Lifestyle, Hobbies and Leisure Books

December 2021 Featured Books

Isn't It Kind of Funny That?

Isn't It Kind of Funny That?

Author: Jerry Schaefer Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/12/2021

A thought-provoking look into how we live. ‘Isn't It Kind of Funny That?’ by Jerry Schaefer uses the title question as well as a range of other variations to explore the way humans live in order to questions the status quo and hopefully inspire a change. With quirky and entertaining images and graphics all asking “isn’t it funny/strange/mind boggling” that humans act the way we do/depend on what we do/ think of ourselves in a certain way, some of the most mundane things in our everyday lives are called into question. Each chapter focuses on one specific area of modern life, with the intention of making the reader think differently about their lives, or not think at all in some cases, in order to make ourselves more aligned with the universe. While posing hypothetical and grand views of a world changed, a world without cars for example, I think the main takeaway of this book is the inspiration and encouragement to lead more simplistic lives, to be less self-centred and involved in our own thoughts and more aware and considerate of the world around us. This is a quick-read and can offer motivation to look outwards, to others and the rest of the world instead of being wrapped up in your own thoughts as well as to be more mindful in our day to day lives.

Good Vibes, Good Life

Good Vibes, Good Life

Author: Vex King Format: Audiobook Release Date: 07/11/2020

Be the best version of you that YOU can be.   How can you learn to truly love yourself? How can you transform negative emotions into positive ones? Is it possible to find lasting happiness? In this book, Instagram guru Vex King answers all of these questions and more. Vex overcame adversity to become a source of hope for thousands of young people, and now draws from his personal experience and his intuitive wisdom to inspire you to: practise self-care, overcome toxic energy and prioritize your wellbeing cultivate positive lifestyle habits, including mindfulness and meditation change your beliefs to invite great opportunities into your life manifest your goals using tried-and-tested techniques overcome fear and flow with the Universe find your higher purpose and become a shining light for others In this book, Vex will show you that when you change the way you think, feel, speak and act, you begin to change the world.

Audiobooks of the Month

November 2021 Featured Books

Vanity Project

Vanity Project

Author: Dave Thomas Format: Hardback Release Date: 22/11/2021

A statement piece gift for lovers of fashion and the world of celebrity styling, Vanity Project tells the rags-to-glad-rags story of Dave Thomas, an erstwhile unemployed plumber whose hard graft and flair for styling saw him take the fashion world by storm. Featuring over 300 iconic photographs of notables from many fields across three decades - models, musicians, actors, sportspeople - this huge book celebrates the work of a pioneering stylist while also paying homage to the Prince’s Trust grant that enabled Thomas to get his stylish foot in the door, with 10% of the cover price being donated to the Trust, and a foreword by Prince Charles. The book also features original contributions from some of the celebrities Thomas has worked with over the years - Lionel Ritchie, Anna Friel, Boy George, and the Spice Girls, to name but a few - plus fascinating press cuttings, and intriguing insights into the impact of styling. 

When Harry Met Minnie

When Harry Met Minnie

Author: Martha Teichner Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/11/2021

You will know Martha’s name for her insightful and trustworthy reporting on the run up to the Iraq war, the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the life and death of Nelson Mandela and so much more, for CBS News and as a contributor on CBS Sunday Morning, in a journalistic career that has won her 10 Emmys and 5 James Beard Foundation Awards.  What you may not know is that Martha has been a committed, long term owner of Bull Terriers, the egg-headed, pointy-eared dogs that are full of playful, eccentric character and who, when they don’t want to go anywhere, lower their “leg at each corner” centre of gravity, like a Citroën DS, and firmly stay put. In this beautifully written memoir, at times both tear-inducingly heart-wrenching and profoundly heart-warning, Martha introduces us to the dogs that have kept her company and along the way recounts how adopting Harry, whose owner, Martha, had been diagnosed with a life shortening liver cancer, gave rise to extraordinary canine and human friendships. While Minnie and Harry are very much the lead characters, it is Martha herself who steals the show, with beautifully evoked scenes of her Leelanau County, Michigan childhood and her NYC adult home and life, revealing her to be the loyal and committed friend we would all like in our lives. From the endless, and eyewatering, vet bills, to dog au pairs, and from Manhattan farmer’s markets to South Carolina beaches, Martha tale of friendship and of death is actually a profound celebration of  the happy coincidences of fate and of lives lived with love and style, whether you have four legs or two. 

eBooks of the Month
Diddly Squat

Diddly Squat

Author: Jeremy Clarkson Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/11/2021

Pull on your wellies, grab your flat cap and join Jeremy Clarkson in this hilarious and fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the farm we're all obsessed with Welcome to Clarkson's farm. An idyllic spot offering picturesque views across the Cotswolds, bustling hedgerows and natural springs, it's the perfect plot of land for someone to delegate the actual, you know, farming to someone else while he galivants around the world in cars. Until one day, Jeremy decided he would do the farming itself. After all, how hard could it be? . . . Faced with suffocating red tape, biblical weather, local objections, a global pandemic and his own frankly staggering ignorance of how to 'do farming', Jeremy soon realises that turning the farm around is going to take more than splashing out on a massive tractor. Fortunately, there's help at hand from a large and (mostly) willing team, including girlfriend Lisa, Kaleb the Tractor Driver, Cheerful Charlie, Ellen the Shepherd and Gerald, his Head of Security and Dry Stone Waller. Between them, they enthusiastically cultivate crops, rear livestock and hens, keep bees, bottle spring water and open a farm shop. But profits remain elusive. And yet while the farm may be called Diddly Squat for good reason, Jeremy soon begins to understand that it's worth a whole lot more to him than pounds, shillings and pence . . .

My Vegan Year

My Vegan Year

Author: Niki Webster Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/11/2021

If you have a young vegan or would-be vegan in the family, this book is a must-have. It contains dozens of recipes for tasty year-round cooking and eating, from drinks and snacks to main courses and puddings, all proof that you can have a delicious and varied diet totally meat, dairy and egg-free. The recipes are easy to follow and accompanied by full colour photos but it’s more than just a cookbook. Niki Webster slips in tips and advice too on keeping healthy and ensuring that you get enough iron and vitamins and includes a really useful FAQ section at the end as well as shopping lists and seasonal food charts. Her tone is just right, friendly, practical but inspiring. Keep a copy in the kitchen!

Fred Karno - The Legend Behind the Laughter

Fred Karno - The Legend Behind the Laughter

Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/11/2021

‘Fred Karno - The Legend Behind the Laughter’ by David Crump looks back into the comedy archives to give us insight on a pioneer of physical sketch comedy. If you’re familiar with Stan Laurel, Laurel and Hardy or Charlie Chaplin then you’re familiar with just some of the students of Fred Karno. A complex but somewhat unknown man who was at the forefront of a whole new type of comedy in the early twentieth century, the king of slapstick and the initial creator of some of the finest comic silent film, ‘Fred Karno - The Legend Behind the Laughter’ highlights and celebrates the contribution that Karno made to comedy and popular culture, the ripples of which we still see today. This book is very well-structured, with extant sources and photographs throughout to tell us about Fred Karno’s career highlights and downfalls of one of the most famous men you’ve maybe never heard of. A tale of British and comedy history, one with plenty of ups and downs and lots of contrasting opinions and perspectives. I think the author has done well to collate all of these differing sources in order to tell the story of Fred Karno in the most authentic way possible. A great read for any history fan, silent film buff, and Karno fan.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
A Toast to the Old Stones

A Toast to the Old Stones

Author: Denzil Meyrick Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/11/2021

Featuring notable characters from the Kinloch fishing community of Denzil Meyrick's much-loved DCI Daley thrillers, A Toast to the Old Stones is an essential standalone story for fans of the series. With the seasonal setting and attractive hardback format making it a great gift to curl up with on Boxing Day, it’s also likely to entice new readers to discover the novels. Denzil Meyrick sure knows how to conjure details of character and place that keep readers invested in knowing what happens next, and those skills are very much on display in this atmospheric tale, alongside the author’s trademark humour. With the 12th January New Year celebrations approaching, the fishermen of Kinloch are readying themselves for their annual pilgrimage to the Auld Stones, with youngster Hamish over the moon to be invited to partake in the tradition, given that this honour is usually bestowed on the oldest fishermen. Then, as the new owners of Firdale Hotel create a stink by increasing their whiskey prices, with a plan to circumvent them all but ruined by a tip-off, the appearance of a “man from another realm, from another time” further adds to the intrigue.

Peeing is Relieving

Peeing is Relieving

Author: Robert Eddison Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/11/2021

Followers of Robert Eddison on social media (Twitter - @roberteddison1) will know that he is the undisputed master of the contemporary, pithy, one liner, with over 29,000 original aperçus on 150 different subjects to his name and tens of thousands of followers across his various platforms. In Peeing is Relieving he reveals a huge talent and endearing fascination for the quirks and power of language and also displays a playful, light hearted, world view that, while it occasionally toes the line of decency, never actually steps over it. There are chuckles aplenty  - and some rather lovely illustrations - in this compact volume, which will leave you pondering the more profound insights of some of the entries as you revel in the simple absurdity of others. In the introduction, by the Times’ diary editor, Patrick Kidd makes the point that “it takes real craft to express home truths in just a handful of words, especially when they are so funny,” and he is absolutely right. Rennison joins an illustrious band of writers and thinkers throughout history who have managed to marshal a love of language and wordplay and crystallise a skewed look at life in all its ridiculous glory. As Rennison says “The English language is not so rich that it has the mot juste for everything,” but as he ably demonstrates, in the hands of a master, it comes pretty darn close. He also says that “For most of us, the straight and narrow needs widening,” and Peeing is Relieving will certainly broaden your outlook.

This is the Canon

This is the Canon

Author: Joan Anim-Addo, Deirdre Osborne Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

Highlighting reads that encourage you to explore new beliefs, ideas, and opinions, this was an eye-opening read for me. Recommending a collection of 50 novellas and novels from around the world, with voices from all backgrounds and races, the reader is encouraged to rethink the novels that are considered the classics of literature. It is explained as: “an intervention that offers opportunities for readers to explore a broader reach of works than those that are perennially taught and examined, or promoted”. Prior to reading this I believed that I read far and wide, across genres, continents, and authors, and yet and yet, I’ve only read books by four of these authors. It really brought me up short and has made me rethink my reading lists. I know that some of my LoveReading reviewing colleagues have already read many of these books, but for me, the majority will be new. Joan Anim-Addo, Deidre Osborne, and Kadija Sesay are well respected and explain their thoughts, reasoning, and hold their arms wide in welcoming you to This is the Canon. Each of the 50 books is introduced and includes details of publishing, the author, and other recommended books. The Afterword encourages you, as a reader, to make a difference in the literary world, to make your voice heard. Sitting as a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, This is the Canon offers a huge opportunity to the reader, and one that I will be taking up.

Star Books
Mrs Hinch: Life in Lists

Mrs Hinch: Life in Lists

Author: Mrs Hinch Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

Filled with brand new lists to get you organised well beyond your cleaning cupboard, as well as all your favourite Hinch lists! Hi guys and welcome to my brand-new notebook of actual dreams: Life in Lists! I am so overwhelmed by the amount of love I receive about The Little Book of Lists. I get messages every day about how useful you find it! So now, I want to give you even more . . . In Life in Lists, you'll find brand new self-care lists to provide the ultimate you-time, including. . . - Gratitude Lists - Make Your Dreams Come True pages - Me Time Lists Not only that, Life in Lists also has all of your favourite Hinch Lists, Tadaas and Fresh'n Up Fridays, along with new Monthly and Seasonal Hinch Lists, making it the ultimate notebook for a more mindful, organised life! There is also a whole section of blank lists to help you organise your days your own way - whether that's shopping lists, meal planning, birthdays or important dates to remember, these pages are for you to use however you like. Whether you're in need of some relaxation or simply planning for the week ahead, these lists will allow to you to do a little bit of self-care, reflect back on all the amazing things in life and focus on your goals for the future. I really hope you guys enjoy Life in Lists as much as I've loved putting it together for you! Lots of Love Always, Soph xx 

Celebrating the Seasons with the Yorkshire Shepherdess

Celebrating the Seasons with the Yorkshire Shepherdess

Author: Amanda Owen Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

A stunning book from Amanda Owen - shepherdess, wife, mother of nine children, bestselling author and star of C5's Our Yorkshire Farm - that brings her world to life in glorious colour. In Celebrating the Seasons, Amanda shares funny and charming stories about life with her family and their many four-legged charges and describes their activities at Ravenseat, from lambing and shearing to haymaking and feeding the flock in midwinter. Her gorgeous photographs showcase the famous Swaledale landscape she writes about, from the sweeping moors to rare wildflowers and the elusive hares glimpsed in the field. She lives in tune with nature and Amanda's attitude to food is the same. She believes in buying good, seasonal ingredients when it comes to feeding her family and includes her favourite recipes here, from wild garlic lamb with hasselback roast potatoes to rhubarb and custard crumble cake and Yorkshire curd tart. As inspirational as Amanda herself, this book is a beautiful keepsake that will delight everyone who has followed her adventures so far.

Rise

Rise

Author: Maliha Abidi Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/10/2021

Relating the remarkable stories of 100 extraordinary women of colour, Maliha Abidi’s Rise is an inspirational, informative showstopper of an anthology. Global in scope and engagingly lively in style, it’s a powerful and beautifully curated testament to trailblazing women of colour from all walks of life, from all fields of endeavour (literature, science, engineering, business, banking, mathematics, politics, law, medicine, human rights activism, sport, art, music, dance), from all corners of the world. What a glorious gift this is to treasure - and draw inspiration from - for a lifetime. Featuring women from over 40 countries, these are pioneers who’ve risen above multiple challenges to have huge impact on the world, whether in the public eye, or behind the scenes. While the book includes seminal icons who are household names (among them Beyonce, Frida Kahlo, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Rosa Parks and Serena Williams), Rise also highlights lesser-known names whose work has had huge impact on our world. Like the women themselves, Maliha Abidi’s writing style is engaging and keenly focussed, and her striking portraits of each innovator are an exuberant, life-filled joy.

Star Books
The Book of Change

The Book of Change

Author: Stephen Ellcock Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/10/2021

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. 

Star Books
Sandor Katz's Fermentation Journeys

Sandor Katz's Fermentation Journeys

Author: Sandor Katz Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

Fermentation Journeys of the World is a cookbook which advocates fermented food not only as a sustainable source of tasty dishes but as a means to explore the world from your kitchen. The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed on the 9th August - a coincidence that did not go unnoticed by the International Panel for Climate Change on the day it released its starkest report yet. The IPCC acknowledged that indigenous knowledge of food processes could help us tackle the crisis. So what are fermented foods? Most people would probably not get past alcoholic beverages when thinking of fermentation but Sandor Katz delivers recipes in every department. Vegetables, meat and fish are all in there, but so are beans and seeds, mold cultures and milk. Dishes such as Mexican-Inspired Kimchi, Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake and Koji may sound experimental and edgy but they are in fact very easy to put together. Some recipes take as little as thirty minutes, but in other cases the food can take weeks to ferment before it is ready. I love this simplicity - allowing time and nature to do its thing, producing these wonderful and rich flavours from across the globe where they have been at the core of culinary practice for centuries, if not millennia. Fermentation Journeys is a return to the roots of cooking and a brilliant guide for adventurous foodies ready to join the fermentation revolution!

Annabel Karmel's Fun, Fast and Easy Children's Cookbook

Annabel Karmel's Fun, Fast and Easy Children's Cookbook

Author: Annabel Karmel Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/10/2021

Young chefs get an excellent introduction to culinary skills with Annabel Karmel's Fun, Fast & Easy Cookbook. The recipes have been designed for children and grown-ups to cook together and are divided into Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks & Treats,  with easy-to-follow steps, tempting photos and cooking tips. The recipes are a lovely mix of both healthy dishes, with fresh fruit and vegetables added in creative and appealing ways, and twists on old favourites such as sunshine paella, vroom vroom bolognese and pesto pizzas. Amongst the recipes there are informative double-spreads on essential food groups and nutrition plus useful rules to keep kids safe in the kitchen. There are also ideas for cooking for those with food allergies and dietary requirements, with suggestions of simple ingredient-swaps to turn the recipe into a vegetarian or vegan meal. This sturdy, colourful hardback makes a great gift, giving hours of entertainment and teaching an essential skill in a fun way. 

Daily Affirmations for a Happier You

Daily Affirmations for a Happier You

Author: Michelle Lee Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/09/2021

‘Daily Affirmations for a Happier You’ by Michelle Lee is a direct and practical guide to incorporating positive  affirmations into your daily life. The author manages to collate her own personal story, the ways in which positive affirmations and positive thinking can have an impact on your life, how to incorporate affirmations into your day-to-day routine and lists of examples that can be tailored to suit the individual all in less than 100 pages. I would say this book is a concentrated shot of positivity and I think that everyone would be able to take something from it. This book is a reminder that everything you say to yourself, about yourself, has an impact and it’s important to be kind to ourselves. The author also touches on how having a more positive mental attitude can also lead to greater chances of success, as demonstrated through her affirmation journey. ‘Daily Affirmations for a Happier You’ is accessible and a great place to start if you’re looking for simple ways to incorporate more positivity into your life.

Indie Books We Love
Life Lessons From the Amazon

Life Lessons From the Amazon

Author: Pip Stewart Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/09/2021

Pip Stewart’s Life Lessons from the Amazon is two books in one. Firstly, it’s a graphic account of an expedition down Guyana’s perilous Essequibo River - a source to sea adventure brimming with danger and beauty in equal measure. Secondly it’s a thoughtful reflection on that journey that provides insights and learnings which might be usefully applied to 'normal life'. As the team makes its way down the river each chapter highlights a different emotion, behaviour or human attribute which is then given the jungle treatment as Pip recounts an occasion from her Amazonian experience where it surfaced. Appreciation, Growth, Conflict, Connection.. and many more such themes enjoy an adventurer's analysis leading to the very last chapter, ambitiously titled Death and Life … in which a flesh-eating parasite nibbles its way into the story. For Pip Stewart, this extraordinary adventure was life-changing and some of the hard-earned wisdom she shares within Life Lessons from the Amazon might just change the lives of others.

Together

Together

Author: Jamie Oliver Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2021

Dedicated to the NHS and key workers for looking after us and keeping the nation going, enabling us to get back together, Oliver’s latest book and the 25th in his collection  is a triumph of togetherness. Being together is precious and after all of our recent time apart, this book is a celebration of that and the joy of good food. Every chapter starts with a little menu card for each meal, for easy sharing with your diners. This is a stress-free step-by-step guide to entertaining, no matter what the occasion. From a laid back feast to a sunny gathering, cosy indulgence or celebration roast, this book has it all. And my favourite bit is the recipe methods which help you get super organised the day before your event, thus maximising your precious time with your guests. Every single recipe has a glorious full colour photograph and Oliver’s nutrition team has been busy with a whole nutrition section which features easy-to-read nutrition information on every dish. Mouth watering, I’m already popping get-togethers in the diary so I can test these recipes out. And recreate some of the stunning table settings and beautiful images peppering the book. And let’s not forget the cocktail section to help you enrich any gathering you throw. Coffee negroni, yum. Jammy margarita, yes please. I’m off to test a few out…

Himalaya

Himalaya

Author: Ed Douglas Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/07/2021

The mountains of the Himalaya, prised up by tectonic plates, emerged from the ocean ahead of any other land mass on our planet and are therefore not only the highest, but also the oldest in the world. No wonder then that the human stories to subsequently be written upon this landscape should be so unique, so extraordinary and so often full of remarkable bravery and endeavour. Ed Douglas, the author of Himalaya: A Human History has entwined these stories together in what will surely come to be regarded as the definitive account of this region. It is certainly difficult to see how it might be improved. The book is dense, detailed and written with wit, wisdom and deep knowledge undoubtedly acquired to large extent through the author’s years editing the Alpine Journal. A mountaineer as well as an exceptional journalist, Douglas brings together tales of cultures, trading, adventures, myths, arts, religions.. but also sciences such as geology, genetics and botany, which all feature in the tapestry of the Himalaya. This writer has mastered the art of opening a chapter with a modern day scenario or incident - often outside Asia - only to skilfully escort you back through time in order to find its roots in the region. His eye for connectivity, for threading history, is what allows the reader to relate to such a distant and perhaps alien place that has nevertheless across the centuries embedded itself in all our minds on the strength of its majesty and mystery. At the centre of the Himalaya is of course Nepal, and above it the Tibetan plateau, which together separate China from India. This fragile geo-political position, combined with the challenges provided by altitude, are what makes the future of the area such a concern and the consequences of climate change will fall heavily here, and indeed already are. Himalaya: A Human History is an impressive work and an epic love letter to an unequalled place which deserves to feel the embrace of the whole world.

Rhymes and Reason (Pandemic Polemic and Prose)

Rhymes and Reason (Pandemic Polemic and Prose)

Author: Alan McDonald Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2021

An interesting way to record the events of March 2020 to March 2021, ‘Rhymes and Reason (Pandemic Polemic and Prose)’ by Alan McDonald provides a diary of limericks covering a lot of the key events and talking points during a year like no other. The bounce in the limerick style and the overall brevity of each poem means each subject is handled in a way that’s quite light, you’ll find no in depth or balanced political arguments here. ‘Rhymes and Reason’ is a personal record that will serve as a reminder, for those that want it, of most of what transpired throughout 2020. There is humour and satire within the text and each poem is introduced with a brief sentence or paragraph about the events unfolding. I think that this is a creative way to document the year and found it to be a light-hearted reminder of just how much has happened in the last year. I found each limerick well written and each introduction sufficient to set the scene without detracting from the main feature of the diary. A unique diary that I’m sure will inspire those who pick it up to reflect and remember their own experiences. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

October 2021 Featured Books

Robinson Crusoe A Robert Ingpen Illustrated Classic

Robinson Crusoe A Robert Ingpen Illustrated Classic

Author: Daniel Defoe Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

Michael Morpugo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom is just one of the very many stories for adults and children alike that have been inspired by Daniel Defoe’s classic shipwreck story. Written over 300 years ago, the story of Robinson Crusoe, an impulsive young man who runs away to sea against the best efforts of his parents to stop him, is packed full of gripping action as Crusoe survives the worst the elements throw  at him before he is shipwrecked on an apparently uninhabited island. The story of Crusoe’s life on an island is a lyrical study of a place as well as an inspiring story of one man’s resourcefulness. In this adapted edition award-winning illustrator Robert Inkpen’s illustrations bring Daniel Defoe’s classic story to life in timeless images. 

Gulliver's Travels A Robert Ingpen Illustrated Classic

Gulliver's Travels A Robert Ingpen Illustrated Classic

Author: Jonathan Swift Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

When ship’s surgeon Gulliver sets off across the seas in search of adventure he has little idea what he will find. His two greatest discoveries are the countries of Lilliput and Brobdingnag.  In Lilliput he finds a population of tiny people to whom he appears as a giant while in Brobdingnag the roles are reversed: Gulliver is tiny and Brobdingnags are giants.  Swift uses Gulliver’s descriptions of his experiences in these contrasting countries to write a satirical commentary on his own society. His use of Gulliver’s altered relative size gives great scope for studying everyday events in a new way and makes a fine vantage point for telling the contrasting stories. Gulliver is an iconic figure in literature. Read aloud, this abridged edition with is impressionistic yet detailed illustrations by Robert Ingpen will make an excellent way to introduce the story about him to young readers.

Books of the Month
Gennaro's Limoni

Gennaro's Limoni

Author: Gennaro Contaldo Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

“Lemons are precious to me; a symbol of my beloved homeland, they stir up fond memories of my childhood as well as having a wealth of uses. They cleanse, refresh, preserve and are an absolute essential in the home.” So explains celebrated, amiable Gennaro Contaldo in his introduction, setting the vibrant, sunshine-infused tone that streams through this splendid book. After sharing the specific delights of the Amalfi lemon he grew up with, locally known as the Sfusato Amalfitano (“it’s like no other: a huge, elongated-in-shape, knobbly, thick-skinned citrus fruit, but oh-so wonderfully sweet and aromatic”), Contaldo takes us through dozens of inspiring recipes, all accompanied by stunning photography. With chapters covering Small Plates, Vegetables, Fish, Meat, Desserts, Drinks and Preserves, and Sauces and Dressings, it’s as comprehensive as it is refreshing and practical, with no part of the lemon left unused. For example, Contaldo adds a sliver of zest to his breakfast espresso, while lemon pith and skin can be chopped into salads to add extra zing. From a lemon-infused pizza topped with sausage, mozzarella and rocket, to traditional antipasto dishes like scamorza cheese wrapped in lemon leaves, the recipes are truly refreshing. Then there’s the delights of limoncello spritz, and chocolate and lemon truffle. Passionate, personal and practical, this joyous book will delight a huge spectrum of home cooks.

eBooks of the Month
Sugar, I Love You Knockout recipes to celebrate the sweeter things in life

Sugar, I Love You Knockout recipes to celebrate the sweeter things in life

Author: Ravneet Gill Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

Infused with an infectious, unadulterated, no-guilt passion for the sweet stuff, Ravneet Gill’s Sugar, I Love You is ideal for anyone who wants to take their baking to the next level. What’s more, it’s easy-to-follow, with Gill’s demystifying, straight-talking, witty approach as central to the book as her love of sugar. It also bursts with photos that are every bit as vibrant as the recipes (and their author, for that matter). Covering Biscuits, Cakes, Cheesecakes, Sweet Doughs, Fried Delights, Entrements, Ice creams and Plated Desserts, each chapter of Sugar, I Love You is threaded with a fabulous international outlook, with mouth-watering recipes for the likes of Japanese cheesecake, Danish Brunsviger cake, and ricotta bombolini served alongside inventive twists on British classics, including Devonshire splits and a self-saucing toffee apple pudding. This is the kind of cookbook that will invigorate and inspire even the most seasoned of bakers.

The Library

The Library

Author: Arthur der Weduwen, Andrew Pettegree Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

A fascinating in-depth history of the library, this book weaves its way through time and is overflowing with tidbits and facts. The Library calls itself a: “fragile history”, and as beleaguered as our public libraries are today, you can see their past suffering too. This isn’t a light and breezy offering, it is serious, and seriously epic in its scope. I took my time, and soaked up the information, from learning about the gathering of baked clay tablets in Mesopotamia, how Popes, Kings, and Monasteries affected Libraries, the arrival of vertical shelving rather than trunks, all the way through and past the Second World War. I have always supported the idea of the library, but never before really thought about how they came into being, how books are selected, the discrimination and censorship that has taken place. Libraries should be a safe welcoming place for everyone, but that of course depends on a huge range of factors, all of which are detailed here. Arthur der Weduwen and Andrew Pettegree have spent time in over 300 libraries and archives, their acknowledgements and research material is listed. If you are interested in a detailed thought-provoking look into the history of the library, then The Library will answer your call. Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Lockdown Secrets

Lockdown Secrets

Author: Eleanor Tattersfield Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/10/2021

Shifting from shocking confessions, to relatable emotions and experiences, Eleanor Tattersfield’s Lockdown Secrets is an ingenious concept of a book that will make an entertaining and elegant gift. It all began back in the dark days of a long COVID lockdown, when designer Eleanor Tattersfield heard a podcast about a 1980s answering machine confession line, leading her to “wonder what might happen if people had a similar opportunity at this strangest of times to document their own lockdown confessions.” Somewhat fortuitously, later that day, Eleanor found a box of unused postcards from the 1930s - “It felt like fate. I rushed upstairs, set up the type LOCKDOWN SECRETS and the shop’s address, and printed away.”  Following an Instagram shout-out - “I'll send you a postcard, you send me a secret” - replies flooded in, a selection of which are reproduced in this gorgeous book. Many of the cards are resplendent with illustrations, elaborate typography, clever collages, and intriguing handwriting, and all of them capture the shared experience of lockdown in all its complex strangeness. Indeed, the author noted a number of recurring themes - “food fetishes, masturbation, loneliness, breaking the rules, sex, love and, surprisingly, the love of lockdown.”  Honest and enlightening, what an extraordinarily unique document of such extraordinary times this book is.

On Gallows Down

On Gallows Down

Author: Nicola Chester Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/10/2021

Passionate and poetically compelling, Nicola Chester’s On Gallows Down is a rich and rewarding must-read for nature-lovers, and for readers who adored H is for Hawk.  Charting a life lived in - and through - rural landscapes, Chester writes with a painterly eye. Her descriptions of nature and wildlife are staggeringly evocative - sensory, but never overblown or sentimental. Rather, her style has an elegant, measured beauty as she tells a personal story of protest and resistance, of a profound connection to the earth and nature, to offer a story of hope and connectedness in fractured times. Chester shares her experiences during the days of the Greenham Common protests, her experiences as a new mother rearing her children in the ways and words of nature, and her journey to protesting environmental destruction, a journey she’s still consummately committed to. Birds, especially, play a vital and beautiful role in the book, as they do in the author’s life - their migratory cycles, their movement and influence, her fights to combat the destruction of habitats. Moving, stirring, stuff.

Taste

Taste

Author: Stanley Tucci Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/10/2021

From award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen. Before Stanley Tucci became a household name with The Devil Wears Prada, The Hunger Games, and the perfect Negroni, he grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the table. He shared the magic of those meals with us in The Tucci Cookbook and The Tucci Table, and now he takes us beyond the recipes and into the stories behind them. Taste is a reflection on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about growing up in Westchester, New York, preparing for and filming the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia, falling in love over dinner, and teaming up with his wife to create conversation-starting meals for their children. Each morsel of this gastronomic journey through good times and bad, five-star meals and burnt dishes, is as heartfelt and delicious as the last. Written with Stanley's signature wry humour and nostalgia, Taste is a heartwarming read that will be irresistible for anyone who knows the power of a home-cooked meal.

A Greek Island Nature Diary

A Greek Island Nature Diary

Author: Jani Tully Chaplin Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/10/2021

Written and illustrated by designer Jani Tully Chaplin, A Greek Island Nature Diary is a joyous journal-format ode to its creator’s love of the islands, as expressed through her detailed watercolours and personal observations of nature and the shifting seasons. Having lived in Corfu, the author’s immersion in - and love for - this alluringly beautiful part of the world is infectious. Through spreads dedicated to different species of plant, flower, tree and animal, she shares her personal encounters with these natural wonders, alongside fascinating information about connected mythology, folklore, medicinal uses, and literature. Take the evocatively-named snake’s head iris, for example. Chaplin blissfully describes encountering these beauties in the undergrowth near her ancient olive trees, before sharing the flower’s connections to Iris, goddess of the rainbow and messenger to the gods. Published in an attractive hardback format, and resplendent with the author’s pencil drawings and watercolours (often vibrant, and always detailed), this will make a splendid gift for friends and family who adore exploring the Greek Islands, and for armchair travellers who’ve yet to discover their delights.

Beer Stained Pulp

Beer Stained Pulp

Author: Adam Kimberley Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/09/2021

“Tegestologist?” I hear you question. What the h***’s a tegestologist?  Well simply put it’s a collector of beer mats and the term comes from teges, the Latin for a covering or mat. But more on this later. Back in 2018 Adam Kimberly created an Instagram account to showcase his collection of ‘nicely designed beer mats from the past’ as he puts in it his brief introduction. Now, in this slim volume, he has selected the more fun, unusual and iconic mats and so has curated a superb slice of British history.  Rich in the nostalgia of once huge but now unheard of brands, along with names and drinks that never made the big time, the chosen mats illustrate the range of images, typography and more, from the late fifties through to the 1970’s. And it’s not just drinks that these little wood-pulp coasters were deployed for. From Walker’s Crisps to Palethorpes Pork Pies, from Butlins to B.O.A.C. the handy little mats were pressed into advertising everything from snacks to airlines, from safety to cigarettes, even Morcambe and Wise at the Hippodrome Theatre, Bristol. There are of course the usual discs and squares but the variety of shapes alone encompasses brandy balloons, beer kegs and even one in the shape of the Isle of Wight. Other than dates (where known) and confirmation of the advertiser, there is no further explanation given for each entry and none is needed, for each tells its own story in its own way. It is an act of quiet brilliance to compile and publish this and I for one am delighted by it. And as for tegel meaning mat or covering? Did you never stick a clean mat on top of your pint to stop fag ash falling in? No? Just me then.

Atlas of Imagined Places from Lilliput to Gotham City

Atlas of Imagined Places from Lilliput to Gotham City

Author: Matt Brown, Rhys B. Davies Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/09/2021

In Atlas of Imagined Places, Matt Brown and Rhys B. Davies have conjured a cartographic spectacle. This ingeniously executed, gorgeously presented book delivers a cornucopia of imagined locations, covering classics you might expect alongside unexpected places from pop culture you probably didn’t, from the legendary land of Atlantis and Gulliver’s Lilliput, to The Flintstones’ Bedrock and Springfield, of The Simpsons fame. Organised by areas of the world, and covering places known from myths, literature, comics, games, film and TV, this is a fantastic feat of research and design, delivered with wit and style. The detailed, vintage-style maps highlight everything from key buildings and towns, to notable mountains and seas, with each location (over 5000 in total) mapped for readers to further discover in the entertaining text. Clearly a labour of love for its clever creators, Atlas of Imagined Places is set to become a much-loved, long-treasured gift for map enthusiasts and culture vultures alike.

The Gloriumptious Worlds of Roald Dahl

The Gloriumptious Worlds of Roald Dahl

Author: Stella Caldwell & Quentin Blake Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/09/2021

For all those who are already fans of Roald’s Dahl’s awesome stories and for newcomers to them, this is a splendid introduction to some of the favourite characters and the most dramatic, hilarious, spinechilling and adventuresome stories that are his storytelling legacy. Following a brief account of Roald Dahl’s childhood and his famous writing shed, 15 of his top titles are cleverly explored through their main characters and the key features of the stories. There is James and his extraordinary crew from the awesome travelling peach in James and the Giant Peach; the delightful Charlie Bucket whose winning ticket takes him to Mr Wonka’s astonishing chocolate factory and a heap of adventures with some less lovely children including Veruca Salt and Augustus Gloop; the delightful Danny and his father and some fabulous pheasant poaching plots and the truly horrible Mr and Mrs Twit who have a whole book to themselves. The battle between Matilda and the awful Miss Trunchbull, the BFG’s encounter with the Queen and the utterly terrifying Witches – all of these and more are brought to life in these brief retellings which make clever use of letters, recipes and newspaper clippings. As in the originals, all are fabulously illustrated by Quentin Blake. The inclusion of an activity pack adds an interactive element to the book and enhances enjoyment of it.

The Complete Book of Vegan Compleating

The Complete Book of Vegan Compleating

Author: Ellen Tout Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/09/2021

Persuasively setting out to overturn commonly held views and cooking habits (“often the “rules” about cooking and food preparation are habits learned from our parents or from recipe books, so we don’t think to question why we discard some parts and eat others”), Ellen Tout’s The Complete Book of Vegan Compleating is inspiring in style, encyclopaedic in scope, and thoroughly practical. So, what exactly is “compleating”? As the author explains, it simply means eating “all edible parts of fruits, vegetables and herbs.” All too often we chop off and discard parts of food we could make tasty, nutritious use of - peelings, the tops of leeks, large proportions of ginger and chillies, and fruit seeds, for example. The author also points out that earlier generations, with their engrained “waste not, want not” attitude, didn’t discard perfectly decent food to the extent we do today. Alongside doing ourselves out of nutritional nuggets, and wasting money, this habit also has detrimental environmental impact: “When food reaches landfill, it can’t compost naturally and can take many years to degrade, releasing methane in the process. This is responsible for eight per cent of global greenhouse gases. On top of that, there’s also the land, energy, water, transport and resources involved in producing the food to begin with.” Within this clear, convincing context, the bulk of the book takes the form of a food-by-food guide to compleating. Each entry provides information on nutritional benefits, and ways to use every part of the plant, fruit, herb or vegetable through easy-to-follow, inspiring recipes, from how to make vegan butter from the liquid left in chickpea tins, to conjuring delicious crisps from pumpkin skin. Both inventive and practical, this book is sure to have readers binning long-held views and habits to stop all that needless binning of food.