Posted by: billpurdue | February 2, 2014

Two books which deserve to be read

1. Those of you who have read my  postings over a number of years will know that I am often on the lookout for interesting non-fiction titles which won’t make the top 20 bestsellers, but which I feel need publicising. An example of this type of book is “Farmageddon: the true cost of cheap meat” by Philip Lymbery and Isabel Oakeshott.

FarmageddonPhilip Lymbery is the CEO of the organization Compassion in World Farming, dedicate to the welfare of farm animals as opposed to pets and wild animals. We have had intensive factory farming for years, but Mr Lymbery warns of a new wave of industrialization which, he says, will bring with it “a deeply diminished countryside, surging disease, unhealthy food, and growing world hunger”.

The book has had favourable reviews from the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail and The Guardian, so I hope it will get the wide readership it deserves. It was published by Bloomsbury on January 30th (pbk £12.99)

2.  Last year I read and commented on a book by a Scandinavian author which was not a crime novel. “The Hundred Year Old Man who climbed out of the Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson was a publishing sensation. I thoroughly enjoyed it; in spite of being rather far fetched, it was really funny. Now another book with a similar theme and also by a Scandinavian author has appeared.

Little old lady“The Little Old Lady who Broke all the Rules” by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg is about a group of residents in an old people’s home who are fed up with the way they are treated by society. They leave their care home in a bid to launch a new career as thieves because they have noticed that prisoners are treated better in jail than residents in an old people’s home.

Ingelman-Sundberg says that she wrote the book because she got fed up with reading about cuts in welfare for the elderly. So whilst her book is full of humour, she is making a serious point about a society that has forgotten its human values. (Look out for a cover design that is similar to the book by Jonasson)

Recommended read

Peter Carey is one of very few writers in the world who have won the Booker Prize twice. ‘Oscar and Lucinda’ and ‘The True History of the Kelly gang’ are his Booker winners. Because Booker Prize winning novels are often considered to be fairly high brow (with a few exceptions), I’ve always thought that Peter Carey’s books might be unapproachable. His novel ‘Jack Maggs’ certainly isn’t.

Jack maggs‘Jack Maggs’ is set in London in 1837 and is a reworking of Charles Dickens’ novel ‘Great Expectations’. Jack Maggs has returned to London at great risk after deportation to Australia as a criminal. Maggs is searching for the man he calls his son, but must remain under cover for fear of execution if discovered. He finds a job as a footman for Percy Buckle, but attracts the attention of the neighbour Tobias Oates, who dabbles in mesmerism and hypnosis. Maggs agrees to be hypnotized, unwittingly revealing the truth about his origins and his quest.

This book has certainly changed my opinion of Peter Carey’s writings, so I may try a few of his other novels. His latest is ‘The Chemistry of Tears’ published in 2012. He has also written short stories, screenplays and non-fiction.

I’m reading…  “The Roundabout Man” by Clare Morrall. So far, so good. The full verdict next time.

Chad column: “BillonBooks”. The February column will be all about World Book Day which will be at the beginning of March.




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