Category: DNBF1

I, Hogarth

Hogarth’s epoch-defining paintings and engravings, such as Gin Lane and The Rake’s Progress, are renowned. He was London’s painter par excellence, and supplies the most enduring vision of the eighteenth century’s ebullience, enjoyments and social iniquities. From his lifelong marriage to Jane Thornhill, his inability to have children, his time as one of England’s best portrait painters, his old age and unfortunate dip into politics, and ultimately his death, I, Hogarth is the artist’s life through his very own eyes.

Recommended for readers of Peter Ackroyd and Hilary Mantel, this novel charts Hogarth’s personal story in four parts carefully blending the facts of his life with fiction, beginning with a childhood spent in a debtor’s prison and ending with his death in the arms of his wife.

My Life in France: ‘exuberant, affectionate and boundlessly charming’ New York Times

When Julia Child arrived in Paris in 1948, ‘a six-foot-two-inch, thirty-six-year-old, rather loud and unserious Californian’, she barely spoke a word of French and didn’t know the first thing about cooking.

As she fell in love with French culture – buying food at local markets, sampling the local bistros, and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu – her life began to change forever. We follow her extraordinary transformation from kitchen ingénue to internationally renowned (and internationally loved) expert in French cuisine.

Bursting with Child’s adventurous and humorous spirit, My Life in France captures post-war Paris with wonderful vividness and charm.

***PRAISE FOR MY LIFE IN FRANCE***

‘Whether you have [seen Julie & Julia] or not, you must read this charming, eccentric memoir from Julia Child, a towering figure in the world of cookery’ Independent on Sunday

‘This idiosyncratic and engaging book captures perfectly Child’s innocent introduction to the world of French food… a delightful read, full of wickedly dry wit, mouth-watering descriptions of food and drink and a joie de vivre that is positively infectious’ Daily Mail

‘Child’s exuberant, affectionate and boundlessly charming account… chronicles, in mouth-watering detail, the meals and the food markets that sparked her interest in French cooking, and her growing appreciation of all things French’ New York Times

‘Luscious… the large-as-life presence of Julia Child looms on every page‘ Washington Times

Lively, infectious… Her elegant but unfussy prose pulls the reader into her stories’ Chicago Sun Times

Captivating… her marvellously distinctive voice is present on every page’ San Francisco Chronicle

Florence Foster Jenkins

Darryl Bullock’s timely biography – delightfully cheering’ Alexander McCall Smith, Guardian

Madame Jenkins couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket: despite that, in 1944 at the age of 76, she played Carnegie Hall to a capacity audience and had celebrity fans by the score. Her infamous 1940s recordings are still highly-prized today. In his well-researched and thoroughly entertaining biography, Darryl W. Bullock tells of Florence Foster Jenkins meteoric rise to success and the man who stood beside her, through every sharp note.

Florence was ridiculed for her poor control of timing, pitch, and tone, and terrible pronunciation of foreign lyrics, but the sheer entertainment value of her caterwauling packed out theatres around the United States, with the ‘singer’ firmly convinced of her own talent, partly thanks to the devoted attention from her husband and manager St Clair Bayfield. Her story is one of triumph in the face of adversity, of courage, conviction and of the belief that with dedication and commitment a true artist can achieve anything.

With a major Hollywood movie about her life out now (starring Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg), the genius of Florence Foster Jenkins is about to be discovered by a whole new audience.

‘The first full biography of Foster Jenkins’ Clemency Burton-Hill, BBC

‘Listening to her pathetic bleating is something like eavesdropping on a padded cell inmate’ Billboard magazine

Sick in the Head

Before becoming one of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood, Judd Apatow was the original comedy nerd. At fifteen, he took a job washing dishes in a local comedy club-just so he could watch endless stand-up for free. At sixteen, he was hosting a show for his local high school radio station in Syosset, Long Island-a show that consisted of Q&As with his comedy heroes, from Garry Shandling to Jerry Seinfeld. Thirty years later, Apatow is still that same comedy nerd-and he’s still interviewing funny people about why they do what they do. Sick in the Head gathers Apatow’s most memorable and revealing conversations into one hilarious, wide-ranging and incredibly candid collection. Here are the comedy legends who inspired and shaped him, the contemporaries he grew up with in Hollywood, and the brightest stars in comedy today, from Mel Brooks, Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Martin to Chris Rock, Seth Rogen and Lena Dunham. Sick in the Head is Apatow’s gift to comedy nerds everywhere.

My Life in France

When Julia Child arrived in Paris in 1948, ‘a six-foot-two-inch, thirty-six-year-old, rather loud and unserious Californian’, she barely spoke a word of French and didn’t know the first thing about cooking.

As she fell in love with French culture – buying food at local markets, sampling the local bistros, and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu – her life began to change forever. We follow her extraordinary transformation from kitchen ingénue to internationally renowned (and internationally loved) expert in French cuisine.

Bursting with Child’s adventurous and humorous spirit, My Life in France captures post-war Paris with wonderful vividness and charm.

The Lost Carving

Awestruck by the sight of a Grinling Gibbons carving in a London church, David Esterly chose to dedicate his life to the art its physical control, intricate beauty and intellectual demands. Forty years later, he is the foremost practitioner of Gibbons’s forgotten technique, which revolutionised ornamental sculpture in the late 1600s. After a fire at Hampton Court Palace in 1986 destroyed much of Gibbons’s masterpiece, the job fell to David Esterly to restore his idols work to its former glory. It turned out to be the most challenging year in Esterley’s life, forcing him to question his abilities and delve deeply into what it means to make something well. Esterly breathes life into the world of wood carving and deftly illustrates the union of man and material necessary to create a lasting work of art. He also describes the determination, concentration and skill that go into achieving any form of excellence.

Low Life

Described as the Tony Hancock of journalism, for forty years Bernard wrote only about himself and the failures of his life – with women, drink, doctors, horses – which have become legendary. Low Life is an irresistible collection of the best of Bernard’s celebrated autobiographical contributions to The Spectator once described as ‘a suicide note in weekly instalments’. Previously published in two volumes entitled Low Life: A Kind of Autobiography and Reach for the Ground, these books are now available in a single volume containing all his derisive reflections on life.
Antiauthoritarian, grumpy, charming, politically incorrect, funny, drunk and always mischievous, Bernard could usually be found at the Coach and Horses pub on London’s Greek street, a lit cigarette in his mouth and a drink in hand. He was joined by famous friends including Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Graham Green, Peter O’Toole, Ian Fleming and many others and their conversations – as well as with whomever was tending bar at the time – served as the basis for his writing. There were in fact times when he was too drunk to write, hence the famous "unwell" notice that went next to the large, hastily-sketched cartoon that filled its space in the magazine.

Reach for the Ground

For forty years Bernard wrote only about himself, and the tale of his life, loves and failures has become legendary. Reach for the Ground is an irresistible collection of the best of Jeffrey Bernard’s celebrated Low Life contributions to the Spectator. The column was once described as ‘a suicide note in weekly installments’ and became a national institution whose passing was noted with great sorrow. Peter O’Toole’s affectionate introduction recalls a forty-year-old friendship and three sparkling autobiographical essays encapsulate the defining experiences of Bernard’s life.