When it comes to coffee, I admit that I'm a bit of a Philistine. I hate cappuccino, espresso, latte and all that Italian muck that has taken over coffee shops worldwide. Given the choice, I'm much happier with a decent filter coffee, and happier still with a mug of plain old Nescafe. I can't resist my local newsagent's bargain price and don't care that the jar may be written in Russian or Arabic.
Despite my unrefined tastes, I was drawn to the idea in Anthony Capella's novel of being able to define coffee its aromas and tastes. The main character Wallis is pretty much blackmailed into working for Pinker's coffee shop, where he soon sets his sights on the owner's daughter, Emily and her father's money. She accepts his proposal but before they can wed, Wallis is sent away to Africa to start a coffee plantation (a shrewd move by her father who hopes the playboy will be out of sight and out of mind there). Once in Africa, Wallis promptly falls for a slave girl.
I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but this is a really fun, rollicking good read, frequently bawdy, and gives a flavour of life in Edwardian London as well as colonial Africa. It is also interwoven with politics - Emily despite marrying a Liberal MP, is an active member of the Suffragettes.
Make yourself a cup of your favourite coffee, sit down and get stuck in. You're in for a treat.
Thursday, 24 February 2011
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Programmes about books are few and far between, but this year promises to be a treat for book lovers as the BBC are running several series to celebrate The Year of the Book. So far, I have especially enjoyed "The Beauty of Books", and not surprisingly my favourite episode covered children's illustration especially the many artists of one of my favourite books, Alice in Wonderland.
There are regular programmes that review new films, and countless digital stations dedicated to music of all genres, but we are seriously lacking a regular television programme that discusses and reviews new books. The few book programmes there are, by and large, are made on shoestring budgets, with dire and unenticing graphics, and appalling sets (a few shabby sofas and a coffee table). Yet, we read and buy books in their millions every year. Don't we therefore deserve something more? As a license payer, why should I continue to fund other people' sporting obsessions when my desire for an intelligent and long-running book programme goes ignored?
It is in recognition and celebration of the Year of the Book, that I am reviving "The Bookworm Reads." Whereas previously I have reviewed mainly independently published children's picture books, from now on I will be reviewing every book that I read and in between, reviewing and commenting on books that have inspired and moved me in the past.
Please come back tomorrow for a review of "The Various Flavours of Coffee" by Anthony Capella.