Non-Fiction

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Cover image for Featherhood by Charlie Gilmour

Featherhood by Charlie Gilmour: Of birds and fathers

I suspect I wouldn’t have read Charlie Gilmour’s memoir had it not been for the persuasive, clearly heartfelt enthusiasm of its editor coupled with a great quote in the letter which accompanied the proof. Gilmour’s name may be familiar to many through his stepfather, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, or his brief period of notoriety …

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Be My Guest by Priya Basil: Reflections on Food, Community and the Meaning of Generosity

When I spotted Priya Basil’s beautifully jacketed Be My Guest it was the third word in its subtitle that caught my eye. Food is pretty high up my agenda, mixing well with that other passion, travel. Basil’s book looked like the sort of comfort reading that would restore my faith in human nature which has …

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Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship

Regular readers will know that I’m not one for words like ‘charming’ and ‘delightful’ – smacks too much of tweeness for me – but when I read the pitch for Isabel Vincent’s Dinner with Edward, they immediately popped into my head. Another one was ‘Christmas’, but that’s the old bookseller in me. Vincent’s book tells …

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The Outermost House by Henry Beston: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod

Henry Beston’s The Outermost House is something of an American nature classic, an account of the year he spent living on a beach near Eastham, Massachusetts not far from the very tip of Cape Cod in the 1920s. This new edition comes with charming illustrations by Pete Smith who also designed its beautiful jacket. An …

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Childless Voices by Lorna Gibb: Stories of Longing, Loss, Resistance and Choice

Back in 2015 I reviewed Lorna Gibb’s first novel, A Ghost’s Story, a fascinating exploration of belief and longing to believe set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century spiritualism. I follow her on Twitter so knew she was writing something about childlessness and hoped I’d be offered it for review. It’s a state she and I …

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Browse: Love Letters to Bookshops Around the World edited by Henry Hitchings

This is the kind of book I’d have had stacked up at till points back in my bookselling days, aiming it squarely at the Christmas stockings of the bookish. It brought to mind Jorge Carrión’s Bookshops which I reviewed here a few years ago but Browse is much more of a book to dip into. …

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The Sunday Times Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, in association with the University of Warwick Shortlist: Kings of the Yukon by Adam Weymouth

I used to read a lot of travel writing before it was taken over by authors carting kitchen appliances round with them as a gimmick. I blame Bill Bryson: enjoyable as his books were they seemed to foster a demand for comedy in the genre, not an accusation to be made of Adam Weymouth, I’m …

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The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer Of The Year Award, in association with The University of Warwick: The Reading Cure by Laura Freeman

One of the many good things about shadow judging this award is that it’s made me review non-fiction. It’s not that I don’t read it but the last book I reviewed that wasn’t fiction was back in May. Laura Freeman’s The Reading Cure was already in my sights before the shortlist was announced but if …

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