Shelf Help Review: Nature Cure by Richard Mabey

In the last year of the old millennium, Richard Mabey, Britain’s foremost nature writer, fell into a severe depression. The natural world – which since childhood had been a source of joy and inspiration for him – became meaningless. Then, cared for by friends, he moved to East Anglia and he started to write again. Having left the cosseting woods of the Chiltern hills for the open flatlands of Norfolk, Richard Maybe found exhilaration in discovering a whole new landscape and gained fresh insights into our place in nature.

Structured as intricately as a novel, truthful, exquisite and questing, Nature Cure is a book of hope, not just for individuals, but for our species. Continue reading “Shelf Help Review: Nature Cure by Richard Mabey”

Shelf Help Review: Far from the Tree – Parents, children and the search for identity by Andrew Solomon

Sometimes your child – the most familiar person of all – is radically different from you. The saying going that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But what happens when it does?

Drawing on interviews with over three hundred families, Andrew Solomon documents ordinary people making courageous choices. Difference is potentially isolating, but Far from the Tree celebrates repeated triumphs of human love and compassion to show that the shared experience of difference is what unites us.

Continue reading “Shelf Help Review: Far from the Tree – Parents, children and the search for identity by Andrew Solomon”

Shelf Help Review: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson

In 1985 Jeanette Winterson’s first novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, was published. It was Jeanette’s version of the story of a terraced house in Accrington, an adopted child, and the thwarted giantess Mrs Winterson. It was a cover story, a painful past written over and repainted. It was a story of survival.

This book is that story’s silent twin. It is full of hurt and humour and a fierce love of life. It is about the pursuit of happiness, about lessons in love, the search for a mother and a journey into madness and out again. It is generous, honest and true. Continue reading “Shelf Help Review: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson”

Shelf Help Review: The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz

This book is about learning to live.

In simple stories of encounter between a psychoanalyst and his patients, The Examined Life reveals how the art of insight can illuminate the most complicated, confounding and human of experiences.
These are stories about our everyday lives: about the people we love and the lies we tell; the changes we bear, and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves but how we find ourselves too. Continue reading “Shelf Help Review: The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz”

Shelf Help – “New year, same you, but with a really cracking reading list!”

Shelf Help is a a new kind of book club, a series of paperbacks from Vintage Books that will be focussed on, one-a month, over 2014.  The collection is collated by Alex Clark, of Guardian Books.  The list aims to provide a variety of great reads, which will enlighten, inspire, engage.  As Clark says in her article, they will “stimulate the intellect, to nourish the soul, to soothe the central nervous system; books that could act at once as a home and as a place to explore the “wild things”.” Continue reading “Shelf Help – “New year, same you, but with a really cracking reading list!””