Non-Fiction

If you would prefer a searchable / sortable linear index for this category click here
Cover image for The Utopians by Anna Neima

The Utopians by Anna Neima: ‘Absurdity, possibility and hope’  

I became interested in utopian societies as an idealistic teenager when I learnt about Welsh philanthropist Robert Owen‘s experimental socialist community in New Harmony, Indiana. Then I read about the Whiteway Colony in Gloucestershire whose original owners burnt their deeds in the name of egalitarianism. Anna Neima’s The Utopians explores six such communities, their aspirations, …

The Utopians by Anna Neima: ‘Absurdity, possibility and hope’   Read More »

Cover image for White Spines by Nicholas Royle

White Spines by Nicholas Royle: Confessions of a Book Collector

I’m a reader rather than a collector which is probably a good thing, keeping my book acquisitions clear of duplicates (or worse) bought because I couldn’t resist a new edition’s cover. Nicholas Royle is both but his collecting habits are very particular: his imprint of choice is Picador, the white spined variety although he has …

White Spines by Nicholas Royle: Confessions of a Book Collector Read More »

Cover image for Ex-Libris by Michiko Kakutani

Ex-Libris by Michiko Kakutani (illustrated by Dana Tanamachi): A life in books

You might be forgiven for thinking that’s a self-referential subtitle but the life it refers to is Michiko Kakutani’s, the New York Times’ book critic from 1983 to her retirement in 2017, renowned for her incisive criticism and knowledge. The beautifully presented Ex-Libris is a testament to her consuming passion for literature, listing over one …

Ex-Libris by Michiko Kakutani (illustrated by Dana Tanamachi): A life in books Read More »

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 …

Featherhood by Charlie Gilmour: Of birds and fathers Read More »

Cover image

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 …

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

Cover image

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 …

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

Cover image

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 …

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