Before I left the valley I thought everywhere was like this. Then I went away for 40 years and when I came back I realized that nowhere was like this. ‘Laurie Lee walked out of his childhood village one summer morning to travel the world, but he was always drawn back to his beloved Slad Valley, eventually returning to make it his home. In this portrait of his Cotswold home, Laurie Lee guides us through its landscapes, and shares memories of his village youth – from his favourite pub, The Woolpack, to winter skating on the pond, the church through the seasons, local legends, learning the violin and playing jazz records in the privy on a wind-up gramophone.

A moving, never-before-published portrait of the landscape that shaped the life of Laurie Lee, the beloved author of Cider With … More

Somewhere on a salt-and-shingle island, inside a ruined concrete structure known as The Green Chapel, a figure called The Armourer is leading a ritual with terrible intent. But something is coming to stop him. Five more-than-human forms are traversing land, sea and time towards The Green Chapel, moving to the point where they will converge and become Ness. Ness has lichen skin and willow-bones. Ness is made of tidal drift, green moss & deep time. Ness has hagstones for eyes and speaks only in birds. And Ness has come to take this island back. What happens when land comes to life? What would it take for land to need to come to life? Using word and image, Robert Macfarlane & Stanley Donwood have together made a minor modern myth.

Part-novella, part-prose-poem, part-mystery play, in Ness their skills combine to dazzling, troubling effect. Robert Macfarlane is the author of The … More

Following on from The Stone Tide, Gareth Rees’ ‘Car Park Life’, is out now. Car parks: commonplace urban landscapes, little-explored & rarely featured in art and music, yet they shape the aesthetics of our towns & cities. Hotspots for crime, rage & sexual deviancy; a blind spot in which activities go unnoticed. Skateboarding, car stunts, drug dealing, dogging, murder. Gareth Rees believes that the retail car park has as much mystery, magic & terror as any mountain, meadow or wood. He’s out to prove it by walking the car parks of Britain, journeying across the country from Plymouth to Edinburgh, much to the horror of his family, friends – and, most of all – himself.

He finds Sir Francis Drake outside B&Q, standing stones in a retail park, and a dead body beside Sainsbury’s. In … More

Set against the backdrop of disastrous flooding in the North of England, ‘Rain’ dramatically chronicles the developing relationship between two young women, one of whom is a committed environmental campaigner. Their wild Bronte moorland is being criminally mismanaged. Birds and animals are being slaughtered. Across the country, crops are being systematically poisoned, even the soil itself. Rain centres on one relatively small example of moorland ownership by an elite group that impacts catastrophically on the unlanded majority living in the valley below. But the campaigners know that `a million other valleys need saving’.

They need saving not just for the sake of their human inhabitants, but for the insects and plants, birds and … More

Over the past twenty years European cities have become the envy of the world: a Kraftwerk Utopia of historic centres, supermodernist concert halls, imaginative public spaces and futuristic egalitarian housing estates which, interconnected by high-speed trains traversing open borders, have a combination of order and pleasure which is exceptionally unusual elsewhere. In Trans-Europe Express, Owen Hatherley sets out to explore the European city across the entire continent, to see what exactly makes it so different to the Anglo-Saxon norm – the unplanned, car-centred, developer-oriented spaces common to the US, Ireland, UK and Australia. Attempting to define the European city, Hatherley finds a continent divided both within the EU and outside it.

Out now in paperback available in store and online.

In this masterpiece of nature writing, Nan Shepherd describes her journeys into the Cairngorm mountains of Scotland. There she encounters a world that can be breathtakingly beautiful at times and shockingly harsh at others. Her intense, poetic prose explores and records the rocks, rivers, creatures and hidden aspects of this remarkable landscape. Shepherd spent a lifetime in search of the ‘essential nature’ of the Cairngorms; her quest led her to write this classic meditation on the magnificence of mountains, and on our imaginative relationship with the wild world around us. Composed during the Second World War, the manuscript of The Living Mountain lay untouched for more than thirty years before it was finally published.

New release available in store and online.

Currently exhibiting a set of photographs at the Turner Contemporary’s Seaside Photographed exhibition, Steve Ferrier’s photographs were all taken around the late eighties/early nineties (similar to Craig Atkinson’s Cafe Royal Books era) and follow a coastal journey from Clacton to Weymouth – Hastings gets three spreads. The book is called the Edges of Recession because at the time Steve had just started out as a graphic designer and was getting made redundant a lot, and so seemed to have a lot of spare time on his hands – the working title was Thatcher-on-Sea. Until the Turner Contemporary sent out a call for submissions they had sat untouched in a file for twenty-five years.

Available in store and online.

Back in stock, ‘Building Stone Atlas of Sussex’. This atlas describes, illustrates, maps, and analyses the traditional building stones of Sussex. It is an essential guide and reference for those interested in the building stone landscape of Sussex. In addition to the indigenous rocks of Sussex, stones used for buildings from elsewhere in the British Isles, as well as those imported from France, Belgium and some more exotic rocks from elsewhere, are carefully illustrated and detailed. Nor were the bricks and tiles of Roman construction omitted. The 148 pages of this, very reasonably priced, outstanding book, truly leave ‘no stone unturned’.

Available in store and online.

Inspired by the surreal accounts of the explorer and ‘man of a million lies’ Marco Polo, Imaginary Cities charts the metropolis and the imagination, and the symbiosis therein. A work of creative nonfiction, the book roams through space, time and possibility, mapping cities of sound, melancholia and the afterlife, where time runs backwards or which float among the clouds. In doing so, Imaginary Cities seeks to move beyond the cliches of psychogeography and hauntology, to not simply revisit the urban past, or our relationship with it, but to invade and reinvent it.

Following in the lineage of Borges, Calvino, Chris Marker and Kenneth White, the book examines the city from global macrocosm … More

Caroline Crampton was born on the Thames Estuary to parents who had sailed there from South Africa in the early 1980s. Having grown up with seafaring legs and a desire to explore, Caroline is both a knowledgeable guide to the most hidden-away parts of this overlooked and unfashionable part of the country, and a persuasive advocate for its significance, both historically and culturally. As one of the key entrances and exits to England, the estuary has been pivotal to London’s economic fortunes and in defining its place in the world.

It has also been the entry point for immigrants for generations, yet it has an ambivalent relationship with newcomers, and … More