Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Book recommendation: The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres

In the brief golden years of King Edward VII’s reign, Rosie McCosh and her three very different sisters are growing up in an eccentric household in Kent, with their neighbours the Pitt boys on one side and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood adventure are shadowed by the approach of war that will engulf them on the cusp of adulthood. When the boys end up scattered along the Western Front, Rosie faces the challenges of life for those left behind. Confused by her love for two young men - one an infantry soldier and one a flying ace - she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War? Louis de Bernières’ magnificent and moving novel follows the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters as they strike out to seek what happiness can be built from the ruins of the old world. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book recommendation: How the Law Works by Gary Slapper

How the Law Works is a refreshingly clear and reliable guide to the legal system in the UK. Offering interesting and comprehensive coverage, it makes sense of all the curious features of the law in day to day life and in current affairs. Explaining the law and legal jargon in plain English, it provides an accessible entry point to the different types of law and legal techniques, as well as the impact of European law and human rights law. In addition to explaining the role of judges, lawyers, juries and parliament, it clarifies the mechanisms behind criminal and civil law. How the Law Works is essential reading for anyone approaching law for the first time, or for anyone who is interested in an engaging introduction to the subject’s bigger picture. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book recommendation: Sweet Caress: The Many Lives of Amory Clay by William Boyd

Amory's first memory is of her father doing a handstand. She has memories of him returning on leave during the First World War. But his absences, both actual and emotional, are what she chiefly remembers. It is her photographer uncle Greville who supplies the emotional bond she needs, and, when he gives her a camera and some rudimentary lessons in photography, unleashes a passion that will irrevocably shape her future. A spell at boarding school ends abruptly and Amory begins an apprenticeship with Greville in London, living in his flat in Kensington, earning two pounds a week photographing socialites for fashionable magazines. But Amory is hungry for more and her search for life, love and artistic expression will take her to the demi monde of Berlin of the late 1920s, to New York of the 1930s, to the Blackshirt riots in London and to France in the Second World War where she becomes one of the first women war photographers. Her desire for experience will lead Amory to further wars, to lovers, husbands and children as she continues to pursue her dreams and battle her demons. In this enthralling story of a life fully lived, William Boyd has created a sweeping panorama of some of the most defining moments of modern history, told through the camera lens of one unforgettable woman, Amory Clay. It is his greatest achievement to date. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Book recommendation: The Law's Strangest Cases: Extraordinary But True Incidents from Over Five Centuries of Legal History (Strangest Series) by Peter Seddon

Author Peter Seddon gives life to over five centuries of bizarre, macabre and sometimes hilarious criminal cases. You'll be gripped by tales of murder, intrigue, crime, punishment and the pursuit of justice. Despite how unbelievable the stories banged up inside these pages may seem, Law's Strangest Cases promises to tell the truth, the whole truthand nothing but the truth about the most ludicrous criminal cases in legal history. Full of riotous and entertaining stories, this book is perfect for anyone who is doing time on a long stretch. Just don't try to steal it, or you may end up inside! Inside you'll encounter: * The only dead parrot ever to give evidence in a court of law * One of the most indigestible dilemmas - if you'd been shipwrecked 2,000 miles from home, would you have eaten Parker the cabin boy? * The doctor with the worst bedside manner of all time * The murderess who collected money from her mummified victim for 21 years. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Book recommendation: Dictator by Robert Harris

There was a time when Cicero held Caesar’s life in the palm of his hand. But now Caesar is the dominant figure and Cicero’s life is in ruins. Exiled, separated from his wife and children, his possessions confiscated, his life constantly in danger, Cicero is tormented by the knowledge that he has sacrificed power for the sake of his principles. His comeback requires wit, skill and courage – and for a brief and glorious period, the legendary orator is once more the supreme senator in Rome. But politics is never static and no statesman, however cunning, can safeguard against the ambition and corruption of others. Riveting and tumultuous, DICTATOR encompasses some of the most epic events in human history yet is also an intimate portrait of a brilliant, flawed, frequently fearful yet ultimately brave man – a hero for his time and for ours. This is an unforgettable tour de force from a master storyteller. Available from Amazon.