Chris moves with his wife to a mountain farm in Las Alpujarras, an oddball region in the south of Spain. Misadventures gleefully unfold as the couple discovers that the owner has no intention of leaving and meets their neighbours, an engaging mix of peasant farmers and shepherds, New Age travellers and ex-pats. Their daughter Chloë is born, linking them irrevocably to their new life. The hero of the piece, however, is the farm itself – a patch of mountain studded with olive, almond and lemon groves, sited on the wrong side of a river, with no access road, water supply or electricity.
Could life offer much better than that?
Recommended by Mr Ryder in the ‘Desert Island Dons’ feature of the last Chronicle
He (Mr Ryder, not Black Elk!) says:
“An incredible true story of survival and endurance in the face of overwhelming adversity, something I will need on the island.”
How do you solve a mystery if you can’t remember the clues?
Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable – or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger.
But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.
Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about. Everyone, except Maud . . .
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Broken hearted? Spat out by love??
Then this one’s for you!
Accidental romance is in the offing when two people try to get the better of their exes.
What could possibly go wrong (or right…)?!
The brilliant novel from the author of Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay’. Grady Tripp is an over-sexed, pot-bellied, pit-smoking, ageing wunderkind of a novelist now teaching creative writing at a Pittsburgh college while working on his 2,000 page masterpiece, ‘Wonder Boys’. When his rumbustious editor and friend, Terry Crabtree, arrives in town, a chaotic weekend follows – involving a tuba, a dead dog, Marilyn Monroe’s ermine-lined jacket and a squashed boa constrictor.
World Book Day Thursday 1st March
Need some inspiration for what to read next?
With so many fantastic books out there, book clubs and avid readers can have difficulty choosing what to read next—thankfully, this comprehensive guide brings together the best and most loved titles for easy reference. Featuring a diverse selection, from Pride and Prejudice to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Kite Runner to Cloud Atlas, the guide includes interesting discussion points and facts as well as potential companion books with similar themes, honest opinions from readers, and razor-sharp reviews from critics, so readers will know they’re making the right choice every time. Top ten lists are also included, such as Top Ten Quick Reads (Metamorphosis, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), Top Ten Challenging Reads (Anna Karenina, Possession), Top Ten Gay Reads (Giovanni’s Room, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit), and Top Ten Chilling Reads (The Stand, Ring). Compiled by a range of English literature experts and avid readers, this book is sure to inspire any book lover.
The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the media.
Illustrated by Josh Neufeld
Prepare to be guided through two millennia of media history….
Learn to be savvy consumers and shapers of the news!
“Britain’s best-known classicist Mary Beard, is also a committed and vocal feminist. With wry wit, she revisits the gender agenda and shows how history has treated powerful women. Her examples range from the classical world to the modern day, from Medusa and Athena to Theresa May and Hillary Clinton…”
This is a small book, full of some very big ideas. Read it today!
Earth’s natural history is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. But evolutionary biologists also point out many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change–a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze–caused evolution to take a completely different course. What role does each force really play in the constantly changing natural world? Are the plants and animals that exist today, and we humans ourselves, inevitabilities or evolutionary freaks? And what does that say about life on other planets?
Jonathan Losos reveals what the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology can tell us about one of the greatest ongoing debates in science. He takes us around the globe to meet the researchers who are solving the deepest mysteries of life on Earth through their work in experimental evolutionary science. Losos himself is one of the leaders in this exciting new field, and he illustrates how experiments with guppies, fruit flies, bacteria, foxes, and field mice, along with his own work with anole lizards on Caribbean islands, are rewinding the tape of life to reveal just how rapid and predictable evolution can be.
Improbable Destinies will change the way we think and talk about evolution. Losos’s insights into natural selection and evolutionary change have far-reaching applications for protecting ecosystems, securing our food supply, and fighting off harmful viruses and bacteria. This compelling narrative offers a new understanding of ourselves and our role in the natural world and the cosmos.
‘Improbable Destinies is one of the best books on evolutionary biology for a broad readership ever written. Its subjects – the unfolding of Earth’s biological history, the precarious nature of human existence, and the likelihood of life on exoplanets – are presented in a detailed, exciting style expected from an authentic scientist and naturalist’
Edward O. Wilson
University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
We live in the age of the individual.
We are supposed to be slim, prosperous, happy, extroverted and popular. This is our culture’s image of the perfect self. We see this person everywhere: in advertising, in the press, all over social media. We’re told that to be this person you just have to follow your dreams, that our potential is limitless, that we are the source of our own success.
But this model of the perfect self can be extremely dangerous. People are suffering under the torture of this impossible fantasy. Unprecedented social pressure is leading to increases in depression and suicide. Where does this ideal come from? Why is it so powerful? Is there any way to break its spell?
To answer these questions, Selfie by Will Storr takes us from the shores of Ancient Greece, through the Christian Middle Ages, to the self-esteem evangelists of 1980s California, the rise of narcissism and the selfie generation, and right up to the era of hyper-individualistic neoliberalism in which we live now.
It tells the extraordinary story of the person we all know so intimately – our self.