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.

An Island
by Karen Jenning
Telling the story of a lighthousekeeper, this is a novel "about guilt and fear, friendship and rejection; about the meaning of home". Longlisted for this year's Booker prize, this is a debut novel, released by an independent publisher. What will we think of it?
Monday, 25 October 2021 - 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 2020, this meeting took place online. 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 Richard Powers
A story of father and son, grief and loss, mental health and climate change, and astrophysics! Brilliant.
Publication date: 21st September 2021
Hardback edition
by Dara McAnulty
Recommended non-fiction
A beautifully written, intelligent and deeply personal journal by a young man about wildlife, and a world which he sometimes struggles to understand.
Publication date: 29th April 2021
by Shirley Jackson
Written in late 1940s America, this is a wry, dark, nostalgic account of family life by the author best known for her horror stories.
Publication date: 1st August 2019
by Susan Ogilvy
Recommended non-fiction
This is a beautiful book dedicated to recording and celebrating the nests of some of our most familiar birds. It is full of exquisite lifesize...
Publication date: 7th October 2021
Hardback edition
by Maggie Shipstead
An epic tale of family, tragedy, romance and adventure woven around the lives of a 1950s female aviator and a modern day Hollywood movie star....
Publication date: 4th May 2021
Hardback edition
by Ryan Wilson
Recommended non-fiction
The life of a teacher presented as a perfect mix of humour, poigancy, angst, frustration and inspiration. Had me laughing out loud!
Publication date: 19th August 2021
Hardback edition
by Elif Shafak
Publication date: 5th August 2021
Hardback edition
by Richard Osman
Publication date: 16th September 2021
Hardback edition
by Virginia Feito
Publication date: 5th August 2021
Hardback edition
by Christiana Figueres
Recommended non-fiction
"This book is an opportunity for you to take part in creating the future of humanity, confident that despite the seemingly daunting nature of...
Publication date: 15th April 2021

For children

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

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 Tom Gauld
An offbeat, quirky fable about love, loyalty and courage by the 'Guardian' literary cartoonist.
Publication date: 2nd September 2021
Hardback edition
by KA Hayton
From a sleepy Suffolk village, we're transported to the Dark Ages, the time of King Edmund and the threat of invasion. This is a time slip novel...
Publication date: 2nd September 2021
by Rob Biddulph
Peanut's father has gone missing but when she discovers a box of pencils he left her, she finds that she can draw images which come to life,...
Publication date: 2nd September 2021
Hardback edition
by Holly Goldberg Sloan
A touching and compelling story of friendship and separation, and the bond between animals and humans. Wonderful.
Publication date: 5th August 2021
by Tom Silson
A touching story about magic and memories and the bond between a grandmother and her granddaughter, for readers aged three upwards.
Publication date: 1st August 2021
Hardback edition
by Daisy May Johnson
A beautiful cover, an intriguing title and a funny and inventive adventure, aimed at readers in middle grade, aged 9-12.
Publication date: 1st July 2021
by Julia Donaldson
The brown, woolly caterpillar is crawling through the garden wondering about her future. What type of moth will she become?
Publication date: 24th June 2021
Hardback edition
by Al Rodin
A surprising and original story of Little Echo living alone in a cave! Subtle and poignant with unusual and distinctive illustrations. Rather lovely.
Publication date: 17th June 2021
Hardback edition

Look out for

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

by Susan Ogilvy
Recommended non-fiction
This is a beautiful book dedicated to recording and celebrating the nests of some of our most familiar birds. It is full of exquisite lifesize illustrations accompanied by fascinating short accounts of the process of finding the nests and discovering details of the birds and their offspring.
Publication date: 7th October 2021
by Sarah Moss
Powerfully moving and atmospheric, a story about nature, community and survival in the time of the pandemic.
Publication date: 11th November 2021
by Jodi Picoult
You're never entirely sure what to expect with Jodi Picoult, and this doesn't disappoint!
Publication date: 25th November 2021
by Lucy Strange
Recommended for children
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 Sheena Kamal
Recommended for children
Publication date: 11th January 2022

My blog

Sunday 26 September 2021

It's a matter of weeks

The nights are drawing in now and how this year has flown by. Time seems to have done funny things in the past 18 months. In the midst of lockdown it seemed simultaneously to stand still and to rush past.

But do we place too much store on time, and how we use it?

This week I read a fascinating book by Oliver Burkeman called 'Four Thousand Weeks' (scroll down for more details). It is based on the fact that if we live to be 80, we will have had 4,000 weeks on earth. And he asks us to consider how we're addressing that fact. Are we making the most of each moment? What does that actually mean?

While he confesses to having been a time-management junkie, obsessed with being more productive and efficient, seeking to cram ever more things into each day, in this book he describes how he now believes that approach is all wrong. It means we are serving economists, industrialists, governments by keeping busy to reach some ultimate future goal of happiness and fulfillment. Instead, he says, we need to stop, reassess and let go.

We can build our security in keeping busy, but it can distract us from appreciating the here and now. Lockdown saw us enjoying the natural environment, taking local walks, gardening and baking, appreciating family and neighbours, as perhaps never before. This book urges us to recall that experience and to be brave and liberate ourselves from the overwhelming to-do lists. And it's a very entertaining and stimulating read too.

Thank you for reading.