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The Real World

Looking to find out something more about the world we live in, instead of gallivanting off into the realm of fiction? Have a look at our hand-picked non-fiction choices.

What are You Looking At? 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye

What are You Looking At? 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye

Author: Will Gompertz Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/09/2012

From Monet's water lilies to Van Gogh's sunflowers, from Warhol's soup cans to Hirst's pickled shark, hear the stories behind the masterpieces, meet the artists as they really were, and discover the real point of modern art. You will learn: not all conceptual art is bollocks; Picasso is king (but Cezanne is better); Pollock is no drip; Dali painted with his moustache; a urinal changed the course of art, why your 5-year-old really couldn't do it. Refreshing, irreverent and always straightforward, What Are You Looking At? cuts through the pretentious art speak and asks all the basic questions that you were too afraid to ask. Your next gallery trip is going to be a little less intimidating and a lot more interesting. It includes full of beautiful colour and black and white illustrations. It includes a free pull-out map of Modern Art to guide you through the movements. 'Will Gompertz is a natural communicator whose passion for art is expressed with wit and verve' Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate Gallery Will Gompertz is the BBC Arts Editor and probably the world's first art history stand-up comedian. He was a Director at the Tate Gallery for 7 years. He has a particular interest in modern art and has written about the arts for The Times and the Guardian for over 20 years. In 2009, he wrote and performed a sell-out one-man comedy show about modern art at the Edinburgh Festival. He was recently voted one of the world's top 50 creative thinkers by New York's Creativity Magazine .

ebook of the month
Selfie How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What it's Doing to Us

Selfie How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What it's Doing to Us

Author: Will Storr Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/06/2017

People are suffering under the torture of this impossible fantasy. Unprecedented social pressure is leading to increases in depression and suicide. Where does this ideal come from? Why is it so powerful? Is there any way to break its spell? To answer these questions, Selfie takes us from the shores of Ancient Greece, through the Christian Middle Ages, to the self-esteem evangelists of 1980s California, the rise of narcissism and the selfie generation, and right up to the era of hyper-individualistic neoliberalism in which we live now. It tells the extraordinary story of the person we all know so intimately - our self.

ebook of the month
100 Ideas for Dads Who Love Their Kids but Find Them Exhausting

100 Ideas for Dads Who Love Their Kids but Find Them Exhausting

Author: Willem Van Eekelen Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/03/2014

Willem loves his children but finds them exhausting. Then, one day, he challenges them to find games that require him to lie on the sofa. They have the best day ever! This witty new book features an eclectic range of activities for kids and their dads - and all without the adult's boredom and exhaustion that often accompanies 'child's play'. Written from a personal perspective, Willem gives every activity a suggested age range and provides tips and golden rules along the way. The book includes games for at home, in the car, at the park, in the pool, at the forest - pretty much anywhere where parents and children spend time together. All games are fun for both and relaxing for dads, and none of them require money or preparation. After a long day at work, your children can either finish you off or get you to recover - depending on how you play it.

ebook of the month
The Things That Nobody Knows 501 Mysteries of Life, the Universe and Everything

The Things That Nobody Knows 501 Mysteries of Life, the Universe and Everything

Author: William Hartston Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2011

The forward march of human knowledge has deepened our understanding of the universe and flung wide the floodgates of technological advance: we have established that the world came into being more than 4.5 billion years ago; we have deciphered the Rosetta Stone; travelled to the moon; eliminated smallpox and isolated the 'fat gene'. But in every domain of inquiry there remain a myriad things that we do not know, and which lurk tantalizingly beyond the bounds of our understanding. In The Things that Nobody Knows, William Hartston takes us on a guided tour of 501 gaps in our knowledge of cosmology, mathematics, animal behaviour, medical science, music, art, language and literature. As well as explaining our ignorance of the answers to such questions as 'What is Dark Energy?', 'Is colour a product of the mind?', 'Was there ever a real Pope Joan?' and 'Why are so many male giraffes gay?', he considers the likelihood of light being shed on these mysteries in the future. Both cerebrally satisfying and more-ishly dip-into-able, rigorously researched but also serendipitously playful, The Things that Nobody Knows is the perfect gift book for intellectually inquisitive people of all ages.

Cross Roads What If You Could Go Back and Put Things Right?

Cross Roads What If You Could Go Back and Put Things Right?

Author: William Paul Young Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/09/2013

Multi-millionaire Anthony Spencer is trapped in a coma and finds himself in a surreal world that reflects the skewed priorities of the life he's lived on earth where he meets a stranger who turns out to be Jesus and a grandmother who is the Holy Spirit. Pleading for a second chance, he is sent back to earth to redeem himself. There he must fight to put right the mess he's created, experiencing events through others' eyes before deciding how to use the miraculous gift he's been given. Before his illness he had set events in motion that he now needs to undo - but will he have the courage to make the right choice? THE SHACK is an international phenomenon, surpassing 1 million copies sold before being picked up by a mainstream publisher: its combination of radical spirituality with a heart-wrenching story made it a word-of-mouth hit, and CROSS ROADS has all the ingredients to repeat its impact.

ebook of the month
Rumble Strip

Rumble Strip

Author: Woodrow Phoenix Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/06/2008

This is a powerful and darkly humorous graphic polemic by a leading British comics artist that investigates our increasingly dangerous relationship with cars. If you want to get away with murder, buy a car. Combining autobiography, statistics, case histories, advertising and reportage, Woodrow Phoenix draws a compelling picture of the warped psychology behind our need for speed.

ebook of the month
Exotic England The Making of a Curious Nation

Exotic England The Making of a Curious Nation

Author: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/03/2015

England may be a small country on a small island, but its inhabitants have always had a boundless curiosity about the world beyond their shoreline. From the nation's modern origins in the Renaissance, travellers have eagerly roamed the globe and been enticed by the diversity and richness of other civilizations. And while this appetite for adventure has often been tainted by aggression or exploitation, the English have also carried within them a capacity to soak up new experiences and ideas and to weave them into every aspect of life back home, from language and literature to customs and culture. Here we trace this golden thread of otherness through five centuries of English history to reveal how it has shaped the buildings, flavoured the food, powered the economy, and created a truly diverse society. Today, when England is no longer synonymous with Britain and the English ask themselves who they are, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown paints a sumptuous and illuminating portrait of who they have been and brings a fresh, invigorating perspective on what 'Englishness' really means.

ebook of the month

Cartoonist, Robert Crumb said; “When I come up against the Real World, I just vacillate”. Well, he can happily vacillate here for a while. This section features a whole host of books covering subjects as diverse as Mankind’s place in the Universe (Human Universe by Brian Cox), the history of the human journey to work (Rush Hour by Iain Gateley) and the real business of reading books (Bookworms, Dogears and Squashy Big Armchairs by Heather Reyes). This is the ‘Human’ section in our book lovers’ journey.

If you love reading, then you’ll find something here to fascinate you. There are new and interest-piquing passages here from science, philosophy, politics, history, religion, and all of the things that occupy the lives of humans. And we mean ALL of them. The fight against Cancer, the fight for freedom, feminism, fatality, frailty and fame. It’s too big to list. Have a browse through the titles by using our monthly recommendations past and present. We guarantee you’ll be hooked in minutes!