Abby Wahl

Painting As a Pastime

Painting As a Pastime

The perfect antidote to his 'Black Dog', a depression that blighted his working life, Churchill took to painting with gusto. Picking up a paintbrush for the first time at the age of forty, Winston Churchill found in painting a passion that was to remain his constant companion. This glorious essay exudes his compulsion for a hobby that allowed him peace during his dark days, and richly rewarded a nation with a treasure trove of work.

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The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans

It is 1757. Across north-eastern America the armies of Britain and France struggle for ascendancy. Their conflict, however, overlays older struggles between nations of native Americans for possession of the same lands and between the native peoples and white colonisers. Through these layers of conflict Cooper threads a thrilling narrative, in which Cora and Alice Munro, daughters of a British commander on the front line of the colonial war, attempt to join their father. Thwarted by Magua, the sinister 'Indian runner', they find help in the person of Hawk-eye, the white woodsman, and his companions, the Mohican Chingachgook and Uncas, his son, the last of his tribe.
Cooper's novel is full of vivid incident- pursuits through wild terrain, skirmishes, treachery and brutality- but reflects also on the interaction between the colonists and the native peoples. Through the character of Hawkeye, Cooper raises lasting questions about the practises of the American frontier and the eclipse of the indigenous cultures.

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The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase

The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase

From classic poetry to pop lyrics, from Charles Dickens to Dolly Parton, even from Jesus to James Bond, Mark Forsyth explains the secrets that make a phrase—such as “O Captain! My Captain!” or “To be or not to be”—memorable.

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Jayber Crow

Jayber Crow

“This is a book about Heaven,” says Jayber Crow, “but I must say too that . . . I have wondered sometimes if it would not finally turn out to be a book about Hell.” It is 1932 and he has returned to his native Port William to become the town's barber.

Orphaned at age ten, Jayber Crow’s acquaintance with loneliness and want have made him a patient observer of the human animal, in both its goodness and frailty.

He began his search as a “pre–ministerial student” at Pigeonville College. There, freedom met with new burdens and a young man needed more than a mirror to find himself. But the beginning of that finding was a short conversation with “Old Grit,” his profound professor of New Testament Greek.

“You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them out—perhaps a little at a time.”

“And how long is that going to take?”

“I don't know. As long as you live, perhaps.”

“That could be a long time.”

“I will tell you a further mystery,” he said. “It may take longer.”

Wendell Berry’s clear–sighted depiction of humanity’s gifts—love and loss, joy and despair—is seen though his intimate knowledge of the Port William Membership.

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Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule.

David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable—generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.

Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.

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Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility is a novel by Jane Austen, initially published anonymously in 1811. It tells the story of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne as they come of age. They have an older, stingy half-brother, John, and a younger sister, Margaret. The novel follows the three Dashwood sisters as they must move with their widowed mother from the estate on which they grew up, Norland Park. Because Norland is passed down to John, the product of Mr. Dashwood's first marriage, and his young son, the four Dashwood women need to look for a new home. They have the opportunity to rent a modest home, Barton Cottage, on the property of a distant relative, Sir John Middleton. There they experience love, romance, and heartbreak.

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The Rhetoric Companion: A Student’s Guide to Power in Persuasion

The Rhetoric Companion: A Student’s Guide to Power in Persuasion

For the Christian student of rhetoric, manipulative sophistry is clearly out of bounds. But putting careful thought into what constitutes eloquent speech and persuasive argument is not. What many people dismiss as a bunch of rhetoric is simply poor rhetoric. There is a Christian approach to the craft of memorable and effective expression, and it is the task of this book to lay out that approach.

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The Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson

The Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson

Composed at the rosy-fingered dawn of world literature almost three millennia ago, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home.

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1066: The Year of the Conquest

1066: The Year of the Conquest

The year 1066 is one of the most important dates in the history of the Western world: the year William the Conqueror defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings and changed England and the English forever.

The events leading to-and following-this turning point in history are shrouded in mystery. Distorted by the biased accounts written by a subjugated people, many believe it was the English who ultimately won the battle, since the Normans became assimilated into the English way of life.

Drawing on a wealth of contemporary sources, David Howarth gives us memorable portraits of the kings: Edward the Confessor, Harold of England, William of Normandy, as well as the leading political figures of the time. Howarth describes the English commoners: how they worked, fought, died, and how they perceived the overthrow of their world from their isolated shires.

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How To Think: A Guide for the Perplexed

How To Think: A Guide for the Perplexed

How to Think is a contrarian treatise on why we're not as good at thinking as we assume - but how recovering this lost art can rescue our inner lives from the chaos of modern life.

Most of us don't want to think, writes the American essayist Alan Jacobs. Thinking is trouble. It can force us out of familiar, comforting habits, and it can complicate our relationships with like-minded friends. Finally, thinking is slow, and that's a problem when our habits of consuming information (mostly online) leave us lost in the echo chamber of social media, where speed and factionalism trump accuracy and nuance.

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Persuasion

Persuasion

Persuasion was the last novel written by Jane Austen, although it wasn’t published until after the author’s death.The story Persuasion is about a young 27 year old Englishwoman, Anne Elliot. Anne’s family moves to lower their expenses and reduce their debt by renting their home to an Admiral and his wife. The wife's brother, Navy Captain Frederick Wentworth, was engaged to Anne in 1806, but the engagement was broken. Anne and Captain Wentworth, both single and unattached, meet again after a seven-year separation, setting the scene for many humorous encounters as well as a second, well-considered chance at love and marriage for Anne in her second "bloom".

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Wine: A Beginner’s Guide

Wine: A Beginner’s Guide

Everything you need to know about the fruit of the vine―From A to Zinfandel.

If you enjoy wine―but can’t articulate why―you’re not alone! From terroir to global varieties, Wine: A Beginner’s Guide breaks down the complex bouquets of winemaking and tasting into ways that are fun and easy to understand.

Learn what really makes a cabernet sauvignon red. Taste how it’s possible to detect a hint of leather, chocolate, or even rubber in a single sip. Confidently discuss the subtleties of different types of grapes with the guide that has everything you need to know to grow your love of wine.

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