Every day we think about love, and every day love eludes us. Maybe you’re hoping to begin a new relationship, or in a secret place in your heart, gathering the courage to leave one. Maybe you’re in a long-term partnership, wondering how to sustain love through life’s many storms. Maybe you’re a parent and you want to be a better one; or you’ve lost a parent, and that loss suddenly dwarves everything else. After years of interviewing people about their relationships, Natasha Lunn learnt that these daily questions about love are often rooted in three bigger ones: How do we find love? How do we sustain it? And how do we survive when we lose it? Interviewing authors and experts as well as drawing on her own experience, Natasha Lunn guides us through the complexities of these three questions. The result is a book to learn from, to lose and find yourself in.
Of all the many things humans rely on plants for, surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate, calm, or completely alter the qualities of our mental experience. In this book, Michael Pollan explores three very different drugs – opium, caffeine and mescaline – and throws the fundamental strangeness of our thinking about them into sharp relief. Exploring and participating in the cultures that have grown up around these drugs, while consuming (or in the case of caffeine, trying not to consume) them, Pollan reckons with the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants, and the equally powerful taboos.
Provocative, smart, angry, wise, and very, very funny, the essays in ‘Things Are Against Us’ cover everything – from feminism to environmental catastrophe; labour strikes to sex strikes; Little House On The Prairie to Donald Trump. These are essays bursting with energy, and reading them feels like sticking your hand in the mains socket.
Set in a shuttered pub – The Paper Lantern – in a village in the very middle of the country adjacent to the Chequers estate, the narrator embarks on a series of walks in the Chiltern Hills, which become the landscape for evocations of a past scarred with trauma and a present lacking compass. From local raves in secret valleys and the history of landmarks such as Halton House, to the fallout of the lockdown period, climate change and capitalism, this book creates a tangible, lived-in, complicated rendering of a place.
We know the universe had a beginning. With the Big Bang, it went from a state of unimaginable density to an all-encompassing cosmic fireball to a simmering fluid of matter and energy, laying down the seeds for everything from dark matter to black holes to one rocky planet orbiting a star near the edge of a spiral galaxy that happened to develop life. But what happens at the end of the story? In billions of years, humanity could still exist in some unrecognizable form, venturing out to distant space, finding new homes and building new civilizations. But the death of the universe is final. What might such a cataclysm look like? And what does it mean for us? Here, Katie Mack unpacks these questions, taking us on a mind-bending tour through each of the cosmos’ possible finales: the Big Crunch; the Heat Death; Vacuum Decay; the Big Rip; and the Bounce.
One of Asia’s most extraordinary cities, Bangkok is also one of the most baffling. It is filled with remarkable people and glittering golden palaces and temples, but is also a maze of concrete and twisting overhead utility wires. Alex Kerr has spent over thirty years of his life living in Bangkok and is uniquely qualified to write about it. He revels in the secret, tucked away corners, the great contemporary artists and the sheer wonder of so many aspects of Thai dance and design. While deploring the loss of much of old Bangkok, he is never merely nostalgic for a past but finds inspiration in Thailand’s dynamic modern fusions.
Multi-award-winning television writer and producer Georgia Pritchett knows a thing or two about anxiety. From worrying about the monsters under her bed as a child (Were they comfy enough?), to embracing womanhood (One way of knowing you have crossed from girlhood to womanhood is that men stop furtively masturbating at you from bushes and start shouting things at you from cars. It’s a beautiful moment) to being offered free gifts after an award ceremony (It was an excruciating experience. Mortifying) worry has accompanied her at every turn. This memoir is a joyful reflection on just how to live – and sometimes even thrive (sometimes not) – with anxiety.
A woman with locked-in syndrome, a naked man discovered on a plane at Heathrow, a taxi driver with memory loss: through three case studies of traumatic brain injury, clinical neuropsychologist A.K. Benjamin examines the uniquely intimate and deceptive nature of the clinical relationship. Ingenious, daring and perfectly formed, ‘The Case for Love’ is a dazzlingly original drama about how doctors, like writers, inhabit their patients’ minds, how every work of fiction is, beneath the surface, a form of memoir, and how every act of imagination is, in essence, an act of love.
Working in an office amidst the East End’s bombsites. Serving as a lady’s maid to an Empire-loving aristocrat. Being repeatedly denied jobs due to the colour bar. Marrying an English man and raising two mixed-race children in suburbia. Becoming one of the first black headteachers in Britain. Beryl Gilroy’s new life wasn’t what she had expected. In 1952, she moved from Guyana to London to pursue her dream of teaching, only to experience Britain’s racist post-war society. After finally securing a teaching post, she faced fear and curiosity from her pupils, bigoted abuse from parents, and semi-segregation among staff. But over the course of her trailblazing career, Gilroy only grew braver, learning the value of education in combating prejudice and rising to become a pioneering headmistress. This title tells Gilroy’s story in her own words.
For many of us, jungles are the domain of films like Tarzan or Cast Away and feel far removed from our everyday lives. But across the entire world they influence temperature, create rainfall, clean the air, stabilise soils and provide food and materials for essential products, such that the future of humankind is intertwined with their disappearing wildlife and impending destruction. As Dr Patrick Roberts shows in this startlingly revisionist history of the world, this symbiotic relationship with tropical forests is anything but a recent development.
Throughout history we have told ourselves stories to try and make sense of what it all means: our place in a small corner of one of billions of galaxies, at the end of billions of years of existence. Richard Holloway takes us on a personal, scientific and philosophical journey to explore what he believes the answers to the biggest of questions are. He examines what we know about the universe into which – without any choice in the matter – we are propelled at birth and from which we are expelled at death, the stories we have told about where we come from, and the stories we tell to get through this muddling experience of life.
For the poet and activist June Jordan, neither poetry nor activism could easily be disentangled from the other. Her storied career came to chronicle a living, breathing history of the struggles that defined the USA in the latter half of the twentieth century; and her poetry, accordingly, put its dazzling stylistic range to use in exploring issues of gender, race, immigration, representation and much else besides.Here, above all, are sinuous, lashing and passionate lines, virtuosic in their musicality and always bearing the stamp of Jordan’s irrepressible personality. Here are poems of suffusing light and profound anger: poems moved as much by political animus as by a deep love for the observation of human life in all its foibles, eccentricities, strengths, and weaknesses.
Bolu Babalola recreates the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology and retells them with new incredible detail and vivacity. Focusing on the magical folktales of West Africa, Babalola also reimagines iconic Greek myths, ancient legends from South Asia, and stories from countries that no longer exist in our world. Babalola is inspired by tales that truly show the variety and colours of love around the globe.
A celebration of our three basic needs: food, security and love. Whether musing over society’s biggest challenges, the acceptability of eating in bedrooms, family bonding and etiquette, or whether Wagon Wheels are a dessert, Jessie Ware reveals a snapshot of her life, the world she’s lived in and the people she’s met, and what she actually thinks matters. Jessie invites you to join the conversation, indulge in some of her favourite recipes, or simply kick back with a glass of wine and enjoy stories that will nourish your heart and satisfy your soul.