Books Monthly's book of the month: Susan Fletcher - A Little in Love

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 October 2014 Contents

Adult fiction

Crime & Thrillers

  Science Fiction & Fantasy

Children's books

  Nonfiction & Reference
  The Nostalgia Page

The Stephen King Page

  The Jerry Dowlen Column

  New from MagBooks

Out now...



The History Press, paperback, 1st September 2014


Steve Halliwell is best known as the loveable patriarch Zak Dingle in the hit TV show Emmerdale, a part he has played since 1994 and which has led him to become one of the UK’s most recognisable and treasured soap stars. Yet before he found success on the Yorkshire Dales, Halliwell spent many years desperately seeking work, often spending time on the streets in the search of food. This warts-and-all story of Halliwell’s rise to fame, where success was only won after great personal struggles, is inspirational to those who wish to establish a life and career for themselves in the face of similar hardships. Going beyond the experiences of one man, If the Cap Fits explores a wider social, cultural and class history that permeated the country in the sixties and seventies, and still lingers today. Above all else, this is an honest tale of rejection and redemption throughout a fascinating and colourful life that will appeal to all who have the ambition to better themselves.


I remember the episode in which Zak Dingle first appeared in Emmerdale - their was a fight in a river between Zak and Ned Glover, possibly over Tina Dingle... This engaging autobiography uncovers a Steve Halliwell who is nothing like the character he has portrayed for the past twenty years (and hopefully for another twenty years!), a man who struggled through years of hard drinking whilst he attempted to sort his head out and find his true destiny in life (which turned out to be a serious actor), a man more or less self-educated after leaving school at fifteen; a man with a job CV so comprehensive and of a variety so varied you simply would not believe it. This is a man who has laid bare his soul and opened up to us, his fans. I'm a huge Zak Dingle fan, and I loved reading about his journey through life to a settled, well-earned career as one of TV's greatest soap-opera characters. A terrific book all round, very entertaining.


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Greetings one and all! It's getting to that time of the year when the shops traditionally like to remind us that in less than three months' time it will be Christmas - there are a number of spiffing books in this issue that will serve splendidly as Christmas presents, and next month, of course, we will have a new Stephen King, REVIVAL, the eighth novel in Bernard Cornwell's brilliant Dark Ages series, two more excellent books about Downton Abbey, and a timely reminder from Harper Collins that the third and final part of the Hobbit trilogy will be  showing in December... now enjoy what's on offer in this autumnal issue! See you soon...

Three blockbuster titles from Dorling Kindersley...

The Train Book: The Definitive Visual History

Published by Dorling Kindersley, hardback, on 1st October 2014

The definitive visual history and glorious celebration of all things train and track... The Train Book traces the history and role of trains from the first steam engines to diesel engines and then to today's high-speed bullet trains. You'll take a journey through the most important trains of each period and see iconic trains such as the Orient Express, the Fairy Queen, the Mallard and the Javelin in incredible detail, discovering the anatomy of these legendary engines. The Train Book gives you a truly international view of trains, exploring some of the world's most impressive rail routes from South Africa to Siberia, including the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and the high-speed Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen line. You'll discover the stories of key innovators, designers and engineers who advanced rail travel, the challenges they faced and the cultural backdrop against which the railways were built. The Train Book is the perfect gift for train enthusiasts of all ages.


Definitive is the word to describe this and the book below - this is every train enthusiast's dream book, stunningly illustrated and written by experts, it is the perfect publication for anyone with an interest in trains. Fantastic!


The Planets: The Definitive Visual Guide to the Solar System

Published by Dorling Kindersley, hardback, on 1st September 2014

See the Solar System like never before... The Planets is an awe-inspiring and informative journey through the Solar System, with all-new 3D globes and models built using the latest data gathered by NASA and the European Space Agency that can be viewed from any angle and layer by layer. You can even move in for a closer look with 3D terrain models that take you on a trip to the surfaces of the rocky planets. As well as covering the Sun, the planets, hundreds of moons and thousands of asteroids and comets, The Planets includes all the major Solar System missions, right up to the latest Mars rovers. Timelines explore our relationship with each planet and infographics present fascinating Solar System facts and planet facts. The Planets is ideal for anyone interested in space exploration and all armchair astronauts or astronomers.


Our solar system is a minute part of a mind-boggling galaxy, which in turn is a minute part of a system of galaxies that occupy one minute part of a universe comprising an unfathomable number of similar galaxies and which, itself, may in turn be one of an infinitesimal number of parallel universes. The photographs and descriptions in this stunning book are a start. A brilliant start on a journey through our universe, our tiny, minute corner of the universe where we happen to live. Each of the bodies in our solar system is described in the greatest detail using the latest astronomical technology and instrumentation, with photographs from actual space missions. It is staggeringly beautiful, and brilliantly informative. If I had to choose one Dorling Kinsersley book from the last ten years to sum up how good their books are, this would be it. Absolutely and literally out of this world - and I can't help but think that people who rely on Kindles and other similar devices for looking at books like these are missing out on so much...


Marvel Comics: 75 Years of Cover Art

Published by Dorling Kindersley, hardback, on 1st October 2014

Celebrating the greatest cover art over Marvel Comics' 75-year history. Showcasing the most striking, inspiring and unusual comic cover art in Marvel's 75-year history. Marvel Comics Cover Art reveals a gallery of iconic covers featuring all your favourite super heroes from Spider-Man and Iron Man to the Avengers. Created in full collaboration with Marvel Comics this beautiful book is perfect for any avid Marvel fan. Packed with bold cover illustrations, Marvel Comics Cover Art shows the development of two covers demonstrating the process involved. A fantastic gift for any comic book fan Marvel Comics Cover Art has a unique logo on the front cover to celebrate 75 years of Marvel, making this a special collectible edition. Discover little-known facts about the artists and history of the comic covers plus find out how comic creators Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and more made the Marvel covers. 2014 Marvel.


I was never that keen on Marvel comics - their characters, including Spider Man and The Incredible Hulk, always paled in comparison with the DC Comics stable, which includes Superman, Supergirl and Wonder Woman... But I am a huge fan of comic book art, and this absolutely brilliant collection of Marvel Comics cover art through the ages is terrific. A huge book, massive in scope and massively attractive, is an important contribution to the world of comic art publication, a must for any die-hard comic book fan. Brilliant!


Paul Norman

Editor, publisher and author...


The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its sixteenth year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email and I'll let you know where to send it.