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It's August! And I don't know where the last week went. I had fewer meetings and pressing deadlines but, despite the lack of the usual distractions and interruptions, I don't feel that I've been particularly productive and I seem to have had less time to read.

As a result, the titles I'm recommending this week are rather picture heavy, though nonetheless powerful and thought-provoking so I hope you enjoy taking a look.

I did manage to read one of the novels from the Booker 2022 longlist, though. And, having seen that there are a few slim volumes in this year's nominations, I might be reading a couple more in time for our Browsers Book Group Booker Challenge meeting on 5th September.

All the titles have now been allocated a 'champion' who will present their thoughts on their particular book to the group, but if you're interested in taking part or would like to come along to listen in to the discussion in a few weeks' time, just let me know and I'll send you more details.

Thank you for reading.

by Carl Douglas and Bjorn Hagberg
Photos by the Gibsons of Scilly

An amazing photographic history of shipwrecks on Britain's south-west coast.

Over a period of 130 years, five generations of one family documented the shipwrecks which occurred off the coast around Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 

The waters were considered highly treacherous and the area bore the brunt of storms rolling in from the Atlantic so a huge number of shipwrecks occurred. 

The industrial revolution had created a surge in international trade, carried out by ocean-going ships, and new navigation techniques and instruments were being introduced. All these changes were reflected in the Gibsons' pictures.

John Gibson (b.1827) first recognised the importance of documenting the catastrophic events. He was the local editor for a small newspaper and began filing reports from the islands. He, and later his son and subsequent generations, regarded the images as "artfully produced records of dramatic events" and their photographs generated income when shipping companies bought prints to use in support of insurance claims. The Gibsons also sold photographs to the public as souvenirs.

In this large format book, with high quality paper and print, the astonishing images of the wrecks are incredibly powerful and often deeply moving. Each picture is accompanied by a short account explaining what is known of the vessel and her demise. It's a fascinating and mesmerising book.

For recommended non-fiction titles, take a look here.

Where's Frida Kahlo?
by Ingela P. Arrhenius

This is an extraordinary addition to a series of board books for very young children that usually feature lions, ladybirds or penguins - though there is also one called 'Where's Mrs T Rex'...

The Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo cuts a distinctive figure so I suppose it's no surprise that she's included in a book introducing children to art and artists, though this seems a particularly sophisticated theme for a young audience!

In each of the books in the Felt Flaps series there are five bright, bold pictures inviting the reader to play peekaboo.

In this book, the child is asked Where's Frida Kahlo? Where's Pablo Picasso? Where's Andy Warhol? Where's Yayoi Kusama? (It's an education for older readers too).

Lifting the colourful flap, the child finds an image of the famous artist and the words to call out together 'Here she/he is!' 

The final surprise is a mirror where the child can see their own face smiling back at them!

It's likely to cause merriment, or bewilderment, for the adult turning the pages too.

Read about more recommended children's books here.

Browsers Bookshop Book Group
at St John's Hall, Woodbridge

Monday 26 September 8pm 
talking about...

by Annie Garthwaite

The first days of the Wars of the Roses through the eyes of its greatest unknown protagonist, Cecily Neville, wife of Richard Plantagenet, mother to Edward IV and Richard III. What will we make of this debut novel?
There's plenty of time to read our current book as we take a break for the summer. Buy the book now from Browsers Bookshop with the book group discount, and you'll have two months' before our meeting in September. There'll be details about how to attend nearer the time. 
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