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We had our biggest-ever books and more club in January. From Christmas presents to transformational stories. See what we discussed below, and let us know if you have read, watched or listened to anything good recently!

 

Reading 📖:

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music  by Dave Grohl (Autobiography)

Dave Grohl autobiography cover

From taking grunge into the mainstream with Nirvana to helming the Foo Fighters, and growing into a beloved elder statesman of alternative rock. The Storyteller recounts the wild times and great music of Dave Grohl’s stellar career. (Two members of the team loved this!).

 

 

 

5 Love Languages – The secret to love that lasts by Gary Chapman

5 Love Languages, a man and a woman embrace on the front coverDiscover a simple and effective way to strengthen your relationship so you can experience greater joy and satisfaction with the one you love. Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love, will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner. You can find out your love language via this quiz!

 

 

 

Citizens by Jon Alexander and Ariane Conrad

Multicoloured letters citizensCitizens opens up a new way of understanding ourselves and shows us what we must do to survive and thrive as individuals, organisations, and nations. Over the past decade, Jon Alexander’s consultancy, the New Citizenship Project, has helped revitalise some of Britain’s biggest organisations including the Co-op, the Guardian and the National Trust. Alongside, the New York Times bestselling writer Ariane Conrad, he shows how history is about to enter the age of the Citizen. When our institutions treat people as creative, empowered creatures rather than consumers, everything changes.

Unleashing the power of everyone equips us to face the challenges of economic insecurity, climate crisis, public health threats, and polarisation. Citizens is an upbeat handbook, full of insights, clear examples to follow, and inspiring case studies, from the slums of Kenya to the backstreets of Birmingham – and a foreword by Brian Eno. It is the perfect pick-me-up for leaders, founders, elected officials – and citizens everywhere. Organise and seize the future!

Sunset by Jessie Cave

Sunset image and text, pink, orange and yellowThis bittersweet love story is about needing someone else as much as they need you. It is an ode to our most powerful bonds, how they build us and break us, and how, when all seems lost, we can find joy in the most unexpected places. This book has many swerves and turns and is very much unexpected.

 

 

 

Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton wearing a fabulous glittery outfit surrounded by gold and pink flowers.As stylish as the icon it chronicles, ‘Behind the Seams’ details the singular fashion triumphs of the inimitable Dolly Parton through vibrant photography and fascinating personal stories. A beautiful book.

 

 

 

Code of Conduct – Why We Need to Fix Parliament – and How to Do It by Chris Bryant

Code of Conduct, politicians from different parties with their coloured ties.The Labour MP, Chair of the Committees on Standards and Privileges and author of The Glamour Boys presents an insider’s view of Westminster and discusses what politicians need to do to regain public trust.

 

 

 

 

In Memorium – Alice Winn 

This book traces the journey of a group of public school boys as World War 1 erupts. It is framed through finding and understanding love between two young men at a time when this represented a forbidden relationship. A love story, set in a devastatingly brutal context. There are some very visceral descriptions of the reality of what it was like in the trenches as old-fashioned ideas of how to conduct warfare met the reality of modern ways to kill. Initial impressions were thinking I’d be annoyed looking at this time through the clearly privileged perspective of the public school system and a very hierarchical society. However, this is balanced in some respect by the apparent high death rates young commissioned officers had in World War I as they led their men over the top (as young as 16-18 years old). It is not for the faint-hearted and is a book that will make you laugh and cry. It also serves to remind that whilst in the moment it seems things don’t change they do. Thoroughly recommend.

 

Nora Bateson on ‘Warm Data’

Warm data, according to Nora Bateson, refers to information that captures the interconnected and contextual nature of complex systems. It emphasises the importance of understanding relationships, patterns, and the dynamic interactions within a system, rather than focusing solely on isolated data points or detached analysis. In the realm of community development, warm data, as envisioned by Nora Bateson, would involve collecting and interpreting information in a way that goes beyond mere statistics or isolated data points. This tends to take the data out of context and then we fail to put it back in.

It means understanding the intricate web of relationships among community members, considering cultural nuances, historical contexts, and the dynamic interactions between different social elements. For instance, when addressing a community development project, warm data might entail examining not just economic indicators but also the social fabric, local traditions, and interpersonal connections to comprehensively grasp the factors influencing community well-being. This approach aims to foster a more holistic and empathetic understanding of communities, emphasizing the importance of context and interconnectedness in the development process.

 

The Winter King – Bernard Cornwell

The Winter King book coverOne of Cornwell’s older books but evident of a style. This book is somewhat less historical, set in Britain during the Dark Ages. It tracks the early period of the future King Arthur and the wizard Merlin. It tells the story in a way that Cornwall often uses, through the personal narrative of one of Arthur’s warriors, as opposed to from the perspective of the ‘famous’ characters. There is lots of conflict from warring kingdoms within Britain with a narrative of creating a united Britain as well as the emerging incursions and settling of Saxon populations. There is also Merlin’s quest to collect the key druid artefacts that he thinks can restore the old druidian ways whilst there is a seemingly inevitable shift from these ways into the emergence of Christianity. This gives space for powerful female characters such as Nimue, Merlin’s trainee Druid priestess, or the spirited Guinevere who weds Arthur. I’ve read quite a bit of Bernard Cornwall and being honest some of his other series I think are a bit better. Recently, it has been turned into a 10-part drama shown on ITVX. Just beware there are some annoying shortcuts and changes to the book in the TV adaptation.

 

Listen🎧:

Things Fell Apart – Jon Ronson

Jaw-dropping, unexpected human stories from the history of the culture wars.

 

 

 

Woman’s Hour BBC Sounds

Woman's Hour logoWomen’s voices and women’s lives – topical conversations to inform, challenge and inspire. A real range for everyone here with some fantastic interviews that will leave you thinking.

 

 

LBC Radio

LBC logoTalk radio for the UK, letting you have your say on the big issues of the day, affecting London and the UK, with breaking news and opinion.

Watch📺:

National Theatre at Home

National Theatre at home logoLife theatrical performances that you can watch from the comfort of your own home. Amazingly produced, rich stories, for a reasonable price. You’ll be transported to the theatre and will want to watch more and more!

 

On the Roam by Jason Momoa Apple TV

Jason MomoaJason meets one of his top creative inspirations renowned photographer, Todd Hidio.

 

Other mentions: 

Transition Network

Transition is a movement of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world. Here we explain what it is, why people do it, how the movement started and give you a sense of our underpinning principles and approach.

 

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Big Garden Birdwatch is the world’s largest garden wildlife survey. Every year, hundreds of thousands of nature lovers like you take part, helping to build a picture of how garden birds are faring.

  • Get your free guide and stock up on supplies, with 15% off and free delivery on food and feeders at the RSPB shop.
  • Spend an hour watching the birds in your patch, between 26 and 28 January, and record the birds that land.
  • Tell us what you saw (even if that’s nothing at all)! You can submit your results online or by post.

 

Don’t forget to share what things you’ve loved recently, we’d love to hear!