Non-Fiction

These Precious Days

$29.99

Any story that starts will also end.’ As a writer, Ann Patchett knows what the outcome of her fiction will be. Life, however, often takes turns we do not see coming. Patchett ponders this as she explores family, friendship, marriage, failure, success, and what it all means.

Ranging from the personal – her portrait of the three men she called her fathers; how a chance encounter with Tom Hanks led to one of the most important friendships of her life; how to answer when someone asks why you don’t have children – to the sublime – the unexpected influence of Snoopy; the importance of knitting; the pleasure to be found in children’s books – each essay transforms the particular into the universal, letting us all see our own worlds anew.

Illuminating, penetrating, funny and generous, These Precious Days is joyful time spent in the company of one of our greatest living authors.

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Egyptian Mythology

$29.99

Join Egyptologist Garry J. Shaw on a tour up the Nile, through a beautiful and fascinating landscape populated with a rich mythology: the stories of Horus, Isis, Osiris, and their enemies and allies, tales of vengeance, tragedy, and fantastic metamorphoses. The myths of ancient Egypt have survived in fragments of ancient hymns and paintings on the walls of tombs and temples, spells inked across coffins and stories scrawled upon scrolls. Shaw not only retells these stories with his characteristic wit, but also reconnects them to the temples and monuments that still stand today, offering a fresh look at the most visited sites in Egypt.

Shaw’s evocative descriptions of the ancient ruins will transport you to another landscape – including the magnificent sites of Dendera, Tell el-Amarna, Edfu, and Thebes. At each site, discover which gods or goddesses were worshipped there, as well as the myths and stories that formed the backdrop to the rituals and customs of everyday life. Each chapter ends with a potted history of the site, as well as tips for visiting the ruins today. Illustrations throughout bring to life the creation of the world and the nebulous netherworld, the complicated relationships between fickle gods, powerful magicians and pharaohs, and eternal battles on a cosmic scale. This is the perfect companion to the myths of Egypt and the gods and goddesses that shaped its ancient landscape.

With 58 illustrations.

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A Brief History of Motion

$29.99

Beginning around 3,500 BC with the wheel, and moving through the eras of horsepower, trains and bicycles, Tom Standage puts the rise of the car – and the future of urban transport – into a broader historical context.

Our society has been shaped by the car in innumerable ways, many of which are so familiar that we no longer notice them. Why does red mean stop and green mean go? Why do some countries drive on the left, and some on the right? How did cars, introduced only a little over a century ago, change the way the world was administered, laid out and policed, along with experiences like eating and shopping? And what might travel in a post-car world look like?

As social transformations from ride-sharing to the global pandemic force us to critically re-examine our relationship with personal transportation, A Brief History of Motion is an essential contribution to our understanding of how the modern world came to be.

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Worlds in Shadow

$29.99

The traces of much of human history – and that which preceded it – lie beneath the ocean surface; broken up, dispersed, often buried and always mysterious. This is fertile ground for speculation, even myth-making, but also a topic on which geologists and climatologists have increasingly focused in recent decades. We now know enough to tell the true story of some of the continents and islands that have disappeared throughout Earth’s history, to explain how and why such things happened, and to unravel the effects of submergence on the rise and fall of human civilizations.

In Worlds in Shadow Patrick Nunn sifts the facts from the fiction, using the most up-to-date research to work out which submerged places may have actually existed versus those that probably only exist in myth. He looks at the descriptions of recently drowned lands that have been well documented, those that are plausible, and those that almost certainly didn’t exist.

Going even further back, Patrick examines the presence of more ancient lands, submerged beneath the waves in a time that even the longest-reaching folk memory can’t touch. Such places may have played important roles in human evolution, but can only be reconstructed through careful geological detective work. Exploring how lands become submerged, whether from sea-level changes, tectonic changes, gravity collapse, giant waves or volcanoes, helps us determine why, when and where land may disappear in the future, and what might be done to prevent it.

The Happy Traitor

$29.99

Those people who were betrayed were not innocent people. They were no better nor worse than I am. It’s all part of the intelligence world. If the man who turned me in came to my house today, I’d invite him to sit down and have a cup of tea.

George Blake was the last remaining Cold War spy. As a Senior Officer in the British Intelligence Service who was double agent for the Soviet Union, his actions had devastating consequences for Britain. Yet he was also one of the least known double agents, and remained unrepentant.

In 1961, Blake was sentenced to forty-two years imprisonment for betraying to the KGB all of the Western operations in which he was involved, and the names of hundreds of British agents working behind the Iron Curtain. This was the longest sentence for espionage ever to have been handed down by a British court.

On the surface, Blake was a charming, intelligent and engaging man, and most importantly, a seemingly committed patriot. Underneath, a ruthlessly efficient mole and key player in the infamous ‘Berlin Tunnel’ operation. This illuminating biography tracks Blake from humble beginnings as a teenage courier for the Dutch underground during the Second World War, to the sensational prison-break from Wormwood Scrubs that inspired Hitchcock to write screenplay.

Through a combination of personal interviews, research and unique access to Stasi records, journalist Simon Kuper unravels who Blake truly was, what he was capable of, and why he did it.

Comrade Aeon’s Field Guide to Bangkok

$29.99

The secrets hidden in an overgrown plot of land in the centre of Bangkok reveal the politics, society and culture of contemporary Thailand; in an authentic and luminous debut novel for readers of Jennifer Egan and Jonathan Coe.

In Bangkok, a plot of land behind a city slum resonates with the hopes, dreams and fears of the local community. For Comrade Aeon, a homeless insurgent who fled to the jungle after a military crackdown on student protestors in 1976, it’s a verdant refuge and the place from which he documents the underbelly of the city. For Ida Barnes, an ex-pat whose husband may be cheating on her, it’s an inviting retreat. For Witty, an urbane property developer married to one of the city’s most famous movie stars, it’s a ‘Bangkok Unicorn’ – that rare chance to make his mark on the Bangkok skyline. But the slum-dwelling spirits who guard its secrets know that it holds a much darker history, that it masks the silent politics at the heart of Thai culture.

Written with a tender compassion for Bangkok’s people and customs, Comrade Aeon’s Field Guide to Bangkok is a masterful, propulsive debut which introduces a fresh new talent in fiction.

Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City

$29.99

For centuries the city of Alexandria Beneath the Mountains was a meeting point of East and West. Then it vanished. In 1833 it was discovered in Afghanistan by the unlikeliest person imaginable: Charles Masson, deserter, traveller, pilgrim, doctor, archaeologist, spy, and eventually one of the most respected scholars in Asia, and the greatest of nineteenth-century travellers.

On the way into one of history’s most extraordinary stories, he would take tea with kings, travel with holy men and become the master of a hundred disguises; he would see things no westerner had glimpsed before and few have glimpsed since. He would spy for the East India Company and be suspected of spying for Russia at the same time, for this was the era of the Great Game, when imperial powers confronted each other in these staggeringly beautiful lands. Masson discovered tens of thousands of pieces of Afghan history, including the 2,000 year old Bimaran golden casket, which has upon it the earliest known face of the Buddha. He would be offered his own kingdom; he would change the world, and the world would destroy him.

This is a wild journey through nineteenth-century India and Afghanistan, with impeccably researched storytelling that shows us a world of espionage and dreamers, ne’er-do-wells and opportunists, extreme violence both personal and military, and boundless hope. At the edge of empire, amid the deserts and the mountains, it is the story of an obsession passed down the centuries.

The Heartbeat of Trees

$29.99

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees comes a powerful return to the forest, where trees have heartbeats and roots are like brains that extend underground. Where the colour green calms us, and the forest sharpens our senses.

In The Heartbeat of Trees, renowned forester Peter Wohlleben draws on new scientific discoveries to show how humans are deeply connected to the natural world. In an era of mobile phone addiction, climate change and urban life, many of us fear we’ve lost our connection to nature, but Wohlleben is convinced that age-old ties linking humans to the forest remain alive and intact.

Drawing on science and cutting-edge research, The Heartbeat of Trees reveals the profound interactions humans can have with nature, exploring the language of the forest, the consciousness of plants and the eroding boundary between flora and fauna.

A perfect book to take with you into the woods, The Heartbeat of Trees shares how to see, feel, smell, hear and even taste the forest.

How to Fake Being Tidy

$29.99

My mother wasn’t much of a housekeeper. She wasn’t much of a cook either, although she tried. She longed to live a more unconventional life. Admirably high-minded, but it meant I never learnt to fold a towel.

In these funny, sometimes poignant, stories, award-winning feature writer Fenella Souter celebrates the highs and lows of domestic life – from her attempts to run the house like a grown-up, to lessons in good cooking; from accidentally killing her wisteria, divorcing the cat and shirt-fronting bossy tradies, to wondering if the ‘hostess gift’ is still a thing or why some people have impeccable taste.

With their distinctive wit, they will leave you smiling with recognition at the everyday dramas and dilemmas that can make or break friendships and marriages, turn a house into a home, or let chaos get the upper hand.

‘Chuck out all your self-help guides to gratitude, mindfulness and finding meaning. This book is all you need.’ – Charlotte Wood

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