Born OTD in 1969, Iranian-French graphic novelist, cartoonist, illustrator, film director, and children’s book author, Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis is a graphic autobiography by Marjane Satrapi that depicts her childhood up to her early adult years in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution. Persepolis reminds readers of the “precarity of survival” in political and social situations.

The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-grandaughter of Iran’s last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a … More

Born OTD in 1891, Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda, Edward Bernays. A fascinating & controversial look at how government & corporations control how we think and act. In a world dominated by political spin & media manipulation, ‘Propaganda’ is an essential read for all who wish to understand how power is used by the ruling elite in society.

Written in 1928, this was the first book to discuss the manipulation of the masses and democracy by government spin … More

Naturalist Stephen Moss digs beneath the surface of some of our most popular Christmas carols in an ornithological celebration of the Festive Season. Using the structure of the carol as a jumping off point, he explores the place of twelve fascinating British birds in our history, culture and landscape. Some of the birds are obvious, there’s the swan and of course the partridge.

Other chapters are loose interpretations of a verse: for drummers drumming he delves into the woodpecker’s distinctive drumming tap. Woodpeckers, … More

The ongoing struggle for women’s rights has spanned human history, touched nearly every culture on Earth, and encompassed a wide range of issues, such as the right to vote, work, get an education, own property, exercise bodily autonomy, and beyond. Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is a fun and fascinating graphic novel-style primer that covers the key figures and events that have advanced women’s rights from antiquity to the modern era. In addition, this compelling book illuminates the stories of notable women throughout history–from queens and freedom fighters to warriors and spies–and the progressive movements led by women that have shaped history, including abolition, suffrage, labor, civil rights, LGBTQ liberation, reproductive rights, and more.

Examining where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going, Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is an indispensable resource for … More

Born OTD in 1939, Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher, and environmental activist, Margaret Atwood. Can we ever be wholly free? In this book of breathtaking imaginary leaps that conjure dystopias and magical islands, Margaret Atwood holds a mirror up to our own world. The reflection we are faced with, of men and women in prisons literal and metaphorical, is frightening, but it is also a call to arms to speak and to act to preserve our freedom while we still can. And in that, there is hope.

Available in store and online.

“I’ve been told that no one sings the word ‘hunger’ like I do. Or the word ‘love’.”Lady Sings the Blues is the inimitable autobiography of one of the greatest icons of the twentieth century. Born to a single mother in 1915 Baltimore, Billie Holiday had her first run-in with the law at aged 13. But Billie Holiday is no victim. Her memoir tells the story of her life spent in jazz, smoky Harlem clubs and packed-out concert halls, her love affairs, her wildly creative friends, her struggles with addiction and her adventures in love. Billie Holiday is a wise and aphoristic guide to the story of her unforgettable life.

Available in store and online.

Born OTD in 1897, the champion of our NHS, Nye Bevan. Inspired by the Tredegar Medical Aid Society in his hometown, Bevan led the establishment of the National Health Service to provide medical care free at point-of-need to all Britons, regardless of wealth. Despite opposition from both his own and opposition parties as well as the British Medical Association, the National Health Service Act 1946 was passed, nationalising more than 2,500 hospitals within the UK.

Once elected, Labour’s Minister for Health, Nye Bevan, was tasked with leading its creation. Bevan’s background as a Welsh miner … More

Next PM book club read will be Nicholas Shaxson’s ‘The Finance Curse’. We need finance – but when finance grows too big it becomes a curse. The City of London is the single biggest drain on our resources, sucking talent out of every sphere, siphoning wealth and hoovering up government time. Yet to be ‘competitive’, we’re told we must turn a blind eye to money laundering and appease big business with tax cuts. Tracing the curse back through economic history, Nicholas Shaxson uncovers how we got to this point. Moving from offshore tax havens to the bizarre industry of wealth management, he tells the explosive story of how finance established a stranglehold on society – and reveals how we can begin to break free.

Now out in paperback. Next book club is on Monday, 6th January 2020 at 6pm. Available in store and online.

The greatest wisdom comes from the smallest creatures. There is so much we can learn from birds. Through twenty-two little lessons of wisdom inspired by how birds live, this charming french book will help you spread your wings and soar. We often need the help from those smaller than us. Having spent a lifetime watching birds, Philippe and Elise – a French ornithologist and a philosopher – draw out the secret lessons that birds can teach us about how to live, and the wisdom of the natural world. Along the way you’ll discover why the robin is braver than the eagle, what the arctic tern can teach us about the joy of travel, and whether the head or the heart is the best route to love (as shown by the mallard and the penguin).

By the end you will feel more in touch with the rhythms of nature and have a fresh perspective on … More