Our recent visit from Dame Darcey Bussell inspired our book buyer Holly to curate a collection of books that explore and celebrate the human body.

Dear reader,

The theme of this fortnight’s newsletter is inspired by our event with Dame Darcey Bussell earlier this week here in Norwich, celebrating her stunning book, Darcey Bussell: Evolved. Six hundred of us had the privilege of hearing Dame Darcey share anecdotes and stories from her life and career, coming away with the book as a memory of the night.

Darcey Bussell: Evolved  includes a stunning collection of photographs of Darcey, many previously unseen, and many demonstrating her skills as a dancer, highlighting the power and adaptability of the human body – it’s ability to evolve.

The body is an evocative subject at the centre of many books, past and present, testament to our continued fascination with our own physicality, capability and mortality. Whether it’s through incredible images or pulse-racing drama, these books all remind us what it means to be human.

Happy reading – and thank you, Dame Darcey!

Holly

Darcey Bussell: Evolved

Darcey Bussell

RRP £30
Jarrold price £25

Evolved is filled with images of Dame Darcey in notable locations including at the Olympics opening ceremony, and includes previously unseen photographs of her shot by some of the world’s most famous photographers – Lord Snowdon, Mario Testino and Annie Leibovitz. Perfect for dance-lovers, photography-lovers or anyone who loves beautiful books!

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Machines Like Me

Ian McEwan

RRP £18.99

Jarrold Price £14.99

McEwan’s fascinating new novel centres on the rise of AI and robotics, supporting the idea that moral complexity is the essence of being human. Set in an alternative 1980s where Britain has lost the Falklands war and Alan Turing has survived and made great scientific progress in the field of AI, we meet 32-year-old narrator Charlie. Charlie is the owner of Adam, one of 25 new robotic humans whose perspective on the world challenges our own. An intense love triangle develops between Charlie, Adam and Charlie’s neighbour Miranda, who holds a dark secret that will ultimately throw them all into a moral conundrum, exposing sharp differences between robot and human.

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Unnatural Causes

Dr Richard Shepherd

RRP £8.99

Jarrold Price £8.99

Buy one get one half price

The darker, less palatable side of the human body is dealt with here: dead bodies and the critical importance of the work that forensic pathologists conduct. Like Professor Sue Black’s All That Remains, this is the memoir of a renowned forensic pathologist, whose high-profile cases have included victims of the Hungerford Massacre, the Princess Diana inquiry and 9/11. At times it is incredibly hard to read - visceral, serious, sometimes distressing, as Shepherd describes the toll his work has taken on his own mind and body. But it is also a book that gives us candid insight into a crucial job; Shepherd’s evidence from post-mortem examinations has seen people both jailed and freed and has contributed to major police work.

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The Human Body: A Pop-Up Guide to Anatomy

Richard Walker, illustrated by Rachel Caldwell

RRP £19.99

Jarrold Price £14.99

An intricate, wondrous pop-up book for children and adults alike, inviting the reader to imagine they are inside an operating theatre in Victorian Britain, learning about the body through the process of a dissection, led by author ‘Dr’ Richard Walker. Organs, bones and muscles are revealed through lifting flaps and pulling tabs with brilliantly detailed illustrations. For a gift or just for fun, ranging from the brain to the kidneys, the incredible paper-engineering here gives a complete, in-depth exploration of how the body works.

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