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44 Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford HR3 5AA

01497 820322

Books
Best Books Winter 2016
Zadie Smith
Swing Time

An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from north west London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty

Two brown girls dream of being dancers - but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either...

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from North-West London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

Paulo Coelho
The Spy

In his new novel, Paulo Coelho, best-selling author of The Alchemist and Adultery, brings to life one of history’s most enigmatic women: Mata Hari. When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless. Within months she was the most celebrated woman in the city.

As a dancer, she shocked and delighted audiences; as a courtesan, she bewitched the era’s richest and most powerful men. But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari’s lifestyle brought her under suspicion. In 1917, she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees, and accused of espionage.

Told in Mata Hari’s voice through her final letter, The Spy is the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to defy convention and who paid the ultimate price.

Victoria Hislop
Cartes Postale from Greece

The new book from multimillion-copy bestselling author Victoria Hislop, author of The Island and The Sunrise. Week after week, the postcards arrive, addressed to a name Ellie does not know, with no return address, each signed with an initial: A.

With their bright skies, blue seas and alluring images of Greece, these cartes postales brighten her life. After six months, to her disappointment, they cease. But the montage she has created on the wall of her flat has cast a spell. She must see this country for herself.

On the morning Ellie leaves for Athens, a notebook arrives. Its pages tell the story of a man’s odyssey through Greece. Moving, surprising and sometimes dark, A’s tale unfolds with the discovery not only of a culture but also of a desire to live life to the full once more.

Cartes Postales from Greece is an extraordinary new book from Victoria Hislop, the Sunday Times Number One bestselling author of The Island, The Return, The Thread, and The Sunrise. It is fiction in full colour – magical and unique.

Nina Stibbe
Paradise Lodge

This is the story of Lizzie Vogel, a 15 year old girl who finds herself working in an old people's home in Leicestershire in the 1970s. The place is in chaos and it's not really a suitable job for a schoolgirl: she'd only gone for the job because she wanted a new phase and it seemed too exhausting to commit to being a full-time girlfriend or a punk.

Lizzie has some knowledge of old people (they're not suited to granary bread, and you mustn't compare them to toddlers) but she doesn't know there's a right way to get someone out of the bath, or what to do when someone dies.

When a rival old people's home with better parking and daily chairobics threatens to take all their patients, Paradise Lodge's cast of staff and helpers, from the assertively shy Nurse who only communicates through little grunts to the son of the Chinese takeaway manager who's renowned for his erotic handholding techniques, have to come together to save the home before it's too late.

From the bestselling author of Love, Nina comes a story of being very young, and very old, and the laughter, and the tears, in between.

Robert Harris
Conclave

The Pope is dead. Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election. They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.



Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
The Book of Joy

'I want to wish all of you joy—because there is no better gift. Two spiritual masters, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, share their wisdom in this uplifting book. I promise you, it’s the best $26 you can spend.' Oprah Winfrey

Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships – or, as they would say, because of them – they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.

In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu travelled to the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness’s eightieth birthday and to create this book as a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: how do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering?

They traded intimate stories, teased each other continually, and shared their spiritual practices. By the end of a week filled with laughter and punctuated with tears, these two global heroes had stared into the abyss and despair of our times and revealed how to live a life brimming with joy.

This book offers us a rare opportunity to experience their astonishing and unprecedented week together, from the first embrace to the final goodbye.

Patrick Leigh Fermor
Dashing for the Post

A revelatory collection of letters written by the author of The Broken Road. Handsome, spirited and erudite, Patrick Leigh Fermor was a war hero and one of the greatest travel writers of his generation. He was also a spectacularly gifted friend.

The letters in this collection span almost seventy years, the first written ten days before Paddy's twenty-fifth birthday, the last when he was ninety-four. His correspondents include Deborah Devonshire, Ann Fleming, Nancy Mitford, Lawrence Durrell, Diana Cooper and his lifelong companion, Joan Rayner; he wrote his first letter to her in his cell at the monastery Saint Wandrille, the setting for his reflections on monastic life in A Time to Keep Silence. His letters exhibit many of his most engaging characteristics: his zest for life, his unending curiosity, his lyrical descriptive powers, his love of language, his exuberance and his tendency to get into scrapes - particularly when drinking and, quite separately, driving.

Here are plenty of extraordinary stories: the hunt for Byron's slippers in one of the remotest regions of Greece; an ignominious dismissal from Somerset Maugham's Villa Mauresque; hiding behind a bush to dub Dirk Bogarde into Greek during the shooting of Ill Met by Moonlight, the film based on the story of General Kreipe's abduction; his extensive travels. Some letters contain glimpses of the great and the good, while others are included purely for the joy of the jokes.

Alan Bennett
Keeping On Keeping On

Alan Bennett reads the latest instalment of his diaries, as heard on BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week. Following on from Alan Bennett's bestselling, award-winning prose collections Writing Home and Untold Stories, Keeping On Keeping On is a third anthology featuring his unique observations, recollections and reminiscences. At its heart is his latest published collection of diaries.

In these entries, covering the years 2005 to 2014, Bennett looks back on a packed decade that included writing four highly-acclaimed plays – The Habit of Art, People, Hymn and Cocktail Sticks, all of which premiered at the National Theatre – as well as the screenplays for the hit films of The History Boys and The Lady in the Van.

In addition, he reflects on his 25 years of friendship and collaboration with director Nicholas Hytner, life with his partner Rupert Thomas and, radical views notwithstanding, his status as ‘kindly, cosy and essentially harmless’. Packed with perceptive impressions of people and places, sharp social commentary, expressive description and delightful jokes, this irresistible record of life according to Alan Bennett is a treasury of wisdom and insight.

Sir Roy Strong
The Quest for Shakespeare's Garden

Published in association with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, The Quest for Shakespeare’s Garden traces the origins of garden history and the Elizabethan garden, as well as telling the story of the Bard’s own garden in Stratford-upon-Avon. Beautifully presented, the text is accompanied by quotations from Shakespeare’s works and lush illustrations of his gardens, past and present, plucked from a multitude of sources including embroidered Elizabethan clothing and Victorian gardening books, as well as various gardens around the world.

Roy Strong’s detailed account is inspired by Shakespeare’s works and supplemented by Francis Bacon’s 1625 essay “Of Gardens” which provides Elizabethan-era advice to garden enthusiasts on such topics as topiary, seasonal gardens, scents, aviaries, and more.

John Lewis-Stempel
Where Poppies Blow - The British Soldier, Nature, The Great War

The natural history of the Western Front during the First World War by the award-winning author of Meadowland.

Where Poppies Blow is the unique story of the British soldiers of the Great War and their relationship with the animals and plants around them. This connection was of profound importance, because it goes a long way to explaining why they fought, and how they found the will to go on. At the most basic level, animals and birds provided interest to fill the blank hours in the trenches and billets - bird-watching, for instance, was probably the single most popular hobby among officers. But perhaps more importantly, the ability of nature to endure, despite the bullets and blood, gave men a psychological, spiritual, even religious uplift. Animals and plants were also reminders of home. Aside from bird-watching, soldiers went fishing in village ponds and in flooded shell holes (for eels), they went bird nesting, they hunted foxes with hounds, they shot pheasants for the pot, and they planted flower gardens in the trenches and vegetable gardens in their billets. It is in this elemental relationship between man and nature that some of the highest, noblest aspirations of humanity in times of war can be found.

Seamus Heaney
Aeneid VI

In a momentous publication, Seamus Heaney's translation of Book VI of the Aeneid, Virgil's epic poem composed sometime between 29 and 19 BC, follows the hero, Aeneas, on his descent into the underworld. In Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, Heaney acknowledged the importance of the poem to his writing, noting that 'there's one Virgilian journey that has indeed been a constant presence, and that is Aeneas's venture into the underworld. The motifs in Book VI have been in my head for years - the golden bough, Charon's barge, the quest to meet the shade of the father.' In this new translation, Heaney employs the same deft handling of the original combined with the immediacy of language and flawless poetic voice as was on show in his translation of Beowulf, a reimagining which, in the words of Bernard O'Donoghue, brought the ancient poem back to life in 'a miraculous mix of the poem's original spirit and Heaney's voice'.

Andrea Wulf
The Invention of Nature

"The Invention of Nature" reveals the extraordinary life of the visionary German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and how he created the way we understand nature today. Though almost forgotten today, his name lingers everywhere from the Humboldt Current to the Humboldt penguin. Humboldt was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether climbing the highest volcanoes in the world, paddling down the Orinoco or racing through anthrax–infested Siberia.

Perceiving nature as an interconnected global force, Humboldt discovered similarities between climate zones across the world and predicted human-induced climate change. He turned scientific observation into poetic narrative, and his writings inspired naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth and Goethe but also politicians such as Jefferson. Wulf also argues that it was Humboldt’s influence that led John Muir to his ideas of preservation and that shaped Thoreau’s ‘Walden’. Wulf traces Humboldt’s influences through the great minds he inspired in revolution, evolution, ecology, conservation, art and literature. In The Invention of Nature Wulf brings this lost hero to science and the forgotten father of environmentalism back to life. Humboldt was, after all, as one contemporary said, ‘the greatest man since the Deluge’.

John Lewis-Stempel
The Running Hare - The Secret Life of Farmland

The Sunday Times Bestseller. Winner of the Thwaites Wainwright Prize 2015. BBC Radio 4's 'Book of the Week'.

Traditional ploughland is disappearing. Seven cornfield flowers have become extinct in the last twenty years. Once abundant, the corn bunting and the lapwing are on the Red List. The corncrake is all but extinct in England. And the hare is running for its life. Written in exquisite prose, The Running Hare tells the story of the wild animals and plants that live in and under our ploughland, from the labouring microbes to the patrolling kestrel above the corn, from the linnet pecking at seeds to the seven-spot ladybird that eats the aphids that eat the crop. It recalls an era before open-roofed factories and silent, empty fields, recording the ongoing destruction of the unique, fragile, glorious ploughland that exists just down the village lane. But it is also the story of ploughland through the eyes of man who took on a field and husbanded it in a natural, traditional way, restoring its fertility and wildlife, bringing back the old farmland flowers and animals. John Lewis Stempel demonstrates that it is still possible to create a place where the hare can rest safe.

David Olusoga
Black and British: A Forgotten History

A vital re-examination of a shared history, published to accompany the landmark BBC Two series. In Black and British, award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga offers readers a rich and revealing exploration of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination and Shakespeare's Othello.

It reveals that behind the South Sea Bubble was Britain's global slave-trading empire and that much of the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery. It shows that Black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of the First World War. Black British history can be read in stately homes, street names, statues and memorials across Britain and is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation. Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries.

Jay Griffiths
Tristimania

A stark and lyrical account of the psyche in crisis from the author of Kith. Tristimania tells the story of a devastating year-long episode of manic depression, culminating in a long solo pilgrimage across Spain. Recording the experience of mania as has rarely been done before, Jay Griffiths shows how the condition is at once terrifying and also profoundly creative, both tricking and treating the psyche. An intimate and raw journey, Tristimania illuminates something of the universal human spirit.

Anna Jones
A Modern Way to Eat

Packed full of delicious, healthy recipes that are quick and easy to make, A Modern Way To Eat is a totally modern take on vegetarian cooking. How we want to eat is changing. We want to eat food that is a little lighter, healthier and easier on our pockets, without having to chop mountains of veg or slave over the stove for hours.

More and more people are looking to include vegetarian recipes in their life beyond a mushroom risotto or yet another red onion and goat’s cheese tart. A Modern Way To Eat has over 200 recipes that are as simple to make as they are nourishing, satisfying and truly tasty.

Nick Asbury
Perpetual Disappointments Diary

An appointments diary with a series of disappointing twists. Includes a weekly demotivational proverb, notable deaths, contact pages for people who never call, and space for your own pointless doodles.





Children's Christmas Books
J.K. Rowling
Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them

Inspired by the original Hogwart's textbook by Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original screenplay marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books.





Matt Haig
The Girl Who Saved Christmas

When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask - Father Christmas. But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled. But Amelia isn't just any ordinary girl. And - as Father Christmas is going to find out - if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone.





Jackie Morris
The Newborn Child

"He was born while the full moon travelled across the heavens and the waiting world turned. She held him close, his skin warm against hers, in the circle of her mother's love, safe." A beautiful and lyrical Nativity story, focusing on the thoughts, hopes and fears of a young mother-to-be, about to give birth in a strange land.





Delia Huddy & Emily Sutton
The Christmas Eve Tree

A tender Christmas story with charming artwork by Emily Sutton, illustrator of Tiny. A poignant, exquisitely illustrated Christmas story, with words by Delia Huddy and pictures by rising star Emily Sutton. When the ugly little fir tree is taken to the city, no one wants to buy him; they prefer the big tall trees. But a homeless boy asks the shopkeeper if he can take the tree, and down by the river in a cardboard box, decorated with a few candles, the tree finds itself at the centre of a magical Christmas Eve it will never forget. A Christmas tale with a classic feel but a modern theme at its heart.