Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Last Call for the Dining Car: The Telegraph Book of Great Railway Journeys, edited by Michael Kerr

The trip, rather than its end, is the thing.

These days, air travel is easily the fastest way to travel, and with the rise of low cost airlines, it can be the cheapest. Increasingly we are using short-haul flights as an alternative to rail travel. A rail journey however can be about so much more than just getting from A to B. As travel writer Paul Mansfield states in his account of a five day rail journey from London to Lisbon; “I could have made this journey by plane in about two hours – and missed everything”.

A train can still take us on a genuine journey, whether it weaves through vertiginous mountain passes, across expansive planes, or indeed whether the adventure itself is in being thrown together with a motley array of other travellers. Could it lead to a romantic encounter in the dining car? Or will you be sharing your sleeping car with a sinister stranger?

When Paul Theroux’s The Great Railway Bazaar was first published in 1975, its tenet was the travellers’ mantra ‘the journey is the goal’. Theroux defied traditions of travel literature as he sought not to report on unfamiliar cultures, but to submit himself to chance experiences along the way. The book became an instant classic of travel literature, and an inspiration to a generation of rail travellers.

Last Call for the Dining Car, too, tackles these themes. Michael Kerr, the Daily Telegraph’s deputy travel editor, has waded deep into the Telegraph archives to compile a riveting anthology of all the best railway travel to have appeared in the paper. Here are epic journeys across India, high over the Andean Altiplano, from Moscow to Peking, on the Sunset Express across America to California, and from Leicester Square to Charing Cross on the Piccadilly Line.

With contributions from Michael Palin, Nicholas Crane and John Simpson amongst others.



Friday, October 16, 2009

Outlaw Journalist: The Life & Times of Hunter S. Thompson by William McKeen

· ‘This is the Great Red Shark of Hunter biographies… Read it or die’ Greg Palast

Hunter S. Thompson changed the way we think about journalism. One of the pioneers of New Journalism, he wrote books that continue to entertain decades after they were published, melding fact and fiction in a supercharged Gonzo prose style to chronicle his drink- and drug- fuelled adventures. His major work, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is now a bestselling classic. Requesting his ashes blasted into the blue Colorado sky to drift slowly back over the crowd at his funeral was typical of his menacing humour. There was no one better at capturing America, from the presidential campaign trail to the Hell’s Angels’ lair.

William McKeen became friends with Thompson after writing a monograph on his work. He has interviewed many of the writer’s associates who would not speak before, from childhood friends to assistants at his Colorado home, getting behind the drink and drugs to reveal a charismatic figure who was happy to be considered an outlaw but took the calling of journalism as his vocation. Outlaw Journalist is the definitive biography of this compelling American icon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bounder!: The Biography of Terry Thomas

Bounder!: The Biography of Terry Thomas by Graham McCann, is available now. The fascinating story of one of England's most beloved comics, follows his life from his regular childhood in North Finchley to his extravagantly dressed celebrity lifestyle and final decline from Parkinson's Disease. The gap-toothed 'dandy' saunters from page to page in this book, his swagger and perfectly tailoured suits never failing to entertain but it is his tragic illness (that would render him virtually penniless) that is captured sensitively and empathectically shining a light on Thomas's private life and true persona. For a quick snap-shot of his life, click on the link below. So juicy is his life, you won't be able to resist buying the book!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Music seems to have an almost wilful, evasive quality, defying simple explination, so that the more we find out, the more there is to know, leaving its power and mystery intact, however much we dig and delve. Daniel's book is an eloquent and poetic exploration of this paradox." Sting.
If what Sting has said about Daniel Levitin's second book,The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature, sounds complicated, rest assured it is more entertaining than anything else! Following on from his best selling book This is your Brain on Music, Levitin, the session musician turned neuroscientist, now blends art and science together and explores how music is perceived both culturally and scientifically.
Dipping in and out of personal musical memories ("I'm standing right next to the bed where Jon and Yoko launched this protest, where they sang the song. I hear it playing in my head..."), Levitin floats from The Supremes to Beethoven, The Beatles to Ella Fitzgerald in his quest to truly understand music and its meanings. Split into six categories: Friendship, Joy, Comfort, Knowledge, Religion and Love, music is the puzzle Levitin passionately pieces together.
Have you ever wondered why certain melodies stick in your head or why gushy love-songs make you feel emotional? Have you ever argued with someone over what gets played on the radio? If so, this book might really relate to you. With suggestions that music has been an evolutionary necessity (Levitin believes that it was music and dance which aided communication and self-protection before the spoken word), our love for music is not as new as we think.
"...how might these different functions of music have influenced the evolution of human emotion, reason and spirit across distinct intellectual and cultural histories? What role did the musical brain have in shaping human nature and human culture over the past fifty-thousand years or so? In short, how did all these musics make us who we are?" Levitin.
Levitin invites us to join him on a journey of musical re-discovery and enlightenment and by answering some of these questions, we can start to learn about ourselves along the way.
David Levitin's The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature is priced at £14.99 and available now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dave Whelan: Playing to Win

Dave Whelan talks about Manchester Utd, his childhood and the beginnings of his business empire with Jim White from The Independent:
Dave Whelan Playing to Win: The Autobiography available from http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6708033

Monday, July 20, 2009

Coming Soon - The Most Dangerous Enemy

Almost seventy years since Spitfires, Merlins and Hurricanes fought to protect Britain’s skies, it is surprising how little is publicly known about the Battle of Britain. Many people may not even be aware that the RAF’s triumph in this battle was integral in saving our country from German invasion in the Second World War. What collective memory exists at all undoubtedly features a soaring Spitfire as the hero of this epic battle, with little more detail than the faint sound of air-raid sirens. However, in the 1980s and 90s, scholars began to counter this image, publishing works which devalued Churchill’s leadership and the quality of the Spitfire’s engineering. Not sure who to believe, Stephen Bungay set out to discover the truth behind these myths. The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain contains his surprising revelations. The book brings to light stories of first-hand experience, compiled from extensive research and interviews, one of which reveals how oblivious some fighter pilots were about the significance of their actions. Outnumbered, and with little previous experience of air warfare, it appears that British pilots managed an astounding victory.

The Most Dangerous Enemy has been described as “the most exhaustive and detailed account of the Battle of Britain”, but the book is far from an alienating history textbook. Bungay manages to make an event over sixty-nine years old accessible to a modern reader by establishing the background to the battle without patronising the knowledgeable or veering into dull statistics. We learn how the Battle of Britain may not have happened, had Churchill not have been elected as Prime Minister, and how Churchill’s military confidence and sense of moral obligation stood alone against government and public calls for peace.

For the avid historian there is still much to learn about the Battle of Britain, and Bungay weaves his newfound knowledge into an exciting and compelling narrative. This is a thoroughly readable account of one of the most important battles in British history, finally providing a comprehensive and thoughtful insight into our country’s past.

The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain by Stephen Bungay will be available from August in paperback at £8.79

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Try Something Different This Holiday...

Janie Hamilton’s The Austerity Olympics and Paddy Ashdown’s A Fortunate Life proved their success last weekend when they were named as two of the ‘100 Best Holiday Reads’ in The Sunday Times. Hamilton’s book was heralded as “a delightful jog through the trials and tribulations of putting the 1948 games together on a shoestring”, whilst the former leader of the Liberal Democrats was praised for his “action-packed reminiscences”. Why not pack one of these inspiring reads in your suitcase this summer?

Read the full list at this address:

The Real Story of The Clash - Out Now

Released for the 30th anniversary of their classic album, ‘London Calling’, Pat Gilbert’s revised edition of Passion is a Fashion: The Real Story of The Clash sheds light on the hidden personalities which made up one of the most influential punk-rock bands of the 70s and 80s. Gilbert draws on MOJO archives and interviews with friends, producers and the boys themselves to reveal what really went on behind the music. From steps taken to invent the band’s iconic image to the dampening of their rebellious spirit after signing on with CBS, we learn what led to the band’s eventual separation and legacy. Gilbert’s personal quest for knowledge delivers plenty of new material in this definitive biography, but what truly separates Passion is a Fashion from the many other books written about The Clash is the real sense of an emotional connection between the author and his material. Gilbert’s own passion for the band inspired his research and this ardour is evident in his writing, making this a must-read for any music-lover.

Passion is a Fashion: The Real Story of The Clash is available now in paperback from £7.99

Monday, June 22, 2009

BBC London speak to Janie Hampton, author of 'The Austerity Olympics'

Find it hard to believe that the 1948 London Olympics was hosted on a budget of just £760? So did we...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Coming Soon at Aurum Press...

The result of five years of meticulous research, Murray Engleheart and Arnaud Derieux’s AC/DC Maximum Rock & Roll is widely recognised as the most comprehensive book ever written about the world’s number one rock band, AC/DC. Charting everything from their rise to fame to the sudden death of the legendary Bon Scott to the making of the landmark Back In Black album, this unrivalled biography reveals why Australia’s loudest rock and roll export are still able to blast their way through sell-out tours 30 years after their first appearance.

AC/DC Maximum Rock & Roll is coming soon in paperback priced at £16.99

Journalist for the Sunday Telegraph and the Guardian, Byron Rogers lived happy in the assumption that he knew all that was worth knowing about Byron Rogers. Until, that is, he started receiving steamy, passionate love letters from female readers. What was really baffling was that, despite these women’s claims to the contrary, he’d never actually met any of them. Determined to get to the bottom of these mysterious goings-on, Rogers turns detective in this strange and witty memoir, Me: The Authorised Biography, only to find himself struggling to reclaim centre stage of his own life.

Me: The Authorised Biography is coming soon in hardback priced at £16.99

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How to Take a Spiderman/Peter Parker Approach to Wikipedia, Andrew Lih Explains

With millions of users every day, Wikipedia has fast become a phenomenon. But, can we really trust the quality of articles written by a bunch of nobodies? Find out in this recent interview with Andrew Lih, editor/administrator of Wikipedia and author of the book The Wikipedia Revolution:

The Wikipedia Revolution by Andrew Lih is out now in paperback at £14.99 and is available at: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6493063

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Paddy Ashdown: A Different Side of Politics?

Released this April, Paddy Ashdown’s autobiography A Fortunate Life tells the no-nonsense story of the rather unconventional politician critics have been describing as ‘a man driven not by a wish to accumulate power or money but by compassion, decency and principle’. As reports of MPs' gross expense claims continue to pour out by the day, Paddy’s memoir seems to raise the hope that there can be room in politics for those wanting to give rather than get after all.

“very entertaining, clear and wise” says The Times

Please click here to read Rod Liddle’s full review of A Fortunate Life:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Christine Adams Visits The Holt Bookshop

On Friday, June 19th, The Holt Bookshop welcomes you to join Christine Adams, from 6:30 p.m. onwards, as she talks about her fascinating new book A Lifetime in the Building: The Extraordinary Story of May Savidge and The House She Moved.

Tickets cost £5 and are redeemable against the cost of any book in stock on the night.

The Holt Bookshop is situated at 10 Appleyard, Holt, Norfolk, NR25 6AR. For more information, please call 01263 715858 or visit: http://holtbookshoponline.tbpcontrol.co.uk/tbp.direct/customeraccesscontrol/home.aspx?d=holtbookshoponline&s=C&r=10000334&ui=0&bc=0

A Book Depository Interview with Alwyn W. Turner

Click on this link to find out why Alwyn W. Turner felt compelled to write his most recent book Crisis? What Crisis? Britain in the 1970s:


The Sunday Times gives Janie Hampton's 'The Austerity Olympics' a glowing review

As described by Andrew Holgate of The Sunday Times, Janie Hampton's book on the 1948 Olympics is a 'delightfully brisk and impressively researched jog through the history of the London tournament'.

Janie Hampton: The Austerity Olympics: 1948/2012?: A Talk

On Saturday, June 20th, we invite you to join Janie Hampton, author of The Austerity Olympics, as she takes a look at the greatly successful 1948 ‘Ration Book Olympics’, hosted by post-war London in the midst of economic crisis. With the London 2012 Olympics fast approaching and many of us asking whether big budget plans really will prove to be money well spent, this talk promises to raise some interesting debate.

Tickets are priced at £9.50 and the talk is set to start at 10 a.m. at Kings Place, York Way, N1 9AG.

For more information, please call 0844 264 0321 or visit: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/events/show-23611236-details/Janie+Hampton%3A+The+Austerity+Olympics%3A+1948/2012/%3A+Talk/showReview.do

Monday, June 8, 2009

June Releases

First on our list this month…

A distinct original, Audrey Hepburn is perhaps best loved for her incomparable elegance, luminous beauty and inimitable sense of style. Out now in paperback, Pamela Clarke Keogh’s Audrey Style celebrates the life of this captivating star, whose trademark boyish figure, cropped hair and ballet slippers resonate still through the fashion world of today. Complete with first time interviews from those closest to her, this style biography features original sketches from leading fashion designers, such as Vera Wang, Manolo Blahnik and Alexander McQueen and over 90 colour and black-and-white photographs, many of which have never before been published. From the struggles of her early life to the complex relationship she shared with her mother, from her weight to her loves, Audrey Style reveals all that contributed towards Audrey’s transformation into one of the most memorable women of the 20th century.

Audrey Style is issued in paperback at £11.99 and is available at:
http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6690562 [Also available in hardback.]

Next, we have a tale of triumph from first-time author Christine Adams…

A Lifetime in the Building is the remarkable story of May Savidge, her compulsive hoarding and the home she single-handedly demolished and rebuilt at the age of 60. Inheriting the sadly dilapidated house upon Auntie May’s death 23 years later, Christine Adams and her family soon discover that, throughout her life, this extraordinary woman had carefully stored away every bus ticket, every sweet wrapper, every glamorous dress ever worn. Faced with the daunting task of having to rummage through this strange wealth of belongings piece by piece, Christine quickly finds herself plunged into a bygone world filled with heartbreak, heroism and hard-fought battles with bureaucracy. With an introduction by Paul Atterbury of the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, this is the intriguing book of a woman’s quest to lay the ghost of her Auntie May and the house she built to rest.

A Lifetime in the Building is issued in hardback at £16.99 and is available at: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6541510

And finally, our music titles for this month include…

Passionate, intelligent and hard-hitting, Pat Gilbert’s Passion is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash offers the first real behind-the-scenes glimpse into the complex history of a band that shaped a generation of disillusioned youth with their ferocious mix of politics and punk rock. Written by the former editor of the internationally acclaimed music magazine Mojo, this book examines the early lives of the Clash’s classic line up, the tensions arising from their particularly gruelling and chaotic touring, the tragic death of Joe Strummer and more. Drawing on over 70 original interviews with key contributors to the band’s success, such as Kosmo Vinyl, Don Letts and Caroline Coon, as well as the band members themselves, Passion is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash sheds new light on those areas of the story all too often overlooked.

Passion is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash is issued in paperback at £7.99 and is available at:
http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6541473 [Also available in hardback.]

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Book signing TONIGHT

Tonight, Waterstone's Nottingham are hosting a Brian Clough vs. Don Revie Fight Night followed by a book signing. Starting at 7pm, the show will start with a moderator-led discussion between Rob Bagchi, author of The Unforgiven, and Duncan Hamilton, who compiled Old Big 'Ead: The Wit and Wisdom of Brian Clough.

This will be followed by a Q&A session and book signings. Tickets are £3, redeemable on purchase of either book on offer. It promises a successful night, with a great deal of local media interest throughout the last couple of days and weeks, the highlight being an interview with Rob and Duncan on BBC Radio Nottingham yesterday.
Waterstone's Nottingham is situated at Bridlesmith Gate, about 5mins from the train station.

April’s great titles

A FORTUNATE LIFE: The autobiography of PADDY ASHDOWN, an autobiography by a politician which is totally unlike the traditional political memoir. It is the story of a life lived to the full, as a Royal Marine Commando, a member of the Special Boat Service and an international peacemaker, as well as an MP and a party leader. At a time when politicians are viewed with derision and suspicion, Paddy Ashdown is widely respected and admired, even by his political opponents. This books shows why.

No other British political leader of the post-war generation could have written a book like this for the simple reason that no other modern politician has led a life as varied, adventurous and dramatic as its author. He is deadly serious when writing about the things that matter to him - his family, his country, his party, the Bosnian people whose cause he adopted when it was deeply unpopular to do so - but he also has a refreshing gift for seeing the funny side of most situations and illustrates it with self-deprecating wit and a wealth of anecdote.

A FORTUNATE LIFE: The autobiography of PADDY ASHDOWN is issued in hardback at £20.00 and is available at: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6424003

Aurum is renowned for publishing some excellent military history, such as this next title:

To the Last Round: The Epic British Stand on the Imjin River, Korea, 1951 by Andrew Salmon.
This vivid narrative tells the story of the bloodiest battle fought by British soldiers since World War II in the words of the men who survived. Remarkably, it is the first - and only - book-length account of this legendary tragedy ever to be published.
To the Last Round: The Epic British Stand on the Imjin River, Korea 1951 by Andrew Salmon is published in paperback by Aurum Press and is available at http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6423994.
A sweetly-charming memoir of life in the Lake District is next on Aurum's list.

Hercules & the Farmer’s Wife And Other Stories from a Cumbrian Art Gallery by Chris Wadsworth which is a charming memoir in a similar vein to Gervase Phinn’s The Other Side of the Dale and Jack Sheffield’s Teacher, Teacher!

When Chris Wadsworth, and husband Michael, upped sticks in the South and moved north to the Lake District she had no inkling she was about to begin a new life as the owner of an art gallery. In Hercules & the Farmer’s Wife Chris tells their stories, and recounts the many other unlikely incidents –from the ghost in the garden and the mystery of the Purple House, to break-ins by agents of MFI – that make up life in a Lake District gallery. By turns funny, and others bittersweet, Chris Wadsworth offers a private view of the wonderful world she discovered when she made art her business.

Hercules & the Farmer’s Wife And Other Stories from a Cumbrian Art Gallery is issued in hardback at £14.99 and is available at:


Our musical titles this spring include:

Journey of A Thousand Miles: My Story by Lang Lang with David Ritz tells the remarkable story of a boy who sacrificed almost everything - family, financial security, childhood, his reputation in China's insular classical music world - to fulfil his promise as a classical pianist. Born in Shenyang, China, he started playing piano at age three and started studying at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing at ten. At 15 he won a scholarship to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia; by 19 he was selling out Carnegie Hall.

Now 26, Lang Lang tours relentlessly, delighting rapt sell-out audiences with his trademark flamboyancy and showmanship.

Journey of a Thousand Miles: My Story by Lang Lang with David Ritz is published in hardback by Aurum Press at £16.99 and is available at: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6511068

Next on the list, our sports book, and as usual, Aurum has some top-notch titles out:

In Pete Sampras: The Autobiography - A Champion's Mind by Pete Sampras with Peter Bodo, arguably the greatest player in tennis ever recounts his biggest triumphs, rivalries and personal trials. For the first time, his fans can get a real glimpse into what made (and still makes) this unique sportsman tick. He describes his the titanic matches fought, his relations with rivals such as Stefan Edberg, Andre Agassi and John McEnroe, and how he survived despite the media pressure and tragedies such as the death of coach Tom Gullikson from cancer.

Frank, insightful and passionate, A Champion's Mind is a unique and intimate account of what it takes to win.
Pete Sampras: The Autobiography - A Champion's Mind by Pete Sampras with Peter Bodo is published now in hardback by Aurum Press at £16.99. Copies can be ordered at: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6490482

Another sports title is George Myerston's Fighting for Football. This book offers a unique take on the First World War, by looking at the story of Tim Coleman, a footballer who led the first players' strike, and played for Arsenal, Everton and Nottingham Forest. In 1914, Coleman joined up with the Footballers' Battalion and went to fight on the Western Front where he won the Military Medal. This is the first biography of this exceptional man who ended his life in obscurity as a window-cleaner.

Fighting for Football by George Myerson is out in hardback, published by Aurum Press at £14.99. It can be purchased at http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6511070

More football nostalgia can be found in Rob Bagchi and Paul Rogerson's The Unforgiven, which goes back to the Golden Age of British football, and more specifically the hey-day of Leeds United under Don Revie. Winning multiple trophies and titles, this Leeds United with players such as Billy Bremner and Jack Charlton was hugely successful, but also reviled and despised as no other team of the time. At the centre of the book stands Don Revie, eccentric and unconventional, who saw himself as the 'head of the family.'

The Unforgiven by Rob Bagchi and Paul Rogerson is re-issued in paperback by Aurum Press at £8.99 and is available on http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6487844

If football is not really your thing, but you are still looking for good sports books, try the next two Cricket-focused titles:

Bradman's Invincibles: The Story of the 1948 Ashes Tour by Roland Perry recounts that monumental and legendary Ashes series when the Australian team under Donald Bradman went a whole summer without a defeat.

Roland Perry's book is a comprehensive account of the whole tour, match by match, as this remarkable side - featuring great bowlers such as Lindwall and Miller as well as batting maestros like Bradman - moved from county to county, conquering all before them.
Published in time for the eagerly awaited 2009 Ashes series, Bradman's Invincibles is the definitive account of a remarkable sports team.

Bradman's Invincibles: The Story of the 1948 Ashes Tour by Roland Perry is out in hardback at £20, published by Aurum Press. It can be ordered online at http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6487843

In the same vein to Bradman's Invincibles is Gideon Haigh's fourth and final collection of cricket writing, published under the title Inside Out: Writings on Cricket. Here are extended pieces on cricketing greats from Don Bradman to Sunil Gavaskar, dissertations on the enduring significance of the Bodyline series, and the first auguries offered by Twenty20. By turns considered, sagacious, waspish and droll, this is another indispensable volume for anyone interested in how cricket works.

Inside Out: Writings on Cricket is out in paperback at £8.99, published by Aurum Press, and is availble to purchase on http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6511064

Golf enthusiasts will be kept satisfied, we hope, with Hacked Off: One Man's All-or-Nothing Bid to crack the Secret of Golf by Tony Lawrence. In it, the author takes one whole year off after being defeated by his nephew at golf to master the damn game once and for all. He goes to see a putting coach, a short-term coach, a golf physiotherapist, a nutritionist, a hypnotherapist and a professor of sports science. Somewhere along the way his marriage survives, despite the dents in the furniture and the holes in the carpets. And at the end of the year, will his efforts prove to have been worthwhile?

Hacked Off: One Man's All-or-Nothing Bid to Crack the Secret of Golf by Tony Lawrence is out in hardback now at £12.99, published by Aurum Press. Copies can be purchased on http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6493062

Enough of sports now, and back to more mundane daily matters, ie. commuting.

Aurum Press regularly publish The Guide to Commuterland in conjunction
with Daily Telegraph, and the new edition, by Caroline McGhie, is out now.
This is the indispensable guide to commuter town for anyone looking for a home within commuting range of London. Each section of the book follows one of the main lines that radiate out from London's termini, together with its branches and spurs, station by station. In total over 1200 towns and villages are described. In short, this book is a godsend for house-hunters who can quickly narrow down their search to focus on the areas that are most likely to meet their needs, without ever leaving the comfort of an armchair.

Caroline McGhie's The Daily Telegraph Guide to Commuterland is issued by Aurum Press in paperback at £14.99 and can be purchased on http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6511067.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Aurum's March’s releases

Hardbacks out this month are:

The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopedia by Andrew Lih is one of the first 'biographies' of the first mass-market internet encyclopedia. Lih’s is ‘a story which challenges notions from neutrality, authority and ownership to civil liberties and the profit motive, to illustrate how people have created the world’s greatest encyclopedia'.

The Wikipedia Revolution by Andrew Lih is issued in paperback with flaps at £14.99 and is available at:


The World in Six Songs: How the musical Brain Created Human Nature by Daniel J. Levitin is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the New-York Times bestseller This is Your Brain on Music. Levitin describes how music played a pivotal role in the creation of human culture and society and illustrates how music is at the core of what it means to be human.

The World in Six Songs: How the musical Brain Created Human Nature by Daniel J. Levitin is issued in paperback with flaps at £14.99 and is available at:


Our release in Architectural literature is The Book of the Edwardian & Interwar House by Richard Russell Lawrence. This book describes the reasons for the building of houses in Britain during the Edwardian period and millions more during the two world wars. The first part of the book explores the styles and adaptations copied by builders and then individual chapters are then dedicated to elements of the house and decorative styles fashionable at the time.

The Book of the Edwardian & Interwar House by Richard Russel Lawrence is issued in jacketed hardback at £30 and is available at:


Next to our paperback releases which include:

Crisis? What Crisis? Britain in the 1970s by Alwyn W. Turner tells the story the social history of Britain in the 1970s through soaps and sitcoms, music and movies, fiction, fashion and sport of the time seen through the eyes of the mass media.

Crisis? What Crisis? Britain in the 1970s by Alwyn W. Turner is issued in paperback at £8.99 and is available at:


And finally, The Head Gardeners by Tony Musgrave is a nostalgic look at the head gardeners of Victorian and Edwardian Britain who were responsible for the transformation of horticulture into a profession. Musgrave also illustrates the recreation of garden houses and employment of up to fifty staff to create horticultural cultivation of great standards.

The Head Gardeners by Tony Musgrave is issued in paperback at £8.99 and is available at:


Friday, February 20, 2009

BBC World Service interview with Shelina

Click on this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/news/2009/02/090218_arranged_marriage_nh_sl.shtml to listen again to Shelina Janmohamed's interview on the BBC World Service's Newshour on February 18th at 1pm.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The popularity of love, headscarfs and happy endings

We are playing a little game at Aurum at the moment, called 'Guess how far up the rankings Love in a Headscarf has climbed in the last hour.' It went from about 2,000th position in the week before publication (already a pretty spectacular achievement) to about 800th the day of the launch, and climbed to 65th today. It is number 1 in the Islam category and number 2 in the Women's biography category - excuse me, I just checked and it is now number 1 in Women's biography. Amazon have just placed another order for more stock of the books with our sales team.

And it seems as though most of the publicity is only just starting. With a serial starting today in the Daily Mail, an interview yesterday at the BBC World Service and more to come before the end of this week, sales are set to climb sky-high.

One other thing: it is nice to find that it is not just the usual celebrity memoirs and ghostwritten chick-lit that is proving popular with readers nowadays. The success of Love in a Headscarf is proof for first-time authors everywhere, that if you have a story worth telling, tell it, and someone will listen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hot Dates and Headscarves - Interview with Shelina Janmohamed in The Guardian (18 Feb 09)

Buses roll by outside, the day unfolding in a succession of sirens and shouts, and in her small flat in west London, Shelina Zahra Janmohamed is discussing how she came to find her husband. Janmohamed is better known as spirit21, a blogger who has provided a unique perspective on the life of a British Muslim woman over the last three years, addressing issues that range from the political role of Turkey to Jack Straw's comments about women who wear the veil. She is also now author of Love in a Headscarf, a book that hovers somewhere between chick-lit and memoir, as it follows Janmohamed's journey through the process of arranged marriage.

The memoir is irreverent and feminine: perhaps not the most conventional tone for discussing this topic. "I love chick lit," she says. "I noticed when I started reading it that it was very much about 'How do you find the prince?' And what I wanted to do was tell that universal story, but from the perspective of being a Muslim woman."

Janmohamed was always aware that her marriage would be arranged, and is frustrated by the common misconception that such unions bypass the desires of the bride and groom. "The Islamic view on marriage is that the man or woman should make an active choice as to who they want to marry," she says. "And there's no long-term dating procedure, but it's essential that the two people have met, that they've had as much discussion as they like and that they feel comfortable with each other."

Introductions are usually organised by parents and a designated matchmaker, but there was, she recalls, "a lot of frank discussion about what I would want in a partner" beforehand. She credits this with helping her to make an informed choice and teaching her about herself. "You look at your list and you think, 'Gosh, I'm so shallow!'" she laughs, "because it's ·'good-looking, tall, handsome . . .'"

In her memoir, Janmohamed focuses on the intersection between the cultural representations of love and the reality. "The big question I ask is, 'What is love?'" she says. "Because we all watch lots of Hollywood films, and it's always Prince Charming and you live happily ever after. And I still watch them, and I swoon at the hero, and I wish life was like that. But when you come from an Asian background it's different - it's all practical and serious, and if you fall in love at the end then that's very good, dear."

In the book's opening chapter, Janmohamed is introduced to her first prospective husband, and her expectation is that he is destined to be "Mr Right" - that the arranged marriage can exist in tandem with the rom-com. But as her search continues, she begins to recognise the disparity between these two ideas of love. "I think as you grow up and things don't work out as you think they will you get pushed to ask the questions - is my paradigm of the world something that is true? Are we shortchanged today because all we think about is romance? Or is the Asian tradition perhaps too staid?"

Janmohamed is keenly aware of how non-Muslims tend to view arranged marriage and Muslim women in general. She recalls visits to bookshops where she would find "shelves and shelves of misery memoir and all these women in black veils with camels walking in the background and titles like I Was Sold Into Marriage." She smiles flatly. "And the only other stories that we saw were of Muslim women who had somehow broken through this oppression, had decided that Islam was the source of it and had rejected it, and had gone off to be - and the only way to put this is in quotation marks - 'liberated'. And you know, this is a really serious issue, the idea that women don't get to exercise their free choice and are pushed into areas of life that they shouldn't be forced into: that does need to be addressed. But I think it's really important that as part of that wider picture of what it is like to be a Muslim woman there are some positive stories told." She lifts her hands. "I like being a Muslim woman!"

Janmohamed's parents emigrated from Tanzania in 1964, arriving with two suitcases, one son and £75 to their name. Their daughter followed soon afterwards, and was brought up in a fairly liberal north London home, familiar with her parents' culture and faith, while attending a local girls' school and mixing with people from different backgrounds. For many years she kept the three strands of her life - school, home and the mosque - quite separate, but finally began to reconcile them in her search for a husband.

This search began when she was 19 and studying at Oxford. The issue of education was an uncomfortable one, she recalls. Her parents had always encouraged her studies, "but there were people around saying 'Well, just make sure that you're not too educated because the men will be scared of you.'" Still, she stresses, this is another example of the universality of her story. "I think women generally have this idea that they have to giggle at men's jokes," she says, "and can't be too smart and can't make men feel like they don't know enough."

It took Janmohamed a decade to find the man she would marry, but today she hesitates to talk about her husband; she smiles nervously and explains that she doesn't want to reveal too much about the end of the novel. "What I will say is that he went through the whole process like all the others." During the years of her search she was introduced to more suitors than she can even remember, and the book recounts those would-be husbands who most influenced her thinking. "One of the fascinating things is that because the timescale is so shortened, you have to reveal yourself immediately. So within two or three meetings you would be saying, 'What do you want to do with the rest of your life? How many children do you want to have?' And actually I think that's very liberating; you know somebody very quickly.

"So there were men I would meet who were running very late and not think anything of it, not even an apology; and so you would think, 'That person clearly doesn't have any respect for me.' Or people who didn't want to spend any money, and I thought, 'Well, if you're not even going to spend any money to impress me at this stage, you're clearly not going to be very generous when we get married.'" More startling were the suitors who asked if she would consider not wearing a headscarf. "I found that quite shocking," she says, "because I wasn't forced to wear it, I'd taken that choice as an independent woman, and I expected of all the people in the world who would respect that choice it would be my husband."

The discussion of faith in Britain is, she believes, only just beginning. "I think in Britain it has taken a long time to be able to talk about these subjects - in the 60s and 70s it was about race, and you had to be very careful how you framed discussions about race. And now as we come into the 21st century that discourse is about faith. As Muslim women we seem to get stuck in the middle of this - because we look different," she says. "And I get really fed up with reading stories in the papers about how all Muslim women are oppressed. Even when I tell people I have a job and I'm educated and I travel round on my own, people still say, 'Well, you're still oppressed, you just don't know it.'"

"When Islam was first brought here in the seventh century it was extremely radical - which is a naughty word, you're not allowed to say the word 'radical' if you're a Muslim, because it means you're going to blow something up - but Islam was radical because the Prophet Mohammed said women are equal to men, black people are equal to white people, rich people are equal to poor people," she says. "I think Muslims look back to that and say to women, 'Look, you had rights that no one had anywhere in the world!' And that's right, but most Muslim women's lives are not like that. So Muslim women are caught in a gap; they're either told they're oppressed or they're not oppressed. But no one asks Muslim women what they think. And in the grand scale of literature, the voices Muslim women have are very few."

It was this want of a voice that convinced her to begin her blog, while working for a mobile telecoms company. "I started writing because I couldn't find anyone that was expressing a view based on critical thinking," she explains. "There's this view that the Islamic world is violent, oppressed and anti-democracy and all the other stereotypes. And then there's a view within the Muslim community - and we have to be honest about this - that says, 'The west is bad.' But I'm a British Muslim; I'm a Muslim and I'm from the west."

The success of the blog prompted people to suggest she write a book about being a Muslim woman. "And I would think, yes, I must, and it's very worthy. And when I sat down to write it I realised I didn't want to write a story that was 'This is Islam and these are the pillars . . .' People can read that in a text book. I thought I wanted to tell a universal story and the best story to tell is the story of love".


Love in a Headscarf is published by Aurum Press and priced at £10.99

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Paddy Ashdown's A Fortunate Life

As mentioned in an earlier blog entry, Aurum is preparing for the publication of Paddy Ashdown's memoir, A Fortunate Life in April. We were all highly excited last Tuesday when not just one, but two (!!) lords visited our offices - Lord Tebbit, here to see Jeremy Robson at Aurum's sister company JR Books, and Lord Ashdown.

Watch a clip of Paddy Ashdown chatting about his upcoming title and click on the link below the video to preorder a copy from Waterstone's.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Comic fans listen up!

Amongst Aurum's eclectic range of published titles, one of the quirkiest are The Leather Nun and Other Incredibly Strange Comics by Paul Gravette and Peter Stanbury, published in 2008.

The Orbital Comics Gallery will be hosting the INCREDIBLY STRANGE COMICS exhibition from March 3rd until April 9th which links in wonderfully with the book.

Gallery Address: 148 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0LB

For further information and ticket prices, call 0207 240 7672 or email comics@orbitalcomics.com

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love in a Headscarf: A Note from the Author

As a first-time author the launch of my book this weekend is an indescribably exciting moment. Indescribable is not a good state of being for an author, and yet it is the only appropriate expression for this moment of super-sweet anxiety. My book, “Love in a Headscarf”, will be published this Saturday on Valentine’s Day. As this is a book about love, both romantic and divine, I find this a rather charming and coquettish subversion of our now notorious Hallmark Holiday.

Love in a Headscarf is a light-hearted and humorous book that weaves between multiple layers of culture, faith and raw human emotion. It asks the questions that so many of us ask: what is love, and how will I find it? My search may have started in a different way to many people, and with a different perspective, but it is the same universal human search. At its heart it is the intertwined story of how I found myself, my faith, and love.

Love in itself is also complicated, and I explore the interrelationship between romantic love, companionship and Divine Love. The subtitle of the book “Muslim woman seeks the One” alludes to the enigma of this search, and how often we try to resolve the seeming contradiction of finding and loving a person, with the search and love for something greater than ourselves. The insight and discovery of Divine Love was a major part of my personal journey and the (re)discovery of my faith, and I wanted to take the reader on that journey with me.

These are extremely challenging themes, and I hope readers will enjoy the journey that we go on together through these complexities, but in a way that steps back from the seriousness, and just enjoys the humour and comedy of day to day life. Some of the stories I find quite unbelievable myself, and in some cases they are quite absurd but always very funny. Our modern angst can create some situations and ideas that can only be unravelled by reading someone else’s experiences of it – and sharing one from a completely different perspective is sometimes the best way to do it.

I have been writing for several years about topics such as British Islam, Muslims and Muslim women. It is an area of high emotion, and often of confusion, that bubbles up constantly in our public discussions. I was constantly asked to write about my experiences in order to make a contribution to the debate, but I wanted to do it in an unexpected manner, which is why I chose humour – not something for which books about Muslims are known. So this breaks the mould – so go out and read it, because it is a book about being a modern woman, a modern Muslim woman, unlike anything else, I promise you!

Most people who grow up with multiple cultures and narratives will empathise with the fact that life seems to be full of contrasts and contradictions. The most natural way to convey these is through humour, because comedy itself is created out of those unexpected and contradictory experiences. I also felt that humour was the most accessible medium to unravel serious stereotypes and ideas because, as Peter Ustinov said, “Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.”

I wrote the book in a style which was new to me, and so I feel both brave and nervous at the same time in revealing a new side of me as a writer. But I look back on the journey that I’ve been on in the book, and realise that the journey itself and the honesty with which it is described are courageous too. I hope that readers will pick up the book and laugh with me at my modern angst and neuroses, will empathise with it, but most of all will finish the book and say ‘that was a cracking good read.’

By Shelina Janmohamed, journalist, writer and first-time author of Love in a Headscarf (published on February 14 by Aurum Press, £10.99)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Harper's Bazaar Review of Love in a Headscarf

Here's a review that appeared in Harper's Bazaar on January 23rd (with the link below):


"An Islamic spin on the ‘Looking for The One' genre. Hijab-wearing Shelina is Oxford educated, more than moderately religious and has told her liberal-ish parents that she's up for an arranged marriage. Unfortunately, her Muslim ideals clash with theWestern ideas of romance she has picked up from films like Grease. Part of you wonders why she doesn't just rebel against the whole charade yet it's also fascinating that she doesn't.There's also great colour from the likes of the ‘buxom aunties' who are present at every meeting, frowning and serving perfectly bronzed samosas."
(Aurum £10.99)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Love in A Headscarf

On Sunday morning at 8am (for all you early birds out there),
tune into Inspirit with Jumoke Fashola on BBC London 94.9
to listen to Shelina Janmohamed,
first-time author of Love in a Headscarf.

An interview with Shelina will also be appearing
in The Guardian's G2 section during w/c 16th of February - I will update on which day exactly in the coming week hopefully - with further features and interviews expected in the course of this month. So keep your eyes and ears out for this exciting new voice in British literature!

February releases

February sees the release of five exciting and varied books from Aurum, covering a range of topics:

Memoir Love in a Headscarf, written by young British Muslim Shelina Janmohamed, is her story of finding love, Muslim style. There is laughter and there is heartache in this modern and topical romance, as well as a fresh look at the life of a Muslim woman in the UK.

Love in a Headscarf by Shelina Janmohamed is issued in paperback at £10.99 from 14th February. You can order a copy at: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6423987

We are also seeing the release of music biographies from two of the world’s greatest performers. Nina Simone: The Biography by David Brun-Lambert, is the first full biography of the jazz singer and songwriter. Brun-Lambert charts her life from when she was born, as Eunice Kathleen Waymon in North Carolina, to her fight for racial equality, and her self-imposed exile from America in 1970. This is the first book to tell Simone’s extraordinary story.

Nina Simone: The Biography by David Brun-Lambert is issued in jacketed hardback at £20 and is available at: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6423998

Our other musical biography is James Brown: The Godfather of Soul, republished by us after being out of print in the UK for 20 years. Originally co-written by Brown himself, this is a frank, revealing and passionate tale of the extraordinary life of a truly legendary performer.

James Brown: The Godfather of Soul by James Brown with Bruce Tucker is issued in paperback at £8.99 and is available at: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6424001

Into sport now and we have The Red and the White: The Story of England v Wales Rugby. Wales has a history of playing the finest rugby of all the home nations, but England has a history of enviable strength, and these two sides are known for their epic encounters on the rugby field. Huw Richards, rugby correspondent for the Financial Times, has chronicled many of the memorable meetings between these two since the 1970s, and shows that it is not just a contest between two teams, but a clash of cultures and histories as well as a titanic sporting occasion.

The Red and the White: The Story of England v Wales Rugby by Huw Richards is issued in jacketed hardback at £16.99. It is available at: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6506457

Finally we have The Sharp End: The Fighting Man in World War II, John Ellis’s hugely successful study of the experiences of the fighting soldier in World War Two, originally published in 1980.

Ellis uses testimony from British, American and Commonwealth soldiers from all theatres of the Second World War about their training, attitudes and aspirations, the different landscapes and climates, and their reactions to the experience of battle. This comprehensive and detailed study is an essential for the bookshelf of anybody interested in modern military history.

The Sharp End: The Fighting Man in World War II by John Ellis, with an introduction by Max Hastings is issued in paperback at £9.99.

Ray Harryhausen: Events

In association with Aardman Animations Ray Harryhausen and Tony Dalton will be signing copies of their latest book A Century of Model Animation on
Thursday 12 March 2009 at 5.30pm
at Watershed, 1 Canons Road, Bristol, BS1 5TX

Following the book signing Encounters Short Film Festival present a
screening of Jason and the Argonauts (U) Dir: Don Chaffey (104mins)
at 6.30pm
Tickets: £6 (£4.50 concessions). To book: phone 0117 927 5100
or buy online at http://www.watershed.co.uk/

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Intern's Experience by Kathrin Malzkorn

I have been an intern at Aurum Press for 3 weeks now, this being my last week. Today I would like to explain why I chose to be an Intern at Aurum. I am from Munich in Germany and am studying German and English Literature in my third year. Since it is obligatory in my studies to go abroad for six months, I came to London to gain some work experience in the English-speaking world. As a student of German and English it goes without saying that Literature and Publishing always attracted me and I would love to start a career in the hopes of eventually becoming an Editor. After already gaining some experience at Random House in Munich, I started working in London at Andrew Nurnberg Associates, a Literary Agency.

Now, after working mainly with fiction, I was keen on gaining insight into a non-fiction publishing house. I particularly dreamt of working in a place that publishes books I actually like and find interesting to read, because what fascinates me most about non-fiction publishing is the extraordinary possibility of bringing together a love of books and a love of what the book is about, may it be hiking or photography. Mainly attracted by the excellent biographies of Aurum Press – one of my favourites is ‘Conversations with Woody Allen’ – I soon discovered the broad range of books Aurum is publishing and what a challenge this diversity of books is for the editors here.

That is the reason why Aurum Press was, at least for me, the perfect place for an internship in publishing. During my time at Aurum I got to know the many processes involved in publishing and especially ways of promoting the final product. The highlight of every week is the editorial meeting. Discussions about new, creative and original ideas for books, marketing plans and publishing processes revealed how publishers work and which aspects play a role in their decisions. I loved the fact that the publishers really believe in the success of every book they publish. Their trust in a book or in an idea has been always the decisive factor whether books get published or not. This love and faith in their own books is visible in all of the publications at Aurum. If you learn as an intern how much work, effort and passion lies in each book, respect for the profession of publishing increases immensely. And the experience of being at Aurum has certainly increased my respect for publishing and my ultimate hopes for a publishing career.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We are all very excited about the upcoming release of Paddy Ashdown's memoirs, A Fortunate Life. It promises an intriguing insight into the political landscape of the late 1980s and 1990s. As high representative in Bosnia - Herzegovina (2002-2006) and recommended for the role of UN representative in Afghanistan as well as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Lord Ashdown was deeply involved in global and British politics. This is a highly readable, fascinatingly detailed memoir of a life of a unique politician.

The Autobiography of Paddy Ashdown: A Fortunate Life will be published in April 2009 by Aurum Press and is priced at £20.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

After working on the look and style of the blog, which readers hopefully will find attractive, it is time to turn attention to the (even more) important stuff - the content. Every month I will update you on new publications with links to Waterstone's and Amazon. There will be updates on book signings and launch parties to coincide with book publications.

I am also very excited about getting some of our authors to write some articles for the blog, and am very pleased to say that Shelina Janmohamed will be the first to contribute to the Aurum blog. Shelina is the author of Love in a Headscarf, her memoir about finding love as a Muslim woman in Britain, which is out in February. She already runs a very successful blog called Spirit21 which was named Best Blog and Best Female Blog at the 2008 Brass Centre Awards (the link is on our blogroll). Keep checking this space for her article.

And finally, next to news, updates and author contributions, I am also planning some insights into publishing, particularly aimed at anyone with a keen interest in publishing who might be keen to know how things work at Aurum Press.

One last thing: both our January titles, Lucky Kunst and The Desert War, arrived fresh from the printers this week. Both look fantastic, and we are expecting big things from both titles. Keep an eye out for them in your local bookstore or order online (links below).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January Titles

2009 is here with a number of great titles. January starts us off with two books, both ground breaking in their own way, on two completely diverse topics: War and Art.

Alan Moorehead's fascinating study of the 1940 North Africa Campaign is being re-issued by Aurum under the title The Desert War - The Classic Trilogy on the North African Campaign 1940-1943. The author was sent to cover the North Africa campaign by the Daily Express in 1940, and his experiences form the basis of his Desert War Trilogy which has become a classic of military history.

The Desert War by Alan Moorehead is issued in paperback at £10.99. You can order copies at http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/simpleSearch.do?simpleSearchString=Desert+War+Trilogy&searchType=0.

Lucky Kunst: The Rise and Fall of Young British Art by Gregor Muir is also out this month. This is the first history of the movement called Young British Artists (YBA), written by a man who knew Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, the Chapman brothers, etc. long before they were famous. In this hilarious and picaresque story, Muir charts the course of these artists through ten years from their beginnings in Shoreditch to the establishment of the White Cube Gallery and the seminal 'Sensation' show at the Royal Academy in 1997.

'(Lucky Kunst)...explains really clearly and accurately what was happening at the time because Gregor was actually there.' Tracey Emin, The Independent (January 8th 2009) - Check out Tracey's full article on Lucky Kunst via this link: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/columnists/tracey-emin/tracey-emin-my-friend-gregor-and-i-fell-out-when-i-miaowed-during-his-inaugural-speech-1231753.html

Lucky Kunst by Gregor Muir is issued in paperback on 26th January at £14.99. You can order copies at http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/simpleSearch.do?simpleSearchString=Lucky+Kunst&searchType=0&Image1.x=19&Image1.y=5