#BookReview THE GARDEN JUNGLE by DAVE GOULSON

ABOUT THE BOOK

**SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER**


The Garden Jungle is a wonderful introduction to the hundreds of small creatures with whom we live cheek-by-jowl and of the myriad ways that we can encourage them to thrive.


The Garden Jungle is about the wildlife that lives right under our noses, in our gardens and parks, between the gaps in the pavement, and in the soil beneath our feet. Wherever you are right now, the chances are that there are worms, woodlice, centipedes, flies, silverfish, wasps, beetles, mice, shrews and much, much more, quietly living within just a few paces of you.


Dave Goulson gives us an insight into the fascinating and sometimes weird lives of these creatures, taking us burrowing into the compost heap, digging under the lawn and diving into the garden pond. He explains how our lives and ultimately the fate of humankind are inextricably intertwined with that of earwigs, bees, lacewings and hoverflies, unappreciated heroes of the natural world.


The Garden Jungle is at times an immensely serious book, exploring the environmental harm inadvertently done by gardeners who buy intensively reared plants in disposable plastic pots, sprayed with pesticides and grown in peat cut from the ground. Goulson argues that gardens could become places where we can reconnect with nature and rediscover where food comes from. With just a few small changes, our gardens could become a vast network of tiny nature reserves, where humans and wildlife can thrive together in harmony rather than conflict.


For anyone who has a garden, and cares about our planet, this book is essential reading. 


PUBLISHED BY JONATHAN CAPE

OUT IN HARDBACK/EBOOK NOW

OUT IN PAPERBACK – 2ND APRIL 2020


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon


MY REVIEW


This is a book that will make you look at your garden differently! It doesn’t only focus on how it looks, but the goings on underneath the soil and the insects and wildlife that visits your little part of the earth daily, and as a keen gardener and fan of wildlife, I’m even more eager now to do more bit and take time out to notice the little things – and leave things a little more ‘wild’ to help do my bit!

This is a really relevant book for the times we are living in – and no more than now, with many people staying home due to the ‘lockdown’ and spending more time in their garden than they normally do! The only downside for me is that the people who need to read this the most are the ones who won’t pick this up as it’s not full of glossy photos, or quick fixes for a ‘low maintenance’ garden – the kind of people who revel in the throwaway society we find ourselves in, who want everything to be easy to look after and to keep all the creepy crawlies out! This books shows just how important all the wildlife is to the make-up of the garden, and doesn’t preach at you but explains things brilliantly and shows just how simple it can be to get the balance in the garden just right.

There are nods to using peat free compost, the benefits of being outdoors, the importance of allotments and growing your own, along with many other subjects such as the variety of animals that use our gardens daily, that shows that we can all do ‘our bit’ in a little way to help this planet of ours.

I really loved seeing a list of favourite plants he uses to attract different forms of wildlife, along with instructions on how to make your own wormery which has got me tempted to give it a go! I’ve learnt so much from this book and found it to be so informative and interesting, from a man who is clearly passionate about the subject he writes out! Highly recommended!


★★★★★

THE WINDHAM-CAMPBELL PRIZES 2020 #WindhamCampbellPrizes #LivefromLondon

MALE AND UNDER-REPRESENTED VOICES DOMINATE THE WINDHAM-CAMPBELL PRIZES 2020

Windham-Campbell Prizes 2020 Prize Announcement ‘Live from London’

Thursday 19th March 2020 from 7pm GMT/3pm EDT

Livestream at www.windhamcampbell.org I #LIVEFROMLONDON I @WindhamCampbell

From Top Left:  Bhanu Kapil (poetry), Julia Cho (Drama), Yiyun Li (fiction), Maria Tumarkin (nonfiction)

From Bottom Left: Jonah Mixon-Webster (poetry), Aleshea Harris (drama), Namwali Serpell (fiction), Anne Boyer (nonfiction)

2020’s powerful, female-dominated line-up of Windham-Campbell Prize recipients unites a rich, international collection of writers whose challenging work explores pressing political and social themes across identity, culture and power. Now in their eighth year, the Prizes celebrate writers at every stage of their careers.

In poetry we recognise British-Indian poet Bhanu Kapil, known for exploring crucial questions of trauma, healing and immigration, and the incredible Jonah Mixon-Webster and his unflinching poetry tackling the public health crisis in his hometown of Flint, Michigan.

For drama we celebrate Julia Cho, the incredible talent behind The AubergineAleshea Harris, whose unflinching works confront the wounds of misogyny and racism.

Our prizes for fiction have gone to the prolific Chinese-born author of The VagrantsYiyun Li and Zambian author Namwali Serpell who explores themes of identity and belonging.

And in nonfiction we award Australian writer Maria Tumarkin, whose works explore the lives of ordinary people with extraordinarily painful pasts, and Anne Boyer, author of the searingly honest exploration of cancer The Undying.

Mike Kelleher, Director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes said about this year’s recipients, “This is such an exciting group of prize recipients—so many utterly original voices from so many different places. Their work digs deeply into everything from the poisoned water crisis in present-day Flint, Michigan to the vicissitudes of the surveillance state in an Afro-Futurist Zambia. To read the work of these eight writers—seven of them women—is simply overwhelming.”

In 2020 the Windham-Campbell Prizes celebrate eight winners in four categories, each of whom will receive $165,000 USD and whose names will be officially revealed on 19th March at 7pm GMT/3pm EDT.

The Windham-Campbell Prizes are one of the richest literary prizes in the world, with $1.32 million USD given to eight authors every year writing in English from anywhere in the world. Nominees for the Prizes are considered by judges who remain anonymous before and after the prize announcement.

The Prizes were the brainchild of lifelong partners Donald Windham and Sandy M. Campbell. The couple were deeply involved in literary circles, collected books avidly and read voraciously. They also penned various works, such as novels, plays and short stories, amongst others. For years they had discussed the idea of creating an award to highlight literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns. When Campbell passed away unexpectedly in 1988, Windham took on the responsibility for making this shared dream a reality. The first prizes were announced in 2013.

In September 2020, Yale University and the Beinecke Library will host a week-long festival of events to honour the winners.

About Windham-Campbell Prizes

Established in 2013 with a significant gift from Donald Windham in memory of his partner of 40 years, Sandy Campbell, the Windham-Campbell Prizes are among the richest and most prestigious literary prizes on earth. The community, camaraderie, diversity, and inclusive nature of the Prizes honours the spirit of their lives.

www.windhamcampbell.org @WindhamCampbell

ABOUT THE WINNERS

Poetry

Bhanu Kapil is a British writer of Indian origin who now lives between the United Kingdom and the United States. She is the author of a poetry blog, The Vortex of Formidable Sparkles, and six full-length poetry collections.Her most recent publication, Ban en Banlieue (2016), takes a mysterious being called Ban as its protagonist. “Ban,” Kapil tells us, is not an immigrant. She is not even a body, but a “bodily outline.” A passive-violent, beautiful-monstrous, familiar-strange, present-absence, “Ban” recalls but refuses to represent those individuals who are despised, displaced, or even “banned” by the neocolonialist nations in which they live. An earlier collection, Schizophrene (2011) likewise disrupts the familiar tropes of the diaspora story, arguing that “it is psychotic not to know when you are in a national space.” Of course, as Kapil shows us, national spaces are themselves a kind of mass psychosis, their border walls built not with bricks but with the bodies and minds of the marginalized. In all her work, Kapil’s primary interest is on these marginalized: those living on the bottom, along the edges, citizens of what she calls “the floor of the world.” Kapil taught for many years at Naropa University and Goddard College. In 2019, she was awarded the Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. During this time, she completed her first full-length poetry collection to be published in the United Kingdom, How to Wash a Heart (2020).    

Jonah Mixon-Webster (United States) is a poet and conceptual/sound artist from Flint, Michigan. His debut poetry collection, Stereo(TYPE) (2018), was awarded the 2017 Sawtooth Poetry Prize and the prestigious PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry in 2019. In his acceptance speech, Mixon-Webster declared that his first ambition as a poet is “to tell the truth about what is happening in Flint, Michigan.” An artful and powerful work of poetic activism, Stereo(TYPE) uses oral history, government documentation, photography, and found text to tell the story of the ongoing public health crisis in Mixon-Webster’s hometown. With driving lyricism, he invites us into a Flint devastated by economic and racialized violence: its businesses, homes, and streets battered, its population winnowed. Intimate and violent, provocative and tender, mythic and ritualistic, Stereo(TYPE) compels its readers to become witnesses to environmental and social evil, and in so doing, to choose between radical solidarity with Flint—or complicity with those who have enabled the government’s relentless predation and persecution of its people. “Resistance,” Mixon-Webster writes, is to “occupy a wound / with a mouth.” Mixon-Webster is co-leader of the PEN America Detroit Chapter and is a 2019-2020 Writing for Justice Fellow. He has earned degrees from Eastern Michigan University and is currently completing his doctoral degree in Creative Writing at Illinois State University.

Drama

Julia Cho (United States)a native of Los Angeles, is the author of nine plays. Subtle, intimate, and wildly intelligent, Cho’s work explores the power and frailty of human connection—between cultures, between individuals, between generations, between institutions. Her characters are full of feeling but never sentimental; her plots are simple but rich with implication, their submerged meanings arising gradually, line by line, scene by scene. In Aubergine (2016), food becomes an act of translation between a young man and his dying father. In Office Hour (2017), Cho imagines an array of possible resolutions—some moving, some terrifying—to the story of an angry creative writing student unable to communicate with his classmates or instructors. In The Language Archive (2010), a scholar of dead and dying languages must confront his inability to express himself, and his own existential loneliness, to his estranged wife. Alternately lyrical and sharp, rigorous and whimsical, Cho’s plays demand that we listen: to feeling, to language, to one another. An alumna of Amherst College, UC Berkeley, the Julliard School and New York University, Cho also writes for television and film. She has been a recipient of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize (2010), the Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award (2005), the Claire Tow Award for Emerging Playwrights, and a Lilly Award among many other honors.

Aleshea Harris (United States) is an American playwright, performer, and screenwriter. Her debut play Is God Is won the American Playwriting Foundation’s Relentless Award in 2016. Critic Jeffrey Fleishman has described Harris as “a playwright in fierce struggle with America.” Is God Is and its follow-up, What to Send Up When It Goes Down (2018), confront the physical and psychological wounds of misogyny and racism, respectively. In the latter play, which Harris calls a “play-pageant-ritual response to anti-blackness,” a character tells the audience: “I looked down and realized the joke was on me, literally, all over me and in me.” Calling upon fairy tales and the novels of Toni Morrison, Greek myth and police reports, Harris’s work centres black bodies, celebrating them in their full spectrum of beauty and complexity: Love, rage, delight, recollection, speculation, and defiance all have a place in her character’s lives. A two-time finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize (2020, 2018), a two-time MacDowell Fellow (2019, 2016), a winner of the Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting (2019) and a winner of the Obie Award for Playwriting (2018), Harris lives in Los Angeles and performs her work around the world.

Fiction

Yiyun Li (United States) was born in Beijing, China and is the author of fournovels—the latest, Must I Go, is to be published in August 2020—two short story collections, and a memoir. Li started writing in English in her twenties, and from the beginning of her career her work has earned praise for its formal beauty, imaginative daring, and intense interest in both the small flames of ordinary lives and the sweeping fires of political and social change. Her first novel, The Vagrants (2007), paints a portrait of a provincial Chinese town at a moment of crisis, with a young woman about to be executed as a counter revolutionary. In recent years, she has continued to write about the complex and often difficult relationship between personal freedom and political agency. Kinder Than Solitude (2014) follows a group of friends after the Tiananmen Square protests; Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life (2017), an essay collection, is both an examination of the exterior forces that power Li’s writing—literary, personal, and political—and an interrogation of selfhood. In all her work, Li displays a piercing clarity of vision, and a committed, sometimes painful empathy for individuals and for the fragile bonds between them. A former fellow of the MacArthur (2010) and Whiting (2006) Foundations, among many other honours, Li is a Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages.

Namwali Serpell (Zambia/United States) is a Zambian writer who lives and teaches in the United States. Her short story “The Sack” (2015) won the Caine Prize in African Fiction, and her first novel, The Old Drift, was published to global acclaim. Praised as “dazzling” by Salman Rushdie, short-listed for two L.A. Times Book Prizes, and long-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, The Old Drift was also named one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times, one of the 100 Must-Read Books of the Year by Time, and a book of the year by The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, and National Public Radio. The Old Drift tells the story of three families—with people of African, European, and Indian descent—living in Zambia over the course of two hundred years. Part historical adventure, part psychological realism, part futuristic thriller, and part magical realism, the novel is an audacious, lush, sprawling, and altogether brilliant celebration of the artifice of fiction. An associate professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, Serpell is also the author of a book of literary criticism, Seven Modes of Uncertainty (2014), as well as a forthcoming essay collection, Stranger Faces (2020). She currently lives in San Francisco.

Nonfiction

Maria Tumarkin (Australia) is a native of Kharkov, Ukraine and the author of four works of nonfiction: Axiomatic (2018), Otherland: A Journey with My Daughter(2016), Courage (2007), and Traumascapes: The Power and Fate of Places Transformed by Tragedy (2005). Tumarkin’s primary subject is the interrelatedness of past and present. For her, the continual presence of the past is generative as well as traumatic, each incursion a source of aesthetic, emotional, and ethical energy, an opportunity to imagine new ways of understanding collective and personal histories. In Axiomatic, for instance, Tumarkin uses a complex play of meditation, storytelling, and reportage to represent the lives of ordinary people with extraordinarily painful pasts. Her protagonists are asylum seekers, grieving parents, and holocaust survivors, and Tumarkin shows us how their pain both shapes them and is shaped by them; how, in a profound sense, their pain is them, just as it is now us, who have heard their stories. “As to us, me and you,” Tumarkin writes, “we are the broken vessel containing, spilling all over the place, those who came before us.” Tumarkin lives in Melbourne, Australia where she teaches creative writing.

Anne Boyer is an American essayist and poet. Her boundary-blurring body of work includes two books of nonfiction, a poetry collection, and several chapbooks. Most recently, her book The Undying: Pain, vulnerability, mortality, medicine, art, time, dreams, data, exhaustion, cancer, and art (2019) earned accolades for its formal inventiveness and searing prose. The story of Boyer’s experience with a highly aggressive form of triple-negative breast cancer, The Undying is not a traditional memoir but something altogether different and new; a fierce and funny experiment in cultural criticism and personal history, malediction and requiem. Here, as in her essay collection A Handbook of Disappointed Fate (2018), Boyer reveals herself to be a kind of intellectual knight-errant, a wanderer through territories difficult and diverse—cancer hoaxers, John Donne, Roman dream diarists, corporate greed—in search of an always elusive, often painful, but occasionally enchanting truth. Boyer’s honors include a Judith E. Wilson Fellowship from Cambridge University (2019-2018), a Cy Twombly Award for Poetry from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2018), and a Whiting Award (2018). She lives and works in Kansas City, Missouri.

My March TBR #bookblogger

Another month, another impossible task of trying to read ALL THE BOOKS!  I’m still finding that giving myself a ‘rough’ outline of a TBR is helping me to focus my mind! But I still find myself distracted by new releases, or a book that someone has glowingly reviewed and feeling the need to read that book straight away!  

So here’s what I’m hoping to get through in the next month…… click on the book title for the GoodReads page for more info!

THE MIRROR AND THE LIGHT by HILARY MANTEL

my copy has been pre-ordered!

LEMON DRIZZLE MONDAYS AT THE LITTLE DUCK POND CAFE by ROSIE GREEN

blog tour at the end of the month! I love this series!

STAUNCH by ELEANOR WOOD

out March 19th

WINTERING by KATHERINE MAY

THE NINTH CHILD by SALLY MAGNUSSON

📚📚📚

Think that’s a reasonable TBR to start with – especially as I think The Mirror & The Light is going to be a huge chunkster of a book at about 900 pages! My brain hurts already!!

What will you be reading in March?! Good luck!!

Turning Book Tokens into Books! #BookHaul #BookBuying

I was very lucky this Christmas to receive a book token or 3! And then the bookstores were happily having sales so how could I not take a browse and get clicking?!!  So this is the results and I’m a happy book bunny once more with my new purchases! Always happy to add to my Penguin Clothbound collection too and I’m just sad the photos don’t do justice to how beautiful they are in the flesh!!

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by DELIA OWENS

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

SHADOWPLAY by JOSEPH O’CONNOR

1878- The Lyceum Theatre, London. Three extraordinary people begin their life together, a life that will be full of drama, transformation, passionate and painful devotion to art and to one another. Henry Irving, the Chief, is the volcanic leading man and impresario; Ellen Terry is the most lauded and desired actress of her generation, outspoken and generous of heart; and ever following along behind them in the shadows is the unremarkable theatre manager, Bram Stoker. Fresh from life in Dublin as a clerk, Bram may seem the least colourful of the trio but he is wrestling with dark demons in a new city, in a new marriage, and with his own literary aspirations. As he walks the London streets at night, streets haunted by the Ripper and the gossip which swirls around his friend Oscar Wilde, he finds new inspiration. But the Chief is determined that nothing will get in the way of his manager?s devotion to the Lyceum and to himself. And both men are enchanted by the beauty and boldness of the elusive Ellen. This exceptional novel explores the complexities of love that stands dangerously outside social convention, the restlessness of creativity, and the experiences that led to Dracula, the most iconic supernatural tale of all time.

THE GARDEN JUNGLE by DAVE GOULSON

The Garden Jungle is a wonderful introduction to the hundreds of small creatures with whom we live cheek-by-jowl and of the myriad ways that we can encourage them to thrive.

The Garden Jungle is about the wildlife that lives right under our noses, in our gardens and parks, between the gaps in the pavement, and in the soil beneath our feet. Wherever you are right now, the chances are that there are worms, woodlice, centipedes, flies, silverfish, wasps, beetles, mice, shrews and much, much more, quietly living within just a few paces of you.

Dave Goulson gives us an insight into the fascinating and sometimes weird lives of these creatures, taking us burrowing into the compost heap, digging under the lawn and diving into the garden pond. He explains how our lives and ultimately the fate of humankind are inextricably intertwined with that of earwigs, bees, lacewings and hoverflies, unappreciated heroes of the natural world.

The Garden Jungle is at times an immensely serious book, exploring the environmental harm inadvertently done by gardeners who buy intensively reared plants in disposable plastic pots, sprayed with pesticides and grown in peat cut from the ground. Goulson argues that gardens could become places where we can reconnect with nature and rediscover where food comes from. With just a few small changes, our gardens could become a vast network of tiny nature reserves, where humans and wildlife can thrive together in harmony rather than conflict

THE SECRET LIFE OF BOOKS by TOM MOLE

We love books. We take them to bed with us. They weigh down our suitcases when we go on holiday. We display them on our bookshelves or store them in our attics. We give them as gifts. We write our names in them. We take them for granted. And all the time, our books are leading a double life.

The Secret Life of Books is about everything that isn’t just the words. It’s about how books transform us as individuals. It’s about how books – and readers – have evolved over time. And it’s about why, even with the arrival of other media, books still have the power to change our lives.

In this illuminating account, Tom Mole looks at everything from binding innovations to binding errors, to books defaced by lovers, to those imprisoning professors in their offices, to books in art, to burned books, to the books that create nations, to those we’ll leave behind.

It will change how you think about books.

JAPANESE GARDENS by MONTY DON

The complement to the BBC2 series, Japanese Gardens: written by the nation’s favourite gardener Monty Don, and beautifully produced with over 200 original photographs from Derry Moore.

Traditional Japanese gardens combine aesthetics with ethics, beauty with philosophy in a perfectly curated celebration of the natural world. A Japanese garden is the natural world made miniature: rocks represent mountains, ponds represent seas.

In this personal and lyrical exploration of both the traditional and the modern aspects of Japanese gardening, Monty Don takes a look at at the traditions and culture which inform some of the most beautiful and famous gardens from all over Japan, from Kenroku-en to the Zen gardens of Tokyo and the historic beauty of Kyoto.

Monty Don and Derry Moore travelled to Japan in spring and autumn, and this book guides us through the history and beauty of Japanese gardens in these spectacular seasons – from the famous cherry blossom celebration hanami to the autumnal crimson magnificence of momijigari. Monty Don also explores the creative forms uniquely associated with Japanese gardens, from stonemasonry and ikebana to the intricate skill of bonsai. Stunningly photographed by Derry Moore, Japanese Gardens is a fascinating exploration of a unique relationship with gardens.

BLACK BEAUTY by ANNA SEWELL

Black Beauty spends his youth in a loving home, surrounded by friends and cared for by his owners. But when circumstances change, he learns that not all humans are so kind. Passed from hand to hand, Black Beauty witnesses love and cruelty, wealth and poverty, friendship and hardship . . . Will the handsome horse ever find a happy and lasting home? Carefully retold in clear contemporary language, and presented with delightful illustrations, these favorite classic stories capture the heart and imagination of young readers. By retelling the story in a shorter, simpler form, these books become highly engaging for children, and the color illustrations help with both comprehension and interest level. Black Beauty is part of a collectible series that has strong gift appeal.

THE WIZARD OF OZ by L FRANK BAUM

When Dorothy and her little dog Toto are caught in a tornado, they and their Kansas farmhouse are suddenly transported to Oz, where Munchkins live, monkeys fly and Wicked Witches rule. Desperate to return home, and with the Wicked Witch of the West on their trail, Dorothy and Toto – together with new friends the Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow and cowardly Lion – embark on a fantastic quest along the Yellow Brick Road in search of the Emerald City. There they hope to meet the legendary, all-powerful Wizard of Oz, who alone may hold the power to grant their every wish.

Just as captivating as it was a hundred years ago, this is a story that all ages will love

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by ARTHER CONAN DOYLE

“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” is a collection of twelve detective stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous literary creation, Sherlock Holmes. Contained within this collection are the following tales: A Scandal in Bohemia, The Red-headed League, A Case of Identity, The Boscombe Valley Mystery, The Five Orange Pips, The Man with the Twisted Lip, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb, The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor, The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet, and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES by ARTHER CONAN DOYLE

Part of Penguin’s beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

The terrible spectacle of the beast, the fog of the moor, the discovery of a body, this classic horror story pits detective against dog. When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on the wild Devon moorland with the footprints of a giant hound nearby, the blame is placed on a family curse. It is left to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to solve the mystery of the legend of the phantom hound before Sir Charles’ heir comes to an equally gruesome end

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS by H.G.WELLS

With H.G. Wells’ other novels, The War of the Worlds was one of the first and greatest works of science fiction ever to be written. Even long before man had learned to fly, H.G. Wells wrote this story of the Martian attack on England. These unearthly creatures arrive in huge cylinders, from which they escape as soon as the metal is cool. The first falls near Woking and is regarded as a curiosity rather than a danger until the Martians climb out of it and kill many of the gaping crowd with a Heat-Ray. These unearthly creatures have heads four feet in diameter and colossal round bodies, and by manipulating two terrifying machines – the Handling Machine and the Fighting Machine – they are as versatile as humans and at the same time insuperable. They cause boundless destruction. The inhabitants of the Earth are powerless against them, and it looks as if the end of the World has come. But there is one factor which the Martians, in spite of their superior intelligence, have not reckoned on. It is this which brings about a miraculous conclusion to this famous work of the imagination.

Not a bad little haul and still have some book tokens left over so until next time……

#BookReview ESTUARY: Out from London to the sea by RACHEL LICHTENSTEIN #nonfiction #LibaryLoveChallenge

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Thames Estuary is one of the world’s great deltas, providing passage in and out of London for millennia. It is silted up with the memories and artefacts of past voyages. It is the habitat for an astonishing range of wildlife. And for the people who live and work on the estuary, it is a way of life unlike any other – one most would not trade for anything, despites its dangers.


Rachel Lichtenstein has travelled the length and breadth of the estuary many times and in many vessels, from hardy tug boats to stately pleasure cruisers to an inflatable dinghy. And during these crossing she has gathered an extraordinary chorus of voices: mudlarkers and fishermen, radio pirates and champion racers, the men who risk their lives out on the water and the women who wait on the shore.


From the acclaimed author of Brick Lane and Rodinsky’s Room, Estuary is a thoughtful and intimate portrait of a profoundly British place. With a clear eye and a sharp ear, Rachel Lichtenstein captures the essence of a community and an environment, examining how each has shaped and continues to shape the other.


PUBLISHED BY HAMISH HAMILTON


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

hive.co.uk

waterstones


MY REVIEW

Having lived next to the Estuary all my life, I found this to be a fascinating, illuminating and detailed look at the evolution of the Thames Estuary and all those who live by it or work on it. The folklore, the role it has played in history, the way that outsiders see Essex and how that differs from those who live there and just how much it has changed over the years.

Being a local I found it so easy to feel connected to the stories told by the author, and the places she visited as she travelled along the Estuary. She stopped off in numerous places to meet people who have lived or worked on the Thames and it was so interesting to hear them share their stories. She travelled on boats and walked alongside the estuary and that really helped her give you a real flavour of estuary life. The use of black and white photos was also really clever as it didn’t make the estuary out to be a glossy, colourful place as most of the time it isn’t!

There are more shipwrecks on the floor of the estuary per square foot than anywhere else along the UK coastline and I loved hearing the stories of those, especially of the London and the Montgomery and those who have dived down to see them. Having recently visited an exhibition of items from the London at the local museum I found these chapters to be most enlightening.

It’s a book I’ve learned so much from about the local area and found it to be brilliantly written and so absorbing to read.

★★★★★

#BookReview INSIDE OUT by DEMI MOORE #nonfiction #LibraryLoveChallenge

ABOUT THE  BOOK

Famed American actress Demi Moore at last tells her own story in a surprisingly intimate and emotionally charged memoir.

For decades, Demi Moore has been synonymous with celebrity. From iconic film roles to high-profile relationships, Moore has never been far from the spotlight—or the headlines.

Even as Demi was becoming the highest paid actress in Hollywood, however, she was always outrunning her past, just one step ahead of the doubts and insecurities that defined her childhood. Throughout her rise to fame and during some of the most pivotal moments of her life, Demi battled addiction, body image issues, and childhood trauma that would follow her for years—all while juggling a skyrocketing career and at times negative public perception. As her success grew, Demi found herself questioning if she belonged in Hollywood, if she was a good mother, a good actress—and, always, if she was simply good enough.

As much as her story is about adversity, it is also about tremendous resilience. In this deeply candid and reflective memoir, Demi pulls back the curtain and opens up about her career and personal life—laying bare her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her marriages, her struggles balancing stardom with raising a family, and her journey toward open heartedness. Inside Out is a story of survival, success, and surrender—a wrenchingly honest portrayal of one woman’s at once ordinary and iconic life.

my review

This was a really fascinating insight into the life of a movie star – from a trouble and very unconventional childhood, through to dealing with fame and the stresses of family life in the public eye.


I love watching her films so to get a glimpse of the life she was living off camera was a real eye opener and
she wasn’t afraid to share the darker side of her life, alongside the good times, and it was so interesting to look back on her childhood and the impact that her warring parents had on her and how she never had a settled home life.


I loved reading about the ‘brat pack’ movies she was part of along with her marriages to Bruce Willis and Ashton Kucher, and how motherhood was the time she felt happiest and content. I never knew about the ill health she suffered as a child and how addictions really plagued her and seeing her childhood you can understand why she often sought comfort in the wrong things.


There are some great photographs as well which I always love to see in a memoir and it was fascinating to read about the good, the bad and the ugly parts of her life. Many shy away from confronting the darker times in their life but she speaks honestly about the self doubt she was plagued by and how she tried, and often failed, as a mother to bring some stability to her children despite the fact she never had that when she was growing up.


It’s always nice to see behind the tabloid stories and get a different perspective on someone  in the public eye and I found this memoir refreshingly honest and quick and easy to read as well!


★★★★

#BookReview THE BEAUTIFUL ONES by PRINCE #nonfictionnovember

ABOUT THE BOOK

From Prince himself comes the brilliant coming-of-age-and-into-superstardom story of one of the greatest artists of all time—featuring never-before-seen photos, original scrapbooks and lyric sheets, and the exquisite memoir he began writing before his tragic death.

Prince was a musical genius, one of the most talented, beloved, accomplished, popular, and acclaimed musicians in history. He was also a startlingly original visionary with an imagination deep enough to whip up whole worlds, from the sexy, gritty funk paradise of “Uptown” to the mythical landscape of Purple Rain to the psychedelia of “Paisley Park.” But his most ambitious creative act was turning Prince Rogers Nelson, born in Minnesota, into Prince, the greatest pop star of his era.

The Beautiful Ones is the story of how Prince became Prince—a first-person account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him. The book is told in four parts. The first is composed of the memoir he was writing before his tragic death, pages that brings us into Prince’s childhood world through his own lyrical prose. The second part takes us into Prince’s early years as a musician, before his first album released, through a scrapbook of Prince’s writing and photos. The third section shows us Prince’s evolution through candid images that take us up to the cusp of his greatest achievement, which we see in the book’s fourth section: his original handwritten treatment for Purple Rain—the final stage in Prince’s self-creation, as he retells the autobiography we’ve seen in the first three parts as a heroic journey.

The book is framed by editor Dan Piepenbring’s riveting and moving introduction about his short but profound collaboration with Prince in his final months—a time when Prince was thinking deeply about how to reveal more of himself and his ideas to the world, while retaining the mystery and mystique he’d so carefully cultivated—and annotations that provide context to each of the book’s images.

This work is not just a tribute to Prince, but an original and energizing literary work, full of Prince’s ideas and vision, his voice and image, his undying gift to the world. 

PURCHASE LINKS

hive.co.uk  £14.99

whsmith  £17.50

foyles – signed edition £25.00

MY REVIEW

It’s obviously not as in depth as was originally planned by Prince and the author, following the sad death of Prince not long after the project was started, but what we do get is a wonderful insight into the man behind the music. His childhood memories, handwritten lyrics, stunning photos alongside recollections of his evolution as a musical artist. A beautiful book about a beautiful soul.

And with the author, Dan Piepenbring, adding his own thoughts and memories of the time he did share with Prince in the months before his death, we got to hear about how Prince was hoping to begin a new chapter of his life and allowing more people to learn more about him as a person through his own words. There are also little soundbites featured from interviews that he made throughout his career which add another layer of understanding to how he saw himself and how others may have perceived him. He was never afraid of being outspoken or different and his approach to creating new personas and sounds just became second nature to him as he looked to evolve over the years both musically and personally.

It is upsetting that the whole concept of this book wasn’t able to be seen through to the conclusion but I think what we do get is a fitting tribute to an astonishing musician and person and I found it to be a moving and absorbing read.

★★★★★