Block of Books
  • GODLESS GOSPEL : Was Jesus A Great Moral Teacher?
    GODLESS GOSPEL : Was Jesus A Great Moral Teacher?
    ISBN: 9781783786695
    Title: GODLESS GOSPEL : Was Jesus A Great Moral Teacher?
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Even if we don't believe that Jesus was the son of God, we tend to think he was a great moral teacher. But was he? And how closely do idealised values such as our love of the family, helping the needy, and the importance of kindness, match Jesus's original tenets?

    Julian Baggini challenges our assumptions about Christian values - and about Jesus - by focusing on Jesus's teachings in the Gospels, stripping away the religious elements such as the accounts of miracles or the resurrection of Christ. Reading closely this new 'godless' Gospel, included as an appendix, Baggini asks how we should understand Jesus's attitude to the renunciation of the self, to politics, or to sexuality, as expressed in Jesus's often elusive words.

    An atheist from a Catholic background, Baggini introduces us to a more radical Jesus than popular culture depicts. And as he journeys deeper into Jesus's worldview, and grapples with Jesus's sometimes contradictory messages, against his scepticism he finds that Jesus's words amount to a purposeful and powerful philosophy, which has much to teach us today.

    Imprint: GRANTA
    RRP: $29.99

    Price: $29.99
    ISBN: 9780141992204
    Format: HARD COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    The quarter century or so before the outbreak of the First World War saw an extraordinary boom in the popularity and quality of short stories in Britain. Fuelled by a large new magazine readership and vigorous competition to acquire new stories and develop the careers of some of our greatest writers, these years were ones where the normal rule-of-thumb (novels sell, short stories don't) was inverted.

    This was the era of Sherlock Holmes, of Kipling's most famous stories, of M. R. James, Katherine Mansfield and Joyce's Dubliners. Some of the greatest writers of the period - particularly Conrad and James - found that the effort that went into their shorter works was more rewarded during their lifetimes than their now famous novels. Writers such as Mansfield, Chesterton, Beerbohm, Lawrence and Saki produced some of their greatest work.

    Short stories also provided a brilliant medium for experiment, and this generous and endlessly entertaining anthology includes fascinating examples of writers as varied as Rebecca West, James Joyce, H.G. Wells and Wyndham Lewis experimenting with what it was acceptable to write and how you could write it.

    Imprint: Penguin Books
    RRP: $49.99

    Price: $49.99
    ISBN: 9780241371435
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Grandmothers is the story of three very different women and their relationship with the younger generation- fiercely independent Nan, who leads a secret life as an award-winning poet when she is not teaching her grandson Billy how to lie; glamorous Blanche, deprived of the company of her beloved granddaughter Kitty by her hostile daughter-in-law, who finds solace in rebellious drinking and shoplifting; and shy, bookish Minna who in the safety of shepherd's hut shares with her surrogate granddaughter Rose her passion for reading. The outlook of all three women subtly alters when through their encounters with each other they discover that the past is always with us and that we go on learning and changing until the very end.

    Imprint: Penguin Books
    RRP: $19.99

    Price: $19.99
  • GREAT SECRET : The Classified World War II Disaster that Launched the War on Cancer
    GREAT SECRET : The Classified World War II Disaster that Launched the War on Cancer
    ISBN: 9781611856446
    Title: GREAT SECRET : The Classified World War II Disaster that Launched the War on Cancer
    Format: HARD COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    On the night of December 2, 1943, the Luftwaffe bombed a critical Allied port in Bari, Italy, sinking seventeen ships and killing over a thousand servicemen and hundreds of civilians. Caught in the surprise air raid was the John Harvey, an American Liberty ship carrying a top-secret cargo of 2,000 mustard bombs to be used in retaliation if the Germans resorted to gas warfare.

    After young sailors began suddenly dying with mysterious symptoms, Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Alexander, a doctor and chemical weapons expert, was dispatched to investigate. He quickly diagnosed mustard gas exposure, which both Churchill and Eisenhower denied. But Alexander's breakthrough observations about the toxic effects of mustard on white blood cells, as well as the heroic perseverance of Colonel Cornelius P. Rhoads - a researcher and doctor as brilliant as he was arrogant and self-destructive - were instrumental in ushering in a new era of cancer research. The Great Secret is a remarkable story of how horrific tragedy gave birth to medical triumph.

    Imprint: Grove Press
    RRP: $39.99

    Price: $39.99
    ISBN: 9781760899196
    Author: MURN MOLLY
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    When Pearl's grandmother Nell dies unexpectedly, Pearl and her family - mother Diana, sister Lucy - return to Kangaroo Island to mourn and farewell her. Each of them knew Nell intimately but differently, and each woman must reckon with Nell's passing in her own way. But Nell had secrets, too.

    As Pearl, Diana and Lucy interrogate their feelings about the island, Pearl starts to pull together the scraps Nell left behind and unearths a connection to the island's early history, of the early European sealers and their first contact with the Ngarrindjeri people.

    Pearl's deepening connection to their history, the island's history, grounds her, and will ultimately bring the women back to each other.

    Imprint: Penguin Books
    RRP: $19.99

    Price: $19.99
    ISBN: 9781760877170
    Title: HIDEOUT
    Author: HEATH JACK
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Timothy Blake, ex-FBI, finds himself at a remote house in rural Texas. The house is occupied by six criminals who believe Blake is their ally. Secretly, he intends to pick them off one by one. But when one of the psychopaths is found dead, he realises that someone else in the house may have the same plan - and he might be the next victim.

    'Jack Heath is worryingly skilled in all things dark and sinister. Luckily he is also bitingly, outrageously funny.' - Sarah Bailey, author of The Dark Lake

    'Jack Heath's Hangman is a perverse, twisted take on a crime novel - and I loved every page of it. What a rarity to find a thriller as dark as a Palahniuk and as compulsively readable as a Patterson. Two well-chewed thumbs up for Hangman.' - Gregg Hurwitz, author of New York Times bestseller Hellbent

    Imprint: Allen and Unwin Publishers
    RRP: $29.99

    Price: $29.99
  • HIMALAYA : A Human History
    HIMALAYA : A Human History
    ISBN: 9781847924148
    Title: HIMALAYA : A Human History
    Author: DOUGLAS ED
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    This is the first major history of the Himalaya- an epic story of peoples, cultures and adventures among the world's highest mountains.

    Spanning millennia, from its earliest inhabitants to the present conflicts over Tibet and Everest, Himalaya is a soaring account of resilience and conquest, discovery and plunder, oppression and enlightenment at the 'roof of the world'.

    From all around the globe, the unique and astonishing geography of the Himalaya has attracted those in search of spiritual and literal elevation- pilgrims, adventurers and mountaineers seeking to test themselves among the world's most spectacular and challenging peaks. But far from being wild and barren, the Himalaya has throughout the ages been home to an astonishing diversity of indigenous and local cultures, as well as a crossroads for trade, and a meeting point and conflict zone for the world's superpowers. Here Jesuit missionaries exchanged technologies with Tibetan Lamas, Mongol Khans employed Nepali craftsmen, Armenian merchants exchanged musk and gold with Mughals. Here too the East India Company grappled for dominance with China's emperors, independent India has been locked in conflict with Mao's Communists and their successors, and the ideological confrontation of the Cold War is now being buried beneath mass tourism and ecological transformation.

    Featuring scholars and tyrants, bandits and CIA agents, go-betweens and revolutionaries, Himalaya is a panoramic, character-driven history on the grandest but also the most human scale, by far the most comprehensive yet written, encompassing geology and genetics, botany and art, and bursting with stories of courage and resourcefulness.

    Imprint: Bodley Head
    RRP: $35.00

    Price: $35.00
  • HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE IN 21 STARS (and 3 imposters)
    HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE IN 21 STARS (and 3 imposters)
    ISBN: 9781787394650
    Title: HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE IN 21 STARS (and 3 imposters)
    Format: HARD COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    'Watch the stars, and from them learn' - advice from Albert Einstein, a chap who knew a thing or two. But where do you even start? Look up on a clear, dark evening and you'll be confronted by thousands of stars, scattered apparently at random. Okay, you can always learn the patterns of the constellations and even the names of individual stars, but what does that tell you about the Universe itself? If only there was some way of focusing on the important ones...

    The cosmos is a big place, with even the closest stars so far away that the idea of visiting them is a distant dream. But by studying the weak rays of starlight that make it to Earth, astronomers can build up a surprisingly complete picture of the way the universe works. And fortunately, a small handful of stars just love to hog the limelight. Either by virtue of their proximity, their brightness, or their odd behaviour, they have drawn astronomers' attention again and again, providing key evidence for our understanding of the heavens.

    The History of the Universe in 21 Stars provides a key to the cosmos for the curious, the busy and the bewildered. It offers a complete introduction to the heavens through the tales of these celestial superstars and tells the intriguing, inspiring and sometimes just plain odd story of how stargazers unravelled the mysteries of the universe.

    Imprint: Welbeck Publishing
    RRP: $27.99

    Price: $27.99
  • HOUSE IN THE MOUNTAINS : The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism
    HOUSE IN THE MOUNTAINS : The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism
    ISBN: 9781784705077
    Title: HOUSE IN THE MOUNTAINS : The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    'Moorehead paints a wonderfully vivid and moving portrait of the women of the Italian Resistance' MAX HASTINGS, SUNDAY TIMES

    The extraordinary story of the courageous women who spearheaded the Italian Resistance during the Second World War

    In the late summer of 1943, when Italy changed sides in the War and the Germans - now their enemies - occupied the north of the country, an Italian Resistance was born. Ada, Frida, Silvia and Bianca were four young Piedmontese women who joined the Resistance, living clandestinely in the mountains surrounding Turin. They were not alone. Between 1943 and 1945, as the Allies battled their way north, thousands of men and women throughout occupied Italy rose up and fought to liberate their country from the German invaders and their Fascist collaborators.

    The bloody civil war that ensued across the country pitted neighbour against neighbour, and brought out the best and worst in Italian society. The courage shown by the partisans was exemplary, and eventually bound them together as a coherent fighting force. The women's contribution was invaluable - they fought, carried messages and weapons, provided safe houses, laid mines and took prisoners. Ada's house deep in the mountains became a meeting place and refuge for many of them.

    The death rattle of Mussolini's two decades of Fascist rule - with its corruption, greed and anti-Semitism was unrelentingly violent, but for the partisan women it was also a time of camaraderie and equality, pride and optimism. They had proved, to themselves and to the world, what resolve, tenacity and, above all, exceptional courage could achieve.

    A Spectator Book of the Year

    Imprint: Vintage
    RRP: $24.99
    Price: $24.99
  • HOW WE LIVE NOW : Scenes from the Pandemic
    HOW WE LIVE NOW : Scenes from the Pandemic
    ISBN: 9781635576887
    Title: HOW WE LIVE NOW : Scenes from the Pandemic
    Author: HAYES BILL
    Format: HARD COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    From the beloved author of Insomniac City, a poignant and profound tribute in stories and images to a city amidst a pandemic.

    A bookstore where readers shout their orders from the street. A neighborhood restaurant turned to-go place where one has a shared drink--on either end of a bar--with the owner. These scenes, among many others, became the new normal as soon as the world began to face the COVID-19 pandemic.

    In How We Live Now, author and photographer Bill Hayes offers an ode to our shared humanity--capturing in real time this strange new world we're now in (for who knows how long?) with his signature insight and grace. As he wanders the increasingly empty streets of Manhattan, Hayes meets fellow New Yorkers and discovers stories to tell, but he also shares the unexpected moments of gratitude he finds from within his apartment, where he lives alone and--like everyone else--is staying home, trying to keep busy and not bored as he adjusts to enforced solitude with reading, cooking, reconnecting with loved ones, reflecting on the past--and writing.

    Featuring Hayes's inimitable street photographs, How We Live Now chronicles an unimaginable moment in time, offering a long-lasting reminder that what will get us through this unprecedented, deadly crisis is each other.

    Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing
    RRP: $32.99

    Price: $32.99
    ISBN: 9780857526656
    Title: I AM AN ISLAND
    Format: HARD COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Raw, visceral and haunting, this astonishing account of a woman's life on a remote island in the Hebrides draws in big themes around solitude and friendship, resilience and survival, and merits comparison with The Outrun.

    When Tamsin Calidas first arrives on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides, it feels like coming home. Disenchanted by London, she and her husband left the city and high-flying careers to move the 500 miles north, despite having absolutely no experience of crofting, or of island life. It was idyllic, for a while. But as the months wear on, the children she'd longed for fail to materialise, and her marriage breaks down, Tamsin finds herself in ever-increasing isolation.Injured, ill, without money or friend she is pared right back, stripped to becoming simply a raw element of the often harsh landscape. But with that immersion in her surroundings comes the possibility of rebirth and renewal. Tamsin begins the slow journey back from the brink.Startling, raw and extremely moving, I Am An Island is a story about the incredible ability of the natural world to provide when everything else has fallen away - a stunning book about solitude, friendship, resilience and self-discovery.

    Imprint: Doubleday Publishers
    RRP: $32.99

    Price: $32.99
    ISBN: 9781529354645
    Author: BLOOM RACHEL
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    In the vein of Mindy Kaling, Ali Wong, and Amy Poehler, a collection of hilarious personal essays, poems and even amusement park maps on the subjects of insecurity, fame, anxiety, and much more from the charming and wickedly funny creator of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

    Rachel Bloom has felt abnormal and out of place her whole life. In this exploration of what she thinks makes her 'different', she's come to realise that a lot of people also feel this way; even people who she otherwise thought were 'normal'.

    In a collection of laugh-out-loud funny essays, all told in the unique voice (sometimes singing voice) that made her a star, Rachel writes about everything from her love of Disney, OCD and depression, weirdness, and female friendships to the story of how she didn't poop in the toilet until she was four years old. It's a hilarious, smart, and infinitely relatable collection (except for the pooping thing).

    Imprint: Hachette Publishers
    RRP: $29.99
    Price: $29.99
    ISBN: 9781526635167
    Title: JOE BIDEN
    Author: OSNOS EVAN
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    A concise, brilliant and incisive examination of Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his lifelong quest for the presidency by National Book Award winner and New Yorker staff writer Evan Osnos

    Former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr. has been called both the luckiest man and the unluckiest fortunate to have sustained a fifty-year political career that reached the White House, but also marked by deep personal losses that he has suffered.

    Yet even as Biden's life has been shaped by drama, it has also been powered by a willingness, rare at the top ranks of politics, to confront his shortcomings, errors and reversals of fortune. His trials have forged in him a deep empathy for others in hardship an essential quality as he addresses a nation at its most dire hour in decades.
    Blending up-close journalism and broader context, Evan Osnos illuminates Biden's life and captures the characters and meaning of an extraordinary presidential election. He draws on lengthy interviews with Biden and on revealing conversations with more than a hundred others, including President Barack Obama, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and a range of progressive activists, advisers, opponents, and Biden family members.

    In this nuanced portrait, Biden emerges as flawed, yet resolute, and tempered by the flame of tragedy a man who just may be uncannily suited for his moment in history.

    Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing
    RRP: $29.99

    Price: $29.99
  • JOHN LENNON : The Complete Songs
    JOHN LENNON : The Complete Songs
    ISBN: 9781787394438
    Title: JOHN LENNON : The Complete Songs
    Author: DU NOYER PAUL
    Format: HARD COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Lennon's life after the Beatles was eventful and fascinating. He moved from stardom in the world's biggest pop group to global peace campaigner and figurehead for radical causes. He left England for a new life in the USA with Yoko Ono. He later abandoned public life and retired to his New York apartment to raise their son and live the life of a recluse. In 1980 he re-emerged with a new album, but the plan to resume his career was cruelly curtailed on a fateful night outside the Dakota Building when he was murdered.

    Upon first publication, this book was the first to examine and assess all of John Lennon's solo work. This updated edition includes lyrics and is released on the 40th anniversary of his death and the 80th anniversary of his birth.

    Imprint: Welbeck Publishing
    RRP: $49.99

    Price: $49.99
  • KING AND EMPEROR : A New LIfe of Charlemagne
    KING AND EMPEROR : A New LIfe of Charlemagne
    ISBN: 9780241305256
    Title: KING AND EMPEROR : A New LIfe of Charlemagne
    Author: NELSON JANET L
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Charles, king of the Franks, is one of the most remarkable figures ever to rule a European super-state. That is why he is so often called 'Charles the Great'- by the French 'Charlemagne', and by the Germans 'Karl der Grosse'. His strength of character was felt to be remarkable from early in his long reign. Warfare and accident, vermin and weather have destroyed much of the evidence for his rule in the twelve centuries since his death, but a remarkable amount still survives.

    Janet L. Nelson's wonderful new book brings together everything we know about Charlemagne and sifts through the evidence to come as close as we can to understanding the man and his motives. Nelson has an extraordinary knowledge of the sources and much of the book is a sort of detective story, prying into and interpreting fascinating material and often obdurate scraps, from prayerbooks to skeletons, gossip to artwork.

    Above all, Charles's legacy lies in his deeds and their continuing resonance, as he shaped duchies and counties, rebuilt and founded towns and monasteries, and consciously set himself up not just as King of the Franks, but as the new 'Emperor governing the Roman Empire'. His successors - in some ways to the present day - have struggled to interpret, misinterpret, copy or subvert Charlemagne's legacy. Nelson gets us as close as we can ever hope to come to the real figure, as understood in his own time.

    Imprint: Penguin Books
    RRP: $35.00

    Price: $35.00
    ISBN: 9780241453414
    Title: KRULL HOUSE
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK

    It's not because you're foreigners. It's because you aren't foreign enough . . . or else that you are too foreign.

    Just as the Krull house sits on the edge of a rural French town, the family occupies a marginal place in the life of the community around them. Snubbed by the locals despite having lived there for decades, they rely on trade with passing sailors to earn a living. When their relative arrives unannounced from Germany, with his unsettling, nonchalant ways, the family becomes the target of increasing suspicion and the scapegoat for a terrible crime.

    Written on the eve of the Second World War, The Krull House is a taut, strangely prophetic novel about how distrust and hostility towards outsiders descends into hate-filled violence.

    Imprint: Penguin Books
    RRP: $19.99
    Price: $19.99
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