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 ran 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.

Sorrow and Bliss
by Meg Mason
The American novelist and bookshop owner, Ann Patchett recommends this book with great enthusiasm. It made her 'bark like a seal' and is 'brilliantly faceted', scaring her, moving her and educating her. What will we make of it?!
Monday, 30 January 2023 - 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.

Abi Morgan
Recommended non-fiction
A compelling, difficult read about sudden illness and how life can take an unexpected turn. Difficult but at times humorous, this is an incredible...
Publication date: 12th May 2022
Hardback edition
Alba Donati
Recommended non-fiction
A beautifully packaged, beautifully told story of the beginnings of a bookshop in Tuscany.
Publication date: 3rd November 2022
Hardback edition
Angela Harding
Recommended non-fiction
The new book from the much-loved printmaker, Angela Harding looking at the changing light in nature through her prints and drawings.
Publication date: 3rd November 2022
Hardback edition
Hayley Mills
Recommended non-fiction
A charming and entertaining memoir which details a bygone era of Hollywood, Disney and stardom. Beautifully told.
Publication date: 1st September 2022
Kevin Birch
Recommended non-fiction
An entertaining look at the career in local journalism of Suffolk reporter, Kevin Birch.
Publication date: 29th July 2022
Bob Mortimer
Recommended non-fiction
Lovely to read more about the bizarre experiences and quirky take on life from the comedian Bob Mortimer.
Publication date: 26th May 2022
Raynor Winn
Recommended non-fiction
The third in the series following the curative powers of the long walk immersed in nature. This time on a Scottish path.
Publication date: 15th September 2022
Hardback edition
Rachel Joyce
A tiny book with a lasting message of hope, reconciliation, forgiveness and peace, this is the beautiful conclusion to the Harold Fry story.
Publication date: 20th October 2022
Hardback edition
James Runcie
Recommended non-fiction
A deeply personal account of what it is to lose your soulmate after a long and happy marriage, and nursing her through a terrible illness.
Publication date: 24th November 2022
Hardback edition
Charlotte Northedge
The dream house turns into a nightmare for a young family who've moved from the city to rural Suffolk.
Publication date: 10th November 2022
Hardback edition

For children

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

by Emma Thompson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
All about a very special dog who lives in the V&A Museum and helps deliver the very first Christmas card.
Publication date: 27th October 2022
Hardback edition
by Emma Bettridge and illustrated by Josephine Birch
The most beautiful illustrations and a charming and touching story about coping with grief and loss through two friends, the dogs called Merlin and...
Publication date: 11th October 2022
Hardback edition
by Robin Stevens
The first in a new series to follow on from the hugely popular Murder Most Unladylike series.
Publication date: 6th October 2022
by Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Michael Foreman
This is a simple, gentle tale with beautiful watercolour illustrations. A nostalgic picture book by a winning partnership.
Publication date: 6th October 2022
Hardback edition
by Emma Carroll and illustrated by Lauren Child
A feminist reworking of the Hans Christian Anderson classic, this is brilliantly and sensitively done. Fantastic!
Publication date: 15th September 2022
Hardback edition
by Iszi Lawrence
When Billie sees a plane crash into a field, her adventures begin. Wonderfully joyful and adventurous!
Publication date: 2nd September 2022
by Nicola Davies and Illustrated by Emily Sutton
Beautifully illustrated, simply told story of how climate change has affected giraffes in Niger.
Publication date: 1st September 2022
Hardback edition
by James Campbell
Silly and quirky, packed with useful and useless information about football, this is another gem from the children's comedian turned author.
Publication date: 18th August 2022
by Judith Eagle
An action-packed, nostalgic adventure with a contemporary feel, set on a steam liner crossing the Atlantic. Wonderful!
Publication date: 4th August 2022
by Tom Palmer
A wartime story inspired by the early life of Audrey Hepburn. Excellent!
Publication date: 4th August 2022

Look out for

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

by Sarah Hardy
Publication date: 16th March 2023

My blog

Sunday 27 November 2022

Going with the flow

It's the end of November! We're hurtling towards Christmas and... (perhaps it's been the unseasonal weather) I'm not ready!

There's always a lot to do at this time of year, I find, but with the postal strikes I'll need to be organised earlier than usual. And this year there seem to be other pressures too - things I feel I should be doing?

There's been a steady stream of emails about 'Black Friday' urging me not to miss out on all the huge savings. In the 'cost of living crisis' I'd be foolish not to buy something I don't want or need at a slightly cheaper price than it has been or might be in the future?

Then there's the World Cup, of course. I'm not particularly interested in watching all the matches, but no need to worry because it's the top of the national news programmes and dominates the rest of the shortened bulletins. And children in Wales are given time off lessons, hopefully then to be taught how to deal with the subsequent disappointment and defeat.

The relentless pitch for Christmas is in earnest now too. The high street, hospitality trade and powers-that-be are all hoping we'll continue to spend freely to save businesses and the economy.

It is tempting to keep things as much as 'normal' as possible. But sometimes it's good to stop and pause and not get swept along with the crowd in needless frivolity, expense and indulgence. A simple meal and a small carefully chosen gift might be something to be grateful for this year. 

And a good book is always well received, I find!