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A small thought-provoking book that holds huge impact, I recommend opening your heart and mind and letting the stories in. Martin Shaw, author, mythologist, and wilderness guide, describes himself as a teacher of old stories and a guide into deep places, which resonates profoundly with the contents of this book. He invites us to step into three stories and register, in fact, properly absorb their meaning. If you have an interest in stories, if you currently look around you and feel that there is something missing in your world, then allow yourself to fall through the layers of the story and explore. He mentions that he’s always written for those at a crossroads, and that now he finds we’re all at one, Smoke Hole is his attempt to meet one infection with another: beauty. I found myself nodding in agreement, his words make sense as does the way he sees the world. I enjoyed the way he brought meaning to the stories, he encourages you burrow and hunt and search before then letting the stories sit in their own glory and be truly themselves. Smoke Hole is a wonder of a book, beautiful in itself, and in what it encourages you to find, to be. I absolutely adored it.
Honey & Co’s Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich have struck culinary gold in Chasing Smoke, a gorgeous grill-focussed cookery book that takes readers on a tasty tour of the authors’ favourite food locations - rural Jordan, Alexandria, southern Turkey, Israel, Thessaloniki - with all manner of dishes and eateries covered, from kerbside kebab joints to swanky grill houses. Organised by food type (fruit and veg; fish and seafood; birds; lamb and other meat; bread and unmissables), the recipes are wonderfully varied and easy-to-follow. Grilled peaches with almond tahini, chicken wings in spicy pomegranate molasses, classic Adana kebabs, herby cheese-filled griddle bread - from this small selection of recipes, it’s plain to see how beautiful banquets might be born from this book. With stunning photos of places and people alongside vibrant visuals of the delicious dishes and raw ingredients, plus lively accounts of the authors’ culinary journeys, this is so much more than a recipe book - it’s as much about exploration and friendship, and discovering the region’s culinary culture, though cooking remains at its heart, of course, supported by practical tips on techniques, such as how to start (and mellow) your fire, top tools of the trade, and to how to construct you own home-smoker. Bog-standard burger-and-banger-BBQs, your time is up!
In the bedazzling world of adventure sports, many would say (me included) that Anna McNuff burns the brightest. The title for her latest book, Bedtime Adventure Stories for Grown-Ups, may surprise many of her following who don’t regard Anna as especially grown-up and may also be surprised at the implication that she ever sleeps! There’s a laugh on every page of this compilation of some of the author’s "mini-adventures” over the years - although what’s mini for Anna might be mega for most... Close to home and abroad, on wheels and on foot, at all times of the day and night … Anna’s appetite for adventure is insatiable and her talent for wordplay and punchlines ensures that the stories are lively, colourful and likely to turn up your lust for living. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about these dreamy adventurous bedtime tales… is that they are actually, really, true. I mean, who climbs over their backyard gate to be sent all over Europe by the public egging her on with daily votes on where to head to next? Answer: This gal. ~ Greg Hackett You can hear Anna discussing her new book at the London Mountain Festival 2021 And find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021 - plus extra festival news!
Have you ever thought about what life would be like if you were to pursue everything your heart desired? 50 Ways To Cycle The World shares the stories of over 70 cyclists who did just that. Written by Belén Castello and Tristan Bogaard, the book features people from all over the world who packed their life into panniers and set off in search of adventure. What sets this community apart is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. With stunning photography and incredible journeys, this book will inspire you to slow the pace, protect the environment and live with purpose. ~ Harriet Osborne, Sidetracked Magazine You can hear Harriet interview Belén & Tristan at the London Mountain Film Festival, May 2021. And find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021 - plus extra festival news!
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.
A truly beautiful and stimulating book that can be devoured in one heady go or dipped into and adored. Meet and wonder over illuminated addresses, books, scrolls or certificates in celebration of events. Covering a hundred years, sitting mainly in Victorian times, each is its own masterpiece, the designs so colourful and intricate, they shine from the page. On display are 50 letters with a particular theme, from royalty, to civic duty, to clubs and societies. John P Wilson explains that the recipient could be wealthy or famous, or an ordinary person who had provided special service. He states these letters: “provide an opportunity to obtain an insight into someone’s life and achievements, and allow a brief historical opening into social history”. Each letter sits with an explanation, but the focus here is the beauty of the letter. In our current times, the art of the letter is all but forgotten, and these treasures appear to be almost jewell-like in their wonder and intensity. I have quite fallen in love with this book, it really speaks to me. Beauty in Letters is a wonderful insight into the past, and a stunning display of true creativity and artwork.
Thought-provoking, inspiring, and inclusive, this is a wonderful blend of nature and an examination of language, community and friendship. Journalist and writer Anita Sethi decided to hike the ‘backbone of Britain’ The Pennines after she was the victim of a vicious race-hate crime. Born in Manchester and holding a particular love for the natural world around us, in I Belong Here she reclaims her sense of belonging while being open and giving of herself and her thoughts. She walks through the land, often by herself, and explores her experiences and love for nature. Words dance in her hands, she shows how much language matters, looking at the various meanings of words, particularly with regards to nature and emotions, stating: “language can imprison or liberate”. She is so beautifully eloquent. I’ve always had a deep connection to the countryside, yet Anita’s words encouraged me to look again, to not just see the face of our natural surroundings but to look in more depth at our natural history and how it exists and connects us. And, that resonates deeply with her thoughts on the colour of skin: “it is exhausting to be pigeon-holed, people not seeing beyond skin colour”. While at times this is a challenging read as she experiences anger and despair, there is an awful lot of love to be found as she welcomes her surroundings and the people she meets along the way. Ultimately I felt a connection with Anita as she held out a hand and invited me to explore thoughts, feelings and nature alongside her. A LoveReading Star Book, I Belong Here is a truly beautiful and important read that I can wholeheartedly recommend.
White Blood explores the history and benefits of human milk, a natural food source that most people take for granted. Human milk nourishes babies from the moment they are born, providing them with all the nutrients they need for growth and development in their early months. Yet the debate on ‘breast versus bottle’ continues, especially in countries where breastfeeding rates continue to decline. Written by a paediatrician, nutritional scientist and gastroenterologist with an interest in history, White Blood is far more than just a reference book looking at how milk is made in the human body. Using research and quotes from leading physicians, historians and social historians, this fascinating book shows how human milk has been crucial to infant health, growth and survival over the centuries. It’s beautifully illustrated with pictures – colour artifacts, paintings and photographs – from ancient civilisations to the present day. This book explores the vital question of ‘why breastfeeding matters?’ and taught me a lot!
21 Breaths by Oliver James is a gorgeous little yellow hardback book. It’s excellent quality, inside and out. The first section of the book focuses on the benefits of breathing techniques. Oliver James relates the story of when he discovered breathing techniques could change his life, followed by simple explanations of how these can affect different parts of your body, and how they may help to change how you feel too. Then there’s a chapter with four simple tests to check how to assess whether you’re breathing correctly – it really did make me think about ‘how I breathe’ and how my breathing could be improved. In the main section of his book, Olive James describes breathing techniques to suit various physical and mental needs, including pain, constipation, sleep, confidence, anxiety, posture and stress. Each breathing technique is explained clearly, with simple tips to follow. The book contains beautiful black-and-white drawings of the author demonstrating each breathing exercise, and these really helped me to get my posture and positioning right. A fascinating book that’s easy to dip into or read all the way through – and it looks great too!
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.
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.
Discover secret coves, sandy beaches, blue grottoes and moorland pools with 28 magical days out. Combining stunning photography, engaging stories and natural history, with all the practical information you need - detailed directions, route maps, practical ideas and downloadable guides. Perfect for adventurers and family explorers alike.
Scottish Bothies can be found all over the Highlands & Islands, tucked away in some of the remotest corners of the country. Open to all and maintained by a charity, this network of shelters offers unglamorous accommodation to those who like to adventure in wild and lonely places. 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 Join Geoff on a virtual bothy tour at the London Mountain Film Festival 2021 And find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021 - plus extra festival news!
Are you avoiding gluten but yearn for fresh bread, all your favourite takeaways or a naan bread with your curry? And for your sweet tooth do you crave jam doughnuts, bakery-style cookies and classic cakes? How to Make Anything Gluten Free is the first cookbook that shows you how to unlock all the food you truly miss eating - but nothing tastes or looks "gluten-free". Becky Excell has spent years developing delicious dishes and sharing them with her followers on Instagram. She is here to show you that a gluten-free life can be exciting and easy, without having to miss out on your favourite foods ever again. Why restrict yourself to the obvious soups, salads and fruit? What you really want are the recipes that you think you can't eat! From proper chicken chow mein to pad thai, doughnuts to lemon drizzle cake, cheesecake to profiteroles, French baguettes to pizza, plus dairy-free, vegan, veggie and low FODMAP options, Becky gives you all the recipes you'll ever need with tips and advice on how to make absolutely anything gluten-free.
An interesting and immersive book about the undeveloped potential of mushrooms. If our relationship with nature interests you, if you believe that in order to thrive we should live in harmony with nature, then I can highly recommend reading In Search of Mycotopia. Doug Bierend is an American journalist who writes about science and technology, food, education, and how we can live in a sustainable world. Here he looks at the potential of fungi, and we meet a variety of people and ideas that could contribute to our working in harmony with nature. The author challenges the reader throughout this book, he questions our idea of expertise and asks us to look at fungi in a completely new way. The various chapters include a section at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London where it is clear that amateurs and experts have worked together throughout its history in the study of fungi. This is readable, inclusive, and the big messages that I kept hearing throughout this book, were about bringing people together and working together in order to gain a better relationship with nature. In Search of Mycotopia highlights the importance of fungi in an eloquent and engaging way.
Lucinda Gosling’s John Hassall: The Life and Art of the Poster King is an exquisite feast of vibrant visuals for anyone interested in art and design history. While exhaustive in its coverage and analysis of John Hassall, whose iconic posters and postcards are instantly - and widely - recognisable, its lively, accessible tone will also enthral interested laypeople. Born in 1868, John Hassall began his long, successful, influential career as an advertising artist after studying in Paris, where he was influenced by Czech design innovator, Alphonse Mucha. Hassall went on to found an art school and work across multiple disciplines, including pottery, toy-making, book illustration, fine art and commercial art, each of them bearing his distinctive bold style and wit. His impactful WWI and travel and transport posters are instantly recognisable, as are his striking ads for big brands like Colman’s Mustard and Nestlé. Many sketches, letters and diary excerpts are here published for the first time, and the standard of the reproductions do excellent justice to the striking quality of the art itself. Alongside learning about Hassall’s life, and enjoying the high-quality visuals, I was especially wowed by seeing some of his book illustrations for the first time, among them a stunning Art Nouveau Little Red Riding Hood, and his astonishing “Pantomime ABC”.
Written by Rebecca Bevan (Gardens Researcher for the National Trust, RHS Horticultural Adviser, and BBC Gardeners' World Researcher) in a spirit of wise accessibility, The National Trust School of Gardening strikes a brilliant balance between being a beautiful book to take inspiration from, and an unintimidating practical guide to designing and maintaining your own garden, with hundreds of colour photographs and clear step-by-step, how-to diagrams. Though the book showcases some of the grandest National Trust estates, among them Sissinghurst Castle and Packward House, the advice shared can be applied to more modest private gardens. Indeed, Bevan also refers to some of the Trust’s smaller cottage gardens as she unearths guidance on everything from borders, roses, lawns and meadows, to shrubs and trees, topiary and hedges, fruit and veg. The breadth of tips is impressively exhaustive, including, for example, how to choose the best lawnmower and greenhouse to suit your needs, how to create low-maintenance small-scale displays, and an excellent chapter devoted to sustainable gardening practices. As its charming cover states, The National Trust School of Gardening is indeed a treasure chest of gardening advice and inspiration - a book to give as a gift to green-fingered friends (or yourself).
Perhaps best known for her seminal WWII photojournalism, or her earlier life as a surrealist model and muse, or her sublimely striking solarised portraits, Lee Miller was also an exceptional fashion photographer, whose work illuminated the pages of British Vogue (Brogue) from 1939 to 1944. Featuring over 130 images, plus an excellent contextualisation essay by Ami Bouhassane, Miller’s granddaughter and Co-Director of the Lee Miller Archives, Lee Miller: Fashion in Wartime Britain is a breathtakingly beautiful, informative book - clearly a must-have for Lee devotees, and also essential for those interested in forties fashion and style. Since many of the images featured here haven’t been seen since they were shot in the 1940s (they came to light while being archived in 2020), this truly is a treasure chest to delight in. Miller’s editor at Brogue wrote of her in 1941 that “she has borne the whole weight of our studio production through the most difficult period in Brogue’s history” and this book is a glorious record and celebration of Lee’s contribution to the publication, with an essay by Robin Muir, contributing editor to British Vogue, furnishing readers with detail on this. The range of subjects, settings and fashion is a joy to behold, and fashion historian Amber Butchart’s essay offers fascinating insights into the era. There are classic Lee portraits of women wearing tailored suits, striking angled poses in stark light. There are women positioned by rubble, or going about their day-to-day business. There are staged studio shots of women in elegant eveningwear. And there are women (and the occasional man) in utilitarian outfits - “fashion factories”. All of them, of course, bear Miller’s inimitable panache, her way of seeing the world and its people. Simply stunning.
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.
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.
Recently re-issued in two new editions - this one a facsimile of an edition published for London Gallery Editions in 1939 - Roland Penrose’s The Road is Wider Than Long is a stunningly-packaged reproduction of his surrealist “Image Diary from the Balkans July-August 1938”. Given that this is considered to be one of the earliest examples of a British Surrealist photobook, it really is essential for the shelves of all art and photography aficionados. Moreover, it’s an absolute must-have for anyone interested in Lee Miller’s extraordinary life and work - she inspired its surrealist love poem text, and the book is dedicated to her. In 1938 author, curator and painter Penrose took a trip around the Balkans with his new lover, Lee Miller, the former model turned exceptional photographer. With the world on the brink of war, the couple travelled through Greece, Bulgaria and Romania documenting unique landscapes through the lens of their cameras - and Surrealism. The images provide intimate insights into Roma communities that were about to be disrupted (if not destroyed) by war, with profound power to make you ponder them at length. When their journey drew to an end, Lee returned to Cairo, and Roland to London, where he created The Road is Wider than Long. His original hand-written book (see here for a review of a stunning reproduction of this) was published by London Gallery Editions in June 1939, in a limited edition of 510 copies, ten of them on hand-made paper with an original drawing illuminated and signed by the author. And that’s what this book is - a reproduction of that beautiful first printing, with a cover designed by Hans Bellmer. The layout and typography are perfection, as is this book as a document of a personal trip that had profound resonance - both to Lee and Roland personally, and in its importance to Surrealist history.
Recently published in two new editions - this one a facsimile of the author’s original hand-written photo book - Roland Penrose’s The Road is Wider Than Long is a glorious reproduction of his surrealist “Image Diary from the Balkans July-August 1938”. Considered to be one of the earliest examples of a British Surrealist photobook, it’s essential for aficionados of photography and art, for anyone interested in the extraordinary life and work of Lee Miller, who inspired its love poem text, and to whom the book is dedicated. In 1938 author, curator and painter Penrose journeyed around the Balkans with his new lover, Lee Miller, the former model turned exceptional photographer. With the world on the brink of war, the couple documented unique landscapes and their inhabitants through the lens of their cameras - and Surrealism. The images provide intimate insights into communities that were about to be disrupted (if not destroyed) by war, with profound power to make you ponder them at length. Roma feature frequently, with Lee having become close to a particular community who gifted her a hand-embroidered ceremonial sheepskin coat. When their journey drew to an end, Lee returned to Cairo and Roland to London, where he created The Road is Wider Than Long. This edition of the book is a facsimile of his first hand-written copy, with its soulful surrealist love poem to Lee, and his records and memories of their trip. This book is so wonderfully produced, you feel it could be his actual first copy - the scratches and inconsistencies of ink on paper seem so real. It’s a beautiful reproduction of a document so vital to the Surrealist canon. See here for our review of the book’s alternate new edition - a facsimile of the version published for London Gallery Editions in 1939.
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.
Exhaustively researched, and stunningly presented with photographs, paintings and portraits, Anne Hall’s Angela Thirkell: A Writer’s Life is unquestionably essential reading for Thirkell enthusiasts, and also comes recommended for aficionados of literary history. After being immersed by this lively biography, I look forward to discovering Thirkell’s novels. As the granddaughter of Pre-Raphaelite painter and designer Edward Burne-Jones, goddaughter of J.M. Barrie, cousin to Rudyard Kipling, and having a grandmother who counted George Eliot among her friends, it’s perhaps little wonder that Angela Thirkell forged a creative life for herself. Born in Kensington in 1890, her childhood was cosmopolitan, with a family friend jokingly suggesting that he preface her memoir stating that she was “between the ages of four and nine the most terrifying female I have ever met.” In her youth, Thirkell was described as having formidable wit and breath-taking beauty, attending fancy dress balls in extravagant, enchanting costumes, and never suffering male fools gladly. While divorce brought scandal, it also - ultimately - brought Thirkell to writing, for it wasn’t until she married her second husband and moved with him to Australia that she began to write, initially for financial reasons. Some eleven years later, in 1929, Thirkell suddenly left her second husband and returned to England, where she went on to write more than thirty books, beginning with her Three Houses memoir and closely followed by her mischievously comic, bestselling Barsetshire novels, now published by Virago. Forensically detailed, with broader bigger-picture appeal, this is a fine biography.
I found it difficult to get my head round why someone who was personally acquainted with the members of a world renowned rock band would fictionalise their experience but in 'Lost Souls. A fictional journey through 50 years of Pink Floyd' this is exactly what Dutch music journalist, Edwin Ammerlaan has done. In the foreword to the book the author sets out his reasons for it, which seem to be mainly his need to find a new slant on the history after all the many biographies and autobiographies which had gone before but I still find it a disturbing and slightly dangerous concept. Made up events and dialogues and imaginary characters are surely out of place in a book celebrating a larger than life group and their music. However, that said, the book is a fascinating and moving read. Obviously written with love and passion for the subject matter, the author conveys this to the reader in spades. It left me eager to find out more,(especially just how much of it was actually true), to listen to their music and, above all, it left me wondering how I could have lived through those times and remained largely unmoved by their influence. My loss I guess but maybe one it's not too late to redress. I would recommend this book to anyone with any degree of interest in the music scene, whether they're Floyd fans or not. The author doesn't gloss over the cut-throat nature of the business, the difficulties caused by the group's personal dynamics nor the slow nature of the maturing of the creative process to a successful sound but these are all described with honesty and empathy. It's 'another brick in the wall' of Pink Floyd knowledge. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
Featuring 75 images (fifty of them full page), and an engrossing extended essay by Ami Bouhassane, Miller’s granddaughter and Co-Director of the Lee Miller Archives, Grim Glory: Lee Miller’s Britain at War is the perfect primer to Lee Miller’s inimitable coverage of Blitz-time Britain. For context, a book called Grim Glory: Pictures of Britain Under Fire was published in 1941, the British edition of a book originally intended for an American audience. Miller was the largest contributor to this, and the only credited photographer. Skipping back a few years, 1939 saw Miller move from Egypt to Britain, with a summer sojourn in France to catch up with surrealist friends. She and Roland Penrose arrived in Britain on the very day war was declared. Being American, she wasn’t allowed to undertake paid work, or to do any official war work, so she offered her services as a volunteer to British Vogue (Brogue). Her outstanding fashion shoots are showcased in the highly recommended Lee Miller – Fashion in Wartime Britain, while this book features images of Britain and Britons during the Blitz – bombed-out buildings, eerily empty fashionable London streets, shattered statues captured at disarmingly jaunty angles, female fire service and textile factory workers, with some wartime fashion, and much more besides. With notes on fifty-two images providing fascinating detail, variously on the likes of their subjects, historical references and composition, and a compact size that lends itself marvellously to extended, detailed appreciation of each image, this will surely inspire readers to delve deeper into Miller’s life and work (perhaps pair this with Surrealist Lee Miller).
Written and selected by Antony Penrose, Miller’s son and co-founder of the Lee Miller Archives, Surrealist Lee Miller is a stunning presentation of 100 of her most remarkable surrealism-suffused images. Presented in an elegant compact format and contextualised by an engaging extended essay, this really is the perfect gift for dedicated devotees of surrealism, and for photography lovers more broadly - Miller’s unique eye and style never fails to provoke thought and arouse new ways of seeing the world. In an essay that gives an excellent overview of Miller’s life and work, Penrose observes that “she unknowingly had been a surrealist at home in America before the movement had a name. Right from the beginning she chose to live her life to her own standards.” After experiencing a number of tragedies in childhood and young womanhood, Miller went to Paris in 1925. “Baby - I’m HOME!” she rejoiced on arrival, and here immersed herself in student life, with a chance encounter after almost being run over leading to her modelling for Vogue. Through Vogue’s chief photographer Miller met Man Ray and become his model, muse and student. Together they invented the inimitable solarisation technique. In Paris Miller attracted many admirers besides Ray, among them the artists Max Ernst and Paul Éluard, and writer and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. Later Picasso became enamoured with her, too. Miller’s portraits of many of these individuals appear in this book - we see a smitten Picasso gazing at Lee in his Paris studio; Paul Delvaux and René Magritte captured, dynamically, in Belgium; the artist Dora Maar (Picasso's Weeping Woman) pictured in sharply defiant profile. One of my favourite Miller photos is here too - a playful perspective portrait of Max Ernst as a jolly, paternal giant with a tiny thigh-high Dorothea Tanning waggling her fist aloft that serves as a perfect representation of surrealist mischievousness. There are iconic self-portraits too, including Miller pictured in Hitler’s bathtub, along with some of her most affecting shots of war atrocities. See also Grim Glory: Lee Miller’s Britain at War - taken together, these two books present a fine overview of Miller’s extraordinary body of work.
Featuring recipes from Raymond's ITV series - SIMPLY RAYMOND BLANC 'Of the many cookery books that I have written, this one has the most extraordinary story,' says Raymond Blanc. His long-held plan to write a simple cookbook - inspired by his mother, Maman Blanc - began months before the Covid pandemic hit. Suddenly everything changed, and Raymond, like the rest of the world, struggled to find a way through lockdown. At home, and isolated from his family - as well as his army of chefs at the world-renowned two-star Michelin restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons and his Brasserie Blanc restaurants - Raymond cooked and cooked. He opted for the simple dishes that evoked the happy memories, provided the connection to those he could not be with. He focused on recipes that were neither a challenge nor fussy. They required ingredients that were easily-available and needed only basic kitchen equipment. The result is Simply Raymond. It is a collection of his favourite home-cooked recipes - the dishes that mean the most to him; the ones that connect family and friends, and dishes that took him on stove-side travels to other parts of the world. Dish by dish, Simply Raymond presents an irresistible feast. This is cooking from the heart, and here you'll find must-make dishes to add to your weekly repertoire, as well as others for special occasions. There is also a profound poignancy to this book. Shortly before Raymond finished writing it, his mother sadly passed away. This book is a heartfelt tribute to her, created with passion and thoughtfulness. It is also a testament to the great pleasure derived from stepping into a kitchen, simply to cook simply for others. Something he has done all of his life. Recipes include: Cod Cassoulet with Chorizo and Mixed Beans A Quick Ratatouille Cauliflower and Red Lentil Dhal White Onion Soup Beetroot Salad with Hot Smoked Salmon Salade Nicoise Tartiflette Strawberry and Mascarpone Tart
Our March 2021 Book Club Recommendation Click here to see our Reading Group Questions. This is such a welcoming and warming read with community spirit, traditional craft, and the environment at its heart. Author Robert J Somerville was commissioned to build an elm barn by hand in Hertfordshire. Over the course of a year volunteers gathered together to help build the barn, and this is the story. There are so many positive elements to this read. A community of volunteers come together to: “teach, practice and celebrate skilled rural craftsmanship”. And while Dutch elm disease has decimated our Elm population, there is hope for the trees survival. As Robert Somerville says: “Elm is a species that suffered a major pandemic, but its incredible determination to survive prevails. Elm is proving itself to be a tree with an enduring life force, and, to my mind, is an appropriate icon for getting closer to nature, the resurgence in making things by hand and for bringing old skills back to life”. The book contains a myriad of interesting illustrations and photos as well as the story from concept to raising of the barn. At a time when community really matters, when our environment needs love and nurturing, Barn Club echoes with all that is good. It is a wonderful read that lightened my spirits and made me smile.
There are so many great things about this book, but perhaps the greatest is the way in which the authors have found the story in each walk. Kids love stories so what better way to get them into the car than with the promise of “The mystery of the four stones at Clent”, “Beaches and battles at Bamburgh” or “Giants and glaciers on Cadair Idris”? This collection of 100 walks is spread out across the country which make it the ideal staycation companion for families. Graded for difficulty, every page turned brings a new map, great photographs, a written overview and a new adventure! The secret to any good guide book is trust and having done quite a few of these walks I can vouch for their accuracy - but what surprised me is what I’d missed! Jen and Sim Benson know their walks but they also know kids. Brilliant! ~ Greg Hackett You can get some top tips for family ambles and adventures with Jen & Sim at the London Mountain Film Festival 2021 And find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021 - plus extra festival news!
This was a wonderful and uplifting story of a traveller who went to climb a mountain but found it changed his life, and the local people he met. Due to the trials and tribulations of mountaineering, which itself makes a fascinating read, Mike and his wife Chantal meet and befriend a Nepalese family. This meeting changes both families lives and the future of a girl called Karma, so aptly named. A very interesting read, with fascinating pictures. Maureen Gourlay, A LoveReading Ambassador
Stylish in form and content, this A-Z encyclopaedia of 200 classic cocktails serves up intriguing origin stories alongside inspiring recipes. Written and curated by London bar expert Cas Oh, whose impressive CV includes helming The Club at The Ivy, this gorgeously-produced book (think black-and-gold art deco elegance) represents the distillment of tens of thousands of cocktail recipes into 200 classics - nice work if you can get it! Chicly presented and organised A-Z, it covers everything from the Absinthe Frappé that originated in New Orleans in 1874, to the Espresso Martini of the 1980s, to the triple-rum Zombie of 1930s Hollywood. With the provenance and recipes of many cocktails keenly contested, this seeks to set the record straight, with beautiful reproductions of pages from recipe books of the past revealing the origins and evolution of each concoction. Alongside learning about well-known favourites like Margaritas, Mai Tais, Piña Coladas and Daiquiris, I loved discovering new bizarre brews, such as The Black Velvet, a blend of Guinness and champagne created to commemorate the death of Prince Albert in 1861. Designed to inspire and guide professional bartenders and home-mixers alike, CO-Specs will certainly add more than a dash of glamour to coffee tables. It’s a book to be dipped into, sipped and savoured, rather than downed in one. Joanne Owen, A LoveReading Ambassador
This most certainly isn’t just a fright-fest, it is an intelligent, interesting foray into the world of assassinations. Featuring over 100 cases from Julius Caesar to President Kennedy, we explore the victims and assassins themselves as well as failed assassinations. Just as a word of warning, this book is also full of photos relating to their history (including in some cases the dead victims). The chapters highlight geographic areas, before near the end, there is the eye-opening section on investigative journalists. The move through time from individual assassins to political and religious terrorists, and state sponsored killings is examined. British politician and author Kenneth Baker states that: “All assassins believe that by killing their target they will change the world”. He has personally known eight people who were assassinated, including two who were personal friends, and says: “their deaths did not change history”. He: “wanted to explore whether the assassination of other public figures had resulted in a poisoned chalice for the assassin”. On Assassinations is a quality book, and while this may sound somewhat macabre, it would actually make an excellent gift for those interested in exploring these savage moments of history.
Throughout 2020 and into 2021, unprecedented country-wide lockdowns have forced restaurants, cafés and bars across the UK to close their doors and turn off the lights. As Covid-19 has devastatingly swept through the country, we have all faced long queues at supermarkets and limited ingredients on the shelves forcing us to dig into the back of our cupboards for those emergency tins - and our favourite chefs were no exception. Within these pages, 54 leading chefs from around the country including Tom Kerridge, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and many more, have contributed two recipes they created during lockdown to help support a beloved and struggling industry. 100% of royalties from the sale of this book will go to Hospitality Action to help offer vital support to all who work within the hospitality industry in the UK. With over 100 recipes, from brunch to bakes and from veggie delights to meat feasts, recipes include: Tom Kerridge's fish finger sandwich (with added monster munch) Heston Blumenthal's ratatouille Michel Roux Jr's Lyonnaise onion soup Andrew Wong's Singapore noodles Selin Kiazim's halloumi and olive loaf Nathan Outlaw's ultimate fish and chips Richard Corrigan's fish pie Jamie Oliver's cornershop curry sauce with chicken Tommy Banks' glazed brisket with macaroni cheese Thomasina Miers' steak tacos Calum Franklin's ultimate piesolation pie Simon Rimmer's vegan banana toffee pudding Angela Hartnett's mum's apple tart Gordon Ramsay's lockdown banana bread and many more This isn't a regular cookbook. Instead, it's a cookbook dedicated to every chef, waiter, housekeeper and manager. Every concierge, receptionist and kitchen porter. Every sommelier, bartender, catering assistant and cook across the UK. Because this industry doesn't just feed us, they bring us together too, and this cookbook is our way of saying thank you until we can get back through their doors again.
If you're reading this, then we have something in common .... Whether it's a love of getting crafty, meticulously organising or making fun-shaped snacks! I find it hard to sit still, but losing myself in a craft project or tidying a drawer is my form of meditation. It's a chance for me to forget about the things going on in the world around me for a minute. I hope this book helps you to lose yourself for a moment, too - and that you enjoy reading it and even, maybe, having a go at some of the bits inside. Lots of Love, to the moon and back Stacey x
I was dying to read this book and it did not disappoint. It is an incredible story, beautifully told with humour and warmth and I could almost hear Michelle reading it to me as I flew through the pages. One of the most iconic women of our era, it was fascinating to read her story, and understand her journey from the South Side of Chicago to her time spent in The White House as First Lady. I didn’t know much about her background previously and hers is a powerful story of humble beginnings and outstanding achievements leading to Princeton University and Harvard Law, to her early career as a lawyer at the law firm Sidley Austin where she met Barack Obama. Her intelligence and grace shines from every page and I was enthralled as she took us on her journey with Barack from law to the Presidency and seeing the development of their relationship every step of the way. A captivating read. Deborah Maclaren, from our Best Autobiographies Ever Blog