I consider myself a poet first and a musician second' 'It ain't the melodies that're important man, it's the words' Two quotes from Dylan himself that underline the importance of this book. Dylanology thrives. There is no shortage of books about him and many of them will be dusted off for his 70th birthday. This one, however, stands on its own both for its unusual approach and for the virtuosity of its execution. Ricks's scheme, aptly, is to examine Dylan's songs through the biblical concepts of the seven deadly Sins, the four Virtues, and the three Heavenly Graces. He carries it off with panache. Ricks may be the most eminent literary critic of his generation but nobody should feel his book is one of earnest, unapproachable exegesis, on the contrary it has a flamboyance, almost effervescence about it that is captivating. Ricks boldly and successfully judges Dylan as a poet not a lyricist and in his tour-de-force makes endless illuminating comparisons with canonical writers such as Eliot, Hardy, Hopkins and Larkin.
It is Scotland in the early eighteenth century. Fear and superstition grip the land. Robert Wringhim, a boy of strict Calvinist upbringing, is corrupted by a shadowy figure who calls himself Gil-Martin. Under his influence Robert commits a series of murders which he regards as 'justified' by God under the tenets of his faith.
Hogg's masterpiece is a brilliant portrayal of the power of evil and a scathing critique of organised religion. Superbly crafted and deftly executed, it resists any easy explanation of events: is this stranger a figment of Robert's imagination, or the devil himself?
Introduced by Ian Rankin
Alessandro Baricco re-creates the siege of Troy through the voices of 21 Homeric characters. Sacrificing none of Homer's panoramic scope, Baricco forgoes Homer's detachment and admits us to realms of subjective experience his predecessor never explored. From the return of Chryseis to the burial of Hector, we see through human eyes and feel with human hearts the unforgettable events first recounted more than 3,000 years ago events arranged not by the whims of the gods in this instance but by the dictates of human nature. With Andromache, Patroclus, Priam, and the rest, we are privy to the ghastly confusion of battle, the clamour of the princely councils, the intimacies of the bedchamber until finally only a blind poet is left to recount secondhand the awful fall of Ilium. Imbuing the stuff of legend with a startlingly new relevancy and humanity, Baricco gives us The Iliad as we have never known it. His transformative achievement is certain to delight and fascinate all the readers of Homer's indispensable classic.
A FARMER and his wife fall on hard times. They haven't lost everything the way others have, but they have lost enough. Their hope for a better future comes under threat when they discover an intruder on their land. A WOMAN from a small town marries an outsider. Her love for him battles with her suspicions that he is the source of the fires ravaging the mountains. A YOUNG BOY, neglected by his parents, sits in the remains of a crashed plane and lovingly tends to two frozen bodies.
Introduced by Naomi Mitchison.
Set over two thousand years ago on the clam and fertile shores of the Black Sea, Naomi Mitchison's The Corn King and the Spring Queen tells of ancient civilisations where tenderness, beauty and love vie with brutality and dark magic.
Erif Der, a young witch, is compelled by her father to marry his powerful rival, Tarrik the Corn King, so becoming the Spring Queen. Forced by her father, she uses her magic spells to try and break Tarrik's power.
But one night Tarrik rescues Sphaeros, an Hellenic philosopher, from a shipwreck. Sphaeros in turn rescues Tarrik from near death and so breaks the enchantment that has bound him. And so begins for Tarrik a Quest - a fabulous voyage of discovery which will bring him new knowledge and which will reunite him with his beautiful Spring Queen.
'This breathtaking recreation of life in the ancient world welds the power of myth and magic to a stirring plot.' Ian Rankin
Edited and Introduced by Alexander Broadie.
The Scottish Enlightenment is one of the great achievements of European culture. In philosophy, law, economics, politics, linguistics and the physical sciences, Scots were key players in changing the way the world was viewed. And this explosion of activity still reverberates. It was the age of David Hume, Thomas Reid and Adam Smith, of Adam Ferguson, James Hutton and Sir John Sinclair. In his authoritative introduction, Alexander Broadie emphasises not only the diversity of intellectual discussion taking place in this small country located on the outer edge of Europe, but also the European dimension of this Scottish movement.
After the general introduction, the anthology is arranged thematically - Human Nature, Ethics, Aesthetics, Religion, Economics, Social Theory and Politics, Law, Historiography, Language and Science. These sections gather together well-known and lesser-known writings of the time. Much of the material has not been reprinted since the 18th century. Those with an interest in the Scottish cultural tradition will find many things to hold their attention in this unique book.
'Provides generous extracts from key works and masterly brief introductions.' Economist
'A major contribution to our literature and intellectual resources and I do not think it could be better done . . . For many people this book will become a companion for years or even a lifetime.' Scotsman
One glance at Now and Then and it becomes evident that this is not merely a collection of a songwriter's lyrics. The song-poems of this undisputed "bluesologist" triumphantly stand on their own, evoking the rhythm and urgency which have distinguished Gil Scott-Heron's career.
This, the first ever collection of his poems to be published in Britain, carries the reader from the global topics of political hypocrisy and the dangers posed by capitalist culture to painfully personal themes and the realities of modern day life. His message is black, political, historically accurate, urgent, uncompromising and mature and as relevant now as it was when he started, back in the early seventies.
At the tender age of fourteen, Richard Holloway left his home town of Alexandria, north of Glasgow, and travelled hundreds of miles to be educated and trained for the priesthood at an English monastery. By the age of twenty-five he had been ordained and was working in the slums of Glasgow. Through the forty years that followed, Richard touched the lives of many people as he rose to one of the highest positions in the Anglican Church. But behind his confident public faith lay a restless heart and an inquisitive mind.
Poignant, wise and fiercely honest, Leaving Alexandria is a remarkable memoir of a life defined by faith but plagued by doubt.
Sounding like one instrument, a wild whirling bagpipe, the Stones chugged to a halt. But the crowd didn't stop, we could see Hells Angels spinning like madmen, swinging at people. By stage right a tall white boy with a black cloud of electric hair was dancing, shaking, infuriating the Angels by having too good a time.' The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones is not just the greatest book about the greatest rock 'n' roll band, it is one of the most important books about the 1960s capturing its zeitgeist - that uneasy mix of excess, violence and idealism - in a way no other book does. Stanley Booth was with the Rolling Stones on their 1969 U.S. tour, which culminated in the notorious free concert at Altamont. But this book is much more than a brilliant piece of journalism. It gives a history of the Rolling Stones from their early rhythm 'n' blues days in west London clubs to the end of the 1960s; and it interweaves with mastery the two tragic stories of the decline and death of Brian Jones and the terrifying Altamont concert itself, where the Hells Angels, supposedly providing security, ran amok and murdered a member of the audience. Although it took nearly fifteen years to write, the book that emerged has been rightly acclaimed as 'the one authentic masterpiece of rock 'n' writing'.
Giant Steps examines the most important figures in the creation of modern jazz, detailing the emergence of bebop through the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. Using this as its starting point, Giant Steps subsequently delves into the developments of jazz composition, modal jazz and free jazz. The music of each of these great masters is examined in detail and will provide both a fine introduction for the large audience newly attracted to the music but unsure of their direction through it, as well as an entertaining and informative read for those with a more substantial background.
This is where the novel has a nervous breakdown. Anna Noon is a twenty-year-old student with a taste for perverse sex involving an enigmatic older man and a ventriloquist's dummy. Anna lives in Aberdeen and her sex life revolves around the ancient stone circles in the region.The sublime grandeur of the stones provides a backdrop against which Anna is able to act out her provocative psychodramas.
In January of 1788 the First Fleet arrived in New South Wales and a thousand British men and women encountered the people who will be their new neighbours; the beach nomads of Australia. "These people mixed with ours," wrote a British observer soon after the landfall, "and all hands danced together." What followed would determine relations between the peoples for the next two hundred years. Drawing skilfully on first-hand accounts and historical records, Inga Clendinnen reconstructs the complex dance of curiosity, attraction and mistrust performed by the protagonists of either side. She brings this key chapter in British colonial history brilliantly alive. Then we discover why the dancing stopped . . .
When Peter Hill, a student at Dundee College of Art, answered an advert in The Scotsman seeking lighthouse keepers, little did he imagine that within a month he would be living with three men he didn't know in a lighthouse on Pladda, a small remote island off the west coast of Scotland. Hill was nineteen, it was 1973 and, with his head fed by Vietnam, Zappa, Kerouac, Vonnegut, Watergate and Coronation Street, he spent six months on various lighthouses, "keeping" with all manner of unusual and fascinating people. Within thirty years this way of life was to have disappeared entirely. The resulting book is a charming and beautifully written memoir that is not only a heartfelt lament for Hill's own youth and innocence but also for a simpler and more honest age.
Following on from Giant Steps, comes the second instalment in Kenny Mathieson's series of jazz histories. Cookin' examines the birth and development of two of the key jazz styles of the post-war era, hard bop and its related offshoot, soul jazz. Hard bop was the most exciting jazz style of its day, and remains at the core of the modern jazz mainstream even now. It drew on the twin poles of bebop and the blues for its foundation, spiced up with gospel, Latin and rhythm and blues influences. The book looks at the founding fathers of the form, Art Blakey and Horace Silver, and goes on to trace the music through its peak decade.
In Dubliners, James Joyce takes us on an extraordinary journey with the ordinary men and women from the city of his birth. In 'Araby' a young boy struggles with everyday tasks in the face of a growing infatuation with his neighbour's sister; in 'The Boarding House' a single mother orchestrates a marriage proposal for her daughter; in 'The Dead' the ideas of birth and decay are played out over the course of a dinner. From short, lyrical stories to the novella-length masterpiece which concludes this collection, Dubliners is as alive with feeling as it was when first published.
Harry Rent, recently widowed and struggling to deal with the loss, finds himself in an unfortunate conundrum. He finds himself in love. From Harry's first hapless pursuit of Molly, the waitress at his local diner, we follow the transformation of one man (a little past his prime), who must embrace the future by finally facing up to his past. Harry, Revised is enormously funny and moving, a tale of love and its complications.
Can murder and mercy go hand in hand? In The Grand Hotel, a homeless woman charms a businessman into paying for dinner and a room. When his dead body is discovered the following morning she becomes the prime suspect. When a second person is killed in similar circumstances, Sybilla, having left her comfortable middle-class upbringing for the anonymity of the streets, becomes the most wanted person in Sweden . . . Missing is a gripping, multi-faceted thriller; more than a murder-hunt, it is also something more profound : an individual's journey to self-awareness and hope.
In March 1943 a team of expatriate Norwegian commandos sailed from the most northerly part of Britain for Nazi-occupied Norway. Their mission was to organise and support the Norwegian resistance. They were betrayed, and only one man survived the ambush by the Nazis.
Crippled by frostbite, snow-blind and hunted by the Nazis, Jan Baalstrud managed to find a tiny arctic village. There - delirious, near death - he found villagers willing to risk their own lives to save him. David Howarth narrates his incredible escape in this gripping tale of courage and the resilience of the human spirit.
Luke is twenty-five and allergic to the sun. He is stuck in his bedroom, where the world comes to him through TV, the internet and Julie's visits. Julie, meanwhile, is brilliant, kind and could be changing the world. Unfortunately she is too terrified of aeroplane crashes, road accidents and potentially life-threatening bacteria to leave her home town. When someone contacts Luke and claims that he can cure him, Luke and Julie have to deal with their fears and face the world outside. With four friends, wellies and a homemade space suit, they set off in a VW Camper van along Britain's B-roads. It is a journey that might just change their lives.
After the death of her lover, Jake, Talulla Demetriou is the last living werewolf. And she's on the run. Pregnant, grieving, and with only her human familiar Cloquet helping her keep one step ahead of the Hunt, Talulla flees to a remote Alaskan lodge to have her child in secret. The birth leaves her ravaged, but with her infant son in her arms it looks as if the worst is over. Until the door bursts open - and she discovers that the worst is only just beginning . . . Talulla is plunged into a race against time to save her son. Tormented by guilt and fuelled by rage, she is pursued by deadly forces - from a psychotic new WOCOP leader to blood-drinking religious fanatics and (rumour has it) the oldest living vampire on earth. Hopeless odds. Unless, of course, a mother's love for her child turns out to be the deadliest force of all . . .
Time rules our lives, but how much do we really understand it?
In Time Warped, we meet the people willing to go to extreme lengths to find out. They travel to Costa Rica to find out if hummingbirds can sense the passage of time, they walk towards the edge of a stairwell blindfolded and one man spends two months in an ice cave in total darkness - all in an attempt to fathom the tricks time can play on our minds.
Drawing on the latest research from psychology, neuroscience and biology, award-winning BBC Radio4 presenter Claudia Hammond delves into the mysteries of time perception. She shows us how to manage time more efficiently, why speeds up as you get older and, ultimately, how to use the warping of time to our own advantage.
This is an updated version of the ebook. And it is ram-jammed full of poems by KEY.
Within its pages you will find the vast majority of the same poems as you'll find in its predecessor. Poems skewering such thorny issues as sex, pancakes, footy and vodka. But, in order to drum up renewed interest, KEY has also added a new poem. And there are also seven new introductions. And KEY has also been allowed to waddle round the text with his Lamy fountain pen, altering and updating. Improving. Making everything just so.
In this new book of photographs - complete with sniping commentary - that document the dizzy heights and murky depths of street fashion, VICE magazine's staple humour series is collected in its entire, unabashed glory.
The DOs are put on a pedestal that soars way past God and the DON'Ts are so cruel they sound litigiously close to death threats.
DOs and DON'Ts will be the ultimate compendium of the hilarious fashion commentary that has helped forge VICE magazine's reputation; always mean, bang on and roaringly funny.