Posted by: billpurdue | January 8, 2009

37 Spent all your book tokens yet?

…….no? – I haven’t either; it takes me a while to decide how to make the most of my tokens, but I expect they might burn a hole in my pocket before long. I’ll tell you what I bought when I’ve bought them. I have bought a much reduced book though: Carol Klein’s Cook your own Veg [Octopus £16.99 9781845334079 ] for only a fiver. There are some fantastic book bargains around at the moment in all the major bookshops, especially if you like the big glossy lavishly illustrated tomes (like the Dorling Kindersley doorstop sized stuff) or the popular biographies and cookbooks.

January always seems to be the month when not a lot happens – we are all waiting for the Spring and hopefully better weather. Well, whilst you’re waiting there’s plenty of reading to be done!

I ‘ve been having a good browse in bookshops again – this time in Waterstone’s in the centre of Derby (on St. Peter’s Street). This is a very pleasant shop on 3 floors though much smaller than Waterstone’s in Nottingham. Sadly they don’t have room for a coffee shop, but in some ways I’m glad they didn’t move into the new Westfield Shopping Centre. Being a fan of the BBC series “Coast” I took a good look at the Coast from the Air [ BBC £25 9781846072666] by Neil Oliver and was rather disappointed. It’s nothing to do with Mr Oliver’s flowing locks (I’m sure they must be a health and safety hazard!) but the mediocre quality of the photographs – definitely a coffee table book. For the price I didn’t think that it was very good value for money but not far away along the shelf  I found another book on a similar theme which I thought was much better value: The Living Coast [Last Refuge Ltd, £14.99 9780955866609]  by Christopher Somerville (who was involved with the production of the first “Coast” book) with photographs by Dae Sasitorn (is that an anagram of something or his/her real name?!) and Andrew Warren. This book is smaller in format than Coast from the Air but has much better and more photographs with informative captions. I’ve put it on my slowly lengthening “wants” list.

If you’re looking for a spot of silliness to brighten up the cold January days, then perhaps Deranged Book for Old Timers by Marcus Waring [ Summersdale £9.99 9781840246919] might be worth a try. I didn’t get chance to look at it in detail, but it seems to have been well recieved: it’s a sort of “how to grow old disgracefully” book with a “Dangerous Book for…” style cover. It should entertain anyone over 50 and might raise a chuckle or two for those “under age”. The old timers’ guide to texting and twenty things to do with knitting needles are good fun, I’m told.

A similar book that I would find even funnier (if the promotional video is anything to go by – look it up on Amazon) is the Dastardly Book for Dogs [Harper Collins Entertainment £10.99 978000726] .

Talking about “growing old disgracefully”, I remember an autobiography by that eccentric actress Hermione Gingold with just that title. It’s now out of print, but if you can get hold of a copy, I understand it’s a really good read.

A spot of local history to finish off: Bolsover: Castle, Town and Colliery by Philip Riden and Dudley Fowkes [ Phillimore £14.99 9781860774843] is a well illustrated and quite detailed history of the area, from its rural beginnings to the building of the castle, the era of King Coal right up to the “post-industrial” present – well worth a good look.

In a future posting – another visit to a local library based book group.

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