No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
Feeling the desire to travel to far flung places? We have a selection of titles to satisfy your wanderlust. Whether you’re planning a great adventure or reading about your favourite parts of the world, have a browse of our Travel selection.
An eye-opening wander (and sometimes adrenaline ride) down memory lane for a life-long hillwalker and mountaineer. John D. Burns has spent forty years trekking and climbing mountains, he grew up in industrial Merseyside and escaped to the wilds as often as he could. He opens by admitting a mistake that could have cost lives, his raw honesty hits home, this isn’t a playground. In his early years he learns through near catastrophes and calamitous events that he needs proper equipment and to never take the outdoors for granted. He basically learns through his mistakes - TAKE NOTE! As the author grows more experienced he later becomes a part of the rescue team and starts to really become aware of the beauty around him. The majority of this memoir runs in a straight line through time, occasionally though it deviates, and sometimes stories just stop, to carry on at a later point. This memoir is more about the thrills and escapades, than the beauty of where he is and yet that joy is also there. I would recommend reading The Last Hillwalker followed by his fictional Sky Dance, as once you have finished both, you get more of measure of this man. A fascinating read.
A captivating, amusing, yet provocative novel set in the Scottish Highlands. If you have read a book by John D. Burns before, it is likely to have been one or both of his memoirs, The Last Hillwalker and Bothy Tales. The author has spent much of his life walking and climbing in the mountains, here he turns his hand to fiction, and ponders the future of the landscape he so loves. We enter what could be called a battle, between environmental protesters and landowners, with the two main characters seasoned hillwalkers. From winter (much beloved by our author), turning through the seasons back to winter again, we spend time on a fictional island in the Scottish Highlands. Using his knowledge, his passion for our wild places John D. Burns has written an engaging and satisfying read. I actually recommend starting with his memoir The Last Hillwalker, as it really sets the scene, and you can appreciate the experience and love that has gone into Sky Dance.
Such a great read oh my goodness this authors first trip and to climb Kilimanjaro was certainly not for the faint hearted most of us would have packed up and gone home but not this determined author and all in the name of charity. Then years later the author and this time with his wife walking with lions, in search of Rhinos, beautiful scenery and the dreaded mountain to climb! and will they climb this? It is an interesting read, fascinating accounts of Africa (I've never been but just loved the descriptions, the wildlife and culture) I take my hat off to him not sure if I would follow in his footsteps but has given me a great read on my holiday. This author writes a good story and keeps the reader on their toes. This author has written a number of books of his adventures and I will certainly be following him and catching up on what I have been missing. Jane Brown, A LoveReading Ambassador
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 2 June 2010. William Dalrymple delves deep into the heart of a nation torn between the relentless onslaught of modernity and the ancient traditions that endure to this day.
Travels around the world discovering the origins of the pigments that make dyes and paint – totally fascinating. Spotted with historical fact, anecdotes, vivid descriptions and a deep appreciation of art, this is a wonderful book.
Moving beyond travelogue, The Masque of Africa considers the effects of belief (in indigenous animisms, the foreign religions of Christianity and Islam, the cults of leaders and mythical history) upon the progress of African civilization. Beginning in Uganda, at the centre of the continent, Naipaul's journey takes in Ghana and Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Gabon, and ends, as the country does, in South Africa. Focusing upon the theme of belief - though sometimes the political or economical realities are so overwhelming that they have to be taken into account - Naipaul examines the fragile but enduring quality of the old world of magic. To witness the ubiquity of such ancient ritual, to be given some idea of its power, was to be taken far back to the beginning of things. To reach that beginning was the purpose of this book.
A satirical spoof on air travel from this fantastic writer. Just think Gulliverâ€™s travels meets Hitchhikerâ€™s Guide to the Galaxy
March 2012 Travel Book of the Month. This is a travel guide with a twist. An illustrated and informative guide to the places in England (real and imagined) associated with Charles Dickens and featured in his works. With hundreds of entries it is endlessly fascinating and is the perfect companion for Dickens fans, tourists and armchair travellers alike.
You can take the man out of the city, but is the countryside ready for him? Comedian and born and bred townie, Tony Hawks is not afraid of a challenge - or indeed a good bet. He's hitchhiked round Ireland with a fridge and taken on the Moldovan football team at tennis, one by one. Now the time has come for his greatest gamble yet - turning his back on comfortable city life to move to the wilds of the West Country. With his partner Fran in tow and their first child on the way, he embraces the rituals of village life with often absurd and hilarious results, introducing us to an ensemble of eclectic characters along the way. One minute he's taking part in a calamitous tractor run, the next he's chairing a village meeting, but of course he still finds time for one last solo adventure before fatherhood arrives - cycling coast to coast with a mini pig called Titch. In the epic battle of man vs countryside, who will win out?
Satan's Gut, Sausage Boats and Ice Kisses: Review by Sam Lewis This is travel guide for those seeking a thrilling experience or a bold adventure! Written almost as a journal/information book, this non fiction write up details Tony’s courage at his daring outdoor pursuits and valiant voyages. The author has written informally, and the book almost has the feel that you are catching up with a friend. There are many humerous elements to his style of writing and although adventure travelling to the extreme that the author did, is not for me I imagine that he would be very appealing to those seeking the same thrills. If I am being completely honest the book in its entirety was not for me but not because of the way it was presented, it had interesting points, drew you in with the humour and beautiful pictures of exciting landscapes. Ordinarily this book would not be for me due to the genre, as it is not something I would have picked up, however I do feel that there is a niche audience for this and those interested would be encouraged by it. Interesting insight into a extreme travellers guide for beginners or those teetering on the edge of a thrilling adventure!
A sharply amusing and captivating memoir based on the attempt of the author to make a new life in France. Tommy Barnes and his girlfriend escape the 9-5 of the UK after being made redundant. Surrounded by animals, friendly locals, and stunning countryside, Tommy struggles to start a micro-brewery in the heart of the Loire Valley. The author is more than happy to poke fun at himself, he is also incredibly honest. His writing ensured I didn’t feel too badly as I chortled, smirked and raised my eyebrows as he somewhat stumbles through life. Rather stealing the show is Burt the dog, described by Tommy as squat, surly and defiant, Burt makes it his life mission to cause chaos wherever he is. I also just have to mention the gorgeous cover, which most definitely called out to me. ‘A Beer in the Loire’ is an engaging, ever so entertaining read, oh, and there are several recipes for beer too, how fabulous!
Absolutely adorable, this is an autobiography full of eccentricity, charm and a penguin called Juan Salvador. As a young man in the 1970’s Tom Michell travelled to Argentina to teach at a boarding school. While in Uruguay Tom rescued a penguin from an oil slick and found himself with an unexpected companion. Writing in a fresh, chatty and friendly style, Tom introduces his colleagues, students and the beautiful country of Argentina. With super little titbits and recollections of his time in South America this a beautifully written memoir, however, I have to confess, that it is Juan Salvador who truly enchanted me. This confident, sociable little penguin must have been a joy to get to know. ‘The Penguin Lessons’ has left me with a lovely warm glow of optimism, there’s far more to be gained from these lessons than you would originally suspect.
The English Channel is the busiest waterway in the world. Ferries steam back and forth, trains thunder through the tunnel. The narrow sea has been crucial to our development and prosperity. It helps define our notion of Englishness, as an island people, a nation of seafarers. It is also our nearest, dearest playground where people have sought sun, sin and bracing breezes. Tom Fort takes us on a fascinating, discursive journey from east to west, to find out what this stretch of water means to us and what is so special about the English seaside, that edge between land and seawater. He dips his toe into Sandgate's waters, takes the air in Hastings and Bexhill, chews whelks in Brighton, builds a sandcastle in Sandbanks, sunbathes in sunny Sidmouth, catches prawns off the slipway at Salcombe and hunts a shark off Looe. Stories of smugglers and shipwreck robbers, of beachcombers and samphire gatherers, gold diggers and fossil hunters abound.
We have lived in villages a long time. The village was the first model for communal living. Towns came much later, then cities. Later still came suburbs, neighbourhoods, townships, communes, kibbutzes. But the village has endured. Across England, modernity creeps up to the boundaries of many, breaking the connection the village has with the land. With others, they can be as quiet as the graveyard as their housing is bought up by city 'weekenders', or commuters. The ideal chocolate box image many holidaying to our Sceptred Isle have in their minds eye may be true in some cases, but across the country the heartbeat of the real English village is still beating strongly - if you can find it. To this mission our intrepid historian and travel writer Tom Fort willingly gets on his trusty bicycle and covers the length and breadth of England to discover the essence of village life. His journeys will travel over six thousand years of communal existence for the peoples that eventually became the English.
The story of the record-breaking British expedition to the South Pole. This is written in diary form and builds tension while also reflecting on other madmen … sorry, adventurers. It’s gripping stuff.
We all love to travel. We all love escape. Granted, some are more adventurous than others, hankering to cross vast plains of unchartered territory, while the rest of us just want to find a nice hotel somewhere by a crystal blue sea. Whatever your level of wanderlust, there’s something here to inspire, inform and invade your senses. Follow in the footsteps of pioneers, heroes or trusted raconteurs; visit the real settings of favourite works of fiction (See our Reading on Location guide and read great novels set in the place you’re sitting in!); discover off the beaten track getaways; ponder the history of travel itself, laugh at anecdotes of the hapless. In short, by using our Book of the Month recommendations and taking a little stroll around the section, you can discover the world without leaving your fireside chair. Free your mind, they say, and the rest will follow.
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T.S. Elliot