I’ve got another review up on Shiny New Books, Chase F. Robinson in “Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives” has written an accessible introduction to the lives of some of the founding figures and important people in the first 1,000 years of Islamic culture and civilisation, with lovely illustrations and a good solid academic framework without being hard to read. Read more here and thank you to Thames & Hudson for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

I’ve got another full review to publish tomorrow so I’ll add to this by sharing my wondrous Foyle’s bounty from yesterday. I gathered together all the book tokens in the house, including some half-used ones with very odd amounts on, and as the TBR was sort of getting under control and I’d seen loads of things I wanted to buy last time I was in the shop, had a bit of a splurge. But look what I got!

From the bottom upwards …

Simon Napier-Bell – “Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay: The Dodgy Business of Popular Music” – Napier-Bell is a legendary rock manager and this is full of anecdotes and naughtiness. In the sale for 75% off but also exactly the kind of book I enjoy.

Benjamin Zephaniah – “The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah” – I heard about this being out the other day and had to get it, after all, he’s local and I love his novels and poetry. This is BRAND NEW (shocking for me) but had £5 off the hardback price.

Garth Cartwright – “Going for a Song: A Chronicle of the UK Record Shop” – one I’d identified as needing to be bought the other day.

Vybarr Cregan-Reid – “Footnotes: How Running Makes us Human” – this one has been on my radar for a while and read by a few running friends, and I couldn’t not have ONE running book on the list. It’s an investigation of why we run and get so much out of it.

Clair Wills – “Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain” – a fascinating and important subject and right up to date, but also one of those lovely new Penguin non-fiction books. As is (its partner in the Buy One Get One Half Price deal) …

Harriet Harman – “A Woman’s Work” – had to be bought and will form an interesting contrast / companion to Jess Phillips’ autobiography.

Dave Randall – “Sound System: The Political Power of Music” – a Left Book Club publication which was also 75% off in the sale, finding the ways in which music has been a force for social change as well as a way to keep people in their place. I’ve just been reading a fascinating history of grime music which situates it very much in its socio-political context, so this seems a good buy.

Alan Hollinghurst – “The Sparsholt Affair” – quite a left-field one here, but I dimly remembered the author saying he’d been influenced by Iris Murdoch and this does look like a very Murdochian plot, with a group of friends from university staying in touch down the years. The only fiction book in the pile!

Neil Gaiman – “Norse Mythology” – his retelling, I have been feeling faintly guilty about not having bought this since I bought that other book on Norse mythology in December, so redressed that. These two were also Buy One Get One Half Price and yes, I chose the black cover for this one – more practical than the white.

… and finally, I was in town to meet up with the lovely Claire from the LibraryThing Virago Group, who was up here for a conference. She kindly passed me a Virago Green of Enid Bagnold’s “The Loved and Envied” as an extra acquisition for the day.


Have you read any of these? Which of them should I put first in the (back end of the) TBR?