Stephen Fry hosts four programmes on the joys of the English language - as heard on BBC Radio 4, including Current Puns. Why does our language groan with the weight of puns? What exactly is a pun? And who, or what, is the Thief of Bad Gags?
"Stephen Fry never lets you down"
We are constantly bombarded with inaccurate, contradictory and sometimes misleading information - until now. Ben Goldacre masterfully dismantles the dubious science behind some of the great drug trials, court cases and missed opportunities of our time. He also shows us the fascinating story of how we know what we know, and gives us the tools to uncover bad science for ourselves.
"Making science truly entertaining"
The 1980s was the revolutionary decade of the 20th century. From the Falklands war and the miners' strike to Bobby Sands and the Guildford Four, from Diana and the New Romantics to Live Aid and the 'big bang', from the Rubik's cube to the ZX Spectrum, McSmith's brilliant narrative account uncovers the truth behind the decade that changed Britain forever - politically, economically and culturally.
"So close and yet so far"
Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote more time to studying the battles and wars of history than to considering what history really consists of: centuries of people quietly going about their daily business. This inspired him to start a journey around his own house, an old rectory in Norfolk, considering how the ordinary things in life came to be.
"More Fact Pact Bryson"
Falling pregnant as a teenager in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to the convent in Co. Tipperary to be looked after as a fallen woman. She cared for her baby for three years until the Church took him and sold him, like countless others, to America for adoption. She spent the next 50 years secretly searching for him, unaware that he was searching for her from across the Atlantic.
"A Tale of the Time"
The No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling modern classic: A Bravo Two Zero for the Second Gulf War. They were branded as cowards and accused of being the British Special Forces Squadron that ran away from the Iraqis. But nothing could be further from the truth. Ten years on, the story of these sixty men can finally be told. In March 2003 M Squadron - an SBS unit with SAS embeds - was sent 1,000 kilometres behind enemy lines on a true mission impossible, to take the surrender of the 100,000-strong Iraqi Army 5th Corps.
"Gripping account of a special forces op"
Almost a third of your whole life is spent asleep. Night School uncovers the scientific truth about the sleeping brain - and gives powerful tips on how those hours of apparently 'dead' time in the dark can transform your waking life.
"Informative with a quirky sense of humour"
When award-winning journalist Nick Davies decided to break Fleet Street's unwritten rule by investigating his own colleagues, he found that the business of reporting the truth had been slowly subverted by the mass production of ignorance.
"You'll never buy a newspaper again"
David and Goliath is the dazzling and provocative new book from Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog Saw. Why do underdogs succeed so much more than we expect? How do the weak outsmart the strong? In David and Goliath Malcolm Gladwell takes us on a scintillating and surprising journey through the hidden dynamics that shape the balance of power between the small and the mighty.
"Swing and a miss"
A second BBC Radio 4 series of Stephen Fry's witty and incisive programmes looking at the oddities of the English language. Includes four 30-minute Radio 4 programmes presented by Stephen Fry indulging his delight in the English language. So Wrong It's Right - Stephen Fry examines how 'wrong' English can become right English, such as more people use the word 'wireless' in a computer context than in a radio one. With help from a lexicographer, an educationalist a Times Sub Editor and a judge,
"Unsurpassed Audio Entertainment"
Elizabeth of York would have ruled England, but for the fact that she was a woman. One of the key figures of the Wars of the Roses, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, she married Henry Tudor to bring peace to a war-torn England. In Elizabeth of York: The First Tudor Queen, Alison Weir builds a portrait of this beloved queen, placing her in the context of the magnificent, ceremonious, often brutal world she inhabited.
"Interesting but a bit short on detail"
In her new book, Cathy Glass, the number one best-selling author of Damaged, tells the story of the Alice, a young and vulnerable girl who is desperate to return home to her mother. Alice, aged four, is snatched by her mother the day she is due to arrive at Cathy's house. Drug-dependent and mentally ill, but desperate to keep hold of her daughter, Alice's mother snatches her from her parents' house and disappears.
Why did crime in New York drop so suddenly in the mid-90s? How does an unknown novelist end up a best-selling author? Why is teenage smoking out of control, when everyone knows smoking kills? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? Why did Paul Revere succeed with his famous warning?
Everything we know about solving the world's problems is wrong. Out: Plans, experts and above all, leaders. In: Adapting - improvise rather than plan; fail, learn, and try again. In this groundbreaking new book, Tim Harford shows how the world's most complex and important problems - including terrorism, climate change, poverty, innovation, and the financial crisis - can only be solved from the bottom up by rapid experimenting and adapting.
"A rising star"
Intuition is not some magical property that arises unbidden from the depths of our mind. It is a product of long hours and intelligent design, of meaningful work environments, and particular rules and principles. This audiobook shows us how we can hone our instinctive ability to know in an instant, helping us to bring out the best in our thinking and become better decision-makers in our homes, offices, and in everyday life.
"Enjoyable, but goes in an unexpected direction"
Money was one of man's greatest inventions. But we have become its slaves. Money: the Unauthorised Biography unfolds a panoramic secret history and explains the truth about money: what it is, where it comes from, and how it works. Martin believes that the conventional wisdom that today's financial universe evolved from barter, is wrong. Not just wrong, but dangerous.
Stephen Fry explores the highways and byways of the English language in these four programmes, as heard on BBC Radio 4. 'The Trial of Qwerty' The 'Qwerty' keyboard faces charges of conspiracy to obstruct the English language. But who was Mr Qwerty? 'He Said, She Said' Do men and women really say what they mean? Also Stephen investigates sex, domination, gender, power, and sex changes (as only he can).
"More Crumbs from the Table of the Master..."
A final African adventure from the writer whose gimlet eye and effortless prose have brought the world to generations of readers. Journeying alone, in what he feels will be his last African journey, Paul Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the itineraries of tourists and the hopes of post-colonial independence movements. Having travelled down the right-hand side of Africa in Dark Star Safari, he sets out this time from Cape Town, heading northwards up the left-hand side, through South Africa and Namibia, to Botswana, heading for the Congo, in search of the end of the line.
On a summer morning in Sarajevo a hundred years ago, a teenage assassin fired not just the opening shots of the First World War but the starting gun for modern history. By killing Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Gavrilo Princip triggered conflict that would claim millions of lives in battle, and turmoil that would change our world. Tim Butcher uncovers the unreported details of Princip's life and draws on his own experience.
Jon Ronson is fascinated by madness, extraordinary behaviour and the human mind. He has spent his life investigating crazy events, following fascinating people and unearthing unusual stories. Collected here from various sources (including the Guardian and GQ America) are the best of his adventures.
"Absolutely Brilliant !"
Jackie Moggridge was just nineteen when World War Two broke out. Determined to do her bit, she joined the Air Transport Auxiliary. Ferrying aircraft from factory to frontline was dangerous work, but there was also fun, friendship and even love in the air. At last the world was opening up to women... or at least it seemed to be.
In July 2012 Thomas Harding's fourteen-year-old son Kadian was killed in an accident. Shortly afterwards Thomas began to write. Beginning on the day of Kadian's death, and continuing to the one-year anniversary, Kadian Journal is a record of grief, and of a mind in shock. Interspersed within the journal are fragments of memory: jewel-bright everyday moments that slowly combine to form a biography of a lost son.
Long before her successful marriage to Prince Albert, Princess Victoria had an affair with the dashing Scottish 13th Lord Elphinstone. After the liaison was exposed, Elphinstone was banished to India, appointed Governor of Madras, which allowed Victoria's mother to engineer a royal union for her with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg.
CEW Bean's wartime reports and photographs mythologised the Australian soldier and helped spawn the notion that the Anzacs achieved something nation-defining on the shores of Gallipoli and the battlefields of western Europe. In his quest to get the truth, Bean often faced death beside the Diggers in the trenches of Gallipoli and the Western Front - and saw more combat than many. But did Bean tell Australia the whole story of what he knew?
Can you drive competently but are let down by your nerves during the test? Do you want some hypnotic help to banish driving test nerves and feel calm, composed and in control? This self-help hypnotherapy recording contains powerful suggestions for an immediate boost to inner calm & Confidence.
I am delighted to be presenting the 2014 Boyer Lectures and to have the opportunity to contribute to the national discussion about science through such an influential and historically significant platform. I hope to raise awareness of great scientific achievements, and of the vital importance of science to the future health and prosperity of Australia.
Novelists, poets and playwrights live double lives, sharing the real world with everyone else while spending a good deal of time in a universe of their own making. When they fall out with each other, they are able to kindle feuds and antagonisms as passionate and public as workers in any trade. Richard Bradford's highly entertaining audiobook looks at some of the closest and most complex relationships in literary history, examining their dramatic effects on literature itself.
In the late 1980s Jon Ronson was the keyboard player in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band. Frank wore a big fake head. Nobody outside his inner circle knew his true identity. This became the subject of feverish speculation during his zenith years. Together, they rode relatively high. Then it all went wrong. Twenty-five years later and Jon has co-written a movie, Frank, inspired by his time in this great and bizarre band. Frank is set for release in 2014, starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Domhnall Gleeson and directed by Lenny Abrahamson.
"Interesting little tale"
The world of maths can seem mind-boggling, irrelevant and, let's face it, boring. This groundbreaking book reclaims maths from the geeks. Mathematical ideas underpin just about everything in our lives: from the surprising geometry of the 50p piece to how probability can help you win in any casino. In search of weird and wonderful mathematical phenomena, Alex Bellos travels across the globe and meets the world's fastest mental calculators in Germany and a startlingly numerate chimpanzee in Japan.
"A wonderful journey through mathematics"
Ian Moore is a stand-up comedian in the UK and a husband, father of three boys, farmhand and chutney-maker in France. He is a mod in both walks of life and most of his time is spent travelling grumpily between the two. Comedian, mod and professional grump Ian Moore has had enough. Tired of being unable to park anywhere near his cramped house in a noisy town he doesn't like, he hatches a plan to move his wife and young son to a remote corner of the Loire Valley in search of serenity and space.
"tale of ex pat Brit in France with a Parka & pets"
Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they screw up? Why the endless marital quarrels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves? Are we all liars? Or do we really believe the stories we tell? Backed by years of research and delivered in lively, energetic prose, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-deception.
"A fascinating insight"
A hilarious field guide to the world's most remarkable and unusual creatures: the English. Who are the English? What is this puzzling species? Where does it live? What are its habits? What does it eat? Why does it eat that? And why has it developed such unexotic mating rituals? Join us on a journey deep into the natural habitat of the English, a journey to rival anything David Attenborough did with gorillas, a journey that begins on a sofa (and continues, unflinchingly, into the kitchen, out into the garden, off to work, down to the pub and then on to the beach...and the bedroom).
"Is Google making us stupid?" When Nicholas Carr posed that question in an Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: as we enjoy the Internet's bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration yet published of the Internet's intellectual and cultural consequences.
Tales of adventures on the high seas captivate both sailors and those who stand on the shore and gaze out across the oceans. In this original collection of sea stories, edited by veteran writer Dick Durham, the gamut of human experience is mirrored in a world of tragic shipwrecks and sea monsters, epic races and brave rescues, tall ships and tiny dinghies.
By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counterintuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on the important ones and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.
A collection of thrilling diving stories.There's everything from classic tales of wreck discoveries to encounters with beautiful and bizarre creatures beneath the waves. There are stories of death and disaster as well as bravery and triumph. Each tale has been chosen to stoke the fire of divers everywhere and some are illustrated with colour photographs.Take the plunge and read about the diver who discovered how to put sharks in a trance and the marine biologist who lost a limb trying to prove that sharks were safe to swim with.
Mark Stevenson has been to the future a few years ahead of the rest of us - and reckons it has a lot going for it. His voyage of discovery takes him to Oxford to meet Transhumanists (they intend to live forever), to Boston where he confronts a robot with mood swings, to an underwater cabinet meeting in the Indian Ocean, and Australia to question the Outback's smartest farmer.
"The perfect antidote to pessimism"
With the help of 14 leading physicists, scientists, and spiritual thinkers, this book guides listeners on a course from the scientific to the spiritual, and from the universal to the personal. Along the way, it asks such questions as: Are we seeing the world as it really is What is the relationship between our thoughts and our world? How can I create my day every day? What the Bleep answers this question and others through an innovative new approach to self-help and spirituality.
Losing weight has become the modern woman's Holy Grail.... Everything will be better when we're thin. In the 21st century, being thin, even more than being rich or happy, sends a clear message of success to the outside world. No wonder then that disordered eating is on the rise and we're increasingly unhappy with our bodies. The Ministry of Thin takes a controversial, unflinching look at how our desire to lose weight is out of control; at the widespread depression that results, the tyranny of celebrity culture and the dangerous extremes - including drip-diets and cosmetic surgery - to which we will go to be skinny.
A wonderfully illuminating and witty guide to every -ism you could ever want explained. Entries include every -ism under the sun, from Absurdism to Militarism to Zoroastrianism.
Delete looks at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget. Digital technology empowers us as never before, yet it has unforeseen consequences as well. Potentially humiliating content on Facebook is enshrined in cyberspace for future employers to see. Google remembers everything we've searched for and when.
Completely off-the-wall, It's a Plot is a fascinating geographical and historical journey around Britain. The Tibetans have the Book of the Dead. This is Ann Treneman's Book of the Dead Interesting. The Times writer, best known for her hilarious parliamentary sketches, has branched out - to graveyards. In this riveting book - part travelogue, part biography, part social history - she takes you to the best graves in Britain.
"Interesting idea, but alas was rather dull"