Diary of a Vampire in Pyjamas
By Mathias Malzieu
This is a memoir by French bestselling and award-winning author and musician Mathias Malzieu. It focuses on a single year in which he explores his close encounter with death. Insightful, tragic and even often very funny, it is a hugely inspirational read.In November 2013 Malzieu is diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening blood disease: his bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells, and those that survive are being attacked by the body's natural antibodies as if they were viruses. Highly anaemic and at risk of a cardiac attack or fatal haemorrhaging, Malzieu is whisked into hospital, and spends months in a sterile isolation room. He is kept alive by blood transfusions, while waiting for a bone marrow transplant. When he has the energy for it, he writes in his diary and strums his ukelele.To read this book is to be in awe of the triumph of the human spirit. As a reader you find yourself marvelling at how we find the mechanisms to cope with tragedy and uncertainty when faced with the reality that we may die. Malzieu's highly active imagination allows him to transcend the limits of his body and its increasing failures through fantasy and escapism. His wonderfully addictive childish wonder with a punk Gothic twist lifts the narrative from being a depressing account to a reading experience that is evocative, poetic and intensely moving. Malzieu survived thanks to a revolutionary operation involving stem-cell treatment with the blood from an umbilical cord. As he leaves the hospital with not only a different blood group but also a different DNA, he describes himself as the oldest newborn in the world. As Malzieu says himself, 'To have had my life saved has been the most extraordinary adventure I have ever had.'
Not That Kind of Love
By Clare Wise, Greg Wise
A moving, thought-provoking and surprisingly humorous book which is both a description of a journey to death and a celebration of the act of living.Based on Clare Wise's blog, which she started when she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2013, Not That Kind of Love charts the highs and lows of the last three years of Clare's life. The end result is not a book that fills you with despair and anguish. On the contrary, Not That Kind of Love should be read by everybody for its candour, and for its warmth and spirit. Clare is an astonishingly dynamic, witty and fun personality, and her positivity and energy exude from every page.As she becomes too weak to type, her brother - the actor Greg Wise - takes over, and the book morphs into a beautiful meditation on life, and the necessity of talking about death.With echoes of Atul Gawande's Being Mortal and Cathy Rentzenbrink's The Last Act of Love, it is a very special read that rejoices in the extraordinary and often underestimated sibling bond, and the importance of making the most of the ordinary pleasures life has to offer. As Greg Wise writes in the book: 'Celebrate the small things, the small moments. If you find yourself with matching socks as you leave the house in the morning, that is a cause for celebration. If the rest of the day is spent finding the cure for cancer, or brokering world peace, then that's a bonus.'
By Dave Wardell
THE TOP TEN BESTSELLER: The Inspirational Life of Finn, Britain's Bravest Dog, Winner of the 2017 Daily Mirror Animal Hero of the Year AwardHertfordshire, October 5th 2016. At around 2 a.m., PC Dave Wardell and his dog, PD Finn, were trying to apprehend a robbery suspect when he turned around and attacked them. Finn was stabbed with a ten-inch-bladed knife, both through his chest, via his armpit and then - the knife bound for Dave - through the top of his head. Finn no doubt saved Dave's life, but the race was on to try and save Finn's.Dave Wardell's heartfelt memoir charts an incredible journey of friendship and loyalty. It is a celebration of the bond between one man and his dog, from when Dave collected Finn from his kennels at just nine months old, all the way through to Finn's recent and hard-earned retirement. The book charts the career of a highly trained, highly decorated dog. In his time on the job Finn tracked offenders of all kinds; found missing children; tackled armed offenders; saved lives. But Finn isn't just a police dog - he's also a cherished family pet and this is his remarkable, life-affirming story.
Confidence: The Secret
By Katie Piper
'Confidence is about empowerment. It's about valuing who you are, not what you want to do or how you look. It's about finding the courage to live the life you want, the way you want. Don't look for happiness in other people, find it in yourself.' Katie Piper Katie Piper is Britain's most inspiring woman: a campaigner, a bestselling author, a mother, and a role model to us all as a voice of recovery and resilience. Since the acid attack that left her severely burned, she has refused to give her attackers the satisfaction of being the girl whose life they ruined - and she has emerged the other side happier, braver and more confident than ever. Katie shares her experiences, advice and encouragement to help build up self-esteem and find true happiness. Join Katie on her journey to confidence - with her guidance, you can achieve the things you might never have thought possible. 'When it comes to confidence, we could all take a leaf out of Katie's book. She has overcome more than anyone else I know' CHERYL'Katie Piper has an attitude to life that can make anything bearable. She's a hero' MARIAN KEYES
By Pietro Bartolo, Lidia Tilotta
The essential testimony of an Italian doctor who has worked for twenty-five years on the front line of perhaps the largest mass migration in human history."Bartolo tells us about rescuing everyone he can, burying those he cannot, and saving their stories as if they were his own. This is a personal, urgent and universal book" GLORIA STEINEM"An urgent, wrenching dispatch from the frontline of the defining crisis of our times . . . Bartolo is at once the saviour and the coroner to boatload after boatload of migrants who risk everything to cross the deadly seas. It is also a damning indictment of the broader, collective indifference of humankind to both the drowned and the saved" PHILIP GOUREVITCH"Dr Pietro Bartolo has seen more suffering and death in his career than any one man should have to witness" Amnesty International"Through Bartolo we understand that it is impossible to do nothing in the face of such great human need" Vanity FairIt is common to think of the refugee crisis as a recent phenomenon, but Dr Pietro Bartolo, who runs the clinic on the Italian island of Lampedusa, has been caring for its victims - both the living and the dead - for a quarter of a century.Situated some 200 km off Italy's Southern coast, Lampedusa has hit the world headlines in recent years as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants hoping to make a new life in Europe.The shipwrecks began in 1992. Before the Arab Spring, they came from Africa, but now they come from across the Arab world as well. And the death toll is staggering. On Christmas Eve, 1996, 286 bodies were recovered; on the night of October 3, 2013, 366 out of 500 migrants died after a shipwreck nearby.For the past twenty-five years, Doctor Bartolo has been rescuing, welcoming, helping, and providing medical assistance to those who survived. But, above all, he has been listening to them. Tales of pain and hope, stories of those who didn't make it, who died at sea, their bodies washed up on shore; stories of those who lost their loved ones, of babies that never had a chance to be born.Translated from the Italian by Chenxin Jiang
To Siri, With Love
By Judith Newman
'Incredibly moving' Daily Mail'To Siri with Love is a beautifully honest and illuminating love letter to Gus, your typical atypical nonneurotypical human.' Jon Stewart'A moving and witty memoir with a big heart.' Nigella Lawson'For all the raw, honest pain of Newman's book, you close it with a sense of optimism and tenderness.' Daily Telegraph'An uncommonly riotous and moving book [that] will make readers laugh - yes, out loud - before sweeping them, finally, into a soul-spilling high tide . . . Technology's great promise may in fact be to summon, capture and display our most human qualities, both the darkness and the light, to pave avenues of deepened connections with others.' New York TimesNo one would consider Judith Newman's domestic life normal. She and her husband keep separate apartments-his filled with twin grand pianos as befits a former opera singer; hers packed with the clutter and chaos of twin adolescent boys conceived late in life. And one of those boys is Gus, her sweet, complicated, autistic 13-year-old.With honesty and humour, To Siri With Love chronicles one year in the life of Gus and the family around him -- a family with the same crazy ups and downs as any other. And at the heart of the book lies Gus's passionate friendship with Siri, Apple's 'intelligent personal assistant'. Unlike her human counterparts, Siri always has the right answers to Gus's incessant stream of questions about the intricacies of national rail schedules, or box turtle varieties, and she never runs out of patience. She always makes sure Gus enunciates and even teaches him manners by way of her warm yet polite tone and her programmed insistence on civility.Equal parts funny and touching, this is a book that will make your heart brim, and then break it. Warm, wise and always honest, Judith Newman shows us a new world where artificial intelligence is beginning to meet emotional intelligence -- a world that will shape our children in ways both wonderful and unexpected.
A Crime in the Family
By Sacha Batthyány
A memoir of brutality, heroism and personal discovery from Europe's dark heart, revealing one of the most extraordinary untold stories of the Second World WarIn the spring of 1945, at Rechnitz on the Austrian-Hungarian border, not far from the front lines of the advancing Red Army, Countess Margit Batthyany gave a party in her mansion. The war was almost over, and the German aristocrats and SS officers dancing and drinking knew it was lost. Late that night, they walked down to the village, where 180 enslaved Jewish labourers waited, made them strip naked, and shot them all, before returning to the bright lights of the party. It remained a secret for decades, until Sacha Batthyany, who remembered his great-aunt Margit only vaguely from his childhood as a stern, distant woman, began to ask questions about it.A Crime in the Family is Sacha Batthyany's memoir of confronting these questions, and of the answers he found. It is one of the last untold stories of Europe's nightmare century, spanning not just the massacre at Rechnitz, the inhumanity of Auschwitz, the chaos of wartime Budapest and the brutalities of Soviet occupation and Stalin's gulags, but also the silent crimes of complicity and cover-up, and the damaged generations they leave behind. Told partly through the surviving journals of others from the author's family and the vanished world of Rechnitz, A Crime in the Family is a moving and revelatory memoir in the vein of The Hare with the Amber Eyes and The House by the Lake. It uncovers barbarity and tragedy but also a measure of peace and reconciliation. Ultimately, Batthyany discovers that although his inheritance might be that of monsters, he does not bear it alone.
By Lindy West
'Women are told, from birth, that it's our job to be small: physically small, small in our presence, and small in our impact on the world. We're supposed to spend our lives passive, quiet and hungry. I want to obliterate that expectation...'Guardian columnist Lindy West wasn't always loud. It's difficult to believe she was once a nerdy, overweight teen who wanted nothing more than to be invisible. Fortunately for women everywhere, along the road she found her voice - and how she found it! That cripplingly shy girl who refused to make a sound, somehow grew up to be one of the loudest, shrillest, most fearless feminazis on the internet, making a living standing up for what's right instead of what's cool.In Shrill, Lindy recounts how she went from being the butt of people's jokes, to telling her own brand of jokes - ones that carry with them with a serious message and aren't at someone else's expense. She reveals the obstacles and stereotyping she's had to overcome to make herself heard, in a society that doesn't think women (especially fat women and feminists) are or can be funny. She also tackles some of the most burning issues of popular culture today, taking a frank and provocative look at racism, oppression, fat-shaming, twitter-trolling and even rape culture, unpicking the bullshit and calling out unpalatable truths with conviction, intelligence and a large dose of her trademark black humour.'Lindy West is an essential (and hilarious) voice for women. Her talent and bravery have made the Internet a place I actually want to be.' Lena Dunham
Love Notes for Freddie
By Eva Rice
'Beautifully written, intelligent and gripping' Daily Mail. From the Richard and Judy bestselling author of The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets. Every ending is a new beginning . . .No one expected Marnie Fitzpatrick to be expelled from school . . . but the aftermath will haunt her forever. No one imagined she'd fall for the boy from the wrong side of town . . . until the day she saw him dancing alone.No one could know she had the one thing he needed to capture his dreams . . . the courage to chase them. From the author of the Richard and Judy classic The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets comes a story about how sometimes the cruelest beginnings can lead to the most unexpected of endings.
A Place of Refuge
By Tobias Jones
Why is it that the more advanced our society becomes, the unhappier we are?Seeking an answer from the only honest perspective, Tobias Jones and his wife opened up their family home and ten acre woodland to those going through crises in their lives, or suffering from depression, addiction and loneliness.They will encounter extraordinary people: from 'Roadkill Kev' to 'Mary Poppins'; build a chapel, raise pigs and encounter both violent antagonism and astounding generosity. At the same time, they will open themselves, their children and their ideals up to the most demanding of judgements and transformations.Five years on, they think they are on to something. To sit down to eat together, to work on the land, to have no tolerance for drugs but a lot of tolerance for change â?" it takes time and many mistakes, but they have found a way to help people.This is the story of how.
Letters To Poseidon
By Cees Nooteboom
I had been looking for someone to write to for a long time, but how does a man write letters to a god?From his Mediterranean garden on the island of Menorca, Cees Nooteboom writes to the trident-wielding deity, Poseidon, initiating a dialogue not only with the past, as Alberto Manguel observes in his Preface, but with an entire world that seemed lost for ever.Offering a seductive interweaving of keen observation and the fruits of a vast knowledge, Nooteboom explores questions of human existence through the minutiae of the living world around him, and marvels at the secrets of the deep. He recalls figures in history, places he has travelled to, objets trouvés, works of art and literature, and takes a fresh look at the ancient myths. At once playful and poignant, beautiful and bizarre, Nooteboom's Letters to Poseidon are couched in the glittering prose of one of Europe's outstanding stylists.
By Ken Jones
An astonishing true story of mountaineering survivalOn 5 January 2003, former Special Forces soldier Ken Jones was caught in a devastating avalanche as he climbed in the frozen wilderness of Romania's Transylvanian Alps. Flung from a cliff, he regained consciousness to find himself shrouded in darkness, separated from his supplies, suffering from overexposure in the sub zero-temperatures and in horrendous pain from a broken leg and shattered pelvis. Heavily frostbitten and bleeding internally, Ken dragged himself to safety over three agonizing days only to discover that his true ordeal had yet to begin. His account of life saving surgery and his battle to walk again is a classic tale of triumph over adversity and what it means to never give up. Heart stopping and inspiring to the very last page, Ken Jones's story of endurance and survival is an unforgettable testament to the strength of the human spirit.
Things Get Better
By Katie Piper
Britain's most inspiring young woman helps give others the courage to cope with life's challenges, through personal anecdotes and expert advice.To look and listen to the extraordinary Katie Piper, it is difficult to comprehend the severe trauma she suffered from a brutal rape and acid attack which left her with deep physical and emotional scars. These terrible events would have crushed most people, but through her positive outlook and sheer determination, Katie has become inspirational to millions and living proof that no matter what life throws at you, if you work hard and believe - things will get better. Katie now begins to answer the question that everyone wants to know - 'Where did you find the courage?' She shares the key steps and support that led to her emotional recovery and acknowledges the pain we have all felt at times, whether suffering a breakup, life change or more serious trauma. Drawing on her own experiences and letters from other survivors, Katie shows with spectacular compassion that we can all find the strength within to carry on.