By embarking on a quest to dunk a basketball at the age of 34, journalist Asher Price investigates the limits of human potentialstarting with his own. We all like to think that (with a little practice) we could run faster, learn another language, orwhip upa perfect souffl. But few of us ever put those hopes to the test. In Year of the Dunk, Asher Price does, and he seizes on basketball's slam dunk--a feat richly freighted with distinctly American themes of culture, race, and upward mobility--as a gauge to determine his own hidden potential. The showmanship of the dunk mesmerized Asher as a child, but even with his height (six foot plus) and impressive wingspan, he never pushed himself to try it. Now, approaching middle age, Asher decides to spend a year remaking his body and testing his mind as he wonders, like most adults, what untapped talent he still possesses. In this humorous and often poignant journey into the pleasures and perils of exertion, Asher introduces us to a memorable cast of characters who help him understand the complexity of the human body and the individual drama at the heart of sports. Along the way he dives into the history and science of one of sports' most exuberant acts, examining everything from our genetic predisposition towards jumping to the cultural role of the slam dunk. The year-long effort forces him to ask some fundamental questions about human ability and the degree to which we can actually improve ourselves, even with great determination. From the Hardcover edition.
With her Cornish Beach Caf closed for the winter, Evie Flynn should be looking forward to lazy days and a happy Christmas, with nothing more pressing to think about than when to have her next mince pie. But her sister Ruth is coming to stay, in a cloud of heartbreak and bitterness following her marriage breakdown, along with her three unhappy children, and Evie knows she'll have her work cut out, trying to spread some festive cheer. Then her boyfriend Ed breaks the news that he's going to spend Christmas in London, for family reasons, and her heart sinks even further. Add in to the mix a lost dog plus the hotly contested village Christmas bake-off and before long, Evie is feeling the strain. But there are still a few surprises in store for her, that look set to make this Beach Caf Christmas the most memorable one yet . . . An enchantingly festive short story, Christmas Gifts at the Beach Cafe is a perfect Christmas read from Lucy Diamond.
From the high profile and popular journalist Angela Mollard, this is a wholly delightful, funny and charming book - part memoir, part how-to manual - about giving your kids a real childhood. Childhood, Mum had once said to me, is not preparation for life, it is life. But in the tussle between home and work I'd forgotten what a privilege it is to be a parent - to have in my hands and heart two small souls I have for only a short time to guide and teach and enjoy. If I pressed on, driven by deadlines and bosses and a stultifying work ethic, then I would miss everything that really mattered. As a journalist, Angela Mollard never left home without her passport, contact lenses and a spare pair of knickers - not because she was incontinent but in case she had to drop everything and fly overseas for a story. But then she had a baby, and this new hand luggage was as compatible with her job as a ham and jam sandwich. By the time one child became two, work was seeping into every corner of her life and turning her into the sort of person she loathed. She was suffering an integrity crisis. Yet what she wanted was quite simple - time to enjoy her children, sufficient cash to keep everyone in food, nappies and wine, and the energy to be a half-decent wife. So why was it all so hard? From popular columnist and commentator, Angela Mollard, comes the story of how she learned to aim wide, not high, and to enjoy her children again. Part memoir, part manual, the Smallest things is for all parents trying to reconcile their various roles and create a childhood for their kids that incorporates both Minecraft and the Famous Five. Offering parents ideas and hope (plus plenty of parenting pitfalls to make them feel better about their own), the Smallest things is a funny, charming and movingly candid story of putting family first, and why the smallest things in life matter the most.
With a ringing phone, Jeanne Ray's charming and amusing new novel gets off to a rollicking start that never lets up. Not for a minute. On the other end of the phone is Caroline's daughter, Kay, a public defender like her father, sobbing at the improbably good news that the richest, most eligible boy in Raleigh, North Carolina, has asked her to marry him. While Caroline and Tom are trying to digest this, the other phone, the children's line, rings; it is Caroline's sister, Taffy, hysterical over her husband's decision to leave her for a woman two years younger than her daughter. Soon Taffy is wending her way up from Atlanta to seek solace in her sister's home, even though the two have been separated by more than just geography for the past forty years. With her is her little dog, Stamp, who has a penchant for biting ankles and stealing hearts. Tom and Caroline quickly realize that the wedding their future son-in-law's family is envisioning for nine-hundred-plus guests is to be their fiscal responsibility. To top it all off, the foundation of their home is in danger of collapsing and their contractor and his crew have all but moved in. It's a thundering whirlwind of emotion that finally boils down to: Who is in love with whom? and Who's going to get the next dance? Wise, funny, and impossible to put down, Step-Ball-Change is peopled with characters you feel you have known your whole life. It's the kind of book that you can't bear to see end.