Non-Fiction

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This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett: Which is very much more than that

I’m a huge Ann Patchett fan and when I spotted her memoir in Bloomsbury’s catalogue it seemed the next best thing to a new novel. When it arrived I was a little disappointed as it turns out to be a collection of essays rather than continuous prose but after gobbling them all down I’ve come …

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The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin: Good for whatever ails you

The Novel Cure is an absolute treat for bibliophiles, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Compiled by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin who set up what must be the first bibliotherapy practise in 2008, it’s a set of literary prescriptions for ailments, worries and all that life throws at us, from coping with …

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Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya von Bremzen: Food, family and history all served up on a plate

With an ironic nod to Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, food writer Anya von Bremzen and her mother set about recreating a series of meals emblematic of ten decades of Russian and Soviet cooking rather like Julia Powell’s tribute to her (almost) namesake in Julie and Julia. Von Bremzen and her mother …

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Meander by Jeremy Seal: When a meander becomes a bit of a plod

Having already written the acclaimed A Fez of the Heart about Turkey and spent many years as a tour guide there, Jeremy Seal clearly has a passion for the country. Meander is a testament to that passion, charting his journey along the river which divides the district of Anatolia – the frontier between west and …

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A quintessential English summer’s day and The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit

Saturday was absolutely gorgeous in my part of the world. Two weeks ago we had planned to spend it wandering around eleven open gardens in a village not too far from us fully expecting that it would come to nothing as we couldn’t quite believe the weather would hold. The village is Mells and it’s …

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Hello World

As anyone who’s started a WordPress blog knows, the first dummy post is generated for you headed ‘Hello World’. Given that this is a blog about books and that I’ve just finished reading design critic Alice Rawsthorn’s fascinating book, Hello World, it seemed appropriate to let the heading stand. Rawsthorn knocks designers off the pedestal …

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