1

What makes a bridge wobble when it’s not meant to? Billions of dollars mysteriously vanish into thin air? A building rock when its resonant frequency matches a gym class leaping to Snap’s 1990 hit I’ve Got The Power? The answer is maths. Or, to be precise, what happens when maths goes wrong in the real world.

As Matt Parker shows us, our modern lives are built on maths: computer programmes, finance, engineering. And most of the time this maths works quietly behind the scenes, until … it doesn’t. Exploring and explaining a litany of glitches, near-misses and mishaps involving the internet, big data, elections, street signs, lotteries, the Roman empire and a hapless Olympic shooting team, Matt Parker shows us the bizarre ways maths trips us up, and what this reveals about its essential place in our world.

Mathematics doesn’t have good ‘people skills’, but we would all be better off, he argues, if we saw it as a practical ally. This book shows how, by making maths our friend, we can learn from its pitfalls. It also contains puzzles, challenges, geometric socks, jokes about binary code and three deliberate mistakes. Getting it wrong has never been more fun.

2

From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers – race and class have shaped Akala’s life and outlook. In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.

Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, Natives will speak directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain’s racialised empire.

3

The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.

But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.

Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behaviour threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.

4

Run Away by Harlan Coben

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. You haven’t seen her in six months.

Then you find her busking in New York’s Central Park.

But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is frail, filthy, terrified, and in more trouble than you ever imagined.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her. You beg her to come home.

SHE RUNS.

You follow. What choice do you have? And as you descend into the dark, dangerous world she’s lost herself in, you quickly find yourself out of your depths. Down here, no-one is safe – and now both of you might never make it out alive…

5

Growing up with the Deans was a fabulous training ground for many things: ignoring unpaid bills, being the most entertaining guest at dinner, deconstructing poetry. It was never home for the dog Emily craved.

Emily shared the lively chaos with her beloved older sister Rachael, her rock. Over the years the sisters bond grew ever closer. As Rachael went on to have the cosy family and treasured dog, Giggle, Emily threw herself into unsettled adventure – dog ownership remaining a distant dream.

Then, tragically, Rachael is diagnosed with cancer. In just three devastating years Emily loses not only her sister but both her parents as well.

This is the funny heart-breaking, wonderfully told story of how Emily discovers that it is possible to overcome the worst that life can throw at you, that it’s never too late to make peace with your past, and that the right time is only ever now, as she finally starts again with her very own dog – the adorable Shih-tzu named Raymond.

6

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever.

Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.

Transcription is a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit and empathy. It is a triumphant work of fiction from one of this country’s most exceptional writers.

7

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.

Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women.

Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, historian Hallie Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, and gives these women back their stories.

8

I Thought I Knew You by Penny Hancock

Jules and Holly have been best friends since university. They tell each other everything, trading revelations and confessions, and sharing both the big moments and the small details of their lives: Holly is the only person who knows about Jules’s affair; Jules was there for Holly when her husband died. And their two children – just three years apart – have grown up together.

So when Jules’s daughter Saffie makes a serious allegation against Holly’s son Saul, neither woman is prepared for the devastating impact this will have on their friendship or their families.

Especially as Holly, in spite of her principles, refuses to believe her son is guilty.

9

VOX by Christina Dalcher

Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.

Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.

Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.

For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…

10

A Fabulous Creation by David Hepworth 

The era of the LP began in 1967, with ‘Sgt Pepper’; The Beatles didn’t just collect together a bunch of songs, they Made An Album. Henceforth, everybody else wanted to Make An Album.

The end came only fifteen years later, coinciding with the release of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. By then the Walkman had taken music out of the home and into the streets and the record business had begun trying to reverse-engineer the creative process in order to make big money. Nobody would play music or listen to it in quite the same way ever again.

It was a short but transformative time. Musicians became ‘artists’ and we, the people, patrons of the arts. The LP itself had been a mark of sophistication, a measure of wealth, an instrument of education, a poster saying things you dare not say yourself, a means of attracting the opposite sex, and, for many, the single most desirable object in their lives.

This is the story of that time; it takes us from recording studios where musicians were doing things that had never been done before to the sparsely furnished apartments where their efforts would be received like visitations from a higher power. This is the story of how LPs saved our lives.

*All book descriptions are taken from Amazon*

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