Staff picks: Three books to read this month


Bruce Kemble-Johnson selects three of his favourite books to get lost in, be inspired by and fall in love with.

Be inspired by:

Norwich Medieval Churches by David Luckhurst,  £10.99.

Published to coincide with this year’s Flintspiration event, this is a personal little volume illustrated with paintings by retired architect David. After 40 years working in and around Norwich he took up painting and drawing and here he celebrates 32 medieval churches, painted from a streetscape viewpoint. Each picture is accompanied by notes giving the relationship of church to street and how the buildings interact. A hand-drawn map gives the churches location showing their towers.


Get lost in:

Shepherd of Another Flock, by David Wilbourne ,  £14.99.

The author is now a Bishop in Cardiff and the Welsh valleys, but this is his Gervase Phinn, James Herriot style (if I may use such a phrase) memoir of his early clerical days when he became the new vicar of Helmsley, in Yorkshire. Hemsley is a famous market town with its ruined castle and nearby garden and big house, and as we know, people in Yorkshire can be blunt. No squit said here! With an eccentric Lord, a retired chef  who fought with the  Polish forces , a singing shepherd and a host of local characters the author negotiates his way through the minefield of herding his new flock while caring for their earthly needs as well as the spiritual ones.


Fall in love with

The Otters Tale, by Simon Cooper,  £16.99

For readers who loved Tarka the Otter and Miriam Darlington’s Otter journey this couldn’t be better. After purchasing an abandoned water mill by a little chalk stream the author soon started to receive visits from the assorted wildlife that had their habitats nearby. However, one creature that he never expected to become so intimate with was the otter. The otters found their perfect home, with Simon, in his house, and so an intriguing tale of nature becoming closer to mankind began. Otters are shy, elusive creatures and this was, to say the least, rather unexpected. Interweaving the natural history of these beautiful animals, only recently saved from extinction in Britain, we learn their complex lifestyle from an author who has a front row seat. Lucky man.


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