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In Miniature is a delightful, entertaining and illuminating investigation into our peculiar fascination with making things small, and what small things tell us about the world at large. Here you will find the secret histories of tiny Eiffel Towers, the truth about the flea circus, a doll's house made for a queen, eerie tableaux of crime scenes, miniature food, model villages and railways, and more. Simon Garfield brings together history, psychology, art and obsession, to explore what fuels the strong appeal of miniature objects among collectors, modellers and fans, and teaches us that there is greatness in the diminutive.
A delightful, entertaining and illuminating investigation into our peculiar fascination with making things small, and what small things tell us about the world at large. Simon Garfield reveals the secret histories of tiny Eiffel Towers, the truth about the flea circus, a doll's house made for a Queen, eerie tableaux of crime scenes, miniature food, model villages and railways, and more. Bringing together history, psychology, art and obsession, Garfield explores what fuels the strong appeal of miniature objects, and how controlling a tiny scaled-down world can give new perspectives, restore our sense of order in uncertain times, and, in unexpected ways, let us see our world in a whole new light. In Miniature takes a big look at small things and teaches us that there is greatness in the diminutive.
In 1959, the first Mini was produced on an assembly line at Cowley, near Oxford. It would take a team of supremely talented designers, engineers and production-line workers to build a car that was unique in appearance and construction. They would clash over an uncomfortable and unsafe prototype, and the public had to be convinced to buy a car that let in water when it rained. But somehow the Mini became an icon. Designed for austerity and efficiency, the car came to represent individuality and classlessness. Today, the car is still produced at Cowley - it is now owned by BMW and called the MINI. A great British manufacturing story, it is more popular throughout the world than it has ever been, a symbol of the age that created it. But who makes these things, and what do they think about their work? By meeting the people behind the MINI, Simon Garfield uncovers a fascinating story of endeavour, ingenuity and masterful marketing. The modern MINI has come a long way from the leaky floor and sliding windows. But throughout its history, the people behind it have always known that they have been making something rare - a car with soul.
The classic account of the men and women who used to fight each other for pride and money. Simon Garfield brings them to life in one last glorious bout of jealousy, myth, revenge, passion and deep devotion. When British wrestling was dropped from the ITV schedules in the mid-80s it left the giants of the ring - Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, Kendo Nagasaki - bereft. This is the true story of the circuit, the big names and their rivalries, told with humour, warmth and affection. This edition features a new afterword by the author.
Simon Garfield meets the people behind the typefaces and along the way learns why some fonts, (like men) are from Mars and some are from Venus. From type on the high street and album covers to the print in our homes and offices, Garfield is the font of all types of knowledge.
Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana. The Beatles learn to be brilliant in an hour and a half. An Englishman arrives back from Calcutta but refuses to adjust his watch. Beethoven has his symphonic wishes ignored. A US Senator begins a speech that will last for 25 hours. The horrors of war are frozen at the click of a camera. A woman designs a ten-hour clock and reinvents the calendar. Roger Bannister lives out the same four minutes over a lifetime. And a prince attempts to stop time in its tracks. Timekeepers is a book about our obsession with time and our desire to measure it, control it, sell it, film it, perform it, immortalise it and make it meaningful. It has two simple intentions: to tell some illuminating stories, and to ask whether we have all gone completely nuts.
Maps fascinate us. They chart our understanding of the world and they log our progress, but above all they tell our stories. From the early sketches of philosophers and explorers through to Google Maps and beyond, Simon Garfield examines how maps both relate and realign our history. With a historical sweep ranging from Ptolemy to Twitter, Garfield explores the legendary, impassable (and non-existent) mountains of Kong, the role of cartography in combatting cholera, the 17th-century Dutch craze for Atlases, the Norse discovery of America, how a Venetian monk mapped the world from his cell and the Muppets' knack of instant map-travel. Along the way are pocket maps of dragons, Mars, murders and more, with plenty of illustrations and prints to signpost the route. From the bestselling and widely-adored author of Just My Type, On The Map is a witty and irrepressible examination of where we've been, how we got there and where we're going.
A hugely entertaining and revealing guide to the history of type that asks, What does your favorite font say about you?
Fonts surround us every day, on street signs and buildings, on movie posters and books, and on just about every product we buy. But where do fonts come from, and why do we need so many? Who is responsible for the staid practicality of Times New Roman, the cool anonymity of Arial, or the irritating levity of Comic Sans (and the movement to ban it)?
Typefaces are now 560 years old, but we barely knew their names until about twenty years ago when the pull-down font menus on our first computers made us all the gods of type. Beginning in the early days of Gutenberg and ending with the most adventurous digital fonts, Simon Garfield explores the rich history and subtle powers of type. He goes on to investigate a range of modern mysteries, including how Helvetica took over the world, what inspires the seeming ubiquitous use of Trajan on bad movie posters, and exactly why the all-type cover of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" was so effective. It also examines why the "T" in the Beatles logo is longer than the other letters and how Gotham helped Barack Obama into the White House. A must-have book for the design conscious, "Just My Type"'s cheeky irreverence will also charm everyone who loved "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" and "Schott's Original Miscellany."
Every letter contains a miniature story, and here are some of the greatest. From Oscar Wilde's unconventional method of using the mail to cycling enthusiast Reginald Bray's quest to post himself, Simon Garfield uncovers a host of stories that capture the enchantment of this irreplaceable art (with a supporting cast including Pliny the Younger, Ted Hughes, Virginia Woolf, Napoleon Bonaparte, Lewis Carroll, Jane Austen, David Foster Wallace and the Little Red-Haired Girl). There is also a brief history of the letter-writing guide, with instructions on when and when not to send fish as a wedding gift. And as these accounts unfold, so does the tale of a compelling wartime correspondence that shows how the simplest of letters can change the course of a life.
1856. Eighteen-year-old chemistry student William Perkin's experiment has gone horribly wrong. But the deep brown sludge his botched project has produced has an unexpected power: the power to dye everything it touches a brilliant purple. Perkin has discovered mauve, the world's first synthetic dye, bridging a gap between pure chemistry and industry which will change the world forever. From the fetching ribbons tying back the hair of every fashionable head in London to the laboratories in which scientists developed modern vaccines against cancer and malaria, Simon Garfield tells the story of how the colour purple became a sensation.
'Timeless, funny and utterly absorbing' HILARY MANTEL In April 1925 at the age of fifteen, Jean Lucey Pratt started a journal that she kept until just a few days before her death in 1986, producing over a million words in 45 exercise books. What emerges is a portrait of a truly unique, spirited woman and writer. Never before has an account so fully, so honestly and so vividly captured a single woman's journey through the twentieth century.
In 1936 anthropologist Tom Harrison, poet and journalist Charles Madge, and documentary filmmaker Humphrey Jennings set up the Mass Observation Project. The idea was simple: ordinary people would record, in diary form, the events of their everyday lives. An estimated one million pages eventually found their way to the archive - and it soon became clear this was more than anyone could digest. Today, the diaries are stored at the University of Sussex, where remarkably most remain unread. In Our Hidden Lives, Simon Garfield has skilfully woven a tapestry of diary entries in the rarely discussed but pivotal period of 1945 to 1948. The result is a moving, intriguing, funny, at times heartbreaking book - unashamedly populist in the spirit of Forgotten Voices or indeed Margaret Forster's Diary of an Ordinary Woman. 'I love these diaries. They have the attraction of being stories, but REAL stories - Better than any novel.' Margaret Forster 'A lovely book. It will appeal to anyone who appreciates the richness and diversity of human experience.' Tony Benn 'Utterly engrossing, better than any kind of reality TV.' Gavin Esler 'Funny, vivid, touching, angry, thoughtful - every page is a delight. This is definitely no. 1 on my present list to give to everyone in the coming year.' Jenny Uglow, author of The Lunar Men
AS HEARD ON RADIO 4 'Utterly wonderful' NINA STIBBE, author of Love, Nina Twenty hours have gone since I last wrote. I have been thinking of you. I shall think of you until I post this, and until you get it. Can you feel, as you read these words, that I am thinking of you now; aglow, alive, alert at the thought that you are in the same world, and by some strange chance loving me. In September 1943, Chris Barker was serving as a signalman in North Africa when he decided to brighten the long days of war by writing to old friends. One of these was Bessie Moore, a former work colleague. The unexpected warmth of Bessie's reply changed their lives forever. Crossing continents and years, their funny, affectionate and intensely personal letters are a remarkable portrait of a love played out against the backdrop of the Second World War. Above all, their story is a stirring example of the power of letters to transform ordinary lives.
SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016 OBSERVER SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016 Not so long ago we timed our lives by the movement of the sun. These days our time arrives atomically and insistently, and our lives are propelled by the notion that we will never have enough of the one thing we crave the most. How have we come to be dominated by something so arbitrary? The compelling stories in this book explore our obsessions with time. An Englishman arrives back from Calcutta but refuses to adjust his watch. Beethoven has his symphonic wishes ignored. A moment of war is frozen forever. The timetable arrives by steam train. A woman designs a ten-hour clock and reinvents the calendar. Roger Bannister becomes stuck in the same four minutes forever. A British watchmaker competes with mighty Switzerland. And a prince attempts to stop time in its tracks. Timekeepers is a vivid exploration of the ways we have perceived, contained and saved time over the last 250 years, narrated in the highly inventive and entertaining style that bestselling author Simon Garfield is fast making his own. As managing time becomes the greatest challenge we face in our lives, this multi-layered history helps us tackle it in a sparkling new light.
Cartography enthusiasts rejoice: the bestselling author of the
"Just My Type "reveals the fascinating relationship between man and
The "New York Times" bestselling author of "Just My Type" and "On
the Map "offers an ode to letter writing and its possible salvation
in the digital age.
How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World
"Garfield's engaging story of William Perkin's accidental discovery is an informative mix of science, history, and biography."—Boston Herald
'Extraordinary. Timeless, funny and utterly absorbing' HILARY MANTEL In April 1925, Jean Lucey Pratt started a journal that she would keep for the rest of her life, producing over a million words in 45 exercise books. For sixty years, no one had an inkling of her diaries' existence, and they have remained unpublished until now. Jean wrote about anything that amused, inspired or troubled her, laying bare her life with aching honesty, infectious humour, indelicate gossip and heartrending hopefulness. She recorded her yearnings and disappointments in love. She documented the loss of a tennis match, her unpredictable driving, catty friends, devoted cats and difficult guests. With Jean we live through the tumult of the Second World War and the fears of a nation. We see Britain hurtling through a period of unbridled transformation and the shifting landscape for women in society. A unique slice of living, breathing British history, Jean's diaries are a revealing chronicle of life in the twentieth century.
In Private Battles, award-winning writer Simon Garfield has skilfully interwoven the diaries of four ordinary people as they struggle to cope with the day-to-day reality of life during the Second World War. Their voices combine to create one of the most compelling and refreshing takes on the period ever published. Meet Maggie Joy Blunt, a perceptive but frustrated young writer living alone near Slough. Pam Ashford, a shipping clerk in Glasgow who writes of office life as if it were an episode of The Archers. Edward Stebbing, a 20-year-old discharged soldier living with a stern landlady in Essex. And Ernest Van Someren, a research chemist in Hertfordshire, father of two children and proposer of several unique scientific ways to beat the Nazis. Perhaps here, for the first time, is the true story of how the ordinary people of Britain won the Second World War. And of how we almost didn't.
Of all the accounts written about the Second World War, none are more compelling than the personal diaries of those who lived through it. We Are At War is the story of five everyday folk, who, living on the brink of chaos, recorded privately on paper their most intimate hopes and fears. Pam Ashford, a woman who keeps her head when all around are losing theirs, writes with comic genius about life in her Glasgow shipping office. Christopher Tomlin, a writing-paper salesman for whom business is booming, longs to be called up like his brother. Eileen Potter organises evacuations for flea-ridden children, while mother-of-three Tilly Rice is frustrated to be sent to Cornwall. And Maggie Joy Blunt tries day-by-day to keep a semblance of her ordinary life. Entering their world as they lived it, each diary entry is poignantly engrossing. Amid the tumultuous start to the war, these ordinary British people are by turns apprehensive and despairing, spirited and cheerful - and always fascinatingly, vividly real.
Fonts surround us every day, on street signs and buildings, on
movie posters and books, and on just about every product that we
buy. But where do they come from, and why do we need so many? Who
is responsible for the staid practicality of Times New Roman, the
cool anonymity of Arial, or the irritating levity of Comic Sans
(and the movement to ban it)?
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