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Each week our team of book lovers choose a selection of books they have loved and think deserve an extra shout out. Everyone fights to get theirs on the list. Here are this week’s faves…
Gorgeous, lovingly chosen Middle Eastern recipes which are not only delicious, they also feel accessible to a home cook. Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich own two restaurants and a deli, all within a short distance of each other in London. These are the recipes they cook at home, there’s a wonderful explanatory chat before each recipe which connects to thoughts and feelings, the food love is visible, and it is passed on with an abundance of warmth and generosity. The cover while warm and welcoming only hints at the delicious recipes contained within. The photos contained inside by Patricia Niven are quite glorious, eye-popping colours burst from the page with one or more photo for every dish. I love how the book is divided, you can either chose from selections such as ‘us two, for friends, for a crowd’ or the more traditional examples of ‘salads and sides, bakes, vegetarian, main meals, and more’. When I first opened the book and started reading the recipes, I was surprised out how many I wanted to actually try, normally one or two leap forth, here oodles of them called out to me. The mushroom scrambled eggs is a perfect example of a simple dish made special with just a few extra ingredients such as a cinnamon stick, it is soooo yummy… and although fairly simple, it’s not something I’d ever have considered doing without the recipe. I loved the cooking tips in Honey & Co at Home, all simply explained yet descriptive enough for me to follow easily. I sat staring at the baked goat cheese wrapped in walnut pastry with fig relish, my mouth is still watering, that’s definitely next on my cook list!
Wake up to the wonder of our countryside with this gorgeous book containing a nature poem for every day of the year. I adore this idea, in a world that is changing and becoming endangered in our lifetime, reading a poem a day about nature through the seasons helps to open our eyes to the importance of simple natural beauty and pleasures. The cover is a stunner, bold, simple colours catch the eye, the illustrations by Tatiana Boyko effectively highlight the introduction to each month contained within. The poems range from old to new, the poets from the well known such as William Blake, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, to those I hadn’t heard of, all of the poems connect with love to the natural world that surrounds us. Jane McMorland Hunter explains in her introduction that the poems are either in their entirety or reduced to an extract. The natural world is what is on show here, and an extract can, in essence, highlight the beauty of that with just a few simple lines such as Thomas Lovell Beddoes “A Lake Is a river curled and asleep like a snake”. Any extracts are explained, so you can easily search out the rest of the poem. A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year is going to sit on my bedside table, I can’t wait to open it up each day, to reaffirm and celebrate my love for nature.
Before A Christmas Carol there was... Miss Marley A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister `tomorrow will be better' and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price. And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart... In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill and hope - a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.
Taking in McCarthyism, personal and political distrust, constraints on women in mid-century America and fundamental moral questions around power and betrayal, this ambitious novel is as complex as its subject, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American physicist who co-created the atomic bomb. Hailed a hero for his role in developing the bomb, then denounced for his Communist Party connections, this discloses Oppenheimer’s contradictions through the perspectives of seven varied and compelling characters at different points in time. The secret service agent who trails Oppenheimer remarks that “another person is a mystery”, and this novel certainly bears that out with its positing of a fundamental question - can we ever truly know another person? Illuminating and thought-provoking, this is a fine work of historical fiction with intellectual bite and emotional resonance.
Margate 1920, The Great War is over but Britain is still to find peace and its spirit is not yet mended. The nation grieves, one soul, one person at a time.Edward and William have returned from the front as changed men. Together they have survived grotesque horrors and remain haunted by memories of comrades who did not come home. The summer season in Margate is a chance for them to rebuild their lives and reconcile the past.Evelyn and Catherine are young women ready to live life to the full. Their independence has been hard won and, with little knowledge of the cost of their freedom, they are ready to face new challenges side by side.Can they define their own future and open their hearts to the prospect of finding love? Will the summer of 1920 be a turning point for these new friends? As the body of the Unknown Warrior is returned, can the nation find a way forward?
Nothing has felt right since Elle rented out her house.... I'm in your house. There's a new coldness. A shift in the atmosphere. The prickling feeling that someone is watching her every move from the shadows. I'm in your head. Maybe it's all in Elle's mind? She's a writer - her imagination, after all, is her strength. And yet every threat seems personal. As if someone has discovered the secrets that keep her awake at night. And now I know your secret. As fear and paranoia close in, Elle's own home becomes a prison. Someone is unlocking her past - and she's given them the key.... Spine-tingling, chilling, and utterly compulsive, You Let Me In is the stunning new novel from Richard & Judy Book Club author Lucy Clarke.