Thursday, 28 March 2013

Something for the Easter weekend..

Hello, this weeks 'Something for the weekend..' is, once again, a little different. Here we suggest a couple of titles that you may well need after this weekend..

'Medicinal Cookery' & 'The Medicinal Chef' by Dale Pinnock.

Only the title of the book - 'Medicinal Cookery - How you can benefit from nature's edible pharmacy' speaks for itself. Even the name of this extraordinarily helpful book can inspire us to think about our nutrition in a new and revolutionary way. This book is nicely illustrated with many photographs and is extremely readable, the author thus warmly welcomes us to "this beautiful and complex gift from the natural world."
This small but important book teaches us about the profound impact of food on our health and our ability to heal. The UK's first 'Medicinal Chef' explains how phytochemicals - biological compounds in plants, can work similarly to medicinal plants or pharmaceutical drugs in a natural way without any side effects.

"When we understand what foods contain what chemicals, and how these chemical compounds influence our body's chemistry in order to deliver a healing response, we can get into the kitchen and cook up and create our own medicine."

Not only do we find a theoretical background knowledge of food, Dale Pinnock also provides us with some delicious recipes. The recipes are divided into categories according to which health problems they target. Whether you want to improve the health of your skin, digestion, the heart and circulatory system, immunity, the Joints or the nervous system, just look up the recipe in this book!

"I personally feel that there is no separation between food and medicine at all. If applied in the right way under the right guidance, the results can be equally as powerful."

The last section of the book delivers a simple A-Z Guide to the most powerful medicinal foods; divided into groups of Fruit, Grains, Nuts and Seeds, Culinary Herbs and Spices and Vegetables. The author included content and medicinal properties for each food as well as some suggestions as to how they may be used.

I am so grateful I came across this wonderful book which strongly influenced my view on nutrition and that is the main reason I would like to introduce this book to as many people as possible.

Dale Pinnock has also recently published 'The Medicinal Chef'. In this this nutrition expert presents 80 easy-to-make, tasty recipes, where he shows how powerful phytonutrients can be incorporated into our everyday diet, having beneficial effects on many medical conditions. He also includes a glossary of key ingredients, advice on how our diet can make a real difference to thirty common ailments and simple symbols to indicate which conditions each recipe can help with.


Friday, 22 March 2013

Something for the Weekend - Overdressed

It takes quite a lot for me to read a non-fiction book all the way through, in one go (without giving up for months and reading 6 novels in between), but Overdressed by Elizabeth Cline held my attention all the way through.

The book is about how cheap fashion retailers (such as US brands Target, Forever 21 and European brands like H&M and Zara) have created an attitude in shoppers that makes us buy loads and loads of cheap, badly made clothes, in favour of buying a few more expensive pieces which will last more than one season. Cline says that part of the reason for this is that ‘trends’ have become the new fashion trend – you can’t pin down the look for fashion since 2000 because the look has been lots of different looks. This means that the retailers bring in new lines and items of clothing every single day, to make people shop more and more and more.

This attitude in customers has also led to devaluation in the perception of what clothes should be worth. Cline talks to bloggers who share their ‘hauls’ – a video or blog post about how much clothing they buy in a single session, mostly from the cheap shops. One girl she interviews in the book refuses to buy a blazer because it’s $45 (about £30) and not because she already has 10 blazers. This attitude has obviously led to a need to change the manufacturing process.
I liked how Cline covered every aspect of the ‘Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion’ and was especially interested in how demand for lots and lots of cheap fashion has changed the way clothes are made.

The US (Cline in American so the book focussed on the US garment industry) used to have a large clothes and fabric manufacturing industry, especially based in New York’s garment district and LA. But over the last 40 years or so, it became so cheap to make clothes in countries like India, Bangladesh, China and Guatemala (where there is either no minimum wage or a very, very low one for workers), that very little clothing is made in the US any more. There are a few factories left, that can get trends into the shops quicker, but the vast majority of manufacturing has moved abroad. This has had a knock-on effect on the unemployment levels and also the conditions the textile workers abroad have to endure. I found it interesting than even China is starting to price itself out of the market as its workforce becomes more skilled and the garments they can produce more sophisticated.

Cline ends the book with a plea to us all to shop more wisely and in a more sustainable way. Most synthetic fabrics are produced by burning fossil fuels, and as we all know, they are running out. She talks to people who sew their own clothes from scratch and those who refashion existing modern and vintage clothing to reuse the fabric and garments which are already in circulation, and to stop them going to landfill. There is a growing market for sustainable clothing and she talks to some shops who are trying to re-educate people to pay a good price for clothes which have been made from quality fabric and sewn by workers earning a living wage.


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Competiton Time!


Would you like a free copy of Professor Brian Cox's sumptuous & fascinating 'Wonders of life' book?

Then just answer this simple question:

Who is Brian's co-presenter in the 'Infinite Monkey Cage'? Is it:

(a) Robin Ince
(b) Paul Ince
(c) Prince

It's not difficult, it's not supposed to be! We want someone to have a free book!

Email the answer to with the answer as the subject line. I will put all the winning answers in a hat* & draw the winner on Friday 22nd of March at 3.00pm. I will notify the winner by email that very same day.

                                                        Good luck!!

*may not be actual hat.

Terms & conditions:
Not open to Blackwell's employees.
Book is Wonders of Life 9780007452675 rrp £25.00, must be collected from Blackwell's Bookshop 100 Charing Cross Road within 7 days of notification.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Some DVDs for the weekend!

Hello, bit different this week, did you know we stock DVDs? Well we do & what's more we've got an excellent range & they are at excellent prices! So for this weeks recommendations I've picked a few of my personal favourites out. At time of writing all these titles are in stock & £5.00 each or under! - they are what I would call 'a right bargain'. So here they are:

Edge of Darkness, starring Bob Peck, Joanne Whalley & Joe Don Baker
 (2 discs) £5.00
This is a riveting 80's Eco/political thriller from the BBC. I didn't see it at the time & only caught up with it after a recommendation. It's unbelievably tense & Peck should/would have been a star if not for his untimely death -  you cannot take your eyes off him. It's particularly good when Peck's gruff understated Yorkshire copper shares scenes with Joe Don Baker's (James Bond) slightly deranged, hilarious CIA agent. Just brilliant.

Annie Hall, starring Woody Allen & Diane Keaton. (1 disc) £5.00
Surely i don't need to say much here. One of my favourites, it's funny, clever, & wise. Even if you think you don't like Woody Allen (& you're wrong by the way) seek this out. Worth 5 pounds just to see Allen's face as a very young Christopher Walken tells him of his 'inner thoughts'.

The Apartment, starring Jack Lemmon & Shirley MacLaine (1disc) £4.00
An absolute classic, everyone at the top of their game. Lemmon in particular has never been more likable. He plays CC Baxter, toiling away in a thankless impersonal office building, he starts to climb the ladder by letting his bosses use his apartment for nefarious purposes. Things begin to unwind when he falls for the lift lady Miss Kubelik (Maclaine - charming). This film will make you laugh & cry, it's a heart warmer of the highest degree. They really don't make them like this anymore.

This is Spinal Tap, starring Christopher Guest, Michael McKean & Harry Shearer. (3 discs) £5.00.
Yes you know it, but do you own it? 3 discs for £5.00, we're too good to you!

Immortal Beloved, starring Gary Oldman. (1 disc) £4.00
Oldman plays Ludwig Van Beethoven. I'm a big fan of Mr Oldman & he doesn't disappoint here with a grand, sweeping performance. It's a fascinating sumptuous film, that delves into the mystery of just who was Beethoven's Immortal Beloved. Needless to say the soundtracks not bad either.

So there's just a few I like & I could have picked a lot more! We also stock factual series (such as Carl Sagan's Cosmos, Attenborough's Living Planet etc), box sets.. all sorts. So come & have a look & treat yourself to a film, or a series or both.


Friday, 8 March 2013

Something for the weekend.. The Man Who Planted Trees..

This weeks Something for the weekend is..

The Man Who Planted Trees
By Jean Giono

It may be quite a short and simple story but The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono will always be one
of my favourites, it is the most inspirational and thoughtful of books.

This beautiful allegorical tale not only conveys the idea of importance of appreciating & protecting the harmonies of nature, it also emphasizes the immense powers of abilities of all people. This story is so inspirational because it shows that every person is able to do countless good deeds during their life which can result in creating even more and more happiness for other people. No matter where we are or what we do, we can always try to make an asset to our society and to help others.

The novel centres around an extraordinary character - Elzeard Bouffier who decides to devote his life to planting trees in a desolated, ruined and lifeless region. During his humble and peaceful life, he manages to cover a massive area of land with trees. By his regular and persistent work he turns the miserable piece of land into a beautiful place where one would wish to live, where there are restored forests, fields, valleys and meadows but more importantly people with hope. "...more than ten thousand people must owe their happiness to Elzeard Bouffier."

I believe that The Man Who Planted Trees is one of those books which should be in everyones library as it is such a wise and unforgettable story which is really nice to frequently return to.


Buy it here

Friday, 1 March 2013

Something for the weekend - The Prestige

Hello, this weeks 'Something for the weekend' is..

The Prestige

by Christopher Priest

Is the book always better than the film?* It's a good question; can you think of any films that are better than the source material? I really enjoyed Christopher Nolan's film of this novel but once again the book is even
From what I remember of the film (it's been a while) it concentrates entirely on the rivalry between two Victorian magicians. Each trying to discover the secret of the other's 'Prestige' (the apparent teleportation illusion they both perform) they resort to desperate, devious tricks. While that takes up a good part of the book Priest counterpoints the entertaining rivalry with a bleak modern tale of identity, uncertainty & loss. The present day narrators searching the text for answers that they may not like but that they need.

As you'll see it's a Gollancz SF Masterwork, now I like a bit of Sci-Fi but I would implore you not to let that description put you off if you don't. What you have here is a riveting, eerie thriller that anyone can enjoy. It's a compelling, heart in the mouth type of book. I think I may read it again!

*Oh & 'Blade Runner' is by the way.. sorry Philip K fans but come on.. disagree? Post a comment!