else besides - songwriter, music and film producer, George Formby fan, sitarist, friend of Bob Dylan, motor-racing enthusiast, gardener, Hindu believer and spiritual seeker after truth. He was never a flashy guitarist but he had a marvelous instinct for melody and as a member of the Beatles he always found just the right thing to play, contributing some of the most memorable introductions and solos ever recorded. His songs for the group included Taxman, Within You Without You, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Here Comes the Sun and Something, which became the Beatles’ second-most covered song. George went on to have a rich and varied career post-Beatles, including a spell with the Taveling Wilburys, before his untimely death aged only 57. His final album, the posthumously released Brainwashed, included in the liner notes a quotation from the Bhagavad Gita: ‘There never was a time when you or I did not exist. Nor will there be any future when we shall cease to be’. Cherished by fans and collectors, I Me Mine is the closest we will ever come to George Harrison’s autobiography. This new edition has been significantly developed since the 1980 original; now printed in colour, and with previously unseen archive material, the book covers the full span of George’s life and work. Partly in conversation with Derek Taylor, the book delves into everything from his upbringing in Liverpool and the growth of early Beatlemania, to his love of India and racing cars. With over fifty archival photos, George Harrison’s words, his handwritten lyrics, beautifully reproduced in facsimile and accompanied by his intimate and often humorous commentary, this invaluable book offers a unique insight into the life, work and philosophy of ‘the quiet Beatle who wouldn’t shut up’. It also has written contributions from his wife Olivia as well as from Derek Taylor, original cover art by Shepard Fairey, and a wealth of previously unpublished material. ‘I have suffered for this book; now it’s your turn.’ - George Harrison.

HOW TO PLAY INDIAN SITAR RAGS ON THE PIANO - JOHN PITTS

How to Play Indian Sitar Raags on a PianoAlthough the sitar easily resembles a guitar from another galaxy, it is actually a part of the lute family of stringed instruments. This classical Indian instrument has a long, broad, fretted neck and a gourd-shaped body, with 7 strings, 11-13 sympathetic (resonating) strings and 20 frets. Melodies, rather than chords, are played on two strings; the other strings are drones tuned to the main chord of the ‘raga’ or raag. Although some notes are played, the corresponding sympathetic strings react to and sound along with it, creating what might be described as a ‘natural reverb’ or buzz. The instrument has been popular in the West, especially since George Harrison of the Beatles introduced it to a mass audience in the 1960s. Indian raags have an extraordinary musical heritage dating back several centuries (from the area that is now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) - a truly unique musical genre of fascinating melodic beauty and rhythmic intricacy – freely combining elaborate composed melodies with carefully rehearsed improvisation. Now this unique book by John Pitts shows how you can learn to play North Indian classical sitar music on a piano. The amazing world of Indian raags has been opened up in this sympathetic but thorough reinvention for piano solo (or duet or two pianos) by award-winning British composer John Pitts, whose album of Airs & Fantasias for solo piano can be seen here. This collection of 24 raags will be enjoyed by good amateur pianists through to virtuosic professionals. Suitable for any pianist who enjoys discovering new music, or who has an interest in music from other cultures, or who knows the pleasure of jazz noodling and wants to explore a rewarding and fresh (but centuries-old) form of improvisation. This unique and fascinating book is available to buy here

THE BESTSELLER CODE - JODIE ARCHER & MATTHEW JOCKERS    ALLEN LANE

The Bestseller CodeFew authors, all things considered, wouldn’t want to write a bestselling book. Many large publishing houses depend for very existence on a consistent output of bestsellers to support their large overhead, so the stakes are high. Yet out of an estimated 200,000 new books published each year in the USA, less than 1% achieve bestseller status. Publishers, literary agents, editors, booksellers and the media, and of course ambitious authors, are all anxious to find the next big hit, but what if an algorithm could predict which manuscripts would become mega-bestsellers? Girl on the Train. Fifty Shades. The Goldfinch. Why do some books capture the whole world’s attention? What secret DNA do they share? In The Bestseller Code, former publisher Jodie Archer and Matthew Jockers, co-founder of Stanford University’s Literary Lab, boldly claim that not only can such mega-hits be explained and identified - but they have built the algorithm to prove it. The bold claim of this book is that the novels that hit the New York Times bestseller liss are bot random, and the market is not unkowable. Using cutting-edge text mining techniques, they have developed a model that analyses theme, plot, style and character to explain why some books resonate more than others with readers. Their ‘bestseller-o-meter’ explains why some authors resonate more than others, from genre stars like Danielle Steel and John Grisham to the current craze for dark heroines such as Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Provocative, entertaining and ground-breaking, The Bestseller Code explores the hidden patterns at work in the biggest hits and, more importantly, the real reasons we love to read. The Bestseller Code is an intriguing book that will inspire endless discussion yet the immense variety of bestsellerdom, from Who Moved My Cheese? to The Lord of the Rings, may in the end defy analysis.

BRITAIN’S WAR - DANIEL TODMAN     ALLEN LANE ISBN3: 9780713999273        

Britain's WarThe most terrible emergency in Britain’s history, the Second World War required an unprecedented national effort. An exhausted country had to fight an unexpectedly long war and found itself much diminished amongst the victors. The outcome of the war was nonetheless a triumph, not least for a political system that proved well adapted to the demands of a total conflict and for a population who had to make many sacrifices but who were spared most of the horrors experienced in the rest of Europe. Britain’s War: Into Battle, 1937-1941 is a narrative of these epic events, an analysis of the myriad factors that shaped military success and failure, and an explanation of what the war tells us about the history of modern Britain. As compelling on the major military events as he is on the experience of ordinary people living through exceptional times, award-winning young historian Daniel Todman gives a vivid sense of a struggle which left nobody unchanged - and explores why, despite terror, separation and deprivation, Britons were overwhelmingly willing to pay the price of victory. Encouraging slogans played their part in victory, as did humour: ‘Mussolini is having a bad Christmas. He can’t even cook a turkey because he can’t get hold of Grece.’ This engaging, beautifully produced and poignantly illustrated book begins with the coronation of George VI and ends with the disasters in the Far East in December 1941. A second volume will tell the story from 1942 to Indian independence in 1947.

RESPECTABLE - LYNSEY HANLEY     ALLEN LANE ISBN978184614206

RespectableSociety is often talked about as a ladder, from which you can climb from bottom to top. The walls are less talked about. Lynsey Hanley’s intelligent, witty and thought-provoking book, subtitled The Experience of Class, is about how people try to get over those walls, whether they manage to or not. The author was partly inspired by cultural critic Richard Hoggart, writer of the ground-breaking The Uses of Literacy, who said that ‘Each decade we shiftily declare we have buried class, yet each decade the coffin stays empty.’ In 1992, growing up on a vast Birmingham estate, sixteen-year-old Hanley went to sixth-form college. She knew that it would change her life, but was entirely unprepared for the price she would have to pay: to leave behind her working-class world and become middle class. She shows that class remains as strongly with us as it did fifty years ago, and with it the idea of aspiration, of social mobility, which received wisdom tells us is an unequivocally positive phenomenon, for individuals and for society as a whole. Yet for many who experience it, changing class is like emigrating from one side of the world to another: a lonely, anxious, psychologically disruptive process of uprooting, which leaves people divided between the place they left and the place they have to inhabit in order to get on. In this empathic, wry and passionate exploration of class in Britain today, Lynsey Hanley looks at how people are kept apart, and keep themselves apart - and the costs involved in the journey from ‘there’ to ‘here’. Respectable is BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week, read by Lynsey Hanley, starting on 25 April.

THIS ORIENT ISLE - JERRY BROTTON     ALLEN LANE

This Orient IsleIslam is the second largest religion in the United Kingdom and the country’s fastest growing faith group, but Muslims have been here since the 16th century. People from North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia came to London to work as diplomats, translators, merchants, servants, prostitutes and musicians. They would be followed in the 18th century by lascars (sailors) recruited from the Indian subcontinent to work for the British East India Company. Jerry Brotton is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London and his fascinating book reveals the untold story of those first Muslims who came to Britain. In 1570, after numerous plots and assassination attempts against her, Elizabeth I of England was excommunicated by the Pope. It was the beginning of cultural, economic and political exchanges with the Islamic world of a depth not again experienced until the modern age. England signed treaties with the Ottoman Porte, received ambassadors from the kings of Morocco and shipped munitions to Marrakech in the hope of establishing an accord which would keep the common enemy of Catholic Spain at bay. This awareness of the Islamic world found its way into many other great English cultural productions of the day such as Marlowe’s Tamburlaine and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Titus Andronicus. Jerry Brotton shows that Islam in all its manifestations - imperial, military, cultural, theological and commercial - is part of the national story of England. His compelling, authoritative and beautifully illustrated book makes an important contribution to understanding this long and sometimes difficult history. This Orient Isle is Radio 4’s Book of the Week, starting on 28th March, read by Derek Jacobi.

FREDERICK THE GREAT: KING OF PRUSSIA - TIM BLANNING  ALLEN LANE ISBN: 9781846141829

Frederick the Great, King of PrussiaFrederick II was born in 1712 in Berlin. Better known as Frederick the Great, he inherited the Prussian throne in 1740 and increased Prussia’s territories and military power considerably by the time he died in 1786. He was a brilliant military campaigner who, in a series of diplomatic stratagems and wars against Austria and other powers, made Prussia the most formidable military power in Europe and transformed his kingdom into a modern state with a highly trained army and a militaristic system of public education. An enlightened yet absolute monarch, he favoured French language and art and built a French Rococo palace, Sanssouci, near Berlin. He was an enthusiastic patron of the arts and sciences, a gifted musician and a correspondent with the top minds of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire (with whom he later quarrelled) as he sought to embody the Platonic ideal of a ‘philosopher-king’. Some of his greatest admirers have been those with continental ambitions of their own. Napoleon visited Frederick’s tomb in 1806 after defeating Prussia’s army, and Hitler hid the king’s body in a salt mine during the allied bombings of World War II. ‘A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in.’ - Frederick the Great. Tim Blanning’s thoroughly-researched and accessible new biography recreates a remarkable era, a world which would be swept away shortly after Frederick’s death by the French Revolution. The author is Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and draws on a lifetime’s obsession with the 18th century to create a work that is in many ways the summation of all that he has learned in his own rich and various career. Blanning allows us to understand this brilliant, contradictory man whose spectre has hung over Germany ever since: an inspiration, a threat, an impossible ideal. ‘History writing at its glorious best.’ - New York Times.

RONNIE WOOD - HOW CAN IT BE? A ROCK & ROLL DIARY   GENESIS PUBLICATIONS

Ronnie WoodRonald David ‘Ronnie’ Wood is best known as a member of The Rolling Stones, but began his career in 1964 when he joined The Birds on guitar. ‘None of us thought The Birds were going to be forever. I’ve always known that I was going to be established, go to America and be in the Rolling Stones.’ He briefly joined the mod group the Creation before becoming the Jeff Beck Group’s bass player. When the group split in 1969, Ronnie and Rod Stewart joined former Small Faces members Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones in the Faces. Ronnie finally joined the Rolling Stones in 1975 and forty years later, the Stones continue to make music history. Ronnie Wood: ‘I couldn’t choose between music and art. If I chose music, I’d always be drawing, and if I chose painting, I’d always be playing.’ He is an acclaimed artist whose work has been admired by Bill Clinton, Jack Nicholson and Sir Peter Blake. Celebrating 50 years in rock ‘n’ roll, Ronnie Wood’s new book guides us through the pages of his rediscovered journal. With his entertaining new commentary, hand-drawn illustrations, and rare photos and memorabilia, it features a cast of characters including Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Keith Moon and Marianne Faithfull. The story of Ronnie Wood’s adventures was handwritten in his 1965 diary and is now available for the first time, with an introduction by Charlie Watts and a free audio download of Ronnie’s re-recording of his early composition, ‘How Can It Be?’ ‘Ronnie is a force of nature. And still given to behaving like the 17-year-old he is in this book.’ - Charlie Watts.

THE CONQUEST OF BREAD - PETER KROPOTKIN    PENGUIN CLASSICS ISBN: 9780141396125

The Conquest of BreadMoscow-born Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin (1842-1921) was a geographer, economist, activist, philologist, zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher and a writer who believed that ‘Well-being for all is not a dream’. Despite being born into a wealthy, noble family and schooled at an elite military academy he became a prominent anarchist who advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between workers. He wrote many pamphlets, articles and books, including The Conquest of Bread, first published as a book in Paris in 1892. In this enjoyable, challenging work, Kropotkin points out what he considers to be the defects of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism, and how he believes they thrive on and maintain poverty and scarcity, as symbol for richness and in spite of being in a time of abundance thanks to technology, while promoting privilege. He goes on to propose a more decentralised economic system based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation, asserting that the tendencies for this kind of organisation already exist, both in evolution and in human society. He lays out the heart of his anarchist beliefs - beliefs which surged around the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and which have a renewed relevance and poignancy today. Humane, thoughtful - but also a devastating critique of how modern society is organized (with the brutal, narrow few clinging onto their wealth and privileges at the expense of the many), The Conquest of Bread is a book to be relished by all who enjoy a stimulating argument. The excellent introduction to this new edition is by David Priestland, author of the widely acclaimed book The Red Flag: Communism and the Making of the Modern World and teacher of modern history at the University of Oxford. Incisive, persuasively written and surprisingly modern, The Conquest of Bread continues to be both relevant and influential.

THE ESSENTIAL KEYNES     PENGUIN CLASSICS ISBN: 9781846148132

The Essential KeynesJohn Maynard Keynes was one of the most influential a British economists of the 20th century. Born in 1883 in Cambridge into a well-to-do academic family, he excelled academically at Eton as well as Cambridge University, where he studied mathematics and became friends with members of the Bloomsbury group of intellectuals and artists. After graduating, Keynes went to work in the India Office, and simultaneously worked on a dissertation which earned him a fellowship at King’s College. Following the outbreak of World War One, he joined the treasury, and published his best-selling book ‘The Economic Consequences of the Peace’ in which he criticised the exorbitant war reparations demanded from a defeated Germany and predicted that it would foster a desire for revenge among Germans. During the inter-war years, Keynes amassed a considerable personal fortune from the financial markets and, as bursar of King’s College, greatly improved the college’s financial position. He became a prominent arts patron and board member of a number of companies and married Lydia Lopokova, a Russian ballerina. His best-known work, ‘The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money’, was published in 1936 and became a benchmark for future economic thought. In 1942, he was made a member of the house of lords. Despite this illustrious record, there were some economists, especially in recent years, who questioned the merit his work. Robert Skidelsky is Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at Warwick and his definitive three-volume biography of Keynes received numerous awards. As he reminds us in the introduction to this excellent anthology of the great man’s writings, students at Chicago were told in the 1980s that unimpeded markets were the only answer and ‘We need spend only ten minutes on Keyenes; we know it doesn’t work.’ The 2008 world financial crash was the result. This new selection is the first comprehensive single-volume edition of Keynes’s writings on economics, philosophy, social theory and policy, including several pieces never before published. Full of irony and wit, they offer a dazzling introduction to a figure whose ideas still have urgent relevance today. The 2015 UK General Election reminds us again of the formulation offered by John Maynard Keynes in a speech in Manchester in 1926: ‘The political problem of mankind is to combine three things: economic efficiency, social justice and individual liberty.’ As this stimulating book proves, Keynes’ work provides us with essential tools to help in the accomplishment of this challenging task.

THE DEATH OF MONEY - JAMES RICKARDS        PENGUIN ISBN: 9780670923700

The Death of MoneyThe international monetary system has collapsed three times in the past hundred years. According to author James Rickards in this book, subtitled ‘The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System’, another collapse is rapidly approaching - and this time the institution of money itself is at risk. The US dollar has been the global reserve currency since the end of the Second World War. But now America’s biggest competitors - China, Russia, and the Middle East - are doing everything possible to end US monetary hegemony. The potential results? Financial warfare. Deflation. Hyperinflation. Market collapse. Chaos. James Rickards, writer of the bestselling Currency Wars, is a portfolio manager at West Shore Group and an adviser on international economics and financial threats to the Department of Defense and the U.S. intelligence community. He served as facilitator of the first-ever financial war games conducted by the Pentagon. In The Death Of Money he offers a bracing analysis of the fundamental problem: money and wealth have become ever more detached. Money is transitory and ephemeral; wealth is permanent and tangible. While wealth has real value worldwide, money may soon be worthless. The world’s big players - governments, banks, institutions - will muddle through by making up new rules, and the real victims of the next crisis will be small investors. Fortunately it is not too late to prepare for the coming death of money, and this provocative book shows us how survive the next disaster.

THE ART OF SOCIAL MEDIA - GUY KAWASKI & PEG FITZPATRICK   PENGUIN ISBN: 9780241199473

The Art of Social MediaThe use of social media has revolutionised how people create, share or exchange information, ideas and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks. Internet users spend more time with social media sites than any other type of site, and for content contributors the benefits of participating in social media have gone beyond simply social sharing to building reputation and bringing in career opportunities and monetary income, becoming a crucial part of business development and promotion. This invaluable, no-nonsense guide lets you in on the secrets to becoming a social media superstar, whether you’re promoting a business, a product, or yourself. Social media is near the top of what will determine your success or failure and Guy Kawasaki is an expert. He helped make Macintosh a household name and now runs a venture-capital firm. He has held his workshop, ‘Boot Camp for Start-ups’, around the world, and his previous books include the bestselling Art of Start, Enchantment and Rules for Revolutionaries. The former chief evangelist for Apple was one of the pioneers of business blogging, tweeting, facebooking and tumbling has teamed up with his colleague Peg Fitzpatrick for this new book, The Art of Social Media. This brings together in one essential guide all the information you need you need to get the most bang for your time, effort and money. With more than 100 practical tips, tricks, and insights, the authors present a ground-up strategy to produce a focused, thorough and compelling presence on the most popular social-media platforms. They guide you through the steps of building your foundation, amassing your digital assets, going to market, optimizing your profile, attracting more followers, and effectively integrating social media and blogging. For beginners overwhelmed by too many choices, as well as seasoned professionals eager to improve their game, The Art of Social Media is full of tactics that have been proven to work in the real world and will help you avoid looking clueless. As Guy Kawasaki succinctly says, ‘Great Stuff, No Fluff.’

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING - NAOMI KLEIN     ALLEN LANE ISBN: 9781846145056

This Changes EverythingCanadian author and social activist Naomi Klein’s best-selling books No Logo and The Shock Doctrine have been acclaimed for her astute critical analysis of the history of neoliberal economics and the spread of corporate globalization. With her provocative new book, This Changes Everything, she examines how the climate crisis needs to spur transformational political change. Klein argues that capitalism rather than global warming is the real problem and exposes the myths that are clouding the climate debate. She tackles the most profound threat humanity has ever faced: the war our economic model is waging against life on earth. We have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day. We have been told it’s impossible to get off fossil fuels when in fact we know we can do it breaking every rule in the "free-market" playbook: reining in corporate power, rebuilding local economies and reclaiming our democracies. We have also been told that humanity is too greedy and selfish to rise to this challenge. In fact, all around the world, the fight back for the next economy is already succeeding in ways both surprising and inspiring. Climate change can be seen as a wake-up call for civilization - a powerful message delivered in the language of fires, floods, storms, and droughts. Confronting it means changing the world before the world changes so drastically that no one is safe. Naomi Klein shows convincingly that capitalism cannot continue in its current form but offers hope that this existential crisis wiil force us to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better. ‘Either we leap - or we sink.’ As the conclusion notes, quoting Marlene Moses, the UN Ambassador for Nauru, ‘Developed countries have created a global crisis based on a flawed system of values. There is no reason we should be forced to accept a solution informed by that same system.’ Naomi Klein combines academic rigour with readability and passion to convincing effect and offers hope that new structures can be built in the rubble of neoliberalism.

THE ESTABLISHMENT - OWEN JONES     ALLEN LANE ISBN: 9781846147197

The EstablishmentBehind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City. Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how, in claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite. He also reminds us how the decline of traditional forms of opposition, such as trade unions, churches and mass membership of political parties, has given the elite an easy ride. In fact, is elite now represent the biggest threat to democracy, our version of which is seriously flawed. Such concerns are scarcely acknowledged by most of the country’s political leaders or mainstream media, but a shining exception the Guardian columnist and a frequent broadcaster Owen Jones. In this wide-ranging book he shows how the system works and how it excludes many of our most talented citizens by stacking the odds against them. This is not only morally wrong, it puts the UK at a disadvantage to other countries culturally and economically. No wonder so many Scots want out. Owen Jones writes with clarity and powerful conviction and his much-needed book, The Establishment: And how they get away with it, should be required reading, especially for anyone claiming the right to govern. ‘This is the most important book on the real politics of the UK in my lifetime... You will be enlightened and angry.’ - Irvine Welsh.

IN MONTMARTRE - SUE ROE        PENGUIN ISBN: 9781905490868

In MontmartreMontmartre is a hill in the north of Paris topped by the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur. The surrounding district in the 18th arrondissement is part of the Right Bank, famous for its nightclub district and for being the principal artistic centre of the city. Camille Pissarro arrived in the mid-19th century and many others followed, including van Gogh, Alfred Jarry, Renoir, Degas, Utrillo and Toulouse-Lautrec. When young Pablo Picasso arrived in Paris in October 1900 he inevitably made his way up the hillside of Montmartre. The real revolution in the arts first took place not, as is commonly supposed, in the 1920s to the accompaniment of the Charleston, black jazz and mint juleps, but more quietly and intimately, in the shadow of the windmills - artificial and real - and in the cafes and cabarets of Montmartre during the first decade of the century. The cross-fertilization of painting, writing, music and dance produced a panorama of activity characterized by the early works of Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Derain, Vlaminck and Modigliani, the appearance of the Ballet Russe and the salons of Gertrude Stein. In In Montmartre, Sue Roe vividly brings to life the intoxicating bohemian world of art in Paris between 1900-1910, with its complex relationships, rivalries and exhilarating artistic endeavours.

THE END OF THE EXPERIMENT?   MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY PRESS ISBN: 978-0-7190-9633-4

THE END OF THE EXPERIMENTEconomic liberalism, inspired by neoclassical economic theory, advocates support for great economic liberalisation, privatisation, free trade, open markets, deregulation and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy. Neoliberalism emerged as an economic philosophy among Europeans in the 1930s as a reaction to the economic failures of the time which conventional wisdom tended to blame on unfettered capitalism. In the decades that followed, neoliberal theory tended to promote a market economy under the guidance and rules of a strong state - a model which came to be known as the social market economy. In the 1980s, the term ‘neoliberal’ was reintroduced in connection with Augusto Pinochet’s economic reforms in Chile. Based on the theories of economists such as Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, this philosophy involved a radical and laissez-faire capitalist set of ideas. It took over not only the Republicans and Democrats in America but also political thinking elsewhere, including Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives and Tony Blair’s New Labour party. Faith in this neo-liberal orthodoxy persisted even through the global banking catastrophe of 2008 and the evidence of dangerously growing inequalities in society. This invaluable book, subtitled ‘from competition to the foundational economy’, describes the failure of a 30 year old policy experiment with competition and markets and proposes a new experiment in social licensing of foundational activities. The repeated failure of that old experiment in subjecting the basics of everyday life to competition is conclusively demonstrated by detailed case studies of three sectors broadband, food supply and retail banking, where private sector business models lead to underinvestment, damaged supply chains and gouged customers. The radical move is then to change the frame and envisage a new experiment. The three sectors are only part of a much larger foundational economy, producing mundane goods and services which form the basis of civilised life. In this sheltered zone, firms and sectors enjoy privileges which bring profit. The book argues for a new experiment in social licensing whereby the right to trade in foundational activities would be dependent on the discharge of social obligations in the form of sourcing, training and living wages. This argument for reframing economic policy choices comes from a team of researchers and policy advocates based at the Centre for Research on Socio Cultural Change who blog as Manchester Capitalism. Their book combines rigour and readability to suggest a better way of organising the fundamentals of economic life as a way out of the current impasse. Such a radical strategy is essential to replace the current vacuum in ideas, resulting in a dispirited economic consensus and voter apathy. Reading this book should help remove the need for a question mark in its title.

RED SKY AT SUNRISE - LAURIE LEE       PENGUIN

Red Sky at SunriseLaurie Lee wrote some of the best-loved books in the English language. He was born in Stroud, Gloucestershire, and at the age of nineteen he walked to London, then travelled on foot through Spain, equipped only with a violin and his wits. There he was trapped by the outbreak of the Civil War and later returned by crossing the Pyrenees, as he recounted in A Moment of War, and honest and poignant record of his time with the International Brigade. Cider with Rosie is his much-loved description of his idyllic childhood growing up in a haphazard Cotswold household during the 1920s. As I walked out one Midsummer Morning is a brilliant account of the young Laurie Lee’s penniless days busking in London and walking through Spain. As well as these best-selling volumes of autobiography, he also published four collections of poetry. To celebrate the centenary of this acclaimed author’s birth on June 26th 2014 (he died in 1997), Penguin has published a beautiful new edition of his outstanding autobiographical trilogy in one volume as Red Sky At Sunrise, beautifully illustrated and with a preface by the author.

THE DEATH OF MONEY - JAMES RICKARDS      PENGUIN

The Death of MoneyCentralization and globalization eat people alive. The financial crisis that devastated the world economy in 2008 has still not been resolved. Even if there is growth of a sort, how will it reach you when the global financial system has their hands in your pockets. The financial system wants you to believe that you’re lost without it, that your wellbeing depends on it, but the opposite is true. It’s killing you. The US dollar has been the global reserve currency since the end of the Second World War and if the dollar fails the entire international monetary system will fail with it. But Washington is gridlocked, and America’s biggest competitors - China, Russia and the Middle East - are doing everything possible to end US monetary hegemony. The potential results: Financial warfare. Deflation. Hyperinflation. Market collapse. Chaos. Subtitled ‘The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System’, this alarming book by James Rickards, author of Currency Wars, offers a bracing analysis of the fundamental problem: money and wealth have become ever more detached. While wealth has real value worldwide, money may soon be worthless. The world’s big players - governments, banks, institutions - will muddle through by making up new rules. The real victims of the next crisis will be small investors who assumed that what worked for decades will keep working. Fortunately, it is not too late to prepare for the coming death of money and Rickards shows us how in this thought-provoking book. With inflation a likely menace it’s no surprise that he recommends buying land and gold, but he also makes an interesting, counter-intuitive case for holding cash.

A GIRL CALLED JACK - JACK MONROE     PENGUIN

A Girl Called JackJack Monroe is a resourceful single mother and local newspaper reporter living in Essex. She has known the humiliation of being referred to a food bank and having to sell valued possessions in order to pay the bills. Finding herself with a food budget of just £10 a week, Jack had from necessity to devise nutritious recipes to feed herself and her young son. After giving the recipes out to a local food bank in order to help others in her situation, she began to publish them online on her blog, A Girl Called Jack, which now has thousands of followers. She was awarded the 2013 Fortnum and Mason Judges’ Choice Award for the impact of her blog, which chimes so well with these days of austerity. Creatively embracing her local supermarket’s ‘basics’ range, her series of ingenious recipes shows how everyone can cook delicious, simple and upbeat meals that are outrageously cheap. The recipes have now been brought together in this invaluable book that tells you how to save money on your weekly shop and be less wasteful, while still providing inexpensive, tasty food such as crackerbread, love soup and spring piggy. There are no-nonsense instructions here for making Vegetable Masala curry at 30p a portion, Pasta alla Genovese for 19p a portion, Fig, Rosemary and Lemon Bread for 26p and an irresistible jam Sponge reminiscent of school days for 23p a portion. The admirable Jack is also a campaigner on poverty issues. An e-petition she launched in 2013 achieved over 100,000 signatures, leading to a parliamentary debate on hunger in the UK. ‘Sassy, political, and cooking amazing food on £10 a week. We need more like her.’ - Xanthe Clay, The Telegraph.

TWO GIRLS, ONE ON EACH KNEE - ALAN CONNOR     PENGUIN

Two GirlsJournalist Arthur Wynne from Liverpool is credited with publishing the first crossword puzzle, which appeared on December 21, 1913, in the New York World. Earlier crosswords were of a more elementary kind, derived from the word square in which a group of words were arranged so that the letters read the same vertically and horizontally. It was Wynne’s diamond shaped puzzle for New York World that sparked a phenomenal craze in succeeding decades and made them into a serious adult pastime. Other newspapers picked up the newly discovered pastime and within a decade crossword puzzles soon featured in most American newspapers and assumed their familiar modern form. The first British crossword was published in Pearson’s Magazine in 1922, and the first Times crossword appeared eight years later. British puzzles were generally more difficult than the American version and often bafflingly cryptic, with clever playfulness and the wit to delight and frustrate millions of readers. Alan Connor’s engaging book celebrates the centenary of this most popular intellectual pastime: a unique form of wordplay, the codes and conventions of which are open to anyone masochistic enough to get addicted. From the beaches of D-Day to the imaginary worlds of three-dimensional crosswords, to the British school teachers and journalists who turned the form into the fiendish sport it is today. Two Girls, One on Each Knee (a cryptic clue in itself) reveals the challenging clues and tricks of revered crossword setters such as the Guardian’s Araucaria (Rev John Graham, who died recently aged 92) and Roger Squires, the world’s most prolific compiler. Not to mention the Spanish Inquisition. This book will fascinate all lovers of this entertaining, sometimes maddening, form of wordplay that has intrigued converts from Vladimir Nabokov and P G Wodehouse to Lisa Simpson and Lord Peter Wimsey. ‘Egotism, n: Doing the New York Times crossword puzzle with a pen.’ - Ambrose Bierce.

HOW TO BE A VICTORIAN - RUTH GOODMAN     PENGUIN

How to be a VictorianRuth Goodman is an independent scholar and historian, specialising in social and domestic history. She works with a wide range of museums and other academic institutions exploring the past of ordinary people and their activities, and is best known for her intrepid and enthusiastic adventures in BBC television series such as Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm and Wartime Farm, in each of which she spent a year recreating life from a different period. How To Be A Victorian is a radical new approach to history; a journey back in time more intimate, personal and physical than anything before. It is one told from the inside out - how our forebears interacted with the practicalities of their world - and is a history of those things that make up the day-to-day reality of life, matters so small and seemingly mundane that people scarcely mention them in their diaries or letters. Moving through the rhythm of the day, from waking up to the sound of a knocker-upper man poking a stick at your window, to retiring for nocturnal activities, when the door finally closes on twenty four hours of life, this astonishing guide illuminates the overlapping worlds of health, sex, fashion, food, school, work and play. We know what life was like for Victoria and Albert. But what was it like for a commoner? How did it feel to cook with coal and wash with tea leaves? Drink beer for breakfast and clean your teeth with cuttlefish? Dress in whalebone and feed opium to the baby? Catch the omnibus to work and do the laundry in your corset? This delightful book shows how surviving everyday life came down to the gritty details, the small necessities and tricks of living. Among the many intriguing aspects of the Victorian period engagingly investigated by the author are food, underwear, the sex industry, Charles Dickens, servants, class, hats (rarely removed in public), cocaine, regular bathing and Bolton Wanderers.

THE PENGUIN HISTORY OF THE WORLD - J M ROBERTS AND ODD ARNE WESTAD   ALLEN LANE ISBN-13: 978-1846144424

Penguin History of The WorldThe epic Penguin History of the World, written by J.M. Roberts, was first published in 1976 and for countless readers since has been one of the great cultural experiences - the entire story of human endeavour laid out in all its grandeur and folly, drama and pain, in a single book. For this sixth edition, the landmark bestseller has been completely updated and revised by award-winning writer and historian Odd Arne Westad in the light of new research and discoveries, such as revolutionary changes in our understanding of ancient civilizations, and what seems to be the inexorable rise of Asia and the increasingly troubled situation in the West. From when the first human beings stepped out of the remote past through to modern times and events such as the Arab Spring, as well as contemplation of possible future developments in China and the Muslim world, the scope of this book is astonishing. Thoroughly engrossing and accessible throughout its 1,187 pages, there are many perceptive insights and the authors never get bogged down in excessive detail, preferring instead to concentrate on the great themes of history and changes in human cultural philosophy. ‘A stupendous achievement’ - A. J. P. Taylor.

QUIET - SUSAN CAIN  PENGUIN ISBN: 9780141029191

QuietThe world is mostly organised in a way that is stacked against quiet introverts, yet they make up almost half the population and have talents essential to the health and progress of society. Instead, we short-sightedly reward the oversharers, the loudmouths and the spotlight hoggers. But while everyone else fights for their fifteen minutes of fame, introverts have been (quietly) changing the world by giving us the theory of relativity, Van Gogh’s sunflowers, and even the Apple computer. Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Charles Darwin, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Abraham Lincoln, Friedrich Nietzsche, Isaac Newton, W A Mozart, Charles Dickens, Mahatma Gandhi, Stephen Hawking and Marie Curie are just some the impressive introverts who have done more for us than many a flamboyant extrovert. Introverts work well with others, maintain long-term friendships, are flexible and independent, have a strong ability to concentrate, are responsible and think creatively. Where would we be without them? This groundbreaking book by Susan Cain, subtitled ‘The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’, discusses the many ways in which the extrovert bias affects our lives: The financial crisis and the myth of charismatic leadership in business; The way we work - job postings asking for ‘outgoing’ personalities, open plan offices and the ubiquitous ‘brainstorm’; How we raise and educate our children; When extroverts and introverts fall in love (and how to compromise on those dinner parties). Susan Cain shows how the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century has had far-reaching effects and questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the potential of introverts is often overlooked. Introverts need some one to speak up for them and this quietly revelatory book should help to redress the balance. ‘Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.’ - Lao Zi.

THE ALTERNATE DIET - DR JAMES B JOHNSON    MICHAEL JOSEPH ISBN: 978-0718178253

Alternate DietThe desire to lose weight is a nagging presence for many people and makes a regular appearance in New Year’s resolution lists. So what is the best way to lose weight and stay healthy? The world isn’t short of books that claim to have the perfect solution and almost all of them come to the same conclusion: eat fewer calories than you burn and you will lose weight. The problem is that most diets suggest radical changes from customary eating habits, so dieters only last a few weeks before giving up and returning to their old eating habits. Almost 100% of people who succeed in losing weight will regain it within five years. James B Johnson is an instructor in plastic surgery in the United States, retired after more than twenty years in private practice to pursue his long-time interest in alternate-day calorie restriction. He has struggled all his life to maintain a healthy weight and saw many of his patients with the same problem. He became committed to finding a way for them to overcome ‘diet fatigue’, achieve a healthy body weight and improve their health without the stress and difficulty of complying with traditional diets. The Alternate-Day Diet promises fantastic weight-loss results (don’t they all?) with its revolutionary approach. Based on his research, Johnson offers insights into how alternate-day calorie restriction can prevent disease, increase energy and slow the aging process. Eat normally one day and on the next eat 20% of your usual calorie intake. Like all diets, it will appeal to some people more than others, but whether you decide to follow the book’s advice or not it certainly contains much food for thought.

A HISTORY OF OPERA    ALLEN LANE ISBN: 9780713996333

History of OperaEdited by Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker, this definitive work is the first full new history of opera for sixty years, written with modern scholarship and perspectives that broaden the scope of what is traditionally consideres to be opera history. The book discusses all the leading composers of the western tradition and their works, but also explores the social conditions in which opera was produced and consumed; how and why people went to the opera, how they listened and looked, how it affected their domestic existence or public lives, and the ways and means in which opera moved outwards from its European base. It argues that after 400 years of extraordinary creativity, the composing of new operas which enter the general culture may now be coming to an end, and that ours is the first generation which looks entirely backwards to the glory days rather than to what is being composed in our own time. It also makes a reckoning of how and where opera has left an imprint on philosophy, literature and, in the twentieth century, film. Roger Parker and Carolyn Abbate, through a lifetime of research into the subject, provide the definitive modern work on opera’s history and its meaning across the generations. They answer the questions about what opera has been, what it is and what impact it continues to have on the world we live in. The illustrations range from a reconstruction of the Duke of Mantua’s palace where Monteverdi’s Orfeo was first performed in 1607, via Mickey Mouse conducting the Wiliam Tell Overture to John Adams’s Nixon in China at the Met and Graham Vick’s striking production of Handel’s Tamerlano at the Royal Opera House in 2010. There are also photographs of performers such as Pauline Viardot, Enrico Caruso, Lauritz Melchior and Natalie Dessay, as well as many fascinating posters.

JOHN UPDIKE - ALWAYS LOOKING   HAMISH HAMILTON ISBN: 9780241145845

John Updike - Always LookingJohn Updike was born in 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania and went on to become America’s leading twentieth century novelists, one of only three authors to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once. Best known for Couples, The Witches of Eastwick and his Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom series, he published more than twenty novels and a dozen short story collections, as well as poetry, literary criticism and children’s books. Updike, who died in 2009, was also a fine and prolific art critic, writing often for The New York Review of Books. In his 2008 Jefferson Lecture, ‘The Clarity of Things: What’s American About American Art?’, he argued that American art, until the expressionist movement of the 20th century, is characterized by an insecurity not found in the artistic tradition of Europe. Always Looking includes ‘The Clarity of Things’ as well as many other elegant and sensitive essays, with persuasive writing on a wide array of subjects, both American and European. He looks closely at Copley, Homer, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art in order to explore what is ‘American’ in American art. From here he moves to masterpieces of American and European art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries - from the sublime landscapes of Frederic Church and paintings by Monet and Degas to the verbal-visual puzzles of Magritte and the steely sculptural environments of Richard Serra. His intelligent, literate criticism is accompanied by beautiful reproductions of the art he describes and help explain his passion for the work of artists such as Norman Rockwell, Joan Miro, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. Anyone interested in art is sure to find much to enjoy in this stimulating collection of essays by one of America’s most insightful critics. A one-time cartoonist, painter and artist himself, Updike is an enthusiastic, agreeable and perceptive guide.

SHAKESPEARE AND PLATONIC BEAUTY - JOHN VYVYAN      SHEPHEARD-WAYWYN ISBN 97808568322949

Platonic BeautyJohn Vyvyan’s third Shakespearean study was originally published by Chatto & Windus in 1961, but has long been out of print. Looking at some of the comedies, he reveals how the Platonic ideas of beauty and love, as developed by Plotinus, Ficino, Castiglione and Spenser, add an extra dimension to the plays. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It and All’s Well That Ends Well, the heroines bring to life the idea of love as the force that is awakened in the world by beauty which then leads the soul to perfection. Vyvyan believes that for Shakespeare, love was pre-eminent over human ideas of justice, that self-discovery was a supreme human experience and that breaking faith with the ideal - as Agamemnon, Cressida and Hector all do in Troilus and Cressida - sowed the seeds of tragedy. The author’s allegorical approach enables him to make sense of certain developments in these plays which seem weak or absurd from the psychological standpoint - the ‘tidy’ marriage of Celia and Oliver in As You Like It, the ignoble behaviour of Bertram in All’s Well That Ends Well, or the constancy of Julia’s love for the fickle Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. John Vyvyan’s work is extraordinarily perceptive, compelling us to think again about the underlying philosophy in Shakespeare’s plays, and to see their action from a fresh point of view. This book completes the republishing of Vyvyan’s remarkable Shakespeare trilogy, which also includes The Shakespearean Ethic and Shakespeare and the Rose of Love. ‘Original and stimulating ...Mr Vyvyan’s thesis is important and serious: serious in the sense that his reading of the plays and his supporting reading into Shakespeare’s climate of ideas is deep, connected and wide.’ - Times Literary Supplement.

THE SHAKESPEAREAN ETHIC - JOHN VYVYAN    SHEPHEARD-WAYWYN ISBN 9780856832840

Shakespearean EthicWilliam Shakespeare’s legacy is a body of work that will probably never be equalled. His words have lasted for well over 400 years, still moving us as powerfully as ever, and fascinating us with his genius and sometimes mysterious life. Originally published by Chatto & Windus in 1959, John Vyvyan’s original and thought-provoking book offers a viewpoint seldom considered: an unusual and exceptionally clear insight into Shakespeare’s philosophy, offered with freshness, modesty and conviction. Appreciating the danger Shakespeare faced in writing at a time of major religious intolerance, Vyvyan shows how subtly the plays explore aspects of the perennial philosophy allegorically. In doing so, Shakespeare raises the fundamental question of ethics: What ought we to do? ‘Shakespeare,’ says the author, ‘is never ethically neutral. He is never in doubt as to whether the souls of his characters are rising or falling.’ There is a constant pattern in the tragedies: ‘first the hero is untrue to his own self, then he casts out love, then conscience is gone – or rather inverted – and the devil enters into him.’ Vyvyan shows us this pattern of damnation, or its counterpart in reference to the plays, contrasting Hamlet with Measure for Measure and Othello with The Winter’s Tale. His intuitive insights also illumine Macbeth, Julius Caesar and Titus Andronicus which focus on the fall, whereas The Tempest explores most fully the pattern of regeneration and creative mercy. This is a welcome re-issue of a book which will send many readers back to Shakespeare’s plays with fresh vision and clearer understanding. This edition helpfully cross-references the quotations in the text to the relevant place in the play. ‘The most original book about Shakespeare I have ever read.’ - Christopher Booker.

THE SIGNAL AND THE NOISE - NATE SILVER  ALLEN LANE ISBN: 9781846147524

As Mark Twain and others have said, ‘The art of prophecy is very difficult, especially about the future.’ Nate Silver’s intriguing book, subtitled The Art and Science of Prediction, aims to show that we can improve the chances of succeeding. After Obama, Silver is the clear winner of the US presidential election, having just correctly predicted the outcome of 50 out of 50 states. This record beat all other pollsters and experts, proving that the performance of professional pundits varies from prescient to useless. Every time we choose a route to work, decide whether to go on a second date, or set aside money for a rainy day, we are making a prediction about the future. Yet from the global financial crisis to 9/11 to the Fukushima disaster, we often fail to foresee hugely significant events. The book’s author is the New York Times’ political forecaster and statistics guru and in his quest to distinguish the true signal from a universe of noisy data, he visits hundreds of expert forecasters, in fields ranging from the stock market to the poker table, from earthquakes to terrorism. What lies behind their success? And why do so many predictions still fail? By analysing the rare prescient forecasts, and applying a more quantitative lens to everyday life, Silver distils the essential lessons of prediction. His detailed analysis offers lessons to apply when playing poker, investing on the stock market, assessing the housing bubble, and much more. The book won’t make you a fool-proof prognosticator but by applying its basic principles we can all develop better foresight in our everyday lives. ‘Balanced, intelligent and erudite’ – Spectator.

READ THIS NEXT - SANDRA NEWMAN & HOWARD MITTELMARK    PENGUIN ISBN: 9781846143724

READ_THIS_NEXTSandra Newman and Howard Mittlemark have written the perfect book for anyone who has ever struggled to choose what to read next, but this is far more than a guide for book groups. Covering 500 books ranging from The Shock Doctrine to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and exploring all the important issues like how to tell the difference between Naomis Wolf and Klein, whether anyone really likes Emma Bovary, what makes a really good bathroom book and whether it’s really wrong to marry for money, Read This Next reminds you exactly why you love reading and then makes you want to go out and read lots more. This is a witty, provocative and informative guide for everyone who loves reading. As well as the books, including several little-known or rarely recommended ones such as Ursula K LeGuin’s compulsive novel, The Dispossessed, there are pithily informed historical and biographical details of the authors and their times. Learn how to apply the Bechtel Test, see what Matisse thought of James Thurber’s drawings and find out why Socrates got a bad rap.

MYSTERIO’S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MAGIC AND CONJURING    QUIRK ISBN 9781594744969

Mysterio’s Encyclopedia of MagicMysterio’s Encyclopedia of Magic is the how-to book that the great Houdini never wrote. Subtitled ‘A Complete Compendium of Astonishing Illusions’, this comprehensive encyclopedia of magic, tricks and illusion features hundreds of tricks, divided into sections: Card magic; Money magic; Rope, Handkerchief, and Silk magic; Small (or ‘street’) magic; Stage magic; Telepathy and Mind Reading. With a visual style reminiscent of the great magic acts from the past, these 352 pages contain hundreds of step-by-step illustrations accompanied by precise, professional advice and instruction. So if you want to make coins or whole people vanish, levitate members of the audience, make your finger disappear into thin air, put a rope through your neck, bend spoons, make small children disappear, cut up your Grandmother’s pearl necklace and return it intact, or perform hundreds of other dazzling and epic displays of magic this is the book for you! Not many of the tricks require apparatus, but where they do the book gives full instructions on both constructing and using these in front of an audience in your front room, or onstage at a professional venue. Magic tricks are examined in detail, so the reader gains a grounding in both the theory and practice of magic and illusion, plus a list of required reading for students, for presentation guidelines, suggestions on developing a routine of tricks, rules of performing, and much more, making this an ideal, solid reference for aspiring magicians, a great refresher for practicing ones, and the perfect gift for children, adults who want to display these skills at parties, poker cheats, parents and grandparents. This beautifully designed book was written by Gabe Fajuri, associate editor of Magic, the leading trade magazine for magicians. This book is the ideal present whether you are a beginner or expert, or just interested in the fascinating world of illusions.

DC COMICS 75TH ANNIVERSARY POSTER BOOK   QUIRK ISBN: 9781594744624

Dc ComicsDC Comics, one of America’s most successful publishing companies, began as National Allied Publications and debuted with New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1 in February 1935. This was followed later the same year by New Comics #1, which evolved into Adventure Comics - one of the longest-running comic book series of all time. DC Comics (the initials ‘DC’ came from the company’s popular Detective Comics) introduced the world to huge cast of fictional characters, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel, Hawkman, the Teen Titans, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Robin, Supergirl, Plastic Man, and the Justice League, not to mention villains such as Lex Luthor, the Joker and the dangerously sexy Catwoman. This Anniversary Poster Book celebrates 75 years of the most famous comics in history by showcasing 500 of their most memorable covers - including 100 full-size posters, perforated and ready-to-frame if you wish. Arranged in chronological order, each poster is a milestone in DC comics history, from the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics #1 (the most sought-after comic of all time) to the introduction of iconic Batman, the Amazonian Wonder Woman and Shazam, the unsettling The House of Mystery and Strange Adventures, or Mr. District Attorney, the relative innocence of Falling in Love, to more adult themes that addressed social concerns like Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy being a heroin addict, The Killing Joke, Preacher, Alan Moore’s ground-breaking, taboo-shattering Swamp Thing, Ronin, Sandman, Angel and the Ape, each of the covers featured is a landmark in introducing recognisable characters, reflecting an era and showing how artwork changes over the years, or simply being the first comic you picked up to read. On the reverse of each poster are images of related covers, concept sketches and commentary on these from some cover artists. Essential reading for any comic fan, artist, graphic illustrator or cultural historian. Commentary is provided by Robert Schnakenberg and there is a foreword by Paul Levitz, who worked at DC Comics for over thirty years, most recently as publisher and president.

THE CASE FOR WORKING WITH YOUR HANDS - MATTHEW CRAWFORD   PENGUIN VIKING

The Case for Working with Your HandsWhy do some jobs offer fulfilment while others leave us frustrated? Why do we so often think of our working selves as separate from our ‘true’ selves? Over the course of the twentieth century, we have separated mental work from manual labour, replacing the workshop with either the office cubicle or the factory line. In this inspiring and persuasive book, subtitled ‘Why office work is bad for us and fixing things feels good’, Matthew Crawford explores the dangers of this false distinction and presents instead the case for working with your hands. He brings to life the immense psychological and intellectual satisfactions of making and fixing things, explores the moral benefits of a technical education and, at a time when jobs are increasingly being outsourced over the internet, argues that the skilled manual trades may be one of the few sure paths to a good living. Drawing on the work of our greatest thinkers, from Aristotle to Heidegger, from Karl Marx to Iris Murdoch, as well as on his own experiences as an electrician and motorcycle mechanic, Crawford delivers a radical, timely and extremely enjoyable re-evaluation of our attitudes to work. It’s no surprise to discover that as well as having Ph.D. in political philosophy from the University of Chicago Crawford has worked as a motorcycle mechanic (he owns and operates Shockoe Moto, an independent motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Virginia). This gives an added authenticity and depth to a book that will inevitably be compared with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Matthews makes a persuasive case for the re-examination of the way we live our lives and the benefits to be had from fixing things for ourselves. ‘A beautiful little book about human excellence.’ - New York Times.

WINNING BODY LANGUAGE - MARK BOWDEN    MCGRAW HILL

Winning Body LanguageBody language is a form of non-verbal communication consisting of body posture, gestures, facial expressions and eye movements subtle signals that we interpret subconsciously. Such language may provide clues as to the attitude or state of mind of a person, indicating aggression, attentiveness, boredom, pleasure, amusement and intoxication many other things. It’s been claimed that human communication consists of 93 percent body language while only 7% consists of words, though this is probably an exaggeration. The technique of ‘reading’ people is used frequently, especially in interviews, but can sometimes be misleading. Mark Bowden noted body language expert and his new book provides an easy guide to taking control of their body language. While others teach how to read other people’s body language, which Bowden says is almost impossible, he teaches us how to develop our own body language effectively in order to influence others. The book is full of strategies that anyone can use in virtually any setting, showing how you can get your message across more effectively by paying attention to the way you hold your hands (below the waist makes other people feel uneasy). The book also discloses why being an optimist is overrated, how to breathe correctly to strengthen a message, how we all know what we all know, and how imitating Hilary Clinton’s hand motions can inspire confidence. Mark Bowden has concentrated his vast experience into a valuable, easy to read book that promises to improve your communication and help you become more successful in business and in life. ‘The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.’ - George Bernard Shaw.

THE GRASS ARENA - JOHN HEALY   PENGUIN

Healy was born into an impoverished, Irish immigrant family, in the slums of Kentish Town, North London. Out of school by 14, pressed into the army and intermittently in prison, he became an alcoholic early on in life. The Grass Arena is his devastating autobiography, first published in 1988 and is a compelling and savage account describing his fifteen years spent dossing, drinking and fighting in the grass arena - the parks and open spaces of London - with beggars, thieves, prostitutes and killers. He tells of darkly funny schemes to purloin the next drink with his fellows which turn in an instant into desperate accounts of murder over prostitutes or a bottle, or the begging of money. Healy is unflinchingly honest about his bleak experiences of violence and addiction, his escape through learning to play chess from a fellow inmate in prison. He was immediately obsessed by the game and decided not only to quit alcohol but also to make the unlikely transition from the chaotic world of the vagrant into the sophisticated, esoteric world of chess. Amazingly, he mastered the intricacies and subtleties of the game and went on to become a top tournament chess champion, able to play four games blindfolded and simultaneously. He also won Britain’s top literary award for autobiography, the JR Ackerley, for The Grass Arena, which was subsequently made into an acclaimed film starring Mark Rylance and Pete Postlethwaite. The book transformed John Healy’s extraordinary life into a vivid literary tour de force that explores his times in prison, the Irish countryside and the army, as well as among such lowlife characters as Mad Gerry, One-Eyed Tony and Liverpool Lil. This modern day classic makes a welcome return after a decade out of print.

THE SPIRIT LEVEL - RICHARD WILKINSON AND KATE PICKETT    PENGUIN

One of the earliest writers to note the link between economic equality and social cohesion was Alexis de Tocqueville in his Democracy in America, written in 1831. He noted that ‘Among the new objects that attracted my attention during my stay in the United States, none struck me with greater force than the equality of conditions. I easily perceived the enormous influence that this primary fact exercises on the workings of society.’ Politicians and journalists today talk glibly about our ‘broken society’ but what does this mean and what can be done about it? Why is it that we mistrust people more in the UK than they do in Japan? Why do Americans have higher rates of teenage pregnancy than the French? What makes the Swedish thinner than the Greeks? The answer, according to this book’ is inequality. Subtitled ‘Why Equality Is Better For Everyone’, it shows convincingly how almost everything - from life expectancy to depression levels, violence to illiteracy - is affected not by how wealthy a society is, but how equal it is. Societies with a bigger gap between rich and poor are bad for everyone in them - including the well-off - and this brilliant study not only demonstrates beyond question the importance of equality, but shows how we can find positive solutions and move towards a happier, fairer future. Authors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett are professional epidemiologists who have based their important book on years of research, including updated material showing the link between income inequality and social cohesion. In more equal societies, people are much more likely to trust each other and measures of social capital suggest greater community involvement, lower homicide rates, better health, greater longevity and an all-round improvement in happiness. The Spirit Level was shortlisted for Research Project of the Year in 2009 by the Times Higher Education Supplement and chosen as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by the New Statesman. This provocative and uplifting book provides a new way of thinking about ourselves and our communities - essential reading that will change the way you see the world and offer hope for the future.

YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT - SAM CUTLER    ECW PRESS ISBN: 9781550229325

Sam Cutler was tour manager for the Rolling Stones at some of their major gigs in the late 60s, including the free California concert at which a man was murdered by a Hell’s Angel in front of the stage while the Stones played on. After the show, Sam Cutler was left behind to make peace with the Hell’s Angels, the various mobsters and organisations who had taken an overt interest in the event and the people of America. There has never been an official investigation into events at Altamont and those involved have never spoken on record about it. Cutler has decided to end this silence and put to rest the myths and legends that have grown up around this infamous event in rock history. He survived the Altamont and went on to live the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll dream. This book, subtitled ‘My Life with the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and Other Wonderful Reprobates’, is his own account of the high times he had, drawing intimate portraits of stars of the psychedelic circus that was the music industry in the 60s and 70s, including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Band, Pink Floyd and Eric Clapton. This is a compelling and intimate history of one of the most exciting eras of popular music there has ever been, described by an insider who has seen - and done - it all. ‘…a riveting rock read.’ – Sydney Sun-Herald.

GREAT IDEAS IV    PENGUIN

Penguin’s Great Ideas series was launched in 2004 and has so far sold over 2.25million copies. The series features books of historical importance that have changed the world - transforming the way we see ourselves and each other. The authors include great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas created debate, dissent, war and revolution. Twenty more titles have now been published in Penguin paperback at £4.99 each, including William Shakespeare ‘On Power’ (with telling excerpts from plays such as Julius Ceasar and Richard III) and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address’ together with other immortal speeches. Robert Louis Stevenson’s encouraging ‘An Apology for Idlers’ is an irresistible invitation to reject the work ethic and enjoy life’s simple pleasures, such as laughing, drinking and lying in the open air. Stevenson’s witty and seminal essay is accompanied here by his writings on, among other things, growing old, visiting unpleasant places and the overwhelming experience of falling in love. Virginia Woolf offers her ‘Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid’ along with other essays, and the brilliant John Berger’s ‘Why Look at Animals?’ explores how the ancient relationship between man and nature has been broken in the modern consumer age, with animals that used to be at the centre of our existence now marginalised and reduced to spectacle. These are inspiring books with a power that belies their modest size - the perfect antidote to today’s celebrity culture.

NEVER PUSH WHEN IT SAYS PULL - GUY BROWNING   ATLANTIC BOOKS ISBN: 9781848873766

Never Push When It Says Pull‘Memories are the jumble sales of the mind.’ Guy Browning’s very funny book, subtitled Small Rules for Little Problems, is full of sound advice on such mstters as how to open stiff lids or have a romantic bath, as well as witty reflections on life’s bizarre mysteries. Have you ever queued, exasperated by the repeated cry of ‘next’ and asked the man in front, ‘Are you Deaf?’ only to discover that he is? Who hasn’t tried to slip under the covers before the lover of their dreams discovers they’re wearing chewing-gum grey pants? If you have, Guy Browning is ready to offer invaluable guide on surviving such toe-curling moments. What to do when you discover the man you beeped, flashed and swore at for driving too slowly is your girlfriend’s father who you’ll meet for the first time that night. How to convince your friends that shoes with loo-paper attached to them are now a cutting-edge fashion statement. How to argue, persuasively, that George Eliot is in fact a man. You will never again have to stare long and hard at the floor when you realise that the person you’re waving at isn’t someone you know. Never Push When It Says Pull will delight all fans of Guy Browning’s long-running ‘How to…’ column in the Guardian ‘Weekend’ magazine. It’s a perfect book to dip into, though a hazardous one to read in public if you don’t want to risk making a spectacle of yourself by laughing uproariously. As Homer Simpson might say, ‘It’s funny because it’s true.’

GARDENERS’ WORLD PRACTICAL GARDENING HANDBOOK    EBURY ISBN-10: 1846078547

Practical Gardening HandbookBBC television’s long-running Gardeners’ World programme began in 1968 as a half-hour show and has been both inspiring and entertaining a nation of gardeners ever since. There have been many presenters since that first series with Ken Burras, including the revered Percy Thrower, the great Geoff Hamilton (with his famous trousers), Alan Titchmarsh (the sexiest man in Britain?) and friendly Monty Don. The presenting team for the current hour-long series consists of professional garden designer Joe Swift, Carol Klein (also a fine artist and teacher), urban gardening specialist Alys Fowler and the show’s main presenter Toby Buckland, author of this new guide subtitled ‘Traditional Techniques, Expert Skills, Innovative Ideas’. According to Buckland we are all born gardeners, and in this practical companion to the TV show he tells us how it’s done. Viewing the garden as an endless list of chores takes all the joy out of it but this brilliant new guide encourages us to see the garden holistically as a body which is connected to the kitchen, the compost heap and the world beyond, turning it into an adventure. It becomes a workshop to fashion an apple press from bits of skip-scavenged timber, or a warm greenhouse sanctuary. A tree isn’t just something which drops leaves to sweep up but a support for a rope-swing. Borders aren’t just for weeding, they are also for delicious strawberries and a runner-bean-wigwam den. Opening our eyes to these connections helps us appreciate the joy of gardening, and this book teaches you the craft. However big or small your plot, whether you are starting from scratch or looking for new ideas, the Practical Gardening Handbook will show you how to bring your garden alive. ‘Ask not what you can do for your garden, but what it can do for you.’ Whether you are a novice or an experienced gardener, this clearly written book is full of invaluable advice that will have you itching to get outdoors.

BLUE BLOOD - EDWARD CONLON    EBURY PRESS

The New York City Police Department (NYPD), was the first to be established in the United States (in 1845) and is currently the largest police force in the country. From its headquarters in Lower Manhattan, ‘New York’s Finest’ are responsible for law enforcement and investigation in all five boroughs of New York City. Their exploits have been portrayed in countless books, films and television series from McBain’s 87th Precinct and Naked City to NYPD Blue and CSI: NY, but how far do these fictional accounts match up to the reality on the streets? Ed Conlon is a long-serving gold-shield detective with the NYPD and his fascinating book reveals the trials and tribulations he has experienced within the force. His great grandfather was also a New York City Policeman, though with a dubious reputation. His father worked for the NYPD and later for the FBI, and his uncle, Eddie was a New York City Cop - a hero to Ed and his father. It was perhaps inevitable that Ed, after he graduating from Harvard, would join the police force. His time in the Police Academy, and his exploits as a new Police graduate are well documented here and Conlon writes about the NYPD with pride and with a fresh face. He tells us about his time walking the beat in South Bronx as well as his job with the elite Narcotics squad. He shares his experiences on the street - how to talk to the people he works for, how to gain their trust and how to really do the job. His tales are sometimes funny or sad and often gritty. He becomes fond of his informants and his colleagues, showing how they coped with professional lives that were often filled with tragedy. He also shares the experiences of 9-11, the horror of that day and its aftermath. Edward Conlon is as skilful a writer as he is a detective, and his engrossing memoir is fast-paced, honest and wise. ‘Superb. The most stunning memoir ever written about the cop world’ - Joseph Wambaugh.

THE ART OF THE SNOWFLAKE - LIBBRECHT    VOYAGEUR ISBN: 0760329974

Art of the SnowflakeThere is something magical about snow and snowflakes that captures and enchants us, be it a light flurry or a landscape full of deep drifts. These exquisite temporary works of art are tiny crystalline masterpieces, each as different from the next as one person is from another. But all too soon they melt and vanish. This book captures the perfect geometry and exquisite beauty of nature with 240 different photographs of these individual marvels. As much a work of art as a testament of science, Kenneth Libbrecht’s book reveals how one of snowflake’s most inspired photographers came to such intimate knowledge of his craft and its fleeting focus. Beautiful pictures illustrate his story of the microphotography of snow crystals, from the pioneering work of Wilson Bentley in the 1890s up to the present digital age. These delicate, breathtaking images are brought together in a stylish art book that is also a science guide, a photography manual and a valuable resource for nature-lovers. Kenneth Libbrecht is a world-renowned expert on micro-photography and his other best-selling Snowflake books include the FIELD GUIDE TO SNOWFLAKES (ISBN: 0760326452), an entertaining and informative introduction to the art and science of the snowflake, describing where to find which patterns and what can be learned from them. SNOWFLAKES (ISBN: 0760334986) showcases individual crystals using stunning micro-photography to explore a world of beauty and fascination, with literary quotes and scientific information to guide the reader. THE SECRET LIFE OF A SNOWFLAKE tells the story of a single snowflake - from it’s creation in the clouds, following its fall to earth, and its brief sparkling appearance on a child’s glove. Featuring photographs of real snowflakes, forming in a laboratory, water evaporating, clouds developing, ice crystals, rain, dew, frost - all the elements that accompany and add up, bit by bit, to the white landscape of winter. Aimed at readers from five upward, this book has stunningly beautiful photographs of snowflakes, along with a description of how they are formed and fall, and explains these magical phenomena, making it all the more real and bound to appeal to both children and adults. A perfect book for the Winter!

THE BEATLES ACROSS THE UNIVERSE - ANDY NEILL    HAYNES ISBN 978 1 84425 816 1

Created in Liverpool in 1960 out of a uniquely British blend of 1950s skiffle and rock and roll, from 1962 The Beatles consisted of John Lennon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, vocals), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals) and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals). Their music also incorporated many other genres ranging from folk to psychedelia, from Indian to classical sounds. The band became phenomenally popular - a global phenomenon that changed popular culture forever through their music, image and personalities. The group’s legacy is enshrined through a catalogue of timeless recordings, yet from the earliest beginnings this was a superb live band. The Beatles Across The Universe, subtitled ‘John, Paul, George & Ringo On Tour And On Stage’, examines the group’s frenetic existence by means of informed commentary and more than 300 images. The pictures are all from the Daily Mirror’s archives, which has the world’s largest collection of Beatles images, and many of the photographs in here have never before been published. The book examines in detail the Beatles as a worldwide attraction, primarily between the years of 1963-1966 when Beatlemania ruled the world. We see them in ballrooms, theatres, airports, limousines and stadiums across the globe, and find out why the Beatles were seen but not heard throughout the 1960s. Author Andy Neill is a music writer, researcher and historian, who has been a Fab Four fanatic all his life. The most famous band and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music, and the exciting, revolutionary life they lived together, is revisited in these wonderfully lively images, intimately revealing the irresistible charm and powerful personalities of John, Paul, George and Ringo. American interviewer to the Beatles: ‘Why do you think your music excites people so much?’ John: ‘If we knew, we’d form another group and be the managers.’

RACE OF A LIFETIME - HEILEMANN & HALPERIN       VIKING ISBN: 9780670918027

Barack Obama announced his candidacy to become the first African American president of the United States in February 2007 in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic famous ‘House Divided’ speech in 1858. A large number of candidates entered the Democratic Party presidential primaries but the field soon narrowed to a duel between Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, with the race remaining close throughout the primary process until Obama gained a steady lead and Clinton ended her campaign to endorse him. This best-selling book (subtitled ‘How Obama Won The White House’ and published in the US under the title ‘Game Change’) shows that President Obama’s triumph was by no means inevitable but was the end product of a brilliant, calculated, convention-defying political epic campaign. In what became the most exciting and engrossing US election for years, he faced down his rivals with ruthless focus and efficiency. Race of a Lifetime tells the gripping inside story of those thrilling months: from the meteoric rise of Obama and the collapsing House of Clinton to the erratic John McCain and the bewildering Sarah Palin. This revelatory and compulsively readable book lays bare the characters of the candidates, warts and all, exposes the inner workings of their operations, and charts the true path to the White House. Authors John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, two of America’s leading political reporters, have produced a savvy insiders’ tour de force that is thoroughly researched, shocking, often funny, richly entertaining and ultimately definitive.

LONDON IN 3-D: A LOOK BACK IN TIME     VOYAGEUR PRESS

London in 3DThe imminent arrival of 3-D television and the popularity of recent 3-D films such as Ice Age 3, Avatar and the latest Harry Potter have brought the concept of 3-D back into the news, though stereoscopy is far from new. 3-D imaging to create the illusion of depth in an image was first invented by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1840 and traditional stereoscopic photography consists of creating a 3-D illusion starting from a pair of 2-D images. The easiest way to create depth perception in the brain is to provide the eyes of the viewer with two different images, representing two perspectives of the same object. This entertaining and luxuriously produced book by Greg Dinkins explores the colourful history of stereoscopic photography, which was the internet of the second half of the Nineteenth Century, when thousands of viewers, and door-to-door salesmen were selling images. London in 3-D includes 45 fascinating images of the world’s greatest capital city from 1850 to the 1920s, with detailed historic captions to accompany each picture. Subjects range from individual Beefeaters and the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace, Petticoat Lane, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and many more, making this an unusual and thoroughly enjoyable look back at history.

LEGENDARY RACE CARS - BASEM WASEF     MOTORBOOKS

More than any other sporting pursuit, motor racing is a test of both human and machine. This beautifully illustrated book is a celebration of that unique union of sweat and grease, blood and gasoline, courage and fear, elation and terror, triumph and tragedy. Through vivid, human detail, writer and exceptional photographer Basem Wasef brings to life more than two dozen racing legends in this entertaining, informative and beautifully produced book. The legends include Mario Andretti and the Lotus 79 that he drove to the 1978 Formula 1 world championship - a triumph trumped by the tragic loss of his teammate, Ronnie Peterson. We ride along with the incomparable Stirling Moss as he pilots his Mercedes-Benz SLR to an improbable victory at the 1955 Mille Miglia. And we feel our teeth rattling and our bones shaking as we race for nearly seven grueling hours with Ray Harroun in his Marmon Wasp, en route to a controversial win at the very first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. As Sir Stirling Moss says in his Foreword, ‘Selecting these 25 legendary cars cannot have been easy. Automobiles, like paintings and any other works of art, have different effects on different people. Which era do you love? Which look? Two-or single seaters? Suited to which kind of activity? This is a unique book and, no doubt, it will be controversial in much the same way that books about the qualities of the drivers are. Who was the greatest?’ Filled with fascinating stories of humanity and machinery, this impressive book has a dust jacket that can be used as a poster and is a treat for all race fans.

SPLENDOUR AND SQUALOR - SCRIVEN    ATLANTIC ISBN: 978 1 84354 124 0

From stunning stately homes to the prisons of wartime Britain; from the House of Lords to Edwardian asylums; from the Ritz and the Dorchester to East End pubs, Splendour and Squalor tells the lurid stories of four of Britain’s most illustrious aristocratic dynasties and of the black sheep who brought them down - Edward Fitzgerald, 7th Duke of Leinster, who died by his own hand having squandered a £100 million inheritance; Victor Frederick Cochrane Hervey, 6th Marquess of Bristol, playboy, jewel thief, fantasist and fraudster; Angus Charles Drogo Montagu, 12th Duke of Manchester, a four-times-married, twenty-stone, one-time inmate of a Federal Corrective Institution who died soon after being crane-lifted out of his two-bedroom flat in Bedford; and Frederick William John Augustus Hervey 7th Marquess of Bristol, who turned his estate into ‘an adult Disney’, equipped with helicopters, drugs, cars and cameras. They kept monkeys in West End hotels - and rent-boys in Deauville and Kensington - and spiced up life in pre-war Britain by patronising illegal gaming clubs and staging elaborate five-in-a-bed sex in stately homes. They used firearms with convincing disregard for their own and others’ safety and drove their Rolls Royces and Bentleys with apparently suicidal intent. They acquired yachts and helicopters as they shipped the family silver to California and disposed of Old Masters at auction. They married frequently and unsatisfactorily, humiliating their wives and withholding from them dynastic secrets of schizophrenia and insanity. Lacking the energy and appetite to do so, they rarely developed their talents. Carpeting their lives with deceit, they sought consolation in ferocious expenditure, funding narcotic and alcohol-fueled blow-outs. Marcus Scriven’s thoroughly researched book examines the wasted lives of these reprehensible black sheep with appropriate panache. His self-destructive subjects may not deserve our respect but their disreputable stories are often darkly humorous and always entertaining.

THE RELATE GUIDE TO FINDING LOVE - BARBARA BLOOMFIELD  EBURY ISBN 978-0091923976

What is the commonest reason why a first date doesn’t turn into a second date? What personal qualities do men and women look for in a serious partner? And do you know which shades of eyeshadow men say they most dislike? Relationship expert Barbara Bloomfield is a Relate couples and family counsellor and clinical supervisor with fourteen years experience in the field. Her specialist skills are put to good use in this excellent book full of sensible advice for anyone looking for love, a long-term relationship or perhaps a quick fling. With the help of life coach, Margaret Hickman, Barbara Bloomfield’s guide offers advice on all aspects of dating and relationships. Short, snappy chapters, each containing a thought-provoking exercise, plus personal case histories, combine to make this a fun and interesting read to help you to discover your needs and decide you want from a relationship, get yourself into the right frame of mind to meet someone new, make the most of online dating and singles events, and identify whether your new love is really The One. The author’s Positivity Plan shows you how to find the love, friendships and special relationships you yearn for by helping you to overcome whatever may be holding you back - past experiences, shyness, social anxiety, sadness or other barriers. Relationships can be exciting, puzzling or problematical but this step-by-step, friendly and accessible guide has invaluable advice for finding the right partner, whatever your age. ‘A really useful new book I wholeheartedly recommend’ - Bel Mooney, Daily Mail.

NEO-NOIR      WALLFLOWER PRESS ISBN 978-1-906660-17-8

Neo-NoirThe term Film Noir was coined by critic Nino Frank in 1946, and the classic era dates to a period between the early 1940s and the late 1950s, but the name was rarely used by film makers, critics or fans until decades later. Usually American crime dramas or psychological thrillers, films noir had a number of common themes and plot devices, and many distinctive visual elements. Characters were often conflicted antiheroes, trapped in a difficult situation and making choices out of desperation or nihilistic moral systems. Visual elements included low-key lighting, striking use of light and shadow, and unusual camera placement. Although there have been few new major films in the classic genre since the early 1960s, it has nonetheless had significant impact on other film makers whose work incorporates both thematic and visual elements reminiscent of films noir. Many classic films noir were independent features so it is fitting that many neo-noir films are also independent. Unlike classic noirs, neo-noir films are aware of modern circumstances and technology - details that were typically absent or unimportant to the plot of classic film noir. This book’s detailed and wide-ranging collection of essays maps out the terrain, combining genre, stylistic and textual analysis with Marxist, feminist, psychoanalytic and industrial approaches. The contributors discuss films from the United States, UK, France, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and New Zealand, including work by David Lynch, the Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino and Sharon Stone, and explore major conventions such as the femme fatale, paranoia, anxiety, the city and the threat to the self; and the use of sound and colour. Edited by Mark Bould, Kathrina Glitre and Greg Tuck, the book features a particularly astute essay by Karl Freedman that analyses Billy Wilder’s marvelous Double Indemnity, which Woody Allen has called ‘the greatest film ever made.’

THE SHERLOCK HOLMES COMPANION - DANIEL SMITH       AURUM PRESS

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle immortal fictional detective first appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887. Sherlock Holmes became hugely popular following the publication in The Strand Magazine of the first series of short stories covering a period from around 1878 up to 1907, with the final case being set in 1914. The London-based ‘consulting detective’ is famous for using his intellectual prowess, astute observation, deductive reasoning and inference to solve even the most difficult cases. When asked if there was a real Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle always maintained that Holmes was inspired by Dr Joseph Bell, for whom Doyle had worked as a clerk at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Like Holmes, Bell was noted for drawing large conclusions from the smallest observations. Dr Bell was also interested in crime and occasionally assisted the police. All but four of the stories are narrated by Holmes’s friend and biographer, Dr John H. Watson, with two narrated by Holmes himself and two others written in the third person. As well as being hugely popular still in print, Conan Doyle’s stories have been filmed many times and Sherlock Holmes has appeared on screen more often than any other fictional character. Daniel Smith’s new book, subtitled An Elementary Guide, is a fascinating guide to one of the greatest and most popular literary characters of all time. The book is lavishly illustrated throughout with more than 150 pictures, ranging from period engravings and book jackets to modern day location shots and film stills from TV adaptations, making this is a compendious guide to all the stories, their author and the enigmatic pipe-smoking creation at their heart. Daniel Smith’s witty and informed text provides plot summaries of every single Sherlock Holmes story, potted biographies of Holmes, Moriarty, Watson and Conan Doyle, and many original interviews with the actors who have played Holmes and Watson over the years. The Sherlock Holmes stories have been translated into 84 languages are thought to be the most read works of fiction on the planet. This comprehensive book is an enjoyably nostalgic guide that remains rigorously critical and not afraid to rank the better Holmes stories against the lesser. From A Study in Scarlet to The Adventure at Shoscombe Old Place, The Sherlock Holmes Companion is a treat for both Holmes aficionados and the general reader.

PROGRESS AND POVERTY - HENRY GEORGE, ED. BOB DRAKE  SHEPHEARD-WALWYN / SCHALLENBACH FOUNDATION   ISBN 978 0 911312 98 0

Progress and PovertyThe American writer, politician and political economist Henry George was born in Philadelphia in 1839 and became one of the most famous men of his time. He left school at thirteen and experienced personal poverty while working as a typesetter, sailor, printer and gold digger. As a San Francisco newspaper editor he addressed the social problems of his day, and on a visit to New York he was shocked by the contrast between wealth and poverty, and the apparent paradox that the poor in that long-established city were much worse off than the poor in less developed California. He resolved to find a solution and his ideas resulted in the publication of Progress and Poverty in 1879. This remarkable book seeks to explain why poverty exists alongside concentrations of great wealth, arguing that a sizeable portion of the wealth created by social and technological advances in a free market economy is captured by land owners and monopolists via economic rents, and that this concentration of unearned wealth is the root cause of poverty. George considered it a great injustice that private profit was being earned from restricting access to natural resources while productive activity was burdened with heavy taxes - a system he considered equivalent to slavery. He examines various strategies to prevent business depressions, unemployment and poverty, but finds them unsatisfactory. As an alternative he proposes his own solution: a single tax on the annual value of land held as private property. This would be high enough to allow for all other taxes - especially on labour and production - to be abolished, and would give landowners an incentive to use the land productively. By shifting the bargaining balance between resource owners and labourers the general level of wages would be raised and no one need suffer involuntary poverty. The book was a huge success, selling over three million copies, and famous ‘Georgists’ since have included Winston Churchill, Henry Ford, David Lloyd George, Aldous Huxley, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Ambroise Bierce, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, George Bernard Shaw and Albert Einstein, who wrote: ‘Men like Henry George are rare unfortunately. One cannot imagine a more beautiful combination of intellectual keenness, artistic form, and fervent love of justice.’ Another follower of George, Lizzie Magie, created a board game called The Landlord’s Game in 1904 to demonstrate his theories. After further development this led to the modern game of Monopoly. Opposition to Henry George’s ideas by powerful vested interests has largely ensured their exclusion from the mainstream, though those countries influenced by them - Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan - have been successful economically and are relatively egalitarian. Recent calamitous events in the world’s financial system suggest that George’s ideas are more important than ever. Progress and Poverty, the all-time best selling book on economics, is a lucid and beautifully written masterpiece and Bob Drake’s excellent new edited version makes it accessible to all. Reading this book could change your understanding of the world, as well as the world itself. ‘The people must think because the people alone can act.’ - Henry George.

BOOM BUST: HOUSE PRICES, BANKING AND THE DEPRESSION OF 2010 - FRED HARRISON    SHEPHEARD-WALWYN ISBN 0 85683 254 5

The need to re-explore the ideas of Henry George today are only too apparent to anyone who has been reading the headlines over the past year or so. Fred Harrison, one of the few people to warn of the impending crisis, argues here that, though eliminating the damaging swings of the business cycle has been the dream of finance ministers for the last sixty years, they have failed and will continue to fail because they ignore the importance of land in a market economy. Land has been subject to a remarkably regular 18-year cycle of booms and busts which enabled the author to predict with uncanny accuracy the timing of the present property-induced slump and credit crisis. The book suggests that taxes on income should be abolished and replaced with a land tax, as this prevents speculation on the easy profits of owning land (which causes a boom). Without this, the author predicts a depression in 2010, with a peak in land/house prices in 2007/8. Those trying to fathom the next move should note that the basic cycle is a seven-year boom, followed by another seven year period that starts with a recession, then boom and then ‘winners curse’ (short period of very rapid growth), followed by four years of ‘crash’. ‘...for anyone seeking to understand the vagaries of the housing market, this is a fascinating read’ - Jeff Howell, Sunday Telegraph. Shephard-Walwyn has also published GLOBALISATION FOR THE COMMON GOOD (ISBN 0 85683 195 6) in which the economist Dr Kamran Mofid speaks of the failings of current economic orthodoxy, pointing out that despite the vast increase in world trade and many significant achievements in science, technology, medicine, transportation and communication, 2.8 billion people have to live on less than $2 a day and are largely excluded from the benefits of these advances. He blames modern theory, with its narrow focus on self-interest as the sole motivating factor in economics, for this gross disparity and calls for a new vision of economics, embracing human impulses like compassion, cooperation and the common good within an efficient, market based economy, delivering an equitable distribution of wealth in a sustainable environment. For more information, see the website at www.globalisationforthecommongood.info

MARGARET RUTHERFORD - ANDY MERRIMAN    AURUM PRESS

Margaret RutherfordThe sublimely idiosyncratic Dame Margaret Rutherford, born in Balham in 1892, became of this country’s greatest character actresses and remains an indisputable national treasure. She was a cousin of Labour politician Tony Benn and the only child of William Rutherford Benn, who suffered from mental illness for many years. In 1883, he battered his father to death, and the infant Margaret was taken to India, returning to Britain when she was three to live with her saintly aunt, Bessie Nicholson, after her mother died. After working as an elocution teacher, Margaret went into acting, making her stage debut at the Old Vic in 1925 at the age of thirty-three. She soon established her name in comedy, appearing in such classic films as Blithe Spirit, The Importance of Being Earnest (as the definitive Miss Prism), Passport to Pimilico, I’m Alright Jack and four Miss Marple films based on the novels of Agatha Christie, in which Rutherford insisted on wearing her own clothes and having her husband, Stringer Davis, appear alongside her as ‘Mr Stringer’. She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Golden Globe for The V.I.P.s, and was a memorable Mistress Quickly in Orson Welles’ Chimes at Midnight. This new biography, subtitled ‘Dreadnought with Good Manners’, is the first in over 25 years. Andy Merriman interviewed scores of people who knew Margaret Rutherford - colleagues, friends, neighbours and associates - to produce this compassionate, surprising and sometimes shocking portrait of an eccentric, vulnerable, naïve, lovable woman, generous to fault, who delighted audiences with some of the finest comic performances of any British actress. ‘I never intended to play for laughs. I am always surprised that the audience thinks me funny at all.’ - Margaret Rutherford.

A FREEWHEELIN’ TIME - SUZE ROTOLO    AURUM PRESS

Suze RotoloBorn on 24 May 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota, Robert Alan Zimmerman grew up in nearby Hibbing. As Bob Dylan he has gone on to release more than 40 albums since his 1962 debut began to change the world’s perceptions of popular music. Around five hundred songs later, Dylan continues to surprise, challenge, mystify and fascinate in equal measure as he pursues his ‘Never Ending Tour’, having performed thousands of shows around the world in a career spanning five decades. The first volume of his memoirs, Chronicles, was much acclaimed but despite countless words written about him over the years the coolest man on the planet remains, partly by his own choice, an enigma. Suze Rotolo, famously pictured with Dylan on the iconic sleeve of his Freewheelin’ album, was born and raised in Queens, New York, and met him in Greenwich Village in 1961 when she was seventeen years old and he was twenty. This is a wonderfully romantic story of those days and the couple’s sweet though sometimes wrenching love affair as well as its eventual collapse under the pressure of Dylan’s growing fame. Set during the time when Dylan was writing the soundtrack to the cultural revolution, the book describes Rotolo’s relationship with Dylan as well as the exciting Village coffee bar folk music scene at the Gaslight, the Figaro, Rienzi’s, Fat Black Pussy Cat, Cafe Wha and many others. She brings to life the fascinating characters who frequented Greenwich Village and describes her upbringing as a ‘red diaper’ baby - a child of communists during the McCarthy Era. Dylan knew something about left-wing politics from his love of of Woody Guthrie’s work but it was Suze Rotolo who taught him about the importance of organised labour, civil rights and the peace movement. This tender, moving and well-written memoir is essential reading for all fans of ‘The Greatest Songwriter Ever’

BOUNDER! - MCCANN    AURUM ISBN 9781845133184

Born Thomas Terry Hoar-Stevens in Finchley in 1911, Terry-Thomas recreated himself as one of the world's most engaging and distinctive comic actors. With his sly little moustache, broad gap-toothed grin, garish waistcoat and ostentatious cigarette holder, he was known as an absolute bounder, both onscreen and off. In this meticulously researched and hugely entertaining biography, Graham McCann celebrates the life and career of Terry-Thomas, arguing convincingly that he was a likeable bounder rather than a cad, rotter, arriviste or parvenu. Although he came from an ordinary suburban family, Thomas transformed himself at an early age into the dandy and gadabout he wanted to be. Like Cary Grant, he created a character that he played so well it became largely indistinguishable from the man. He put the finishing touches to this persona in the mid-1950s with his groundbreaking TV comedy series How Do You View?, a forerunner of The Goon Show and Monty Python. He went on to carve out a long and lucrative career in America, appearing on television alongside Judy Garland, Bing Crosby and Lucille Ball, and in Hollywood movies with Jack Lemmon, Rock Hudson and Doris Day. He became every American’s idea of a mischievous English gent. Terry-Thomas (motto: ‘I shall not be cowed’) cocked a snook at the dull sobriety of post-war Britain with his infectious humour and became one of the best-loved performers of his generation. Sadly he died in much reduced circumstances in 1990 in comparative obscurity, gravely afflicted by Parkinson’s disease. His influence lives on in Basil Brush, created partly as a tribute to him, and in the work of comedians such as Vic Reeves and Paul Whitehouse, who have declared T-T a role model. As he would say himself: ‘Good show!’

THE HITCHCOCK ANNUAL ANTHOLOGY      WALLFLOWER

Hitchcock AnthologySir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was one of the twentieth century’s most successful film directors, pioneering many techniques in the suspense and thriller genres. Altogether he made more than sixty feature films, from the silent era through to the talkies and the classic colour era into the 1970s. As well as being one of the few publicly recognisable directors, Hitchcock was also hugely influential with other film-makers, including Truffaut, Chabrol and Spielberg, although he famously never won an Oscar. For over 15 years, the Hitchcock Annual has published groundbreaking and authoritative scholarship on the great director and has become the journal of record for Hitchcock studies. Wallflower Press will be taking on the publication of this prestigious volume from 2009, and to begin this new relationship has issued The Hitchcock Annual Anthology, expertly edited by Sidney Gottlieb and Richard Allen. The book features contributions from leading critics such as Charles Barr, Thomas Elsaesser, Bill Krohn, Mark Rappaport, Michael Walker, Robin Wood and Slavoj Zizek, and includes essays on the full range of Hitchcock’s work, from the lesser-known silents to his late American masterpieces, as well as overviews of Hitchcock criticism and interviews and discussions among collaborators. Essential reading for all fans of the man for whom ‘drama is life but with the dull bits cut out’.

POP GOES THE WEASEL - ALBERT JACK    ALLEN LANE

Young children have fun with traditional nursery rhymes while learning new vocabulary, rhythm and rudimentary counting skills. English language examples mostly originated from the 17th century onwards, sometimes having been created as an oral political cartoon at times when dissenting speech could get the speaker imprisoned. Some rhymes are considerably older - Sing a Song of Sixpence being found in written records as far back as the Middle Ages. Some nursery rhymes, such as Mary Had a Little Lamb, originated in the United States, but the most famous collection of nursery rhymes is Charles Perrault's french seventeenth-century collection of fairy tales which became known as Contes de ma mère l’Oie, or Tales of Mother Goose. Many nursery rhymes may have been lost, since they are mainly an oral tradition and poor literacy meant that in the past they were seldom written down. Those that survive often have an intriguing history and Albert Jack explores dozens of them in this irresistible book. Who were little Jack Horner, Dr Foster, Mary Quite Contrary and Georgie Porgie? How could Hey Diddle Diddle offer an essential astronomy lesson? Why do Jack and Jill go up the hill to fetch water when water generally runs downhill? And if Ring a Ring a Roses isn’t about catching the plague, then, what is it really about? This book reveals the surprising hidden meanings of well-known nursery rhymes and songs and discovers all kinds of strange tales ranging from Viking raids to firewalking and from political rebellion to slaves being smuggled to freedom. Childhood songs and rhymes will never sound the same again. See also Albert Jack’s earlier book exploring the oddities of the English language, Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep.

THE BOOK OF RUBBISH IDEAS - TRACEY SMITH   FRAGILE EARTH

Tracey Smith is a writer and broadcaster on sustainable living, and creator of InterNational Downshifting Week. Her avowed aim is to promote simple living by helping us to de-clutter our lives, lean towards the green and pull back from a consumer-driven existence. Described as an interactive room-by-room guide to reducing household waste, The Book of Rubbish Ideas promises to give you all the tools you need to clear out the superfluous stuff that’s cluttering up your home and your life, learn how to avoid unnecessary rubbish and waste, help you to see ‘rubbish’ as a resource and save rubbish, time and money by doing all of the above. The book is an easy reference guide and the author’s practical, straightforward advice, as well as more than a few quirky ideas, should enable you to lead a greener lifestyle while saving money. Discover what we can learn from the Romans, how long it takes wool socks to biodegrade, where to hire a handbag, what to do with you old keys, and much more. Essential reading for these straitened times.

READING THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY - AMMON SHEA  ALLEN LANE ISBN 9781846141980

Deipnophobia is fear of dinner parties, a grinagog is a person who is constantly grinning, and a wine-knight is someone who drinks valiantly. If this is the kind of esoteric information that you treasure then this is the book for you. Ammon Shea shares his New York apartment with his girlfriend and about a thousand dictionaries. Undeterred by car alarms and noisy neighbours, fuelled with coffee and plagued by squinting headaches, he spent a gruelling year reading the 21,730 pages and 59 million words of the world’s most exhaustive, exhausting dictionary so that we don't have to. His book is a personal and very funny account of his time spent lost inside the O.E.D's 20 volumes, where the section devoted to words beginning with the prefix ‘un’, most of them tediously self-explanatory, is twice as long as The Lord of the Rings. Ammon Shea’s book is divided into 26 chapters, one per letter of the alphabet: each is half narrative and half a collection of his favourite words. These span from the incredibly useful (unlove – to cease loving someone, and parabore – a defence against bores) to the downright bizarre (lant – to make ale stronger with urine, and natiform – shaped like buttocks) and take in the eight varieties of drunkenness and other strangely memorable information along the way. This is a curious, eccentric and thoroughly engrossing selection of mostly beautifully useless words excavated by a true vocabularian.

THE CINEMA OF JOHN SAYLES - MARK BOULD   WALLFLOWER

Independent filmmaker John Sayles was born in Schenectady, NY, in 1950, and his interest in storytelling was evident before the age of nine, when he was keen novel reader. He studied psychology at Williams College, and through appearing in plays and summer stock he met many of the people who would become his future collaborators, including actor David Strathairn and Maggie Renzi, who became his producer and off-screen partner. After graduation, Sayles decided on a career as a fiction writer, supporting himself with jobs such as day labourer and meat packer while submitting stories to magazines and eventually publishing two novels. He found additional employment as one of Roger Corman’s B-movie writers in the 1970s, working on Piranha, The Lady in Red and Battle Beyond the Stars. He directed his first film, the poignant Return of the Secaucus 7, in four weeks in 1978. Made for 40,000 dollars, it received critical praise and won awards for Best Screenplay from both Los Angeles and New York film critic groups when it was released in 1980. Since then, Sayles has been an inspiration to independent filmmakers in America and beyond, both for his engaged political filmmaking and as living proof that directors can survive and thrive without the need for mainstream financing. His 1980s films were the counter-punch to the special effects and blockbuster aesthetics of the Star Wars and Spielberg era, and this invaluable book by Mark Bould closely follows his career with analysis of all of his directed works. Through discussion of Return of the Secaucus Seven and films such as The Brother from Another Planet (the story of a mute, black alien who wanders the streets of Harlem), Matewan (a complex study of union politics in a 1920s West Virginia coal-mining town), the much-acclaimed Sunshine State, Silver City and Honeydripper this intelligent and thorough study uncovers themes in his work of racial and sexual otherness, capitalist excess and the erosion of community. With new distribution channels now enabling independent cinema to reach a wider audience than ever before, this timely volume will be of interest to left-wing thinkers, guerrilla filmmakers and all aficionados of independent film. ‘My main interest is making films about people...I’m not interested in cinematic art.’ - John Sayles.

DELTA BLUES - GOIA     NORTON

With original research and keen insights, Ted Gioia - author of a landmark study of West Coast jazz and the critically acclaimed The History of Jazz - brings to life the stirring music of the Delta, evoking the legendary figures who shaped its sound and ethos: Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, B. B. King, and many others, including lesser known yet crucial performers such as Tommy Johnson and ‘Bukka’ White. Tracing the history of the Delta blues from those original field hollers to the exploits of modern-day musicians in the Delta tradition, this indispensable book tells the full story of this timeless and unforgettable music. In this evocative rags-to-riches tale, Gioia shows how the sounds of the Delta altered the course of popular music in America and in the world beyond. Delta Blues is an an impeccably researched, perceptive and engrossing guide to this ‘strange, wonderful music’.

DIRECT CINEMA -DAVE SAUNDERS    WALLFLOWER ISBN 1905674152

Direct CinemaSubtitled ‘Observational Documentary and the Politics of the Sixties’, this is the first comprehensive historical study of the seminal ‘direct cinema’ movement of 1960s America. A pivotal moment in both documentary cinema and modern American culture, filmmakers such as Robert Drew, D. A. Pennebaker and Frederick Wiseman used mobile cameras and synchronised sound to reveal the hidden side of 1960s America - behind the scenes of John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign (Primary, 1960), on the road with salesmen hawking bibles door-to-door (Salesman, 1969) and amongst the revellers at the legendary Woodstock festival (Woodstock, 1970). Outlining the methods and achievements of these pioneers who created the notion of the ‘fly on the wall’ documentary, this volume suggests that direct cinema was an integral part of the artistic and political revolutions of the 1960s, and a resurgence of the United States’ home-grown philosophical ideals. Dave Saunders, a writer, cameraman, editor and lecturer in film studies, has researched these ground-breaking documentaries in depth and shows convincingly how the films reflect the revolutionary politics and radically changing culture of the times. In particular, his analysis of D. A. Pennebaker’s iconic record of Bob Dylan’s 1965 UK tour in Dont Look Back provides shrewd insights into the complex relationship between director and subject. The author also reassesses the impact and relevance of Pennebaker’s effervescent Monterey Pop celebration (1967) and the Maysles bothers’ disturbing requiem for the 1960s counterculture, Gimme Shelter (1970).

THE JAZZ SINGERS: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE    BACKBEAT BOOKS

Jazz singing implies an instrumental approach to the voice, though this can be difficult to define. According to Scott Yanow, author of this invaluable, wide-ranging guide, ‘A jazz singer is a vocalist who improvises at least in subtle ways through notes, words sounds and/or phrasing’. The roots of jazz music were very much vocal, with ‘field hollers’ and ceremonial chants, but whilst the blues maintained a strong vocal tradition, with singers such as Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, early jazz bands only featured vocalists occasionally. Louis Armstrong established singing as a distinct art form in jazz, realising that a singer could improvise in the same manner as instrumentalist, and made scat singing acceptable. Billie Holiday brought a radical new approach to the world of jazz singing in the early 1930s, explaining, in her own words, ‘I don’t feel like I’m singing, I feel like I’m playing the horn’. Both Armstrong and Holiday take pride of place in this book, which also features hundreds of others, from Nat King Cole to Natalie Cole and from the first recorded jazz singer (Marian Harris) to modern day jazz-influenced performers such as Norah Jones. By drawing on original interviews conducted exclusively for the book, along with his own extensive knowledge, Scott Yanow’s alphabetically-arranged guide offers fresh and insightful information on 521 singers as well as a historical overview, a section on jazz vocal groups, and a comprehensive survey of jazz singers in film. The descriptions are commendably readable and astute, encapsulating each singer’s life and achievements with uncanny accuracy and providing an invaluable list of recommended recordings.

MY STROKE OF LUCK - KIRK DOUGLAS   PIATKUS ISBN: 9780749940362

Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch in the poor ghetto district of Amsterdam, New York, in 1916. In a long and successful career he became one of the all-time Hollywood greats, receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Jimmy Carter in 1998 for his involvement in humanitarian causes and a Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 1996. Famous for his cleft chin and gravelly voice, Douglas has starred in dozens of memorable films, including Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Champion, Lust for Life, Paths of Glory and his own favourite, Lonely Are the Brave. He is also a highly successful and critically acclaimed writer and film producer. Relaxing at home one sunny afternoon in 1995, he suddenly felt a strange sensation in his right cheek. When he tried to describe what was happening, all that came out was gibberish. The cinema icon and movie legend was having a stroke. In this heartfelt and inspiring account, Kirk Douglas describes in powerful detail the helplessness and fear he felt following the attack, the depression that took him to the brink of suicide, and the love and support that pulled him through. He also touches on the events of a memorable life and reflects on some of the legends he has worked with, such as John Wayne and Burt Lancaster. Beautifully written, poignant and funny, this is the moving story of a man of dignity and true courage.

DOCUMENTARY DISPLAY - KEITH BEATTIE WALLFLOWER ISBN 9781905674725

The great John Grierson is generally considered to be the father of the documentary. He was the founder of the British documentary movement in the 1930s and is given credit for coining the term ‘documentary film’ and subsequently became the National Film Board of Canada’s first film commissioner. Thanks to Grierson and other pioneers such as Robert Flaherty and Humphrey Jennings, the documentary became a powerful form of communication in the first half of the twentieth century. Some followed the strict concept of documenting reality with the camera, while others used reality as the basis to create their own interpretation of time and place, and the debate over what constitutes a documentary continues. It might be defined as the non-fictional representation of an event that is sequential, objective and accurate, but any filmmaker inevitably makes subjective decisions about what to include and exclude. Subjectivity then continues throughout the editing process. Far from being dull, documentaries often present expressive, entertaining and spectacular images, and Keith Beattie’s invaluable book examines such innovative approaches as they occur within the process of ‘documentary display’ - a practice which emphasises the visual attractions of documentary representation. Works of documentary display explore modes of exhibitionistic ‘showing’ in which sensation is frequently the vehicle of cognition and knowledge. Such a display is analysed within the popular and prominent forms of found-footage film, ‘rockumentary’, the city film, nonfiction surf film and video, and certain views of natural science topics. This is an fascinating and informed study of an art form that has seen a renaissance in recent years..

 

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