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 Good reads for Christmas
Reviews by Kim Smith and Richard Bryson
Books
   Farewell Mr Puffin by
Paul Heiney
published by Adlard
Coles and available in
paperback and eBook,
RRP from £10.39.
Suffolk-based broadcaster,
writer and sailing fanatic
Paul Heiney gives a good-humoured portrait of life on the ocean waves in this log of a trip to Iceland. His aim was to get up close to that most comedic of birds, the much-loved puffin.
Following in the literal wake of generations of East of England sailors who have been making this often treacherous journey since the 13th Century, he delves into maritime history in every harbour and even comes face to face with his own past as he revisits his childhood haunts in Yorkshire.
However, the puffin proves elusive in its traditional hotspots from Northumberland’s Farne Islands to the Orkneys. So does he finally encounter the “joker of the seas” in the Arctic Circle? You’ll have to read the book to find out. KS
The Searchers: The Quest for the Lost of the First World War by Robert Sackville-West. Published in hardback by Bloomsbury, RRP £25.
By the end of the First
World War, the
whereabouts of more than half-a-million British soldiers were unknown. Most were presumed dead, lost under the battlefields of northern France and Flanders. Now historian Robert Sackville-West has brought together extraordinary accounts of those who have dedicated their lives to recover and honour them in a new book. This book is a poignant read and testament to the spirit of bereaved families from 100 years ago, right up to the present day when DNA profiling aids efforts to identify remains and lay them to rest with due deference.
As Sackville-West says: “The search to recover, identify and honour those who lost their lives is conducted with the same commitment today as it was a century ago. At the time, though, the effort was entirely unprecedented, the new found respect for the individual very different from the anonymity accorded the British war dead of the past.” KS
Tales from the Tillerman by Steve Haywood. Published in paperback, eBook and audiobook by Adlard Coles, RRP from £10.39.
Journalist and award-
winning filmmaker Steve
Haywood has drawn from his 50 years of messing about on boats to compile this charming history of Britain’s inland waterways. It recounts the story of canals from their initial use as arteries for freight transport to their revival as a leisure hub, and contemplates their impact on his own life.
From the wild coast of Lancashire to the endless skies of the Fens, this book is shot through with witty anecdotes about Haywood’s floating escapades and is nothing short of a love letter to our heritage in all its eccentric glory. KS
A Field Guide to Larking by Lara Maiklem. Published by Bloomsbury in paperback and eBook, RRP from £11.99.
When Lara Maiklem moved to London in the
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