Thursday, 19 October 2017
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Tip and Run by Edward PaiceWorld War 1 - The Campaign in East AfricaLast June I was kindly lent a book called The Battle for the Bundu (Charles Miller, 1974: Macmillan). This book began to open for me an episode in WWI which is still very much closed for many people.  The war in East Africa was so costly in human and financial terms, and ultimately so futile, that the victorious powers chose to obscure as far as they could any accounting of the cost.  Another book has come to hand (by the speedy and efficient services of Amazon) called Tip and Run; the untold tragedy of the Great War in Africa (Edward Paice, 2008: Phoenix). 

This book offers much more detail and also discusses the relationships between the warring powers (Great Britain, Belgium, Portugal and to a lesser extent France and Italy on the one side and Germany and to a lesser extent Turkey on the other).

Diamond Star Halo by Tiffany MurrayA humorous and enchanting novel set in the 'rock and roll' 70's and 80's, it follows the formative years and journey to stardom of Fred and the young girl who grew up adoring him. 

Based in the family-run recording studio in the Welsh Marches, Diamond Star Halo was inspired by Tiffany Murray's own childhood, growing up at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire, where her Father was a producer and her Mother the in-house cook.  

A Small Death in LisbonAn engrossing and intricate tale, this murder thriller won a Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel.  It weaves together two intersecting periods spanning half a century of history, politics and social change.  In the late 1990s, a teenage girl’s body was found dumped onto the Paço de Arcos beach, just south of Lisbon.  The affable and very human Inspector Zé Coehlo, a widower living with his own teenage daughter, is drafted into the case.  Because the affluent parents of Catarina Sousa Oliveira had reported her missing, the victim’s identity is quickly established, but how could the death of such a young woman have resulted from events in Portugal more than 50 years ago?

The Gardens of PortugalA sumptuous coffee table book with glossy photographs and a lot of information, Helena Attlee has made garden history her subject for over 20 years. A busy lady, enthusiastic and well informed she writes and lectures on garden design and leads specialist tours throughout Portugal, Italy and Spain.

The book opens with an outline history of the principal gardens in Portugal. Twenty great gardens are featured, travelling from north to south, many of which lie around Lisbon and Porto. All of them borrow from the country’s rich sea-faring history bringing together a fusion of styles and ideas from east to west in a flamboyant mix.

The Good Plain CookThis is Bethan’s second novel. It is an evocative literary treat; think Upstairs, Downstairs meets Atonement.
Based very loosely on the lifestyles of Peggy Guggenheim, the 1930s bohemian artist and her reclusive, difficult lover, it is an unconventional look at family life over one hot summer.

The story is set in rural Sussex in the summer of 1936. Kitty Allen, a young-for-her-age, local girl answers an advertisement for a “Good Plain Cook” and sets to work at the seemingly idyllic summer home of the eccentric and forceful American and her communist lover, along with their children and an assortment of staff thrown in for good measure! The sultry humid never-ending days of summer reflect the simmering emotions and passions experienced by these wonderfully drawn characters.

Reiki Without RulesThis is a new book from Keith, a local author, explaining how the learning and experience of practicing Reiki has enabled him to become the person he is today.

The book gives a broad over-view of the subject and is aimed at those wishing to know more about Reiki healing in all its forms. Keith believes that it “is all things to all men” and determines in our own time if we are receptive to it.The book is a guide to using Reiki to help ourselves and others; enabling us to “go with the flow” and enjoy our lives following our natural instincts about things.


Rick Stein's Mediterranean EscapesStuffed full of appetizing recipes bursting with sunshine, covering a route from Corsica over to Sicily and then into Turkey and across to Morocco, this is as much a travelogue as a cookery book.

The legendary Mr. Stein needs no introduction to the British expat, as a renowned chef, a champion of the fruits of the sea in Britain and France; he seems equally at home these days, as a television presenter, as he is in the kitchen.

The Essential Guide for Reading GroupsThere has been a huge increase in the number of reading groups and small book clubs over the past few years. “Richard and Judy” are a household name in the UK and any book they choose to promote will fly off the shelf in the bookshop.

This book is designed to help new groups to get off the ground and also provides material for those already established. It is divided up helpfully into sections giving lots of advice on how to choose a title and get things moving.

Often, when a group of people meet up regularly the structure falls away and the evening turns into a sociable chit chat.