The Way Of The Strangers: Encounters With The Islamic State by Graeme Wood

The Blurb On The Back:

Graeme Wood’s The Way Of Strangers is a riveting, intimate journey into the minds of the Islamic State’s true believers, one which up-ends our understanding of their psychology, character and aims.

From the streets of Cairo to the mosques of London to the suburbs of Melbourne, Wood, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, interviews supporters, recruiters and sympathisers of the world’s most infamous jihadist group.  We meet an Egyptian tailor who once made bespoke suits for Paul Newman and now wants to live under Sharia; a garrulous Australian convert who translates the group’s sermons and threats into English; and a self-taught Muslim cleric who is now determined to see America, the nation of his birth, drenched in blood.  Drawing on insights from a wide spectrum of Islamic scholars, Wood explores the group’s apocalyptic dogma and the theology that influences its expansionist project.

The Islamic State is bent on murder and apocalypse, but its recruits find meaning and fellowship in a utopian dream.  This appeal of the Islamic State is key to understanding it – and predicting what its followers will do next.

With on-the-ground reporting, vivid character studies and clear-eyed analysis, The Way of Strangers uncovers a movement that has inspired tens of thousands of people to abandon or uproot their families.  It will shape how we see a new generation of terrorists.  

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There May Be A Castle by Piers Torday

The Blurb On The Back:

Like I said, kid, it’s your story.  Are you ready?

On a frozen Christmas Eve, Mouse Mallory and his family set off across a snow-white valley to visit his grandparents.

They never arrive. 

As the wheels skid off the icy road, Mouse is thrown from the car.  When he wakes, he finds himself in a magical landscape, with only a talkative sheep and a very bossy horse for company.

And they tell him: this is your story now.

So begins Mouse’s extraordinary quest through a world of wonder.  A world of monsters, minstrels, dangerous knights and mysterious wizards; a world of terrifying danger but also more excitement than Mouse has ever known.

All to find a castle, somewhere, beyond.

But why is Mouse looking for a castle?  As thoughts of his family back at the car begin to surface, Mouse realises this might be the most important journey he will ever make … 

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Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

The Blurb On The Back:

IMOGEN is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook and a cheat.

JULE is a fighter, a social chameleon and an athlete.

IMOGEN and JULE.  JULE and IMOGEN. 

An intense friendship.  A disappearance.  A murder, or maybe two.  A bad romance, or maybe three.

Blunt objects, disguises, blood and chocolate.  The American dream, superheroes, spies and villains.

A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.

A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

A girl who is … a genuine fraud. 

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The Future Of Diplomacy by Philip Seib

The Blurb On The Back:

Never before has diplomacy evolved at such a rapid pace.  It is being transformed into a global participatory process by new media tools and new empowered publics.  “Public diplomacy” has taken center-stage as diplomats strive to reach and influence audiences that are better informed and more assertive than any in the past.

In this crisp and insightful analysis, Philip Seib, one of the world’s top experts on media and foreign policy, explores the future of diplomacy in our hyper-connected world.  He shows how the focus of diplomatic practice has shifted away from the closed-door, top-level negotiations of the past.  Today’s diplomats are obliged to respond instantly to the latest crisis fuelled by a YouTube video or Facebook post.  This has given rise to a more open and reactive approach to global problem-solving with consequences that are difficult to predict.  Drawing on examples from the Iran nuclear negotiations to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Seib argues persuasively for this versatile and flexible public-facing diplomacy; one that makes strategic use of both new media and traditional diplomatic processes to manage the increasingly complex relations between states and new non-state political actors in the twenty-first century.  

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The Strange Disappearance Of A Bollywood Star by Vaseem Khan

The Blurb On The Back:

Mumbai thrives on extravagant spectacles and larger-than-life characters.

But even in the city of dreams, there is no guarantee of a happy ending.

Rising star and incorrigible playboy Vikram Verma has disappeared, leaving his latest film in jeopardy.  Hired by Verma’s formidable mother to find him, Inspector Chopra and his sidekick, baby elephant Ganesha, embark on a journey deep into the world’s most flamboyant movie industry.

As they uncover feuding stars, failed investments and death threats, it seems that many people have a motive for wanting Verma out of the picture.

And yet, as Chopra has long suspected, in Bollywood the truth is often stranger than fiction … 

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Last Argument Of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

The Blurb On The Back:

Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him, but it’s going to be a big one.  Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm, and there’s only one man who can stop him.  His oldest friend, and his oldest enemy.  It’s past time for the Bloody Nine to come home.

With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war.  A secret struggle in which no-one is safe, and no-one can be trusted.  And as his days with a sword are far behind him, it’s a good thing blackmail, threats and torture never go out of fashion.

Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is far too painful a process, and turned his back on soldiering for a simple life with the woman he loves.  But love can be painful too – and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on a man when he least expects it.

While the King of the Union lies on his deathbed, the peasants revolt and the nobles scramble to steal his crown.  Yet no-one believes that the shadow of war is about to fall across the very heart of the Union.  Only the First of the Magi has a plan to save the world, but there are risks.  There is no risk more terrible, after all, than the breaking of the First Law …  

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The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch

The Blurb On The Back:

There’s something going bump on the Metropolitan line and Sergeant Jaget Jumar knows exactly who to call. 

It’s PC Peter Grant’s speciality …

Only things are more than just going ‘bump’.  Traumatised travellers have been reporting strange encounters on their morning commute, with strangely dressed people trying to deliver an urgent message.  Stranger still, despite calling the police themselves, within a few minutes the commuters have already forgotten the encounter – making the follow-up interviews rather difficult.

So with a little help from Abigail and Toby the ghost hunting dog, Peter and Jaget are heading out on a ghost hunting expedition.

Because finding the ghost and deciphering their urgent message might just be a matter of life and death. 

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The Loneliest Girl in The Universe by Lauren James

The Blurb On The Back:

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away? 

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew member on a spaceship bound for a new planet.  She is the loneliest girl in the universe, until she hears that a second spaceship has launched from Earth, with a single passenger on board.  A boy called J.

Their only communication is via email, and the messages take months to transmit, yet Romy finds herself falling in love.  But what does she really know about J?  And what do the strange new messages from Earth mean?  Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone … 

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The Money Formula: Dodgy Finance, Pseudo Science And How Mathematicians Took Over The Markets by Paul Wilmott and David Orrell

The Blurb On The Back:

There is no blurb on the back, but there are the following quotes:

“This book has humour, attitude, clarity, science and common sense; it pulls no punches and takes no prisoners.” 

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Scholar and former trader

 

”There are lots of people who’d prefer you didn’t read this book: financial advisors, pension fund managers, regulators and more than a few politicians.  That’s because it makes plain their complicity in a trillion dollar scam that nearly destroyed the global financial system.  Insiders Wilmott and Orrell explain how it was done, how to stop it happening again – and why those with the power to act are so reluctant to wield it.” 

Robert Matthews, Author of Chancing It: The Laws Of Chance And How They Can Work For You

 

”Few contemporary developments are more important – and more terrifying – than the increasing power of the financial system in the global economy.  This book makes it clear that this system is operated either by people who don’t know what they are doing or who are so greed-stricken that they don’t care.  Risk is at dangerous levels.  Can this be fixed?  It can and this book – full of healthy scepticism and high expertise – shows how.” 

Bryan Appleyard, Author and Sunday Times writer

 

”In a financial world that relies more and more on models that fewer and fewer people understand, this is an essential, deeply insightful as well as entertaining read.”

Joris Luyendijk, Author of Swimming With Sharks: My Journey Into The World Of The Bankers

 

”A fresh and lively explanation of modern quantitative finance, its perils and what we might do to protect against a repeat of disasters like 2008-09.  This insightful, important and original critique of the financial system is also fun to read.” 

Edward O. Thorp, Author of A Man For All Markets and New York Times bestseller Beat The Dealer

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I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist

The Blurb On The Back:

You thought you had put your worst mistake behind you.

It’s still there. 

Molly wakes her mother to go to the toilet. The campsite is strangely blank. The toilet block has gone. Everything else has gone too. This is a place with no sun. No god.

Just four families remain. Each has done something to bring them here – each denies they deserve it. Until they see what’s coming over the horizon, moving irrevocably towards them. Their worst mistake. Their darkest fear.

And for just one of them, their homecoming. 

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