The Testament

What will you be doing at 4.30pm tomorrow afternoon? That’s the time of day we all start to flag and reach for the kettle and teabags to power us through to the end of the working day. But tomorrow, our cup of tea will be accompanied by the voice of Sir Ben Kingsley, who will be speaking about the incredible life of Elie Wiesel on the Great Lives programme on BBC Radio 4.

Wiesel was at once a professor, Nobel laureate, Holocaust survivor and campaigner, and author of The Testament: the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

“A witness for truth and justice.” The Nobel Committee

The Testament follows the life of Paltiel Kossover, a “mute poet” and witness to history, travels from his Jewish childhood in pre-revolutionary Russia to Paris and Berlin in the 1930s as the Nazis take power, and Spain during its Civil War. On his journey he embraces communism only to return to Russia and be imprisoned. In his prison cell Paltiel writes his ‘testament’, a long letter to the son he will never see again, an account of his life as a man “who lived a Communist and died a Jew”.

Encompassing Europe, and the history of the twentieth-century, Elie Wiesel pays tribute to the many writers killed by Stalin and in Paltiel he has created one of the great Everyman characters of contemporary literature.


Elie Wiesel was born in Romania in 1928. As a child during World War Two he was deported to Auschwitz, where his mother and sister died, and sent on to Buchenwald where his father died. At the end of World War Two he moved to France and, eventually, to the USA.

“Words can hardly do justice to Wiesel’s life or his dignity.” The Times

Read The Testament here: and tune in for Great Lives on BBC Radio 4 at 4.30pm (GMT).

Cocktails for Christmas!

Hands up if you love cocktails? WE DO. Especially Harry’s. In case you didn’t already know, Harry MacElhone is a huge deal in the cocktail world. He was one of the very first bartenders in Europe and opened the world-famous New York Bar in Paris in 1911 – making this glamorous joint the oldest cocktail bar in Europe!

From the bar where the Bloody Mary was invented comes this bible of cocktail recipes, Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails.

Harry’s has been, and still is, the haunt of the rich and famous who have passed through Paris, from Ernest Hemingway and Marlene Dietrich to Jean-Paul Sartre, Noel Coward and Quentin Tarantino. Many of the classic cocktail recipes – White Lady, Sidecar, Blue Lagoon – were created there.

In this new, revised edition of the classic guide all the old favourites are included but accompanied by recipes for over 30 new favourites. This is a book for the cocktail lover, with its distinctive thumb index for easy use and advice on mixing cocktails it is the definitive guide for professional bartenders and the home entertainer.

“Harry wrote the recipe for every cocktail you’ll ever need to know.” Sunday Times

Get your copy here:


Kick start your Christmas!

Not to rain on this Christmas parade, but I think it’s certainly fair to say that 2016 has been one difficult year. One of those years that makes you realise that not everyone is sane and personal safety is sadly more paramount than ever. And this is where David Kahn steps/kicks in.

But of course, self-protection has always been an incredibly vital thing to know about. Krav Maga, the style of fighting David Kahn is here to teach us, has been around for almost 80 years after being developed by the Israeli army in the 1940s. Indeed, David learned Krav Maga as a Special Operative in the Israeli Army and his expertise has made him one of the most internationally respected trainers of system. He has trained Special Forces soldiers, the Royal Marines and police officer and is the Israeli Krav Maga Association’s Chief Instructor in the USA.

This fully illustrated, no-nonsense guide will teach anyone of any fitness level simple defences to use against attackers. In Krav Maga Defence David Kahn presents the basic techniques of the method, which is based on the principles of doing minimal harm and enhancing our natural instincts for self-protection.

That’s the great thing about Krav Maga: you don’t have to be a fighter-type to master this art. It focuses on prevention, avoidance, escape and evasion before looking at counter-attack and self-defence moves. It really is for absolutely anyone – even British MPs are turning to Krav Maga for protection tips:

It’s a failsafe Christmas gift, one that will be useful for anyone looking for ways to stay both fit and safe in the New Year (and let’s face it, that includes every single person on your Christmas list). Get your copy here!

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Wishing you a (non) PC Christmas

At #2 of our stocking-filler themed countdown to Christmas, we bring you James Finn Garner’s hilariously tongue-in-cheek collection of Politically Correct Bedtime Stories.

While we don’t wish for you to actually have a PC Christmas (2016 doesn’t warrant it: go post-truth mad like the rest of the world and express yourselves), we DO want you to laugh. And, from Snow White’s relationship with seven vertically challenged men, Little Red Riding Hood, her grandma and the cross-dressing wolf who set up an alternative household based on mutual respect and cooperation, to the Emperor who was not naked but was endorsing a clothing-optional lifestyle, we’re pretty sure there’s something in here for everyone in the family.

We strongly suggest you buy your non-sexist, non-racist, non-sizeist and non-ethnocentrist reading matter here ( – and enjoy! We all deserve some chuckles this Christmas.

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On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… BOOKS!

Good morning & happy Friday to you all! Now, if you’re like us and were unreasonably shocked to find that, yes, we are now in December (as happens every single year) AND you’re starting to panic about how to start your Christmas shopping – look no further! We’re here to sort it all out for you – because, let’s face it, what better stocking filler is there than a really great book?

We’re here to bring you a wonderful gift idea for each day of this festive month, so you can’t possibly fail to find the perfect book for every lucky person on your Christmas list.

  1. Every single person on the planet knows someone who’s obsessed with dogs. The kind of people who, regardless of the situation or company present, can’t help themselves but squeal “LOOK AT THAT DOG!!” and will continue to stare at said dog until its owner has sensed the potential danger and moved on. For this person, what better stocking filler is there than Cecil Aldin‘s absolutely gorgeous collection of cartoons depicting the day-in-the-life of his loveable scamp! It’s called A Dog Day, and it won’t fail to make the dog lover you know smile.


Get your copy of this gem of a book here: