Cultural & Literary: 1-17 of 17
The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta made headlines across the world earlier this year and this biography provides a compelling portrait of King John, the supposed tyrant leader who issued - and consequently rejected - the famous document that bound him and his successors to better behaviour.
- RRP £25.00
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Extensively researched and written by Marc Morris, author of A Great and Terrible King and The Norman Conquest, the book examines whether King John was the familiar figure we all know from Robin Hood - a monarch who was greedy, cowardly, despicable and cruel.
Throughout the book, the historian draws on contemporary chronicles and the king's own letters to show what John was really like. He argues he was dynamic, inventive and relentless, but also a very flawed individual whose rise to power involved treachery, rebellion and murder. The book also looks at the invasions by Wales, Scotland and Ireland that occurred under John's reign and the civil war and foreign invasion that brought upon his downfall.
Was Richard Plantagenet (later known as both the Duke of Gloucester and more commonly as King Richard III) a ruthless hunchback who butchered his way to the throne; an unfortunate victim of Tudor propaganda or - as seems most likely - something in-between?
- RRP £9.99
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In this startling biography, David Baldwin provides an in-depth study of Richard III and his dealings with his contemporaries. With 81 illustrations featured throughout, the book aims to answer the question of 'What was Richard III really like?' and included the findings of the archaeological dig that found his remains in a Leicester car park in 2012.
Charles Dickens perfectly captured the spirit of London throughout many of his books and Peter Clark's Dickens's London showcases just how much the place meant to him and how it impacted on his life, his journalism and his fiction.
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This cloth-bound book provides information on five walks through central London, complete with maps, and as the route is discussed, Clark illuminates the settings and what role they played both in Dickens's life and in his writing. He also explores the First Suburbs of Camden Town, Chelsea, Greenwich, Hampstead, Highgate and Limehouse as they feature in Dickens's writing.
A quiet man, P.G. Wodehouse always shied away from the idea of a biography. Expressing himself through the written word, this collection of letters provides an illuminating biographical accompaniment to the man behind the likes of Jeeves and the Empress of Blandings.
- RRP £30.00
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Following from his schooldays at Dulwich College to his life in New York working in musical comedy alongside Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and George Gershwin, the letters also cover the strange episode in 1940 when he was interned by the Germans.
A revealing insight that will delight fans of Wodehouse.
- RRP £12.99
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His Holiness the Dalai Lama: My Spiritual Autobiography is a fascinating insight into the life of the extremely respected leader. The Dalai Lama sees himself first and foremost as a human being, secondly as a monk and thirdly as the political leader of Tibet. This extraordinary autobiography describes many hitherto unknown stories from his childhood and his gradual development as a leader of his people. The Dalai Lama also shares his daily spiritual practice and demonstrates how he endeavours to bring a sense of goodness and conscience to political life around the globe. He also explains how he transforms himself through spiritual means in order to have a positive effect on the world.
He has lived his whole life in the public eye, yet he remains an enigma. He was born to be king, but he aims much higher. A landmark publication, Charles: The Heart of a King reveals Prince Charles in all his complexity: the passionate views that mean he will never be as remote and impartial as his mother; the compulsion to make a difference and the many and startling ways in which the heir to the throne of the United Kingdom and fifteen other realms has already made his mark. The book offers fresh and fascinating insights into the first marriage that did so much to define him and an assessment of his relationship with the woman he calls, with unintended accuracy, his 'dearest wife': Camilla. We see Charles as a father and a friend, a serious figure and a joker. Life at court turns out to be full of hidden dangers and unexpected comedy. Poignant, funny and often surprising, the first significant study of the Prince in over a decade reveals a man in sight of happiness yet still driven by anguish and a remarkable belief system, a charitable entrepreneur, activist, agitator and avatar of the Establishment who just as often tilts against it. Based on multiple interviews with his friends and courtiers, palace insiders and critics, and access to Charles himself during research lasting more than a year, this biography explores the Prince's philanthropy and his compulsive interventionism, his faith, his political leanings and the philosophy that means when he seeks harmony he sometimes creates controversy. Gripping, at times astonishing, often laugh-out-loud, this is a royal biography unlike any other.
- RRP £20.00
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A breath of fresh air to the world of current affairs, Harry Leslie Smith introduces a new perspective on modern life through the eyes of a man who has seen it all in Harry's Last Stand.
- RRP £12.99
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Claiming not to be a historian - but being living history himself - Harry brings a unique perspective on the issues that affect our everyday lives including NHS cutbacks, benefits policy, political corruption, food, poverty, education and much, much more...
Following on from where his sensational Guardian article 'This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time' left off, the book delves into Harry's experience of seeing a great civilisation rising from the rubble, the fears of how easily this greatness can be eroded and what he thinks we can do as a nation to change that!
Paul Hendrickson provides an invaluable, unforgettable and original portrait of Ernest Hemingway and his beloved boat, Pilar, in Hemingway's Boat. Telling the story of the great American writer by focusing on the boat he wrote on, fished from and loved on, this gives a new insight into the life of a man who became a literary sensation. The biography covers from the pinnacle of Hemingway's fame in 1934 to his suicide in 1961, and this enchanting read showcases the close connection between events in his life and the words that ended up on the pages in his work.
- RRP £20.00
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Rising to meteoric fame in next to no time, Kevin Bridges is now one of the nation's best-loved comics. But life wasn't always record-breaking shows at sell-out arenas for Kevin. In his new book, We Need to Talk About... Kevin Bridges, fans of the Glaswegian-born comic can discover the hilarious story of his life so far.
- RRP £20.00
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Born in Clydebank, Kevin began life as a nervy, shy schoolboy. But as he approached his teens he found his true calling: being the class clown. Aged just 17, Kevin took to the stage for the first time and brought the house down. This guy was going somewhere; exactly where that somewhere was, who would have known? With plenty of hilarious stories to tell of his rise to fame, readers can discover the story of Britain's comic rising star - told with his trademark social commentary and sharp wit.
With a BAFTA-nominated TV show and sold-out UK tour to his name already, at the tender age of just 27, Kevin Bridges is destined for stand-up super-stardom. Fans of Kevin Bridges will delight finding this memoir in their stocking this Christmas!
Fans of Paul Auster, the bestselling American author of Sunset Park and the New York Trilogy, will not be disappointed by this incredibly powerful portrayal of his early life, told in part through the relationship with his mother. Written in the second person with uncommon power and grace, the journal advances from one autobiographical fragment to the next, jumping backwards and forwards in time. A deeply personal book, Auster takes readers from his childhood through to the brink of old age, covering all the pleasure and pain he's lived through along the way. It especially focuses on the abandonment of his family by his father. 30 years after publishing his first book of prose, The Invention of Solitude, this second memoir looks straight into the heart of what it means to be alive.
- RRP £17.99
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Readers have fallen in love with the tale of James and Bob, a street cat James found abandoned in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation and now James Bowen is back with the follow-up to A Street Cat Named Bob and The World According to Bob with a touching festive story of the inseparable pair titled A Gift from Bob.
- RRP £12.99
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Looking back at the last Christmas they spent scraping a living together on the streets of London, the book details how Bob helped James through one of his toughest times by providing him with strength, friendship and inspiration - while also teaching him an important lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.
An extraordinary real-life tale of the transcendence of friendship and love, A Gift from Bob is the ideal Christmas gift for anyone who has fallen for the pair's earlier books or for those who simply adore animals.
Get a rare insight into the life of the Dalai Lama with this inspirational book. Through captivating anecdotes, The Wisdom of Compassion reveals how the Dalai Lama has learned lessons from his meetings with remarkable people from all walks of life and used these to become a better and more rounded individual.
- RRP £12.99
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Approaching the world with humour, dignity and optimism, the book covers how the Dalai Lama not only empathised with those who are suffering, but also demonstrated the benefits of practising forgiveness and compassion.
Drawing on some of unique friendships formed over seven decades of practice, this captivating book, written by the Dalai Lama with Victor Chan, shows how when you open your heart and mind to others, you can not only overcome adversity, but also find happiness and fulfilment.
- RRP £16.99
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The Children of Lovers is an interesting, intelligent memoir, written in an engaging and unsentimental style. In 1993, Golding died after an evening with the family, drunk and alone, at about 4am a bad time for a sufferer of night terrors... On the same night, in a nearby room, Judy had a prophetic dream that at last she could think and write whatever she liked. This book, so clear thinking and devoid of self-pity has emerged from that discovery. While William Golding may give The Children of Lovers its heft and weight, the author gives it wings, and her book takes flight in a light-spirited way that those brilliant, brilliant, demon-haunted novels never quite did.
This title covers the lives and works of the great musical creators of the Medieval, Baroque and Classical eras, with 200 illustrations. This is a guide to over 30 of the most famous composers from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras, including Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. It includes biographies for each composer, with historical information about the musical eras, events and artistic movements of the time, and how the composers influenced or changed the development of their art form. Chronologically arranged, the expert text features at-a-glance fact boxes summarizing the composers' key works. This book provides an illustrated guide to the most influential composers from the beginnings of composition in the 12th century to the golden age of Western music in the mid-19th century. The entries for each composer are accompanied by full-colour photographs and fine art, showing their portraits, the places where they lived and worked, and scenes from their ballets or operas. The expert text explains how each composer fitted into society, other events and artistic movements that were occurring at the same time, and how their work was regarded by other composers and the public. Throughout the book there are at-a-glance guides to each composer's nationality, place of birth, principal works and musical style.
- RRP £9.99
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Although Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee had been reading each other's books for years, the two writers did not meet until February 2008. Not long after, Auster received a letter from Coetzee, suggesting they begin exchanging letters on a regular basis and, "God willing, strike sparks off each other". "Here and Now" is the result of that proposal: an epistolary dialogue between two great writers who became great friends. Over three years their letters touched on nearly every subject, from sports to fatherhood, film festivals to incest, philosophy to politics, from the financial crisis to art, family, marriage, friendship, and love. Their correspondence offers an intimate and often amusing portrait of these two men as they explore the complexities of the here and now and is a reflection of two sharp intellects whose pleasure in each other's friendship is apparent on every page.
- RRP £20.00
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Best known today as a fine composer, the twelfth-century German abbess Hildegard of Bingen was also a religious leader and visionary, a poet, naturalist and writer of medical treatises. Despite her cloistered life she had strong, often controversial views on sex, love and marriage too - a woman astonishing in her own age, whose book of apocalyptic visions, Scivias, would alone have been enough to ensure her lasting fame. In this classic and highly praised biography - first published by Headline in 2001 - distinguished writer and journalist, Fiona Maddocks, draws on Hildegard's prolific writings to paint a portrait of her extraordinary life against the turbulent medieval background of crusade and schism, scientific discovery and cultural revolution. The great intellectual gifts and forceful character that emerge make her as fascinating as any figure in the Middle Ages. More than 800 years after her death, Pope Benedict XVI has made Hildegard a Saint and a Doctor of the Church (one of only four women). Fiona Maddocks has provided a short new preface to cover these tributes to an extraordinary and exceptional woman.
- RRP £12.99
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Gertrude Stein and Alice Babette Toklas met on Sunday 8 September 1907, in Paris. From that day on they were together, until Gertrude's death on Saturday 27 July 1946. Everyone who was anyone went to their salons at the rue de Fleurus. They became a legendary couple, photographed by Stieglitz, Man Ray & Cecil Beaton, painted by Picasso and written about in the works of Hemingway, Paul Bowles and Sylvia Beach. "Gertrude and Alice", now with a new foreword, is the highly acclaimed story of their remarkable life together, of the paths that led them to each other, and of Alice's years of widowhood after Gertrude had died. From letters, memoirs and the published writings of Stein and Toklas and with rich illustrations, Whitbread Award-winner Diana Souhami brings their characters, beliefs and achievements vividly to life: 'so emphatically and uncompromisingly themselves, that the world could do nothing less than accept them as they were'.
- RRP £12.99
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