Book Haul Alert

IMG_0812

It’s that time again…..

The Pre-orders

A Perfect Explanation by Eleanor Anstruther – Exploring themes of ownership and abandonment, Eleanor Anstruther’s debut is a fictionalised account of the true story of Enid Campbell (1892–1964), granddaughter of the 8th Duke of Argyll and the whole handing over a child for money thing

Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour by Christopher Fowler – the seventeenth entry in one of my very favourite series, though I am behind in reading them by two or three volumes. I was invited to the book launch but sadly couldn’t attend. Anyway – On a rainy winter night outside a run-down nightclub in the wrong part of London, four strangers meet for the first time at 4:00am. A few weeks later the body of an Indian textile worker is found hanging upside down inside a willow tree on Hampstead Heath. The Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to investigate. The victim was found surrounded by the paraphernalia of black magic, and so Arthur Bryant and John May set off to question experts in the field. But the case is not what it appears

The Near Witch by VE Schwab – The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. There are no strangers in the town of Near. These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry – Almost everyone in the small town of Splendor, Ohio, was affected when the local steel mill exploded. If you weren’t a casualty of the accident yourself, chances are a loved one was. That’s the case for seventeen-year-old Franny, who, five years after the explosion, still has to stand by and do nothing as her brother lies in a coma. In the wake of the tragedy, Franny found solace in a group of friends whose experiences mirrored her own. The group calls themselves The Ordinary, and they spend their free time investigating local ghost stories and legends, filming their exploits for their small following of YouTube fans. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it keeps them from dwelling on the sadness that surrounds them. Until one evening, when the strange and dangerous thing they film isn’t fiction–it’s a bright light, something massive hurtling toward them from the sky. And when it crashes and the teens go to investigate…everything changes.

The Ones with Crime

Breathe by Dominick Donald – I bought this because I had recently finished Death in the Air and this has similar themes but in a fictional setting – London, 1952. Dick Bourton is not like the other probationer policemen in Notting Hill. He’s older, having fought in Europe and then Korea. And he’s no Londoner, being from Cotswold farming stock. Then there’s Anna, the exotically beautiful White Russian fiancée he has brought back to these drab streets and empty bombsites. She may as well come from a different planet. The new copper also has a mind of his own. After an older colleague is shot by a small-time gangster they are chasing in a pea-souper fog, something nags at Bourton’s memory. He begins to make connections which his superiors don’t want to see, linking a whole series of deaths and the fogs that stop the city in its tracks.

Death Has Deep Roots by Michael Gilbert – originally published in 1951 – An eager London crowd awaits the trial of Victoria Lamartine: hotel worker, ex-French Resistance fighter, and the only logical suspect for the murder of her supposed lover, Major Eric Thoseby. Lamartine – who once escaped from the clutches of the Gestapo – is set to meet her end at the gallows. One final opportunity remains: the defendant calls on solicitor Nap Rumbold to replace the defence counsel, and grants an eight-day reprieve from the proceedings. Without any time to spare, Rumbold boards a ferry across the Channel, tracing the roots of the brutal murder back into the war-torn past.

Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm by Gil North – originally published in 1960 – Amy Snowden, in middle age, has long since settled into a lonely life in the Yorkshire town of Gunnarshaw, until – to her neighbours’ surprise – she suddenly marries a much younger man. Months later, Amy is found dead – apparently by her own hand – and her husband, Wright, has disappeared.Sergeant Caleb Cluff – silent, watchful, a man at home in the bleak moorland landscape of Gunnarshaw – must find the truth about the couple’s unlikely marriage, and solve the riddle of Amy’s death.

Streets of Darkness by AA Dhand – DI Harry Virdee Book 1 – bought following an article about the author on the BBC website – The sky over Bradford is heavy with foreboding. It always is. But this morning it has reason to be – this morning a body has been found. And it’s not just any body. Detective Harry Virdee should be at home with his wife. Impending fatherhood should be all he can think about but he’s been suspended from work just as the biggest case of the year lands on what would have been his desk. He can’t keep himself away.

The Ones That Are True

Dopesick by Beth Macy – Dealers, Doctors & the Drug Company that Addicted America –This powerful and moving story explains how a large corporation, Purdue, encouraged small town doctors to prescribe OxyContin to a country already awash in painkillers. The drug’s dangerously addictive nature was hidden, whilst many used it as an escape, to numb the pain of joblessness and the need to pay the bills. Macy tries to answer a grieving mother’s question – why her only son died – and comes away with a harrowing tale of greed and need.

Identical Strangers by Elyse Schein & Paula Bernstein – I bought this after watching Three Identical Strangers in which these twin sisters feature briefly, so was interested in reading more about their experiences in this, to me, shocking experiment. The documentary is excellent btw; I’ll be writing about it soon.

What Would Boudicca Do? by Elizabeth Foley & Beth Coates – It is time to start channelling the spiky superwomen of history to conquer today. It is time to turn to women like Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker, Hypatia and Cleopatra, Coco Chanel and Empress Cixi. In this irreverent guide they will help you figure out how to dispatch a loverat, back yourself, kill it at work and trounce FoMo. Saw this in the Foyles branch in Waterloo station and could not resist it.

The Rest

A Vengeance of Spies by Manda Scott – a WWII novella – War hides many secrets and some of them are better kept. But the secret of Hut Ten was never that kind: it could have been leaked and a life would have been saved. One man could have made that difference. He didn’t – and vengeance has taken forty years to catch up with him.

Mask of the Other by Greg Stolze – In 1974, something came out of the sea during the invasion of Cyprus, killing Greeks and Turks indiscriminately until it was bombed into dormancy and entombed. In 1988 a rock band disappeared while filming on an abandoned island-town off the coast of Japan. In 1991, a squad of US infantry was attacked in Iraq by a bulletproof, invisible entity.  [This book] connects these disparate events, as a group of soldiers plunders the remnants of Saddam’s occult weapons program and attempts to engage with creatures of an inhuman mythos… as equals. 

Scrublands by Chris Hammer – In an isolated country town ravaged by drought, a charismatic young priest opens fire on his congregation, killing five men before being shot dead himself. A year later, journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals don’t fit with the accepted version of events. Just as Martin believes he is making headway, a shocking discovery rocks the town. The bodies of two backpackers – missing since the time of the massacre – are found in the scrublands.

As if all of that wasn’t enough I also bought the first six Dune books in Kindle form to re-read in anticipation of Denis Villeneuve’s film adaptation, which I am convinced will be awesome.

Sunday Salon | 24 March

Somehow I managed to miss posting last week, and also nearly missed this week, but here we are with a round-up of what I’ve been up to since my last Sunday Salon post (which is here if you need a refresher – I know I did!)

Books read since my last post; I’ll be blogging about all of these in the near future:

  • Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson. I have thoughts about this book, which was not entirely successful IMHO.
  • Bad Blood by John Carreryou. A really fascinating examination of the creation and downfall of the Silicon Valley start-up Theranos.
  • Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert. Another classic crime re-published by the British Library, I absolutely loved it.

New books – there a lot of these, so many that a separate haul post will be going up here tomorrow.

I’m (still) currently reading Global Crisis and Sisters in Law, both mentioned here before and I haven’t made progress on either, likewise Broken Things. I have started two other books this week:

  • Redbreast by Jo Nesbo – I thought I should go back to the beginning or thereabouts having read The Snowman last year. Early days yet. This will contribute to my climb of Mont Blanc
  • L’art de la Liste by Dominique Loreau, because I love lists and books about organising even though I apparently can’t get my act together to post on a regular schedule 😀

Other stuff:

I’ve been out and about quite a lot in the past two weeks. We went to see Rebus: Long Shadows, a play by Ian Rankin and Rona Munro which was very enjoyable, especially as it starred Ron Donnachie, and excellent and underrated Scottish actor.

I was invited to Christopher Fowler’s book launch for the new Bryant & May but was unwell so sadly couldn’t make it 😦

The BFI Flare film festival launched at the end of the week and I was lucky enough to get tickets to see Vita & Virginia, directed by Chanya Button. I’ll write about that separately also, but worth saying that if you are at all interested in Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West and/or the Bloomsbury Group in general you won’t want to miss this when it hits cinemas here in the UK in July. I loved it.

And finally I trotted off to Sadler’s Wells to see the Mark Morris Dance Group perform Pepperland, inspired by the Beatles music. So colourful and exciting, with an excellent band, live singer and – squee – a theremin. I love theremin.

Anyway that’s this past fortnight all caught up. Will have more to report next week, but in the meantime enjoy your reading!

Sunday Salon | 10 March 2019

IMG_2290

So, it’s a wet and very windy Sunday here in my corner of SW London and I’m here to tell you all about my reading week.

If my maternal Gran were still alive today would be her 100th birthday. She was a sharp and difficult woman of a type very recognisable in the West of Scotland, and although I got on with her reasonably well the one thing she would never ever do was buy me books for my birthday or Christmas. This was a bone of contention and probably helped turn me into the inveterate book purchaser I am today.

Books read this week

I made progress with a number of the books in my currently reading pile but only finished one, that being the very enjoyable The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz. I think I might be in the middle of one of my periodic crime-reading sprees, which I do not mind at all.

Started this week

I’ve decided to dump the currently reading section because a couple of the books on my sofa are really chunky and seeing the same names over and over can be irritating, especially when there’s a nice widget on my sidebar showing you my Goodreads Currently Reading bookshelf.

But, it’s worth noting that  have started two new books – Broken Things by Padrika Tarrant which is a very short collection of short stories but is already creeping me out, and Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert, a very classic crime novel in the excellent British Library series.

New Books

Pre-orders:

  • The Night of Fear * Murray Dalton – A Golden Age Mystery – A Christmas gathering of young and old in a great country house in England—a masquerade—and the lights are turned off for a game of hide and seek. Silence—then a man’s cry for “Lights!” The lights come on, revealing Hugh Darrow, blind since the War, standing in the main hall, fresh blood dripping from his hands and covering his white Pierrot costume.
  • Do You Dream of Terra Two? * Temi Oh – A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. Four are decorated veterans of the 20th century’s space-race. And six are teenagers, graduates of the exclusive Dalton Academy, who’ve been in training for this mission for most of their lives.
  • Ancestral Night * Elizabeth Bear – A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from the multi award-winning author .
  • Last Ones Left Alive * Sarah Davis-Goff – Raised by her mother and Maeve on Slanbeg, an island off the west coast of Ireland, Orpen has a childhood of love and stories by the fireside. But the stories grow darker, and the training begins. Ireland has been devoured by a ravening menace known as the skrake, and though Slanbeg is safe for now, the women must always be ready to run, or to fight.

Bought on spec:

Flowers Over the Inferno * Ilaria Tuti – In a quiet village surrounded by the imposing Italian Alps, a series of brutal assaults take place. Police inspector Teresa Battaglia is called in when the first body is found. Soon more victims are discovered – all horrifically mutilated – and when a new-born baby is kidnapped, Teresa’s investigation becomes a race against the clock. But Teresa is also fighting a battle against her own body, weighed down by age and diabetes, and her mind, once invincible and now slowly gnawing away at her memory..

Living on Paper: Letters of Iris Murdoch 1934-1995 * Iris Murdoch – This collection of Iris Murdoch’s most interesting and revealing letters gives us a living portrait of one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers and thinkers. The letters show a great mind at work – we see the young Murdoch grappling with philosophical questions, as well as feeling her anguish when a novel obstinately refuses to come together.

Lud-in-the-Mist * Hope Mirrlees – Recommended by Neil Gaiman via my good friend Silvery Dude – Lud-in-the-Mist – a prosperous country town situated where two rivers meet: the Dawl and the Dapple. The latter, which has its source in the land of Faerie, is a great trial to Lud, which had long rejected anything ‘other’, preferring to believe only in what is known, what is solid.

Six Wakes * Mur Lafferty – In this Hugo nominated science fiction thriller [ ], a crew of clones awakens among their own dead bodies. They’ve lost decades of memories, their cloning technology is sabotaged, and any one of them could be the murderer. Maria Arena and her five crewmates must fix the ship, their equipment, and address hundreds of years of secrets to uncover the murderer their motives.

Hope you all have a fabulous reading week!

 

 

 

Grand Day Out | Strawberry Hill House

IMG_0814

Back in January the Book God and I took a short trip to Strawberry Hill to visit an exhibition and just generally have a look around. Shamefully, despite the fact that I have lived not too far away for over 30 years, this was my first visit but I know I will be going back as it is just so fascinating.

Strawberry Hill House was built over a period of some 40 years by Horace Walpole as a summer retreat; it was a very early example of Gothic revival architecture (one of my favourites of course). Walpole used it as a place to keep his collection of art, antiquities and objects of interest from all historical periods. He was a man who collected things that were beautiful or historically important or had some kind of story attached to them, rather than focussing on a particular country or era.

As well as his summer home, Strawberry Hill House was also a place for holding parties, a place to study, open to select groups of the public to tour and see the amazing things it held, and of course it was the inspiration for his Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto.

In 1842 Walpole’s collection was sold off, and the exhibition we went to see (The Lost Masterpieces) was the first chance to see these items in the place they originally belonged.

Things that caught my interest in particular:

  • an enormous Chinese porcelain bowl from 1730 in which Walpole’s cat Selina drowned, inspiring Gray’s Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat – drown’d in a tub of goldfishes
  • a red Cardinal’s hat, said to be that of Cardinal Wolsey
  • a portrait of Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France and sister to Henry VIII, with her second husband Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk
  • a tress of hair of said Mary Tudor in a golden locket
  • a cravat carved out of lime wood by Grinling Gibbons – this was something Walpole himself wore on at least one occasion
  • a pair of gauntlet gloves worn by James VI & I (allegedly)
  • a 1782 edition of the Castle of Otranto

I loved the house, it’s so beautiful and the gardens look equally lovely though on the day we visited it bucketing with rain so we decided not to walk round; we’ll keep that for the next time. Visitors are understandably not allowed to take photographs but there is a very good app which lets you study the object and is worth downloading. You can find it here.

Recent Movies | Jan-Feb 2019

IMG_DC555A423312-1

A round-up of a few films seen in the first couple of months this year, and which I haven’t reviewed so far. I will leave Glass to the end because I have Notes.

Searching

Searching is directed by Aneesh Chaganty and stars John Cho.

After his 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a desperate father breaks into her laptop to look for clues to find her.

And of course what he finds is a whole side to her life that he didn’t know she had, and which has some bearing on her disappearance though not in the way I at least first thought. What could have become a gimmicky film actually delivers a really involving story and is clever about the way technology is accessed and used to move the plot forward. I thought John Cho was very good indeed as the single dad and the supporting cast is also great. I didn’t see where the story was going at all until the end was on top of me and I like that; I spend a lot of my TV watching time correctly guessing who the murderer is and I was way off here.

But the best thing about the film is the stuff in the background which the directors talked about after the film was released – I won’t spoil it (though there are articles out there giving an explanation), but I will be re-watching this specifically to spot the stuff they’ve dropped in.

Bad Times at the El Royale

This was a film that we missed in the cinema but which the Book God in particular wanted to see, so we got a hold of the DVD on release.

Circa 1969, several strangers, most with a secret to bury, meet by chance at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one night, everyone will show their true colours – before everything goes to hell.

It has a cast of well-known faces and a twisty plot which I enjoyed, but it was the non-linear structure in the first part of the film which really made this for me. I also liked the fact (not a spoiler) that although The Greater Hemsworth is front and centre on the poster he doesn’t really turn up until about halfway through the story, but boy when he does he’s in full Manson mode and very very watchable.

Sorry for going a bit fangirl there 😀

I really enjoyed it. I particularly liked Cynthia Erivo’s character and Jeff Bridges is reliable as always. One that I will definitely be watching again.

And now…..

Glass

OK, so I will say first off that this was much better than it had any right to be but that doesn’t mean it isn’t problematic. This is the last in what we are apparently now calling the East Rail Trilogy (who knew?) but I don’t think it has provided us with a satisfying conclusion.

For the record, I absolutely love Unbreakable, but I checked back on my old blog and found I had this to say about Split:

M Night Shyamalan’s latest is a multiple personality horror thriller thing with an amazing performance by James McAvoy but which in the end is pointless and confusing. I couldn’t work out where it was headed and became quite impatient. The much-lauded cameo at the end was a real blink or you miss it event. Annoyingly disappointing.

So I went into Glass with very mixed feelings. IMDB says:

Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities

Which tells you absolutely nothing about the story. So Sarah Paulson (for it is she) is a psychiatrist investigating those who believe they have abilities in order to demonstrate that they are actually delusional. After a variety of plot devices she manages to bring together Glass (Samuel L Jackson), Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) and David Dunn (Bruce Willis at his most laconic) so that she can study them, and of course things don’t go according to plan (or do they?) and all hell breaks loose.

McAvoy is brilliant and you can really see him transform into his character’s various personalities, but his very physical performance is in such marked contrast to Willis, who spends a lot of the film looking pained and confused that they could almost be in different films. There is the obligatory awful cameo from the director and if you think about it too much the ending makes No Sense At All.

It also made me think of a post my blog friend Jenny made about ableism in horror, which I quote a bit of here. You can find the whole post on her blog and is really worth reading. I say this as a massive horror fan who won’t stop reading the stuff but will certainly pay more attention to this sort of thing

Once someone gets you to notice the trope of the pure innocent disabled character (who dies! how poignant!) or the trope of the evil disabled character whose soul is as twisted as their [insert body part here] (who also dies! how inevitable!), you start seeing those tropes everywhere. I wish we had grown past them. Failing that, I want at least to not let them pass me by in silence.

This was about her experience of horror fiction but is equally applicable to film, and is similar to Anne Billson’s observation on the tendency for action films to have a woman kidnapped and/or killed so the hero has a reason to do the thing that he shouldn’t but knows he must.

Once seen, impossible to forget.

A bit like Glass really, but not necessarily for the right reasons.

 

Sunday Salon | 3 March ’19

img_0823It’s Sunday evening and Storm Freya is hitting the UK with strong winds, and although we’re likely to miss the worst of it here in my corner of London it is howling wildly outside my window – I love that sound! Anyway, let’s dive in to my reading week.

Books read:

I actually finished a couple of books this week – The Affinity Bridge by George Mann (the first in his Newbury & Hobbes series) and Night Season by Chelsea Cain (the fourth in her Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell series) – one of the things I wanted to do this year is focus on series that I’ve partially read or wanted to start and I’m pleased that I’ve managed that this week. I enjoyed both of them very much and will review soon.

Currently reading:

The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz; this is the second in a detective series where he himself features as a character – great fun.

Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson – I mentioned this in my last post and although it’s still irritating me, the story of the deadly fog of December 1952 and the crimes of one John Reginald Christie have me hooked so I expect to finish this one soon

New books:

Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain – number five in the Sheridan/Lowell series I mentioned above – Archie Sheridan should be recovering from his past run-ins with serial killer Gretchen Lowell, yet he’s just as haunted as the day she let him go. But when a cyclist comes across a corpse in Mount Tabor Park on the eastern side of Portland, Archie suddenly has a new case to focus on.

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold – very excited to read this new perspective on Jack the Ripper, focussed on the women he killed – Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie – A+ fantasy if the reviews are to be believed – Listen. A god is speaking. My voice echoes through the stone of your master’s castle. The castle where he finds his uncle on his father’s throne. You want to help him. You cannot. You are the only one who can hear me. You will change the world.

Year of Learning Dangerously by Quinn Cummings – I love her so much as you will have guessed if you’ve read my non-fiction round-up post – In this honest and wry memoir, popular blogger, author, and former child actor Quinn Cummings recounts her family’s decision to wade into the unfamiliar waters of homeschooling – the fastest-growing educational trend of our time — despite a chronic lack of discipline, some major gaps in academic knowledge, and a serious case of math aversion. (And that’s just Quinn.)

So that’s it – hope you all have a great reading week!

Non-Fiction Round-up | 2019 #1

IMG_2278A round-up of non-fiction books I’ve read so far this year but have not yet reviewed in any way, shape or form. Enjoy.

NB: Comments on Marie Kondo will be accepted but I reserve the right to disagree 😉

Notes from the Underwire – Adventures from My Awkward & Lovely Life by Quinn Cummings

Meet Quinn Cummings. Former child star, mother, and modern woman, she just wants to be a good person. Quinn grew up in Los Angeles, a city whose patron saint would be a sixteen-year-old with a gold card and two trips to rehab under her belt. Quinn does crossword puzzles, eats lentils without being forced, and longs to wear a scarf without looking like a Camp Fire Girl. And she tries very hard to be the Adult–the one everybody calls for a ride to the airport–but somehow she always comes up short.

This is one of those books that I didn’t know I needed until I read it. It’s totally delightful and quite moving in places, especially where she talks about her involvement in an HIV advice line when she was a young woman. I am so enamoured of Quinn that I am one of her supporters on Patreon, and she is very much worth following on Twitter (she’s @quinncy) It’s the kind of book that you just want to read bits of out loud to anyone near you. I had a load of quotes but I’ll leave you with just one:

Like most heterosexual males, he sensed but rarely understood why the emotional room temperature dropped thirty degrees.

Very pleased that this was the first book I read in 2019.

The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

An obscure little book which has garnered minimal attention….. OK, just kidding. This is of course the book that will help you

[t]ransform your home into a permanently clear and clutter-free space with the incredible KonMari Method. Japan’s expert declutterer and professional cleaner Marie Kondo will help you tidy your rooms once and for all with her inspirational step-by-step method. The key to successful tidying is to tackle your home in the correct order, to keep only the things you really love and to do it all at once – and quickly. After that for the rest of your life you only need to choose what to keep and what to discard.

This was first published in 2014 and I bought it 2015 when I saw some YouTubers talking about it. I had always intended to read it this year because my home (and especially my study where I’m typing this at the moment) is in sore need of sorting out, but of course when I picked it up Marie’s Netflix series was being broadcast and all sorts of nonsense was hitting the internet. I feel she has been misunderstood, especially when it comes to books, and wonder how much those who object to her don’t like their consumerism being “criticised” or fail to note the cultural differences she brings from her Japanese heritage. Personally I found that the book gave me a lot to think about. My favourite tweet about the whole book thing was:

fullsizeoutput_8f3

And if nothing else, charity shops are benefitting from us getting rid of stuff we no longer want or need. That works for me!

The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us by Dr Lucy Jones

The Big Ones investigates some of the most impactful natural disasters, and how their reverberations are still felt today.  From a volcanic eruption in Pompeii challenging and reinforcing prevailing views of religion, through the California floods of 1862 and the limitations of memory, to what Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami can tell us about governance and globalisation.  With temperatures rising around the world, natural disasters are striking with ever greater frequency.

As someone who has never been able to resist any TV programme that warns us what might happen if Yellowstone erupts or a chunk of the Canary Islands falls into the sea, I couldn’t resist this, especially when I saw it was written by a woman, Dr Lucy Jones, who is hugely qualified as a seismologist and expert in disaster planning. Some of the disasters she deals with I knew quite a bit about I remember vividly watching the TV coverage of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami), but others were new to me and reading about their impact served to show what short memories we have as we fail to learn from those experiences.

As the climate changes and there are likely to be a greater number of extreme weather events this is a very timely book, and an accessible read for the non-expert.