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Book News: August 2010

from our favourite local book shop, The Book Case


TOP TEN: August's bestsellers at The Book Case

The Book Case's customers in August mostly wanted to find out about the area, enjoy novels and keep their children amused. But there was also interest in Jackie Kay's autobiography and "why more equal societies almost always do better".

1. Hebden Bridge: a short history of the area - Peter Thomas (£5.99). It was back to the top again for Peter Thomas's account of the history of our area from ancient times to the present day.

2. Lacuna - Barbara Kingsolver (£7.99). This year's Orange Prize winner was still popular, telling the story of an American man working for Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in 1930s Mexico.

3. I-Spy on a Car Journey (£2.50). This was the most popular of the newly re-released I-Spy books but they're all good sellers and have been universally welcomed, especially by parents, grandparents and minders on car and train journeys.

4. West Yorkshire Folk Tales - John Billingsley (£9.99). Local historian John Billingsley's latest book was close behind with cautionary tales, amusing anecdotes, age-old legends and fantastical myths.

5. Hebden Bridge Town Trail (£2.00). Town visitors were keen to "Discover Hebden Bridge" with this guided illustration walk produced by the Local History Society and Hebden Bridge Walkers' Action.

6. The Spirit Level - Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (£9.99). Following attacks by The Policy Exchange, interest in this book explaining why "Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better" has increased again.

7. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson (£7.99). Third in the popular Millennium trilogy: Lisbeth Salander is plotting her revenge - against the man who tried to kill her, and against the government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life. The second in the trilogy also sold well.

8. Red Dust Road - Jackie Kay (£11.99). 'I was adopted by warm-spirited Scottish communists. When people ask me if I've ever found my "real" Mum and Dad, it is them I think of.' Our June Non-Fiction Book of the Month.

9. Flat Stanley - Jeff Brown (£5.99). The boy who gets flattened by a falling bulletin board and finds he can get around much better. First published in 1964.

10. Tykes News (for folk in and around Yorkshire) (£1.50). The quarterly Yorkshire folk music journal is new to us, but has been selling well.



Mike Barrett has produced another splendid and quirky range of postcards in honour of Hebden 500: the new set includes the Old Bridge in various guises and Handmade Parade.

Ted Hughes play - to celebrate what would have been Ted Hughes's 80th birthday, The Independent has made available online Aelish Michael's play Dreaming of Foxes. Ted Hughes is visited by an old school friend after he becomes Poet Laureate. Will their shared boyhood provide the link between them or has time and experience destroyed their chances of re-connection? It was performed as part of The Ted Hughes Festival in October 2008, and locally-based actor Robert Garrett played Ted Hughes in both productions.

Under the Apple Boughs - Dr James Walsh & Vanessa Rosenthal (£9.99) James Walsh grew up in Barrowford and after becoming in succession a committed Young Conservative and a Communist, ended up as the very popular Deputy Registrar of Leeds University. This book consists of his memoirs punctuated by his widow Vanessa's moving accounts of her bereavement and life without Jim.

"James Walsh's life was transformed by his grammar school in a way denied to his parents' generation. He became a first-generation university student at Leeds University, got a first class degree, joined the Conservative Party and then the Communist Party (and eventually became the university's registrar). Under the Apple Boughs is a classic account of a northern working class boyhood in the 1940s, interspersed with his widow Vanessa Rosenthal's searingly honest letters telling of her anguish and despair after his death. Two moving human documents within one cover." - Brian MacArthur, Literary Editor, Daily Telegraph.

Rushes and Ale - Garry Stringfellow, £5.00
A Brief History of Rushbearing with particular reference to rushbearing in the Calder Valley. Well-researched and well-illustrated history of the tradition through the centuries, including the furious opposition of the church!

Conquest: The English Kingdom of France in the Hundred Years War - Juliet Barker (£9.99) From the eminent locally-based historian and now in paperback, the story of the dramatic years when England ruled France at the point of a sword. Henry V's second invasion of France in 1417 launched a campaign that would put the crown of France on an English head. Only the miraculous appearance of a visionary peasant girl - Joan of Arc - would halt the English advance. Colour illustrations.

Local Events

Walk and Ride Festival, September 11-26 September
Enjoy the South Pennines landscape during two weeks of guided walks, cycle rides and horse rides. Lots of local walking guides are in stock at The Book Case, and we also stock local cycling and bridle-path guides.

On Sunday 19 September, 10.30, Jill Liddington will lead a "Walking with Women's Suffrage" 8-mile 6.5 hour walk from Mytholmroyd station (Manchester platform). Book with Hebden Bridge TIC on 01422 843831. We keep Jill's book Rebel Girls in stock at The Book Case.

Wednesday 22 September, 10am, Mick Chatham leads a "Cragg Vale Coiners" 10-mile walk from Mytholmroyd Library: phone Mick on 01706 379318. There's not a lot in print on the Coiners at present, but we have Phyllis Bentley's "Gold Pieces" and Peter Kershaw's "Last Coiner".

Thursday 23 September, 6pm, Anne Lister Walk with Jill Liddington - 3.5 miles, starting from Halifax Piece Hall (north entrance near Woolshops car park), climbing steeply to Anne's home, visiting some of her agricultural tenancies and coal mines, and exploring the landscape so familiar to her. Bring walking gear, snacks & drinks. Phone Shibden Museum, 01422 352246. We keep in stock Jill Liddington's books on Anne Lister: "Female Fortune", "Presenting the Past" and "Nature's Domain", and Helena Whitbread's transcription of Anne Lister's diaries, "I Know My Own Heart".



Adult fiction: What Becomes - A L Kennedy (£7.99). Profound and intimate observations of men and women whose lives ache with possibility; perfectly ordinary people - whose marriages founder; who sit on their own in a cinema watching a film with no soundtrack; and who risk sex in a hotel with an anonymous stranger.

Adult non-fiction: Human Chain - Seamus Heaney (£12.99). Seamus Heaney's new collection elicits continuities and solidarities, between husband and wife, child and parent, then and now, inside an intently remembered present - the stepping stones of the day, the weight and heft of what is passed from hand to hand, lifted and lowered. This is his twelfth collection of poems; "District and Circle" was the previous one in 2006

Children's book: I Shall Wear Midnight - Terry Pratchett (£16.99 at The Book Case). An eagerly awaited new Discworld adventure in the Tiffany Aching series for children and young adults. Featuring a cast of favourite Discworld characters, and there's a magic book or two, a twist through time, a Cunning Man - and a Giant Man of chalk. Ages: 12+

CD: Favourite Poems for Children - read by: Anton Lesser; Roy McMillan; Rachel Bavidge (Naxos)(£8.99). This anthology brings together a selection of best-loved children's poems. All of the old favourites are presented including Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat and Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky. These classic poems combine catchy, memorable rhymes with vivid word pictures to offer an imaginative feast for children.