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Biography

No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison

No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison

Behrouz Boochani ,  Omid Tofighian

$32.99
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Where have I come from? From the land of rivers, the land of waterfalls, the land of ancient chants, the land of mountains...

Since 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani has been held in the Manus Island offshore processing centre.

People would run to the mountains to escape the warplanes and found asylum within their chestnut forests...

This book is the result. Laboriously tapped out on a mobile phone and translated from the Farsi. It is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait through five years of incarceration and exile.

Do Kurds have any friends other than the mountains?

'A chant, a cry from the heart, a lament, fuelled by a fierce urgency, written with the lyricism of a poet, the literary skills of a novelist, and the profound insights of an astute observer of human behaviour and the ruthless politics of a cruel and unjust imprisonment.' ARNOLD ZABLE
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A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings

A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings

Helen Jukes

$35.00
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A fascinating, insightful and inspiring account of a novice beekeeper's year of keeping honeybees, which will appeal to readers of H is For Hawk and The Outrun

Entering her thirties, Helen Jukes feels trapped in an urban grind of office politics and temporary addresses – disconnected, stressed. Struggling to settle into her latest job and home in Oxford, she realises she needs to effect a change if she’s to create a meaningful life for herself, one that can accommodate comfort and labour and love. Then friends give her the gift of a colony of honeybees – according to folklore, bees freely given bring luck – and Helen embarks on her first full year of beekeeping. But what does it mean to ‘keep’ wild creatures? In learning about the bees, what can she learn of herself? And can travelling inside the hive free her outside it?

As Helen grapples with her role in the delicate, awe-inspiring ecosystem of the hive, the very act of keeping seems to open up new perspectives, deepen friendships old and new, and make her world come alive. A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings is at once a fascinating exploration of the honeybee and the hive, the practices of honey-gathering and the history of our observation of bees; and a beautifully wrought meditation on responsibility and care, on vulnerability and trust, on forging bonds and breaking new ground.
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The Unfinished Palazzo: Life, Love and Art in Venice

The Unfinished Palazzo: Life, Love and Art in Venice

Judith Mackrell

$19.99
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Abandoned unfinished and left to rot on Venice's Grand Canal, 'il palazzo non finito' was once an unloved guest among the aristocrats of Venetian architecture. Yet in the 20th century it played host to three passionate and unconventional women who would take the city by storm.

The staggeringly wealthy Marchesa Luisa Casati made her new home a belle epoque aesthete's fantasy and herself a living work of art; notorious British socialite Doris Castlerosse (nee Delevingne) welcomed film stars and royalty to glittering parties between the wars; and American heiress Peggy Guggenheim amassed an exquisite collection of modern art, which today draws visitors from around the world.

Each in turn used the Unfinished Palazzo as a stage on which to re-fashion her life, with a dazzling supporting cast ranging from D'Annunzio and Nijinsky, through Noel Coward, Winston Churchill and Cecil Beaton, to Yoko Ono. Individually sensational and collectively remarkable, these stories of modern Venice tell us much about the ways women chose to live in the 20th century.
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Princess: Stepping Out Of The Shadows

Princess: Stepping Out Of The Shadows

Jean Sasson

$35.00
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In the international bestseller, Princess: The True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, Princess Al-Sa'ud and the acclaimed author Jean Sasson began a remarkable series of books. Now, more than twenty-five years later, this compelling journey continues as we follow the fortunes and the dazzling life of the Princess, her friends and her family.

But, of course, there is a less glamorous, much darker side to this engaging series, and in Stepping Out of the Shadows Jean and the Princess focus their attention on how, despite positive news on civil rights reforms, Saudi women still suffer physical and psychological abuse and have little legal protection due to the archaic guardianship laws of the land. So, although this is a kingdom on the threshold of revolutionary change - change spearheaded by the young Saudi Crown Prince who is keen to modernize his country - any thoughts of equal rights and the chance to lead an independent life remain little more than dreams for most Saudi women.

Whilst the Princess acknowledges and welcomes the reforms that are on the horizon, through stories of joy and sorrow, we see how she is determined to continue to fight for equal rights for women in this, her beloved kingdom.
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Gainsborough: A Portrait

Gainsborough: A Portrait

James Hamilton

$22.99
Thomas Gainsborough lived as if electricity shot through his sinews and crackled at his finger ends. He was a gentle and empathetic family man, but had a shockingly loose, libidinous manner and a volatility that could lead him to slash his paintings.

James Hamilton reveals the artist in his many contexts: the talented Suffolk lad, transported to the heights of fashion; the rake-on-the-make in London, learning his craft in the shadow of Hogarth; the society-portrait painter in Bath and London who earned huge sums by charming the right people into his studio. With fresh insights into original sources, Gainsborough: A Portrait transforms our understanding of this fascinating man, and enlightens the century that bore him.
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Mortality

Mortality

Christopher Hitchens

$19.99
Courageous, insightful and candid thoughts on malady and mortality from one of our most celebrated writers.

The starting point of this book was when Christopher Hitchens found he was being deported 'from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady'. Over the next year he underwent the brutal gamut of cancer treatment, enduring huge levels of suffering and eventually losing the power of speech.

Mortality is at once an unsparingly honest account of the ravages of his disease and the climax of a lifetime's work of fierce debate and peerless prose. In this confrontation with mortality Hitchens writes eloquently of his fear of losing the ability to write, of the joy of conversation, of the torture of chemotherapy... and of the very meaning of life.
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Tears for Tarshiha

Tears for Tarshiha

Olfat Mahmoud

$29.95
A Palestinian refugee's inspiring tale of her lifelong fight to return home. Olfat Mahmoud is a Palestinian refugee - a descendant of the Christian and Muslim people who fled Palestine in the period leading up to and after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. She is an accomplished woman in her own right: the director of an international NGO, an internationally recognised peace activist, a registered nurse and, most recently, the recipient of a doctorate.

Born in a refugee camp in Lebanon more than 60 years ago, Olfat's determination to help her people in their fight to return to their homeland led to a nursing career that has placed her at the front line of atrocious massacres and wars in the Middle East. Tears for Tarshiha follows Olfat's career amid the death and destruction of Lebanon's many conflicts, and chronicles the Palestinian people's remarkable capacity for love and bravery in the most extreme conditions.

Olfat's extraordinary story is emblematic of the Palestinian plight, illustrating their continued survival and determination that has become an inconvenience to the international community. These are the descendants of those Palestinians who were forced from their homeland at gunpoint by the Israeli military in 1948 in what is known as the Nakba - or Catastrophe.

In 1949, David Ben-Gurion, one of the founders and the first prime minister of Israel, stated that `we must do everything to ensure [the Palestinians] never do return...the old will die and the young will forget'. Despite Olfat's parents and grandparents never seeing Tarshiha again, this book is part of Olfat's ongoing campaign to keep her people's predicament in the public consciousness.
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Churchill: Military Genius or Menace?

Churchill: Military Genius or Menace?

Stephen Napier

$59.99
Churchill has gone down in history as one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. From the day the Second World War was declared he stood out as the only man wanting to take offensive action. But is this accolade deserved?

The first few years of the war were nothing short of disastrous, and author Stephen Napier shows how Churchill's strategies - and his desire not to be the first British prime minister to surrender the nation - brought the war effort to the brink of ruin and back again. Did his series of retaliatory raids in response to a German accidental bombing help cause the Blitz? Were plans already at large for the US to join the war, with Churchill as the primary puppet master? Napier explores all this and more in a shocking examination of Churchill's leadership using first-person accounts from his peers and his electorate.
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A Brief History of the Private Life of Elizabeth II, Updated Edition

A Brief History of the Private Life of Elizabeth II, Updated Edition

Michael Paterson

$22.99
Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning British monarch. A personally quiet, modest and dutiful person, she is far better-informed about the lives of her subjects than they often realize. She has known every Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and every American President since Eisenhower. Yet what of the woman behind the crown?

This book seeks to take a new look at this exhaustively-documented life and show how Queen Elizabeth became the person she is. Who, and what, have been the greatest influences upon her? What are her likes and dislikes? What are her hobbies? Who are her friends? What does she feel about the demands of duty and protocol? Is she really enjoying herself when she smiles during official events? How differently does she behave when out of the public eye? Examining the places in which she grew up or has lived, the training she received and her attitudes to significant events in national life, it presents a fresh view of one of recent history's most important figures.

In recent years, Queen Elizabeth has become the longest-reigning monarch in our history and has cut back on commitments. Nevertheless she is still very active and has made some wise decisions about who takes over a number of her duties.
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You're on an Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir

You're on an Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir

Parker Posey

$32.99
From the 'Queen of the Indies' and star of Christopher Guest's Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, Woody Allen's Cafe Society and Irrational Man - and cult classics like Party Girl and Dazed and Confused - comes an irreverent, hilarious, and enchanting memoir full of personal stories, whimsical how-tos, recipes and eccentric illustrations.

It's hard not to love Parker Posey. A singularly gifted actress with a wickedly funny personality that belies her movie star status, her cross-generational fame stems from starring roles in such unforgettable movies as Dazed and Confused, Party Girl, and You've Got Mail, her recurring roles in Christopher Guest's mockumentaries, including his most recent, Mascots, on Netflix - and her forthcoming role in Netflix's 2018 reboot of Lost in Space.

With remarkable candour and a refreshing perspective on life in the spotlight, Posey opens up about the art of acting, life on the set, and the realities of its accompanying fame. She explores her relationships with brilliant directors like Christopher Guest and Woody Allen, as well as the nerves and expectations that come with the territory. A funny and authentic childhood set Posey up for a life of creating and entertaining, which not only extends to acting but to the craft of pottery, sewing, collage, yoga and cooking, all of which readers will find in this highly entertaining book. In You're On an Airplane, Posey delves into her personal style - unique, famously inspiring, and never indebted to trends--as well as her approach to everyday life on and off set. Laugh-out-loud advice from her legendary Greenwich Village therapist Mildred Newman appears alongside poignant portrayals of painful relationships and the love she has for her dog, Gracie. For fans of Nora Ephron's spot-on commentary, Jenny Lawson's absurdly comical foibles, Amy Sedaris's unexpectedly hilarious quips, and Carrie Brownstein's cool-girl appeal, You're On an Airplane proves Posey has a voice that will enchant fans and newcomers alike.
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Double Agent Victoire: Mathilde Carre and the Interallie Network

Double Agent Victoire: Mathilde Carre and the Interallie Network

David Tremain

$59.99
Mathilde Carre, notoriously known as La Chatte, was remarkable for all the wrong reasons. Like most spies she was temperamental, scheming and manipulative - but she was also treacherous. A dangerous mix, especially when combined with her infamous history of love affairs - on both sides.

Her acts of treachery were almost unprecedented in the history of intelligence, yet her involvement in the `Interallie affair' has only warranted a brief mention in the accounts of special operations in France during the Second World War. But what motivated her to betray more than 100 members of the Interallie network, the largest spy network in France? Was she the only guilty party, or were others equally as culpable?

Using previously unpublished material from MI5 files, Double Agent Victoire explores the events that led to her betrayal, who may have `cast the first stone', and their motivations, as well as how the lives and careers of those involved were affected. It reveals a story full of intrigue, sex, betrayal and double-dealing, involving a rich cast including members of the French Resistance, German Abwehr and British Intelligence.
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From Timor-Leste to Australia: Seven families, Three Generations Tell Their Stories

From Timor-Leste to Australia: Seven families, Three Generations Tell Their Stories

Janet Trezise

$22.95
A collection of poignant stories and poems of seven East Timorese families living in Melbourne whose experiences belong to that long history of human tragedy created where violent conflict of power, land and resources takes place, inevitably visiting on ordinary people, disruption and loss. Since 1975 to 1999, men, women and children, and even grandparents, have been forced to flee their beloved homeland, their culture, their language, their families--and the graves of those murdered in repeated massacres over those years.

Until now, their stories, written by people in their community, have not been recorded and published. With a heritage tied so closely to Australia in so many ways, this collection represents an essential part of the great story of migration, whether voluntary or forced, to this country particularly in the last 50 years. The reader will be moved by these remarkable, courageous, and resilient people, who endured so much, just on our doorstep.
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How Not To Be a Boy

How Not To Be a Boy

Robert Webb

$22.99
Robert Webb tried to follow the rules for being a man: Don't cry Drink beer Play rough Don't talk about feelings Looking back over his life, from schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) to discovering the power of making people laugh (in the Cambridge Footlights with David Mitchell), and from losing his beloved mother to becoming a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life.

Hilarious and heartbreaking, How Not To Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren't the Luke Skywalker of your life - you're actually Darth Vader.
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Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words: The Authorised Biography

Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words: The Authorised Biography

Boel Westin

$29.99
The Finnish-Swedish writer and artist Tove Jansson achieved worldwide fame as the creator of the Moomin stories, written between 1945 and 1970 and still in print in more than twenty languages. However, the Moomins were only a part of her prodigious output. Already admired in Nordic art circles as a painter, cartoonist and illustrator, she would go on to write a series of classic novels and short stories. She remains Scandinavia's best loved author.

Tove Jansson's work reflected the tenets of her life: her love of family (and special bond with her mother), of nature, and her insistence on freedom to pursue her art. Love and work was the motto she chose for herself and her approach to both was joyful and uncompromising. If her relationships with men foundered on her ambivalence towards marriage, those with women came as a revelation, especially the love and companionship she found with her long-time partner, the artist Tuulikki Pietil , with whom she lived on the solitary island of Klovharu.

In this meticulously researched, authorised biography, Boel Westin draws together the many threads of Jansson's life: from the studies interrupted to help her family; the dark shades of war and her emergence as an artist with a studio of her own; to the years of Moomin-mania, and later novel writing. Based on numerous conversations with Tove, and unprecedented access to her journals, letters and personal archives, Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words offers a rare and privileged insight into the world of a writer whom Philip Pullman described, simply, as 'a genius'.
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