How to Build a Girl

My name’s Johanna Morrigan. I’m fourteen, and I’ve just decided to kill myself. I don’t really want to die, of course! I just need to kill Johanna, and build a new girl.

Dolly Wilde will be everything I want to be, and more! But as with all the best coming-of-age stories, it doesn’t exactly go to plan…This is the brilliant Number One bestselling novel from Caitlin Moran, the award-winning and Sunday Times bestselling author of How to Be a Woman.

BBC Proms 2015: the Official Guide

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or an experienced Prommer, plan your summer through the 2015 BBC Proms season with the official Proms Guide. Contains: brand-new articles on featured composers, insights on performers, new music and Proms Extra events; full listings for every concert and event – repertoire, performers, time, location, ticket and broadcast information; details on how to book tickets; and free season calendar to see all the concerts at a glance. With beautiful photographs and bespoke imagery throughout, this official Proms Guide is the most comprehensive way to plan your summer’s Proms visiting, watching and listening.

The BBC Proms, celebrating its 120th year in 2015, is the world’s biggest and longest-running classical music festival and features many of the greatest artists and orchestras from the UK and around the world in over 80 concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall. There are also daily free Proms Extra talks, workshops, performances and family events.

Engel’s England : Thirty-Nine Counties, One Capital and One Man

England, says Matthew Engel, is the most complicated place in the world. And, as he travels through each of the historic English counties, he discovers that’s just the start of it. Every county is fascinating, the product of a millennium or more of history: still a unique slice of a nation that has not quite lost its ancient diversity.

He finds the well-dressers of Derbyshire and the pyromaniacs of Sussex; the Hindus and huntsmen of Leicestershire; the goddess-worshippers of Somerset. He tracks down the real Lancashire, hedonistic Essex, and the most mysterious house in Middlesex. In Durham he goes straight from choral evensong to the dog track.

As he seeks out the essence of each county – from Yorkshire’s broad acres to the microdot of Rutland – Engel always finds the unexpected . Engel’s England is a totally original look at a confused country: a guidebook for people who don’t think they need a guidebook. It is always quirky, sometimes poignant and often extremely funny.

John Aubrey : My Own Life

Anno 1634, Easton Pierse I was born about sun rising in my maternal grandfather’s bedchamber on 12th March 1626. St. Gregory’s Day, very sickly, likely to die.

John Aubrey loved England. From an early age, he saw his England slipping away and, against extraordinary odds, committed himself to preserving for posterity what remained of it – in books, monuments and life stories. His Brief Lives would redefine the art of biography yet he published only one rushed, botched book in his lifetime and died fearing his name and achievements would be forgotten.

Ruth Scurr’s biography is an act of scholarly imagination: a diary drawn from John Aubrey’s own words, displaying his unique voice, dry wit, the irreverence and drama of a literary pioneer. Aubrey saw himself modestly as a collector of a vanishing past, a ‘scurvy antiquary’. But he was also one of the pioneers of modern writing, a journalist before the age of journalism, who witnessed the Civil War and the Great Fire of London in the company of some of the influential men and women, high and low, whose lives he would make his legacy.

John Aubrey’s own life was a poignant personal and financial struggle to record the doings of great men and the relics of antiquity, the habits of Christopher Wren, Isaac Newton and Thomas Hobbes, the stones of Stonehenge and the stained glass of forgotten churches. In this genre-defying account, rich with the London taverns and elegiac landscapes of an England he helped to preserve, Ruth Scurr has resurrected John Aubrey as a potent spirit for our own time.

Introducing the Ancient Greeks

Who were the ancient Greeks? They gave us democracy, philosophy, poetry, rational science, the joke. But what was it that enabled them to achieve so much? The ancient Greeks were a geographically disparate people whose civilization lasted over twenty centuries – and that made us who we are today. And here Edith Hall gives us a revelatory way of viewing this scattered people, identifying ten unique personality traits that she shows to be unique and central to the widespread ancient Greeks.

Hall introduces a people who are inquisitive, articulate and open-minded but also rebellious, individualistic, competitive and hedonistic. They prize excellence above all things but love to laugh. And, central to their identity, they are seafarers whose relationship with the sea underpins every aspect of their society.

Expertly researched and elegantly told, this indispensable introduction unveils a civilization of incomparable richness and a people of astounding complexity.

 

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