Monday, 22 April 2013

Book of the Week - BBC Proms Guide 2013

This week, we have chosen the BBC Proms Guide 2013 as our book of the week.

Running from 12th July to 7th September, the Proms enters its 119th year.  Whether you're a first-time visitor or an experienced Prommer, plan your summer through the 2013 BBC Proms season with the official Proms Guide. It contains: brand-new articles on featured composers, insights on performers, new music and Proms Plus events; introduction to the season from Roger Wright, Director of the BBC Proms and Controller of BBC Radio 3; full listings for every concert and event; repertoire, performers, time, location, ticket and broadcast information; and, details on how to book tickets. With beautiful photographs and images throughout, this official Proms Guide is the most comprehensive way to plan your summer's Proms visiting, watching and listening.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Book of the Week - The Hit

It's a glorious day today (at last - we've waited long enough!) and as it's Monday, it's time for our new book of the week.  This week, we recommend The Hit by David Baldacci.
When government hit man Will Robie is given his next target he knows he's about to embark on his toughest mission yet. He is tasked with killing one of their own, following evidence to suggest that fellow assassin Jessica Reel has been turned. She's leaving a trail of death in her wake including her handler.

Today, our man David is at the London Book Fair, where he'll be rubbing shoulders with other booksellers, suppliers, publishers, and maybe even a few authors too.  I'm sure he'll come back with details on all the most important books that are being published for the rest of the year.

Have a great day!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Books Published Today

Wow, there are so many books out today that we don't really know where to begin.  Here's the lowdown on just some of the new goodies out today.

Firstly, for the cricket fans, we've got the 150th Wisden Cricketers' Almanack and the 2013 Playfair Cricket Annual.

Wisden 2013 - the 150th edition - contains coverage of every first-class game in every cricket nation, and reports and scorecards for all Tests and ODIs. Including the eagerly awaited Notes by the Editor, the Cricketers of the Year awards, and some of the finest sports writing of the year - such as the brilliant obituaries - together with trenchant opinion, compelling features and comprehensive records, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack truly is a "must-have" for every cricket fan. A perennial bestseller in the UK.
It was the upset to end all upsets. On 8 April 1967 at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, a 100-1 outsider in peculiar blinkers sidestepped chaos extraordinary even by the Grand National's standards and won the world's toughest steeplechase. The jumps-racing establishment - and Gregory Peck, the Hollywood actor whose much-fancied horse was reduced to the status of an also-ran - took a dim view.
 But Foinavon, the dogged victor, and Susie, the white nanny goat who accompanied him everywhere, became instant celebrities. Within days, the traffic was being stopped for them in front of Buckingham Palace en route to an audience with the Duchess of Kent. Fan mail arrived addressed to 'Foinavon, England'.
 According to John Kempton, Foinavon's trainer, the 1967 race 'reminded everyone that the National was part of our heritage'. Foinavon's Grand National victory has become as much a part of British sporting folklore as the England football team's one and only World Cup win the previous year. The race has even spawned its own mythology, with the winner portrayed as a horse so useless that not even its owner or trainer could be bothered to come to Liverpool to see him run.
 Yet remarkably the real story of how Foinavon emerged from an obscure yard near the ancient Ridgeway to pull off one of the most talked-about victories in horseracing history has never been told. Based on original interviews with scores of people who were at Aintree on that rainswept day, or whose lives were in some way touched by the shock result, this book uses the story of this extraordinary race to explore why the Grand National holds tens of millions of people spellbound, year after year, for ten minutes on a Saturday afternoon in early spring.

"My Animals and Other Family" by Clare Balding is a funny, brave, tender story of self-discovery. 'I had spent most of my childhood thinking I was a dog, and suspect I had aged in dog years.' Clare Balding grew up in a rather unusual household. Her father a champion trainer, she shared her life with more than 100 thoroughbred racehorses, mares, foals and ponies, as well as an ever-present pack of boxers and lurchers.
 As a toddler she would happily ride the legendary Mill Reef and take breakfast with the Queen. She and her younger brother came very low down the pecking order. Left to their own devices, they had to learn life's toughest lessons through the animals, and through their adventures in the stables and the idyllic Hampshire Downs.
 From the protective Candy to the pot-bellied Valkyrie and the frisky Hattie, each horse and each dog had their own character and their own special part to play. The running family joke was that "women ain't people". Clare had to prove them wrong, to make her voice heard - but first she had to make sure she had something to say.
For more than twelve years, she has hiked across the countryside for the BBC Radio 4 series Ramblings. Clare has presented "Countryfile", "Britain's Hidden Heritage", "Britain By Bike", "Crufts", and "Famous & Fearless", and has appeared on "QI", "Have I Got News for You" and "Sport Relief". She has been voted RTS Sports Presenter of the Year and Racing Broadcaster of the Year.  Now out in paperback.
This is the perfect book for you if you are one of the many people who feel that gardening could be your ultimate pleasure if only you knew just that little bit more about it. The Daily Telegraph's much-loved columnist Helen Yemm manages to strike a happy balance between giving you enough information to get you going and not so much that it scares you or puts you off entirely. She dispenses invaluable advice, minus the mumbo jumbo, with refreshing humour and a clear understanding that not everyone has the wherewithal, in terms of time and finances, to spend every possible moment in the garden.
 So if you find yourself padding about your plot in your nightclothes without really knowing what to do, Gardening in Pyjamas will provide you with all the essential facts to nurture your growing passion.
Not just a name on a yoghurt pot, Yeo Valley is a real organic farm in the picturesque West Country. In this stunning book the family behind this very twenty-first-century farm serve up a slice of the good life, with a collection of over 100 mouthwatering recipes inspired by the traditions of the British farmhouse kitchen. From soups and pates to stews, casseroles, roasts, and pies, and from tarts and crumbles to puddings, cakes, breads, jams and chutneys, seasonal produce from the kitchen garden and rural surroundings is used to present a wonderful range of simple, heartwarming and tasty dishes.
 Informed by rural Britain's superb culinary heritage but given a modern twist, recipes range from Cheddar Farls Stuffed with Fried Eggs and Crispy Bacon to Broad Bean Hummus Toasts, Somerset Scrumpy Cake to Eton Mess Semifreddo, capturing the true taste of today's country cooking and bringing the fresh ingredients and seasonal flavours of a farmhouse kitchen into your own home. Stuffed full of details on selecting the best ingredients, eating seasonally and foraging, this book is an invaluable source of information as well as a delicious collection of recipes. Journeying from the dairy, farmyard and vegetable garden into the fields, hedgerows and woods and back to the kitchen to prepare a feast of home-grown produce, wild foods and quality local ingredients Yeo Valley's The Great British Farmhouse Cookbook is a celebration of modern country living and how to get involved with the land and the food you eat.
Three killers are on the rampage in the capital and dead bodies are piling up almost as fast as the police can count them. Alex Cross is in charge of all three investigations and has never been under more pressure. But with a crisis at home that threatens to tear his family apart, Alex's attention is divided.
 While Cross tracks the killers, he doesn't notice that someone is tracking him. Can Alex unravel the cases and find the killers in time? Or will he be the next dead body on the list?
Flavia Albia is the adopted daughter of a famous investigating family. In defiance of tradition, she lives alone on the colourful Aventine Hill, and battles out a solo career in a male-dominated world. As a woman and an outsider, Albia has special insight into the best, and worst, of life in ancient Rome.
 A female client dies in mysterious circumstances. Albia investigates and discovers there have been many other strange deaths all over the city, yet she is warned off by the authorities. The vigils are incompetent.
 The local magistrate is otherwise engaged, organising the Games of Ceres, notorious for its ancient fox-burning ritual. Even Albia herself is preoccupied with a new love affair: Andronicus, an attractive archivist, offers all that a love-starved young widow can want, even though she knows better than to take him home to meet the parents...As the festival progresses, her neighbourhood descends into mayhem and becomes the heartless killer's territory. While Albia and her allies search for him, he stalks them through familiar byways and brings murder ever closer to home.
 The Ides of April is vintage Lindsey Davis, offering wit, intrigue, action and a brilliant new heroine who promises to be as celebrated as Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina, her fictional predecessors.
The fourth book in the Science of Discworld series, and this time around dealing with The Really Big Questions, Terry Pratchett's brilliant new Discworld story. Judgement Day is annotated with very big footnotes (the interleaving chapters) by mathematician Ian Stewart and biologist Jack Cohen, to bring you a mind-mangling combination of fiction, cutting-edge science and philosophy. Marjorie Daw is a librarian, and takes her job - and indeed the truth of words - very seriously.
 She doesn't know it, but her world and ours - Roundworld - is in big trouble. On Discworld, a colossal row is brewing. The Wizards of Unseen University feel responsible for Roundworld (as one would for a pet gerbil).
 After all, they brought it into existence by bungling an experiment in Quantum ThaumoDynamics. But legal action is being brought against them by Omnians, who say that the Wizards' god-like actions make a mockery of their noble religion. As the finest legal brains in Discworld (a zombie and a priest) gird their loins to do battle - and when the Great Big Thing in the High Energy Magic Laboratory is switched on - Marjorie Daw finds herself thrown across the multiverse and right in the middle of the whole explosive affair.

As God, the Universe and, frankly, Everything Else is investigated by the trio, you can expect world-bearing elephants, quantum gravity in the Escher-verse, evolutionary design, eternal inflation, dark matter, disbelief systems - and an in-depth study of how to invent a better mousetrap.

The reluctant assassin is Riley, a Victorian boy who is suddenly plucked from his own time and whisked into the twenty-first century, accused of murder and on the run. Riley has been pulled into the FBI's covert W.A.R.P. operation (Witness Anonymous Relocation Program).

 He and young FBI Agent Chevie Savano are forced to flee terrifying assassin-for-hire Albert Garrick, who pursues Riley through time and will not stop until he has hunted him down. Barely staying one step ahead, Riley and Chevie must stay alive and stop Garrick returning to his own time with knowledge and power that could change the world forever.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Book of the Week - The Golden Egg

Twenty-one years ago, when a conductor was poisoned and the Questura sent a man to investigate, readers first met Commissario Guido Brunetti. Since 1992's Death at La Fenice, Donna Leon and her shrewd, sophisticated, and compassionate investigator have been delighting readers around the world. For her millions of fans, Leon's novels have opened a window into the private Venice of her citizens, a world of incomparable beauty, family intimacy, shocking crime, and insidious corruption.

This internationally acclaimed, bestselling series is widely considered one of the best ever written, and William Heinemann is thrilled to be publishing the twenty-second installment, The Golden Egg, in April 2013. When making routine enquiries into a possible bribery case that could embarrass the mayor - a humiliation Vice-Questore Patta is very keen to avoid - Commissario Brunetti receives a call from his wife, Paola, who is evidently very upset. The middle-aged deaf mute with the mental age of a child who helped out at the Brunetti's dry cleaners has been found dead - an 'accidental' overdose of his mother's sleeping pills - and for some reason Paola is distraught by the news.

To the neighbourhood he was just the 'boy' who helped out, but nobody knew much about him - not even his name. That a soul could have lived such a joyless life is too much for Paola to bear, and she asks Guido if he can find out what happened. It is a surprise to Brunetti just how little was known about this man-child - there are no official records to show he even existed.

The man's mother is angry and contradictory when questioned about his death, and Brunetti senses that there much more to the story than she is willing to tell. With the help of Inspector Vianello and the ever-resourceful Signorina Elettra, perhaps Brunetti can get to the truth and find some measure of solace.