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Looking for the perfect birthday gift? The right book for Mother’s day, or a stocking filler for Christmas? Look no further as we have the perfect selection for you.
Discover and be transported by eight wonderfully diverse stories based on the myth, legend and folklore at eight English Heritage sites from the toe of Cornwall to the tip of Northumberland. Editor Katherine Davey, English Heritage, and September Publishing have worked their magic alongside the authors while Clive Hicks-Jenkins has created striking and disquieting illustrations to accompany each story. To give you an idea as to the quality on offer, the authors in order are, Edward Carey, Alison MacLeod, Paul Kingsnorth, Sarah Hall, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Sarah Moss, and Fiona Mozley. Journalist James Kidd introduces the tales, highlighting the importance of folklore, and states that: “The moods of the eight stories are similar eclectic, by turns comic or uncanny, absurd or scholarly, angry or fanciful, unsettling of poignant”. The location each story has been based on, sits at the end of the story, as while some are obviously of the site, others hover, offer, suggest. The afterword by the knowledgeable Charles Kightly explains the background to each of these new stories, the history and tradition that each site is steeped in. From sharp and pointed, to lyrical and whimsical, the creative and inspiring stories in These Our Monsters twisted in my mind. If you enjoy an original and wonderful blend of folklore, myth and legend, stop right here!
I must confess that I exclaimed with delight when I saw All Good Things for the first time. It is fabulously described as “a treasury of images to uplift the spirits and reawaken wonder”. The size is perfect, the cover divinely enticing, and it just beckoned me in. I simply sank into the pages of the most beautiful images of art from around the world and through time. You may already have heard of, or indeed follow Stephen Ellcock on social media. Over the last ten years he has shared his images with the world. And we have taken them to our heart. Here he “explores our world and the human response to it one realm at a time”, and so we visit various realms from ‘The Face of the Water’, through to ‘The Human Realm’ and ‘Gods and Monsters’. The images and their explanations sit patiently, just waiting for you to turn the page. I have quite fallen in love with this book, it is gorgeous. September Publishing has created a little masterpiece, and it has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book and one of my picks of the month. All Good Things is a treasure of a treasury and would make the most perfect gift (but make sure you keep a copy for yourself!).
Is it a cookbook? Is it a memoir? No, it’s a super genre-defying anthology that eloquently exemplifies the notion of “comfort food” in its most elemental form. As the author sets out in his introduction, “this is a story book with food in it, and, of course, that other essential embroidery for life, music.” What follows is a set of personal vignettes - stories about the author’s family, his food travel experiences, his professional insights - peppered with recipes that have accompanied pivotal life moments. One such recipe is “Pleasure and Pain Soup” that follows Warner’s recounting of a strange hangover experience that came in the gloomafter his father’s death. Sizzling with self-deprecating wit (“I just hope you find at least one thing, maybe two, that make the purchase worth it”, he addresses the reader) and humour (“If God is a vegan, well that’s me screwed”), this is a book to relish in a single cover-to-cover sitting, and to return to when in need of food-based consolation.
Featuring over fifty stylishly rendered boards, this is an interactive doodle book with a difference, and certainly takes the lingering trend for adult colouring-in books to the next level. Most of the book comprises unfinished boards for users to transform into their own tabletop games – twenty designs in all, followed by twenty-five sets of rules for players to choose to follow, each of which encourages creativity with suggestions for fashioning your own versions of classic board games. There’s also plenty of options for users to invent their own entirely new games, with a superb “Stuck for Ideas?” section that suggests fun themes and mash-ups, among them “Throne of Crowns” and “Uninvited Ghost”. There are suggestions specially devised for younger players too (for example “The Magical Maze” and “Lost Pets”) making this a compendium of creativity for allages. Taking an average of half an hour to create each game and a further half an hour to play, this provides a plethora of opportunities to exercise one’s cerebral muscles while having a whole lot of fun.
A stimulating, fresh, and thoughtful read that ponders and wanders through some of the big questions in philosophy. When I initially picked this book up, I did wonder whether it was a quirky guide to training your dog, I very quickly realised that it is in fact an interesting introduction to philosophy (for humans). The author Anthony McGowan is an award winning writer for children and young adults, and has lectured widely on creative writing and philosophy (he has a BA, Mphil and PhD in philosophy). He has joined the two together to produce the most fabulous book for anyone who has questions about the way we humans think and act. The author and his dog Monty chat about philosophy on their daily walks. And so we join them as they take a humorous light stroll through some really pretty big subjects, including happiness and ethics. It made me consider and think about some of the things I take for granted, the discussion between the two helps stimulate thoughts. There is one part where I simultaneously wanted to berate and hug the pair, you’ll know what I mean when you get there! At the end there are suggestions for further reading, including on logic, and the meaning of life. If you’re at all curious about philosophy and want a fascinating introduction, then look no further than How To Teach Philosophy to Your Dog as it is a wonderfully inspiring read.
365 poems celebrating friendship, love and constancy. This wonderful collection of poems celebrates friendship every day of the year. There are poems on the joys of companionship, encouragement, consolation, humour and love, making this a perfect gift for friends, family and partners. Poems featured include Emily Bronte's 'Love and Friendship' and Stevie Smith's 'Pleasures of friendship', as well as writings from Keats, Norman MacCaig, Waldo Emerson and Amy Lowell. Some of the most beautiful poems ever written are collected here to give us insight into the important things in life.
Beginning with the origins of gardens, this gloriously illustrated expedition through time and place begins in ancient Mesopotamia and explores the luscious gardens of the Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians. From here we move to Ancient Greece and Rome, to the beginnings of botany and Roman topiary. The coverage of the gardens of Islam is especially gratifying with the authors’ description of them as being “among the most sublime in the world - soothing, refreshing and deeply spiritual” borne out by the accompanying photography and images of ancient art, tiles, textiles and scripts. Later we enter the complex formalised gardens of 17th century France, celebrated as expressions of “French rationalism”, and then comes an unearthing of the founding of Kew Gardens, before we discover the history and charms of gardens of the Americas, China and Japan. Written by gardening history doyenne Penelope Hobhouse and celebrated writer Ambra Edwards, this is a dazzlingly informative labour of love.
Gennaro Contaldo’s passion for pasta is positively infectious. He states in his introduction that “there is no limit to the joys of pasta” and this irrepressible exuberance infuses this book from its metaphoric aperitivo pages to its flavoursome finale. Beginning with a useful guide to matching pasta shapes to sauces (as a rule, pair long, thin pasta to light sauces, while short, thick pasta shapes suit heavier sauces), Gennaro devotes much attention to “versatile, quick and easy to cook” dried pasta, with a host of inventive and easy-to-follow recipes, among them hearty veal ragù and refreshing mezzi paccheri pasta with mussels and lemon. Following giving clearly photographed guidance for making your own pasta (including recipes for gluten-free and gluten-free eggless dough), the fresh pasta recipes are mouth-wateringly enticing, with subsequent sections devoted to the delicious delights of filled and baked pasta, including a rich butternut squash vegetarian take on lasagne and the decadently delicious “lasagne di Carnevale”. From creating quick and tasty mid-week meals, to curating lovingly-laboured-over filled pasta feasts, Pasta Perfecto! deserves to be a go-book for pasta-lovers.
The stresses of the digital world mean that it's more important than ever to engage with the natural world. And no matter where you are, looking up at the clouds is good for the soul. The sky is the most dramatic and evocative aspect of nature. Ever-changing and ephemeral, clouds reflect the shifting moods of the atmosphere in limitless compositions and combinations. Gavin Pretor-Pinney started the Cloud Appreciation Society in 2005. Since then, he's been encouraging people to 'look up, marvel at the ephemeral beauty, and always remember to live life with your head in the clouds.' Membership to the Society now includes over 47,000 cloudspotters. Together, they capture and share the most remarkable skies, from sublime thunderstorms and perfect sunsets to hilarious clouds that look like things. A Cloud A Day is a beautifully illustrated book containing 365 skies selected by the Cloud Appreciation Society. There are photographs by sky enthusiasts around the world, satellite images and photographs of clouds in space, as well as skies depicted by great artists over the centuries. The clouds are accompanied by enlightening explanations, fascinating snippets of cloud science, poetry and uplifting quotations. The perfect dip-in-and-out book for anyone who wants to de-stress and reconnect with nature, A Cloud A Day will inspire you to open your eyes to the everyday beauty above and to spend a moment each day with your head in the clouds.
This is a stunning beauty of a book, which would be perfect either as a present for yourself or someone else. It is contained within lovely packaging with the gorgeous book cover peeking out at you. Author Dr Chris Thorogood, the Deputy Director and Head of Science at Oxford Botanic garden and Harcourt Arboretum, has chosen over 50 topical plants, with detail of their origins and special features. The book tells us that: “Two of the most extraordinary Victorian glasshouses in the world are the Palm House and the Temperate House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, from whose archives the images in this book have been selected”. What really sets this book apart is that the top part of the illustration can actually be pressed out of the page, so that each plant stands out and creates, when the book is opened, a stunning visual spectacle. The instructions are clear and concise, and I took great enjoyment in pressing out the pages to discover my own hothouse. This is truly delightful, and you really do have to see it to truly appreciate the beauty. Do take a look at our competition page, as until 31 August 2019, you can win a copy of The Tropical Hothouse and two tickets to Kew Gardens.
Are YOU the ultimate map-reader? Do you know your trig points from your National Trails? Can you calculate using contours? And can you fathom exactly how far the footpath is from the free house? Track down hidden treasures, decipher geographical details and discover amazing facts as you work through this unique puzzle book based on 40 of the Ordnance Survey's best British maps. Explore the first ever OS map made in 1801, unearth the history of curious place names, encounter abandoned Medieval villages and search the site of the first tarmac road in the world. With hundreds of puzzles ranging from easy to mind-boggling, this mix of navigational tests, word games, code-crackers, anagrams and mathematical conundrums will put your friends and family through their paces on the path to becoming the ultimate map-master!
An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States. In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America - the first African-American to serve in that role - she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her - from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it - in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations - and whose story inspires us to do the same.
Everyone loves a hero - and the greatest heroes of them all were the ancient Greeks. Stephen Fry's blistering retelling of their fabulous stories makes this the PERFECT GIFT for young and old alike. Mortals and Monsters. Quests and Adventures . . . _________ There are Heroes - and then there are Greek Heroes. Few mere mortals have ever embarked on such bold and heart-stirring adventures, overcome myriad monstrous perils, or outwitted scheming vengeful gods, quite as stylishly and triumphantly as Greek heroes. In this companion to his bestselling Mythos, Stephen Fry brilliantly retells these dramatic, funny, tragic and timeless tales. Join Jason aboard the Argo as he quests for the Golden Fleece. See Atalanta - who was raised by bears - outrun any man before being tricked with golden apples. Witness wily Oedipus solve the riddle of the Sphinx and discover how Bellerophon captures the winged horse Pegasus to help him slay the monster Chimera. Filled with white-knuckle chases and battles, impossible puzzles and riddles, acts of base cowardice and real bravery, not to mention murders and selfless sacrifices, Heroes is the story of what we mortals are truly capable of - at our worst and our very best.
Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere is a timely and inspiring call to arms by one of Britain's most acclaimed and important writers. Whilst recognising how far women have come in the hundred years since getting the vote, Jeanette Winterson also insists that we must all do much more if we are to achieve true gender equality. Examining recent women's rights movements, the worlds of politics, technology and social media and changes in the law, Winterson calls out all the ways in which women still face discrimination and disadvantage. Like the women who won the right to vote, we need to shout up, reach out, be courageous and finish the job. Also included in this volume is Emmeline Pankhurst's landmark Suffragette speech, 'Freedom or Death', which she delivered in 1913.
Looking for the perfect birthday gift? The right book for Mother’s day, or a stocking filler for christmas? Look no further as we have the perfect selection for you.