Category: Books

  • John Nichol: Lancaster, The Forging of a Very British Legend

    This is not a book to pick up and be enraptured by a beautiful machine; Nichol approaches the book as a journalist and tells the stories straight. Tales of horror and carnage are told in the same tone as tales of carnal lust (in the Lanc factories, where, to coin a phrase, never did so […]

  • Hari’s World (book)

    Hari is a green elephant and his mission in life is to never let children forget safety, doing this via books, characters and hand puppets (we’ve got a Hari himself). The aim appears to be for parents to read the books to their younger kids and use the puppet to reinforce the message while making […]

  • Nouvelle Vague: Curiosities

    Nouvelle Vague the band passed us by, we must confess. Nouvelle Vague to us was an album curated by David Byrne of a new wave of French folk bands, which was excellent. This was still French — from a man who speaks it so well he could write “Qu’est-ce que c’est” in the Psychokiller lyrics […]

  • Mark Hodkinson: That Summer Feeling (book)

    This gentle story is a modern follow-up to those kitchen sink dramas of the 60s, angry working class northern men living in poor accommodation (or with parents), dealing with the social taboos of the day. Those angry lads grew up to be the grumpy pensioners of this book, and their descendants are now as frustrated, […]

  • Claudia Gold: King of the North Wind, The Life of Henry II in Five Acts (book)

    This dramatic history of the man who could have been up there with England’s greatest kings is more like a story in three parts than the author’s five. Part one is the biblical section: who begat whom and who killed whom in the vestry with a blunt instrument. Necessary but a little slow. Part two […]

  • Damian Le Bas The Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britaino

    This delightful book sees Romany Damian Le Bas follow in his gran’s footsteps, stopping at atchin tans, the old Romany stopping places. Granny did it with horse-drawn wagons and bender tents, doing seasonal work, Le Bas does it in a Ford Transit (the compulsory Traveller conveyance) doing music videos and appearing on Radio Four’s Today. […]

  • Barbara Jackson and Jill Owen: Mysterious Marks at Little Moreton Hall

    Leek historian (and former Chronicle deputy editor) Doug Pickford writes books that make the reader stop and think about how our ancestors see the world. We say “get on the A34” or “turn left by the Red Lion” but mythical beings rarely come into it (unless you count the Mr Tree Face in Alsager). Yet […]

  • Franz Nicolay: The Humorless Ladies of Border Controli

    Subtitled “Touring the punk underground from Belgrade to Ulaanbaatar” this is probably the best travel book ever written by a musician, up there with Steve Earle’s novel for best book of any kind by a musician, and probably the best book about touring ever. There’s not much about the actual gigging, a repetitive event that […]

  • Colin Newcombe: 13 Fragments

    Newcombe is a local author who has produced a book that should be handed out to anyone thinking of descriptive writing and self-publishing. So with some joy we can say first what it isn’t: it’s not badly proofed, badly written or short of ideas, and Newcombe has clearly lavished a lot of attention on both […]

  • Norman Ohler: Blitzed

    This accessible history book is a good present for anyone who likes modern history but doesn’t want a heavy read. Ohler is a novelist and the book reads like a novel, but he’s done his research; Ian Kershaw, a world-leading authority on Hitler and Nazi Germany, has described it as “a serious piece of scholarship”. […]