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In the media #16

Written by · Published Jun 7, 2019

Gentleman Jack, The Nature of Spring, The Doll Factory

Stock librarian Brandon King looks at some items that have recently been in the media that you can borrow from Suffolk Libraries.

Tolkien and the Great War: the threshold of Middle-earth, by John Garth

The book of the film Tolkien, starring Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins.

“This biography explores J. R. R. Tolkien’s wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of The Lord of the Rings. It is written for a general audience, rather than just Tolkien fans, and views his life, work, inspiration and success from a new viewpoint.”

Gentleman Jack: the biography of Anne Lister - regency landowner, seducer and secret diarist, by Angela Steidele & Katy Derbyshire (trans.)

The book behind the major BBC drama starring Suranne Jones.

“Anne Lister was a wealthy Yorkshire heiress, a world traveller and an out lesbian during the Regency era - a time when it was difficult simply to be female. She wrote her diary in code derived from Ancient Greek, including details of her liaisons with women. Liberated by her money, she remained unmarried, opened a colliery and chose to dress all in black. Some locals referred to her as Gentleman Jack and sent her poison pen letters, but this did not dissuade her from living mostly as she pleased.

“On inheriting Shibden Hall, Anne chose to travel abroad, before returning to Halifax and courting Ann Walker, another wealthy heiress twelve years her junior. They renovated Shibden Hall together and considered themselves married, to the horror of Walker’s relatives.”

White, by Bret Easton Ellis

The author of American Psycho doesn’t pull any punches as he vents his disdain on millennials and the digital world.

“Combining personal reflection and social observation, Bret Easton Ellis’s first work of non-fiction is an incendiary polemic about this young century’s failings, a definition and defence of what ‘freedom of speech’ truly means, and an irreverent behind-the-scenes look at the life of one of the world’s most infamous writers.”

Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame Prelude, by Will Corona Pilgrim & Paco Diaz

The remaining Avengers recently took a final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to the twenty-two films. Relive the epic battle in comic format, with a couple of extras thrown in.

“As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artefacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment - the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.”

The Doll Factory, by Elizabeth MacNeal

This debut novel has been very widely reviewed and has been praised by Paula Hawkins and Joanne Harris among others.

“London, 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment - forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning.

“When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love. But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening.”

Red Joan, by Jennie Rooney

Now a major film starring Judi Dench.

“Cambridge University in 1937 is awash with ideas and idealists - to unworldly Joan it is dazzling. After a chance meeting with Russian-born Sonya and Leo, Joan is swept up in the glamour and energy of the duo, and finds herself growing closer and closer to them both.

“But allegiance is a slippery thing. Out of university and working in a government ministry with access to top-secret information, Joan finds her loyalty tested as she is faced with the most difficult question of all: what price would you pay to remain true to yourself?”

Furious Hours: murder, fraud and the last trial of Harper Lee, by Casey Cep

“The stunning true story of an Alabama serial killer, and the trial that obsessed the author of To Kill a Mockingbird in the years after the publication of her classic novel - a complicated and difficult time in her life that, until now, has been very little examined.

“Willie Maxwell was a Baptist reverend in Alabama; he also happened to be a serial killer. Between 1970 and 1977, his two wives and brother all died under suspicious circumstances - each with hefty life insurance policies taken out by none other than the Reverend himself. With the help of a savvy lawyer, Maxwell escaped justice for years. Then, the teenage daughter of his third wife perished. At the funeral, the victim’s uncle shot the Reverend dead in a church full of witnesses - and was subsequently acquitted of the murder, thanks to the same savvy lawyer who had represented the Reverend for all those years.”

Losing Earth: the decade we could have stopped climate change, by Nathaniel Rich

A recent Radio 4 Book of the Week.

“By 1979, we knew all that we know now about the science of climate change - what was happening, why it was happening, and how to stop it. Over the next ten years, we had the very real opportunity to stop it. Obviously, we failed.

“Nathaniel Rich’s groundbreaking account of that failure - and how tantalisingly close we came to signing binding treaties that would have saved us all before the fossil fuels industry and politicians committed to anti-scientific denialism - is already a journalistic blockbuster, a full issue of the New York Times Magazine that has earned favourable comparisons to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and John Hersey’s Hiroshima. Rich has become an instant, in-demand expert and speaker. A major movie deal is already in place. It is the story, perhaps, that can shift the conversation.”

The Nature of Spring, by Jim Crumley

Another recent Book of the Week.

“Spring marks the genesis of nature’s year. As Earth’s northern hemisphere tilts ever more towards the life-giving sun, the icy, dark days of winter gradually yield to the new season’s intensifying light and warmth. Nature responds.”

Hinch Yourself Happy: all the best cleaning tips to shine your sink and soothe your soul, by Sophie Hinchcliffe

The Mrs Hinch Instagram phenomenon reaches Suffolk libraries. If you have not heard of her, think Marie Kondo for household chores.

“Discover how to transform your home. Cleaning doesn’t have to be that job you dread. Not when Mrs Hinch is here to show you her sparkly ways.

“Mrs Hinch has taken the nation by storm with her infectiously addictive charm, clever cleaning hacks and her passionate belief in the life-changing magic of tidying. With the help of her cloth family, Mrs Hinch will help you turn your house into a home.”

Brandon King

I work in the Suffolk Libraries Stock Team