- The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company
During 200 years the East India Company grew from a loose association of Elizabethan tradesmen into the grandest society of merchants in the universe. As a commercial enterprise it came to control half the world's trade and as a political entity it administered an embryonic empire. Without it there would have been no British India and no British Empire.
- A Thousand Acres
The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling novel from one of America's greatest contemporary writers. Larry Cook's farm is the largest in Zebulon County, Iowa, and a tribute to his hard work and single-mindedness. Proud and possessive, his sudden decision to retire and hand over the farm to his three daughters, is disarmingly uncharacteristic. Ginny and Rose, the two eldest, are startled yet eager to accept, but Caroline, the youngest daughter, has misgivings. Immediately, her father cuts her out. In A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley transposes the King Lear story to the modern day, and in so doing at once illuminates Shakespeare's original and subtly transforms it. This astonishing novel won both of America's highest literary awards, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics' Circle Award.
- The Strangest Family: The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians
An intensely moving account of George III's doomed attempt to create a happy, harmonious family, written with astonishing emotional force by a stunning new history writer. George III came to the throne in 1760 as a man with a mission. He wanted to be a new kind of king, one whose power was rooted in the affection and approval of his people. And he was determined to revolutionise his private life too, breaking with the extraordinarily dysfunctional home lives of his Hanoverian predecessors. He was sure that as a faithful husband and a loving father, he would be not just a happier man but a better ruler as well. During the early part of his reign it seemed as if, against all the odds, his great family project was succeeding. His wife, Queen Charlotte, shared his sense of moral purpose, and together they raised their fifteen children in a climate of loving attention. But as the children grew older, and their wishes and desires developed away from those of their father, it became harder to maintain the illusion of domestic harmony. The king's episodes of madness undermined the bedrock of their marriage; his disapproving distance from the bored and purposeless princes, especially the dissolute Prince of Wales, alienated them; and his determination to keep the princesses at home, protected from the potential horrors of the European marriage market, left them lonely, bitter and resentful. `The Strangest Family' is an epic, sprawling family drama, filled with intensely realised characters who leap off the page as we are led deep inside the private lives of the Hanoverians. Written with astonishing emotional force by a stunning new voice in history writing, it is both a window on another world and a universal story that will resonate powerfully with modern readers.
- TOO SOON TO PANIC
The long-awaited sequel to the bestselling classic memoir, A Handful of Summers. Gordon Forbes played for the South African Davis Cup team in the 50s and early 60s and returned to the circuit as a writer and observer. In 'Too Soon to Panic' he takes the readers behind the scenes at the big tournaments - Wimbledon, Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows; Germany, Spain and Italy - and introduces them to many of tennis's most extraordinary and dynamic characters, including Mark McCormack, Rod Laver, Jim Courier and Andre Agassi. Crammed with riotously funny anecdotes and vivid evocations of the innocence and camaraderie of the game in Forbes's day - when tennis as still a gentlemanly, amateur and often rather ramshackle affair - and insightful observations on today's glamorous game - where money reigns and sheer strength sometimes seems to conquer skill - Forbes explores the remarkable changes that have come over the sport in the last forty years.
- Making Divorce Work: In 9 Easy Steps
An hilarious spoof self-help book from the star of Marion & Geoff and host of the new hit BBC comedy The Keith Barret Show.
'I don't feel like I have lost a wife but that I have gained a friend. I would never have met Geoff if Marion hadn't left me.'
'Marion and Geoff' was one of the most-loved and most-acclaimed BBC comedies of recent years. Rob Brydon wrote and starred as cuckolded Welsh cabbie Keith Barret, recording a hopelessly optimistic video diary about his life as a divorcee. It was a heartbreaking show, darkly comic and brilliantly written. The series won Best Drama at the South Bank Awards, and Rob Brydon won a British Comedy Award for his performance as Keith.
In summer 2004 Brydon took his character Keith Barret to the Edinburgh Festival with a show (or rather a 'talk' or 'therapy session') entitled 'Making Divorce Work', which drew on all of Keith's experience as a divorcee. It was a sell-out, and the Daily Telegraph declared it 'More outright hilarious than the TV series'.
Now, after a highly successful series The Keith Barret Show, Keith Barret has settled down and written an indispensable self-help guide to surviving relationship break-ups. In Making Divorce Work, Barret offers advice for the broken-hearted on everything from getting access to the kids ('my little smashers') to dating again. It is a brilliant parody of the self-help genre (although Barret has written it with all sincerity), and an intimate portrait of Keith Barret; our favourite eternal optimist.