The book seller's choice
PUBLISHED: 08:37 30 January 2014 | UPDATED: 08:37 30 January 2014
copyright: Archant 2013
One Summer: America 1927
Bill Bryson (Doubleday, £20)
East Anglian resident Bill Bryson happens to be one of this country’s favourite writers of narrative non-fiction. His latest focuses on a specific summer in the history of his native country: The birth of talking pictures and the invention of television; a young aviator named Lindbergh who became, that summer, the most famous man on earth; a sculptor with a mad plan to carve giant heads into an inaccessible mountain called Rushmore; all these things and many more have Bryson’s characteristic humour and authority brought to bear on them.
Under A Mackerel Sky: A Memoir
Rick Stein (Ebury, £20)
There are, as usual, a slew of celebrity autobiographies this autumn: David Jason, Jennifer Saunders, Alex Ferguson, Mary Berry and Morrissey to name just a few of them. I thought Rick Stein’s book stood out from this crowd because it has the feel of the author’s real voice (not a ghostwriter’s) and for its unflinching, sometimes painful honesty and willingness to confront the darker moments of the author’s life: His father’s suicide, wild teenage years, the ups and downs of his businesses and marriage. There are plenty of lighter moments, though – and of course Chalky the terrier isn’t forgotten!
The Further Adventures Of The Owl And The Pussycat
By Julia Donaldson and Charlotte Voake (Puffin, £10.99)
Julia Donaldson is simply one of the best-loved children’s authors of our time, the creator of The Gruffalo among many other characters. She always loved Lear’s verse and has now continued his famous verse story in a book beautifully illustrated by Charlotte Voake.
An Officer And A Spy
By Robert Harris (Hutchinson, £18.99)
You might think a fictional retelling of the Dreyfus case would lack suspense (the historical facts are the facts), but Harris is at his absolute best and the author of Fatherland and Pompeii has created yet another brilliant page-turner.
Masterpieces: Art And East Anglia
Edited by Ian Collins (East Publishing, paperback edition £25, hardback £35)
It’s hard to describe just how wonderful the Sainsbury Centre Masterpieces exhibition is. If you haven’t been, please go! Whether you get there or not, this beautiful and informative book brings together many fine images of the exhibits along with fascinating essays on them by experts in the field.
My Christmas stocking book
By Heston Blumenthal (Bloomsbury, £125)
I couldn’t justify the price tag, but would love to receive this as a gift. Everyone knows The Fat Duck restaurant, but this book celebrates the recipes from Heston’s latest restaurant venture, Dinner in Knightsbridge. Like the food in the restaurant, the book is big, quirky, sumptuous and very expensive. The snail porridge recipe is particularly recommended . . .
Reading with dinosaurs
If you think you know the world of dinosaurs, then think again, for it grows stranger and more fascinating all the time. Norfolk author Keiron Pim has drawn from a longstanding fascination with the subject to create a rich, accessible and up-to-date guide to the most amazing animals ever to walk this planet.
From the latest research on famous creatures such as Tyrannosaurus and Diplodocus through to a host of stunning recent discoveries, Keiron introduces us to hundreds of these mind-boggling creatures in mesmerising detail.
The Bumper Book of Dinosaurs (Square Peg, £18.99) was published on November 21 and is filled with fun facts and gory details, ancient history and modern discovery, explaining everything from how they fell extinct to where in Britain you can find their fossils and footprints. Beautifully illustrated by Italian artist Fabio Pastori, the book is sure to delight readers of all ages.
Keiron lives in Norwich with his wife and three daughters, and until this year worked on our sister newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press, as a feature writer and books editor.