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.

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 Victoria Hislop
The sequel to the bestselling story of the leper colony in Crete, The Island.
Publication date: 22nd July 2021
by Angela Harding
Recommended non-fiction
Moving through the seasons, delighting in the natural world with the illustrations of printmaker Angela Harding.
Publication date: 4th November 2021
Hardback edition
by Lady Hale
Recommended non-fiction
Recalling the life and career of the woman who found the prorogation of Parliament unlawful, and who was known for her unusual brooch.
Publication date: 7th October 2021
Hardback edition
by Anna Greenland
Recommended non-fiction
A beautiful and accessible introduction to growing your own food.
Publication date: 27th October 2021
Hardback edition
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

For children

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

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
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

Look out for

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

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 Chris Hammer
Publication date: 6th January 2022
by Sheena Kamal
Recommended for children
Publication date: 11th January 2022
by Samuel Fisher
Publication date: 3rd February 2022
by Patrick Gale
Publication date: 1st March 2022

My blog

Sunday 17 October 2021

Finding a winner

The winner of this year's Booker Prize will soon be announced - the ceremony revealing which of the six shortlisted titles will triumph takes place on Wednesday 3 November.

But last week the Browsers Booker Book Group gave its verdict...

(Before I go any further it's worth acknowledging that I don't think we've ever preempted the judges' decision!)

Certainly this year we found that the books were more readable than the novels which are usually selected. In particular, 'Great Circle' (spanning 600 pages) and 'The Fortune Men' provided more conventional plotlines and attention to 'story'.

One book, 'A Passage North', proved notably 'difficult' with some sentences lasting 20 lines, some paragraphs spanning 10 pages, and no real conclusion or explanation of the events which had been introduced earlier in the novel, our readers said.

Another of the books, 'Bewilderment', was considered 'bleak', 'intense', 'claustrophobic', but imaginative, and relevant and important in addressing climate change issues, according to our readers.

'No One is Talking About This' provoked the most divided and animated responses of all the titles. Described by two of our readers as a book of two halves which was crude, full of jargon with random thoughts and ideas, our other reader declared it brilliant, using form and contemporary language and devices to illustrate the impact of social media.