Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christmas Ideas: Biography

The Diary of a Bookseller, Shaun Bythell - £14.99
Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown - Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover's paradise? Well, almost ...

In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

Adventures of a Young Naturalist, Sir David Attenborough - £25
In 1954, a young David Attenborough was offered the opportunity of a lifetime - to travel the world finding rare and elusive animals for London Zoo's collection, and to film the expeditions for the BBC for a new show called Zoo Quest.

This is the story of those voyages. Staying with local tribes while trekking in search of giant anteaters in Guyana, Komodo dragons in Indonesia and armadillos in Paraguay, he and the rest of the team battled with cannibal fish, aggressive tree porcupines and escape-artist wild pigs, as well as treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather, to record the incredible beauty and biodiversity of these regions. 

The methods may be outdated now, but the fascination and respect for the wildlife, the people and the environment - and the importance of protecting these wild places - is not.Written with Attenborough's trademark wit and charm, Adventures of a Young Naturalist is not just the story of a remarkable adventure, but of the man who made us fall in love with the natural world, and who is still doing so today.

Mr Lear : A Life of Art and Nonsense, Jenny Uglow - £25
Acclaimed historian Jenny Uglow brings us a fascinating and beautifully illustrated biography of Edward Lear, full of the colour of the age.  Edward Lear lived a vivid, fascinating, energetic life, but confessed, 'I hardly enjoy any one thing on earth while it is present.'  He was a man in a hurry, 'running about on railroads' from London to country estates and boarding steamships to Italy, Corfu, India and Palestine. He is still loved for his 'nonsenses', from startling, joyous limericks to great love songs like 'The Owl and the Pussy Cat' and 'The Dong with a Luminous Nose', and he is famous, too, for his brilliant natural history paintings, landscapes and travel writing. But although Lear belongs solidly in the age of Darwin and Dickens - he gave Queen Victoria drawing lessons, and his many friends included Tennyson and the Pre-Raphaelite painters - his genius for the absurd and his dazzling word-play make him a very modern spirit.

He speaks to us today.  Lear was a man of great simplicity and charm: children adored him, yet his humour masked epilepsy, depression and loneliness. Jenny Uglow's beautifully illustrated biography, full of the colour of the age, brings us his swooping moods, passionate friendships and restless travels/ Above all it shows how this uniquely gifted man lived all his life on the boundaries of rules and structures, disciplines and desires - an exile of the heart.

Freud : The Making of An Illusion, Frederick Crews - £30
From the master of Freud debunkers, the book that definitively puts an end to the myth of psychoanalysis and its creator. Sigmund Freud is one of the most influential figures of western society. His ideas transformed the way that we think about our minds, our selves and even our thoughts.

But while he was undeniably a visionary thinker, Freud's legend was also the work of years of careful mythologizing, and a fierce refusal to accept criticism or scrutiny of his often unprincipled methods. In Freud: The Making of an Illusion, Frederick Crews dismantles Freud's totemic reputation brick by brick. Looking at recently revealed correspondence, he examines Freud's own personality, his selfishness, competitiveness and willingness to cut corners and exploit weaknesses to get his own way.

He explores Freud's whole-hearted embracing of cocaine as a therapeutic tool, and the role it played in his own career. And he interrogates Freud's intellectual legacy, exposing how many of his ideas and conclusions were purely speculative, or taken wholesale from others. As acidic as it is authoritative, this critique of the man behind the legend is compulsory reading for anyone interested in Freudianism.

Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker, A.N. Wilson - £25
Charles Darwin: The man who discovered evolution? The man who killed off God? Or a flawed man of his age, part genius, part ruthless careerist who would not acknowledge his debts to other thinkers?  In this bold new life - the first single volume biography in twenty-five years - A. N. Wilson, the acclaimed author of The Victorians and God's Funeral, goes in search of the celebrated but contradictory figure Charles Darwin.  Darwin was described by his friend and champion, Thomas Huxley, as a 'symbol'.

But what did he symbolize? In Wilson's portrait, both sympathetic and critical, Darwin was two men. On the one hand, he was a naturalist of genius, a patient and precise collector and curator who greatly expanded the possibilities of taxonomy and geology. On the other hand, Darwin, a seemingly diffident man who appeared gentle and even lazy, hid a burning ambition to be a universal genius.

He longed to have a theory which explained everything.  But was Darwin's 1859 master work, On the Origin of Species, really what it seemed, a work about natural history? Or was it in fact a consolation myth for the Victorian middle classes, reassuring them that the selfishness and indifference to the poor were part of nature's grand plan? Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker is a radical reappraisal of one of the great Victorians, a book which isn't afraid to challenge the Darwinian orthodoxy while bringing us closer to the man, his revolutionary idea and the wider Victorian age.

Endurance : A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery, Scott Kelly - £20
From the Nasa astronaut who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station - what it's like out there and what it's like now, back here. Enter Scott Kelly's fascinating world and dare to think of your own a little differently. The veteran of four space flights and the American record holder for most consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few of us ever have and very few of us ever will.

Kelly's humanity, compassion, humour, and passion shine as he describes navigating the extreme challenge of long-term spaceflight, both existential and banal. He touches on what's happened to his body, the sadness of being isolated from everyone he loves; the pressures of constant close cohabitation; the catastrophic risks of colliding with space junk, and the still more haunting threat of being absent should tragedy strike at home. From a natural storyteller Endurance is one of the finest examples the triumph of the human imagination, the strength of the human will, and the boundless wonder of the galaxy.

Christmas Ideas: Cookery and Craft

Literary Yarns : Crochet Patterns Inspired By Classic Books, Cindy Wang - £11.99
What s the perfect gift for your friend who loves literature? How about an adorable crocheted Moby Dick? Or a delightfully miniature Elizabeth Bennet? Or an elegant and fuzzy Jay Gatsby? Whether you need some holiday decor (Ebenezer Scrooge!) or want to craft your own nursery decor (the White Rabbit), Literary Yarns is full of adorable amigurumi for book lovers of all ages. 

The easy-to-follow patterns are drawn 18 classic novels, plays, and poetry. Make them for your friends, decorate your house, or use them as pretty much the cutest action figures imaginable.  The materials are readily available and the instructions are suitable for crafters with beginning crochet skills.

Protest Knits, Geraldine Warner - £9.99
Protest Knits is the book for you. From pussy hats to protest scarfs and political pin cushions to shy anarchist socks. Make your point with a crochet hook or pair of knitting needles. From the easy peasy to the more complex, here are more than 15 projects for some crafty therapy.

Knitting and handicrafts have a long history in protesting - the pussy hat project has been particularly successful but it joins a long tradition of crafty activism. In Canada, there's the Revolutionary Knitting Circle, which first made headlines for their protest at the 2002 G8 summit. Australia has the Knitting Nannas, who protest about environmental issues by holding 'knit-ins'. In the UK, activists from Wool Against Weapons knitted a seven-mile-long pink 'peace scarf' to protest against the country's Trident nuclear weapon programme. Then, a year later, they repurposed it into thousands of blankets for those in need in warzones and developing nations. And down in Chile, it's the hombres tejedores (knitting men) who break down stereotypes and teach other men to embrace the creative hobby.

In cities across the world, 'yarn bombing' reclaims urban spaces with a pair of needles, covering everyday items in brightly coloured knits. Like other forms of graffiti, yarn bombing can convey a message of protest - or it can just be street art for the sake of art. Knitting for change is a global activity. So get your needles and hooks out and change the world.

Really Cross Stitch - £9.99
Inspired by the banners and signs at recent marches around the world, Really Cross Stitch takes all that anger, outrage and protest and puts it inside a pretty, decorative border. Along with some snarky commentary and general annoyance.  Featuring more than 40 truly original cross stitch designs, the book also contains instructions on techniques for new stitchers.

Stitching for public protest is not new. First-wave feminists in the US and in Britain used needlework in their demonstrations and public protest lectures during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Needlework and other handcrafts, however, declined throughout the twentieth century, with second-wave feminists arguing against 'the oppression of the needle'. In the 21st century however there has been a steep resurgence and many are turning to crafting, especially needlework, as an activist strategy. In Knitting for Good, feminist Betsy Greer makes this point strongly when she proclaims, 'I think every act of making is an act of revolution.'

River Cafe 30 - £28        
With River Cafe 30, Ruth Rogers and her head-chefs, Joseph Trivelli and Sian Wyn Owen, invite you to join them in marking 30 years of memories and good food at London's The River Cafe. 

Since 1987, The River Cafe has championed simple, good quality Italian cooking and, along with Ruth and Rose's cookbooks, it really did change the way we eat. Ruth, Joseph and Sian have revisited and updated the best dishes from the first blue cookbook and introduce 30 new favourites from the menus today - Panzanella, Ravioli with Ricotta, Raw Tomato and Basil, Risotto with Porcini and Girolles, Braised Beef Fillet and, of course, Chocolate Nemesis.

Including Ruth's memories and unseen archive images, Rose's careful tips and hand-drawn illustrations, new photography by Jean Pigozzi and Matthew Donaldson, bespoke menu artworks from the restaurant's friends and 120 classic Italian recipes, River Cafe 30 encapsulates the essence of the restaurant and its food. This is a beautiful cookbook of recipes you'll want to cook time and again - a must-have for all food lovers.

Comfort: Delicious Bakes and Family Treats, Candice Brown - £20
Secondary school teacher and pub landlord's daughter Candice Brown stole the show with her amazing bakes and weekly lipstick change in The Great British Bake Off tent of 2016. This year the Sunday Times columnist has brought out her first cookbook - all about home comforts.

These are the recipes Candice learned to bake from her nan and mum, recipes close to her heart, that should be served up as a big generous slice - and preferably on a vintage plate if you have one.  Candice's recipes are easy to make, no nonsense and hearty.  She has a recipe up her sleeve for every occasion - for baking with kids, birthday parties for all ages, Christmas, afternoon tea, quick savoury bakes for weeknights and fancier recipes for weekends.

Fantasy Cakes : Magical Recipes for Fanciful Bakes,  Angela Romeo - £16.99
Bake your dreams come true with this stunning collection of over 60 recipes for modern occasion cakes that will delight and surprise. Includes glitter, mermaids, unicorns, rainbows, drip cakes and more!  Even the wildest of imaginations will be satisfied with this collection of fantastical recipes. From trendy drip cakes to surprise inside centres, creative flavours and finishes ensure every fun celebration is catered for with a beautiful fantasy-themed centrepiece.

For that person in your life who loves a little bit of bling and sparkle, for the young at heart, the daydreamers and the glamorous people for whom a victoria sponge simply won't do. Each recipe includes detailed instructions to ensure that even novice bakers can create something truly sensational. A selection of basic sponge recipes includes gluten-free and vegan versions so that no one is left out of the fun.

The Little Library Cookbook, Kate Young - £25
Paddington Bear's marmalade, a Neopolitan pizza with Elena Ferrante, afternoon tea at Manderley... Here are 100 delicious recipes inspired by cookery writer Kate Young's well-stocked bookshelves. From Before Noon breakfasts and Around Noon lunches to Family Dinners and Midnight Feasts, The Little Library Cookbook captures the magic and wonder of the meals enjoyed by some of our best-loved fictional characters.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Christmas Ideas: History Books


1517 : Martin Luther and the Invention of the Reformation, Peter Marshall - £16.99
Martin Luther's posting of the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517 is one of the most famous events of Western history. It inaugurated the Protestant Reformation, and has for centuries been a powerful and enduring symbol of religious freedom of conscience, and of righteous protest against the abuse of power. But did it actually really happen? 

In this engagingly-written, wide-ranging and insightful work of cultural history, leading Reformation historian Peter Marshall reviews the available evidence, and concludes that, very probably, it did not.

The theses-posting is a myth. And yet, Marshall argues, this fact makes the incident all the more historically significant. In tracing how - and why - a 'non-event' ended up becoming a defining episode of the modern historical imagination.

Marshall compellingly explores the multiple ways in which the figure of Martin Luther, and the nature of the Reformation itself, have been remembered and used for their own purposes by subsequent generations of Protestants and others - in Germany, Britain, the United States and elsewhere. As people in Europe, and across the world, prepare to remember, and celebrate, the 500th anniversary of Luther's posting of the theses, this book offers a timely contribution and corrective. The intention is not to 'debunk', or to belittle Luther's achievement, but rather to invite renewed reflection on how the past speaks to the present - and on how, all too often, the present creates the past in its own image and likeness.


A History of Britain in 21 Women, Jenni Murray - £9.99
They were famous queens, unrecognised visionaries, great artists and trailblazing politicians. They all pushed back boundaries and revolutionised our world. Jenni Murray presents the history of Britain as you've never seen it before, through the lives of twenty-one women who refused to succumb to the established laws of society, whose lives embodied hope and change, and who still have the power to inspire us today.


Six Minutes in May, Nicholas Shakespeare - £20
London, early May 1940: Britain is on the brink of war and Neville Chamberlain's government is about to fall. It is hard for us to imagine the Second World War without Winston Churchill taking over at the helm, but in Six Minutes in May Nicholas Shakespeare shows how easily events could have gone in a different direction. The first land battle of the war was fought in the far north, in Norway.

It went disastrously for the Allies and many blamed Churchill. Yet weeks later he would rise to the most powerful post in the country, overtaking Chamberlain and the favourite to succeed him, Lord Halifax. It took just six minutes for MPs to cast the votes that brought down Chamberlain.

Shakespeare shows us both the dramatic action on the battlefield in Norway and the machinations and personal relationships in Westminster that led up to this crucial point. Uncovering fascinating new research and delving deep into the backgrounds of the key players, he has given us a new perspective on this critical moment in our history.

The Crown, Robert Lacey - £20
The official book to the Golden Globe and BAFTA award-winning Netflix drama, The Crown, with extensive research, additional material and beautifully reproduced photographs.  Elizabeth Mountbatten never expected her father to die so suddenly, so young, leaving her with a throne to fill and a global institution to govern. Crowned at 25, she was already a wife and mother.

Follow the journey of a woman learning to become a queen.  As Britain lifted itself out of the shadow of war, the new monarch faced her own challenges. Her mother doubted her marriage; her uncle-in-exile derided her abilities; her husband resented the sacrifice of his career and family name; while her rebellious sister embarked on a love affair that threatened the centuries-old links between the Church and the Crown. This is the story of how Elizabeth II drew on every ounce of resolve to ensure that the Crown always came out on top.Netflix's original series The Crown dramatised Peter Morgan's powerful portrayal of Britain's longest-reigning monarch.

Written by royal biographer Robert Lacey, The Crown: The Inside History adds expert and in-depth detail to the events of the series, painting an intimate portrait of life inside Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street. Here is Elizabeth II as we've never seen her before.

Chaucer's People : Everyday Lives in Medieval England, Liza Picard - £25
The Middle Ages were turbulent times. In the fourteenth century alone, England was ravaged by war, plague, revolt and the overthrow of a king. Among the surviving records, the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer is the most vivid.

But what does it tell us about the everyday lives of medieval men and women? What did people eat, wear, read and think?Through the assorted cast of pilgrims Chaucer selected for The Canterbury Tales, Liza Picard brings medieval social history to life. These are lives led beyond the court circles frequented by most of Chaucer's well-heeled audience - lives spent at the pedal of a loom or in uncharted waters on the high seas.Chaucer would sometimes raise a thought-provoking query in an apparently simple portrait. 

The Prioress was a sweet, pretty, well-mannered young nun; what was she doing on the road to Canterbury with a mixed band of men, instead of staying in her convent to pray? The Knight was 'a very perfect gentle knight'; but why had his military service landed him in such distant places as Lithuania and Spain? By providing these characters with a three-dimensional framework - the times in which they lived - Picard opens up the fourteenth-century world to us.

Drawing on contemporary experiences of a vast range of subjects including trade, religion, toe-curling remedies and hair-raising recipes, Chaucer's People recreates the medieval world in all its glorious detail.

Queens of the Conquest : England's Medieval Queens, Alison Weir - £20
The story of England's medieval queens is vivid and stirring, packed with tragedy, high drama and even comedy. It is a chronicle of love, murder, war and betrayal, filled with passion, intrigue and sorrow, peopled by a cast of heroines, villains, stateswomen and lovers. In the first volume of this epic new series, Alison Weir strips away centuries of romantic mythology and prejudice to reveal the lives of England's queens in the century after the Norman Conquest.

Beginning with Matilda of Flanders, who supported William the Conqueror in his invasion of England in 1066, and culminating in the turbulent life of the Empress Maud, who claimed to be queen of England in her own right and fought a bitter war to that end, the five Norman queens emerge as hugely influential figures and fascinating characters. Much more than a series of individual biographies, Queens of the Conquest is a seamless tale of interconnected lives and a rich portrait of English history in a time of flux. In Alison Weir's hands these five extraordinary women reclaim their rightful roles at the centre of English history.


The Templars, Dan Jones - £25
The Knights Templar were the wealthiest, most powerful - and most secretive - of the military orders that flourished in the crusading era. Their story - encompassing as it does the greatest international conflict of the Middle Ages, a network of international finance, a swift rise in wealth and influence followed by a bloody and humiliating fall - has left a comet's tail of mystery that continues to fascinate and inspire historians, novelists and conspiracy theorists.


Christmas Ideas: Science and Nature

The Inner Life of Animals, Peter Wohlleben - £16.99
Mother deer that grieve? Horses that feel shame? Squirrels that adopt their grandchildren? We humans tend to assume that we are the only living things able to experience feelings intensely and consciously. But have you ever wondered what's going on in an animal's head? 

From the leafy forest floor to the inside of a bee hive, The Inner Life of Animals takes us microscopic levels of observation to the big philosophical, ethical and scientific questions. We hear the stories of a grateful humpback whale, of a hedgehog who has nightmares, and of a magpie who commits adultery; we meet bees that plan for the future, pigs who learn their own names and crows that go tobogganing for fun.

And at last we find out why wasps exist. As more and more researchers are discovering, animals experience a rich emotional life that is ready to be explored. The Inner Life of Animals will show you these living things in a new light and will open up the animal kingdom like never before.

The Secret Life of Cows, Rosamund Young - £9.99
Cows are as varied as people. They can be highly intelligent or slow to understand, vain, considerate, proud, shy or inventive. Although much of a cow's day is spent eating, they always find time for extra-curricular activities such as babysitting, playing hide and seek, blackberry-picking or fighting a tree.  This is an affectionate record of a hitherto secret world.

Woods : A Celebration, Robert Penn - £20
A tribute to the natural history of some of our most iconic British woods. The National Trust manages hundreds of woods, covering over 60,000 acres of England and Wales. They include many of the oldest woodlands in the land and some of the oldest living things of any kind - trees that are thousands of years old.

From Dean to Epping, from Hatfield to Sherwood, this book covers the natural history of our forests and how they have changed the face of our landscape. Covering the different species of trees that give our woods their unique characters, the plants and animals that inhabit them and the way their appearance changes throughout the seasons, Woods is a fascinating and beautifully illustrated celebration of Britain's trees and the ancient stories that surround them.

What's Next? Jim Al-Khalili - £8.99
Thought the science of the future was all hoverboards and space travel? Think again. Every day, scientists come up with the ingenious solutions and surprising discoveries that will define our future.  So here, Jim Al-Khalili and his crack team of experts bin the crystal ball and use cutting-edge science to get a glimpse of what's in store.

From whether teleportation is really possible (spoiler: it is), to what we'll do if artificial intelligence takes over, What's Next? takes on the big questions.  And along the way, it'll answer questions like: Will we find a cure to all diseases? An answer to climate change? Will bionics make us into superheroes?  Touching on everything from genetics to transport, and nanotechnology to teleportation, What's Next? is a fascinating, fun and informative look at what's in store for the human race.

Furry Logic, Matin Durrani & Liz Kalaugher  - £9.99
The animal world is full of mysteries. Why do dogs slurp from their drinking bowls while cats lap up water with a delicate flick of the tongue? How does a tiny turtle hatchling from Florida circle the entire northern Atlantic before returning to the very beach where it hatched? And how can a Komodo dragon kill a water buffalo with a bite only as strong as a domestic cat's?  

These puzzles - and many more besides - are all explained by physics. From heat and light to electricity and magnetism, Furry Logic unveils the ways that more than 30 animals exploit physics to eat, drink, mate and dodge death in their daily battle for survival.

Along the way, science journalists Matin Durrani and Liz Kalaugher introduce the great physicists whose discoveries helped us understand the animal world, as well as the animal experts of today who are scouring the planet to find and study the animals that seem to push the laws of physics to the limit. Presenting mind-bending physics principles in a simple and engaging way, Furry Logic will appeal both to animal lovers and to those curious to see how physics crops up in the natural world. It's more of a `howdunit' than a whodunit, though you're unlikely to guess some of the answers.


The Infinite Monkey Cage - How to Build a Universe, Brian Cox & Robin Ince £20
The Infinite Monkey Cage, the legendary BBC Radio 4 programme, brings you this irreverent celebration of scientific marvels. Join us on a hectic leap through the grand and bizarre ideas conjured up by human imagination, from dark matter to consciousness via neutrinos and earthworms. Professor Brian Cox and Robin Ince muse on multifaceted subjects involved in building a universe, with pearls of wisdom from leading scientists and comedians peppered throughout.

Covering billions of concepts and conundrums, they tackle everything from the Big Bang to parallel universes, fierce creatures to extraterrestrial life, brain science to artificial intelligence. How to Build a Universe is an illuminating and inspirational celebration of science - sometimes silly, sometimes astounding and very occasionally facetious.

Science is Beautiful, Colin Salter - £20
Our understanding of disease and the powers of medicine today are unparalleled, and their documentation has increased signficantly. Science is Beautiful collects the most fascinating microscopic photographs of our diseases along with the medicines we use to treat them. These photographs are profoundly fascinating - and also beautiful.

Featured are some of the most illuminating microscopic images of bacteria, viruses and cancers ever captured, now made possible by electron micrograph technology. It also uncovers some diseases specific to animals. 

But there are also dazzling images of the crystals, powders and potions that we take to cure ourselves, including magnified versions of aspirin, insulin, morphine and caffeine. This collection of images, as beautiful as any artwork, can be enjoyed purely as a visual voyage but also as a way to understand more of the science behind the image, whether it's the work of a meningitis virus, our chromosomes in a cancer cell or the breakdown of painkillers.

The Zoomable Universe, Caleb Scharf - £20
Embark on a breath-taking, cutting-edge voyage through the enormity of our reality - travelling one "power of ten" or order of magnitude at a time.  Echoing the classic film by Charles and Ray Eames, acclaimed astrobiologist Caleb Scharf and artist Ron Miller guide us from the very edge of the observable universe - about 91 billion light-years away - to the subatomic realm, where the fabric of space-time itself behaves in a way that confounds all the rules of physics we currently know. 

Gorgeously designed and visually inspiring, The Zoomable Universe takes a truly unique approach toward explaining our place in the universe, charting an unforgettable course through galaxies, black holes, solar systems, stars and planets, oceans, plants and animals, microorganisms, atoms, quantum fields, and much more.

Illustrated with stunning colour artwork and infographics, this is an unforgettable journey that will thrill readers who want to discover more about the incredible reality we inhabit.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Christmas Ideas: Young Adult Books

Shadowblack, Sebastien de Castell - £12.99 

SORCERY IS A SCAM . . .

Four months after fleeing his own people, Kellen has discovered he's an even worse outlaw than he was mage. It doesn't help that his only allies are a swaggering card player and a thieving squirrel cat. Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn't blind, and whose secrets get them caught up in a conspiracy of magic, blackmail and murder.

Now Kellen must find the mage responsible before the entire frontier falls victim to the mystical plague known as the shadowblack. Perfect for fans of The Dark Tower, Firefly, Guardians of the Galaxy, Terry Pratchett, Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher. 

Warcross, Marie Lu - £12.99
When a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths. For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn't just a game - it's a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally.

Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships - only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation. Convinced she's going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when she gets a call from the game's creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year's tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job.

Emika's whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she's only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire. In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Turtles All the Way Down, John Green - £14.99 
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there's a hundred thousand dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett's son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza's story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship. First edition includes an exclusive jacket poster featuring some of John's most brilliant and memorable quotes.

The Language of Thorns : Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic, Leigh Bardugo - £12.99 
From bestselling author of SIX OF CROWS, Leigh Bardugo, comes a lavishly illustrated collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice and love. Inspired by myth, fairy tale and folklore, THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS will transport you to both lands familiar and strange that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse. Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns. Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price. 

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, no.1 New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love. Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans of the Grishverse. This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them beautifully illustrated with art by Sara Kiplin that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

The Hanging Girl, Eileen Cook - £7.99 
Two girls, one fatal reading . . . because the truth always lies in the cards. Skye's mother believes she has 'the gift' - the ability to see the future. Skye however can only see the opportunity to make money - and happily fleeces her gullible classmates into handing over their cash to hear their futures through Skye's well-worn tarot cards. But it's all for a good cause, right? Skye needs to save her hard-earned cash to go to New York with her best mate Drew.

Then the local mayor's daughter, Paige, disappears - and Skye has a tip off about her whereabouts. Skye is uncomfortable about the source and masks the tip off as a vision. But things get wildly out of control when Paige is found murdered and Skye is a prime suspect .

They Both Die at the End, Adam Silvera - £7.99
From the bestselling author of History Is All You Left Me comes another unforgettable story of life, loss and making each day count On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they're going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they're both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: there's an app for that.

It's called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure - to live a lifetime in a single day.

Noah Can’t Even, Simon James Green - £7.99
Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother's Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is... Well, it's pure hell.

Why can't Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone - maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely - he'd be seen in a different light? But Noah's plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That's when things go from bad to utter chaos. 

A Shiver of Snow and Sky, Lisa Lueddecke - £7.99
On the frozen island of Skane, the sky speaks. Beautiful lights appear on clear nights, and their colours have meaning: Green means all is well, and the Goddess is happy. Blue means a snow storm is on the way.  And then there's red. Red is rare. A warning.

Seventeen years ago the sky turned red just as Osa was born, unleashing a plague that claimed the lives of hundreds of villagers, including her own mother. This time, when the night sky once again bleeds crimson, she must discover what it means before so many lives are lost again.

Neurocomic, Matteo Farinella - £14.99 
Do you know what your brain is made of? How does memory function? What is a neuron and how does it work? For that matter what's a comic? And in the words of Lewis Carroll's famous caterpillar: "who are you?"

Produced in association with the Wellcome Trust, one of the world's largest medical charities, Neurocomic is a journey through the human brain: a place of neuron forests, memory caves, and castles of deception. 

Along the way, you'll encounter Boschean beasts, giant squid, guitar-playing sea slugs, and the great pioneers of neuroscience.

Christmas Ideas: Picture Books

Do Not Open This Book, Andy Lee - £11.99
Oh! You opened the book. I assume that was an accident? No problem, accidents happen. I'm not even angry. Just please don't turn the page!

Monster will do anything for you to not open this book, but what will happen if you do? Young readers will love doing everything they are asked not to, and turning the pages to discover Monster's hilarious secret at the end of this funny picture book. Do Not Open This Book is the hilarious, best-selling new book from Australian radio DJ and comedian Andy Lee. A ridiculously funny story for kids, big and small... do you dare open this book?! 

Mix and Match Christmas - £4.99
Flip the pages of this fun mix-and-match book to create some of the funniest, Christmas characters you've ever seen! You can create your own kooky combinations by swapping the heads, bodies, and legs of Santa, a snowman, an elf, and their other magical friends for a really fun-filled Christmas!

A Letter for Bear, David Lucas - £10
Poor Bear, who will send him a letter? Come rain or shine, he works so hard delivering the post to all the animals of the wood but he never receives anything himself. Hardly surprising since he's never actually sent a letter! One day, Bear decides to write a few letters of his own, inviting all the forest animals to a party. 

 


If I Was a Banana, Alexandra Tylee - £6.99 
A book that celebrates imagination and possibility, this boy's-eye-view of the everyday brings alive all the wonder and oddity of the world. It is simple and funny yet resonant, and begs to be read again. 
 

I'll Love You for Ever, Owen Hart - £10.99 
Travel through the seasons with Polar Bear and Cub as they discover the world and the wonders within it. Although snow melts and leaves turn golden, Cub learns that a parent's love will never change. A beautiful, picture book celebration of the eternal bond between parent and child.
Heart-warming illustrations from Sean Julian (A Friend Like You and My Dad!) bring Owen Hart's gentle, reassuring rhyming story to life. Perfect for both mums and dads to share with their little ones. 

When I Grow Up, Tim Minchin - £12.99 
This hugely exciting picture book collaboration by internationally celebrated musician-comedian Tim Minchin and award-winning illustrator Steve Antony is an absolute treat for all ages. 

Inspired by Tim Minchin's hit song When I Grow Up from Matilda the Musical, the book takes a humorous yet moving look at adult life from a child's perspective. Grown-ups surely have all the fun as they must eat sweets every day, climb the biggest trees and watch cartoons till their eyes go square.

But do they really...? A truly magical picture book by two incredible talents.

I am Actually a Penguin, Sean Taylor - £6.99 
When a little girl is given a penguin suit she decides that living as a penguin is much more fun than just dressing as one. But penguins don't exactly behave like people. They don't ride the bus like people, they don't talk like people and they certainly don't catch fish fingers like people.

Her family tell her, "You're not actually a penguin," but she knows that she actually is. A hilarious new picture book from Sean Taylor, the author of What a Naughty Bird and Kasia Matyjaszek, author/illustrator of I am a Very Clever Cat.

 
Look Closer into the Arctic, Roger Priddy - £7.99 
Acetate windows draw you into a wintery wonderland as you journey through magical, Arctic landscapes in this beautifully illustrated book. The acetate pages build a layered effect, and as each page is turned, a habitat full of Arctic creatures is revealed. Journey through the Arctic forest, blustery tundra, and out into the ocean to meet polar bears, caribou, whales, and more interesting wildlife.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Christmas Ideas: Children's 10+ Books

The Land of Neverendings, Kate Saunders - £10.99
The cat flap opened. Emily thought a wild animal was coming into the house. But the muddy creature that climbed through had four little wheels and a tail. It spoke in a voice like rough sandpaper. 'Come on, you two - it's nice and warm in here.'

What if there exists a world powered by imagination? A world of silliness, where humans and their toys live on long after they've left the Hard World ... and what if the door between that world and this one was broken? Welcome to the Land of Neverendings. Moving, raw and funny in all the right ways, The Land of Neverendings is a rip-roaring adventure, but it also gives an honest portrayal of grief for young readers, and shows us that whilst sadness does exist in the world, it doesn't have to cancel out happiness, or silliness, even when you lose someone you love.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, Jessica Townsend - £12.99
Enter the Wundrous world of Morrigan Crow and Nevermoor - the most fantastical children's debut of the year. Featuring a 'hidden' illustration beneath the stunning cover, both sprinkled with gold, this is the perfect gift for all adventurous young readers.Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day of the year, she's blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks - and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away to the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. It's then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter wants her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society.

In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart - an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests - otherwise she'll have to leave and confront her deadly fate once and for all. Perfect for fans of the Harry Potter series and His Dark Materials, this series takes readers into an extraordinary world, setting hope and imagination alive.

The Snow Angel, Lauren St John - £10.99
Lauren St John's stunning Christmas classic is about forgotten children, the power of nature to heal us and a girl who will climb mountains in search for a place to call home. Growing up in vibrant, crowded Nairobi, Makena has only one dream: to climb Mount Kenya like her hero, her mountain guide father. But when her beautiful world is shattered, she finds that in the city's dark places there are a thousand ways to fall, each more deadly than any crevasse.

In a world of strangers, does she dare trust Snow, whose ballet dreams are haunted by a past she's still running from? And is the sparkling fox friend or foe? After a fresh start in the Scottish Highlands turns bad, Makena flees to the mountains. But will they betray her or be the making of her?

The Polar Bear Explorers' Club, Alex Bell - £6.99
It sounded like a respectable and worthy enough death for an explorer - tumbling from an ice bridge to be impaled upon a mammoth tusk - but Stella really, really didn't want that to happen, just the same.Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages . . .

When Stella and three other junior explorers get separated from their expedition can they cross the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale?

The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare, Zillah Bethell - £6.99
I am how I've always been.My name is Auden Dare.I am eleven years old. Auden Dare has an unusual perspective on life: he cannot see in colour. He's always had this rare condition - and life is beginning to get harder for Auden.

The war for water that is raging across the world is getting a little closer all the time. It hardly rains any more, anywhere. Everyone is thirsty all the time, and grubby, and exhausted.

Auden has to learn to live without his father, who is away fighting, and has had to move to a new town with his mother, and start a new school, where everyone thinks he's a weirdo. But when he meets Vivi Rookmini, a smiling girl bright with cleverness, his hopes begin to lift. It soon becomes clear to Auden, though, that there are some strange things afoot in his new hometown.

He and his mother have moved into the old cottage of his recently-dead uncle Jonah Bloom - a scientist and professor at the university. The place is in disarray - and although Auden's mother tells him it's because Jonah was a messy old thing, Auden knows differently. Someone else did this - someone who was looking for something of Jonah's.

Auden had heard too that Jonah was working on something that could cure Auden's condition - could this be it? Then Auden and Vivi make an extraordinary discovery. Hidden away under the shed at the bottom of Jonah's garden is an engimatic and ingenious robot, who calls himself Paragon. A talking, walking, human-like robot.

Apparently built by Jonah - but why? The answer to this will take Auden and Vivi on a thrilling journey of discovery as they seek to find out just what exactly Paragon is - and what link he has to Auden - and find that the truth is bigger and more wonderful than either of them could have imagined.

The War I Finally Won, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - £6.99
World War II continues, and Ada and her brother Jamie are living with their loving legal guardian, Susan, in a borrowed cottage on the estate of the formidable Lady Thorton - now along with Lady Thorton herself and her daughter Maggie.

Life in the crowded cottage is tense enough, and then, quite suddenly, Ruth, a Jewish girl from Germany, moves in. A German? The occupants of the house are horrified. But other impacts of war are far more intrusive and frightening. As death creeps closer to their door, life and morality during wartime grow more complex.

The tale puts women's experiences first focusing on mothers, daughters, and sisters in wartime.

Bradley holds a mirror to society's struggles today through the prejudice against the German refugee child, Ruth.

A masterful historical fiction with universal themes impeccably researched and a captivating story.

The Murderer's Ape, Jakob Wegelius - £16.99
Sally Jones is not only a loyal friend, she's an extraordinary individual. In overalls or in a maharaja's turban, this unique gorilla moves among humans without speaking but understanding everything. She and the Chief are devoted comrades who operate a cargo boat.

A job they are offered pays big bucks, but the deal ends badly, and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder. For Sally Jones this is the start of a harrowing quest for survival and to clear the Chief's name. Powerful forces are working against her, and they will do anything to protect their secrets. 

Raptors of Paradise, Supersaurs Limited - £10.99
A thrilling new adventure series: what would the world look like if dinosaurs had never died out?Imagine a world where dinosaurs have survived and evolved as ... SUPERSAURS. This is the world that Bea Kingsley lives in, a world where humans live side by side with supersaurs, sometimes in peace but often in conflict.Bea is the daughter of explorer parents who went missing when she was just a baby.

So when her grandmother suddenly takes her on a trip to the remote Indonesian islands of Aru, Bea starts asking some big questions. But the more questions Bea asks, the more trouble she and her grandmother find themselves in. Was the journey to the islands a big mistake?The adventure starts here...SUPERSAURS: RAPTORS OF PARADISE is the launch of a major new six book series for children, illustrated throughout with magnificent black and white artwork.

The ground-breaking Supersaurs app uses state-of-the-art augmented reality to make the world of Supersaurs literally leap off the page and into the real world . . .