Stanley Kubrick: An Odyssey, Robert P Kolker and Nathan Abrams

The enigmatic and elusive filmmaker Stanley Kubrick has not been treated to a full-length biography in over twenty years. Stanley Kubrick: An Odyssey fills that gap. It is based on access to the latest research, especially into his archive at the University of the Arts, London, and other papers as well as new interviews with family members and those who worked with him. It offers comprehensive and in-depth coverage of Kubrick’s personal, private, public, and working life. The book discusses not only the making of his films, but also those he wanted but failed to make like Burning Secret, Napoleon, Aryan Papers, and AI. The biography will puncture a few myths about this allegedly reclusive filmmaker, who created some of the most important works of art of the 20th century.

The Hammer Power: Inequality, and the Struggle for the Soul of Labor, Hamilton Nolan

Nolan shows readers the actual places where labour and politics meld. He highlights how organised labour can and does wield power effectively: a union that dominates Las Vegas and is trying to scale nationally; a successful decades-long campaign to organise California's childcare workers; the human face of a surprising strike of factory workers trying to preserve their pathway to the middle class. Throughout, Nolan follows Sara Nelson, the fiery and charismatic head of the flight attendants’ union, as she struggles with how (and whether) to assert herself as a national leader, to try to fix what is broken. The Hammer draws the line from forgotten workplaces in rural West Virginia to Washington’s halls of power and shows how labour solidarity can utterly transform American politics – if it can first transform itself.

The Politics of Language, David Beaver and Jason Stanley

In The Politics of Language, David Beaver and Jason Stanley present a radical new approach to the theory of meaning, offering an account of communication in which political and social identity, affect, and shared practices play as important a role as information. This new view of language, they argue, has dramatic consequences for free speech, democracy, and a range of other areas in which speech plays a central role.

The book argues that the function of speech – whether in dialogue, larger group interactions, or mass communication – is to attune people to something, be it a shared reality, emotion, or identity. Reconceptualising the central ideas of pragmatics and semantics, Beaver and Stanley apply their account to a range of phenomena that defy standard frameworks in linguistics and philosophy of language―from dog whistles and covert persuasion to echo chambers and genocidal speech. The authors use their framework to show that speech is inevitably political because all communication is imbued with the resonances of particular ideologies and their normative perspectives on reality.

Pegasus: The Secret Technology that Threatens the End of Privacy and Democracy, Laurent Richard and Sandrine Rigaud

Pegasus is widely regarded as the most powerful cyber-surveillance system on the market – available to any government that can afford its multimillion-dollar price tag. The system’s creator, the NSO Group, a private corporation headquartered in Israel, boasts about its ability to thwart terrorists and criminals: ‘Thousands of people in Europe owe their lives to hundreds of our company employees’, they declared in 2019. That may be true – but the Pegasus system doesn’t just catch bad guys.

This is the gripping story of how Pegasus was uncovered by two intrepid reporters who revealed the scandal in collaboration with an international consortium of journalists. They received a leaked list of 50,000 mobile phone numbers, but they needed to prove NSO’s involvement. After a dangerous and secretive investigation spanning the globe, their findings shook the world. Tense and compelling, Pegasus reveals how thousands of lives have been turned upside down by this unprecedented threat, and exposes the chilling new ways governments and corporations are laying waste to human rights – and silencing innocent citizens.

Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood, Ed Zwick

Ed Zwick has encountered all kinds of Hollywood celebrities during four decades of directing, producing, and writing projects that have collectively received 18 Academy Award nominations (seven wins) and 67 Emmy nominations (22 wins). Though there are many factors behind such success, including luck and the contributions of his creative partner Marshall Herskovitz, he’s known to have a special talent for bringing out the best in the people he’s worked with, especially the actors.

Written mostly with love, sometimes with rue, this memoir is also a meditation on working, sprinkled throughout with tips for anyone who has ever imagined writing, directing, or producing for the screen.

Normal Women: Nine Hundred Years of Making History, Philippa Gregory

Did you know that there are more penises than women in the Bayeux Tapestry? That the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 was started and propelled by women who were protesting a tax on women? Or that celebrated naturalist Charles Darwin believed not just that women were naturally inferior to men, but that they’d evolve to become ever more inferior?

These are just a few of the startling findings you will learn from reading Philippa Gregory’s Normal Women. In this ambitious and groundbreaking book, she tells the story of England over 900 years, for the very first time placing women some fifty per cent of the population centre stage. Normal Women chronicles centuries of social and cultural change from 1066 to modern times powered by the determination, persistence, and effectiveness of women.