Book News

from our favourite local book shop, The Book Case

Thursday, 1 April 2010

TOP TEN: March's bestsellers at The Book Case

As always, World Book Day dominated March sales at The Book Case, with five adult novels also selling well. Peter Thomas’s ever-popular local history, weird Calderdale goings-on, an alternative election manifesto and a book analysing what’s wrong with our society made up the remainder.

1. World Book Day Special: Kitten Chaos by Anna Wilson with Magic Ballerina: The Magic Dance by Darcey Bussell (£1.00). All of the World Book Day Specials for children were popular, but ballerinas and kittens took first place!

2. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (£8.99). Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009 and our March Fiction Book of the Month. 'Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,' says Thomas More, 'and when you come back that night he'll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks' tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.'

3. Hebden Bridge: a short history of the area - Peter Thomas (£5.99). Peter Thomas’s account of the history of our area keeps selling! A Royd Press publication.

4. The People's Manifesto by Mark Thomas (£4.99). Mark Thomas’s entertaining guide to what people really want from their government. If only!

5. Falling through Clouds - Anna Chilvers (£7.99). Hebden Bridge author Anna Turner’s novel, a contemporary retelling of the medieval English tale "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", is selling well.

6. We Are All Made of Glue - Marina Lewycka (£7.99). Georgie Sinclair's life is coming unstuck. Her husband's left her. Her son's obsessed with the End of the World. And now her elderly neighbour Mrs Shapiro has decided they are related. The latest entertaining novel from the author of "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian".

7. The Spirit Level: Why Equality Is Better For Everyone - Richard Wilkinson (£9.99). Still selling well is this groundbreaking book demonstrating that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them - the well-off as well as the poor. Our February Non-Fiction Book of the Month.

8. Weird Calderdale - Paul Weatherhead (£8.50). Back in stock, this collection of strange local legends is always popular.

9. Little Stranger - Sarah Waters (£7.99). A chilling ghost story set in a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire. A doctor is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall, home to the Ayres family for over two centuries. Our Fiction Book of the Month for February.

10. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson (£7.99). First in the popular Millennium series and now a film. The original Swedish title was "Men Who Hate Women"! Book 3 is now out and expected to be popular.

In celebration of the the 500th anniversary of the Old Bridge, The Book Case has produced two bridge-related quizzes and a timeline. The adult quiz and timeline - which celebrates 500 years of Hebden Bridge and literature - is available now at the shop, with a prize of a £20 book token, and the children's quiz will be ready soon.

Mike Barrett's quirky postcards celebrating Hebden 500 are now in stock and available as a pack or individually, and we continue to sell the postcards of evocative old photos of the local area from the Alice Longstaff Collection.

The Observer contacted us to ask for our top three sellers of the week for their "Culture Map" feature; we're waiting to see if they appear. (Since you ask, they were Anna Chilver's "Falling through Clouds", Peter Thomas's "Hebden Bridge: a short history of the area" and Mark Thomas's "People's Manifesto").


Adult fiction: Trespass - Rose Tremain (£15.99 at The Book Case). In a silent valley in the Cevennes stands an isolated stone farmhouse, the Mas Lunel. Its owner is Aramon Lunel, an alcoholic so haunted by his violent past that he's incapable of all meaningful action, letting his hunting dogs starve and his land go to ruin. His sister, Audrun dreams of exacting retribution for the unspoken betrayals that have blighted her life.

Adult Non-fiction: Map Addict: A Tale of Obsession, Fudge and the Ordnance Survey - Mike Parker (£7.99) On an average day, we will consult some form of map approximately a dozen times, often without even noticing. At a stroke, they convey precise information about topography, layout, history, politics and power. They are the unsung heroes of life: Map Addict sings their song.

Children: Ghost Hunter - Michelle Paver (£6.99). Paperback edition of the finale of the acclaimed Wolf Brother series. As winter approaches and Souls' Night draws near, the Eagle Owl Mage holds the clans in the grip of terror. To fulfill his destiny, Torak must seek his lair in the Mountain of Ghosts. Ages: 10+

CD: Sylvia Plath: The Spoken Word (£9.99). This new CD from British Library Publishing brings together BBC recordings from the British Library Sound Archive, and includes Plath discussing and reading from her work. A particular highlight is a 1961 recording of a BBC programme Sylvia Plath recorded with Ted Hughes, where they talk about their marriage and what it means to live with your muse. Many of these recordings are published here for the first time. The publication date has slipped, and we now expect this mid-April.

Local Interest

Windyridge: a classic Yorkshire novel - Willie Riley (£9.99)
First published in 1912 and a bestseller of its time, this is a charming tale of Yorkshire village life. Grace Holden feels the "pull of the heather" and moves from London to an isolated Yorkshire village. There are locations based on real Yorkshire moors and villages and a cast of Yorkshire characters. Now reprinted with the original photos of Yorkshire. Willie Riley was born in Bradford and had a background in early cinema.

Pennine Way North, National Trail Guide - Tony Hopkins (£12.99)
This is the complete, official guide to the northern section of the Way, following the Countryside Agency's acorn waymarks from Bowes across the rugged Durham moors, past Hadrian's Wall to Kirk Yetholm, a distance of 129 miles, for the long distance walker or the weekend stroller.

The Heritage Trail - Tom Schofield (£8.99)
The Heritage Trail is a 54-mile walk within the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, the route of which connects three preserved steam railways — the East Lancashire, the Keighley and Worth Valley and the Embsay to Bolton Abbey. The Trail is divided into 16 linked circular stages ranging between 4 and 9.5 miles.

Local Authors

Out of Office - Mick Piggott (£7.99)
From an ex-Hebden Bridge resident, a gritty fast-paced novel about a man dissatisfied with life. Set around the time of the 2012 Olympics, the novel sees a chaotic London, with failed terrorism attacks and significant problems in the City, leading to a growing sense of unease. The central character Christian Hook finds his life spiralling into freefall.

Memories of Ted Hughes 1952-1963 - Daniel Huws (£5.99)
The life of his Cambridge years, and his friendship with Sylvia Plath.

Sylvia Plath: The Spoken Word
This new CD from British Library Publishing brings together BBC recordings from the British Library Sound Archive, and includes Plath discussing and reading from her work. A particular highlight is a 1961 recording of a BBC programme Plath recorded with her husband, Ted Hughes, where they talk about their marriage and what it means to live with your muse. Many of these recordings are published here for the first time. (£9.99)

Last Voyage of the Olivebank - Len Townend, ed. Elvin Carter (£9.99)
A true and poignant account of the ill-fated "Last Voyage of the Olivebank" in 1938-39 told with verve, humour, honesty and sensitivity by Len Townend, who at one point lived in Heptonstall and still has family in the area. He made that voyage, one of the Great Grain Races of the 1930s, and survived - and had his rough logs typed up before he died. Now edited by Elvin Carter, who previously published Mytholmroyd-born Geoffrey Robertshaw's accounts of the grain races of the 1930s. We hope to have this by the end of April.

Love and War in the Pyrenees: A Story of Courage, Fear and Hope, 1939-1944 - Rosemary Bailey (£8.99)
From a Halifax author, a well-written history and travelogue about the hidden history of the area, where she now lives, including the Resistance, collaboration, treatment of refugees from the Spanish Civil War, and concentration camps.

See Book News 6 (2 March 2010)
See Book News 5 (4 Jan 2010)
See Book News 4 (3rd Dec 09)
See Book News 3 (3rd Nov 09)
See Book News 2 (10th Oct 09)
See Book News 1 (2nd Oct 09)

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