Posted by: billpurdue | October 11, 2008

26 Indulging myself, the Man Booker Prize – and a little more browsing

I don’t often go into a bookshop without buying a book – what are bookshops for anyway? When I was browsing last week, I did indulge myself by buying a book on my favourite subject – railways. If you are a railway enthusiast, you can never have too many railway books – that’s something I often tell myself!


The book I bought was Raised on Steam [Silver Link Publishing £16.99 9781857942705 ] and is something I’ve been hanging my nose over for some time – ie. not an impulse buy! It’s a collection of railway photographs taken between the two world wars in various parts of the country, with an emphasis on Derbyshire, by Frank Carrier. It may only be a fairly slim paperback, but all the photos are on art paper and they are superb views of trains at high speed or studies of locomotives of all shapes and sizes at rest. There have been plenty of books of railway photos like these before, but I think these photos have a special quality about them – the superb definition, the lighting and the camera angle all have something to do with it, but perhaps it’s the way they have been carefully reproduced and presented in this book. A great book for steam railway locomotive enthusiasts.


Man Booker

It’s that time of year again when the Man Booker prize shortlist is announced, and for once we are told that the list comprises a lot of page turners, as opposed to the typical list of old, consisting of some rather high brow stuff. What’s more, the Booker is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year with an exhibition at the V&A in London.

Radio 4 has been including a slot in the Today Programme and you can find a quick guide to the books and their authors in the shortlist of 6 here. I was interested to hear Philip Hensher talking abut his novel The Northern Clemency [Fourth Estate £11.99 978-0007272488 ] which is about two lower middle class families living in Sheffield during the Thatcher years and is the longest (well over 700 pages) novel of the bunch. The book has already had lots of good things said about it and some say this one could be the winner.


More New(ish) Titles

Of all the BBC Gardeners’ World presenters, I think Carol Klein is the one who is always the most enthusiastic. I was given the book of her TV series Grow Your Own Veg [Mitchell Beazley £16.99 9781845332938 ] earlier this year and now she’s brought out two follow up titles : Grow Your Own Veg Journal [ Mitchell Beazley £9.99 9781845334710 ] and Cook Your Own Veg [Mitchell Beazley £16.99 978-1845334079 ]. I haven’t seen the journal, but I browsed through the cookery book and decided that I might put it on my “wish list”. For a brief taste of what she cooks up, look at the Guardian web page containing three recipes , one each for squash, chard and aubergine – perhaps not the easiest of vegetables to grow. I also had a look at Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food [ Michael Joseph £25 – but huge discounts are available 9780718148621] . This looks like the best cookbook he’s done so far – easy, healthy recipes.

A music book to end with: 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die [ Workman £12.99 9780761139638 ] by Tom Moon is part of the “Before You Die” series, but in a very different format. It covers all types of music from Classical to Jazz , Pop and Rock. Rather than approaching the book as a list of recordings I ought to listen to, I found myself looking up some of the classic tracks I used to enjoy in the past. For classical fans, it does recommend the best recordings of, say, a specific symphony, but perhaps the Penguin Guide does that rather better.


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