What the books are about
Leaving Microsoft to Change...
In 1998 John Wood was a rising executive at Microsoft. Then a trip to Nepal inspired him to set up schools and libraries in the developing world. Fuelled by the same drive that made him a top executive, Wood took his business acumen into the charity sector and created Room to Read, a stunningly effective organisation that has created a network of more than 2,000 schools and libraries throughout Asia and Africa in only six years. Leaving Microsoft to Change the World chronicles John Wood’s incredible journey, his first years at Microsoft, his life-changing decision to leave, and the adventure that followed. Wood shares the methods he uses to manage Room to Read, taken from the boardroom of one of the world’s most influential companies and applied successfully in a very different setting. His story is an inspirational example of how to create success on your own terms and change your world.
Run Novelists can no longer take it as an insult when people say their novels are like good television because the finest American television is better written than most novels. Ann Patchett’s new one has the texture, the pace and the fairy tale elegance of a half dozen novels she might have read and loved growing up, but the magic and finesse of Run is really much closer to that of Six Feet Under or ER or The Sopranos. Run is a novel with timeless concerns at its heart — class and belonging, parenthood and love — and if it wears that heart on its sleeve, then it does so with confidence, and so it should. The book is lovely to read and is satisfyingly bold in its attempt to say something patient and true about family. Patchett knows how to wear big human concerns very lightly. Yet one should not mistake that lightness for anything cosmetic: Run is a book that sets out inventively to contend with the temper of our times, and by the end we feel we really know the Doyle family in all its intensity and with all its surprises’ Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Barbara Kingsolver opens her home to us, as she and her family attempt a year of eating only local food, much of it from their own garden. With characteristic warmth, Kingsolver shows us how to put food back at the centre of the political and family agenda. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is part memoir, part journalistic investigation, and is full of original recipes.
Small Steps Armpit and X-Ray are living in Austin, Texas. It is three years since they left the confines of Camp Green Lake Detention Centre and Armpit is taking small steps to turn his
life around. He is working for a landscape gardener because he is good at digging holes, he is going to school and he is enjoying his first proper romance, but is he going to be able to stay out of trouble when there is so much building up against him? In this exciting novel, Armpit is joined by many vibrant new characters, and is learning what it takes to stay on course, and that doing the right thing is never the wrong choice.
How the Mind Works “Presented with extraordinary lucidity, cogency and panache... Powerful and gripping... To have read (the book) is to have consulted a first draft of the structural plan of the human psyche...a glittering tour de force” — Spectator “Why do memories fade? Why do we lose our tempers? Why do fools fall in love? Pinker’s objective in this erudite account is to explore the nature and history of the human mind...He explores computations and evolutions, and then considers how the mind lets us “see, think, feel, interact, and pursue higher callings like art, religion and philosophy”. — Sunday Times
The Blank Slate What is the truth about human nature? Are we each born a blank slate upon which experience is written? Steven Pinker argues that our usual explanations of human behaviour - stated most clearly in the human sciences of psychology, ethics and politics - tend to deny what is now undeniable: the role of an inherited human nature. Differences in personality or achievement, whether seen among races, ethnic groups, sexes or individuals, are routinely explained away as due not to differences in innate constitution but differences in experience. This work argues otherwise.