Nearly 18 years old, Molly Ayer knows she just has one chance. Months away from `aging out' of the welfare system and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman, Vivian Daly, clear out her home is the only thing keeping her out of dentention or worse.
Vivian has led a quiet life on the coast of Maine, but in her attic are the vestiges of a turbulent past. As Molly helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, she discovers they aren't as different as they seem.
In 1913, English physicist Henry Moseley established an elegant method for 'counting' the elements. Soon afterwards, it became clear that there were precisely seven elements missing from the periodic table-those that had yet to be isolated among the 92 naturally occurring elements from hydrogen (#1) to uranium (#92). In A Tale of Seven Elements, Eric Scerri presents the discovery of those seven elements, five of which are radioactive and three or possibly four of were first isolated by women.
Nathalie and Ladislas Gara, translation and introduction by Bill Reed (Christ's 1968)
Welcome to the Free Zone is a vivid and dark humoured novel based on the true story of Nathalie and Ladislas Gara, Jews fleeing Nazi occupation during the Second World War, translated from the original French (St Boniface et ses Juifs). In 1942, several Jewish families have washed up in the sleepy French town of Saint-Boniface in the Ardeche. Lodged in guest houses and rented farmhouses, they are attempting to carve out new lives for themselves among the folded hills and isolated farmsteads.
Tina Caba (Hughes Hall 1966) Ros Elliott-Ozlek and Celia Gasgil
For anyone with an interest in modern Turkey, this delightful collection of true stories is a must-read. Three British teachers record their varying experiences of living in the country, from daily life and local festivals to finding jobs and surviving earthquakes. These amusing and informative recollections provide insight into Turkish culture and also show how the authors have adapted to life in this fascinating world that all three have grown to love.
Shahryar M Khan (Corpus Christi 1953) and Ali Khan (Corpus Christi 1992)
Pakistan is a country beset with politicised instabilities, economic problems, ethnic conflicts, religious fervour and crises of identity. It is also a country in which the game of cricket has become a nationwide obsession. How has that happened? How does a Muslim country, jealous of its independence and determined to forge a Pakistani identity, so passionately embrace the alien gentleman's game imported by the distant and departed former colonial masters? What do we learn of Pakistan from its attitudes and responses to cricket?
The novel follows the journey of a prince who must forge new alliances to avenge the murder of his father in pre-Islamic Arabia. Considering themes of war, peace, freedom and tyranny, King is also a celebration of life and joys of and challenges of the physical world and human relationships.
The endearingly frank memoirs of an optimistic nineteen-year-old student travelling alone across postwar Europe in 1955. Both a ‘rite of passage’ book, and a unique commentary on the social issues of a pre-feminist era without mass tourism, easy communications or the contraceptive pill.
In Edward Ragg’s poetry an extraordinary creative pressure is brought to bear on language to convey what ‘Note on Text’ calls the ‘silent messages / surrounding the truth of words’. Thoughtful, honed and exact, the depths of Ragg’s reflections are matched by the delicacy and precision of his metaphorical language. In poems that move from contemporary Beijing to Vancouver to rural England – or even Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley’ (‘Chateau Musar’) – the compelling force in operation is one that questions dichotomies.
Politicians have a notoriously bad reputation: one recent survey found people trust them less than used-car salesmen. Voter turn-out in most elections is shockingly low; and episodes like the MPs' expenses scandal of 2009 simply serve to confirm the opinion of many that 'they're all as bad as each other'. But deep down, most of us also know we are incredibly lucky to live in a democracy, with freedoms that billions of people across the planet would give anything to enjoy. So we are lucky - but still, we don't like our system and we don't trust our politicians.