Book Review: The Odd Man In – Mugabe’s White Hand Man by Denis Norman

The Odd Man In by Denis Norman

The Odd Man In by Denis Norman

The Odd Man In, understated and direct, reaches out to all Zimbabweans. It is a respectful testimony by a man who served as an independent government minister for seventeen years in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

It is a record of events from the inside.

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Book Review: Hunting Mr Heartbreak – A Discovery of America by Jonathan Raban

Hunting Mr Heartbreak - A Discovery of America by Jonathan Raban

Hunting Mr Heartbreak – A Discovery of America by Jonathan Raban

A few weeks back I “took ship” in Liverpool, and headed off to find America with the English author Jonathan Raban.

It was pure pleasure – page after page of portrait and insight.

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Letter from Leicester – Gelato included

Gelato Village Leicester, England

Gelato Village Leicester, England

The trip to Leicester was an impulse – something to do with the heatwave, and meeting Antonio De Vecchi and Daniele Taverna in Turin. All we talked about in Turin was food, and their passion was gelato…so much of a passion that they started Gelato Village in Leicester, England.

I’d never been to Leicester. Now I had two reasons to go.

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Book Review: Return to Naples by Robert Zweig, Ph.D

Return to Naples - My Italian Bar Mitzvah and Other Discoveries by Robert Zweig PhD

Return to Naples – My Italian Bar Mitzvah and Other Discoveries by Robert Zweig PhD

I loved this book and its collection of carefully told memories. If you know Naples, or are curious about the city, this is an easy, fascinating read – a surprisingly gentle ride around a family and a city scarred by war.

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Book Review: Forgotten Kingdom – Nine Years in Yunnan, 1939-1948 by Peter Goullart

Forgotten Kingdom - Nine Years in Yunnan, 1939-48 by Peter Goullart

Forgotten Kingdom – Nine Years in Yunnan, 1939-48 by Peter Goullart

This is a travel book that unfurls like a lotus flower. It has happiness at its heart but is grown out of hardship in the steep-sided valleys of south-western China.

The decade is the 1940s and the location is the province of Yunnan, geographically cut apart from the rest of China and still webbed with tribes, traditions and traders.

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Book Review: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Thoroughly read copy of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Thoroughly read copy of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

I know of slavery, of its shame and horror, and neither makes it my preferred topic when it comes to books. But this was a gift … so I began.

It was worth it.

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Review: BBC One – Attenborough and the Giant Elephant

An African elephant at home - photograph taken by Frederik Ahlefeldt-L-L

An African elephant at home – photograph taken by Frederik Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Lehn

This powerful documentary is about a giant and those who knew him. It is fascinating, sad … and so important to watch.

Sir David Attenborough is with us from start to finish. It is he who picks through the evidence to show us the life and times of Jumbo, the celebrity Victorian elephant.

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