Thus Was Adonis Murdered - Sarah Caudwell (Bantam)

Set to have a vacation away from her home life and the tax man, young barrister Julia Larwood takes a trip to Italy with her art-loving boyfriend. But when her personal copy of the current Finance Act is found a few meters away from a dead body, Julia finds herself caught up in a complex fight against the Inland Revenue.

Fortunately, she's able to call on her fellow colleagues who enlist the help of their friend Oxford professor Hilary Tamar. However, all is not what it seems. Could Julia's boyfriend in fact be an employee of the establishment she has been trying to escape from? And how did her romantic luxurious holiday end in murder?


Indie Best Sellers - May 2023

Paperback Bestsellers (Fiction & Nonfiction) PDF

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Fiction Bestsellers (Hardcover & Paperback) PDF

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Why Arguement Matters - Lee Siegel (Yale University Press)

From Eve's crafty exchange with the serpent, to Martin Luther King Jr.'s soaring, subtle ultimatums, to the throes of Twitter--argument's drainpipe--the human desire to prevail with words has been not just a moral but an existential compulsion. In this dazzling reformulation of argument, renowned critic Lee Siegel portrays the true art of argument as much deeper and far more embracing than mere quarrel, dispute, or debate. It is the supreme expression of humanity's longing for a better life, born of empathy and of care for the world and those who inhabit it.

With wit, passion, and striking insights, Siegel plumbs the emotional and psychological sources of clashing words, weaving through his exploration the untold story of the role argument has played in societies throughout history. Each life, he maintains, is an argument for that particular way of living; every individual style of argument is also a case that is being made for that person's right to argue. Argument is at the heart of the human experience, and language, at its most liberated and expressive, inexorably bends toward argument.


The Last Call at the Hotel Imperial: The Reporters Who Took on a World at War - Deborah Cohem (Random House)

They were an astonishing group: glamorous, gutsy, and irreverent to the bone. As cub reporters in the 1920s, they roamed across a war-ravaged world, sometimes perched atop mules on wooden saddles, sometimes gliding through countries in the splendor of a first-class sleeper car. While empires collapsed and fledgling democracies faltered, they chased deposed empresses, international financiers, and Balkan gun-runners, and then knocked back doubles late into the night.

Last Call at the Hotel Imperial is the extraordinary story of John Gunther, H. R. Knickerbocker, Vincent Sheean, and Dorothy Thompson. In those tumultuous years, they landed exclusive interviews with Hitler and Mussolini, Nehru and Gandhi, and helped shape what Americans knew about the world. Alongside these backstage glimpses into the halls of power, they left another equally incredible set of records. Living in the heady afterglow of Freud, they subjected themselves to frank, critical scrutiny and argued about love, war, sex, death, and everything in between.

Plunged into successive global crises, Gunther, Knickerbocker, Sheean, and Thompson could no longer separate themselves from the turmoil that surrounded them. To tell that story, they broke long-standing taboos. From their circle came not just the first modern account of illness in Gunther's Death Be Not Proud--a memoir about his son's death from cancer--but the first no-holds-barred chronicle of a marriage: Sheean's Dorothy and Red, about Thompson's fractious relationship with Sinclair Lewis.

Told with the immediacy of a conversation overheard, this revelatory book captures how the global upheavals of the twentieth century felt up close.


Who At the First Oyster?: The Extraordinary People Behind the Greatest Firsts in History - Cody Cassidy (Penguin Books)

Who invented the wheel? Who told the first joke? Who drank the first beer? Who was the murderer in the first murder mystery, who was the first surgeon, who sparked the first fire--and most critically, who was the first to brave the slimy, pale oyster?

In this book, writer Cody Cassidy digs deep into the latest research to uncover the untold stories of some of these incredible innovators (or participants in lucky accidents). With a sharp sense of humor and boundless enthusiasm for the wonders of our ancient ancestors, Who Ate the First Oyster? profiles the perpetrators of the greatest firsts and catastrophes of prehistory, using the lives of individuals to provide a glimpse into ancient cultures, show how and why these critical developments occurred, and educate us on a period of time that until recently we've known almost nothing about.


Nora Goes Off Script - Anabel Monaghan (G.P. Putnam's Sons)

Nora Hamilton knows the formula for love better than anyone. As a romance channel screenwriter, it's her job. But when her too-good-to work husband leaves her and their two kids, Nora turns her marriage's collapse into cash and writes the best script of her life. No one is more surprised than her when it's picked up for the big screen and set to film on location at her 100-year-old-home. When former Sexiest Man Alive, Leo Vance, is cast as her ne'er do well husband Nora's life will never be the same.

The morning after shooting wraps and the crew leaves, Nora finds Leo on her porch with a half-empty bottle of tequila and a proposition. He'll pay a thousand dollars a day to stay for a week. The extra seven grand would give Nora breathing room, but it's the need in his eyes that makes her say yes. Seven days: it's the blink of an eye or an eternity depending on how you look at it. Enough time to fall in love. Enough time to break your heart.

Filled with warmth, wit, and wisdom, Nora Goes Off Script is the best kind of love story--the real kind where love is complicated by work, kids, and the emotional baggage that comes with life. For Nora and Leo, this kind of love is bigger than the big screen.


Fencing with the King - Diana Abu-Jaber (W.W. Norton & Company)

The King of Jordan is turning 60! How better to celebrate the occasion than with his favorite pastime--fencing--and with his favorite sparring partner, Gabriel Hamdan, who must be enticed back from America, where he lives with his wife and his daughter, Amani.

Amani, a divorced poet, jumps at the chance to accompany her father to his homeland for the King's birthday. Her father's past is a mystery to her--even more so since she found a poem on blue airmail paper slipped into one of his old Arabic books, written by his mother, a Palestinian refugee who arrived in Jordan during World War I. Her words hint at a long-kept family secret, carefully guarded by Uncle Hafez, an advisor to the King, who has quite personal reasons for inviting his brother to the birthday party. In a sibling rivalry that carries ancient echoes, the Hamdan brothers must face a reckoning, with themselves and with each other--one that almost costs Amani her life.

With sharp insight into modern politics and family dynamics, taboos around mental illness, and our inescapable relationship to the past, Fencing with the King asks how we contend with inheritance: familial and cultural, hidden and openly contested. Shot through with warmth and vitality, intelligence and spirit, it is absorbing and satisfying on every level, a wise and rare literary treat.


To the One I Love the Best - Ludwig Bemelmans (Puskin Press)

Ludwig Bemelmans' charming intergenerational friendship with the late-in-life "First Lady of Interior Decoration" provides an enormously enjoyable nostalgia trip to the sun-soaked glamour of Los Angeles, where de Wolfe surrounded herself with classic movie stars and a luminous parade of life's oddities.

With hilarity and mischief that de Wolfe would no doubt approve, To the One I Love the Best lifts the curtain on 1950s Hollywood--a bygone world of extravagance and eccentricity, where the parties are held in circus tents and populated by ravishing movie stars.

Bemelmans, who was working at MGM, had originally come to the California home of de Wolfe just for cocktails but by the end of the night, he was firmly established as a member of the family: given a bedroom in their sumptuous house, invitations to the most outrageous parties in Hollywood, and the friendship of the larger-than-life woman known to her closest friends simply as 'Mother'.

To the One I Love the Best (which refers to de Wolfe's dog) is a touching tribute to a fabulously funny woman and an American icon.


The Correspondents: Six Women Writers on the Front Lines of World War II - Judith Mackrell (Vintage)

"Not only did female journalists face the challenges and dangers of actually reporting the war, but first they had to battle even to be allowed to cover it. Barred from combat zones, they had to hitchhike to the front line and struggled to get assignments from editors, some of whom fielded complaints from readers who did not want their news to come from women correspondents...Just as women are so often written out of war, so it seems are the female correspondents. Mackrell corrects this omission admirably with stories of six of the best...Mackrell has done us all a great service by assembling their own fascinating stories."
--New York Times Book Review


A Brief History of Earth: Four Billion Years in Eight Chapters - Andrew H. Knoll (Mariner Books)

How well do you know the ground beneath your feet?

Odds are, where you're standing was once cooking under a roiling sea of lava, crushed by a towering sheet of ice, rocked by a nearby meteor strike, or perhaps choked by poison gases, drowned beneath ocean, perched atop a mountain range, or roamed by fearsome monsters. Probably most or even all of the above.

The story of our home planet and the organisms spread across its surface is far more spectacular than any Hollywood blockbuster, filled with enough plot twists to rival a bestselling thriller. But only recently have we begun to piece together the whole mystery into a coherent narrative. Drawing on his decades of field research and up-to-the-minute understanding of the latest science, renowned geologist Andrew H. Knoll delivers a rigorous yet accessible biography of Earth, charting our home planet's epic 4.6 billion-year story. Placing twenty first-century climate change in deep context, A Brief History of Earth is an indispensable look at where we've been and where we're going.