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On Stage: In Fog and Falling Snow (George Stephenson)

What do you do when your theatre is closed for nearly a year for a major refurb? Build another (temporary) one of course: the show must go on…! At least, that was the York Theatre Royal’s approach, constructing the Signal Box Theatre in a huge insulated marquee with a railway track down the middle at the back of the National Railway Museum. Continue reading “On Stage: In Fog and Falling Snow (George Stephenson)”

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At Least It’s Not Raining by Stephen Redman

Childhood cancer is rare, affecting just a few thousand families each year in the UK, and of those, 80% of children diagnosed with cancer survive. But what if your family is in the 20%? Continue reading “At Least It’s Not Raining by Stephen Redman”

In Grief and Hope: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

The surgeon Dr Atul Gawande is one of our best medical writers alive today, and he is always looking for ways to share his experience in ways which inform both healthcare and other industries. For example, The Checklist Manifesto and Better both look for ways to instil a culture of high performance, sharing lessons from healthcare, aviation and civil engineering, while Complications explores how and why doctors make errors. Continue reading “In Grief and Hope: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande”

In Grief and Hope: God On Mute by Pete Greig

What do you do when God is silent? This book is dedicated to people who are hurting and secretly wondering “Where is God? Why’s this happening to me? And how come my prayers aren’t working?” Continue reading “In Grief and Hope: God On Mute by Pete Greig”

In Grief and Hope: A Journey in Books

When we are grieving, when we have seen our hopes for healing or restoration dashed, where can we turn? This question has been in my mind for a long time, as my dad was diagnosed with cancer eight years ago and it slowly took his mobility and then his life. Since November, my family have lost both our grandmas and our dad, and my friends have lost Michael Etheridge, a kind and loving minister who was a student with us and suddenly had a heart attack while driving. Four funerals and a wedding (my sister recently announced her engagement) makes for a turbulent few months. Continue reading “In Grief and Hope: A Journey in Books”

Edith Pargeter’s Greatest Hits

Strangely enough, the historical romances of Edith Pargeter are not as easy to find as her crime-writing alter ego Ellis Peters, but in my view, that makes the finding of them all the more satisfying (after all, who knows what other treasures you may find in bookshops?) However, after years of searching, I believe I have read pretty much all of them, and here’s my top recommendations: Continue reading “Edith Pargeter’s Greatest Hits”

Short But Stunning: Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran

Turning to short prose, I’ll finish this series on short but stunning writing by reviewing an eagerly awaited recent addition to our bookshelves: Caitlin Moran’s new book Moranifesto, a collection of her columns and opinion pieces for the Times and others. Arranged loosely by theme, this is a delightful combination of humour, pop culture and reviews and heartfelt opinion, particularly on issues affecting poverty and feminism. Continue reading “Short But Stunning: Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran”

Inspiring People: Elaine Storkey

Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women by Elaine Storkey

This week I went to the launch of Elaine Storkey’s new book Scars Across Humanity, a study of the global drivers  and impacts of violence against women.

Elaine Storkey is one of my all-time heroes, who has spoken up for justice time and time again, through her 16 years as President of the international development charity Tearfund and through her research and writing as an academic. I have heard her speak at big conferences, including Greenbelt and the SPEAK Network (a campaigns network for students and young people which is another of the charities she supports and encourages). So it was a pleasant surprise to discover she was coming to my local library on a Saturday afternoon as part of York International Women’s Festival! Continue reading “Inspiring People: Elaine Storkey”

Inspiring People: Waris Dirie #2

Desert Dawn by Waris Dirie and Jeanne D’Haem

After her rise to fame described in Desert Flower, what happened next?
Waris Dirie’s second book is an honest account of a life split between two cultures: her husband in America and her family in Somalia. After so many years in the West, she returns home for an extended visit to her village and describes the culture shock in both directions: her family’s expectations and her own.

Continue reading “Inspiring People: Waris Dirie #2”

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