Birds in the Ancient World: Winged Words by Jeremy Mynott

Reviewed by Liz Dexter Jeremy Mynott is both a classical scholar and a writer on birds, and his love and deep knowledge of both areas shine through in this fascinating and rather wonderful book. From the preface, where he describes the variety of birds to be found in Athens and Rome, to the epilogue, which…

Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Colour by David Coles

Reviewed by Liz Dexter This truly spectacular book would grace any coffee table with ease, but it’s more than just a pretty face, with fascinating facts in abundance and offers a good read to anyone interested in art, colour or indeed chemistry. After an introduction to the author, who runs a small paint-making company in…

The Way Home: Tales from a life without technology by Mark Boyle

Reviewed by Rebecca Foster It’s common practice nowadays, when publicizing a book review published in an online venue, to tag the author on social media. Provided I’ve been able to write a broadly positive review, I think of it as a nice way to reassure an author that someone has been reading and enjoying their…

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Reviewed by Liz Dexter I felt a little overwhelmed facing up to reviewing this book, as there have been many reviews published since it came out in March this year. But then, looking at those reviews, you notice something: most of them are by women. Because, inevitably it seems, this will have been ‘othered’, passed…

Little Boy by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Reviewed by Karen Langley American poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti is perhaps more regularly acknowledged nowadays for his pivotal role in pioneering the Beat Generation; from founding the famous City Lights bookshop in San Francisco, to championing writers like Kerouac and Ginsberg, he was a crucial element in the success of the Beat authors. Yet he’s also…

Horizon by Barry Lopez

Reviewed by Peter Reason Barry Lopez is one of the greats of ‘nature writing’ (although he dislikes the term, as it seems do most ‘nature writers’!). He is most widely known for Arctic Dreams: Imagination and desire in a northern landscape, which is widely regarded as a classic. His non-fiction includes Of Wolves and Men,…

Cocoa An Exploration of Chocolate, With Recipes – Sue Quinn

Reviewed by Hayley Anderton There are all sorts of reasons I pick up cookbooks to look at: I like the cover, I like the author, the subject grabs me, someone has recommended it, and so on. The only reason I’ll buy it though is if it passes the flick test – if I don’t want…

Vagina A Re-Education – Lynn Enright

Reviewed by Hayley Anderton I might not have picked this book up if I hadn’t realised I was vaguely squeamish about saying the word vagina, or writing it, publicly. My family and friends are not noticeably prudish yet we talk in euphemisms, or don’t talk at all, about this one part of our bodies. A…

Forms of Enchantment: Writings on Art & Artists by Marina Warner

Reviewed by Helen Parry Although Marina Warner is perhaps best known (and deservedly) for her magnificent work on fairy tales, she has long been writing about other aspects of culture: from her exploration of the cult of the Virgin Mary in Alone of All her Sex, to figures of fear and horror in No Go…

War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line by David Nott

Reviewed by Rebecca Foster Looking out from my inconsequential life, I’m often envious of people who save lives on a regular basis – doctors, surgeons, EMTs, firefighters, and those everyday heroes who dive in to save someone who’s drowning. Maybe I’ve recommended a book that provided some much-needed entertainment or reassurance, or kept overseas scientists…

Europe: A Natural History by Tim Flannery

Reviewed by Peter Reason A natural history, Tim Flannery tells us, encompasses both the natural and the human worlds. This book attends to three big questions: How was Europe formed? How was its extraordinary history discovered? And why did Europe become so important in the world? Flannery – palaeontologist, explorer, conservationist with a wider range…

The Photographer at Sixteen by George Szirtes

Reviewed by Rob Spence This remarkably compelling memoir is, surprisingly, the first prose publication of George Szirtes, one of our most distinguished poets. At its centre is the disquieting life of his mother, Magda, and its culmination in an ambulance accident following a suicide attempt at the age of fifty-one in 1975. Szirtes, in a…

With the End in Mind by Kathryn Mannix (pbk)

Reviewed by Annabel Shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize in 2018 this book, which is full of wisdom and compassion, was one of the highlights of a strong shortlist. Although it didn’t win, this is a book that everyone would benefit from reading – it helped me a lot. Kathryn Mannix is a pioneering doctor,…

I am Dynamite! : A Life of Friedrich Nietzsche by Sue Prideaux

Reviewed by Max Dunbar Alpha males in print tend to be omega males in real life. Friedrich Nietzsche was not rich during his lifetime. He had one job, at the University of Basel, teaching a subject he disliked. The books that he considered his real work went out on small publishers at a return of…

The Real Enid Blyton by Nadia Cohen

Reviewed by Elaine Simpson-Long When I was a little girl I used to receive the latest Famous Five book by Enid Blyton every Christmas. I am pretty sure my mum bought these as it guaranteed that I would be nice and quiet for a few hours in the afternoon as I sat and read it…

The Adventures of Owen Hatherley in the Post-Soviet Space by Owen Hatherley

Reviewed by Karen Langley Author Owen Hatherley has carved out a niche for himself as one of the UK’s foremost commentators on matters architectural and political; his work exists at the point where these intersect with aesthetics; and his latest chunky tome, a fascinating volume from Repeater Books, tackles all three in a work that…

Dramatic Exchanges by Daniel Rosenthal (Editor)

Reviewed by Harriet When we think of London’s National Theatre, most of us will envisage the great concrete complex on the South Bank of the Thames, designed by Denis Lasdun and opened in 1976. With its three stages, the building has the capacity to seat audiences of up to 2500 people a night, and has…

Where Shall We Run To? by Alan Garner

Reviewed by Annabel. I’ve been a fan of Alan Garner’s novels ever since my childhood when I first encountered The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and its sequel The Moon of Gomrath in the 1960s. I can think of few books that are imbued with such a sense of place as that pair, being set at Alderley…

The Women’s Atlas by Joni Seager

Reviewed by Liz Dexter On this book there’s a quote from Catherine Mayer, Co-Founder of the Women’s Equality Party: “The most important book that will be published this year” and it’s probably one of the most important books to be published EVERY year. All the information we maybe turn our faces away from, not wanting…