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New non–fiction for October 2014

Written by · Published Sep 30, 2014

The second half by Roy Keane & Roddy Doyle

Claxton: field notes from a small planet by Mark Cocker

In a single twelve-month cycle of daily writings Mark Cocker explores his relationship to the East Anglian landscape, to nature and to all the living things around him. The separate entries are characterised by close observation, depth of experience, and a profound awareness of seasonal change, both within in each distinct year and, more alarmingly, over the longer period, as a result of the changing climate.

The writing is concise, magical, inspiring. Cocker describes all the wildlife in the village – not just birds, but plants, trees, mammals, hoverflies, moths, butterflies, bush crickets, grasshoppers, ants and bumblebees. The book explores how these other species are as essential to our sense of genuine well-being and to our feelings of rootedness as any other kind of fellowship.

The second half by Roy Keane & Roddy Doyle

As part of a tiny elite of football players, Roy Keane has lived and experienced what very few people could ever imagine. His status as one of football’s greatest stars is undisputed, but what of the challenges beyond the pitch? How did he succeed in coming to terms with life as a former Manchester United and Ireland leader and champion, reinvent himself as a broadcaster, and cope with the psychological struggles this entailed?

This book is a personal odyssey, a blend of anecdote and reflection which re–evaluates the meaning of success. As a former manager of Ipswich Town his views on that period should be of wider interest.

Joan of Arc by Helen Castor

Helen Castor’s last history book, She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth, was a brilliant examination of three exceptional women: Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, and Margaret of Anjou. all of whom had a profound impact in shaping British history.

Now Helen turns her attention to one of the other great historical female figures, whose rise to power and catastrophic descent have formed part of our great European myth for centuries: Joan of Arc. Instead of focussing on the icon, the saintly figure who has populated our text books for so long, Helen gives us a living, breathing young woman; a roaring girl fighting the English, and taking sides in a bloody civil war that was tearing fifteenth century France apart.

Joan of Arc was burned at the stake as a heretic at the age of just nineteen. 500 years later she was a saint. Her case was heard in court twice over. One trial, in 1431, condemned her; the other, 25 years after her death, cleared her name.

In the original transcripts, we hear first-hand testimony from Joan, her family and her friends: a rare survival from the medieval world. What could be more revealing?

So, Anyway by John Cleese

As we edge nearer to Christmas we start to get the big hitters who will form the bestsellers for the next few weeks building towards Christmas. Our next title certainly falls into that category.

Founding member of Monty Python and co–creator of Fawlty Towers, John Cleese is a British comedy legend. So, Anyway, is his brilliantly funny and candid account of his life.

Cleese tells his story of how he became a comedy giant – from a shy boy in Weston–super–Mare, his hamster–owning days at Cambridge, his first meeting with Graham Chapman – who became his writing partner for over two decades – and reaching the dizzying heights of fame with Monty Python.

A year in 120 recipes by Jack Monroe

Jack Monroe gives us a full year of inspiring new recipes. Making the most of seasonal produce, yet with her trademark budget approach, Jack’s second cookbook is just as creative and fresh as her first.

120 recipes in full colour photography, including a substantial Baba Gosht, Burned Brown Sugar Meringues, Lazarus Pesto, and a moreish Peanut Butter Bread.

Nigella Lawson said of her last book: Every now and then a food writer with a fresh and authentic voice comes along, and Jack Monroe is that rare find. Her recipes are founded on the ideal of eating well on a budget, but there is nothing drab about her food: it’s as vibrant as her voice; and A Girl Called Jack is full of food with bold flavour, recipes that beg to become part of your daily repertoire. This is a book with charm and brio, and a true helpmeet in the kitchen.

Abducting a General: The Kreipe Operation and SOE in Crete by Patrick Fermor

One of the greatest feats in Patrick Leigh Fermor’s remarkable life was the kidnapping of General Kreipe, the German commander in Crete, on 26 April 1944.

He and Captain Billy Moss hatched a daring plan to abduct the general, while ensuring that no reprisals were taken against the Cretan population. Dressed as German military police, they stopped and took control of Kreipe’s car, drove through 22 German checkpoints, then succeeded in hiding from the German army before finally being picked up on a beach in the south of the island.

This is Leigh Fermor’s own account of the kidnap, published for the first time. Written in his inimitable prose, and introduced by Special Operations Executive historian Roderick Bailey, it is a firsthand account of one of the great adventures of the Second World War.

Brandon King

I work in the Suffolk Libraries Stock Team