Category Archives: The BOOKS etc. Club

Our fantastic book club! we’ll be putting monthly book reviews on here from our wonderful reviewer Becky.

Take a look at our Book Club for January 2018

 

If you love books then why not join our popular Book Club. See new titles, enter brilliant giveaways and if you write a short review of a book of your choice you can WIN this amazing bundle.

How to submit your own book review:

  • Type the title of the book that you want to write a review on into the search bar
  • At the bottom of the page click on the submit review and login to enter
  • At the end of January, you will be entered into a grand prize draw to win the complete set of books.

Go on give it a go! you might surprise yourself. You can join Here: The BOOKS etc.Club

 

Announcing our January Book Club

Gin Tonica
40 Recipes for Spanish-Style Gin and Tonic Cocktails
By David T. Smith

Aromatic, refreshing, delicious and a feast for the eyes, the generously-sized and creatively garnished `gin tonica’ Spanish-style drink is taking the cocktail world by storm.

 A beautiful cocktail with a variety of herb and flower garnishes, a Spanish-style gin and tonic or `gin tonica’, is made with a premium gin and the best quality tonic water, combined with bitters and various herbs, spices, flowers and fruits that will complement the botanicals of a specific gin. It is served over ice in an oversized balloon glass – the idea being that the shape enables the drinker to enjoy all the lovely aromas their drink gives off.

For a cocktail with only two ingredients, the flavour potential is staggering! Making a gin tonica is an intricate process, sometimes taking a barman as long as 15 minutes to deliver the ideal drink. The ice has to be dense so that it melts slowly, the glass might be spritzed with a fine layer of citrus oil, chilled to perfection, with the tonic poured in delicately. No detail is ignored, the wait is part of the experience, and the result is absolutely delicious. Attention to detail and respect for the classic is what truly elevates the Spanish gin tonica above all others.

With more gin brands and styles of tonic available than ever before, and 40 inspired recipes here to try at home, there has never been a better time to discover the joy of the gin tonica – saludos!

You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


The Curry Guy
Recreate over 100 of the best British Indian Restaurant recipes at home
By Dan Toombs

Dan Toombs (aka The Curry Guy) has perfected the art of replicating British Indian Restaurant (BIR) cooking after travelling around the UK, sampling dishes, learning the curry house kitchen secrets and refining those recipes at home. In other words, Dan makes homemade curries that taste just like a takeaway from your favourite local but in less time and for less money.

Dan has learnt through the comments left on his blog and social media feeds that people are terribly let down when they make a chicken korma or a prawn bhuna from other cookbooks and it taste nothing like the dish they experience when they visit a curry house…but they thank him for getting it right.

The Curry Guy shows all BIR food lovers around the world how to make their favourite dishes at home. Each of the classic curry sauces are given, including tikka masala, korma, dopiazza, pasanda, madras, dhansak, rogan josh, vindaloo, karai, jalfrezi, bhuna and keema. Popular vegetable and sides dishes are there as accompaniments, aloo gobi, saag aloo and tarka dhal, plus samosas, pakoras, bhaji, and pickles, chutneys and raitas. Of course, no curry is complete without rice or naan. Dan shows you how to cook perfect pilau rice or soft pillowy naan every time.

You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


The Good Pilot, Peter Woodhouse
By  Alexander McCall Smith

Val was working as a land girl when the Americans arrived at the nearby airfield in 1944. Mike, a young American airman, came into her life soon after, and so too did Peter Woodhouse, a dog badly treated on a neighbouring farm and taken in by her aunt. Little persuasion was needed for Mike to take Peter Woodhouse to the airbase and over time he became the mascot of the American squad, flying with them whenever their Mosquitoes took to the skies.

When their plane is shot down over Holland both Mike and his canine companion are feared lost. But unknown to their loved ones at home, Mike and Peter Woodhouse survived the crash. Taken in by the Dutch resistance and with the help of Ubi, a German officer, the pair to remain in hiding till the end of the war when they are reunited with Val. We then follow Val, Mike and Peter Woodhouse as they rebuild a life in England. And Ubi as he returns to Germany at the end of the war and tries to build a new life for himself. His dream is to run a Wall of Death, a circus ring that pitts motorcyclists against gravity as they attempt to stay upright at ever increasing speed…

You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


Lucky Button
By Michael Morpurgo
Illustrated by Michael Foreman

A moving historical story inspired by the Foundling Museum, written by acclaimed children’s author Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Michael Foreman.From award-winning master storyteller Michael Morpurgo, author of the acclaimed War Horse, comes a moving historical story inspired by the Foundling Museum.

A lonely boy struggles to cope with school bullies and caring for his mother, until a mysterious encounter reveals life in the Foundling Hospital in the eighteenth century and unravels a touching tale about the power of music. Beautifully illustrated by Kate Greenaway Medal-winning illustrator Michael Foreman.

You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


To Pixar and Beyond
My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History
By Lawrence Levy

A Sunday Times Best Book of the Year 2017 One day in November 1994, Lawrence Levy received a phone call out of the blue from Steve Jobs, whom he’d never met, offering him a job running Pixar, a little-known company that had already lost Jobs $50 million. With Pixar’s prospects looking bleak, it was with some trepidation that Levy accepted the position. After a few weeks he discovered that the situation was even worse than he’d imagined.

Pixar’s advertising division just about broke even, its graphics software had few customers, its short films didn’t make any money and, on top of all that, Jobs was pushing to take the company public. Everything was riding on the studio’s first feature film, codenamed Toy Story, and even then it would have to be one of the most successful animated features of all time… Full of wisdom on bringing business and creativity together, and recounting the touching story of Levy’s enduring friendship with Jobs, To Pixar and Beyond is a fascinating insider’s account of one of Hollywood’s greatest success stories.

You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


Boutique Homes
Handpicked Vacation Rentals

This interactive book presents a curated collection of more than 60 uniquely designed boutique homes, brought together by the founders and authors of the eponymous brand. The composition of excellent architecture and design staged with stunning photography, showcases an international ‘best of the best’ selection. This is further divided into chapters: beach and cliff houses; architectural gems; chic and cheap; updated history; urban retreat; country living; emotional luxury; unplugged; cabins; and spaces for family and friends.

The book and complementary app for iPhones is more than an exciting and glamorous source of inspiration. Each of the shown houses and apartments is also available for rent, and can be experienced in all its glory.

You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


Young, Brave and Beautiful
The Missions of Special Operations Executive Agent Lieutenant Violette Szabo, George Cross, Croix de Guerre avec Etoile de Bronze
By Tania Szabo

SOE agent Violette Szabo was one of the most incredible women who operated behind enemy lines during the Second World War. The daughter of an English father and French mother, and widow of a French army officer, she was daring and courageous, conducting sabotage missions, being embroiled in gun battles and battling betrayal.

On her second mission she was captured by the Nazis, interrogated and tortured, then deported to Germany where she was eventually executed at Ravensbruck concentration camp. Violette was one of the first women ever to be awarded the George Cross, and her fascinating life has been immortalised in film and on the page. Written by her daughter, Young, Brave and Beautiful reveals the woman and mother behind this extraordinary hero.

You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org
How to Find Your Family History on the Largest Free Genealogy Website
By Dana McCullough

Master the #1 Free Genealogy Website! Discover your ancestry on FamilySearch.org, the world’s largest free genealogy website. This in-depth user guide shows you how to find your family in the site’s databases of more than 3.5 billion names and millions of digitized historical records spanning the globe.

 Whether you’re new to FamilySearch.org or you’re a longtime user, you’ll find the guidance you need to discover your ancestors and make the most of the site’s valuable resources.

You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


Running Science
Revealing the science of peak performance
By John Brewer

Running can encompass the absolute extremes of human performance, from speed to endurance.

Running Science uncovers the fundamental science that underpins this ubiquitous sport, bringing together the study of biomechanics, nutrition, psychology, health and injury prevention, and the technical development of shoes and running surfaces: it’s a complete reference.

You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs
By Henry Carroll

Photography is now more popular than ever thanks to the rapid development of digital cameras. Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs is for this new wave of DSLR dabblers and amateur snapshooters.

It contains no graphs, no techie diagrams and no camera-club jargon. Instead, it inspires readers through iconic images and playful copy packed with hands-on tips. Split into five sections, the book covers composition, exposure, light, lenses, and the art of seeing. Masterpieces by acclaimed photographers including Henri Cartier- Bresson, Sebastiao Salgado, Fay Godwin, Nadav Kander, Daido Moriyama and Martin Parr serve to illustrate points and encourage readers to try out new ideas.

Todays aspiring photographers want immediacy and see photography as an affordable way of expressing themselves quickly and creatively. This handbook meets their needs, teaching them how to take photographs using professional techniques.

You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


Night Sounds
By Sam Taplin
Illustrated by Federica Iossa

Discover the magic of the night in this enchanting sound book. Little children will love listening to sleeping cats purring, owls twit-twooing and bats squeaking when they press the sound buttons on the pages of this beautifully illustrated book.

There’s a simple story to read aloud, holes to peep through and fingertrails to explore, too.

You can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery


 

Our January Book of the Month

To Pixar and Beyond
My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History
By Lawrence Levy

A Sunday Times Best Book of the Year 2017 One day in November 1994, Lawrence Levy received a phone call out of the blue from Steve Jobs, whom he’d never met, offering him a job running Pixar, a little-known company that had already lost Jobs $50 million.

With Pixar’s prospects looking bleak, it was with some trepidation that Levy accepted the position. After a few weeks he discovered that the situation was even worse than he’d imagined. Pixar’s advertising division just about broke even, its graphics software had few customers, its short films didn’t make any money and, on top of all that, Jobs was pushing to take the company public.

Everything was riding on the studio’s first feature film, codenamed Toy Story, and even then it would have to be one of the most successful animated features of all time… Full of wisdom on bringing business and creativity together, and recounting the touching story of Levy’s enduring friendship with Jobs, To Pixar and Beyond is a fascinating insider’s account of one of Hollywood’s greatest success stories.


Review

By our Book Club reviewer Becky Hinshelwood

It’s probably quite a triumph for Lawrence Levy that I enjoyed To Pixar and Beyond. Not because I think that he gives two hoots about my inconsequential opinions, but because it’s testament to his writing that an artsy girl who has zero business sense can not only comprehend but be engaged by what is at first glance a business book.

Levy’s recurring point in this memoir is that “story is king”. He has certainly taken this philosophy to heart and has retold his experience of Pixar, Disney and Steve Jobs in a way that absolutely puts the story first. Levy writes with some self-deprecating humour (possibly because of his British heritage!) as he and Steve try to get to grips with the entertainment industry. Preservation of creativity is a working practice that has become standard for tech companies emerging from Silicon Valley, but rather surprisingly for an artistic industry, the world of entertainment is not so forward thinking.

Levy theorises about this inclination and says, “Fear and ego conspire to rein in creativity, and it is easy to allow creative inspiration to take a back seat to safety… As corporations succeed, they generally become more conservative. The flames of creativity on which a company is built can easily cool as pressures to perform mount”. The quest in this story was to stop this from happening to Pixar.

Albeit on a much smaller scale, I recognised the attitudes of the movie industry. My previous professional life in West End theatre exposed me to similar egos and institutional protectionism that Levy encountered. For Levy and Jobs to have successfully integrated Silicon Valley tech attitudes to the behemoth that is Hollywood was revolutionary, and clearly the source of their success – incidentally also laying the groundwork for the rise of Apple and the iPhone.

What is interesting about the insight that Levy brings to the Disney / Pixar relationship is that success has worked both ways; in the end the Disney we know today, the one that eventually released Frozen and Moana, found its path back to being dominant in animation in part because of Pixar and its creativity centred working practices. Goliath needed David.

For Levy and his wife, the ‘beyond’ referred to in the book’s title refers to their pursuit of meditation practices and something known as The Middle Way as a lifestyle philosophy. Their group, ‘Juniper’ (named after the tree’s hardiness and ability to grow in mountainous Tibet. Not, as I obtusely pointed out to my husband, because gin is the secret of happiness and joy!) Levy’s exploration of Eastern mysticism and philosophy are thankfully a small portion of this book; although I appreciate the value of meditation, I can find it jarring when the privileged and affluent extol the need to pursue mysticism to achieve happiness. However as philosophies go, The Middle Way seems fairly sensible as it focusses on the balance of practicality and creativity. Indeed I also found the parallels of this philosophy to the success of Pixar (creative free reign balanced with strategic planning) truly insightful and forward thinking.

As Levy himself points out, Steve Jobs famously compartmentalised his life. So the Steve that we glimpse here is very much the man who existed within the context of Pixar. This isn’t an analysis of Steve Jobs though, fascinating though he may have been. Both men, naturally, come across as balanced and intelligent individuals, but what made me respect the author was his negotiation of the naming in thanks of the Pixar admin staff at the tail end of each film’s credits. He says, “Of all my moments at Pixar, seeing this for the first time stood out as the most gratifying.” Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in theatrical admin that I felt delighted for these under-appreciated workers! However, I think that most readers will probably connect with the humanity of this act. This is not really a business book: it’s too full of good stories.

If Becky’s review has inspired you to read more then you can buy your copy HERE + free UK delivery. Published by Oneworld.