Your essential literary list for 2008 Bad Blood: The Secret Life of the Tour de France by Jeremy Whittle, Atlantic As 2003 ended, David Millar appeared to have it all. He was a cycling world champion whose life had become a high-octane high-wire act, fuelled by his charm, energy and opportunism. But he was living on borrowed time. In June 2004, Millar, who had never failed a drugs test, lost everything ... China: Portrait of a People by Tom Carter, Blacksmith Books/Haven Books A backpacker with a digital camera takes on an entire country, with its 56 cultures, 1.3 billion people and 33 provinces to produce what author Mian Mian calls 'an honest and objective record of the Chinese'. A record that was two years and 56,000km in the making. Wing Chun Warrior: The True Tales of Wing Chun Kung Fu Master Duncan Leung, Bruce Lee's Fighting Companion by Ken Ing, Blacksmith Books Duncan Leung was introduced to wing chun kung fu by childhood friend Bruce Lee and trained US Navy Seals, members of the FBI and various Swat teams. In 2002, he accepted his greatest challenge: to train six Chinese teenagers to become world-class professional fighters within two years. China: The Longest Journey 1850-1949 by Jonathan Fenby, FormAsia Draws back the veil on con- temporary China. Even before the Communists came to power China had experienced unparalleled upheavals. The dramatic course of those turbulent years is documented in words by veteran sinologist Jonathan Fenby and in copious remarkable photographs. Chinese Gods: An introduction to Chinese Folk Religion by Jonathan Chamberlain, Blacksmith Books Chinese gods: Who are they? Where did they come from? What do they do? Chinese Gods helps us understand the building blocks of a religion for which even the Chinese have no name - beliefs are so entwined with language and culture they have no independent existence - and analyses 19 major gods in the Chinese pantheon. Buddhism: The Fabric of Life in Asia by David Clive Price FormAsia More than three years in the making, this superbly photographed book documents Buddhism's finest and lesser-known heritage sites. From India, where it took root more than 2,000 years ago, to the Asian countries where Buddhist philosophies flourish. Moving House and Other Poems from Hong Kong by Gillian Bickley (English and Chinese editions), Proverse Hong Kong Cuts perceptively to the heart of modern big-city living, with all its contradictions. Painting the Borrowed House by Kate Rogers, Proverse Hong Kong Having installed herself in an alien culture, poet Kate Rogers assesses the choices she has made and the layers of her life. The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights (three-volume box set) Penguin The first complete English translation from Arabic since the 1880s of one of the best-known and most influential works of literature ever written. It includes new translations from French of the 'orphan stories', for which no original Arabic text survives. Jamie's Ministry of Food by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph Despite unlimited choices, we live in a world of junk food and preservatives. Innumerable people have no idea how to cook or what makes a balanced diet. TV chef Jamie Oliver promises even beginners in the kitchen will be making superb dinners within hours of opening this book. Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns n' Roses by Stephen Davis, Michael Joseph Guns n' Roses reinvented rock music with their controversial albums and anarchic tours. Here, for the first time, is the whole truth - and nothing but the truth? - about one of the world's most outlandish rock bands. Chinese Proverbs Introduction by Peter Moss, FormAsia The gems of Chinese wisdom lie in anonymous and ageless proverbs, of which this volume contains a formidable illustrated selection. Accompanying the Romanised Chinese versions and the English translations are the corresponding Chinese calligraphic characters. Hitler by Ian Kershaw, W. W. Norton Using previously unpublished material, celebrated historian Ian Kershaw illustrates events in Hitler's life and career that heralded the terrors to be visited on Europe. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, Allen Lane Becoming successful has more to do with legacy and opportunity than a high IQ. Gladwell assesses those at the tops of their trees and asserts that 'the true origins of high achievement' lie in the joint circumstances of an upbringing and perfect timing. Too Delicious by Claudia Shaw-d'Auriol and Dominica Yang, Haven Books Full of new ideas for breakfast, brunch, dinner, picnics, afternoon teas and parties, Too Delicious presents 60 of Shaw-d'Auriol's and Yang's best-loved recipes in this, their second cookbook. Proceeds will be donated to Room to Read, a charity that provides children across the developing world with schooling, books and scholarships. What Next? by Chris Patten, Allen Lane Energy security, international crime, epidemic diseases, nuclear weapons proliferation, international drug trafficking, climate change, water shortages and the loss of the nation state's authority - just a few of the fixes in which we find ourselves. But, says the former governor of Hong Kong, doomsday isn't upon us yet. For Crying Out Loud by Jeremy Clarkson, Michael Joseph Clarkson's one-man war on crimes against common sense goes on. Discover the worst word in the English language, why binge drinking is good for you and the remarkable secret of eternal youth. The Darwin Awards: Next Evolution by Wendy Northcutt, Orion Mankind knows no bounds in its stupidity. Heard the one about the two brothers who were talking to each other on their mobile phones until they collided head on? A true story. The bad, the worse and the brainless: they're all here. 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die by Tom Moon, Workman To hear before as opposed to after, one supposes. Another in the burgeoning 1,000/1,001 pantheon and a meander through rock, reggae, rap, R&B and other styles not beginning with R. Arguments about inclusions and exclusions guaranteed. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, Faber and Faber This year's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel relates the capers of a comic-book geek considered a 'lovesick ghetto nerd'... and the horrors of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. An unbeatable tragi-comic pairing. 1001 Days That Shaped the World Peter Furtado (ed.), Cassell Illustrated And another. From May's shattering earthquake in Sichuan all the way back to that thunderous moment when the universe went 'bang!' Windows on the World Complete Wine Course by Kevin Zraly, Sterling The updated best-seller, with an expanded 101 Wines You Should Know section and now with 16 pages of quizzes. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, Bloomsbury An epistolary novel about a book club formed to guard members against arrest by the Germans just after the second world war. The Encyclopedia of Earth: A Complete Visual Guide by Michael Allaby, et al, University of California Astoundingly illustrated, this guide to the planet delves into not only environmental issues facing us today, but other small topics such as the history of the universe. National Geographic Society Exploration Experience: The Heroic Exploits of the World's Greatest Explorers by Beau Riffenburgh, National Geographic No matter where it may be, somebody has been there and done that. So go there from your armchair with this boxed edition following the journeys of some of history's greatest adventurers. Also includes a CD-ROM with maps for that explorer buzz. Hong Kong: The Classic Age by Peter Moss, FormAsia Resurrecting Hong Kong's crucial formative epoch with an extended commentary and striking photographs, The Classic Age follows the territory's tumultuous journey from ridiculed origins to spectacular imperial outpost. The Encyclopedia of Punk by Brian Cogan, Sterling The Sex Pistols? Check. The Ramones? Naturally. The Buzzcocks? Unavoidably. But Brian Cogan goes beyond the wonders of three chords to examine other bands dragged along later in punk's net: step forward Nirvana, Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails ... The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages, 1851-2008 Introduction by Bill Keller, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers News junkies need never go cold turkey again with this take on the evolution of one of the world's most august newspapers. The accompanying DVD-ROMs contain 54,267 front pages of the Times. Battle at Sea: 3,000 Years of Naval Warfare by R.G. Grant, DK Publishers Battle at Sea examines the ships and armaments of three millennia, from the slave-driven galleys of the pre-Christ eastern Mediterranean era to German U-boats to the floating-city aircraft carriers of today. Art: The Definitive Visual Guide Andrew Graham-Dixon (ed.), DK Publishers The ultimate guide to paintings and sculpture from across the globe, with everything you'll ever need to know about art history. With more than 8,000 works by 700 artists and developmental milestones from cave paintings to modern masterpieces. Chagall: Love and Exile by Jackie Wullschlager, Allen Lane 'This is a masterly biography,' said author Hilary Spurling. 'Jackie Wullschlager has a painter's eye, a historian's grasp of context and a novelist's pace and momentum. She makes the story of Chagall's life ... gripping.' All this and a violin-playing goat. The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson, Allen Lane Historian Niall Ferguson interprets the origins of the hedge fund, the securitisation of home mortgages and the workings of international trade deficits, all without inflicting the glaze-over effect. Did you know that every day on the planet US$2 trillion changes hands? Ultimate Adventures: A Rough Guide to Adventure Travel by Greg Witt, Rough Guides Whether your appetite for adrenalin takes you to ocean depths, Arctic ice floes or sweltering deserts, here's the how, why and when to plan your ultimate adventure. Each enterprise is rated by physical, psychological, skill and 'wow' factors. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, HarperCollins An incarnation of the 'Great American Novel'. Described by the Washington Post as 'an enormous but effortless read, trimmed down to the elements of a captivating story about a mute boy and his dogs'. My Word is My Bond by Roger Moore, Michael O'Mara Warm-hearted, humorous and generous recollections from a life spent appearing opposite the gods of the silver screen ... and as a particular fabled name and number. Coming Back to Me by Marcus Trescothick, HarperSport Recipient of this year's William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. Praised for its 'extraordinary level of humanity' in detailing the mental degradation of the former England cricketer. Love Letters of Great Men by Ursula Doyle (ed.), Macmillan Remember the wonderfully romantic book of letters by Beethoven, Byron and Napoleon that featured in the Sex and the City film? That collection never existed, but all the letters referred to were genuine. Hence, the idea of a book bringing them together ... Chicago by Alaa Al Aswany, Fourth Estate No, not pizza, jazz and blustering politicians. Chicago is what the Financial Times called 'a rare opportunity to consider the contemporary Egyptian condition'. Stephen Fry in America by Stephen Fry, HarperCollins 'Britain's best-loved comic genius turns his celebrated wit to unearthing the real America as he travels across it in his black taxi cab. Filled with his unique humour, insight and warmth ... ' it says here. The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond, Bantam An unusually imaginative novel of family, loss and hope, The Year of Fog tackles mysteries of time, memory and the human heart. Apologies Forthcoming: Stories not about Mao by Xujun Eberlein, Blacksmith Books Universities were closed. Students were at war. Poetry was banned. Artists were denounced. And the word 'love', unless applied to Mao, was expressly forbidden. Xujun Eberlein brings vividly to life the madness, passion and complexity of the Cultural Revolution. What Matters: The World's Pre-eminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time by David Elliot Cohen, Sterling What Matters has a mission: fundamentally altering the way we see and understand the human race and our planet. A socially conscious, eye-opening, thought-provoking and perhaps action-inducing book. The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Picador Following a man and his son as they head south across a scorched Earth in a post-apocalyptic future. The sort of future coming to a planet near you. On the Origin of Species: The Illustrated Edition by Charles Darwin, Sterling This year saw the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. Darwin's classic now comes fully illustrated, with more than 350 plates. Mars 3-D: A Rover's-eye View of the Red Planet by Jim Bell, Sterling So that you don't have to, two robotic geologists - Opportunity and Spirit - have spent four years roaming the Red Planet. Here they present 120 stunning 3-D and colour images of its unique landscape. The 4-hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss, Vermilion Ferriss has spent years learning the secrets of the New Rich, a fast-growing subculture that has abandoned the 'deferred-life plan' and instead mastered the new currencies of time and mobility. This Diary will Change Your Life by Benrik, Boxtree The humorous Christmas best-seller. Where previous editions have emphasised social change, with tasks such as 'Try making the Dalai Lama lose his temper', the latest insists on setting everyone's mental outlook to 'rosy'. Guinness World Records 2009 Guinness Gatefold pages, eye-catching 'sunburst' holographic cover, all-new photographs, some requiring the supplied pair of 3-D glasses ... oh, and 60 per cent updated records. The House of Night series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, St Martin's Griffin A young-adult vampire novel series widely regarded as the next Twilight, the runaway hit saga by Stephenie Meyer. China Witness by Xinran, Chatto & Windus A tenaciously researched (with the help of 40 assistants) oral history of 20th-century China. Interviewees include the Medicine Lady Yao Popo, a pioneering oil-digging couple, a lantern-maker and a witness to the Long March.