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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way

The superb classic memoir from a dazzlingly eccentric and endlessly fascinating author and feminist icon – a woman very much ahead of her time – including her time spent on the glorious island of Skiathos

‘A happy, hilarious book’ Daily Express

Nancy Spain was one of the most celebrated – and notorious – writers and broadcasters of the 50s and 60s. Witty, controversial and brilliant, she lived openly as a lesbian (sharing a household with her two lovers and their various children) and was frequently litigated against for her newspaper columns – Evelyn Waugh successfully sued her for libel… twice.

Nancy Spain had a deep love of the Mediterranean. So it was no surprise when, in the 1960s, she decided to build a place of her own on the Greek island of Skiathos. With an impractical nature surpassed only by her passion for the project, and despite many obstacles, she gloriously succeeded. This classic memoir is infused with all Spain’s chaotic brilliance, zest for life and single-minded pursuit of a life worth living.

Perfect for fans of A PLACE IN THE SUN and ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY

‘Full of fun, and that zest of intelligence that never left her’ Sunday Times
A Tuscan Childhood

A Tuscan Childhood

‘Wonderful … I fell immediately into her world’ Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun

Kinta Beevor was five years old when she fell in love with her parents’ castle facing the Carrara mountains.

She and her brother ran barefoot, exploring an enchanted world. They searched for wild mushrooms in the hills with Fiore the stonemason, and learned how to tickle trout. The freedom and beauty of life at the castle attracted poets, writers and painters, including D.H. Lawrence and Rex Whistler. The other side to Kinta’s childhood was very different, for it was spent with her formidable great aunt, Janet Ross, in a grand villa outside Florence. But soon the old way of life and Kinta’s idyllic world were threatened by war.

Nostalgic, yet unsentimental and funny, A Tuscan Childhood is a book which transports the reader to bohemian, aristocratic Italy and the sound of bells from a distant campanile.
Adrift

Adrift

‘The world is not neatly divided into two camps of women, those who wanted to reproduce and did, and those who didn’t want to, and didn’t. So many of us are caught here, in between, neither one thing nor the other, drifting towards a receding horizon, in our own camp . . .’

When Miranda Ward and her husband decided to have a baby, they were optimistic. There was no reason not to be: they were both young, they were both healthy. But five years, three miscarriages and one ectopic pregnancy later, Ward finds herself still dealing with the ongoing aftermath of that decision: the waiting, the doubting, the despairing, the hoping.

ADRIFT is a memoir about the unique place of almost-motherhood. Some people pass through it without even noticing; others languish there, held safe, held prisoner, by the walls of not-knowing – for as long as there is still a question mark, an open ending, there is a chance of escape.

Inspired by her childhood on the California coast, Ward turns to the water, seeking solace in a landscape of a different kind – the swimming pool. Hoping to make sense of the uncertainty, she begins to ask questions of geography on the most intimate scale. How do we learn to feel at home in our own bodies, even when they disobey? How can we find our way, even when we feel adrift? What language do we have for the spaces in between? Charting a journey through territory at once deeply personal and widely shared, Ward offers a searing, lyrical and radically honest narrative of fertility and motherhood that is less often told.
An Improbable Life

An Improbable Life

‘That life is an extraordinary one … McDonald has grilled some of modern history’s most revered and reviled figures, from Nelson Mandela to Saddam Hussein. In his memoir he offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at these moments and reflects on his own remarkable journey’ RADIO TIMES

‘The broadcasting legend’s autobiography is written in his trademark charming and enigmatic style’ PRIMA

‘As well as the deeply personal Windrush scandal [he] offers an insight into the history that has shaped our world and his’ MY WEEKLY

Sir Trevor McDonald is an extraordinary man – and he has led an improbable life. Now in his 80th year, he is known and loved by people the world over for his humility, charm and natural ease. As a natural storyteller and communicator, he has few equals.

In An Improbable Life, Sir Trevor recounts his personal experience of world events and interviews with globally famous – or notorious – figures. He has witnessed war and death and risked his own life to meet and talk with despots and liberators. We read about his first trip to South Africa, and obtaining the first British television interview with Nelson Mandela; his reflections on the Windrush generation; and experiencing Barack Obama’s momentous inauguration as President of the USA. We are also present at his dramatic meetings with Saddam Hussein (the first and only one by a British television correspondent) and Muammar Gaddafi.

Engaging, intimate and moving, this is the life story of an exceptional journalist and broadcaster who over decades has expertly revealed to us history in the making.
Being a Man

Being a Man

Further adventures in extreme (and not so extreme) sports, from the bestselling author of ANGRY WHITE PYJAMAS.

Having learnt Aikido with the Tokyo riot police (ANGRY WHITE PYJAMAS) and hunted for the world’s longest snake in the jungles of the Far East (BIG SNAKE), Robert Twigger now turns his attention to other traditionally male pursuits and pastimes (some of which are fairly close to home, some of which are more extreme), and looks at the questions these raise about masculinity and the role of man in modern society.

BEING A MAN features Twigger participating in, and writing on: the informal rules and thrill seeking of solo climbing, bullfighting in Spain, the ‘illicit pleasure of buying my first gun’, and the rules of survival with a tribe of Naga headhunters – the sort of activities and pursuits often scorned in the modern, interiorised office-based world.
Belle's Best Bits

Belle's Best Bits

From the summer of 2003 Belle charted her day-to-day adventures on and off the field in a frank, funny and award-winning diaries. She was the first to reveal (among other things) how she became a working girl, what it feels like to do it for money, and where to buy the best knickers for the job. She also discusses her efforts to change from ‘working girl’ to working girl, whilst sneaking off to visit clients in her lunch hour. From debating the literary merits of Martin Amis with naked clients to smuggling whips into luxury hotels, this is a no-holds barred account of the high-class sex-trade, and an insight into the secret life of an extraordinary woman.
Blue

Blue

A Sunday Times top-five bestseller

A searingly honest memoir of life, policing and falling apart

‘Every contact leaves a trace’

John Sutherland joined the Met in 1992, having dreamed of being a police officer since his teens. Rising quickly through the ranks, and compelled by the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives, he worked across the capital, experiencing first-hand the enormous satisfaction as well as the endless trauma that a life in blue can bring.

There were remarkable, career-defining moments: commanding armed sieges, saving lives and helping to take dangerous people off the streets. But for every case with a happy ending, there were others that ended in desperate sadness.

In early 2013, John suffered a major breakdown and consequent battle with crippling depression. After a career spent racing to be the first at the scene of crimes and catastrophes, he found himself in pieces, unable to put one foot in front of the other.

Blue is a memoir of crime and calamity, of adventure and achievement, of friendship and failure, of laughter and loss, of the best and the worst of humanity, of serious illness and slow recovery. With searing honesty, it offers an immensely moving and personal insight into what it is to be a police officer in Britain today.
Busy Being Free

Busy Being Free

‘Alluring, shocking, welcome and wonderful’
Lisa Taddeo, author of Three Women

The most delicious memoir that kept me in bed all day . . . I think she might be a genius’
Sophie Heawood, author of The Hungover Games

‘I’ve really never read about sex and been so sharply reminded about how much it is tied up with the fundamentals of being a woman’
Minnie Driver

From the author of Your Voice in My Head and Royals comes a beautiful, breath-taking, unputdownable memoir about love and heartbreak, sex and celibacy, growing up and starting again.

What happens when your story doesn’t end the way you thought it would?

When the dream life you have been working towards becomes something you must walk away from?

When you swap a Hollywood marriage and a LA mansion with waterside views, for a little attic flat shared only with your daughter, beneath the star-filled sky of deepest North London?

When you find yourself not lonely, but elated – elated to be alone with yourself, who you genuinely thought you might never get to see again?

When, after a life guided by romantic obsession, you decide to turn your back not only on marriage, but all romantic and sexual attachments?
Close But No Cigar

Close But No Cigar

WINNER OF THE CRIME WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION 2017

‘In its tragic absurdity, Close But No Cigar reads like a Graham Greene story, with a cast of characters to make Hemingway proud’ Daily Telegraph

For over a decade Stephen Purvis had been a pillar of Havana’s expat community, one of many foreign businessmen investing in Cuba’s crawl from Cold War communism towards modernity. But for reasons unknown to him he was also under State Security’s microscope. One morning during the height of President Raúl Castro’s purges in 2012, while his family slept, the unmarked Ladas of State Security arrived at his home and he was taken away into the absurd and brutal world of Cuban justice.

In this engrossing memoir, Purvis recounts his fifteen-month ordeal. Accused at first of selling state secrets, he is taken to the notorious interrogation centre Villa Marista, where he endures brutal conditions designed by the KGB and Stasi to break the bodies and minds of spies and political prisoners, and resists the paranoia and incompetence of his jailers. Later, held in a maximum-security prison, he finds himself surrounded by a motley crew of convicts: people-smugglers and drug-runners together with a handful of confused businessmen also awaiting formal charges.

From his arrest to his farcical secret trial and sudden release, Purvis exposes the madness of modern Cuba with wit, grit and a sharp eye for character. As tourists flock to Havana to marvel at a city frozen in time, he shows that despite reforms and international reconciliation the Castro regime remains a corrupt, dictatorial relic. Close But No Cigar is part thriller, part comedy and part morality tale, but most of all a true story that takes the reader into a dark side of a sunny place that remains an enigma.
Crossing the Line

Crossing the Line

‘A love letter to police officers and the most vulnerable people they protect and serve’ CHRISTIE WATSON, author of THE LANGUAGE OF KINDNESS

‘Urgent and compelling. We all have lessons to learn from this book’ SIMON MAYO

As a society, we are captivated by policing; we watch police procedurals and fly-on-the-wall documentaries and absorb the headlines on the rolling news. Yet how much do we really know about the world that policing inhabits and reveals?

In his deeply revealing new book, John Sutherland invites us to step behind the cordon tape and bear witness to the things that he has seen in his twenty-five years of service with the Metropolitan Police. Tackling ten of the biggest challenges facing society today – from alcohol abuse, drug addiction and domestic violence to knife crime, terrorism and sexual offences – we are introduced to people who have been pushed to the limits and beyond. In doing so, we gain a clearer sense of what needs to be done to make our neighbourhoods safer and to transform the lives of those we live alongside. Eye-opening, courageous and moving, CROSSING THE LINE is a book that will change the way you see the world around you.
Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop

Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop

‘A work of significant beauty… Inspiring about the
continuing life of books, and about the ways in which our lives can
change and our dreams can come true, if only we insist on believing in
changes and dreams’
MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM, AUTHOR OF THE HOURS


HOW ONE WOMAN’S DREAM INSPIRED A WHOLE COUNTRY
The diary of a publicist-turned bookseller who left Florence to open a tiny bookshop on a Tuscan hill.
A personal memoir and an uplifting tale of resilience.



‘Romano, I’d like to open a bookshop where I live.’
‘Right. How many people are we talking about?’
‘A hundred and eighty.’
‘Right, so if a hundred and eighty thousand people live there, then . . .’
‘No, not hundred and eighty thousand, Romano. Just a hundred and eighty.’
‘Alba . . . Have you lost your mind?’
Phone conversation between Alba Donati and Romano Montroni, founder of Italy’s largest bookselling chain



Alba used to live a hectic life, working as a book publicist in Florence – a life that made her happy and led her to meet prominent international authors. And yet, she always felt like she was a woman on the run.

And so one day she decides to stop running and go back to Lucignana, the small village on the Tuscan hills where she was born, an hour away from Lucca. There, she opens a tiny bookshop, close to the woods: a lovely little cottage, only open six months a year.

With a total of only 180 residents, Alba’s enterprise in Lucignana seems doomed from day one but it surprisingly sparks the enthusiasm of many across Italy. After surviving a fire and the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the ‘Bookshop on the Hill’ soon becomes a refuge and beacon for an ever-growing community of people.

There is a whole world that gravitates around the bookshop: from the people of the village, who make up a sort of extended family, to Alba’s centenarian mother; from her childhood friends to the many volunteers who help in the day-to-day running of the shop. And the many, many readers who come to visit from afar or place orders online, safe in the knowledge that Alba will be able to find the perfect book for them.
From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity

by Caitlin Doughty Illustrated by Landis Blair
As a practising mortician, Caitlin Doughty has long been fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies. In From Here to Eternity she sets out in search of cultures unburdened by such fears. With curiosity and morbid humour, Doughty introduces us to inspiring death-care innovators, participates in powerful death practices almost entirely unknown in the West and explores new spaces for mourning – including a futuristic glowing-Buddha columbarium in Japan, a candlelit Mexican cemetery, and America’s only open-air pyre. In doing so she expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with ‘dignity’ and reveals unexpected possibilities for our own death rituals.
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