Books Monthly September 2020 nonfiction books...
  Books Monthly
New Nonfiction Books...


Book of the Month - Sue Sims and Hilary Clare: The Encyclopedia of Girls' School Stories Volume One

 Published by Girls Gone By Publishers 6th August 2020

The Encyclopaedia of Girls’ School Stories was first published in 2000 and is long out of print. We are delighted to announce that this will be reissued by GGBP in a revised and expanded two-volume edition in 2020. We are announcing the first volume now, because we have no idea how many we will sell, so although publication is some way off (February 2020) we do hope you will order Volume One now.

This long-awaited revision of the essential guide for any enthusiast of the girls’ school story is compiled by Sue Sims and Hilary Clare, who are the acknowledged experts in the field and have spent decades researching the subject. They have scoured records and copyright libraries and read thousands of books (Sue has the largest collection of girls’ school stories in private hands in the UK) to compile the most extensive data in existence on girls’ school story writers and their books. Among readers of the genre the first edition acquired such status that it is affectionately known simply as ‘The Book’. Not only does it act as a complete reference guide to any writer and her or his books, but the authors’ scholarly, often humorous and always insightful assessments of the writers are a delight to read, guiding readers towards new writers and helping them view old favourites with fresh enlightenment. Our battered copy of the first edition is in sore need of replacing as it’s been browsed so often to see what it has to say about a new acquisition or simply for the pleasure of the writing.

This wonderful book is an absolute treasure trove of information about one of the most important literary genres - the girls' school story. For a long time it was considered a poor second cousin to the boys' school story, dominated largely by the prolific Frank Richards and his many aliases. Two further volumes are published later in the year, but for now, volume one contains a wealth of first class, spellbinding material on authors A-F, including the incomparable Enid Blyton, of course, together with Elinor M Brent-Dyer and Angela Brazil, and a huge collection of fascinating and beautiful colours, with a centre section of these in colour. I was hooked on the girls' school story from the moment I "borrowed" my older sister's School Friend comic, and have a good collection of my own, many coming from the brilliant GIRLS GONE BY PUBLISHERS. I'm already looking forward to volumes two and three! Staggeringly collectable and brilliant in every way.

Captain Tom: My Autobiography

 Published by Michael Joseph 17th September 2020

Who is Captain Sir Tom Moore?

You've seen him on the television walking the length of his garden. A frail elderly man, doing his bit at a time of crisis. But he wasn't always like this. Where did he come from? Where was he made?

From a childhood in the foothills of the Yorkshire Dales, Tom Moore grew up in a loving family, which wasn't without its share of tragedy. It was a time of plenty and of want. When the storm clouds of the Second World War threatened, he raised his hand and, like many of his generation, joined up to fight. His war would take him from a country he had never left to a place which would steal his heart, India, and the Far East, to which he would return many years later to view the sight he had missed first time around, the distant peak of Everest.

Captain Tom's story is our story, the story of our past hundred years here in Britain. It's a time which has seen so much change, when yet so much has stayed the same, the national spirit, the can-do attitude, a belief in doing your best for others.

In this rich, happy life packed with incident you will encounter time and again the curiosity, courage and generosity that saw Captain Tom look around him during our current crisis and decide that something had to be done . . .

Andrew Cotter: Olive, Mabel and Me

 Published by Black and White Publishing 15th October 2020

When Andrew Cotter turned his brilliant sporting commentaries from the Masters, the Open, Wimbledon and the Six Nations to the lockdown contests between his two Labradors, Olive and Mabel, the result was an internet sensation. The series of videos - including Game of Bones - has been viewed well over 50 million times on social media, and the videos have resonated with dog owners and sports fans everywhere.

In OLIVE, MABEL AND ME, Andrew gives us a commentary of a different kind as he tells the heart-warming story of life with his two famous Labradors, Olive and Mabel. This is the full story of their rise to internet stardom and how walking and climbing in the mountains helps them all find peace, joy and happiness away from the hectic world of the media.

Above all, however, this is a book about the love we have for our dogs and the companionship and joy we can find from sharing our lives with our fabulous canine friends, as Andrew has done with dogs throughout his life.

Beautifully written, touching and laugh out loud funny, OLIVE, MABEL AND ME is a treat for dog lovers everywhere.

Boris Starling and David Bradbury: The Official History of Britain

 Published by Harper Collins 15th October 2020

A wonderfully written and entertaining book which places Britain under the microscope and asks who we are today and how we’ve changed as a nation.

In 1841 there were 734 female midwives working in Britain, along with 9 artificial eye makers, 20 peg makers, 6 stamp makers and 1 bee dealer. Fast forward nearly two centuries and there are over 31,000 midwives working in the UK and not an eye maker in sight!

For the past two centuries, through the Census and national surveys, the Office for National Statistics and its predecessors have charted the lives of the British: our jobs, home lives and strange cultural habits. With questions on occupation, housing, religion, travel and family, the Census findings have informed the economy, politics, and every other national matter. Its collected data forms the single most valuable ongoing historical resource of modern times.

Now, for the first time ever, The Official History of Britain collects these findings into a wonderfully written and entertaining book by Boris Starling and assisted by the ONS’ statistical advisor, David Bradbury. Delving deep into statistics surrounding our occupations, our working lives, relationships; our quirks, habits, weird interests and cultural beliefs, and, of course, the latest findings on the Covid-19 pandemic, The Official History of Britain places Britain under the microscope and asks who we are and how we’ve changed as a nation.

Clodagh McKenna: Clodagh's Weeknight Kitchen

 Published by Kyle Books 29th October 2020

Clodagh's 100 interesting, simple recipes from meat-free meals to quick-fix dishes and storecupboard suppers offer the answers to all your weeknight dinner dilemmas. With her trademark twists, Clodagh's inspirational but achievable dishes elevate the simple to something special. Including ideas for:

Quick Fixes - recipes on the table in less than 30 minutes - perfect for when you've been stuck in the office and need a quick fix.
One and Done - a variety of one-dish dinners, including roasting tin meals, one-pot stews and casseroles and one-pan recipes.
Meat-free - vegetarian dishes for meat-free Monday (or any other night of the week).
Storecupboard stand-bys - recipes based on basic storecupboard staples like pasta and tinned tomatoes, which don't require a long list of ingredients.
Friday Night In - satisfying and substantial dishes that can feed 6-8 people for weeknight gatherings of friends and family.

Shirlie and Martin Kemp: It's A Love Story

 Published by Mirror Books 29th October 2020

'From Wham! to Spandau Ballet, from success to chaos in the blink of an eye - Martin and I are two ordinary people who have been on an extraordinary adventure together. Through it all, our commitment to each other and to our family is what has always mattered the most.' Shirlie Kemp

IT'S A LOVE STORY tells the incredible story of Martin and Shirlie Kemp - from the moment they set eyes on each other, through their stellar careers, to raising a family together.

For the first time, fans and readers will have an insight into their journey together, the lessons they have learned in the spotlight and behind the scenes, and their secrets to success, happiness and raising a loving family. The book will uncover the personal highs and lows of Britain's favourite couple, and the unbreakable bond that has kept them strong, no matter how hard the fight gets.

'40 years together has been filled with incredible highs, when every teenage dream and every wish literally came true, to the most horrifying of lows that belonged in our nightmares. Shirlie and I are always asked, "What's the secret to a long marriage?" - well, hopefully within the pages of this book we all might find the answer to that question!' Martin Kemp

The 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 email at and I'll let you know where to send it.

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