Humanity: An Emotional History
Barry Miles knew Frank Zappa intimately and was present at the recording of some of his most important albums. This sparkling biography brings the Zappa the musician and composer, Zappa the controversialist and Zappa the family man (despite his love of groupies, he was married for more than 30 years) together for the first time.
Barry Miles’ biography follows Zappa from his sickly Italian-American childhood in the 1940s (when his father, Frank senior, worked for the US military and was used to test the efficacy of new biological warfare agents) to his death from cancer in the 1990s. Miles shows how Zappa’s goal had been to become a classical composer, until he realised that he would starve to death pursuing this ambition in post-war America. In an effort to make music people would actually listen to, in the mid-1960s he joined a noisy new band called ‘The Mothers of Invention’. Before long, Zappa had taken over as singer, song writer and lead guitarist and together they exploded on to the San Francisco freak scene. Following the release of recordings such as Freak Out, Absolutely Free, We’re Only In It For the Money and Hot Rats, Zappa’s reputation in the United States and in Europe, especially the UK, Germany and Holland, took off. When the Berlin wall fell, Frank was surprised to learn that his extravagant music embodied sixties liberty for a generation of dissidents (including Vaclav Havel, who invited Zappa to be his minister for culture). Frank Zappa is an authoritative and hugely enjoyable portrait of a singular man and a vivid evocation of the West Coast scene.
The Aquariums of Pyongyang
Kang Chol-Hwan is the first survivor of a North Korean concentration camp to escape the ‘hermit kingdom’ and tell his story to the world. This memoir reveals the human suffering in his camp, with its forced labour, frequent public executions and near-starvation rations. Kang eventually escaped to South Korea via China to give testimony to the hardships and atrocities that constitute the lives of the thousands of people still detained in the gulags today. Part horror story, part historical document, part memoir, part political tract, this story of one young man’s personal suffering finally gives eye-witness proof to this neglected chapter of modern history.
Zeno and the Tortoise
Zeno and the Tortoise explains not just who each philosopher was and what he thought, but exactly how he came to think in the way that he did. Nicholas Fearn presents philosophy as a collection of tools – from Ockham’s Razor to Hume’s Fork – each of which can be brought to bear on any number of predicaments.
Written in twenty-five short chapters, each readable during the journey to work, Zeno and the Tortoise is an ideal course in intellectual self-defence.
The Wonder House
The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs
A year ago Patrick Winter was in Namibia completing his military service. Now, during the its first free elections, Patrick has returned to the country he defended; the place where he fell in love for the first and only time. With the country poised to change forever, Patrick is forced to revisit his past and scale the wall that he has built around his painful memories of love and war, and loss.
Rape: A Love Story
Teena Maguire should not have tried to shortcut her way home that Fourth of July. Not after midnight, not through Rocky Point Park. Not the way she was dressed in a tank top, denim cutoffs, and high-heeled sandals. Not with her twelve-year-old daughter Bethie. Not with packs of local guys running loose on hormones, rage and alcohol. A victim of gang rape, left for dead in the park boathouse, the once vivacious Teena can now only regret that she has survived.
At a relentlessly compelling pace punctuated by lonely cries in the night and the whisper of terror in the afternoon, Joyce Carol Oates unfolds the story of Teena and Bethie, their assailants, and their unexpected, silent champion, a man who knows the meaning of justice. And love.
Mozart in the Jungle
From her debut recital at Carnegie Hall to performing with the orchestras of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, oboist Blair Tindall has been playing classical music professionally for over twenty-five years. She’s also lived the secret life of musicians who survive hand to mouth, trading sex and drugs for low-paying gigs and the promise of winning a rare symphony position or a lucrative solo recording contract. In Mozart in the Jungle, Tindall describes her graduation from the North Carolina School of the Arts to the backbiting New York classical music scene, a world where Tindall and her fellow classical musicians often play drunk, high, or hopelessly hung-over, live in decrepit apartments, and perform in hazardous conditions. (In the cramped confines of a Broadway pit, the decibel level of one instrument is equal to the sound of a chain saw.)
Mozart in the Jungle offers a stark contrast between the rarefied experiences of overpaid classical musician superstars and those of the working-class musicians. For lovers of classical music, Mozart in the Jungle is the first true, behind-the-scenes look at what goes on backstage and in the Broadway pit.
From the #1 bestselling author of Running with Scissors and Dry comes a contagiously funny, heartwarming, shocking, twisted, and absolutely magical collection. True stories that give voice to the thoughts we all have but dare not mention. It begins with a Tang Instant Breakfast Drink television commercial when Augusten was seven. Then there is the contest of wills with the deranged cleaning lady. The execution of a rodent carried out with military precision and utter horror. Telemarketing revenge. Dating an undertaker and much more. A collection of true stories that are universal in their appeal yet unabashedly intimate and very funny.