Posted by: billpurdue | November 10, 2009

74 New goodies just out

Sandi ToksvigIt’s always difficult to keep pace with all the new titles appearing, so I’m trying to pick out a few that jump out and say “read me”. The first this week is the new Sandi Toksvig book called Chain of Curiosity [ Sphere £9.99 978-1847443458 ] which is a selection of her writings from her Sunday Telegraph column. I have to admit that I don’t often read the Sunday papers, so this would be new to me. I’ve always been a fan of Sandi Toksvig, especially when she chairs the “News Quiz” on BBC Radio 4. According to reports this new collection is bound to amuse: from the joys of World Pencil Day to the oddest way to meet a sticky end via school report vocabulary and applause etiquette. Sounds like a good one. Click here for a brief biography of Sandi on the BBC website

Alan TitchmarshWhen Alan Titchmarsh was fifteen years old, all he wanted to do was work in a garden. It was a way of getting away from school where he didn’t seem to fit in. This is the point in his life where the new volume of his autobiography starts, called Knave of Spades [Hodder £20 978-0340953044]. But Alan decided he wasn’t just going to work in the local garden centre and be content with that – no, he wanted a challenge and this led eventually to the first steps in radio and TV via college and Kew Gardens. If you want to read about Alan’s earliest memories, then you will need Nobbut a Lad , which is still available [Hodder Paperbacks £7.99 978-0340831182]. Meanwhile Trowel and Error (awful title!)[Hodder and Stoughton £9.99 978-0340765432], seems to be a selection of memorable moments and episodes from his life so far.

Simon kernickNow to fiction and the WHSmith book of the week last week was the brand new thriller from Simon Kernick; Target [Corgi £6.99 978-0552156615]. If you enjoy a book set in a world of drugs barons, prostitutes, hit men and bent coppers, then this is for you. Kernick’s books are centred around the ganglands of North London where wrongs are “put right” by the barrel of the gun or a severe beating. Whilst you will find a sense of humour in the books, the main features are the dramatic elements – shoot outs, torture and the like – these characterise Kernick’s books. In this, his eighth book, Rob Fallon joins  his best-friend’s girlfriend, Jenny, in her apartment in London’s West End after a drinking spree. Then two men break into the apartment, try to kill Rob and carry Jenny off. The police don’t seem to want to know and Jenny’s father claims she has gone abroad. Meaty stuff.

Marain keyesIf your stomach isn’t strong enough for that, then perhaps the latest from Marian Keyes might be more suitable: The Brightest Star in the Sky [ Michael Joseph £18.99 9780718149864]. The book opens with someone or something (the narrator) flying over the streets of Dublin and entering a block of flats, describing the domestic situations he/she/it finds. There’s an awkward family gathering in one flat and an argument between flatmates over the cleaning (or lack of it) in another. What this someone or something is you’ll have to read the book to find out – reviews have been a bit mixed, but mostly favourable.

Finally the Diagram Group’s 2009 prize for the oddest title of the year goes to The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-miligram Containers of Fromage Frais . It beat off several slightly racier titles for top place with a 32% share of the total vote. It is a nevertheless controversial title as the book was produced not by a living person, but by Professor Philip M Parker’s automated authoring invention, which produces a title on the basis of complex internet and database searches. Would that be cheating?

Next time – some new and recent local books


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