Book of the Week, September 2nd 2017

Cartes Postales from Greece

Victoria Hislop

Cartes Postales from Greece

Victoria Hislop

Every week a postcard pops into Ellie’s mailbox. Each is from the same person and picture a different place in Greece. They are just signed ‘A’ and addressed to a previous occupant of Ellie’s dull basement flat. She is attracted to the colourful, country scenes and the enigmatic messages the postcards contain. With no possibility … Continue reading Book of the Week, September 2nd 2017

Every week a postcard pops into Ellie’s mailbox. Each is from the same person and picture a different place in Greece. They are just signed ‘A’ and addressed to a previous occupant of Ellie’s dull basement flat. She is attracted to the colourful, country scenes and the enigmatic messages the postcards contain. With no possibility of returning or forwarding them she pins them up in her kitchen and begins to dream of visiting Greece herself.

 

Finally she books a trip and just as she leaves a package arrives. Inside is a hand-written notebook written by the same mysterious sender of the postcards. Within the pages are diary entries and a series of bitter sweet stories that bring to life the landscape, history, culture and style of the country. Ellie embarks on an exploration of Greece inspired by what she reads in the stranger’s journal. The novel follows Ellie’s journey as she, in turn, follows the notebook in this unusual and captivating novel, while we, as readers, cannot help but wonder if their paths might cross.

 

Stitched Harbours – an exhibition of textile art

                    The exciting new exhibition showcases the talents  of two local textile art groups, ‘stitchers inc’ and ‘Lost the Thread, showing together for the first time. The two groups have been exploring textile arts for several years (stitchers inc. celebrated its first major exhibition in Aug 2016) and draw members from all … Continue reading Stitched Harbours – an exhibition of textile art

 

         

 

 

 

 

The exciting new exhibition showcases the talents  of two local textile art groups, ‘stitchers inc’ and ‘Lost the Thread, showing together for the first time. The two groups have been exploring textile arts for several years (stitchers inc. celebrated its first major exhibition in Aug 2016) and draw members from all over the north of Essex and south Suffolk. They come together enjoying the boundless inspiration and expert guidance provided by Little Tey-based artist and tutor, Alex Waylett.

The harbour theme, chosen for this exhibition, is one which resonates strongly with many of the group and places pictures range from  loved local views – such as Wivenhoe and Maldon, through equally loved but more distant scenes from our own lives, to ones which have strong family connections both current and ancestral.

 

The exhibition runs through to the end of September

 

 

Book of the Week, August 26th, 2017

I am, I am, I am: Seventeen Brushes With Death

Maggie O'Farrell

I am, I am, I am: Seventeen Brushes With Death

Maggie O'Farrell

I don’t know how many brushes with death the average person has in a lifetime but Maggie O’Farrell has certainly had more than her fair share. This unusual memoir is the award-winning novelist’s first book of non-fiction – each chapter examines one episode in her own life when the grim reaper came close to claiming … Continue reading Book of the Week, August 26th, 2017

I don’t know how many brushes with death the average person has in a lifetime but Maggie O’Farrell has certainly had more than her fair share. This unusual memoir is the award-winning novelist’s first book of non-fiction – each chapter examines one episode in her own life when the grim reaper came close to claiming her. It opens with how, as an eighteen-year old, alone on a cliff top, she encountered a birdwatcher and sensed something suspicious. Soon his binocular strap was around her neck and she realised his intention was to kill her. By a mixture of quick thinking and good fortune she escaped, but days later another young women was killed close to that path …..strangled by the same man with his binocular strap.

As a child aged eight she was hospitalised and critically ill. She cheated death then and following months of rehabilitation, lived fearlessly, seizing every opportunity. This led to some risky behaviour – like a jump from a fifteen metre high harbour wall into the sea and then there is flight on a plane that nearly crashes. Each of seventeen close encounters with death is richly described with a novelist’s eye for detail.

Book of the Week, August 19th 2017

Gainsborough, A Portrait

James Hamilton

Gainsborough, A Portrait

James Hamilton

John Constable is the painter most famously associated with Suffolk but another Suffolk artist, Thomas Gainsborough, inspired the young Constable. Born the son of a weaver in Sudbury, Gainsborough soon impressed with his drawing and painting skills and as a young teenager he was sent to London to study art. As he grew older his … Continue reading Book of the Week, August 19th 2017

John Constable is the painter most famously associated with Suffolk but another Suffolk artist, Thomas Gainsborough, inspired the young Constable. Born the son of a weaver in Sudbury, Gainsborough soon impressed with his drawing and painting skills and as a young teenager he was sent to London to study art.

As he grew older his precocious talent was matched by a growing reputation for an unconventional lifestyle. But he was always dedicated to his art and was an originator of British eighteenth century landscape painting as well as becoming the most celebrated portrait painter of his age.

Unusually he would paint portraits in such a dimly lit studio his sitters wondered how he could choose the right colours and even his airy landscapes were often painted indoors from models built of rocks and moss.

As well as examining the development of his art, this is a vibrant biography of a man who led a riotous life. Alongside painting, drink, women and music were his passions. While living in Bath, he became so ill from his wild living that his death was incorrectly reported in the local paper. He was regularly the worse for drink but even when sober his behaviour was often quite mad. This biography brings vividly to life the man behind the paintings, his humour, and his disregard for convention.

 

Book of the Week, August 12th 2017

Reservoir 13

Jon McGregor

Reservoir 13

Jon McGregor

It is New Year and the Shaw family are holidaying in a small Peak district village. When thirteen-year-old Rebecca fails to return from a walk in the hills the hours pass and concern grows for her safety. The villagers band together to help search the moors but as journalists and TV crews descend on the … Continue reading Book of the Week, August 12th 2017

It is New Year and the Shaw family are holidaying in a small Peak district village. When thirteen-year-old Rebecca fails to return from a walk in the hills the hours pass and concern grows for her safety. The villagers band together to help search the moors but as journalists and TV crews descend on the quiet village, no signs are found of the missing girl.

This might be a familiar opening scenario for a crime thriller but this is an entirely different kind of book. As the days turn into weeks, the detectives, the details of the investigation and even the parents are firmly in the background. The focus is on the residents of the village. As the intense drama of the missing girl subsides, life has to continue. Weeks become months and then years. People grow, a new shop opens, relationships build or falter and eventually a new generation become adults. In brief, fragmentary glimpses the seasonal cycle of village life is described; the sheep on the farms, the Christmas pantomime, the annual well dressing ceremony; all the village traditions continue but Rebecca’s disappearance casts a shadow down the years.

 

A look ahead at some new books published in September

Here is a section of titles that caught Sarah’s eye while browsing the Autumn catalogues. They are all scheduled to hit the shelves during September.  Air Force Blue   by  Patrick Bishop A very readable history of the RAF. Patrick Bishop tells the stories of individual pilots, through their letters and diaries and interviews. It is … Continue reading A look ahead at some new books published in September

Here is a section of titles that caught Sarah’s eye while browsing the Autumn catalogues. They are all scheduled to hit the shelves during September.

 Air Force Blue   by  Patrick Bishop

A very readable history of the RAF. Patrick Bishop tells the stories of individual pilots, through their letters and diaries and interviews. It is more than the air force history in WW2. It is the story from the Chief of the Air Staff, the pilots, engineers. The story of the battles, the tactics, the Spitfires and the Bombers. The triumphs and disasters and the terrible cost borne by the young pilots.

HarperCollins Hardback price £20.00.


Books That Changed History

A selection of 75 books dating from 3000BCE to the present day. The books, the stories behind them, and why are they so important? Are we in the swansong of books, I hope not? Or will the physical books continue to change the world?

 

Dorling Kindersley Hardback,  price £20.00.


Little Big Things  by Henry Fraser

On a holiday with his friends 17 year old Henry Fraser dived into the sea. He never walked again, he was paralysed from shoulder down. His remarkable account of how he is living his life now with optimism and enjoyment. An inspirational and hugely impressive young man. He leads his life determined that ‘every day is a good day’.

Orion Hardback, £12.99

 


Entitled by  Chris Bryant

How did a bunch of greedy, powerful, corrupt, arrogant bunch of aristocrats end up owning most of our nation? A fascinating and entertaining history of the British aristocracy.

 

Doubleday Hardback, £25.00

 


 Inkspired  by  Betty Soldi

‘Home-made’ is on increasingly popular, and now ‘home written’ is given a fresh make-over. This book gives techniques to make even the most unsure to have confidence to put pen to paper. The results could surprise. ‘It all starts with ink’.

 

Kyle Books, paperback, £16.99


Legacy of Spies by John Le Carre

A new Smiley spy story.

What a fantastic prospect.

 

Viking hardback, £20.00

 


 RHS Encyclopedia of Garden Design  by  Chris Young

New and expanded edition of this classic. For any aspiring gardener, this is the way to transform your outdoors. Plenty inspirational ideas and a lot of hard work. But it should be worth it.

 

Dorling Kindersley hardback, £30.00

 


Seagull by Ann Cleaves

Vera, the scruffy Yorkshire detective, meets an old adversary. He opens up a whole can of worms. The past comes to bump into the present with bodies turning up. Vera has her work cut out to disentangle all the threads.

 

Pan Macmillan hardback, £16.99


Spook Street  by Mick Herron

Mike Herron’s group of dysfunctional spies contain some memorable characters chiefly their boss, Jackson Lamb. Shot through with humour and cynicism and also manages to tell a fast-moving complex spy story. Jackson Lamb and his bunch of misfits are one step ahead as the story develops.

 

John Murray paperback, £7.99