More about books

Catherine Larner

Hello, I'm Catherine Larner, a freelance journalist, editor and presenter living in Suffolk. I contribute features, profiles, reviews, comment and analysis to regional and national magazines, newspapers and online. You can take a look at my published articles on my website here.

I also interview on stage for festivals, organisations and bookshops, 'in conversation' with novelists, historians, politicians and personalities.

Reading extensively and widely, I report on the books I've enjoyed in a weekly e-newsletter and on this site which now provides a resource of more than 800 titles. I hope you'll find it helpful in choosing books for yourself and for your friends and family.

Thank you for reading

 

My More About Books bookstore where books can be purchased online can be found here or from any 'buy this book online' link. If you buy books linked to this site, I earn a commission from Bookshop.org, whose fees support independent bookshops.

What's on

Monday 8th July, 7.30pm
at Riverside Cinema
Former European, Commonwealth and World Champion, Iwan Thomas will be sharing the story of his life and career - the highs and the lows - and the mental, emotional and physical challenges of competing in elite sport, Iwan Thomas is joining us for this special evening event on the release of his autobiography, ‘Brutal’.

Events Archive

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

Listening in

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

Book Groups

WOODBRIDGE

I've been hosting an open Book Group in Woodbridge for the past 17 years. We used to meet in the town's bookshop but are now gathering in a hall just off the Thoroughfare. Please ​​​​sign up for the weekly e-newsletter here to receive details. 

Close to Home
by Michael Magee
What it is to be young and working class in Northern Ireland today, this debut novel is described as 'hard-edged and soft-hearted', 'tense and immersive...deeply decent, unputdownable'. What will we think of it?
Monday, 24 June 2024 - 8:00pm

FRAMLINGHAM

I'm leading a monthly adult book group at the fabulous Ottie and the Bea children's shop in Framlingham. You can find out about how to join in the meeting and sign up here or call in to the shop to learn more and browse the wonderful selection of children's books and gifts. The book we are reading this month is

The Marriage Portrait
by Maggie O'Farrell
Set in the treacherous political world of the Italian Renaissance, this is 'a reimagining of the life of a young woman whose proximity to power places her in mortal danger'. We all have high expectations of this author, will this deliver?
Wednesday, 26 June 2024 - 7:30pm

Reader recommendations

At the end of each year, members of the 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 2023 the titles that were mentioned are listed here.

Buying books

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). 

Click here for my page on bookshop.org and do consider using it whenever you wish to buy online. 

Book reviews

My recent recommendations

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

Alistair Campbell
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 18th January 2024
Richard Mabey
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 6th June 2024
Hardback edition
Nigel Toon
Recommended non-fiction
How we built it, how it can help us, and how we can control it. A very readable, reassuring and enabling approach to the subject!
Publication date: 8th February 2024
Hardback edition
Dominic Dromgoole
Recommended non-fiction
An extraordinary sweep through first nights in history and how they changed the world.
Publication date: 5th October 2023
Percival Everett
The gripping tale of Huckleberry Finn's adventures from the perspective of the enslaved Jim.
Publication date: 11th April 2024
Hardback edition
Sarah Perry
A story of love and astronomy told through two unlikely best friends over twenty years. Wonderfully atmospheric and mystical.
Publication date: 2nd May 2024
Hardback edition
Marine Tanguy
Recommended non-fiction
A very readable and practical guide to resisting visual manipulation all around us and instead make our visual landscape inspiring and empowering.
Publication date: 7th March 2024
Hardback edition
Ashley Mullenger
Recommended non-fiction
A brilliantly compelling account of finding a passion for working at sea as one of the industry's few female fishermen.
Publication date: 2nd May 2024
Hardback edition

For children

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

by Clare Povey
An exciting new adventure series begins as Flo and Joseph search for their explorer Mum and discover climate crimes.
Publication date: 6th June 2024
by Ashley Hickson-Lovence
When tragedy hits, Ronnie's mum decides they should leave their home in London. There are different challenges in Norwich, but new opportunities...
Publication date: 23rd May 2024
by Catherine Bruton
An uplifting and moving story of a boy coping with grief and dislocation, who is helped to heal by rare birds, a wild landscape and a community.
Publication date: 9th May 2024
by Manon Steffan Ros
Sam and his dad both love football. But a tragic accident rocks the family, exposes their difficulties and threatens to rob them of their common bond.
Publication date: 11th April 2024
by Yorick Goldewijk and translated by Laura Watkinson
Time travel through the movie screen brings healing to a young girl who has never known her mother.
Publication date: 4th April 2024
by Christopher Edge
Five friends settle in for a movie marathon at their local cinema, then a wave crashes out of the screen sweeping them into an epic adventure.
Publication date: 14th March 2024
by Kate Saunders
Four children audition for parts in a new film - clearly inspired by 'The Sound of Music'! Wonderfully warm, uplifting and joyful!
Publication date: 7th March 2024
by Axel Scheffler
An animal fable about learning right and wrong.
Publication date: 7th March 2024
Hardback edition

Look out for

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

by Lily Murray and illustrated by Jennie Lovlie
Recommended for children
Publication date: 27th June 2024
by Anna Fargher
Recommended for children
Publication date: 4th July 2024
by Gavin Pretor-Pinney and illustrated by William Grill
Recommended for children
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 4th July 2024
by Zandra Rhodes and Ella Alexander
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 18th July 2024
by Donna Leon
Publication date: 18th July 2024
by Hilary McKay
Recommended for children
Publication date: 8th August 2024
by Abi Dare
Publication date: 8th August 2024
by Harriet Constable
Publication date: 15th August 2024
by Tom Allan
Recommended non-fiction
Publication date: 29th August 2024
by Louise Minchin
Publication date: 12th September 2024
by Tracy Chevalier
Publication date: 12th September 2024

News

Sunday 16 June 2024

Books and bookings

Despite us all dodging downpours and thunderstorms to get there, it was a full house to hear Elly Griffiths at the fabulous Slaughter in Southwold crime-writing festival yesterday. 

And I understand that my conversation with Michael Mansfield at the Felixstowe Book Festival later this month is now at capacity. 

As organisers, we are delighted when an event is popular and well-supported. But it's been a common observation among those putting on concerts, performances, festivals and talks, that bookings are being made much later these days. It's a hangover from Covid, apparently, we're all keeping our options open until the last minute!

The next few weeks are going to be very busy. In the sporting calendar alone we have the Euro 2024 matches, Wimbledon and the Olympics. But I hope you'll take respite from your screen and enjoy some live, stimulating conversation at the festivals and events which are taking place - and book your place early to help organisers sleep at night!