Bude Literary Festival taster …

Earlier this month, Bude Library and Information Service spent a week of marking the postponed Book Festival, which is something to really look forward to in 2022.

A number of local authors took part by including some of their favourite book choices.

A big thank you yo the Library Service for this event – and for their hard work all year round.

Virtually, every book on my reading list at the moment is a library book! Info on the event and the material below is taken from Bude Library Facebook page.


The authors included:

Katherine Taylor, Cafe & Wedding Supervisor at the Castle with her very first book release.

These are her top 3 favourite books.
Book1: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Why: I would honestly recommend all of Jojo Mayes’ books. She is an exceptional writer with the ability to create beautiful stories and real characters. This book has a mysterious element and is told from several perspectives to help the reader slowly learn the truth. It is romantic and uplifting while also breaking your heart in some places.
Book 2: The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes
Why: This is a beautiful story told through the eyes of an autistic teenager on a mission to save The Eagle Tree. It is an enlightening book that will help you better understand how people on the spectrum may think and act.
Book 3: The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina
Why: Laura Imai Messina addresses so many important topics in this book, including, grief, pain, and sadness while dealing with many people’s loss. But also love, kindness, overcoming, and moving on from loss. The story is based on a real place that people can go to talk to the loved ones they have lost. It’s such a lovely and inspiring idea.
One of your own book recommendations
Why: After finishing sixth form, Mae is struggling to decide on the right life path for her. When a mysterious stranger leads her to a secret amusement park, she starts to forget all her problems and her real life. She soon realises he is not the person she first thought. After Mae discovers the truth about her new friend, she undergoes a mission to save him, all the while keeping her plans secret from all of her friends and family. Can she save him without losing herself?
The story deals with life-changing decisions, loss, and love.
Travel writer, Rosemary Lee
Travel writer and local author, Rosemary Lee, shares her top 3 ‘can’t live without’ books.
I would not call these my ‘can’t live without’ books … but I have chosen to re-read these books on several occasions, though I rarely re-read a book once it is finished.
Book 1
Title: The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel
Why: I love books which use an imaginary story to take me into a particular period of history. I had always thought that there was not enough known about pre-history for me to be able to imagine life in that period, but this book (and the 3 others in the series) presented a window into Stone Age life which I found totally absorbing.
Book 2
Title: The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
Why: Once again, this is the first of a series set in Viking times, a period about which I knew little. It uses the story of a central character to give an insight into the complicated political situation of the period, and of some of the social practices common at the time.
Book 3
Title: The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
Why: I was struck, when first reading this novel, by the possibility that walls can preserve memories of historical situations enacted within them, so that images from the past can appear as ‘ghosts’ in our present era. I was fascinated by the concept of slipping from one age to another – and the danger of doing it.
One of your own book recommendations …
Title: Traveller’s Tales – Book One (Innocent Youth to Sober Maturity) by Rosemary Lee
Why: We live in a wonderful and fascinating world, which I am privileged to have been exploring for over 40 years. This book condenses the memories of my first 20 years of travelling to unusual destinations around the globe, starting in 1977 – using descriptions, thoughts and ideas taken from diaries written along the way. I delight in taking my readers, from the comfort of their own homes, into distant and unusual parts of the world – sometimes to places which have since been transformed by development or lost in conflicts. For some, this is a rare chance to glimpse life in countries they would never visit in real life … for others, it is a stimulus to their own travelling memories. In the words of a reviewer: “Rosemary’s passion for travel sings out from every page.”
Kate Werran
Book 1
Title: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Why: This is the first book I read that got me thinking about race – and so much more. The really clever thing is that I didn’t even realise it at the time because I was so gripped by its central account of a life-changing trial in the American south. I love the characters (but most especially Atticus Finch) – and Scout is a wonderful child narrator whose perspective and viewpoint of the world she inhabits make it so powerful. I fell in love with it when I was at school, re-read to my husband as we drove around the American south and it remains one of my go-to books. That it can be enjoyed on so many different levels by children and adults sets it apart and is why I can and do go back to it again and again. The issues and themes are as relevant, important and universal today as when it was first published in 1960.
Book 2
Title: Anne of Green Gables, by LM Montgomery
Why: I love Anne – and have done ever since I was first introduced to her by my Mum. What’s not to love about the inspirational 11-year-old orphan, Anne Shirley, adopted by siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, of Green Gables? She is fierce, funny, spiky, smart, loyal and literary with a near perfect articulation of the importance in life of having a “kindred spirit”. Her adoption by the seemingly austere Marilla and quietly twinkly Matthew – ‘bosom’ friendship with Diane Barry – and relationship with Gilbert Blythe has stayed with me ever since. Unbelievably, when I read this 1908 book with my daughter, it felt as fresh as it did for me the first time round – and what’s more my three boys loved hearing about her escapades too!
Book 3
Title: Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
Why: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again” is my favourite opening line of one of my top three books. Why? Because it starts as it means to go on – a spine-chilling thriller that corkscrews out of this dreamy, mysterious beginning to the ultimate plot twist at the end. It gets me every time, even though I know exactly what is coming. There is something of the Norman Bates about housekeeper Mrs Danvers – and I love the enduring enigma of never even knowing the first name of the narrator – the second Mrs De Winter. I really enjoy Du Maurier’s dream-like writing style here and the way the tension and mystery builds. This is definitely a book that keeps me turning the pages long into the dark hours. It also helps that it is set in my very favourite part of the world.
One of your own book recommendations
Title: An American Uprising in Second World War England: Mutiny in the Duchy
An American Uprising in Second World War England reveals what happened one night in September 1943 when an “entire company” of American soldiers calmly returned to their Launceston camp, armed themselves and marched in formation to confront the despised “snowdrops” of the 29th infantry Division who policed them. The ensuing firefight in town sent soldiers who would later face Omaha beach sprawling for cover, leading one elderly Cornishman to tell the Daily Mirror: “There hasn’t been anything here like this since the days of the smugglers.” Not only did this “mutiny” inspire Britain’s tabloid imagination with all sorts of gangster and cowboy imagery – the dramatic legal case that followed made front page news in Britain and America. It caused Churchill “grave anxiety” and put Anglo-American relations under untold pressure only months before they attempted the biggest-ever amphibious invasion. No-one was killed and only two soldiers sustained leg below-the-knee injuries, but there was an official cover-up. Why? Because the “mutineers” were African-American and their protest was an anti-racist uprising that briefly made Launceston the epicentre of global race politics. After three days in court the episode was air-brushed and the world moved on forever. My quest to discover the truth of this amazing story began one hazy summer in the 1980s when I put my fingers into bullet-holes scorched into the walls of Launceston’s war memorial by American soldiers. This fascinating story is for people who think they know Cornwall and the Second World War– and they should prepare themselves for a shock. The reaction of the Cornish and indeed the wider British public to the African American soldiers who came to trial and train for D-Day will surprise you.
Johanna Jackson
Book 1
Title: Journey of Souls – by Michael Newton Ph.D
Why: Being a very spiritual person and very interested in how our soul continues to live on, I was and still am intrigued by the real-life accounts of those patients/clients, studied by Michael Newton Ph.D.
Book 2
Title: Becoming – by Michelle Obama
Why: I loved the honesty of this book and was actually pleasantly surprised by Michelle’s willingness to bare her soul and provide an insight of what life is really like for those in the highest political office.
Book 3
Title: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus – by John Gray
Why: The first time I tried to read this book, back in the 1990s, I just could not get into it. I think the very American style was most difficult for me at the time. However, when I tried again in 2010, I was fascinated by the wealth of information, personal experiences and advice that John Gray shared, and in the end, I felt that every couple on Earth should have a copy of this book, because it is so informative and helpful in understanding the differences that affect our everyday relationships.
One of your own book recommendations …
Title: Amelie’s Journey
Why: Johanna said: Of my four books, I feel the people of Bude would appreciate Amelie’s Journey the most, due to its strong connections to early 1900s Bude. The storyline was inspired by the Grandfather of Mike Smith, from Bude’s very own Crescent Post Office and Stores. Frank’s story and connection to the USA weaves in and out of Amelie’s Journey and whilst this book is not a true-life account, it does contain historical details from those times, including passage on the ill-fated Titanic.
About Amelie’s Journey: Amelie is a very strong-willed independent woman, which is no mean feat in the early 1900s, but following a great tragedy in her life, Amelie’s adventurous spirit is ignited by a passion to leave Bude and travel to America. Seeing an advert for tickets on the White Star Line’s newest ship, RMS Titanic, in the window of Hawkins Shipping Company, Amelie is inspired to follow her dreams. The question is, how does she survive and will she ever make it back to her beloved Bude?
The wave of emotions that this storyline takes you on as it travels through the turbulent years of WW1, the Great Depression of the 1930s and WW2, will keep you turning the pages of Johanna Jackson’s latest book, to find out what drama is going to affect Amelie’s life next.
Piers Brendon
Book 1:
Title: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire – Edward Gibbon
Why: It’s the greatest work of history in the English language
Book 2:
Title: The Life of Samuel Johnson – James Boswell
Why: It’s the greatest biography in the English language.
Book 3:
Title: The Jeeves Omnibus – P. G. Wodehouse
Why: It’s the funniest collection of comic novels in the English language.
One of your own book recommendations
Title: Hawker of Morwenstow
Why: It’s the biography of the most fascinating Victorian figure who lived in the vicinity of Bude, a town my family have lived in and loved since Hawker’s time.
Martin Dorey
Book 1
Title: Gironimo by Tim Moore
Why: A wonderful book from my favourite travel quest writer about retracting the steps of the 1914 Giro D’Italia on a period bike with wooden wheels, and in period costume. It’s funny, touching, silly and incredible, all in one. It has an amazing ending too.
Book 2
Title: The Thesaurus
Why: I go back to it time and time again looking for new words and ways to say things and it never bores me (even though I know how it ends). As a copywriter I’ve pretty much read the dictionary cover to cover looking for words for someone’s tag line or for a company name or something, but I will always come back to the Thesaurus, as a writer, because it always enables me to breathe new life into my work.
Book 3
Title: The Wild Guides, Wild Things Publishing
Why: A lot of my books are travel-related so I need inspiration from other writers. The Wild Guides are so full of beautiful images, good writing and secret places to find or be inspired by. And they cover all the things I love: wild swimming, walking, cycling, seeing natural wonders. Scouring maps and books is the best way to find clues that will lead you to that special somewhere.
One of your own book recommendations …
Title: Take The Slow Road: France
Why: The fourth in my book series about taking journeys by motorhome and campervan wasn’t easy to write because of Covid but it was a total joy. France is such an incredible country to travel in, I could have taken twice the time to write it and still not fitted everything in I wanted to see. As it was I was 10000 words over my limit and I had a whole load of amazing experiences to wrote about, from kayaking down the Ardeche to snowboarding in the Alps and visiting the Museum of the Inquisition in Carcassonne. Happy days! It’s out in May.
Environmentalist author, Ellie Jackson, shares her top 3 favourite books and champions the plight of Duffy.
Book 1
Title: The Snail & The Whale – Julia Donaldson
Why: This book ties in everything I love – exploring the world, nature, animals, adventure, helping others – all done through fantastic rhyming and illustrations – my children all love reading it and having it read to them and I never tire of it – what is there not to love about this book
Book 2
Title: Hairy Maclary and Zachery Quack by Lynley Dodd
Why: Who would have thought a dog could be scared of a duckling! Well Hairy Maclary is and skedaddles away as quick as he can whenever he sees Zachery Quack – until that is, he needs rescuing from the river and finds himself a firm friend. Great fun, excellent language, a good message that we can find friends in unlikely places and not to be scared of new things. Also a message about safety around water – lots in this book to discuss with young children and just love the ending with the two friends together.
Book 3
Title: Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter
Why: Always loved this story as a child and now I get to read it to my own children – two very naughty mice who run amok through a dolls house and get really mad when they realise it’s all pretend food – surely the origins of the word hangry? We all get like this in my house from time to time so reassuring to know it’s not just us! But the mice make up for their bad behaviour in the end.
One of your own book recommendations …
Title: Duffy’s Lucky Escape by Ellie Jackson & Liz Oldmeadow
Why: There seems to be a common animal theme running through my favourite books so it made sense when it came to my own books that they would all be about helping animals. Duffy the sea turtle needs all the help she can get after eating too much plastic. After witnessing a real turtle being released back into the ocean, my young children were inspired to help clean up their local beaches and I wanted to share this message with as many children as possible. Duffy’s Lucky Escape is a gentle and positive true story to help open up the conversations about looking after our oceans and our planet. I hope you enjoy sharing this story with your children. Even after 5 years and 6 , Duffy is still my favourite book.
Vyvyan Brendon
Marking the postponed Bude Literary Festival – Vyvyen Brendon shares her top 3 favourite books and champions her latest book.
Book 1
Title: Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
Why: As with all Dickens’s novels, all human life is there. This one appeals to me particularly because it is permeated by the sea, an element with which Dickens had great affinity. Having grown up, like him, on the coast I share his attachment.
Book 2
Title: Persuasion by Jane Austen
Why: Jane Austen’s last and most mature novel, set in the West Country (Lyme Regis and Bath), is my favourite. As with Dombey and Son, the best characters are seafarers, based on Austen’s own sailor brothers.
Book 3
Title: The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans by David Abulafia
Why: This wide-ranging history provides a wealth of stories and information about people’s perilous relationship with the sea over the ages. An appropriate book for Bude, washed as it is by the stormy Atlantic Ocean.
One of your own book recommendations …
Title: Children at Sea: Lives Shaped by the Waves (2020)
Why: As a descendant of Scillonian master mariners, who signed on as apprentices at fourteen and often died while still at sea, I was drawn to the subject of youngsters who left home to cross oceans as transported convicts, slaves, midshipmen or migrants. This book focuses on eight such seaborne children, tracing lives shaped, like those of my forbears, by the waves.
And yours truly, Dawn Robinson …
Book 1
Title: Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart
Why: I love social realism as a genre, so this book is indicative of many, a debut based on the author’s own experiences of growing up in 1980s Glasgow, which combines love with poverty and alcoholism. Well worthy of its Booker Prize winning status.
Book 2
Title: Square Haunting – Francesca Wade
Why: A study of 5 autonomous women who lived in Mecklenburgh Square, London, between the wars. Women living independent lives, achieving amazing things, always fascinates me, so to base it upon this Square, home to five radical women writers, is a brilliant theme. The women are Dorothy L. Sayers, modernist poet Hilda Doolittle (HD), classicist Jane Ellen Harrison, economic historian, Eileen Power and Virginia Woolf. One to return to.
Book 3
Title: Torn between Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and Germinal by Emile Zola, both trailblazers
Why: Germinal was set in 1860s northern France and is tough, gritty fiction which I have to recommend, but I have to come down on the side of Madame Bovary, published in 1856, banned at the time for its overt sexuality. More psychological realism, but this time of bourgeois life, which captures the concept of ‘ennui’ perfectly, offering a vision of meaninglessness and emptiness in a life full of things.
One of your own book recommendations …
Title: Pamela Colman Smith – The Pious Pixie
Why: I’ve written a number of non-fiction books over the years, but this one obsessed me for a long period of time. Why read it? For locals, Pamela, a renowned tarot artist, spent her later years in Bude (where she died) and many of her years in Cornwall. She is a mystery with little known of her obscure later life, a mystery I begin to unravel here. If real life and strong women interest you, then Pamela is your girl!

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