By Axel Lindén
Why do we keep sheep? Alex Lindén ruminates as he watches his sheep ruminating. Naive and inexperienced, he has ditched his doctoral studies in order to move to a fully working farm in the country with his family, where he is tasked with the responsibility of caring for a herd of sheep.Lindén records his new life in his diary, as he tries to manage life on the farm, the ever-escaping sheep and the trials and tribulations that come with being a shepherd - shearing, lambing and confronting the slaughterhouse. As time passes and he gradually settles into the rhythm of shepherding, his naivete fades away and is replaced with stark realisations about what is now his everyday life. He finds himself applying his experiences of animal husbandry to consider our place - as individuals and as a collective organism - in the universe. Is he really the one caring for the sheep, or are they the ones keeping him? Lindén finds both companionship in his flock and a sound, if complex, moral framework for examining the lives we lead.The result is a sensitive and entertaining meditation on the small wonders in our world.Translated by Frank Perry.
By Georgia Toffolo
For fans of Made in Chelsea, I'm a Celeb and Celebs Go Dating, ALWAYS SMILING is the first book from the nation's favourite reality TV star Toff!Everyone loves Toff and she has come a long way since bursting onto our screens on E4's Made in Chelsea in 2014. As the runaway winner of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here 2017, Toff surprised us all, not least herself, with her positive, happy-go-lucky attitude and kindness to others, no matter what challenge came her way in the jungle. In ALWAYS SMILING, Toff is here to share her experiences, some funny, some sad, some that make her cringe with embarrassment. So whether it is friendships, family dramas, heartbreak and relationships, or how she coped with living her life in front of millions of viewers of Made in Chelsea, Toff reveals how she has learnt to keep a smile on her face, whatever life throws at her. Told with her trademark honesty, humour and endless sense of fun, ALWAYS SMILING is a must-have for any fan.
By Lalage Snow
A journey through the most unlikely of gardens: the oases of peace people create in the midst of warIn this millennium, we have become war weary. From Afghanistan to Iraq, from Ukraine to South Sudan and Syria, from Kashmir to the West Bank, conflict is as contagious and poisonous as Japanese knotweed. Living through it are people just like us with ordinary jobs, ordinary pressures and ordinary lives. Against a new landscape of horror and violence it is up to them to maintain a modicum of normality and colour. For some,gardening is the way to achieve this.Working in the world's most dangerous war zones, freelance war correspondent and photographer Lally Snow has often chanced across a very moving sight, a testimony to the triumph of the human spirit in adversity, a celebration of hope and beauty: a war garden. In Kabul, the royal gardens are tended by a centenarian gardener, though the king is long gone; in Camp Bastion, bored soldiers improvise tiny gardens to give themselves a moment's peace; on both sides of the dividing line in Jerusalem families tend groves of olives and raise beautiful plants from the unforgiving, disputed landscape; in Ukraine,families tend their gardens in the middle of a surreal, frozen war.War Gardens is a surprising, tragic and beautiful journey through the darkest places of the modern world, revealing the ways people make time and space for themselves and for nature even in the middle of destruction. Illustrated with Lally Snow's own award-winning photography, this is a book to treasure.
By James Buchan
John Law of Lauriston blazed like a meteor over Europe and America in the early eighteenth century before falling to earth. At the summit of his reputation in 1720, a period lasting just over one hundred days, Law was the most powerful man in France after the Regent, the Duke of Orléans. He was also the richest private citizen in Europe.For France, brought to the brink by the wars and extravagances of the Sun King, Louis XIV, the Scotsman's financial innovations were a lifeline, but had for consequence a stock-market boom that came spectacularly to grief. The Mississippi Bubble, as it came to be known, left in France a fear of financial modernity that crippled her in her rivalry with Great Britain. Over the centuries, John Law has been portrayed as a crook, a rake and a madman. James Buchan shows Law was none of those but a powerful mind in pursuit of a vision of public prosperity that overrode all ties to country, property or happiness. Many of his ideas are now the plainest orthodoxy. Using Law's letters and writings, neglected family papers in Scotland and English county towns, bank ledgers in Genoa and Holland, notarial records and secret police reports in France and Venice, as well as the archive of the Jacobite court in exile, James Buchan resurrects Law's vagabond careerThe result is a glimpse of one of the most astonishing lives ever lived.
Not That Kind of Love
By Clare Wise, Greg Wise
'Inspirational... profoundly uplifting' Daily Mail'A remarkable account of illness, loss and the power of sibling love' The Times'Heartbreaking and inspiring in equal measure' Express'Wise's reflections on compassion fatigue are worth the price of this book alone, but what you take away is something splendid and unwearying: a sibling's devotion that feels remarkably like what we mean when we talk of a stage of grace.' Daily TelegraphA deeply 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 Loveshould 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.'
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'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 TimesWriter Judith Newman never had any illusions that her family was 'normal'. She and her husband keep separate apartments-his filled with twin grand pianos as befits a former opera singer; hers filled 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 refreshing honesty, 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 Pietro Bartolo, Lidia Tilotta
"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, 2003, 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
A Handful of Happiness
By Massimo Vacchetta
The heart-warming story of how a tiny hedgehog helped one man find hope. 'Could you look after it for a couple of days? . . .' So begins the extraordinary friendship between veterinarian Massimo, who is at a low spot in his life, and a tiny, orphaned hedgehog. Only a few days old, covered with soft, white quills and mewling quietly, this little creature will turn around his life forever. Through the sheer force of Ninna's personality - curious, playful, affectionate - and the sudden, unexpected paternal protectiveness he feels nursing her back to health, Massimo reconnects with the world - and finally begins to feel like home. But as Ninna wakes from her first hibernation, she grows up, like any teenager, longing for freedom. A creature of the wild, she craves the free range of the woods beyond Massimo's house. Massimo must accept that Ninna is ready to move on . . . but one little hedgehog saved and released into her natural habitat is a new beginning for Massimo: setting up a sanctuary for the injured, orphaned, fragile - but with a will to live so strong it is truly contagious.A Handful of Happiness is their funny and life-affirming story - a celebration of our favourite prickly wildlife creature, which will make you laugh and cry. Perfect for animal lovers and fans of A Streetcat Named Bob, Arthur, Finding Gobi and Monty Don's Nigel.
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.'
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 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