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

Wednesday 1st June, 7.30pm
at Southwold Arts Centre
Join me in meeting Stewart Ross in Southwold on Wednesday 1 June when we will be talking about the latest in the series of 'For Dummies' books, this time giving us all the facts and figures about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

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.

Still Life
by Sarah Winman
Described as "uplifting... and full of unforgettable characters, 'Still Life' is a novel about beauty, love, family and friendship". What will we think of it?
Monday, 30 May 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 Minnie Driver
Recommended non-fiction
A warm, engaging and 'down-to-earth' account of ambition and success. Beautifully written. Loved it.
Publication date: 12th May 2022
Hardback edition
by Elizabeth Burke
A modern anthology of words and images celebrating the spirit of the county of Suffolk, to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
Publication date: 3rd May 2022
Hardback edition
by Eliot Higgins
Recommended non-fiction
As we get increasingly bewildered by the lies, fake news, algorythyms and the glut of information on the internet, this is the perfect antidote.
Publication date: 17th February 2022
by Roopa Farooki
Recommended non-fiction
A junior doctor's story of life, death and grief in a time of pandemic. Powerful, moving, horrifying and beautifully written.
Publication date: 20th January 2022
Hardback edition
by Xa Tollemache
Recommended non-fiction
With beautiful photography, this is the compelling and inspiring story of how Xa Tollemache learnt to garden, transforming Helmingham in Suffolk to...
Publication date: 12th May 2022
Hardback edition
by Ben Short
Recommended non-fiction
A powerful memoir of a charcoal burner in Dorset who was once a city advertising executive.
Publication date: 28th April 2022
Hardback edition
by Emma Kennedy
Recommended non-fiction
After her mum died, broadcaster and writer Emma Kennedy struggled to know how to grieve and how to remember their relationship, until she was given...
Publication date: 12th May 2022
Hardback edition
by Lucy Easthope
Recommended non-fiction
This memoir by the leading authority in disaster management is fascinating, moving and life-affirming.
Publication date: 31st March 2022
Hardback edition
by Daniel James Brown
Recommended non-fiction
Telling the story of an American team seeking to compete in the Berlin Olympics, this is a book about rowing, but it is so much more.
Publication date: 3rd January 2014
by Julia Jones
Recommended non-fiction
A fascinating account of the heroic efforts of yachtsmen volunteers in the second world war.
Publication date: 17th March 2022
Hardback edition

For children

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

by Michael Morpurgo
A personal perspective of the life of Queen Elizabeth II, beautifully illustrated, making a delightful keepsake for the Platinum Jubilee.
Publication date: 12th May 2022
Hardback edition
by Simon Packham
Archie seems to have the perfect life and he's happy with school, friends and family, and his cat, Dinger. Then everything changes when Archie...
Publication date: 7th April 2022
by Nigel Gray
This is a touching story of a young girl befriending her elderly neighbour who has Alzheimer's.
Publication date: 7th April 2022
Hardback edition
by AM Howell
It's 1948. Treasure has been found on a farm near Ely, Cambridgeshire. This may be a significant archaeological find but all is not as it seems.
Publication date: 31st March 2022
by Emma Chichester Clark
What appears a fun and quirky tale about a strange creature on the doorstep has much to say about kindness, friendship and hospitality.
Publication date: 17th March 2022
Hardback edition
by Joe Todd-Stanton
Nyla has to leave her home in the countryside for a new life in the city, and she's struggling. Then a comet crashes through the streets and...
Publication date: 3rd March 2022
Hardback edition
by Jeremy Williams
A warm, funny, sensitive and uplifting story of one boy's lockdown, counting to a million!
Publication date: 3rd March 2022
by Danny Wallace
When Joe Smith is identified as the most average kid in the country, he feels very special indeed. A funny adventure which makes some serious points...
Publication date: 17th February 2022
by Gideon Sterer
The animals take over a funfair in the middle of the night. A beautiful picture book with no words.
Publication date: 3rd February 2022
by David Almond
An entertaining page-turner of a read which explored themes of fitting in, difference, AI and what it is to be human. It's aimed at readers aged...
Publication date: 3rd February 2022

Look out for

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

by Emma Kennedy
Recommended non-fiction
After her mum died, broadcaster and writer Emma Kennedy struggled to know how to grieve and how to remember their relationship, until she was given dozens of old letters.
Publication date: 12th May 2022
by Xa Tollemache
Recommended non-fiction
With beautiful photography, this is the compelling and inspiring story of how Xa Tollemache learnt to garden, transforming Helmingham in Suffolk to its former glory, and creating and renewing other gardens beyond.
Publication date: 12th May 2022
by Minnie Driver
Recommended non-fiction
A warm, engaging and 'down-to-earth' account of ambition and success. Beautifully written. Loved it.
Publication date: 12th May 2022
by Michael Morpurgo
Recommended for children
A personal perspective of the life of Queen Elizabeth II, beautifully illustrated, making a delightful keepsake for the Platinum Jubilee.
Publication date: 12th May 2022
by Nicola Upson
Another fabulous Josephine Tey mystery, this time set in Suffolk in 1939 as children are evacuated from London at the start of the war.
Publication date: 19th May 2022
by Clare Pooley
What would happen if you got to know the people in your train carriage? A brilliant, wonderful read with characters I didn't want to leave.
Publication date: 26th May 2022
by John Henry Phillips
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 2nd June 2022
by Claire Alexander
Meredith hasn't stepped beyond her front door for 1,214 days, that's three years! What is it that is keeping Meredith at home?
Publication date: 9th June 2022
by Shelley Burr
An Australian crime mystery. It's nearly 20 years since the sisters of Mina and Alanna disappeared. Now a guy's in town promising to find out what happened.
Publication date: 9th June 2022
by Meg Rosoff
Recommended for children
Publication date: 9th June 2022
by Mya-Rose Craig
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 30th June 2022
by Sarah Langford
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 7th July 2022

My blog

Sunday 8 May 2022

Doing the numbers

Last week the Publishers' Association revealed figures about UK book sales that showed a continuing encouraging trend, with a 5 per cent rise on the previous year. And non-fiction led the way in the consumer sector, generating £1.1bn, with fiction achieving £733m.

I think we've all noted how much we've been enjoying non-fiction titles in recent years. The quality of the writing, the production levels of the books and the range of subject matters have often left us better informed, hopeful and inspired to find out more about a particular topic. I hope that my non-fiction recommendations each week have helped you discover some pleasant surprises.

This weekend I attended the Aldeburgh Literary Festival and I came away feeling energised and delighted by the quality of the presentations by the authors, and fascinated by the information they shared - about subjects I knew nothing about beforehand. It means I've got additions to my reading piles, of course, but it's so exciting to have new worlds opened up. If you weren't able to attend, tickets to all the weekend's sessions are now available online here.

But do think about making the most of the events which are coming up in the next few weeks. It's lovely to have a full programme of festivals again.