'I consider myself a poet first and a musician second' 'It ain't the melodies that're important man, it's the words' Two quotes from Dylan himself that underline the importance of this book. Dylanology thrives. There is no shortage of books about him and many of them will be dusted off for his 70th birthday. This one, however, stands on its own both for its unusual approach and for the virtuosity of its execution. Ricks's scheme, aptly, is to examine Dylan's songs through the biblical concepts of the seven deadly Sins, the four Virtues, and the three Heavenly Graces. He carries it off with panache. Ricks may be the most eminent literary critic of his generation but nobody should feel his book is one of earnest, unapproachable exegesis, on the contrary it has a flamboyance, almost effervescence about it that is captivating. Ricks boldly and successfully judges Dylan as a poet not a lyricist and in his tour-de-force makes endless illuminating comparisons with canonical writers such as Eliot, Hardy, Hopkins and Larkin.
The earliest of the four Gospels, the book portrays Jesus as an enigmatic figure, struggling with enemies, his inner and external demons, and with his devoted but disconcerted disciples. Unlike other gospels, his parables are obscure, to be explained secretly to his followers. With an introduction by Nick Cave
This is the text of the book of Isaiah, the first and foremost of the 17 'prophetic' books of the Old Testament. Contrasting with images of wrath and destruction are visions of an age of peace and harmony. The biblical text is introduced by Peter Ackroyd.
Acts is the sequel to Luke's gospel and tells the story of Jesus's followers during the 30 years after his death. It describes how the 12 apostles, formerly Jesus's disciples, spread the message of Christianity throughout the Mediterranean against a background of persecution. With an introduction by P.D. James
Hebrews marks a parting of the ways for Jews and Christians of the first century. It makes a case for the superiority of the new Christian 'faith' over old Hebrew orthodoxy and draws on the Old Testament for precedents for Jesus's ministry and to paint a picture of Jesus.
On 25 January 2011, bestselling Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany joined a million protestors in Tahrir Square calling for President Hosni Mubarak's departure. This was the moment he and other pro-democracy activists had been working towards, but could never be sure would come.
Why did Egypt unexpectedly revolt? In a weekly newspaper column Al Aswany had been exposing the injustices of the Mubarak regime for years, arguing that 'democracy is the solution'. Here the most incisive, prescient and urgent of these pieces are gathered together in English for the first time. He examines the conditions that made Egypt ripe for revolution, from Mubarak's monopoly on power and his determination to install his son as his successor, to the poverty in which half the population live. He also writes passionately about Egyptian society generally, including the treatment of women, free speech and the role of the State police.
Dreams from My Father is Barack Obama's remarkable memoir. The son of a black African father and a white American mother, Obama was only two years old when his father walked out on the family. Many years later, Obama receives a phone call from Nairobi: his father is dead. This sudden news inspires an emotional odyssey for Obama, determined to learn the truth of his father's life and reconcile his divided inheritance. Written at the age of thirty-three, long before Obama had thoughts of a political career, Dreams from My Father is an unforgettable read. It illuminates not only Obama's journey, but also our universal desire to understand our history, and what makes us the people we are.?
A dramatic historical novel set between the slums of 19th century London and the convict colonies of Australia. This book joins a tradition of grand historical action. It etches the intense light and scribble of the Australian bush, making them the backdrop to a story about ownership, belonging and identity.
The hottest summer of the twentieth century. A tiny community of five houses enclosed by wheat fields. While the adults shelter indoors, six children venture out on their bikes across the scorched, deserted countryside. Whilst exploring a dilapidated and uninhabited farmhouse, nine-year-old Michele Amitrano discovers a secret so momentous, so terrible, that he dare not tell anyone about it. To come to terms with what he has found, Michele has to draw strength from his own sense of humanity. It is Ammaniti's ability to inhabit the mind and perspective of his young hero that makes I'm Not Scared such an affecting and extraordinary novel. The book is a masterpiece of coming of age; a compelling portrait of losing one's innocence and a powerful reflection on the complexities and compromises inherent in growing up.
Helen has little idea what lies ahead when she offers her spare room to an old friend of fifteen years. Nicola has arrived in the city for treatment for cancer. Sceptical of the medical establishment, placing all her faith in an alternative health centre, Nicola is determined to find her own way to deal with her illness, regardless of the advice that Helen can offer. In the weeks that follow, Nicola's battle against her cancer will turn not only her own life upside down but also those of everyone around her. THE SPARE ROOM is a magical gem of a book that packs a huge punch, charting a friendship as it is tested by the threat of death.
Ireland, 1971, John Egan is a misfit, 'a twelve year old in the body of a grown man with the voice of a giant who insists on the ridiculous truth'. With an obsession for the Guinness Book of Records and faith in his ability to detect when adults are lying, John remains hopeful despite the unfortunate cards life deals him. During one year in John's life, from his voice breaking, through the breaking-up of his home life, to the near collapse of his sanity, we witness the gradual unsticking of John's mind, and the trouble that creates for him and his family.