Sink into medieval times (and glimpse other ages), explore new thoughts and become more aware of the women who are part of our history. Author Dr Janina Ramirez looks beyond and behind the obvious masculine influence and features the women who were as much a part of history. History is in its very nature manipulated by the tellers and even people who are yet to come. I love the introduction, where we start and why, it really does hit home. Although featuring females, this feels larger and more complete in scale, actually, perhaps it’s just that is is balanced, as it should be. The text is supported by artwork, ranging from photos, posters, paintings and maps, to drawings, mosaics, and plans. By the way the cover is beautiful and I exclaimed in pleasure when I met the picture further in and further on, it’s always fabulous when you are given enough information to want to explore beyond the book you are reading. Dr Janina Ramirez explains that this is just the start of the conversation, and at the end invites you to explore on your own. Joining my Liz Picks of the Month, Femina sparkles with what it achieves, a fresh voice and beautifully engaging ideas.
When Angela Kelly and The Queen are together, laughter echoes through the corridors of Buckingham Palace. Angela has worked with The Queen and walked the corridors of the Royal Household for twenty-eight years, initially as Her Majesty’s Senior Dresser and then latterly as Her Majesty’s Personal Advisor, Curator, Wardrobe and In-house Designer. As the first person in history to hold this title, she shares a uniquely close working relationship with The Queen. Her Majesty has personally given Angela her blessing to share their extraordinary bond with the world. Whether it’s preparing for a formal occasion or brightening Her Majesty’s day with a playful joke, Angela’s priority is to serve and support. Sharing never-before-seen photographs – many from Angela’s own private collection – and charming anecdotes of their time spent together, this revealing book provides memorable insights into what it’s like to work closely with The Queen, to curate her wardrobe and to discover a true and lasting connection along the way. This special edition of The Other Side of the Coin has been revised and updated to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, containing previously unseen chapters covering the Royal Household’s isolation during the pandemic, Angela’s own devotion to service to keep the monarch safe, and the light and laughter that was shared behind closed doors, even in the darkest moments.
The Sunday Times Bestseller David Hockney reflects upon life and art as he experiences lockdown in rural Normandy On turning eighty, David Hockney sought out rustic tranquility for the first time: a place to watch the sunset and the change of the seasons; a place to keep the madness of the world at bay. So when Covid-19 and lockdown struck, it made little difference to life at La Grande Cour, the centuries-old Normandy farmhouse where Hockney set up a studio a year before, in time to paint the arrival of spring. In fact, he relished the enforced isolation as an opportunity for even greater devotion to his art. Spring Cannot be Cancelled is an uplifting manifesto that affirms art's capacity to divert and inspire. It is based on a wealth of new conversations and correspondence between Hockney and the art critic Martin Gayford, his long-time friend and collaborator. Their exchanges are illustrated by a selection of Hockney's new, unpublished Normandy iPad drawings and paintings alongside works by van Gogh, Monet, Bruegel, and others. We see how Hockney is propelled ever forward by his infectious enthusiasms and sense of wonder. A lifelong contrarian, he has been in the public eye for sixty years yet remains entirely unconcerned by the view of critics or even history. He is utterly absorbed by his four acres of northern France and by the themes that have fascinated him for decades: light, colour, space, perception, water, trees. He has much to teach us, not only about how to see but about how to live.
An absolute wow of a book which offers and encourages new thoughts and feelings. I follow Stephen Ellcock on social media, he collates images and celebrates the beautiful, different, weird and wonderful and I often stop, pause, and ponder as I scroll. His first book All Good Things, was totally gorgeous, and a LoveReading Star Book. In The Book of Change Stephen states: “I am continually driven by an overwhelming, gnawing frustration at the injustices of the world and an intense desire for something better”. He goes on to explain that this book is a response to his lifelong feeling of alienation and dislocation, and the current situation we find ourselves in 2021. His introduction sings of his wish for justice, equality, and peace for all. He looks into the past, observes the present, and reaches out to the future, to information, mass media, and power, and he addresses the issues that are plaguing our planet. He offers seven sections, starting with Source, and ending with Hope, and boy, did the images contained within evoke my emotions. I found myself being drawn into each one, sometimes caught by the obvious, sometimes looking past and through into the hidden, the darkness, the suggestive heart. At times I felt uncomfortable, I was definitely challenged, and was left feeling that this book had taken on a life of its own within my thoughts and feelings. The Book of Change, so darkly beautiful and provocative, has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book.