5 books to watch (and read) in 2015

We’ve had an exciting year here at Yale UP London, with highlights such as a Nobel prize-winning author, long-awaited new editions to the Pevsner Architectural Guides series, an ever-growing range of ebooks and more author interviews and videos on our blog and social sites than ever before. If you want to find out about some of Yale’s bigger up-and-coming titles for next year you can explore our spring catalogue – or read on for a selection of 5 favourites for 2015!

history-171. Curiosity by Alberto Manguel – March 2015

The impulse to ask ‘Why?’ has featured heavily in a multiplicity of discourses throughout history. Continuing Yale UP’s impressive back catalogue of incisive books about emotion, Alberto Manguel’s Curiosity delves into the philosophies surrounding this compulsion, and reveals how curiosity has changed his life. In his most personal work to date, Manguel focuses on a selection of writers who have sparked his imagination and features chapters on literary giants such as Dante, canonical thinkers such as Socrates and David Hume, and logician, mathematician and storyteller Lewis Carroll.
Alberto Manguel is a Canadian writer, translator, editor and critic, but would rather define himself as a reader. Born in Buenos Aires, he has since resided in Israel, Argentina, Europe, the South Pacific and Canada. Today he divides his time between Canada and a small village in France, surrounded by more than 30,000 volumes. 

history-182. Browned off and Bloody-Minded: The British Soldier Goes to War 1939-1945   by Alan Allport – March 2015

A look at war through the lens of class, sex, crime, trauma and national identity. Alan Allport’s Browned off and Bloody-Minded offers the reader a new perspective on a generation of men affected by World War Two. More than three-and-a-half million men served in the British Army during the Second World War, the vast majority of them civilians who had never expected to become soldiers and had little idea what military life, with all its strange rituals, discomforts and dangers, was going to be like. Allport chronicles how soldiers responded to and were shaped by their years with the British Army, and how that army, however reluctantly, had to accommodate itself to them.
Alan Allport is assistant professor of history at Syracuse University.

3. A Natural History of English Gardening by Mark Laird – May 2015

There’s something for everyone in our spring list, with Mark Laird’s expert analysis of the history of the English garden a must have for anyone heading to Chelsea in May! Laird follows a broad series of chronological events – from the Little Ice Age winter of 1683 to the drought summer of the volcanic 1783 – to probe the nature of gardening and husbandry, the role of amateurs in scientific disciplines, and the contribution of women as gardener-naturalists. Illustrated by a stunning wealth of visual and literary materials – paintings, engravings, poetry, essays and letters – Laird fundamentally transforms our understanding of the English landscape garden as a powerful cultural expression.

Winner of the 2013 David R. Coffin Publication Grant, given by the Foundation for Landscape Studies.

Mark Laird is a historic landscape consultant and garden conservator and teaches landscape history at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.

4. The Ballet Lover’s Companion by Zoe Anderson – May 2015

This engaging book is a welcome guide to the most successful and loved ballets seen on the stage today. Dance writer and critic Zoe Anderson focuses on 140 ballets, a core international repertory that encompasses works from the ethereal world of romantic ballet to the edgy, muscular works of modern choreographers. Reliable, accessible and fully up to date, this book will delight anyone who attends the ballet, participates in ballet, or simply loves ballet and wants to know much more about it.
Zoe Anderson is dance critic for The Independent and author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years.

books5. Florence: A Walking Guide to its Architecture by Richard J. Goy – July 2015

Following on from his expert evaluation of the buildings of Venice, Richard Goy has returned to write about the architectural marvels of the famous Renaissance city of Florence. Clearly laid out and fully illustrated, this handbook is designed around a series of expertly planned walking tours that encompass not only the city’s most admired architectural sites, but also its lesser-known gems. Maps are tailored to each walking tour and provide additional references and insights, along with introductory chapters on the city’s architectural history, urban design and building materials and techniques. Featuring a complete bibliography, glossary of key terms and other useful reference materials, Goy’s guide will appeal both to travellers who desire a greater architectural context and analysis than that offered by a traditional guide, and to return visitors looking to rediscover Florence’s most enchanting sites.

Richard J. Goy is a practicing architect based in London and has written several books on the architectural history of Venice. 

Featured image: Girl with book and purple sweater by {studiobeerhorst}-bbmarie via Flickr

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