Book News

from our favourite local book shop, The Book Case

Thursday, 5 November 2009

TOP TEN: October's bestsellers at The Book Case

1. Summat A'Nowt - Steve Murty (£9.95)
This well-illustrated history of the Calder Valley and surrounding area - with special focus on the development of the ancient hamlet of Stubb - continued to sell briskly.

2. Yorkshire Dales Textile Mills - George Ingle, £9.99
An illustrated account of all the mills that once stood in the Dales, with information about the firms, child labour, and hand-loom weavers’ riots plus details of the buildings, the machinery in them and their power sources. Royd Press.

3. Fun with Hallowe’en Stickers - Paul E Kennedy, £1.25
One of the excellent little Dover books, popular for obvious seasonal reasons!

4. Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel, £16.99 at The Book Case
The highly-praised and chunky Booker-winning novel about Thomas Cromwell. "Convincingly builds a world."

5. Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives - David Eagleman (£9.99)
Our October Fiction Book of the Month: a thought-provoking and entertaining series of stories about alternative versions of the after-life.

6. Gone Walkabout - Anna Carlisle, £6.95
The bestselling book of local walks now out in a substantially rewritten and updated edition, with new maps. From Hebden Bridge publishers Pennine Pens.

7. Rebel Girls - Jill Liddington, £14.99
The forgotten suffragettes of the North of England are back in our bestseller list, documented by well-known locally-based author. 

8. We’Moon Diary 2010: Gaia Rhythms for Womyn, £15.99
The theme of this year’s popular and colourful astrological moon calendar is "Reinvent the Wheel".

9. Moods of the Pennine Moors - John Morrison, £12.95
Another past favourite - atmospheric photographs of the mills and moors of the South Pennines, in varying lights and seasons.

10. Hebden Bridge: a short history of the area - Peter Thomas, £5.99
This account of our area through the ages by a well-known local author continued to sell well. Royd Press

Depressing Books

Earlier this year Abebooks asked readers to identify their most depressing books. The results are now in, and the Top Ten Bleak Books were voted as follows:

1. The Road - Cormac McCarthy - "crushingly bleak"
2. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath - "If you are already depressed, avoid this like the plague"
3. Jude the Obsure - Thomas Hardy - "Seriously, what can touch it?"
4. 1984 - George Orwell - "I threw it across the room when I read the last line."
5. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand - "This book breeds hate for mankind in the mind of the reader."
6. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck - "Everything is grey, sad, and hardship. Nobody ever smiles, everyone is so grim."
7. Night - Elie Wiesel -  "This numbness I feel toward human suffering"
8. On the Beach - Neville Shute - "The book literally gave me nightmares"
9. The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison - "no way out, no solutions given, no hope" 
10. Lord of the Flies - William Golding - "I sobbed at the awful doomed picture of mankind"

Find all the gloomy details here or to cheer yourself up, find the Ten Funniest Books according to the British here.

  • some excellent value BBC CD packs of classics of literature at £4.99,
  • new chunky mugs based on the old Ladybird Bicycle and Motorcar books, in sturdy red boxes, 
  • Beano & Dandy wrapping paper and notebooks,
  • Beano & Dandy mugs expected in next week,
  • attractive poster-style lunar calendars, as well as the posh black Moonwise ones -

and now Hallowe'en is past, we're discreetly putting out a selection of our wide range of Christmas cards and mini Advent Calendars for customers who like to get them early. Ness has indicated where they are with tasteful strands of tinsel.

Another cheering new arrival is a CD from Todmorden Orchestra of two new suites celebrating Ted Hughes and his work  - see below! The weasels movement is apparently very lively.

We have in the latest big beautiful Landscape Photographer of the Year book, including Nigel Hillier's stunning view of Hebden Bridge in winter, which was one of the winners.

Local Authors

Letters of Ted Hughes, ed. Christopher Reid (£14.99) At the outset of his career Ted Hughes described letter writing as 'excellent training for conversation with the world', and he was to become a prolific master of this art which combines writing and talking. This selection begins when Hughes was seventeen, and documents the course of a life at once resolutely private but intensely attuned to other lives (including both adults and children): a life pared down to essentials and yet eventful, peripatetic, at times publicly controversial. Now in paperback at 784 pages.

The Celtic Revolution: in search of 2000 forgotten years that changed our World - Simon Young (£14.99) Shows how the Celtic Empire ruled the world from Spain to Egypt for two thousand years in a way that drew the blue print for today's Europe. The author grew up in Hebden Bridge so it gets a mention, as does Mankinholes.

Almost a Lifetime - Vikki Egerton (£9.99) Vikki Egerton is based in Luddenden, and this is her autobiography, covering her Royal Artillery service in the war, and her work as a librarian, teacher and author. She is now in her 90s.

Shirley Craven and Hull Traders: Revolutionary Fabrics and Furniture 1957-1980 - Lesley Jackson. From the locally-based writer, curator and design historian, a big colourful book about the gifted textile designer who specialised in bold abstracts. Hull Traders were based at Trawden, and the accompanying exhibition will be visiting Bankfield Museum in Halifax. More info

Deadly Focus - Bob and Carol Bridgestock (£10.99)
From a retired Calderdale detective and his wife, an exciting first novel about the abduction of a young girl and the hunt for a serial killer, set in "Harrowfield" ("definitely Yorkshire but could be Halifax or Huddersfield") and investigating officer Jack Dylan.

Cracking On: poems on ageing by older women - ed. Joy Howard (£10.00)
This new anthology explores all aspects of ageing, from losing parents to confronting the inevitability of our own deaths. Here are poets facing up to life, with a recognition of its transience, absurdities, triumphs and disasters, in the spirit of taking it on the chin. Keighley-based editor, whose previous work includes "A Twist of Malice" and "Exit Moonshine".

Local Interest

Landscape Photographer of the Year, Collection 03  (£25.00)
A big beautiful book of colour photos, including Nigel Hillier's stunning view of Hebden Bridge in winter, which was one of the winners.

Austin Mitchell's Grand Book of Yorkshire Humour (£7.99)
Hundreds of "guaranteed fully organic" Yorkshire jokes and sayings from the Sowerby-based popular politician.

Owt, Nowt & Summat: a toast to all Tykes – Len Markham (£6.99)
Following Ee Up Lad!, a further romp through the lush gardens of Yorkshire dialect and character.

Jimmy Mac, Prince of Inside Forwards - Dave Thomas (£17.95) Now in stock.
The story of Burnley and Northern Ireland icon Jimmy McIlroy. Profusely illustrated book telling the story of this "magic" footballer. Launched on 23rd October at Burnley's Turf Moor Ground.

Book Trust

For National Bookstart Day (9 October), the theme was "My Favourite Rhyme". A survey of 2,500 people showed that knowledge of traditional rhymes is fading, 33% of young parents saying they were too old-fashioned to interest their children, and 20% saying they weren't educational enough. The most popular rhyme was "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". You can download a report here.

But at The Book Case, the Orchard Book of Nursery Rhymes and Oxford's Lavender's Blue, which both have a good range of traditional rhymes and are nicely illustrated, are good steady sellers: our customers clearly have proper values! We've just started stocking the Chester Book of Nursery Rhymes and Children's Songs, which has the music too, and for adults who like a challenge, we have Luis D'Antin Van Rooten's glorious Mots D'Heures: Gousses Rames.

Book Time

A survey for Booktime on children's reading habits showed a 40% increase in fathers reading to their children since last year, and 96% of children enjoying reading - but pressures on parents' time and the ever-present computer or TV screen were pushing book reading out. Here's the survey


It's not so busy in November, but amongst the month's hardback fiction are Barbara Kingsolver and Paul Auster. Paperback fiction includes Tove Jansson, Prue Leith, David Baldacci and Marcia Muller, with reissues including John le Carre, John Fowles, an occult book from 1904 and Martin Jarvis reading A Christmas Carol.  Click here for the full list.

November's Non-fiction includes:

  • knitting tea-cosies and gloves (back to traditional ways of life ...) in Art and Craft
  • Ted Hughes, Maya Angelou, Phyllida Law and Diana Athill in Biography
  • the Bedside Guardian, Noam Chomsky x 2 and Rupert Murdoch in Current Affairs
  • slow cooking x 2 in Food
  • ancient shelters, the Celtic empire, 17th-century women and lost railway lines in History
  • lots in Humour again including Carol Ann Duffy and Posy Simmonds on Mrs Scrooge, funny signs, Yorkshire proverbs, Gervase Phinn, QI, Gorey x 2, driving a tank and other gentlemanly accomplishments and a House of Horror stained-glass colouring book (or is that Art?)
  • Alberto Manguel and John Sutherland's curiosities in Literature
  • Thich Nhat Hanh, stopping smoking and colouring yantras in MBS
  • Daniel Barenboim on the power of Music
  • British cattle in Nature and Animals
  • Thomas A Clarke travelling the Highlands and Islands and Death of a Salesman on CD in Poetry & Drama
  • house repairs and the Trivium in Reference
  • science and Islam and the numerati controlling our lives in Science and Maths
  • campsites and Australia in Travel
  • and the Nativity, ponies, Alex Rider & M16 and Young Bond in Children's books


We highlight every month books we think are of particular interest: from adult fiction and non-fiction, a children's book and a CD.

Adult fiction:  The Lacuna - Barbara Kingsolver (£16.99 at The Book Case). A man's search for safety, torn between the warm heart of Mexico and the cold embrace of 1950s McCarthyite America. The first novel in ten years from the author of The Poisonwood Bible.

Adult non-fiction: Letters of Ted Hughes  (£14.99). Now in paperback, the highly-praised and wide-ranging selection of the late Poet Laureate's correspondence. See below.

Children: Crocodile Tears - Anthony Horowitz (£12.99 at The Book Case). Alex Ryder's eighth adventure sees him reluctantly turning to MI6 for help when he is targeted by a hitman, and his past is threatened to be exposed. But MI6 has a price - Alex must spy on the activities of a GM crop plant, but he's soon in danger. Ages 9+

Remains: The Elmet Suite by John Reeman & the Ted Hughes Suite by Lawrence Killian, performed by the Todmorden Orchestra (CD: £8.00).  The Elmet Suite is inspired by five Ted Hughes poems ("Remains of Elmet", "Football at Slack", "In April", "The Weasels We Smoked Out of the Bank" and "There Come Days to the Hills". The Ted Hughes Suite is a descriptive piece celebrating the poet’s life: "His Youth", "Affairs of the Heart", "The Poet Laureate". Attractively presented CD commissioned by the Elmet Trust, with explanatory notes.

See Book News 1 (2nd Oct 09)
See Book News 2 (10th Oct 09)

See more at The Book Case

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