The Anglo-Boer War in 100 Objects (Jonathan Ball Publishers): Richly illustrated, this book, based on artefacts in the War Museum of the Boer Republics in Bloemfontein, gives an engaging, accessible and chronological account of the war that left a long shadow over our country. If you are going to read only one book about the Anglo-Boer War, let it be this one. – A review of this book will appear on this site on Sunday, October 7)
In the Days of Rain, by Rebecca Stott (Fourth Estate) Non-fiction about a British family which belonged to a cult called the Exclusive Brethren for several generations. It’s better than you think, beautifully written, and an eye-opener. It’s also fascinating to read how, when the family leave the cult, they feel cast adrift because none of the old certainties apply. Thoroughly recommended. – Find the review under New Books September 5.
Gone, by Min Kym (Viking/ Penguin) Non fiction. Min Kym is a Korean-born British violinist and child prodigy who bought a Stradivarius when she was 21. Playing that violin was what she was made for, she says. But when she was 31, the violin was stolen at Euston Station and she fell apart. The money was the least of her concerns. I can’t say too much more without being a spoiler, but I will add that her partner, Matt, was a toad. A terrific read. Find the review under New Books September 17.
Young Jane Young, by Gabrielle Zevin (Little, Brown) Fiction. Aviva Grossman from Florida is a promising politics student who secures a job as an intern for a (sexy,charming, married) congressman. She writes a blog about it, including the details (without names) of their sexual relationship. This is an extremely poor decision, and she ends up changing her name to Jane Young and moving to Maine. But secrets on the internet hang around forever. This is a delightful read, but also has some serious things to say. Find the review under New Books, September 30.