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Non-Fiction Books of the Month

Looking to find out something more about the world we live in, instead of gallivanting off into the realm of fiction? Have a look at our hand-picked non-fiction choices.

June 2021 Featured Books

Sunshine Kitchen

Sunshine Kitchen

Author: Vanessa Bolosier Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Vanessa Bolosier’s Sunshine Kitchen is one of those rare kinds of cook books that can truly transform your cooking habits. It’s a life-filled, love-filled feast of recipes you’ll be proud to make and delighted to taste - recipes that are sure to become firm favourites. What’s more, it’s so beautifully-presented, you’ll want to give it pride of place on your shelves, or gift it to someone special - it’s a blast of sunshine in food (and book) form. Born in Guadeloupe, and half-Guadeloupian and half-Martiniquan, Bolosier brings a wealth of knowledge, passion and charm to the table. The book’s introduction is fabulously informative, explaining that Caribbean Creole food is a melting pot, “one of the first fusion foods, drawing influences from trading and cultural mixing since the 16th century. It reflects the diversity of the environment in which it developed - the land, the ocean, the climate - and also the diversity of the people on the islands.” These diverse people comprise the indigenous Amerindians who inhabited the region before Europeans came, Europeans, Africans and Asians. As for the recipes, the book covers drinks, starters, fish and seafood, meat and poultry, sides, soups, sauces, syrups and desserts. If you’ve never had the immense pleasure of drinking a planteur, dive straight to page 30 to find your new favourite cocktail (seriously - planteurs are paradise in a glass). Alongside recipes for classic Caribbean Creole meat and fish dishes (among them Creole fried fish, Creole cassoulet and pork ragout), there are some dazzlingly zingy, colourful salads and sides (pumpkin mash, coconut slaw), and inventive sweets (banana and rum fritters, wine pineapple). Without question, this is my new favourite cook book.

Star Books
Wild Nights Out

Wild Nights Out

Author: Chris Salisbury Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

Calling all outdoor adventurers who want to walk on the wild side by the light of the moon! While there’s no shortage of brilliant books to inspire and guide nature exploration in young adventurers, Chris Salisbury’s Wild Nights Out is the first nature guide to focus on night-time activities, which gives both the book and its activities a distinct and decidedly magical edge.   With a foreword by Chris Packham, this is a brilliant book for grown-ups to use with 7+-year-olds who share their passion for the great outdoors. The text addresses adults, as opposed to chattily speaking to children direct, but with a background in theatre and environmental education, and currently working as professional storyteller alongside directing the Call of the Wild Foundation programme for educators-in-training, the author is well-placed to advise on how to engage young explorers.   As for the activities, the book covers a blend of games, walks and sensory experiences, the latter of which form an excellent foundation from which to explore the world at night, with exercises designed to focus and enhance one’s sensory perceptions. Then there are practical activities covering the likes of learning to call for owls, detect bats and understand the night sky alongside immersive theatrical activities, such as hosting nocturnal animal performances and fireside storytelling. With black-and-white illustrations throughout and activities to last the entire summer holidays, this certainly shines an inspiring and informative light on night-time nature.     You can find more recommended adventure reads in our curation for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.    

The Enchanted Life

The Enchanted Life

Author: Sharon Blackie Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

A thought-provoking book that almost shakes thoughts loose and sets them free in a bid to reclaim the enchantment within ourselves and the natural world around us. There are concerning studies that suggest: “the brains of people in this generation might be developing differently because of their almost constant interaction with technology”. This book explores history and myth, other peoples musings and findings, through to Sharon’s own thoughts in order to offer us the tools to find the enchantment again, to relish and really live with it. Dr Sharon Blackie is an award winning writer and we are confirmed fans here at LoveReading. Sharon is our June Author in the Picture, editorial expert Joanne said If Women Rose Rooted creates: “a richly interesting perspective on other ways of living” and I simply adored the 13 bitingly beautiful stories in Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women. She is also a psychologist and mythologist, she understands our need to connect to the world around us. From the first few paragraphs The Enchanted Life really resonated with me, it made me stop and listen, it captured and thoroughly provoked my thoughts before setting me on the trail: “to live an enchanted life is to fall in love with the world all over again”. I read, I agreed, I believed, The Enchanted Life is a meaningful and truly lovely book that I can thoroughly recommend.

Star Books
 Black and Blue

Black and Blue

Author: Parm Sandhu Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/06/2021

Suffused in the author’s courage and lifelong commitment to justice, Parm Sandhu’s Black and Blue is a powerfully personal and pertinent account of her life through a thirty-year career in the Met - a distinguished career that saw Sandhu vilified and confronted with accusations of gross misconduct when she spoke out against discrimination. Told in an engaging, personable style, we are taken on the author’s extraordinary journey from her childhood in Birmingham as the daughter of Punjabi immigrants, to securing a position in the highest ranks of the Met. Forced into an abusive arranged marriage at the age of sixteen, Sandhu - remarkably - fled to London with her baby boy and joined the police, where she shone in multiple departments, from crime prevention, to the police corruption unit, to counter-terrorism. But, while rising through the ranks to become the most senior BAME woman in the Met, Sandhu witnessed and experienced countless incidences of racism and sexism.  Revealing much about police procedures, the pressures and dangers Sandhu faced on a daily basis, and prejudice within the force, this is, above all, a powerful, page-turning - and often shocking - story of courage. It’s essential reading for those interested in the state of policing Britain, and for readers who enjoy memoirs with inspirational bite.

eBooks of the Month

May 2021 Featured Books

Crossing the Line

Crossing the Line

Author: John Sutherland Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/05/2021

An incredibly thoughtful, eloquent, and revealing book about policing by John Sutherland. Not only is it absolutely fascinating, there are also a whole heap of lessons that can and should be learned within its pages. John spent 25 years with the Metropolitan Police, during that time working his way to Borough Commander, leading teams as they dealt with some of the most sad and incredibly damaging aspects facing our society. Now retired on medical grounds, John is a sought-after public speaker and commentator, he regularly speaks on TV and radio, and writes for major newspapers. I can highly recommend his first book, Blue: A Memoir, this new book goes a step further. John issues an invitation to walk with him and witness the scenes behind the blue and white cordon tape. He talks about ten issues we face in the modern world, from domestic violence through to terrorism. He still cares about and loves policing, he also has huge compassion, this, linked with his ability to see the reality of policing, means he can open our eyes. Accessible, considered, meaningful, shocking, inspiring… Crossing the Line has been chosen as LoveReading Star Book, Book of the Month, and a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month. It really is the most crucially important piece of writing for the whole of our society to absorb, all I can say is, read it! Read our Q&A with John Sutherland.

Star Books
Murder at Roaringwater

Murder at Roaringwater

Author: Nick Foster Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/05/2021

An intriguing and yet desperately sorrowful look at the unresolved case of Sophie Toscan du Plantier who was murdered outside of her holiday cottage in 1996. Due to the remote location in West Cork, this particularly violent killing has been described as a ‘locked room’ murder mystery. Nick Foster is a journalist and author, he began researching the story in 2014 and has spent six years: “living the story, inhabiting the puzzle”, and while the twists and turns are undoubtedly fascinating, he has a considerate and compassionate touch. This is an eye-opening account, within a short time the police had a suspect, Ian Bailey, however he was released without charge. Nick Foster became involved in the case when Bailey sued the Irish state, claiming: “the Irish police had engineered a massive stitch up”. We are privy to witness statements, police notes, and transcripts, plus of course Nick Foster’s own investigations as he got to know Bailey. I felt as though I was in the middle of the investigation with every aspect over the years since the murder covered, and the last chapter sent an icy shiver down my spine. Perfect for true crime fans, Murder at Roaringwater is a compelling and riveting story of a truly dreadful crime.

Books of the Month
The Witness

The Witness

Author: Nicola Tallant Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/05/2021

Emotionally powerful and provocative, this true story really packs a punch. At 18, Joey O’Callaghan was signed up to the Witness Protection Programme after he gave evidence in court that put away two violent drug bosses. Joey had been part of a drugs gang since he was 10, for his own safety after giving evidence he was given a new identity and relocated to England. Award winning journalist Nicola Tallant writes his tale, with his voice. A journalist for 20 years, she has: “broken countless crime exclusives, delved into the darkest corners of the underworld and come face to face with some of the most notorious gangland criminals”. She is called on for her expertise about organised crime to contribute to television and radio, and is an author of books about crime, cults, and murder. In other words, she really does know her stuff. She turns this true story over to Joey and allows us to see the grooming, the broken childhood, and the crimes as they take place with his eyes. We also see Joey’s life after he was given a new identity, and how that affected him. The before and after the court case are equally shocking, the writing is clear and open, and unfolds into what is a truly gobsmacking story. The Witness recognises what has gone wrong in society, yet it is the personal connection that really highlights the significance of this tale.

eBooks of the Month
Empire of Ants

Empire of Ants

Author: Olaf Fritsche, Susanne Foitzik Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/05/2021

What a fabulously readable and eye-opening book this is. With experts guiding your way, visit the amazing world of ants as they build, raise, grow, and hunt, raid and devour. I’ve always been enthralled by ants and have watched in fascination as they purposefully march their way through life. I’ve also wondered what happens to the lone lost explorer who ends up on your clothing potentially miles away from home, well I found out the answer to this and learned a whole host of other interesting facts in Empire of Ants. Yet this isn’t a data and statistic gala, the writing duo of Susanne Foitzik and Olaf Fritsche have ensured an engaging and absorbing read. One of the first things we are told is that: “If all the ants suddenly disappeared, terrestrial ecosystems across the word would be on their knees… Without ants, the natural world would suffer a long period of instability and would never look the same again”. They’re important then, these bustling ants who exist and create and invent, there’s plenty to learn as we are introduced to them by biologist Susanne. There are so many similarities with humans, and yet their structure could quite easily sit in the realms of fantasy. Empire of Ants is an intensely satisfying and entertaining read that opens up a whole new world.  

Books of the Month
Diary of a Young Naturalist

Diary of a Young Naturalist

Author: Dara McAnulty Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/04/2021

Diary of a Young Naturalist recounts a year in the life of an autistic and highly gifted 15 year old, struggling with school, bullies, moving house and fearing the decline of the natural world whilst rejoicing in it. Dara McAnulty is clearly an extraordinary person and a beautiful and mature writer. His descriptions of his adventures in nature are inspiring for children, but also sure to brighten the souls of many an adult too. The intensity with which nature presents itself to the author is overwhelming, and his ability to share this with the reader is enthralling. It’s a rollercoaster ride being in the head of this young man, but the book has the magic to open our eyes and ears to what beauty is around us each and every day - if only we looked!    McAnulty's knowledge of wildlife and nature is simply extraordinary. His autism is a burden but also a super-power, providing him with piercing insight to a world that simply cannot be ignored with all its truth, tragedy and hope pouring out of every hedgerow, pond and dry stone wall.   This is a diary which highlights our essential connection with the natural world, the landscape and our history embedded within it - but more importantly, it is also about our futures. Dara McAnulty is on a mission, and if the quality of this book is anything to go by, he will have a huge impact. For many children, this book will be the beginning of a wondrous journey. ~ Greg Hackett Greg Hackett is the Founder & Director of the London Mountain Film Festival

Debut Books of the Month
World Travel

World Travel

Author: Anthony Bourdain, Laurie Woolever Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/04/2021

Conceived a year before his tragic death as “an atlas of the world through his eyes”, Anthony’s Bourdain’s World Travel is a glorious testament to the unique wit and worldview of a chef, food writer and travel documentarian who was, above all else, a brilliant storyteller. Put together by his long-time assistant Laurie Woolever, with contributions from friends, family and colleagues in place of Tony being around to write some of the planned pieces himself, this is a travel guide like no other - unsurprising given that Bourdain was a character like no other. From Argentina to Vietnam, Australia to Uruguay, this A-Z travelogue includes information you’d expect to find in a conventional guidebook (how to get there, where to eat, where to stay) but beyond these basics, it dishes up Bourdain’s distinctly personal take on the many places he’s explored. His words are always incisive; always a brutal blend of raw candour and decadent description. There are thoughts on food, history and culture, sometimes contextualised by Tony’s companions, while at other times all it takes is a straight-talking, straight-from-the-horse’s-mouth quote from the man himself, like these words of caution for first-time tasters of Brazil’s potent dendê oil: “You know, it takes some getting used to. The first time I was here, you eat it, you shit like a mink for hours afterwards. But now, no problems! Lovin’ it.” There’s passionate political commentary too, notably when he talks about Cambodia (“Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands”) and Mozambique, a beautiful nation that has, to Tony’s anger, been “relentlessly screwed by history”. Honest, insightful and salty, this is a delicious antidote to formulaic travel writing; a rejuvenating blast of anti-blandness that stirs an urge to explore the world with even a soupçon of Bourdain’s fearless, flamboyant spirit.

Books of the Month
Those Who Can, Teach

Those Who Can, Teach

Author: Andria Zafirakou Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/04/2021

I was not too sure what to expect when picking up this book but having read the introduction and hearing the author speak on Woman’s Hour Radio 4, I was keen to start. It is an incredibly readable book. Not what I was expecting, a book to inspire teachers, but a book packed with the most fascinating, and often quite harrowing stories of her pupils at Alperton Community School.  She talks about the children in such an insightful way, telling the reader not just about their time in the classroom, but about their background and their families and the huge impact this has on their abilities and successes in school. The difficulties and challenges some of her pupils’ face are both memorable and moving. She conveys to the reader so clearly the effect that lack of language, cultural differences, cramped conditions and poverty can have on a child’s ability to learn. She looks at the whole person, beyond the bluff and bravado to the real child beneath. Her empathy with her pupils and the obvious passion for her subject really do shine through. I liked her honesty. She believes that she is ‘almost an imposter’ and there are far more worthy winners of the Global Teachers Prize, but reading the many examples she writes about, I feel she is underselling herself. She intersperses her account with insights into her own life, her upbringing and her adult life with her family.  The book teaches us all valuable life lessons: Never judging a child on first impression and the importance of mutual respect are two themes that run throughout the book. I thought initially, it was a book for teachers, but this is a book for anyone. I think on reading it, we will all wish that we had had a teacher such as her when we were at school.

True Genius: George Best

True Genius: George Best

Author: Wayne Barton Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/04/2021

Published to coincide with what would have been Best’s 75th birthday, Wayne Barton’s True Genius is a must-read for football fans. What sets this apart from other Best biographies is its introduction by the Best family, rare archive images, and the author’s exhaustive research, coupled with deep insights and an affectionate, amiable style. As befits its subject, True Genius is in a league of its own. “Our George was a funny, kind, shy and intelligent boy. Then he belonged to the world, and he came to be perceived as something quite different. Sometimes the perception was quite different to the truth.” So writes the Best family in the book’s moving, open-hearted introduction, setting the tone and approach for the entire book - an approach that sees the author present the full truth about George, beginning with his Belfast childhood, when he was the only boy in his class to pass the eleven-plus. With fascinating contributions from Best’s former team-mates, managers, family and friends, this is as comprehensive as it gets when it comes to understanding George’s on-the-pitch panache and off-the-pitch struggles. As the book reminds readers, George’s last wish was that people “remember me for the football”, and this book’s in-depth coverage of his exceptional talent certainly honours that wish, alongside providing a deeper understanding of the man behind the footballer.

Living Our Best Lives Cannon Hall Farm

Living Our Best Lives Cannon Hall Farm

Author: Nicholson Family Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2021

What an uplifting and joyous book this is, the blend of family warmth and hard work at Cannon Hall Farm makes for a fascinating read. You may have already heard about The Nicholson’s, or even feel as if you know them if you’ve watched them on Springtime on the Farm or This Week on the Farm on TV. Cannon Hall Farm is known as ‘the perfect family day in Yorkshire’, it’s an award-winning farm that has grown to become a true tourist attraction. At its heart though it’s still a family farm and its success is down to teamwork, tenacity through hard times, and enthusiasm for exploring new ideas. Author Nicole Carmichael has captured the story of this family and the farm from the beginning. I was enveloped in their love for animals, nature, and life in the country. I travelled through the years with the Nicholson’s and was there as the tearoom started and they diversified to become a full tourist attraction. I loved seeing the photos and hearing about the various animals at the farm, particularly how they are named! You also meet the current team and wider family members, plus focus on different aspects of the current farm, such as the farm shop. Living Our Best Lives is a celebration of farming, and more importantly family, it’s absolutely gorgeous and has been chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.   

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Structured Chaos The unusual life of a climber

Structured Chaos The unusual life of a climber

Author: Victor Saunders Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/03/2021

Structured Chaos is the latest volume of memoirs from one of the world’s leading mountaineers. While it contains accounts of Alpine and Himalayan exploits at least equal to any of those in its predecessors, this a more wide ranging and contemplative work. From an early childhood in colonial Malaysia via a bleak Scottish boarding school and a haphazard introduction to rock climbing in the Avon Gorge to the lofty heights of the Karakoram and the presidency of the Alpine Club (although of course he’s too modest to mention the latter), Saunders’s focus is very much on the personalities, friendships and occasional frictions experienced during the ‘unusual life of a climber’.   The descriptions of the rigours, terrors and elations of high altitude climbing are leavened by a thread of understated but appealing lunacy running through the book including a brutal boxing match in a terrifying East End pub with his friend and climbing partner Mick Fowler, and the establishment of the longest continuous traverse in the British Isles; the 33 pitches of vertical mud and crumbling sandstone that is Reasons to be Fearful, a project described at the time by his co-ascentionist Phil Thornhill as “probably the silliest route on the silliest cliff ever climbed”.   Ultimately, however, the lasting impression is of the author’s infectious enthusiasm for the landscapes and the people he encounters as he pursues the obscure ambitions of the exploratory mountaineer. The book opens and closes with a quote from Colin Kirkus; “Going to the right place, at the right time, with the right people is all that really matters. What one does is purely incidental”. Whether he’s working his passage as the “oily rag” in the engine room of a cargo ship or being blown, inside a tent, across a glacier by a huge avalanche, it’s this world view which makes Saunders book such an engaging read. Sam Huby, climbing enthusiast   Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021 - plus extra festival news!

Scottish Bothy Walks Scotland's 28 best bothy adventures

Scottish Bothy Walks Scotland's 28 best bothy adventures

Author: Geoff Allan Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2020

Bothy expert Geoff Allan, author of The Scottish Bothy Bible, has followed it up with a collection of his favourite walks which just happen to have a built-in Bothy stopover. Find out how to visit places you may never have otherwise known about, what to expect when you get there and the best routes to follow. The book includes Geoff’s own beautiful photographs which will further inspire you to give Bothying a go. ~ Greg Hackett   Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.  

April 2021 Featured Books

Cyberjutsu

Cyberjutsu

Author: Ben McCarty Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/04/2021

Written by Ben McCarty, technically reviewed by Ari Schloss and with a foreword by Malek Ben Salem, this is a thoroughly revised and polished book that uses the concept of ninjas to take the reader through the variety of different areas that you need to be aware of when it comes to cybersecurity. Using relatively recent translations of Ninja scrolls, information that for most of history has been kept hidden, ‘Cyberjutsu’ contains theories of how ninjas were so successful at being the elusive and deadly characters we know, and how this analogy can be used to allow the reader, “think like a hacker”, gain perspective and use a variety of different methods to improve and protect their programs, software or personal details from attack.  Although the intended audience for this book is security professionals, I found that the language used throughout and the use of the ninja analogies helped to translate concepts into scenarios I could visualise. With an easy to follow layout which is explained in the opening pages, this book takes you through teachings and philosophies from 400 year old ninja scrolls before going on to explain how these teaching can be connected to cyber security and finally what you can do to keep your organisation safe as well as a checklist of recommended security settings.  An interesting book full of useful information and recommendations that would be beneficial for anyone who has information online. 

Dalvi: Six Years in the Artic Tundra

Dalvi: Six Years in the Artic Tundra

Author: Laura Galloway Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2021

Always engaging and illuminating, Laura Galloway’s Dálvi is an uplifting ode to doing something different. A testament to how a person can flourish after fleeing the monotony of the  work, spend, socialise, show-off-on-social-media cycle of modern life to live by an entirely different kind of cycle - the kind that’s directed by nature’s shifting seasons in a unique environmental and cultural setting. Threaded with themes of flourishing through adversity, and finding home and love in unexpected places, this remarkable memoir is as stirring as it is gripping. The author’s journey began when a genetic test revealed that she shares DNA with the indigenous Sámi people of the Arctic tundra. Having endured a disastrous marriage, and growing increasingly dissatisfied with her life in NYC, Galloway ventures to the Norwegian town of Kautokeino, ostensibly to discover her roots, but in actuality discovering herself and her future way of life. Here, in this remote reindeer-herding region she meets and falls for a herder and decides to stay - even after he leaves her just six months later. With only very limited knowledge of the Sámi language, Galloway lives a largely solitary life with little money, and yet this life is so much better for her: “Now it is simple. There is no noise and no distraction. I have to be with myself, whatever that means, in the silence, listening to nature, being still.” In contrast, “When I left New York, I was exhausted – emotionally, financially and physically, as if I had been on a giant rat wheel.” Galloway is an amiable, amusing companion - never self-indulgent and always honest, not least when writing about her traumatic childhood (the death of her mother when she was only three, and the unrelenting vindictiveness of her father’s second wife). In time, little by little through her six years in the Arctic, she realises, “I’ve moved between two worlds.” And, at the heart of this transition, and a consequence of living in nature, her “endlessly fascinating companion”, is the realisation that “home is inside you and all around you.” Home whispers, “’I am here’, when you are most alone.”  What a joyous life-affirming read.

Star Books
Drawn Across Borders: True Stories of Migration

Drawn Across Borders: True Stories of Migration

Author: George Butler Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2021

Written and illustrated by award-winning artist and current affairs specialist George Butler, Drawn Across Borders is a unique empathy-inspiring portrayal of the affecting personal experiences of twelve migrants, covering countries as diverse as Tajikistan, Myanmar, Kenya, Syria and Palestine. It’s an honest, awe-inspiring tribute to the featured individuals, a testament to the strength of the human spirit, and a timely reminder that real people lie behind every news story on migrants. Real people with real (and varied) reasons for leaving places they once called home.   Butler frames the book with brilliant clarity: “People move around the world for many reasons. Some migration is voluntary; most is not.” The written portraits are deeply personal, framed by the author’s experiences on the frontlines of - for example - refugee camps, and based on his conversations with migrants. When combined with the accompanying painterly illustrations, they create a book that draws the heart and eye to a clutch of stories that should be known. The LoveReading LitFest invited George to the festival to talk about Drawn Across Borders.   You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see George in conversation with Paul Blezard and find out why everyone should read this book.   Check out a preview of the event here

Beach Explorer

Beach Explorer

Author: Heather Buttivant Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/2021

Beautifully presented, packed with puns, and shot-through with an environmental ethos, Heather Buttivant’s Beach Explorer is the perfect companion for days at the beach, with fifty activities and oceans of facts that are sure to inspire and astound children and adults alike. Highlights of the practical projects include finding fossils, starfish bums and mermaid purses (yes, you read that right!), and the step-by-step instructions for pressing seaweed and making your own plankton net. What’s more, alongside all the “how to make and find” activities, Beach Explorer is packed with facts that are sure to enliven even the most dedicated of beach bums, from finding out about the world’s largest poo (which, by the way, is the “bright-orange rancid-smelling poo” of the mighty blue whale), to discovering how fish camouflage themselves. The book ends with an excellent chapter on how to “Be a Wildlife Champion” that highlights how “humans are creating environmental problems”. Importantly, the author shares lots of ways young eco-minded explorers can help combat these problems through the likes of picking litter and planning climate-friendly beach trips.

Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb

Author: Michela Wrong Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2021

There are times when reading Do Not Disturb that you have to pinch yourself to remind you that, although a thriller, it is not made up: It is all real. All true.  The murders are of real people. The fear and paranoia of friends and families is real. They are living in the presence of real danger. Criticism of President Kagame of Rwanda, once the darling of the West, will do that. It will force you to go into hiding. It will make you a subject of oppressive surveillance.  In the case of Paul Rusesabagina, humanitarian hero of the film Hotel Rwanda, it will get you tricked onto a plane, drugged, renditioned, tortured and imprisoned. It can, and often will, get you killed. When the ubiquitous hotel door sign of the title is used to conceal the killing of a former member of Rwanda’s inner circle, the trails of evidence, methodically and minutely tracked by Wrong over many years and countless interviews, lead straight to Kagame.  As Wrong strips away the glossy window dressing from the so-called “Singapore of Africa,” she reveals a nation run by brutal thugs; a supposed economic miracle, dependant on western support, which suppresses the true scale of the hunger, poor health and fear of an uncountable number of its inhabitants. Long admired for her fearless reportage, Wrong has written a crisp, insightful - and importantly - honest, account of institutionalised, no… weaponised national lying. In doing so she has exposed an appalling truth: that Rwanda’s elite have manipulated global shame and compassion to run an entire country with mafia-like grip and murderous avarice, immorality and illegality. By laying bare the bones of a brutal, merciless dictator, driven by Imperial grade fear, greed and the insecurity of shallow ego, Wrong has documented despotism in all its appalling hideousness. We should care very deeply, as Rwanda is a member nation of the Commonwealth.

Geezers

Geezers

Author: Monica Lavers Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/03/2021

So good, I read it twice.  In recent years, television reality shows and documentaries have provided an insight into what it takes to become a badged member of our Special Air Service, the highly skilled and largely anonymous elite soldiers who stand at the very pinnacle of the UK’s armed services. Many, many books – non-fiction and fiction – have been written about the exploits of these soldiers. Some have been auto-biographical; most have described life at the sharp end – from the Iranian Embassy to Afghanistan – where the blades, as they are often called, pursue their dangerous profession. Following a traumatic departure from a corporate career, Monica began working at the SAS Headquarters as a kitchen hand. The blades – geezers as we discover they are now more often called – discovered someone they could talk to, someone who would listen, someone who cared. In the main, Geezers is a series of anecdotes; stories of conversations, of characters, of situations and challenges. At times it is tragic, at times it is very funny. Always, it is fascinating. Never before, has the public been given the opportunity to read a lay person’s account of what life away from the front line is like for these men – during selection, during training, in their down time and when they are at rest and play. What do you talk to your wife or partner about when so much of what you do is secret? What is it like to work away from home, cut off from friends and family for months at a time? How do men adjust from kicking down doors and fire-fights to playing with their children, mending a leaking tap or dealing with mounting household bills when they eventually return? The fact this is a book written by a civilian is key to the engaging quality of Geezers. Monica Lavers is observant, intelligent and articulate. She is not constrained by military training or doctrine. As a result, this book is really quite unique. Which explains why I read it twice. Because, at first, I was sceptical. By the time I was half-way through Geezers, I was hooked. And so, I went back and read it again. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Books of the Month
Greenery Journeying with the Spring from Southern Africa to the Arctic

Greenery Journeying with the Spring from Southern Africa to the Arctic

Author: Tim Dee Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/03/2021

Greenery recounts how Tim Dee tries to follow the season and its migratory birds, making remarkable journeys in the Sahara, the Straits of Gibraltar, Sicily, Britain, and finally by the shores of the Arctic Ocean in northern Scandinavia. On each adventure, he is in step with the very best days of the year - the time of song and nests and eggs, of buds and blossoms and leafing. 

Many Different Kinds of Love

Many Different Kinds of Love

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/03/2021

Many Different Kinds of Love has the subtitle ‘A story of life, death and the NHS’. This book is a thank you to the NHS healthcare professionals and helpers who looked after Michael Rosen when he caught Covid-19 last year. These weren’t just doctors and nurses, but also speech & language therapists and physios, all working out of their own comfort zone to help on the frontline. Michael Rosen can’t describe most of his ICU experience, as he spent 48 days in an induced coma. But this diary of his hospital stay uses a mixture of poems, drawings, diaries and letters from hospital staff, family and friends to provide an honest account of what it feels like to care for someone with severe Covid. Michael Rosen talks about not just how he felt physically during his recovery and rehab, but emotionally too – revealing his frailty and fragility. He shows warmth and gratitude for the people who saved his life, and anger towards those who deny the seriousness of the pandemic. This book is full of raw emotion – sad, honest and thought-provoking, but also uplifting, heartwarming and enlightening. A joy to read!

Audiobooks of the Month
Limitless

Limitless

Author: Mimi Anderson, Lucy Waterlow Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/03/2021

Following the exceptional running achievements recounted in Beyond Impossible, Mimi Anderson’s Limitless is a testament to the perseverance and adaptability of the human spirit (and body). Despite only taking up running at the age of 36 “because I wanted to have slimmer and more toned legs”, Mimi went on to become a record-breaking ultrarunner. Then, at the age of 55, she set herself a new huge challenge - to become the fastest woman to run across the USA, covering almost 3000 miles from LA to NYC. After running over 2000 miles battling tremendous pain, she wound up “groaning in agony every time my foot hit the ground”. Since carrying on meant she may never run again, Mimi was forced to curtail her American Dream. But while this journey was over, a whole new world opened up when she took up cycling and swimming. As Mimi counsels in her introduction, “If you want something you have never had, then you have to try something you have never done” - watch this space for her future achievements as a triathlete. Written in a chatty, energetic style, this isn’t only recommended for readers who are into running or extreme sports. It also has the broader appeal of being an honest, personal story about bouncing back and adapting in order to find fulfilment: “There will always be something else out there for you, even if you don’t find it right away. Keep looking.”   Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.  

Cartoonist, Robert Crumb said; “When I come up against the Real World, I just vacillate”. Well, he can happily vacillate here for a while. This section features a whole host of books covering subjects as diverse as Mankind’s place in the Universe (Human Universe by Brian Cox), the history of the human journey to work (Rush Hour by Iain Gateley) and the real business of reading books (Bookworms, Dogears and Squashy Big Armchairs by Heather Reyes). This is the ‘Human’ section in our book lovers’ journey.

If you love reading, then you’ll find something here to fascinate you. There are new and interest-piquing passages here from science, philosophy, politics, history, religion, and all of the things that occupy the lives of humans. And we mean ALL of them. The fight against Cancer, the fight for freedom, feminism, fatality, frailty and fame. It’s too big to list. Have a browse through the titles by using our monthly recommendations past and present. We guarantee you’ll be hooked in minutes!