BOOKMARK October 2022 Book recommendations
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The Killing Tide by Lin Anderson
(Pan Macmillan, 2022)
Lin Anderson’s The Killing Tide (ISBN: 9781529033694, paperback). The Killing Tide is a fast-paced read. Balancing up the strong sense of menace and threat is a familiar family of investigators – not always the most comfortable or congenial of characters, but people who have each other’s backs. There is also a strong sense of place, particularly in the description of Orkney and its visceral weather. I’m looking forward to starting Lin’s newest book, The Party House – after I’ve got it signed at the Festival!
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
(Harper Collins, 2019)
My fiction recommendations this month must include the late Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy. They are lengthy and the style doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I loved these books and will be re-reading them. They put us right in the heart of Henry VIII’s court, and follow the unfolding intrigues, plots and political shenanigans from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell: a blacksmith’s son, lawyer and statesman, who rose to Lord Privy Seal before his dramatic fall. While the headline story is probably well-known, the telling has a contemporary, personal and immediate feel: written in the present tense, the reader is a spectator, sat, invisible, on Cromwell’s shoulder. The stakes are high and the politics are brutal. “Once the queen’s head is severed, he walks away. A sharp pang of appetite reminds him that it is time for a second breakfast, or perhaps an early dinner…. The witnesses, who have knelt for the passing of the soul, stand up and put on their hats. Under the hats, their faces are stunned.” – the opening lines from the third book, The Mirror & The Light. Publication details for the trilogy • Wolf Hall: ISBN: 9780008381691, 2019 • Bring Up The Bodies: ISBN: 9780008430009, 2019 • The Mirror & The Light: ISBN: 9780007481002, 2021 • OR the trilogy is available as hardback, slipcase gift edition: ISBN: 9780008424510
The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono
(Vintage Publishing, 2022)
Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees, which has recently been republished (ISBN: 9781784878016). I was delighted to be introduced to this book by one of our customers. It is two tales in one. The first is the fictional story of the solitary shepherd, Elzeard Bouffier, who quietly walks through the valleys of Provence, planting trees; gradually bringing the wind-swept and desolate region back to verdant life – not only for the plants, but for the people living there. The second tale is how this came to be written and published: a book that went viral before social media; an illustration of the power of words. Above all, it is a story of hope, on so many levels.
Goshawk Summer: The Diary of an Extraordinary Season in the Forest by James Aldred
(Elliot & Thompson, 2022)
Goshawk Summer: The Diary of an Extraordinary Season in the Forest by James Aldred (ISBN: 9781784878016) won the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing. A wildlife cameraman, Aldred looks at what happens to nature when we are no longer there. Set in the New Forest, during the first lockdown, he observes the entrancing magic of wildlife in an extraordinary season. Empty of people but filled with birdsong and new life.
Coldiz: Prisoners of the Castle by Ben MacIntyre
Ben MacIntyre’s Coldiz: Prisoners of the Castle (ISBN: 9780241408520). An infamous time, and an infamous place: a hilltop Gothic castle, deep in Nazi Germany, where captured British Officers spent their war plotting their escape. However, as usual, Ben MacIntyre digs beyond the headlines, revealing a whole gamut of personalities, behaviours and social backgrounds: a fraught captive society, under the microscope. He brings out the true depth of courage and resilience shown by the imprisoned men, and the full colour and drama of their imaginative, desperate attempts to escape.