Category: WTL

Everyman’s England

A classic travelogue that brilliantly conjures 1930s Britain.

In this series of pen-portraits of England from the 1930s, Victor Canning ‘evocatively captures the pattern and colour of English life’ (The Bookseller), from Cumbria to Cornwall. Canning’s heart-warming and humorous observations of sleepy villages, pastoral scenes and busy industries are a delightful time capsule into life in England during the interwar years.  

‘What does the word England mean to you? To all of us England means something different, and yet I think there is for every man and woman some little corner which is more England than anywhere else…’

 

***PRAISE FOR EVERYMAN’S ENGLAND***

‘Wonderful… elegant, humorous, exuberant essays.’ Guardian

‘Evocatively captures the pattern and colour of English life.’ The Bookseller

‘Canning finds beauty everywhere, but never sentimentalises, and is consistently honest enough to highlight poverty and social inequality… Canning, at his very best when waxing lyrical about landscapes, offers vivid images of the English countryside…’ The Daily Mail

Flirting with French

William Alexander is not just a Francophile, he wants to be French. It’s not enough to explore the country, to enjoy the food and revel in the ambiance, he wants to feel French from the inside. Among the things that stand in his way is the fact that he can’t actually speak the language. Setting out to conquer the language he loves (but which, amusingly, does not seem to love him back), Alexander devotes himself to learning French, going beyond grammar lessons and memory techniques to delve into the history of the language, the science of linguistics, and the art of translation. Along the way, during his travels in France or following his passion at home, he discovers that not learning a language may be its own reward.

Eat, Pray Love in Rome

Experience the Rome that changed and inspired Elizabeth Gilbert to write the international bestseller Eat, Pray, Love. When Luca Spaghetti (yes, that’s really his name) was asked to show Elizabeth around Rome he had no idea how his life was about to change. She embraced his Roman zest for life and Luca in-turn became her guardian angel, determined that his city would get her out of her funk.

Filled with colourful anecdotes about food, language, soccer, life in Rome, and culminating with the episodes in Liz’s bestselling memoir told from Luca’s side of the table, this is a book that every traveller to Rome will find enriching and readers of Eat, Pray, Love will not want to miss.

The Bonjour Effect

Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau spent a decade traveling back and forth to Paris as well as living there. Yet one important lesson never seemed to sink in: how to communicate comfortably with the French, even when you speak their language. In The Bonjour Effect Julie and Jean-Benoit chronicle the lessons they learned after they returned to France to live, for a year, with their twin daughters. They offer up all the lessons they learned and explain, in a book as fizzy as a bottle of the finest French champagne, the most important aspect of all: the French don’t communicate, they converse.To understand and speak French well, one must understand that French conversation runs on a set of rules that go to the heart of French culture. Why do the French like talking about "the decline of France"? Why does broaching a subject like money end all discussion? Why do the French become so aroused debating the merits and qualities of their own language? Through encounters with school principals, city hall civil servants, old friends and business acquaintances, Julie and Jean-Benoit explain why, culturally and historically, conversation with the French is not about communicating or being nice. It’s about being interesting. After reading The Bonjour Effect, even readers with a modicum of French language ability will be able to hold their own the next time they step into a bistro on the Left Bank.

One Kiss or Two?

Every encounter begins with a greeting. Be it a quick ‘Hello!’ or the somewhat longer and gracious ‘Sula manchwanta galunga omugobe!’ shaking hands or shaking, well, rather more private parts of our anatomy, we have been doing it many times daily for thousands of years. It should be the most straightforward thing in the world, but this apparently simple act is fraught with complications, leading to awkward misunderstandings and occasionally even outright violence.

In the illuminating and entertaining One Kiss or Two? Andy Scott goes down the rabbit hole to take a closer look at what greetings are all about. In looking at how they have developed, he discovers a kaleidoscopic world of etiquette, body-language, evolution, neuroscience, anthropology and history. Through in-depth research and his personal experiences, and with the help of experts, Scott takes us on a captivating journey through a subject far richer than we might have expected.

Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen – Winner of the RSL Christopher Bland Prize

** Winner of the RSL Christopher Bland Prize **

 

Uncovering the hidden love triangle between novelist Elizabeth Bowen and the author’s grandparents – the critically acclaimed biography with never-before-seen letters detailing the affair.

 

For readers who were swept up in Laura Cumming’s On Chapel Sands, Daniel Mendelsohn’s An Odyssey and Francesca Wade’s Square Haunting.

 

A death in the family delivers Julia Parry a box of letters. Dusty with age, they reveal a secret love affair between the celebrated novelist Elizabeth Bowen and the academic Humphry House – Julia’s grandfather.

 

So begins a life-changing quest to understand the affair, which had profound repercussions for Julia’s family, not least her grandmother, Madeline. Julia traces these three very different characters through 1930s Oxford and Ireland, Texas, Calcutta in the last days of Empire, and on into World War II. With a supporting cast that includes Isaiah Berlin and Virginia Woolf, The Shadowy Third opens up a world with complex attitudes to love and sex, duty and ambition, and to writing itself.