03 March 2017 UK Books

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UK Books + Archive

March 2017 : New Titles

A personal selection from a plethora of titles …

Fiction

Susan Hill | From the Heart | Chatto & Windus 9781784741648 | £10.99 | 2nd

You’re a young woman. You can choose. Which career to pursue. Who to have sex with. Who to marry and have children — or not — with. This is now.

Step into the shoes of Olive. You’re a happy, open-hearted girl. Your (tricky) mother is dead and you live with your father in a solid, Edwardian house with apple trees in the garden. Your passion for books gets you easily into university, where the world is surely waiting for you.

There, you meet a boy. But then you make a mistake – the kind any one of us could make – and face an impossible choice. You are young, still, and full of hope. You can’t possibly know how that mistake will sit in your heart. Or that when you get a job at a school you will fall in love with an older colleague. But the affair must stay secret; the world won’t have it any other way.

All you have ever wanted is for your heart to be free. But you are living in a time and place where freedoms we now take for granted had the power to destroy.

Boundary by Andrée A Michaud

Andrée Michaud | Boundary | No Exit Press 9781843449980 | £14.99 | 23rd

It’s the Summer of 1967. The sun shines brightly over Boundary lake, a holiday haven on the US-Canadian border. Families relax in the heat, happy and carefree. Hours tick away to the sound of radios playing ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ and ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’. Children run along the beach as the heady smell of barbecues fills the air. Zaza Mulligan and Sissy Morgan, with their long, tanned legs and silky hair, relish their growing reputation as the red and blond Lolitas.

Life seems idyllic.But then Zaza disappears, and the skies begin to cloud over…

 

War Cry Hardcover by Wilbur Smith

Wilbur Smith | War Cry | HarperCollins 9780007535866 | £20 | 23rd

‘That time is upon us. I can feel it coming. That evil barbarian will not be satisfied until he has engulfed the whole world in war and death. I fear for us all.’

In a triumphant return to his much-loved Courtney series, Wilbur Smith introduces us to the bravest new member of the famed family, Saffron Courtney.

Saffron grows up on a sprawling Kenyan estate, under the watchful eye of her father, prominent businessman and distinguished war veteran Leon Courtney. Her childhood is idyllic, until a family tragedy forces her to grow up much faster than necessary. As she grows into a spirited teenager, her thirst for knowledge and adventure leads her to England, where she finds herself inevitably drawn into the heart of the gathering storm in the lead up to World War II.

Gerhard von Meerbach is the privileged and idealistic younger brother of Konrad von Meerbach, heir to an industrial fortune, and vocal supporter of the Nazi Party. Gerhard struggles to stay true to his principles in an increasingly cruel world. His friendship with a Jewish man places him in danger, and forces him to take a stand against the forces of evil that have overtaken his country and his family. But, unknown to him, he is caught in a trap that could cost him everything he holds dear.

As the Second World War looms over them all, Saffron and Gerhard’s worlds will collide but will there be more to unite them than tear them apart?

A love story in the time of heroes, War Cry is the latest breath-taking episode in Wilbur Smith’s epic account of one beloved family.

 

Non-fiction

Richard Barnett | The Smile Stealers | Thames & Hudson 9780500519110 | £19.95 | 

This achingly jawdropping book follows the evolution of dentistry throughout the world from the Bronze Age to the present day, presenting captivating and grim illustrations of the tools and techniques of dentistry through the ages. Organized chronologically, The Smile Stealers interleaves beautiful and gruesome technical illustrations and paintings from the Wellcome Collection’s unique archive of material from Europe, America and the Far East with seven authoritative and eloquent themed articles from medical historian Richard Barnett. A comprehensive review of the development of the trade and discipline of dentistry, it covers topics as diverse as the very first dentures (produced by the Etruscans in the seventh century bce); the smile revolution in 18th-century portraiture; and the role of dentistry in forensic science – all in one beautifully illustrated volume. Extending the cult of the medically macabre begun by its predecessors The Sick Rose and Crucial Interventions, The Smile Stealers is guaranteed to appeal to lovers of the horrific and the beautiful alike as it probes the growth of dentistry – from pulling out bad teeth to reconstructing jaws, and from painful action to pain-free interventions and the pursuit of the perfect smile.

The Vietnam War: The Definitive Illustrated History (Dk)

Dorling Kindersley | The Vietnam War | Dorling Kindersley 9780241286821 | £25 | 30th

The Vietnam War is the definitive illustrated history of the world’s first televised war.

Compiling insightful maps, at-a-glance timelines, and incredible archive photography, The Vietnam War is an all-encompassing showcase of the story of the conflict, and a reflection on modern issues of battle such as prisoners of war and civil rights.

Detailed descriptions of every episode, from Operation Passage to Freedom to the evacuation of the US embassy in Saigon, are enhanced by the stories of those who witnessed the drama unfold. Eyewitness features pick out iconic photographs and individual tales, giving you a truly immersive look at the events of the Vietnam War.

Discover the stories of the conflict’s most significant figures, with detailed biographies of Henry Kissinger, General Thieu, President Nixon, and Pol Pot. Hundreds of incredible images are brought together to form an incredible visual record of the suffering, sacrifice, and heroism in America’s bloodiest conflict of the 20th century.

Harold Evans | Do I Make Myself Clear? | Little, Brown  9781408709665 | £20 | 2nd

Harry Evans has edited everything from the urgent files of battlefield reporters to the complex thought processes of Henry Kissinger, and he has been knighted for his services to journalism. In Do I Make Myself Clear?,his definitive guide to writing well, Evans brings his indispensable insight to the art of clear communication.

The right words are oxygen to our ideas, but the digital era, with all of its TTYL, LMK and WTF, has been cutting off that oxygen flow. The compulsion to be precise has vanished from our culture, and in writing of all kinds we see a trend towards more – more speed and more information, but far less clarity. Evans provides practical examples of how editing and rewriting can make for better communication, even in the digital age.

DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR? is an essential text, and one that will provide every reader an editor at their shoulder.

Donna Freitas and Christian Smith | The Happiness Effect | OUP 9780190239855 | £20 | 1st

Sexting. Cyberbullying. Narcissism. People-and especially the media-are consumed by fears about the effect of social media on young people. We hear constantly about the dangers that lurk online, and about young people’s seemingly pathological desire to share anything and everything about themselves with the entire world. Donna Freitas has traveled the country, talking to college students about what’s really happening on social media. What she finds is that, while we focus on the problems that make headlines, we are ignoring the seemingly mundane, but much more widespread, problems that occur every day.

Young people, she shows, feel enormous pressure to look happy all the time-and not just basically content, but blissful, ecstatic, inspiring and successful in their personal, professional, and academic lives-regardless of how they actually feel. Of course, these young adults are not that happy, at least not all of the time, and the constant exposure to the seemingly perfect lives of other people on social media only makes them feel worse. What’s more, far from wanting to share everything about themselves, they are terrified of sharing something that will come back to haunt them later in life. The rise of social media has brought about a dramatic cultural shift: the need to curate a perfect identity online that often has little to do with reality. The consequences, Freitas shows, can be very real.

Drawing on an online survey and in-person interviews with students from thirteen campuses around the U.S, Freitas offers a window into the social media generation and how they use Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter, and other online platforms. She presents fascinating insights about how these people are consciously creating alternate identities for themselves, while also suffering from the belief that the other people they encounter online really are as perfect as their profiles appear. This is an eye-opening look at the real world of social media today.

Acknowledgements : Amazon UK

The Durrells of Corfu

Michael Haag | The Durrells of Corfu | Profile 9781781257883 | pbk | £8.99 | 23rd

Simon Nye’s TV series, The Durrells, is based loosely on Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy and in particular his much-loved bestseller, My Family and Other Animals. These books in turn are based somewhat loosely on actual events. The real-life Durrells went to Corfu at the urging of Lawrence Durrell, who was already living on the island with his wife, Nancy Myers. Their intent was to keep the family together as his mother, Louisa, was drinking heavily and recovering from a breakdown; ‘We can be proud of the way we brought her up,’ Larry said, only half-jokingly, of the family’s subsequent Corfu sojourn.

Michael Haag’s book covers the background to the Durrell family’s years in Corfu, including their time in India, where all the children were born, and where their father, a brilliant civil engineer, had died. It recalls the real life characters the Durrells encountered on Corfu, notably the biologist and poet Theodore Stephanides, and the taxi driver, Spiros Halikiopoulos. And Haag tells the story of how the Durrells left Corfu, including Margo’s return intent on joining the Greek resistance, and Leslie’s romance in England with the family’s Corfite maid and friend, Maria Kondos. Further chapters cover what happened to the family in later life; here, Lawrence and Gerald Durrell’s biographies are well known, but little has previously been written of Margo, Leslie and Louisa. Haag has fascinating stories to tell of them all.

Charles Spence | Gastrophysics | Viking 9780241270080 | £16.99 | 30th

Why do we consume 35% more food when eating with one more person, and 75% more when with three? Why are 27% of drinks bought on aeroplanes tomato juice? How are chefs and companies planning to transform our dining experiences, and what can we learn from their cutting-edge insights to make memorable meals at home?

These are just some of the ingredients of Gastrophysics, in which the pioneering Oxford professor Charles Spence shows how our senses link up in the most extraordinary ways, and reveals the importance of all the ‘off-the-plate’ elements of a meal: the weight of cutlery, the placing on the plate, the background music and much more. Whether dining alone or at a dinner party, on a plane or in front of the TV, he reveals how to understand what we’re tasting and influence what others experience. Mealtimes will genuinely never be the same again.

Luke Stephenson and Helen Champion | The Clown Egg Register | Particular Books 9781846149085 | £12.99 | 31st

For clown lovers and art lovers alike, the only collection of clown faces painted on eggs anywhere in the world

The Clown Egg Register is a unique record of two hundred and fifty clown faces, each one painted on to an egg. The eggs act as copyright for a clown’s personal visual identity, preserving the unwritten rule that a clown must never copy the face of another. It is a tradition that began in the United Kingdom in the 1940s at Clowns International, the oldest established club for clowns.

In this book, the inimitably eccentric collection of images is paired with biographies of each clown, revealing details of their private and public lives, and giving a glimpse into this outmoded art form that continues to delight and terrify children everywhere.

Andy Tuohy and Caroline Taggart | A – Z Great Modern Writers | Cassell 9781844039135 | £14.99 | 9th

A uniquely visual, fun introduction to 52 of the greatest writers of the modern age, from A (Maya Angelou, Chinua Achebe, Margaret Atwood) to Z (Stefan Zweig) via Samuel Beckett, Gunter Grass, Marcel Proust, R.K. Narayan, Virginia Woolf and more.

A uniquely visual, fun introduction to 52 of the greatest writers of the modern age, from A (Maya Angelou, Chinua Achebe, Margaret Atwood) to Z (Stefan Zweig) via Samuel Beckett, Gunter Grass, Marcel Proust, R.K. Narayan, Virginia Woolf and more.

Artist and graphic designer Andy Tuohy turns his hand to the world of modern literature in this new instalment of the A-Z series. Rendered in his distinctive style, this new book features portraits of 52 key modern writers significant for their contribution to literature, with a whole host of names from across the world including Simone de Beauvoir, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kazuo Ishiguro, Doris Lessing, Salman Rushdie and Vladimir Nabokov. Best-selling author Caroline Taggart provides a crib sheet of everything you need to know about each author: why they are important in the field of literature, a list of their must-read books, and a surprising fact or two about them. Alongside Andy’s portraits, the book features additional imagery, including book covers and author photographs.

A fun, easy guide to some of the best writers of modern times, this is a great gift for anyone who wants to broaden their literary horizons.

Carla Valentine | Past Mortems | Sphere 9780751565324 | pbk | £12.99 | 16th

A day in the life of Carla Valentine – curator, pathology technician and ‘death professional’ – is not your average day. She spent ten years training and working as an Anatomical Pathology Technologist: where the mortuary slab was her desk, and that day’s corpses her task list.

Past Mortems tells Carla’s stories of those years, as well as investigating the body alongside our attitudes towards death – shedding light on what the living can learn from dead and the toll the work can take on the living souls who carry it out. Fascinating and insightful, Past Mortems reveals the truth about what happens when the mortuary doors swing shut or the lid of the coffin closes . . .

Acknowledgements : Amazon UK

Paperbacks

Fiction

Harriette Arnow | The Dollmaker | Vintage 9781784871871 | £8.99 | 2nd

Gertie is the young mother of five children – uneducated, determined, strong. Her only ambition is to own her own small farm in the Kentucky hills where she lives, to become self-sufficient and free.

Whenever the struggle to live off the land eases, her inarticulate imagination takes its freedom and flies. Because Gertie is also an artist, a sculptor of wood and creator of beautiful handmade dolls.

When the family is forced to move to industrial Detroit, with its pre-fab houses, appliances bought on credit and neighbours on every side, life turns into an incomprehensible, lonely nightmare. Gertie realises she must adapt to a life where land, family and creativity are replaced by just one thing: the constant need for money.

Georges Simenon | Maigret and the Man on the Bench | Penguin 9780241277447 | £7.99 | 2nd

Were these yellow shoes part of the reason Maigret was so interested in this man? He would never admit it, but for years he too had longed to wear olive-green shoes. They were fashionable at the time, along with those very short beige raincoats.

Dag Solstad | Novel 11, Book 18 | Vintage 9781784704988 | £8.99 | 2nd

Bjørn Hansen, a respectable town treasurer, has just turned fifty and is horrified by the thought that chance has ruled his life. Eighteen years ago he left his wife and their two-year-old son for his mistress, who persuaded him to start afresh in a small, provincial town and to dabble in amateur dramatics. But as time passes, this relationship begins to wilt and die as well.

After four years of living comfortably alone, Bjørn starts entertaining a dangerous course of action that will change his life beyond recognition. This urge to gamble with his comfortable existence becomes irresistible, taking Bjørn to Vilnius, Lithuania, with Dr Schiøtz his fellow conspirator, where he cannot tell whether he’s tangled up in a game or an absurd new reality.

Mothering Sunday

Graham Swift | Mothering Sunday | Scribner 9781471155246 | £8.99 | 9th

From the Booker-winning author of Last Orders and Waterland comes a long-awaited new novel – ‘Mothering Sunday is bathed in light; and even when tragedy strikes, it blazes irresistibly… Swift’s small fiction feels like a masterpiece’ Guardian

It is March 30th 1924. It is Mothering Sunday.

How will Jane Fairchild, orphan and housemaid, occupy her time when she has no mother to visit? How, shaped by the events of this never to be forgotten day, will her future unfold?

Beginning with an intimate assignation and opening to embrace decades, Mothering Sunday has at its heart both the story of a life and the life that stories can magically contain. Constantly surprising, joyously sensual and deeply moving, it is Graham Swift at his thrilling best.

Non-fiction

 

Rebecca Gowers | Horrible Words | Particular Books 9780141978970 | £8.99 | 30th

 

Nothing inflames the language gripers like a misplaced disinterested, an illogical irregardless, a hideous operationalisation. To purists these are ‘howlers’ and ‘non-words’, fit only for scorn. But in their rush to condemn such terms, are the naysayers missing something?

In this provocative and hugely entertaining book, Rebecca Gowers throws light on a great array of horrible words, and shows how the diktats of the pedants are repeatedly based on misinformation, false reasoning and straight-up snobbery. The result is a brilliant work of history, a surreptitious introduction to linguistics, and a mischievous salute to the misusers of the language. It is also a bold manifesto asserting our common rights over English, even as it questions the true nature of style.


Daniel Hahn | The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature | £12.99 | 23rd

The last thirty years have witnessed one of the most fertile periods in the history of children’s books: the flowering of imaginative illustration and writing, the Harry Potter phenomenon, the rise of young adult and crossover fiction, and books that tackle extraordinarily difficult subjects. The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature provides an indispensable and fascinating reference guide to the world of children’s literature. Its 3,500 entries cover every genre from fairy tales to chapbooks; school stories to science fiction; comics to children’s hymns.

Originally published in 1983, the Companion has been comprehensively revised and updated by Daniel Hahn. Over 900 new entries bring the book right up to date. A whole generation of new authors and illustrators are showcased, with books like Dogger, The Hunger Games, and Twilight making their first appearance. There are articles on developments such as manga, fan fiction, and non-print publishing, and there is additional information on prizes and prizewinners.

This accessible A to Z is the first place to look for information about the authors, illustrators, printers, publishers, educationalists, and others who have influenced the development of children’s literature, as well as the stories and characters at their centre. Written both to entertain and to instruct, the highly acclaimed Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature is a reference work that no one interested in the world of children’s books should be without.

Acknowledgements : Amazon UK

Mervyn King | The End of Alchemy | Little, Brown 9780349140674 | £10.99 | 9th

The former Governor of the Bank of England argues for fundamental changes to the financial system in order to reduce the risk of a new crisis.

The past twenty years saw unprecedented growth and stability followed by the worst financial crisis the industrialised world has ever witnessed. In the space of little more than a year what had been seen as the age of wisdom was viewed as the age of foolishness. Almost overnight, belief turned into incredulity.

Most accounts of the recent crisis focus on the symptoms and not the underlying causes of what went wrong. But those events, vivid though they remain in our memories, comprised only the latest in a long series of financial crises since our present system of commerce became the cornerstone of modern capitalism. Alchemy explains why, ultimately, this was and remains a crisis not of banking – even if we need to reform the banking system – nor of policy-making – even if mistakes were made – but of ideas.

In this refreshing and vitally important book, former governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King – an actor in this drama – proposes revolutionary new concepts to answer the central question: are money and banking a form of Alchemy or are they the Achilles heel of a modern capitalist economy?

 

Zachary Leader | The Life of Saul Bellow | Vintage 9780099520931 | £20 | 2nd

The Life of Saul Bellow by Zachary Leader is the first biography since the author’s death and the first to discuss his life and work in its entirety. Leader has been granted unprecedented access to Bellow’s papers, including much previously restricted material and has conducted interviews with Bellow’s relatives, close friends, colleagues and lovers.

The first volume spans the period from Bellow’s birth in 1915 in Lachine, Canada, to the publication of Herzog in 1964. Herzog made Bellow rich as well as famous. By the time of its publication, he was probably the most acclaimed writer in America. The critic James Wood has called him ‘the greatest writer of American prose in the twentieth century’. Leader’s biography shows how this American prose, with its exhilarating mix of high culture and low, came into existence. It also traces Bellow’s turbulent life away from the desk, as polemicist, teacher, husband, father, and lover. Fierce in his loyalties, Bellow was no less fierce in his enmities, combative in defence of his freedoms. A handsome and seductive man, he was also elusive, with a charm Philip Roth has described as ‘like a moat so oceanic that you could not even see the great turreted and buttressed thing it had been dug to protect. You couldn’t even find the drawbridge.’ This biography shows what it was like both to meet Bellow and to be him. It takes the full measure of the man and his work.

Donald Sturrock | Love From Boy | John Murray 9781444786286 | £8.99 | 2nd

‘Dear Mama,
I am having a lovely time here. We play football every day here. The beds have no springs . . .’

So begins the first letter that a nine-year-old Roald Dahl penned to his mother, Sofie Magdalene, under the watchful eye of his boarding-school headmaster. For most of his life, Roald Dahl would continue to write weekly letters to his mother, chronicling his adventures, frustrations and opinions, from the delights of childhood to the excitements of flying as a World War II fighter pilot and the thrill of meeting top politicians and movie stars during his time as a diplomat and spy in Washington. And, unbeknown to Roald, his mother lovingly kept every single one of them.

Sofie was, in many ways, Roald’s first reader. It was she who encouraged him to tell stories and nourished his desire to fabricate, exaggerate and entertain. Reading these letters, you can see Roald practicing his craft, developing the dark sense of humour and fantastical imagination that would later produce such timeless tales as The BFG, Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches.
The letters in Love from Boy are littered with jokes and madcap observations; sometimes serious, sometimes tender, and often outrageous. To eavesdrop on a son’s letters to his mother is to witness Roald Dahl turning from a boy to a man, and finally becoming a writer.