Showing posts from February, 2010

Book review: Love Poems

By Carol Ann Duffy Published by Picador Carol Ann Duffy’s Love Poems, a poetry collection published by Picador at the beginning of the year, will conquer you from the moment you lay eyes on its book jacket, deliciously decorated with dream-like patterns. However, you need to beware: the contents of this little volume are not as romantic as the cover might suggest. Or at least, not romantic in the conventional meaning of the word. The thirty-four poems selected were drawn from previous collections, such as The World’s Wife and Rapture, as well as the forthcoming The Bees, to be published in 2011. All the poems are joined by a common thread: love. This however, can take many shapes and appear in different nuances and combinations. Love and desire, as in Girlfriends: ‘That hot September night, we slept in a single bed/ naked, and our frail bodies the sweat/cooled and renewed itself’. Love and truthfulness, as in Valentine: ‘I give you an onion/ Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips/ poss

Book review: Pebble on the Beach

By Tony Diamond Published by QueenSpark Books On 28th April 1965, Barnardos took a group of children to Australia, in search of a new life and better opportunities. Aged 16, Anthony Roy Bates was one of those children and this is his story. Through the pages of Pebble on the Beach, that same boy, now in his sixties and with a new name, Tony Diamond, recalls his adventure. He might have only spent 9 months away from his home in Hove but they were most certainly 9 action-packed months. After the flight from London Heathrow, young Tony spends a few days in Sydney before being sent to work on a farmhouse at Scone, New South Wales. That is only going to be the first of several jobs and several places that see him becoming more and more determined to go back to England, even if that means having to stow away on a ship, failing in his escape plans and being arrested in New Zealand. You will follow him to the other end of the world and back, you will meet all the people that enriched his exper

Competition time: 3 copies of Clan

For a chance to win a copy of CLAN by David P Elliot simply follow me on Twitter and RT my competition-related message. (or you can follow the link on the right). For one extra entry become a follower of this blog too! Three copies available. The competition ends on February 28th at 14:00 GMT. Winners will be chosen at random and contacted on the same day. If you missed my review of the book, please click here:

Book review: My Favourite Ingredients

By Skye Gyngell Published by Quadrille After the success of A Year in My Kitchen, the chef of Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond, Surrey, comes back with a new and delightful cookbook, My Favourite Ingredients. A great addition to every kitchen that will ensure the success of any dinner with family and friends. Skye Gyngell explains her ‘produce driven’ approach to cooking and introduces us to sixteen of her key ingredients, which include asparagus, cherries, tomatoes, nuts and cheese. From the first few words of a beautifully written introduction, we learn about her development as a chef and her continuous discovery of new varieties and nuances of known ingredients. The recipes that make up this classy volume have clear instructions and follow a popular and healthy concept of sustainability. Admitting that fresh produce tastes better than fruit or vegetables that have flown around the world before landing on your kitchen table, the talented chef shows us how to skilfully match ingre

Book review: Mr Pip

By Lloyd Jones Published by John Murray In Mr Pip, New Zealand author Lloyd Jones takes us on a journey to a coastal village on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville. Once there, we enter the life of Matilda, a girl in her early teens, and her fellow villagers during the civil war of the 1990s. At first, life goes on as usual. There might be a blockade imposed on the island but the village can still rely on its fish, chickens and fruit. The only difference is that the local mine has closed and all the white men have left. All but one: Mr Watts, aka Pop Eye, whose wife, Grace, is a native of the island. With the departure of the white men, the school is left unattended but children are soon called back to the classroom as Mr Watts decides to be their teacher. The fact that Mr Watts has never taught before and that he has admittedly ‘no wisdom’ doesn’t prevent him from understanding what the children need: a distraction from talk of gunfire, ‘redskin’ soldiers, rebel fighters and h