Focus Magazines The local magazines for Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Brecon & Talgarth – Events, News and Advertising

Book Reviews

Latest Story

Isolation Reading List

April 9th, 2020

Emma Corfield-Walters, owner of Book-ish in Crickhowell provides the perfect isolation reading list. While we cannot escape the confines of our own homes, our imaginations can take us anywhere. You can order these titles online from Book-ish, and have them delivered straight to your door!

A Gentleman in Moscow

Amor Towles
Easily the best book I’ve read in a while, a wonderful story of a life well lived under 50 years of house arrest at a grand Russian Hotel with some of the most beautiful characters I’ve come across, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov will stay with me always.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Delia Owens
I expect this to become one of our best sellers this year. One of the most beautiful stories about resilience and survival, fast paced with elements of romance, mystery and even a courtroom thriller. Nature enthusiasts will also enjoy this book, as Kya’s love of the nature around her is conveyed through detailed descriptions of the flora and fauna, a reflection of the author’s background as a former wildlife scientist.

The Roasting Tin/
Green roasting Tin

As far as self-isolation cookbooks go, this one is a banger. Easy recipes with stuff you’ll likely have in your cupboard, plus there’ll be leftovers for the following day’s lunch.

The Mirror & the Light (Wolf Hall & Bring up the Bodies)

Hilary Mantel
Mantel’s lightness of touch, political insight and wit hold forth in the third installment of this lauded trilogy. If you start with Wolf Hall, all three books may just take you through the entire lockdown period!

Station Eleven

Emily St. John Mandel
A flu pandemic wipes out most of the world population, especially interesting is her story of the decades following. It reminds us how vital the arts; here specifically live music and theatre, are in the aftermath.

Notes on a Nervous Planet

Matt Haig
An honest and human guide to coping with the modern world, generous, sensible and timely. Reading it will probably be good for your mental health. Especially if you leave your smartphone in another room.

Lord of the Flies

William Golding
Anyone who has ever suspected that children are primitive little beasties will nod sagely as they read Golding’s classic. His theory is this: maroon a bunch of schoolboys on an island, and watch how quickly the trappings of decent behaviour fall away. Never has a broken pair of spectacles seemed so sinister, or civilisation so fragile.

The Moomins

Tove Jansson
(Any book in the serioes, but I love Comet in Moominland). A trip to Tove Jansson’s Moominland always makes everything better. The much-beloved Moomins are eccentric hippo-like people, very accommodating of difference and otherness. That said, many of the characters have their little ways, and being accommodating isn’t always comfortable. The realism of the relationships gives even the silliest of Jansson’s stories the texture of real life.

La Belle Sauvage: The Book Of Dust volume one

Philip Pullman
Fans of the hit BBC television show, His Dark Materials, are likely to enjoy this book. La Belle Sauvage: The Book Of Dust volume one is the first in a trilogy which expands on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. The book takes us on a continued story of Lyra, her battle against the Magisterium and the quest to understand ‘dust’.

Noughts and Crosses

Malorie Blackman
With the recent release of the BBC series Noughts and Crosses, now is a great time to read the original book. It has been featured on many school’s curriculums and is considered a classic book for those coming of age. It is a dystopian take on Romeo and Juliet and features key themes such as race, power and teenage love.

Emma Corfield-Walters

More Stories

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

April 30th, 2019

The intoxicating story of a young woman who aspires to be an artist, and the man whose obsession may destroy her world for ever. This is an unforgettable piece of chilling and gothic historical fiction, the debut from Elizabeth Macneal, set in the Victorian era. She writes an atmospheric and beautifully constructed story of art, […]

Christmas Book list

December 6th, 2017

Emma from Bookish in Crickhowell gives us her top 10 Christmas gift book ideas. The Greatest Magician in the World Matt Edmonson Written by former professional magician and TV and radio star Matt Edmondson, The Greatest Magician in the World is an incredible interactive novelty gift book featuring a brilliantly witty and exciting quest story […]

Book Review : Swimming Lessons by Clare Fuller

January 11th, 2017

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house […]

Book Review: The Wonder by Emma Donohue

November 4th, 2016

Room author, Emma Donoghue, returns with her new novel The Wonder, a historical novel with a premise which is equally interesting and extremely atmospheric. It is a story riddled with secrets, superstitions, faith, rituals, myth and tradition. The novel is set in 1859 in the Irish hamlet of Athlone. Eleven year old Anna O’Donnell celebrates […]

Book Review: Addlands by Tom Bullough

July 11th, 2016

In celebration of all things Welsh, Emma from Bookish in Crickhowell has selected this stunning fourth novel by Tom Bullough who lives locally in the Brecon Beacons. Addlands (i.e., headlands): the border of plough land which is ploughed last of all. The patriarch of Funnon Farm is Idris Hamer, stubborn, strong, a man of the […]

Book Review: ‘The Muse’ by Jessie Burton

June 10th, 2016

The Muse is an unforgettable novel about aspiration and identity, love and obsession, authenticity and deception – from the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist. On a  hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled […]

Book Review: ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’ by Claire Fuller

March 29th, 2016

Winner of the 2015 Desmond Elliot Prize The heat of the summer in 1976 is evoked in the opening pages as well as the way we all became listless and bored after the initial euphoria of the endless sunny days. Peggy is an eight year old and her parents are an odd combination, though their […]

Book Review: ‘What A Way to Go’ by Julia Forster

February 11th, 2016

1988. 12-year-old Harper Richardson’s parents are divorced. Her mum got custody of her, the Mini, and five hundred tins of baked beans. Her dad got a mouldering cottage in a Midlands backwater village and default membership of the Lone Rangers single parents’ club. Harper got questionable dress sense, a zest for life, two gerbils, and […]

Book Review: A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gayle

January 28th, 2016

This novel by Patrick Gayle has been recommended by a multitude of sources. Not only has it been shortlisted for the 2015 Costa book of the year awards, but it was also picked for the BBC Radio 2 Simon Mayo Book Club and the Waterstones Book Club. Harry Crane is born into a life of […]

Please support our local businesses