Kingdom – Norman McCloskey

Kingdom is Norman McCloskey’s third landscape photobook based in Kerry. He started with Parklight in 2013, followed by Beara in 2018, and now in 2022, Kingdom. I have all three gorgeous books.

Every detail of Kingdom is beautiful, from the textured cover and lino cut style image of Skellig Michael to the paper and colour reproduction and tonality.

All books feature the grandeur and beauty of Kerry, it is a wonderful tour around a picturesque and dramatic county, that is well worth a visit if you are in the Country.

‘Photography through the Pandemic’ by 35mmc

This is a book that I supported. on Kickstarter as it was put together by a group of photographers that I know (35mmc). Sadly, before the project was finished one of the photographers, John Whitmore died. This book was dedicated to John after his death, and the profits are going toward helping support his daughter.

The fifty photographers who feature in this book have four pages in which they introduce themselves and their work, as well as displaying some of their images. The wide variety of styles and subject matter is fascinating, from nature to street scenes from cyanotypes to panoramics, people to a typology of snails, and multiple exposures to architecture, this book has it all.

It is a great addition to my photo book collection. Congratulations to everyone who was involved in every element of this project, you have done a superb job.

‘Offshoot Exhibition 2022’ by the Members of Offshoot Photographic Society

This is a photo book that my camera club, Offshoot Photographic Society, put together from the images that we had on display over six weeks in the 2022 Exhibition in the Lexicon Library in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin. This is the first time we have made a book and we thought that it would be a nice memento of the exhibition for those photographers who took part.

We are very lucky to have a Graphic Designer, Taryn Barling from YoYo Design as a member of our club, and she designed and put this book together. Thank you, Taryn!

‘The Ink Black Heart’ by Robert Galbraith

This is the sixth book in the Strike series by Robert Galbraith.

I read this book in one day, I started in the morning and read until I fell asleep late in the night, it is impossible for me to read these books slowly and I always end up with a type of reading hangover when I finish the next installment of the Strike Series.

This title like the others in the series was a very clever mystery that kept pulling me through the story from the first page.

Robin Ellacott doesn’t know what to do with a frantic co-creator (Edie Ledwell) of a popular cartoon that she has never heard of and dismisses the case. This is until the same woman is found dead, at which point Robin and Strike get pulled into the mission to uncover what actually happened to Edie.

The answer seems to be based on who or what is Anomie? However, things are never that simple and with a complex web of aliases, interests, and family conflicts to deal with, Robin and Strike find that this case stretches their skills.

‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This riveting novel grabbed my attention on page one and held it until the very end. It is a wonderful story about old Hollywood, love, fame, glamour, and scandals.

The main subject and protagonist of the story is the almost forgotten Hollywood icon, Evelyn Hugo, famed beauty and actress, who wants to get her undistilled truth out in the public domain. Evelyn chooses an unknown magazine writer, Monique Grant to write her biography, which covers the turbulent times of the 1950s to the 1980s.

Monique is told about ambition, friendship, and forbidden love, her seven husbands, and it becomes clear over time why Evelyn wanted Monique to write the book.

This is a very enjoyable book, I found myself sometimes forgetting that it was a novel and treating it like a work of nonfiction. I found it to be very informative and believe that it sails closer to the truth than some people may wish.

‘Comdians’ by Steve Best

This stunningly curated and designed book is gorgeous. My photo of the cover does not portray the cover properly as it is deep black and the word Comedians is very subtle.

This is both a beautiful photo book and as a comedy fan, it is a wonderful snapshot of the present English comedy scene. It has rapidly become one of my favourite photo books. I love the layout and tonal range of the images which are all black and white.

The author is a comedian and a photographer, which is how he gained access to behind the scenes of comedy shows. It took Steve Best years to get this collection of images together, each image has the comedian’s name and the year the photo was taken written underneath each image.

I can highly recommend this book to both photography and comedy fans.

‘The Panda, The Cat and the Dreadful Teddy’ by Paul Magrs

This is one of those gift books that you frequently receive at Christmas or for your birthday. It is a parody of inspirational quote books that you see, it is the story of three friends who are trying and sometimes managing to live their best lives.

One quote from the book is “nothing beats kindness” said the cat. “Gin does” said Panda.

I also love the illustrations in the book as they perfectly match the tone of the book.

‘The Storyteller’ – Dave Grohl

As a fan of Dave Grohl, this is a book that I have been looking forward to for years. I loved his Mothers book ‘From Cradle to the Stage’, and have always hoped that Dave Grohl would write a book like this. The author has managed to tell some of the lesser known or completely unknown stories of his life while managing to avoid certain controversial subjects.

The name of the book is perfect because Dave Grohl is a great storyteller, any interview with him is entertaining, as he has a certain energy, an appreciation, gratitude and joy for every facet of his life that seeps through the pages of this book. This book is not laid out like a normal autobiography, in so far as, it doesn’t follow a linear fashion. The Author has made it clear that he and his publishing team would decide on what stories they wanted to tell and that is why this is a collection of short stories rather than a traditional narrative autobiography.

There are a lot of highlights to be in the stories in this book, in particular, I love the Joan Jett story, the one about the after award ceremony dinner, as well as the one that explains the effect of playing for President Obama had on the author and band.

One of the main messages from this book is that the Author is still amazed by the opportunities and experiences that his life has offered him. This is one of those books where I had to portion my time with it, as the temptation was to read the whole thing cover to cover in one sitting. I was delighted to hear Dave Grohl say in an interview that this was his first book, so guess who needs more bookshelf space for Dave Grohl books? The way he and his team have designed this book means that there could be a lot of books to come.

I can understand why he wants to put his voice out into the public about his life, as I have read a couple of other books on him and Foo Fighters, and it makes sense that he would want to put out his version of his life, in an effort to keep some control over imaging.

Polaroid Now

This is a different type of a book review, as it is about a photography book that is the result of artists using Polaroid cameras and film across the decades. I love photography and instant photography is one of my favourite types, so anytime I see anything Polaroid or Instax, I buy it. However, this book has some images from some Twitter friends of mine, which made this book even more interesting to me. It is fantastic to see some lesser known Polaroid Photographers feature beside some legendary names, including Andy Warhol.

A lot of thought went into every facet of this book, from the cover art, to the gold edged pages, to the paper stock, the layout and most importantly, as I previously mentioned, the mixture of Photographers featured.

If you like photography, Polaroids, or just lovely books, I would recommend this publication. I know it is one that I will return to many times in the future.

I have included a non affiliated link below to German Amazon. If you buy it from this link, I will not benefit in any way whatsoever, I have included it for information reasons.

Thank you to all those who were involved in putting it together, it is a joy to read.

‘The Thursday Murder Club’ – Richard Osman

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you crossed the Famous Five crossed with Miss Marple? If so, Richard Osman’s first mystery novel ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ is the book for you! This wonderfully written, charming story is based around an interesting group of friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, who live in a Retirement Village. They met up once a week to investigate cold case, unsolved murders, until, one day they find themselves involved in a live case. Can they catch the killer before it’s too late?

This is Richard Osman’s first book, and what a book it is! It was inspired by a visit Richard has to an upmarket retirement village. The book was first published in September 2020.

I really enjoyed reading this light, witty and airy feel in this well paced book. At no point did I think it was either too fast or too slow, and even though the characters were dealing with some very serious situations, both in their investigations and outside of them, at no point did the book feel dark or depressing. I found all the character’s to be likeable and compassionate. The clever twists in the book were very enjoyable. I loved the language used by the author. The story made becoming older sound like fun.

I found it incredibly difficult to put this book down, and when I did, I kept thinking about what was going to happen next. I can’t wait for the second book and I am sure to be just as brilliant as the first, I have the second book on pre-order and cannot wait to read it! I now own a copy of this book on Kindle, so I can bring it with me when I travel.

Given the record sales of this book, I think it would be popular with nearly everyone, unless you like to only read sci-fi of course. I wonder will the second book follow on from the first, if it does that will be brilliant as I would like to meet these characters again, if not, I can’t wait to meet the new characters.

This really is a superb book and I would recommend it to everyone.