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Food for thought

There's been plenty of talk about food this week - the obesity crisis, the cost of living crisis, the supply crisis, the food poverty crisis. And the White Paper which was supposed to have provided a plan for these issues has been condemned by the government's lead policy adviser Henry Dimbleby. Good news all round then. 

So I'm pleased to say that Sarah Langford's own investigation into food and farming, 'Rooted', does offer insight, vision and hope. As she embarks on publicity for the release of the book, speaking at festivals all over the country this summer, she will be joining other pioneers and ambassadors for change and perhaps offering direction and leadership that isn't being seen elsewhere.

She engages a fascinating and energising debate and I hope you'll join me in meeting her when she visits us in Woodbridge at the start of her publicity tour on Friday 8 July. More details below. 

And while you have your diaries out, don't forget that it's the Felixstowe Book Festival next weekend on 25-26 June where, in the packed programme, you can hear from novelists Carol Drinkwater and Stella Rimington, learn about the memoir of 'Today' presenter Justin Webb, and hear an account of the extraordinary yachtsmen volunteers of World War II with Julia Jones

Then on Monday 27 June at 8pm we have our monthly book group meeting. It has come round very quickly! If you'd like to join in the discussion of 'The Blue Book of Nebo'. please let me know by replying to this email. I look forward to seeing you soon! 

Thank you for reading.

More About Books and Browsers Bookshop present

Sarah Langford in conversation
with Catherine Larner
Friday 8 July, 7.30pm
Woodbridge Library

The Sunday Times bestselling author, Sarah Langford recalls in her new book ‘Rooted’ how she felt about moving to Suffolk with her husband to take on the management of his small family farm. 

Preconceptions and prejudices were stripped away as she saw how farming has changed from her grandfather’s generation to the present day. 

The challenges of climate change, Brexit, falling incomes, accusations of ecological mismanagement, a hostile press and public - these issues and more are all addressed in a beautifully written personal response which is impossible to put down!

Many of the stories of the individual farmers she's met are shocking and upsetting in all that they've experienced, and ultimately this is an account of the destruction of our land. But in her warm, honest and passionate response, Sarah leaves the reader feeling uplifted and energised and, ultimately, hopeful, not least because of the good people who are trying to make a difference. 

Find out how Sarah came to write the book, the people she spoke to and how she views the future for farmers - and for all of us. Tickets are £20 and include a copy of 'Rooted' (RRP£16.99) and you can purchase them here.

Fix the System, Not the Women
by Laura Bates

When I saw this title had been released, I confess I wasn't immediately keen. I've read a number of books lately about the ongoing discrimination of women in society and felt I didn't want to be reminded any further(!). But I saw the author chair a session with Rosie Boycott and Carmen Callil at the Hay Festival Online, and then heard her on the 'Fortunately' podcast and was so impressed that I thought I should read this book after all.

Laura Bates founded the Everyday Sexism Project website and has written a number of books on the subject. She speaks passionately and eloquently about the stories women have shared of their experiences, and the statistics she has collated which support and compound the issues they have faced.

Society is not designed for women, she says. So women are constantly having to battle or to circumnavigate systems which are countered against them. 

She looks at five different areas in turn - policing, education, politics, media, the criminal justice system - and shows how women are expected to deal with the accepted norm which very often lays the blame on women. 

She highlights recent cases such as Sarah Everard's horrific abduction and murder, and the later reaction to it by the force when they urged women if in any doubt about the legitimacy of a police officer to run away or flag down a bus...

In this book Laura Bates highlights the shocking ongoing injustices facing women, but her articulate and rational presentation of the facts is a compelling argument and an impassioned rallying cry. What's more she writes with great clarity and fluidity. You can't stop turning the pages, though each time you are stunned again by the shocking message she has to share.

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

by Caryl Lewis

This book caught my eye before I realised that I'd been introduced to the author at the Hay Festival Online just a day earlier. She's an award-winning Welsh author who writes for adults and children. 

This is a fabulously fun adventure where Marty, his grandfather and his friend Gracie plant a seed and follow their dreams. Celebrating hope and imagination, it's aimed at readers aged eight up.

Marty has quite a tough time. His mum isn't very well, and at school he's being picked on. He does enjoy spending time with his granddad, who is the only one who remembers his birthday. But his present is just one seed in a brown envelope.

Marty and his grandfather plant the seed in the allotment, and with Marty's new friend Gracie they look after the ground and wait for the seed to grow.

The grandfather has big plans for this seed when it's fully grown. He believes it will make dreams come true and take them on an amazing journey across the sea to Paris and home again.

This is such a rich book.

It has a fabulous story and a tremendous adventure. It celebrates friendship and community. It brings hope and the belief that dreams can come true. And it encourages us to plant seeds!

It also touches on some difficult subjects - bullying, deafness, poverty, broken families, hoarding, mental illness, child caring. Yet all these things are lightly and sensitively handled. 

A wonderful, uplifting, entertaining and inspiring book. Loved it!

Read about more recommended children's books here.

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

Monday 27 June 8pm 
talking about...
The Blue Book of Nebo
by Manon Steffan Ros

A haunting and life-affirming post-apocalyptic story of a mother and son learning to survive in their changed circumstances in rural Wales. The author has won prizes for her books when written in Welsh. She translated this story into English and it has been marketed in some languages as a YA novel. What will we think of it?
There's still time to buy your copy from Browsers Bookshop with the book group discount and read along! If you'd like to join in the discussion, please reply to this email to receive the details.
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