More about books

As a writer and editor, I have enjoyed many years meeting and interviewing many fascinating people, and visiting wonderful locations worldwide. Take a look at my website here for an archive of my published articles.

These days I also indulge my passion for books, reading and writing by interviewing authors, hosting events and sharing my reviews and recommendations.

For more than 10 years I co-hosted a book club on air for BBC Radio Suffolk with the afternoon presenter, Lesley Dolphin. You can listen again to our conversations by following the link below. 

In 2008 I launched an open book club for leading independent Browsers Bookshop in Woodbridge and we have been meeting each month ever since.

I also have the pleasure of chairing and organising author talks for children and adults at events and festivals thoughout the year.

Past events with Browsers Bookshop in Woodbridge include Alexander McCall Smith, Margaret Drabble, Victoria Hislop, Griff Rhys Jones, Kate Mosse, Deborah Moggach, Maggie O'Farrell, Michael Morpurgo, Robert Peston, Kate Humble, Max Hastings.

I've interviewed Simon Mayo for the First Light Festival; Simon Garfield, Anna Pavord and Melissa Harrison for The Cut Halesworth; Louise Doughty, Salley Vickers and Esther Freud for Felixstowe Book Festival; Barbara Erskine and Alan Johnson MP for Suffolk Libraries, and many more.

Each week I compile an e-newsletter offering book news, author events, my reviews and recommendations. If you'd like to receive it, please click here.

Thank you for reading
Catherine

What's on

I am always planning new events but at the moment I have nothing quite ready to announce.

Events Archive

Visit my archive pages for details of all events in recent years.

Listening in

For more than 10 years I’ve co-hosted a monthly book club on BBC Radio Suffolk with the presenter Lesley Dolphin. You can listen to past discussions here.

Browsers Book Group

I've been hosting the Browsers Book Group for the past 14 years. We used to meet in the bookshop in Woodbridge but during lockdown I ran a monthly online discussion. We are now meeting in person again at a nearby venue. Please ​​​​sign up for the weekly e-newsletter here to receive details. And support this independent bookshop by purchasing your copy of the book from Browsers, with a special book group discount.

We Have Always Lived in a Castle
by Shirley Jackson
Something for the nights drawing in - 'a masterpiece of gothic suspense', 'whimsical and harrowing', Jackson's 'greatest book'. What will we make of it?
Monday, 24 October 2022 - 8:00pm

Reader recommendations

At the end of each year, members of the Browsers Book Group meet together to share their favourite titles and offer ideas for gifts for friends and family, and for new authors to try ourselves. For 2021 the titles that were mentioned are listed here.

Buying books

As you get ideas for book purchases, please do remember to use your local high street bookshop. This is such a difficult time for them and they're all trying their best to find ways to allow us to shop safely.

But perhaps you've read about the new online bookshop initiative? It's called bookshop.org.

There are curated booklists to browse, drawn up by booksellers and reviewers and, for every purchase made through the site, independent bookshops receive a commission. 

I've linked the reviews on my website so that you can purchase online if you wish (and I will receive a small commission for each purchase, with a further commission going to all independent bookshops). 

However, please note that it is still best to order direct from your local high street bookshop!

Book reviews

My recent recommendations

Here are the books I've been enjoying recently, both fiction and non-fiction titles.

by Miranda Harris
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 15th September 2022
Hardback edition
by Saskia Sarginson
Publication date: 8th September 2022
by Laura Barnett
Publication date: 18th August 2022
Hardback edition
by Jess Phillips
Recommended non-fiction
A very enjoyable and informative read which, with great clarity, reminds us why it's important to be engaged with politics and politicians.
Publication date: 5th April 2022
by Richard Osman
The third instalment of the Thursday Murder Club, this time investigating a missing TV reporter.
Publication date: 15th September 2022
Hardback edition
by Ray Bradbury
Recommended non-fiction
Essays on creativity give insight, too, on the life of this extraordinary writer. Brilliant, inspiring, fascinating.
Publication date: 21st May 2015
by Kevin Burch
Recommended non-fiction
By 'the bloke off BBC Look East', this is an entertaining and informative memoir of life as a local reporter.
Publication date: 10th August 2022
by Carl Douglas
Recommended non-fiction
An amazing photographic history of shipwrecks on Britain's south-west coast.
Publication date: 24th February 2022
Hardback edition
by Elizabeth Strout
Publication date: 5th May 2022
by Lucy Worsley
Recommended non-fiction
Agatha Christie's life never fails to intrigue and fascinate, and this is a warm, informative and entertaining new biography.
Publication date: 8th September 2022
Hardback edition

For children

These are my most recent recommendations for children. Click here to see listings by age.

by James Campbell
Silly and quirky, packed with useful and useless information about football, this is another gem from the children's comedian turned author.
Publication date: 18th August 2022
by Judith Eagle
An action-packed, nostalgic adventure with a contemporary feel, set on a steam liner crossing the Atlantic. Wonderful!
Publication date: 4th August 2022
by Wendy Meddour
Beautifully illustrated, amusing story about a pigeon who needs to stand up for herself.
Publication date: 7th July 2022
by Ingela P. Arrhenius
A quirky, amusing and instructive addition to the Felt Flaps series for very young children.
Publication date: 7th July 2022
Hardback edition
by Meg Rosoff
A wonderful summer read - a coming of age story set in New York in 1982. Beautifully sensual and atmospheric!
Publication date: 9th June 2022
Hardback edition
by Emma Carroll
A wonderful nostalgic adventure in the Amazon rainforest, inspired by Eva Ibbotson's glorious book 'Journey to the River Sea'.
Publication date: 9th June 2022
Hardback edition
by Joseph Coelho
Celebrating the joy of dance, culture and family in the latest story about Luna.
Publication date: 2nd June 2022
by Michael Morpurgo
A personal perspective of the life of Queen Elizabeth II, beautifully illustrated, making a delightful keepsake for the Platinum Jubilee.
Publication date: 12th May 2022
Hardback edition
by Patrice Lawrence
A gripping and compelling drama touching on fostering and the criminal justice system, aimed at the early teen who is struggling with their reading.
Publication date: 5th May 2022
by Caryl Lewis
A fabulously fun adventure where Marty, his grandfather and his friend Gracie plant a seed and follow their dreams.
Publication date: 3rd May 2022
Hardback edition

Look out for

These titles will soon be published but are not yet available in the shops. 

by Richard Osman
The third instalment of the Thursday Murder Club, this time investigating a missing TV reporter.
Publication date: 15th September 2022
by Miranda Harris
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 15th September 2022
by Jimmy Doherty
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 13th October 2022
by Craig Brown
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 13th October 2022
by India Knight
A reimagining of Nancy Mitford's 'The Pursuit of Love', this is a thoroughly engaging and entertaining read, with a beautiful cover!
Publication date: 20th October 2022
by Rachel Joyce
A tiny book with a lasting message of hope, reconciliation, forgiveness and peace, this is the beautiful conclusion to the Harold Fry story.
Publication date: 20th October 2022
by Charlotte Northedge
Publication date: 10th November 2022
by James Runcie
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 24th November 2022

My blog

Sunday 11 September 2022

Time to reflect

Unlike those in the media and the establishment, or in businesses and organisations, I hadn't planned for these days.

I hadn't drafted words of tribute, gratitude or loss because, though it was both inevitable and imminent, I hadn't anticipated the time would come. 

As our lives have become increasingly more uncertain, fragile and unsettled, the constant, calm and dignified presence of the Queen has become more and more vital and valued.

If wisdom, integrity and reliability have seemed to be lacking in our leaders today, she stood both as a reminder of higher standards in the past, and better times in the future. 

Alhough we no longer have her faithful, unifying, steadying presence, perhaps we can hold on to some of the messages she shared over her 70 year reign:

"It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is much more difficult."  Christmas speech, 1957

"When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future." Christmas speech, 2008

"It's worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change." Christmas speech, 2019

"For Christians, as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation and prayer help us to renew ourselves in God’s love, as we strive daily to become better people." Christmas speech, 2013