By: Anne Fadiman
This witty collection of essays recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language.
For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story. Writing with remarkable grace, she revives the tradition of the well-crafted personal essay, moving easily from anecdotes about Coleridge and Orwell to tales of her own pathologically literary family.
As someone who played at blocks with her father's 22-volume set of Trollope ("My Ancestral Castles") and who only really considered herself married when she and her husband had merged collections ("Marrying Libraries"), she is exquisitely well equipped to expand upon the art of inscriptions, the perverse pleasures of compulsive proof-reading, the allure of long words, and the satisfactions of reading out loud.
There is even a foray into pure literary gluttony––Charles Lamb liked buttered muffin crumbs between the leaves, and Fadiman knows of more than one reader who literally consumes page corners. Perfectly balanced between humor and erudition, Ex Libris establishes Fadiman as one of our finest contemporary essayists.
Published in 2000.
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Why have all human cultures - today and throughout history - made music? Why does music excite such rich emotion? How do we make sense of musical sound?
These are questions that have, until recently, remained mysterious. Now The Music Instinct explores how the latest research in music psychology and brain science is piecing together the puzzle of how our minds understand and respond to music. Ranging from Bach fugues to nursery rhymes to heavy rock, Philip Ball interweaves philosophy, mathematics, history and neurology to reveal why music moves us in so many ways.
Without requiring any specialist knowledge, The Music Instinct will both deepen your appreciation of the music you love, and open doors to music that once seemed alien, dull or daunting, offering a passionate plea for the importance of music in education and in everyday life.
Published in 2011.
Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, this modern epic became an instant bestseller upon publication in 1974, transforming a generation and continuing to inspire millions.
A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live.
Resonant with the confusions of existence, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a touching and transcendent book of life.
Published in 2014.
In an age when a storm was evidence of God’s wrath, pioneering meteorologists had to fight against convention and religious dogma to realise their ambitions. But buoyed by the achievements of the Enlightenment, a generation of mavericks set out to unlock the secrets of the atmosphere.
Meet Luke Howard, the first to classify the clouds, Francis Beaufort, quantifier of the winds, James Glaisher, explorer of the upper atmosphere by way of a hot air balloon, Samuel Morse, whose electric telegraph gave scientists the means by which to transmit weather warnings, and at the centre of it all Admiral Robert FitzRoy: master sailor, scientific pioneer and founder of the Met Office.
Peter Moore’s exhilarating account navigates treacherous seas, rough winds and uncovers the obsession that drove these men to great invention and greater understanding.
Published in 2016.