Archive for May, 2012

May 24, 2012

Puffin Classics

by Team Riverside

It has been said here before and it will doubtless be said again, but it is nice when books look nice, when a real effort is made with their appearance.  Penguin, who like their reissues, seem to be keen on this idea too (also as we have said here before), and have of late been sending out to bookshops everywhere some rather smart and dinky Puffin Classics.  Its all the old standards – Little Princess, Huckleberry Finn, etc – but beautifully packaged, all pocket-sized and cloth-bound.  So far there 12 in the series priced £12.99.

 

May 24, 2012

The Physics of the Future: Michio Kaku

by Andy

So this probably will not be winning a major literary prize any time soon – there’s a few too many narrative touches, presumably intended to make it all more ‘reader friendly’ (think clunky Greek mythology shoe-horned into the start of each chapter), but if it is highly polished prose you are after then go elsewhere.  This one is all about the wonder.  Mind-boggling wonder.  And there is more than plenty of that.

It is all very Shape of Things to Come, as you would expect from a book about the shape of things to come, but Kaku knows his onions, as well as a great many industry insiders (and, perhaps, his Greek mythology), and the result is a highly readable, thoroughly fascinating and confident romp through all the wonderful (and some of the terrible) things awaiting us.  It’s short.  It’s to the point.  It’s curiously strange and all so plausible.

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May 11, 2012

The What on Earth Wallbook? of Sport…

by Team Riverside

 

It’s big.

It’s clever.

It’s filled with colourful pictures.

It’s about all things sport.

What more could you want?

Except for it being only £15.

And also except for the other two wallbooks – The What on Earth? Wallbook (about everything) and The What on Earth? Wallbook of Natural History (about natural history).  Also for £15.

 

 

 

May 10, 2012

Bring Up the Bodies: Hilary Mantel

by Team Riverside

Sequels to Booker Award Winners do not come along often so we are not going to pass up the opportunity to point out the follow up to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf HallBring Up the Bodies, the second part of what it now to be a trilogy, has landed on the shelves.  Where it is not staying for very long.

 

May 5, 2012

The Rise & Fall of Ancient Egypt: Toby Wilkinson

by Andy

As interesting and informative as learning books can be, the reading of them is not always easy and makes impressive demands on the attention. Proper attention, that is.  And that’s if you already have a vague idea of what the book is about (as, quite often, what you bring to the learning book is just as important as what the learning book brings to you, so that if you know nothing and naively think it will be easy to pick something up and simply discover proper attention might well require the re-reading of various bits and the taking of moments to remember who such-and-such a person was and why they did what they did)).  For history in particular there are not that many titles that cater for the vast majority who have not got seven years to spare to really study a subject.

So, Toby Wilkinson’s The Rise & Fall of Ancient Egypt is one of those rare things – a big, fat impressive tome, the completion of which will leave you feeling immensely smug, immeasurably fascinated and thoroughly informed (unless, like me, you have the recall facility of a gnat).  But better than all of that is that you can zip through it in almost no time (which I did) and fully appreciate the scope of over three thousand years of civilisation and finish with a pretty good idea of what happened and feel entertained.  Quite possibly the best history book I’ve read in a very, very long time (and I read a lot of them, and I stop reading a lot more of them).

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May 4, 2012

London Architecture: Marianne Butler

by Team Riverside

Or 2000 years of architectural achievement in smart paperback format for £12.99.

Metro Guides have been sending out their compact guides to all things London for quite some time now – cemeteries, gardens, hidden walks, bookshops, markets – seemingly aimed at tourists but perfect for Londoners too.  Architecture, a past bestseller, has been recently reissued.  It’s not a coffee table book but a guide, with just enough information (location, brief history, how to get there) to send you on your way and see for yourself why its been featured.  As well as the obvious there’s a plethora of the less obvious, the things we walk past every single day and sometimes notice (but mostly don’t), making it an ideal and accessible gateway to explore the wealth two millennia of putting buildings next to each other will give you.

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May 3, 2012

The Penguin English Library

by Team Riverside

Not that it is acceptable to judge a book by its cover (although in the literal sense it is, because that is kind of the point of book jackets), but it helps.  Especially if the cover is nice.  And Penguin, who are reissuing some of their classics (not for the first time), are taking thorough advantage of this with their rather splendid Penguin English Library,

There will be one hundred titles in total, released in batches for the next six months, drawn from their extensive list of classics, all originally published in English, all issued and reissued many times over (and not just by Penguin), and yet somehow made all the more pleasing merely by a splash of colour, a move away from drab spines and resetting the type.  As well as that matte, rubbery finish that is cropping up on more and more books these days (which probably has a technical term and also a good reason other than it feels pleasant) So, cosmetic, yes.  But then there’s the price – £5.99, except because we are nice you can get them from us at £3.99 – and the simple fact that it makes them all look far more interesting and covetable and necessary.  It even makes Thomas Hardy appear enjoyable to read, which is surely an achievement.

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