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Following Fish

In a coastline as long and diverse as India’s, fish inhabit the heart of many worlds – food of course, but also culture, commerce, sport, history and society. Journeying along the edges of the peninsula, Samanth Subramanian delivers a kaleidoscope of extraordinary stories.

Following Fish conducts rich journalistic investigations of, among others, the use of fish to treat asthmatics in Hyderabad; of the preparation and the process of eating West Bengal’s prized hilsa; of the ancient art of building fishing boats in Gujarat; of the fiery cuisine and the singular spirit of Kerala’s toddy shops; of the food and the lives of Mumbai’s first peoples; of the history of an old Catholic fishing community in Tamil Nadu; and of the hunt for the world’s fastest fish near Goa.

Pulsating with pleasure, adventure and discovery, and tempered by nostalgia and loss, Following Fish reveals a series of unknown Indias in a book as revealing of the subcontinent as any three times its length.

In A Time Of Monsters

Returning to the UK in September 2010 after serving in Iraq as the political adviser to the top American general, Emma Sky felt no sense of homecoming. She soon found herself back in the Middle East travelling through a region in revolt.

In A Time of Monsters bears witness to the demands of young people for dignity and justice during the Arab Spring; the inability of sclerotic regimes to reform; the descent of Syria into civil war; the rise of the Islamic State; and the flight of refugees to Europe. With deep empathy for its people and an extensive understanding of the Middle East, Sky makes a complex region more comprehensible.

A great storyteller and observational writer, Sky also reveals the ties that bind the Middle East to the West and how blowback from our interventions in the region contributed to the British vote to leave the European Union and to the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

The Age of Islands

‘Extraordinary… A fascinating and intelligent book.’ Sunday Times

New islands are being built at an unprecedented rate whether for tourism or territorial ambition, while many islands are disappearing or fragmenting because of rising sea levels. It is a strange planetary spectacle, creating an ever-changing map which even Google Earth struggles to keep pace with.

In The Age of Islands, explorer and geographer Alastair Bonnett takes the reader on a compelling and thought-provoking tour of the world’s newest, most fragile and beautiful islands and reveals what, he argues, is one of the great dramas of our time.

From a ‘crannog’, an ancient artificial island in a Scottish loch, to the militarized artificial islands China is building in the South China Sea; from the disappearing islands that remain the home of native Central Americans to the ritzy new islands of Dubai; from Hong Kong and the Isles of Scilly to islands far away and near: all have urgent stories to tell.

Fishing Impossible

Three fishing mates. Ten epic adventures.

Charlie, Jay and Blowfish are three obsessive fishing buddies, each with their own area of expertise. Hatching plans for the weirdest, most extreme fishing trips imaginable, they head to ten fantastic destinations around the world. From spear-fishing in the Bahamas to bungee jumping in British Columbia, and dodging crocodiles in Kenya, their mission is to catch the uncatchable in the most entertaining and bizarre ways possible.

These immersive, adrenalin-fuelled trips of a lifetime are ones most fisherman have only dreamed of, with responsible, environmental considerations at their core. Join the three mates as they head around the world to see marine life at its most exotic and extraordinary.

Bibliomaniac

Why play to 12,000 people when you can play to 12? In Autumn 2021, Robin Ince’s stadium tour with Professor Brian Cox was postponed due to the pandemic. Rather than do nothing, he decided he would instead go on a tour of over a hundred bookshops, from Wigtown to Penzance; from Swansea to Margate.

Packed with anecdotes and tall tales, Bibliomaniac follows Robin up and down the country in his quest to discover just why he can never have enough books. It is the story of an addiction and a romance, and also of an occasional points failure just outside Oxenholme.

Holidays in Heck

Holidays in Heck takes the reader on a globe-trotting journey to far-reaching places including China, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and the Galapagos Islands. The collection begins after the Iraq War, when P.J. retired from being a war correspondent because he was “too old to keep being scared stiff and too stiff to keep sleeping on the ground.” Instead he embarked on supposedly more comfortable and allegedly less dangerous travels – often with family in tow – which mostly left him wishing he were under artillery fire again. The result is a hilarious and oftentimes moving portrait of life in the fast lane – only this time as a husband and father of three.

Adventures include:

– The first stag hunt in Britain after hunting had been banned. If the British had been half as caring about Indians and American colonists as they are about animals, they’d still rule the world.

– A month-long tour of mainland China’s economic hubs where P.J. learned that the entire Chinese concept of political freedom and individual liberty can be summed up in the words, ‘New Buick’.

– A harrowing horseback ride across the mountains of Kyrgyzstan – no towns, no roads, no people. “If something happened to my horse it would be shot. For me, the medical treatment wouldn’t be that sophisticated.”

Warrior Princess

Tired of her job, bored of waiting for her university application to be processed, Mindy Budgor decided to make some changes. Driven by cultural curiosity, passion, fearlessness and a set of Jewish parents breathing fire down her neck, she bought herself a ticket to Kenya to volunteer on a building project in the Maasai Mara.

After two weeks of working, sharing meals, and hiking at dawn with the Maasai, Mindy asked the chief why there were no female warriors. His terse reply — that women ‘aren’t strong enough or brave enough to do men’s work’ — hit a nerve. Mindy and her fellow volunteer Becca lobbied the chief to train them to become Maasai warriors.

Trading in their Egyptian cotton pillowcases, cushy mattresses, down-filled quilts and matzah ball soup for leaf beds, tattered wool blankets and goat head soup, Mindy and Becca began a new routine of slaughtering goats and cows, spear training, buffalo hunting and drinking animal blood. Ultimately they transformed the chief’s notions of female strength and courage and were inducted into the clan, becoming the world’s first female Maasai warriors.

Holidays in Heck

Holidays in Heck takes the reader on a globe-trotting journey to far-reaching places including China, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and the Galapagos Islands. The collection begins after the Iraq War, when P.J. retired from being a war correspondent because he was “too old to keep being scared stiff and too stiff to keep sleeping on the ground.” Instead he embarked on supposedly more comfortable and allegedly less dangerous travels – often with family in tow – which mostly left him wishing he were under artillery fire again. The result is a hilarious and oftentimes moving portrait of life in the fast lane – only this time as a husband and father of three.

Adventures include:

– The first stag hunt in Britain after hunting had been banned. If the British had been half as caring about Indians and American colonists as they are about animals, they’d still rule the world.

– A month-long tour of mainland China’s economic hubs where P.J. learned that the entire Chinese concept of political freedom and individual liberty can be summed up in the words, ‘New Buick’.

– A harrowing horseback ride across the mountains of Kyrgyzstan – no towns, no roads, no people. “If something happened to my horse it would be shot. For me, the medical treatment wouldn’t be that sophisticated.”