Fantasy & Science Fiction Books
Pen and Sword Books
of the Month - Sara Sheridan: The World of Sanditon
by Trapeze 3rd October 2019
official TV tie-in to accompany the ITV drama scripted by Andrew Davies
official companion to ITV's hotly anticipated new drama, The World of Sanditon delves
behind the scenes of Sanditon,
giving you the inside scoop on Jane Austen's unfinished masterpiece,
adapted for television by Andrew Davies.
by Red Planet Pictures, ITV's Sanditon series
tells the story of the joyously impulsive, spirited and unconventional
Charlotte Heywood and her spiky relationship with the humorous,
charming and slightly wild Sidney Parker. Written by Emmy and
BAFTA-Award winning writer Andrew Davies, the series will bring
Austen's story to life and this book will allow you to go behind the
scenes of the cast and crew, exploring the world that Austen created
and offering fascinating insights about the period and about the
real-life heartbreak behind her final story. Readers will also have
access to location guides, interviews with the cast, and in-depth
historical information by esteemed author Sara Sheridan.
of beautiful photography from the series, this is the only guide you
need to Autumn's biggest show - welcome to Sanditon!
month I had the pleasure of reviwing the sumptuous companion to the new
Downton Abbey film; this month I'm honoured to be able to review the
companion to ITV's latest Sunday night blockbuster, Sanditon, which I
hope, along with millions of other viewers, could become ITV's new
Downton Abbey! This companion, compiled by Sara Sheridan and with a
foreword by Sanditon creator Andrew Davies, is the very finest example
of a literary companion it has ever been my good fortune to review. I
don't need to say that the many fine photographs are stunning, that
goes without saying, but I've said it anyway. There is such a wealth of
information in this book I don't know where to begin! First of all,
there is an excellent introduction to the life and works of Jane
Austen, without whom there would be no Sanditon. There is information
on how libraries started in England, and the blossoming publishing
industry; on the seaside, because Sanditon was set at a time when
holidays were starting to become fashionable; on turn of the
century Great Britain, on food, on clothing, on everything about Jane
Austen's England; and, of course, there are profiles of the main
characters and the actors and actresses who portray them. You have to
wait until the very end of the book before you get the profile you've
been waiting for, that of Charlotte Heywood, portrayed by the stunning
Rose Williams, who is the very essence of an Austen heroine, and who
deserves an award for her acting prowess in Sanditon. Each profile
looks at the character and the actor/actress portraying them, which is,
for me, a first with this type of companion, and very welcome indeed.
This sumptuous book arrived just in time to make it into this issue,
and I decided that I would have two nonfiction books of the month
because it is simply brilliant, quite the best TV/film companion I have
ever been privileged to review in Books Monthly.
of the Month - The Bake-off Team: The Big Book of Amazing Cakes
by Sphere 3rd October 2019
THE BRAND-NEW OFFICIAL BAKE OFF BOOK!
THE ULTIMATE CAKE-BAKING BIBLE
The Big Book
of Amazing Cakes brings the magic of The Great
British Bake Off to your kitchen with
easy-to-follow recipes for every shape, size and delicious flavour of
cake you can imagine.
the very best cakes from inside the Bake Off tent,
alongside much-loved family favourites, stunning showstoppers and
classic bakes, the book is packed with expert advice and helpful tips
for decorating. From simple sponges to spectacular celebration cakes,
aspiring star bakers will have everything they need to create the
perfect bake for any occasion.
exclusive recipes by the series 10
bakers, and favourite bakes from contestants across all ten series.
STOP PRESS: David just won the Bake-off trophy for 2019, and deservedly
so. His show stopper blew the competition away!
honestly think that Bake-off has benefited from the move from the BBC
to Channel 4, the production is better, the presenters are better, and
the format of the programme is better. To add to that, the books that
accompany the series are definitely better, and this Big Book of
Amazing Cakes has to be the best yet, with stunning photography, clear,
easy-to follow recipes, and genuinely mouthwatering recipes. Many of
this year's contestants will go down as some of the best in the show's
ten year history, and some will go on to write books of their own, of
course, but this book showcases their recipes to perfection. There are
the perennial favourites, such as Victoria Sponge, and Christmas Cake,
but there are also some of the fantastic show-stoppers from the current
series which, as I write this, is still going on, with about six
contestants left. My personal favourite is Henry, followed by Steph,
but really, they're all brilliant and the standard this year is
incredibly high. But this is about the book, not the programme, and I
honestly think that this book will be around for a long time as the
perfect showcase for cake baking, as a shining example of a perfect TV
show, and as a companion that does so many thing: educates and
entertains, encourages and inspires. Fantastic. A strong contender for
one of this year's very best nonfiction books.
of the Month - Metropolitan Museum of Art: Christmas Is Coming!
by Abrams Books 15th October 2019
the most wonderful time of the year, and this richly illustrated
treasury celebrates everything there is to love about the holiday
season! It’s filled with favorite Christmas stories, such as “ ’Twas
the Night Before Christmas” and “Little Women, A Merry Christmas,” and
songs as well as original poems from Lee Bennett Hopkins, Naomi Shihab
Nye, and others; original recipes from Erin Gleeson, Yvette van Boven,
and Yotam Ottolenghi; and other holiday trappings. All the artwork is
from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, ranging from
religious paintings depicting the Nativity, to 20th-century
illustrations showing Santa Claus, to wintry scenes of snowy landscapes
and ice skaters. With beautiful art and joyful text, this is a
wonderful book for the entire family to share.
From The Metropolitan Museum, this
Christmas treasury of stories,
poems, recipes, and songs is sure to light up the holiday season.
certainly not too early to be thinking about Christmas, and this issue
of Books Monthly is crammed with brilliant suggestions for Christmas
book gifts, including this one from publisher Abrams and Chronicle,
which showcases Christmas in a way that used to be the norm. Utterly
charming, crammed with stories, poems, carols (including the piano
music) and essays, and the most brilliant set of illustrations I've
seen celebrating Christmas for ages.
Kindersley: Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life
by Dorling Kindersley 17th September 2019
and authoritative, this book is an unprecedented survey of millions of
years of life on planet Earth. Featuring an incredible mix of 3-D
reconstructions, extraordinary skeletons, and amazingly intricate
fossils, it uses the latest scientific research to recreate a wealth of
ancient species, from the earliest primitive life forms to great
dinosaurs, early mammals, and even the first humans.
richly illustrated catalogue starts with the first Precambrian microbes
and traces the evolution of life through mass extinctions and ice ages.
As well as dinosaurs, it features extinct plants, invertebrates,
amphibians, fish, birds, reptiles, and mammals, conjuring up a series
of past worlds. The book also explores geological time and examines how
fossils preserve the story of evolution.
abridged edition of DK's Prehistoric (2009)
features updated information on hundreds of life forms, with a
scattering of new entries - including the jellyfish Haootia, and the early Cretaceous
Artists' impressions of the living, breathing animals have also been
updated according to the latest findings about colouring, feathers, and
stunning visuals and clear text, Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life is
a fascinating encyclopedia for the whole family - as well as anyone
enthralled by T-Rex, or the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous and Jurassic
stunning books from Dorling Kindersley this month - the first is a
brilliant book about dinosaurs and prehistoric life, and the content is
absolutely amazing! Page after page about the formation of the Earth
and the continents, arranged by the ages by which our prehistory is
defined, with explanations about how fossils form and what fossils tell
us; and that's just for starters. When we finally get to the age when
the dinosaurs start to appear, the content becomes simply magical, with
stunning illustrations and explanatory text. This fabulous book
contains everything you need to know about how life evolved on Earth
and the age of the dinosaurs. It's a coffee table book, but it's also
much more than that - it's educational, entertaining and simply
Kindersley: The Complete Classical Music Guide
by Dorling Kindersley 7th November 2019
makes Mozart's music so great? Why does a minor chord sound sad and a
major chord sound happy? What's the difference between opera and
operetta? From Bach to Bernstein, this definitive guide offers a
complete survey of the history of classical music.
you already love classical music or you're just beginning to explore it, The Complete Classical Music Guide invites
you to discover the spirituality of Byrd's masses, the awesome power of
and the wonders of Wagner's operas, as well as hundreds more composers
and their masterpieces. This guide takes you on a journey through more
than 1,000 years, charting the evolution of musical instruments,
styles, and genres. Biographies of major and lesser-known composers
offer rich insights into their music and the historical and cultural
contexts that influenced their genius.
book explores the features that defined each musical era - from the
ornate brilliance of the Baroque, through the drama of Romantic music,
to contemporary genres such as minimalism and electronic music.
Timelines, quotes, and colour photographs give a voice to this music
and the exceptionally gifted individuals who created it. Covering both
music history and the fundamental building blocks of music theory, The Complete Classical Music Guide explains
not just the who, what, and where of classical music, but the how and
is a republishing of a book DK first published earlier this century,
and it is a brilliant companion to the music that simply won't go away.
Page after page about the various stages of classical music, through
the baroque, the romantic and the modern periods, with profiles of
composers and the instruments they composed for. If you're just
beginning your appreciation of classical music, this one's for you; if
you're already a committed classical music listener, this wonderful
book will be the perfect companion. Absolutely outstanding!
Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
by Dorling Kindersley 3rd October 2019
the right plants for your garden and find all the inspiration and
guidance you need with the new edition of this best-selling illustrated
reference book organised by plant colour, size, and type.
on expert advice from the RHS, the book features an illustrated
catalogue of more than 4,000 plants and flowers. Organised by colour,
size, and type, rather than as an A-Z directory, and accompanied by
beautiful, full-colour images, it will help you select the right
varieties for your outdoor space. Browse the photographic catalogue to
find at-a-glance plant choice inspiration, or use the extensive plant
dictionary to look up more than 8,000 plant varieties and the best
growing conditions for them.
new edition features the latest and most popular cultivars, with more
than 1,400 new plants added, as well as updated photography, hardiness
ratings, and a brand-new introduction. Fully comprehensive yet easy to
use, the RHS
Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers is the
inspirational, informative guide every gardener needs on their
is the most comprehensive book about plants and flowers you will ever
need. The illustrations are out of this world and the way the book is
arranged is superlative. I can't think of a better Christmas gift for
the gardener in your family - it's a book you can sit and pore over for
hours on end and still not entirely satisfy yourself. Dorling
Kindersley at its very finest!
Fontana - DC: Women of Action
by Chronicle Books 22nd October 2019
decades, Super Heroes have inspired us to reach new heights, find
strength in adversity, and access our inner power. This gorgeously
illustrated collection tracks this progress, profiling the fiercest,
strongest, and most independent female Super Heroes and Super-Villains
in the DC Universe, along with the real-life women integral to their
development. Featuring Wonder Woman™, Lois Lane, Bat-girl, Bumblebee,
Hawkgirl, Black Canary, Amanda Waller, and many more, this lush volume
is a vivid celebration of the amazing, inspirational women of DC.
Books have published other titles like this one -m this time it's DC
Comics' turn for the treatment, and once again I have to say that while
the content is outstanding, the illustrations are no match for
photographs or illustrations from the actual comics or from the various
films based on DC characters. Once again, some of the artwork is
brilliant, others are not so good. It's a crying shame, because comic
book art is so brilliant. Maybe Chronicle don't have the money to avail
themselves of the right illustrations.
Harrison & Tony Kirkham: Remarkable Trees
by Thames & Hudson 3rd October 2019
than 60,000 species of trees are found in an amazing variety of forms,
sizes and habitats. Every tree has its own story and here are over 60,
selected for their particular resonance and connection with humankind
and representing most of the world’s major zones and ecologies. In
portraits that combine vivid cultural and historical narrative with a
firm scientific grounding, the authors reveal the details of trees from
around the world, both familiar and strange. We use timbers for
building and creating, have discovered which tree fruits and seeds
taste delicious, and which can kill or cure us, and which species can
add colour and spirituality to our lives – from the timber of mahogany
to the delights of chocolate and pomegranate, from the medicinal tea
tree to the deadly manchineel, and from fragrant frankincense to the
highly prized dragon’s blood tree.
and botanists alike have been inspired by trees for centuries, and a
varied and beautiful range of images from the unrivalled archive at Kew
illustrate the stories, to create this enlightening and enchanting book.
When I worked in the public library
service back in the 1960s, Thames
and Hudson were always the go-to publishers for fine art and flora and
fauna. In this century, they've probably been overtaken, just, by
Kindersley, but now and then they come up with a book that is really
beautiful, informative and thoroughly superb. Remarkable Trees is just
such a book, with approachable, knowledgable text, and stunning
illustrations. Those in this wonderful book are from the Kew Gardens
illustrate to perfection the wonder of trees of all kinds. The book
concentrates on sixty specific types of tree, and illustrates perfectly
the gifts they bring to other forms of life (including ourselves), here
on Earth. A magical book
about a species of flora that we all too often take for granted.
Absolutely stunning, the perfect Christmas gift.
by Chronicle Books 25th September 2019
is an amazingly beautiful purse-like container for two handsome packs
of playing cards, just one of the many fine examples of gift that
publishers Abrams and Chronicle sell besides their beautiful and
handsome roll-up game combines convenience with style. It features a
canvas board and a snap-on vegan leather pouch for storing pieces, and
rolls up-just like a Pendleton blanket-for swift storage and easy
Day: The Hobbits of Tolkien
by Pyramid Books 3rd October 2019
Day has been writing books about the various worlds of J R R Tolkien
for as long as I can remember, and this paperback-sized book is one of
a series of brilliantly written and illustrated books on the subject of
the characters and races of Tolkien's Middle Earth. Faultless and
years after the publication of renowned Tolkien expert David Day's A
Tolkien Bestiary comes The Illustrated World of Tolkien - a collection
of artworks and essays from expert illustrators, painters and etchers,
accomapnied by David Day's fascinating and scholarly writing. Whether
you are an expert or you just want to learn more about Tolkien's world
and characters, this title is the one you've been waiting for - an
exquisite reference guide for any fan of the author's work and
the imaginative brilliance his vision inspired. An entire race was born
when J.R.R. Tolkien scrawled on a leaf, 'In a hole in the ground there
lived a hobbit.' From the invention of that single word (hobbit)
Tolkien became the explorer and chronicler of the character, their race
and their significant role in his fantastical world, Middle-earth.
in his latest book, Tolkien expert David Day unpicks the myriad of
riddles, puns and mystical meanings in Tolkien's works; The Hobbit and
The Lord of the Rings.
Day: The Illustrated World of Tolkien
by Pyramid Books 19th October 2019
works have inspired artists for generations and have given rise to
myriad interpretations of the rich and magical worlds he created.
Illustrated World of Tolkien gathers together artworks and essays from
expert illustrators, painters and etchers, and fascinating and
scholarly writing from renowned Tolkien expert David Day, and is an
exquisite reference guide for any fan of Tolkien's work, Tolkien's
world and the imaginative brilliance his vision inspired.
this large-format book, David Day gathers together some of the finest
current illustrators of Middle Earth alongside a number of noted and
notable writers to bring us a comprehensive and delightful treatise on
the worlds of J R R Tolkien. I think I spotted a mistake, when the book
claims that Arwen spent most of her life with the Elves of Lothlorien -
it was always my understanding that she lived for the most part with
the Elves in her father Elrond's realm of Rivendell. I am prepared to
be wrong about that, and for this to be simply a typo, and it certainly
doesn't spoil the enjoyment of the book, which is simply superb!
on Location: People, Places, Portraits
by Abrams 29th October 2019
around the globe with Vogue’s
most exotic fashion, travel, and lifestyle stories
fashion, will travel. That’s the vision behind Vogue on Location,
a journey in itself through the many spectacular voyages that the
magazine took over the years. Spanning a century, this remarkable book
includes dispatches and travel writing by journalistic icons like Jan
Morris, Truman Capote, Lee Miller, Lesley Blanch, and Frances
FitzGerald, as well as stunning editorials from legendary photographers
like Irving Penn, Henry Clarke, Helmut Newton, Arthur Elgort, Mario
Testino, Peter Lindbergh, and Annie Leibovitz.
historic reportage and landmark fashion shoots in far-flung locales
like India, Iran, Morocco, Bali, Vogue on Location captures
important moments in both travel and fashion history. An essential
addition to any Vogue lover’s
shelf, Vogue on
Location is sure to inspire a sense of fantasy
of photos from Vogue's chequered mighty past in which the locations
play as much part in the make-up of the image as the various models
that grace them. I don't know if it's just me, but I got the distinct
impression that photos from the earlier decades were sharper and
perhaps more impressive, and certainly, for me, the earlier models were
far more attractive than some of the angular-faced, gaunt looking
models of the more recent years. Yes, it's just me. A brilliant
collectable coffee table book.
Chick: Foo Fighters, The Band That Dave Made
by Palazzo Editions 15th August 2019
the ashes of Nirvana, Dave Grohl rose as a one-man band with a
self-titled album: The
Now, 25 years on, and with a rock solid outfit that includes Nate
Mendel (bass), Taylor Hawkins (drums), Chris Shiflett (guitar), Pat
Smear (rhythm guitar) and latest addition, Rami Jaffee (keyboards) -
The Foo Fighters are revelling in the success of their ninth studio
Paying homage to the band's enduring longevity, The
Foo Fighters: The Band that Dave Made is
a comprehensive look at a career that boasts six, million-selling
albums, eleven Grammies and hit stadium rock anthems such as "Learn to
Fly", "Best of You" and "Everlong". Fully Illustrated, this handsome
biography from acclaimed rock writer, Stevie Chick, is a fitting
tribute to a band born out of the "nicest guy in rock's" single-minded
vision and now one of the planet's biggest rock groups.
have no knowledge of Dave Grohl or Foo Fighters, in fact I can state
categorically that I have never consciously heard any of their
recordings. However, books about musicians are always at the very
least, interesting, and Stevie Chick has compiled a brilliant biopic
about a man whose career is in every sense of the word stellar. The
photos are impressive, the content equally so. I feel as though I know
almost as much about Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters as I do about Jeff
Lynne... this is a brilliant piece of journalism that will appeal to
musicians and fans alike.
Roberts: Elton John Rocket Man
by Palazzo Editions 29th October 2019
of the most prolific and commercially successful artists in modern pop
music, Elton John has won six Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards and sold
more than 300 million records during a career spanning over half a
century: his Candle
in the Wind 1997 remains
the bestselling single of all time. Just in time for his farewell world
tour, this lavish, unofficial retrospective commemorates Elton's
incredible life and career.
illustrated throughout, it contains more than 235 images, including
rare and previously unpublished photographs. The book covers everything
from his childhood as a piano prodigy to his early days playing West
End gigs and his fortuitous meeting, and subsequent enduring
partnership, with lyricist Bernie Taupin; it goes back to the song that
started it all,Your
and charts Elton's meteoric rise to stardom, his challenges along the
way, and his tireless work for many charities, including the Elton John
AIDS Foundation. This is a wonderful photographic keepsake for all
Elton John fans.
I bought two of Elton John's albums in the early
days, Honky Chateau, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I still have the
latter and will shortly be getting the former, because these were, for
me, Elton's glory days, before he disappeared into a miasma of
glam-rock (a real turn off for me) and drugs. Those albums, with Bernie
Taupin's mesmerising words, were brilliant, especially, for me, the
stand-out track Mona Lisa's and Mad Hatters, something on which the
author, Chris Roberts and I agree. The book is terrific, especially the
early chapters, which cover the emergence of Elton as a major star, and
the account of his early years in North London, when he would hang
about those now famous places where people like Clapton and Page hung
out, is brilliant. Another fantastic biopic from Palazzo Editions,
lavishly illustrated and written with authority, wit and understanding.
Tells you all you need to know about this supreme superstar.
small print: Books
Monthly, now well into its 22nd
year on the web,
is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul
Norman. You can contact me here.
If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me
remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this
publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via
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