November 7, 2016
Hardback, Guardian/Faber and Faber, £14.99, out now
In this beautiful photography book, all of portrait photographer Jane Bown’s trademark skills are on display. The cats she has photographed over five decades, mainly in black and white but sometimes in colour, stand out as a series of complex individuals.
Bown, who died in 2014, worked for the Guardian/Observer for decades, and many of her works now hang in the National Portrait Gallery (see http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp07814/jane-bown?role=art). Her photographs of Samuel Beckett and Mick Jagger, as well as others, are regarded as classics. Why should a great artist not turn her attention to cats? Her own cats feature prominently, but there are also market cats and kittens, show cats and stragglers. You can get a taste of what’s inside here: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2016/oct/01/cat-snaps-jane-bowns-feline-photographs-cats
In a handy medium sized format, this would be the perfect gift for someone who loves excellent photography, or cats – but ideally both!
Review by Bethan
August 29, 2016
Paperback, Penguin, £10.99, out now
What do you need for your ideal hideaway? A mountain view and an icy lake? Dense woodland and a log burning hot tub? A warm nook for reading, or a breezy beach veranda for birdspotting? If this is the kind of thing you dream of, this book will make you smile from the beginning to the end. Stuffed with great photos of boltholes all over the world, the combination of escape and nature plus contentment is irresistible.
The book is a selection of highlights from the blog http://cabinporn.com/, where it is possible to spend an inordinate amount of time looking at beautiful places and sighing wistfully. This lovely paperback also has short essays with enticing titles such as ‘how to live 30 feet in the air’ and ‘how to make a homestead in the wilderness’. However, I must confess to not actually having read a single one of these most-likely-excellent pieces, as I have fallen into the pictures and can’t get out. I don’t think I have ever reviewed and recommended a book in which I’ve not read any of the words!
I prescribe one volume of this topped up with occasional dips into Danish cosiness manual Hygge (which we also have… see https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1112343/the-book-of-hygge/) for maximum comfort and consolation. Curl up and enjoy.
Review by Bethan
November 15, 2015
Hardback £25, HarperCollins, out now
Wendy Trusler and Carol Devine have created a beautiful visual and written record of a 1995-96 volunteer expedition to clean up rubbish on the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica. The book is illustrated with photographs both from the trip and from previous historic outings by Scott and Shackleton, among others. It also features delicious and achievable international recipes used by Wendy to feed large groups of volunteers and friends during the tour – tasty looking White Bean and Roast Garlic Pate, Honey Oatmeal Bread, Frozen Chocolate Cream…
Contemporary journal entries from both authors candidly show the delights and strains of being ‘alone and together’ in Antarctica. Relationships within the camp and with those back home, as well as colleagues from other national research camps, become of prime importance.
For anyone whose imagination and interest strays towards Antarctica, or who likes unusual cookbooks or tales from women travellers, this is a must. One of the most unusual and beautiful books we have in the shop.
Review by Bethan