We're two weeks into the New Year, so if you haven't quite got round to joining the gym or learning a language yet, why not make it your resolution to read one of these great new books from Aurum:
The Austerity Olympics by Janie Hampton
It can't possibly have escaped anyone's notice that London's Olympic year has finally arrived. But while we're getting caught up in this summer's excitement, 2012 will also be a time to look back to when Britain last hosted the Games.
The London Olympics of 1948 were a vastly different occasion to this year's extravaganza. With the Blitz fresh in the city's memory and rationing still in force, the Games were organised for less than one hundredth of a per cent of 2012's massive budget. Janie Hampton's The Austerity Olympics is a vivid account of the Olympic Games of the past. With tales of athletes being ferried to events on double-decker buses and sewing their own kit in makeshift accommodation, the book depicts a world that is far removed from the Games of 2012. It will be a fascinating read for Olympic fanatics and sceptics alike.
Interviews with some of the athletes who competed in 1948 can be read in Kate Youde's fascinating article for the Independent here.
"[Hampton] has an illuminating sense of detail, and her
book tells a story that goes beyond that of a sporting event - a story of
innocence, hope and pride." The Daily Telegraph
"Hampton's excellent book should be compulsory reading for everyone involved in the 2012 London Olympics." Daily Mail Critics' Choice
Re-issued: April 2012
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
The previous edition of The Austerity Olympics is available to buy here.
Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall by Will Ellsworth-Jones
But how much do we really know about this notoriously secretive artist? How has he become the phenomenal success that he is today, and how does he protect his anonymity under the glare of worldwide fame? In Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall, Will Ellsworth-Jones pieces together his subject's life and builds a picture of the world in which he operates. Incorporating interviews with friends and enemies, those who knew him in his early, unnoticed days and those who have watched him come to terms with his new-found fame, this is a book that gets to the very heart of who Banksy is and what his life's work adds up to.
Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall is released in March. In the meantime, you can see a few of his best works at his official website.
Coming: March 2012
Format: Hardback, 320pp
Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity by Sonia Purnell
As a former colleague of Johnson's at the Daily Telegraph, Sonia Purnell holds a unique vantage point over the Mayor of London's remarkable career. In Just Boris, she examines how the archetypal old Etonian came to be a Man of the People capable of charming London; how a shy young boy from a broken home became one of our most distinctive political figures; and how the Johnson family has built a media and political dynasty.
The first comprehensive account of his life and career, Just Boris unravels a political enigma and asks whether the man who has made his mark on London has what it takes to be Prime Minister.
You can read Carole Cadwalladr's review of Just Boris for the Guardian here.
"Sonia Purnell must have had huge fun writing this wonderful book. The only person who won't be amused is Boris himself." Michael Crick
"Future biographers will always be in her debt. Purnell has accumulated a wealth of previously unknown detail." Andrew Grimson, The Spectator
Coming: March 2012
Format: Paperback, 464 pages
Just Boris is available to buy in hardback here.