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Hot tickets

It's usually quiet in the summer for events and activities but there's a flurry of author talks taking place in the next couple of months which might appeal to anyone following the Browsers Book Group reading at the moment.

Next week at FolkEast at Glemham, Suffolk, there's an exciting programme of author talks organised by the Halesworth Bookshop. It includes Kate Sawyer who spoke to us online during lockdown when she launched her debut novel 'The Stranding'. Since then Kate was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and won the Fiction Prize at the East Anglian Book Awards. This is a lovely opportunity to meet Kate in person.

At the end of the month, Topping's bookshop in Ely (slightly further afield but always worth a visit) has an event with Hernan Diaz the author of 'Trust', one of the longlisted titles for this year's Booker Prize which we're debating at a special book group meeting on Monday 5 September.

In September, Suffolk Book League will be hosting Rupert Thomson in a visit to Ipswich. He will be talking about 'Barcelona Dreaming' (our book group title for April) as well as his other work.

Authors regularly mention how pleased they are to participate in events like these for the opportunity to meet their readers whom they recognise as always being so kind, supportive, respectful and appreciative. 

It's been horrific, then, to witness the attack on Salman Rushdie in the US this week. We wish him a full and speedy recovery. 

Thank you for reading.

Weren't you that bloke off the telly?
by Kevin Burch

As you know, I do like to read about journalists and journalism! This is the memoir, self published, by 'the bloke off BBC Look East'. He always came across to me as a professional-with-personality and, now that he's retired, this is his account of all that he has experienced in local reporting. 

From a cub reporter on 'The Halesworth Times and Southwold Mercury' writing up wedding reports to learning the correct pronunciation of the county's villages for BBC Radio Suffolk to becoming a video journalist with BBC Look East reporting, filming, editing and presenting news items for the evening programme, Kevin Burch has one particular message to share.

If you are a member of the local community, there's nowhere to hide if you get it wrong. But equally, if people know you, and trust you, they are likely to seek you out in order for you to tell their story. It's refreshing to read of someone who appreciates and celebrates local news and the importance of respecting the community in which you work.

He also upholds a mantra of reporting, the ABC - Assume nothing, Believe no one and Check everything: if you're not sure about it, don't run it.

Particularly heed the spelling of names, he says. Check every letter, then check again, and again. If you fail on this, the viewer or reader will question the value of everything else you put before them, he says.

He shares the amusing moments as well as some of the more challenging jobs - including reporting on the Ipswich murders.

It's a short but informative, insightful and entertaining read. 

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

The Funny Life of Football
by James Campbell
Illustrated by Rob Jones

After England's success at the Women's Euro 2022 competition and the start of the football season this month, it's a timely release for the new book by Suffolk author James Campbell. And it's another example of his quirky take on life.

Don't expect this book to help you in a quiz, school project or for your homework, he says on the opening page. "Anything you might learn from this book might not be very accurate."

There are facts and figures in here, but there's also a very silly sense of humour. This means the book is likely to appeal to a lot of people, he says - people who love playing football and those who love watching football, but also those people who hate football and those who really don't care one way or the other. 

And it's true. The author goes off on so many tangents, incorporates so many themes which can be remotely linked to football, and has such a unique approach to, seemingly, the most straightforward of subjects that he is certainly likely to grab the interest of anyone and everyone who picks up this book.

And it's packed with information, comments and observations which will keep the reader amused for hours. Though it's aimed at children aged 7 upwards, people of all ages will find plenty to chuckle about here!

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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