More about books

As a writer and editor, I have enjoyed many years meeting and interviewing many fascinating people, and visiting wonderful locations worldwide. Take a look at my website here for an archive of my published articles.

These days I also indulge my passion for books, reading and writing by interviewing authors, hosting events and sharing my reviews and recommendations.

For more than 10 years I co-hosted a book club on air for BBC Radio Suffolk with the afternoon presenter, Lesley Dolphin. You can listen again to our conversations by following the link below. 

In 2008 I launched an open book club for leading independent Browsers Bookshop in Woodbridge and we have been meeting each month ever since.

I also have the pleasure of chairing and organising author talks for children and adults at events and festivals thoughout the year.

Past events with Browsers Bookshop in Woodbridge include Alexander McCall Smith, Margaret Drabble, Victoria Hislop, Griff Rhys Jones, Kate Mosse, Deborah Moggach, Maggie O'Farrell, Michael Morpurgo, Robert Peston, Kate Humble, Max Hastings.

I've interviewed Simon Mayo for the First Light Festival; Simon Garfield, Anna Pavord and Melissa Harrison for The Cut Halesworth; Louise Doughty, Salley Vickers and Esther Freud for Felixstowe Book Festival; Barbara Erskine and Alan Johnson MP for Suffolk Libraries, and many more.

Each week I compile an e-newsletter offering book news, author events, my reviews and recommendations. If you'd like to receive it, please click here.

Thank you for reading
Catherine

What's on

I am always planning new events but at the moment I have nothing quite ready to announce.

Events Archive

Visit my archive pages for details of all events in recent years.

Listening in

For more than 10 years I’ve co-hosted a monthly book club on BBC Radio Suffolk with the presenter Lesley Dolphin. You can listen to past discussions here.

Browsers Book Group

I've been hosting the Browsers Book Group for the past 14 years. We used to meet in the bookshop in Woodbridge but during lockdown I have been running a monthly online discussion. We are now meeting in person again at a nearby venue. Please sign up for the weekly e-newsletter here to receive details. And support this independent bookshop by purchasing your copy of the book from Browsers, with a special book group discount.

Small Pleasures
by Clare Chambers
Compared to the writing of Barbara Pym or Anita Brookner, this is the story of a local reporter in 1950s east London who has been sent to discover the truth behind a rather unusual revelation. Miracle or fraud, the investigation threatens to turn Jean's life inside out. What will we make of it?
Monday, 31 January 2022 - 8:00pm

Reader recommendations

At the end of each year, members of the Browsers Book Group meet together to share their favourite titles and offer ideas for gifts for friends and family, and for new authors to try ourselves. For 2021 the titles that were mentioned are listed here.

Buying books

As you get ideas for book purchases, please do remember to use your local high street bookshop. This is such a difficult time for them and they're all trying their best to find ways to allow us to shop safely.

But perhaps you've read about the new online bookshop initiative? It's called bookshop.org.

There are curated booklists to browse, drawn up by booksellers and reviewers and, for every purchase made through the site, independent bookshops receive a commission. 

I've linked the reviews on my website so that you can purchase online if you wish (and I will receive a small commission for each purchase, with a further commission going to all independent bookshops). 

However, please note that it is still best to order direct from your local high street bookshop!

Book reviews

My recent recommendations

Here are the books I've been enjoying recently, both fiction and non-fiction titles.

by Simon Reeve
Recommended non-fiction
An inspiring, enlightening and uplifting memoir by the award-winning documentary maker and reporter.
Publication date: 8th August 2019
by Jonathan Coe
An intriguing novel celebrating film, genius and a fading career.
Publication date: 1st July 2021
by Cathy Rentzenbrink
Recommended non-fiction
A handbook, a manual...a letter from a friend. This is a wonderfully warm, wise and witty guide to starting to write.
Publication date: 6th January 2022
Hardback edition
by Lisa Miller
Recommended non-fiction
Spirituality isn't just about faith or religion, says this author, and it is something inbuilt in all of us. She explains more through her...
Publication date: 17th August 2021
Hardback edition
by Marian Keyes
Rachel has been living it up in New York, but her family and friends have decided enough is enough, and take her to rehab back home in Ireland.
Publication date: 2nd August 2012
by Sabrina Cohen-Hatton
Recommended non-fiction
A fascinating, enlightening memoir about working in the fire service by an extraordinarily single-minded and determined woman.
Publication date: 20th February 2020
by Herve Le Tellier
Science fiction, fantasy, thriller, political drama, family saga, moral dilemma - this novel has it all. An international bestseller which you can...
Publication date: 20th January 2022
Hardback edition
by Francisco de la Mora
Diego Rivera was a revolutionary and influential painter with a colourful and turbulent life. This graphic novel tells his story in explicit detail.
Publication date: 11th November 2021
by Matthew Barzan
Recommended non-fiction
A fascinating and inspiring look at leadership encouraging us to change the way we have all viewed the power structure in organisations, and society.
Publication date: 10th June 2021
Hardback edition
by Ed Caesar
Recommended non-fiction
The extraordinary story of a war veteran who flies himself to the Himalayas to climb Mount Everest.
Publication date: 3rd June 2021

For children

These are my most recent recommendations for children. Click here to see listings by age.

by Sheena Kamal
A young woman copes with her troubled family life by taking up martial arts. The self-confidence it brings helps her to deal with the truth behind a...
Publication date: 11th January 2022
by Manon Steffan Ros
A beautiful, haunting and life-affirming post-apocalyptic story of a mother and son learning to survive in their changed circumstances in rural Wales.
Publication date: 6th January 2022
by Lucy Strange
A magical adventure set against the dark backdrop of the industrial revolution, this is a story of friendship, courage and loss.
Publication date: 6th January 2022
by Nick Sheridan
A fun, informative and interactive guide to coping with 24/7 news, tips on becoming a reporter, plus much more!
Publication date: 23rd December 2021
by Andrea Beaty
This is the latest in the fabulous Questioneers series of fun and aspirational rhyming stories. Here we meet a young boy discovering the power of...
Publication date: 9th December 2021
Hardback edition
by Iona Rangeley
A wry, funny and charming story about a penguin on a mission - perfect for the whole family to enjoy.
Publication date: 11th November 2021
Hardback edition
by William Sieghart
A wonderful collection of more than a hundred poems, beautifully illustrated by Emily Sutton.
Publication date: 7th October 2021
Hardback edition
by William Grill
This glorious and sophisticated picture book is based on a true story about elephants during the war in Myanmar. Loved it!
Publication date: 1st October 2021
Hardback edition
by Tim Peake
Humour, action and inventiveness with feisty and engaging characters, in a scientific, interplanetary, futuristic adventure.
Publication date: 30th September 2021
Hardback edition
by Molly Oldfield
A beautiful book for a seasonal gift! It's heavy with information and vibrant with colourful and cheerful illustrations.
Publication date: 9th September 2021
Hardback edition

Look out for

These titles will soon be published but are not yet available in the shops. 

by Herve Le Tellier
Science fiction, fantasy, thriller, political drama, family saga, moral dilemma - this novel has it all. An international bestseller which you can't put down, and can't stop thinking about.
Publication date: 20th January 2022
by Samuel Fisher
Publication date: 3rd February 2022
by Elly Griffiths
Publication date: 3rd February 2022
by Justin Webb
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 10th February 2022
by Patrick Gale
Publication date: 1st March 2022
by Lucy Easthope
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 31st March 2022

My blog

Sunday 23 January 2022

Keeping a record

I don't know whether it's an age thing or the times we're living in but my recall these days isn't great! And I don't think I'm that unusual.

There have been various articles on the subject, speculating that the fact our routines and social occasions have been disrupted means that we have fewer significant moments by which to anchor our memories.

Surely the extraordinary nature of our experiences would cement them in our minds, you'd think, but even the early unprecedented days of lockdown seem distant and unfamiliar. Yet there was so much that we all wanted to take from that time, we said.

It's just as well that some people do keep a record of their thoughts and activities, then.

Last week a book was published recalling the days of a junior doctor working on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic. It's written by the novelist Roopa Farooki who changed career in her 30s after having written eight books. Despite her challenging days, and coming home to four children, she wrote of her experiences after each shift. In an article in the Guardian she talks about how she came to write her memoir. It's a compelling and thought-provoking piece and I'm eager to read the book, but this week's recommended titles are a story as a journal, and how to write a memoir. Perhaps we'll all be inspired to record our experiences.