The Power of Geography by Tim Marshall

The Power of Geography: Ten Maps That Reveal the Future of Our World was published this year (2021) and is a sequel to Prisoners of Geography which I wrote about here.In that book Tim Marshall focused on the fact that geography has played a major role in history. In this new book he explores ten … Continue reading The Power of Geography by Tim Marshall

Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald

Helen Macdonald is a British writer, poet, naturalist and historian of science. Vesper Flights was published in 2020 and is a collection of forty-one of short essays that point the reader to ways of seeing the world from a different perspective to their own.Hard science gives us evidence of the harm that results from our … Continue reading Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald

Crooked House by Agatha Christie (1949)

Crooked House is one of Agatha Christie’s special favourites - she said that writing it was pure pleasure and she considered this book one of her best. “I saved it up for years, thinking about it, working it out, saying to myself: ‘one day, when I’ve plenty of time, and want to really enjoy myself- … Continue reading Crooked House by Agatha Christie (1949)

Half Lives by Lucy Jane Santos

Half Lives: The Unlikely History of Radium by Lucy Jane Santos takes the reader through a cultural history of radium. As she points out, radioactivity is everywhere - in the Earth’s crust, in our homes and even in us. It is ubiquitous and that troubles us; but this was not the case in the late … Continue reading Half Lives by Lucy Jane Santos

In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

In Order to Live is an astonishing story of endurance, courage, and love. Yeonmi Park was thirteen years old when she and her mother escaped from North Korea. In Order to Live tells their incredible story of survival, suffering, and eventual freedom. I’ve always had a fascination with the Cold War and Communism in general, … Continue reading In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

An Episode of Sparrows

An Episode of Sparrows is another perceptive and sensitive novel by Rumer Godden. Godden’s writing is spare and unsentimental with a gritty realism, but also much beauty. In the preface to this book she wrote: 'Finally the time came when I had to tell myself miserably, “You have squandered, muddled, and wasted everything, everything from opportunity … Continue reading An Episode of Sparrows

Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge (1949)

Gentian Hill is a book that is based partly on history and partly on legend. Anthony, a fifteen year old orphan, became a midshipman in the British Navy after the unexpected death of his grandmother who had brought him up after both his parents died. The British were fighting Napoleon and Anthony, only two months … Continue reading Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge (1949)

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

Aleppo was a beautiful city before the civil war brought unrest and violence to Syria. The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri provides a glimpse of this beauty before the civil war swept Syria with violence and destruction. Nuri was a beekeeper and his wife an artist whose paintings of rural and urban areas of … Continue reading The Beekeeper of Aleppo

A Woman in Berlin (1954)

A Woman in Berlin is a firsthand account of the Red Army’s entry into Berlin during the last days of World War II. The anonymous author was a thirty-four year old female journalist who was living in the city at the time. Berlin had been bombed extensively and ninety percent of its buildings were destroyed. There … Continue reading A Woman in Berlin (1954)