Often a quiet time of year, I have been surprised by the level of activity this month.  I am getting an impression that there is optimism that this will be more of a ‘normal’ year, and for the first time in two years, retailers seem to be planning ahead.

It also seems to be a month for reprints, with a number of local history books coming back into print.  The availability of lower cost digital printing means that it is now economically viable for publishers to print small quantities at a time, and we are seeing older books, often out of print for several years, once more becoming available.  Where appropriate, I am adding these to our lists and holding small stocks.

The popular David Blake series are now back in stock with good supplies of all seven books (four pallet loads!) arriving in the first week of January.  Printing was a real problem in the last few months of 2021, but hopefully most of the printers are now catching up and lead times should be getting back to normal.

We are taking a holiday at the end of January (yes I know we’ve only been back from Christmas for a couple of weeks, but this is a real holiday, hopefully involving travel abroad!) so Bittern Books will be closed from the 25th January to 6th February.

First, a completely new book

Fen Roads by Jeni Neill

This is Jeni’s second book – we have recently added her first, The Devil’s Dye to our range.  Fen Roads is a book of short stories inspired by the fenland landscape where she grew up.  The stories cover a wide range of topics, but are subtly intertwined by links between the characters.  Well written and plotted, each story leaves you with something to think about.

Jeni has kindly let us link one of her stories here.

Fen Roads by Jeni Neill
Paperback 152 pages; Fen Tiger Press
ISBN 9781828149222; RRP £7.99

The Welcome Stranger by Frank Meeres

The Welcome Stranger

I’ve already published a review of this book , which was first published by Lasse Press in 2018.  It’s a thorough and comprehensive work exploring the effects incomers from Europe had on Norwich during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the impact that’s still felt today.  And there are some lessons here on how we should feel about immigrants and refugees today.

The Welcome Stranger by Frank Meeres
Paperback 218 pages; Poppyland
ISBN 9781909796836; RRP £10.95

The Norfolk Dialect by Peter Trudgill

The Norfolk Dialect

There have been lots of books written about the Norfolk dialect – some making fun of it, some just trying to interpret it – and many more written in some form of dialect, but Peter Trudgill’s book is probably the definitive volume on the subject.  Peter Trudgill is a professor of linguistics and comes from South Norfolk. he has made an extensive study of the East Anglian dialects and this book documents how the language is used in Norfolk, the words and pronunciation.  Originally published in Poppyland’s Norfolk Origins series, it is now reprinted as a stand alone book in a revised format.

The Norfolk Dialect by Peter Trudgill
Paperback 92 pages; Poppyland
ISBN 9781909796478; RRP £9.95

RAF Marham: Bomber Station by Martin Bowman

RAF Marham

Another reprint, first published in 2008.  Although this doesn’t include the most recent episode in the life of RAF Marham, it covers its origins in the First World War, through to Tornado operations in the Gulf Wars.  A definitive and detailed history of the base.

RAF Marham: Bomber Station by Martin W. Bowman
Paperback 224 pages; History Press
ISBN 9780752446943; RRP £25.00

North Walsham and District by Neil R. Storey

North Walsham and District

A selection of 200 old photographs, not only of North Walsham town, but of many of the surrounding villages.  First published in 1995, this reprint contains photographs mostly from the early 20th century.

North Walsham and District by Neil R. Storey
Paperback 128 pages; History Press
ISBN 9780750956703; RRP £13.99

Country Boy: Growing Up in Norfolk 1940-1960 by Colin Miller
Country Boy

Colin Miller was born in Rollesby in the Broads in 1940 and this is a fascinating memoir of growing up in rural Norfolk during the 1940s and 50s.  This is not so much about Colin as about the ways of life during that period.

Country Boy: Growing Up in Norfolk 1940-1960 by Colin Miller
Paperback 168 pages; History Press
ISBN 9780750942478; RRP £12.99

Cold War East Anglia by Jim Wilson

Cold War East Anglia

East Anglia was in the front line of the Cold War, with secret operations out of Sculthorpe, development of nuclear weapons at Orford Ness, bomber stations and nuclear missile launch sites.  Jim Wilson’s book documents the history and development of these sites and some of their secrets that were sometimes unknown for 50 years.  First published in 2014.

Cold War East Anglia by Jim Wilson
Paperback 160 pages; History Press
ISBN 9780750956383; RRP £12.99

And in case you missed them

We had a number of new books out in December that you might have missed:

Secret Places

Heather Peck’s new crime series, set mostly in Broadland.  Exciting mysteries, these stories also delve into modern social issues such as domestic abuse and modern slavery.  Good reads and thoroughly researched.

Secret Places ISBN 9781800420403 RRP £9.99
Glass Arrows ISBN 9781800420854 RRP £9.99

The Easternmost HouseThe Easternmost Sky

Juliet Blaxland’s two books are about her life on the edge of an eroding cliff in Suffolk.  In the Easternmost House Juliet describes the wildlife and goings on in and around her home, while the edge of the cliff gets closer.  Her latest book, The Easternmost Sky, explores issues of climate change and social change in rural Suffolk.

The Easternmost House ISBN 9781912240548 RRP £9.99
The Easternmost Sky ISBN 9781913207564 RRP £14.99 (hardback)

The Devil's Dye

Mentioned above, Jeni Neill’s The Devil’s Dye follows a family of Strangers, incomers to Norwich from Amsterdam, as they establish their businesses and family life.  An exciting story with a final twist that involves Black Shuck.

The Devil’s Dye ISBN 9781838149208 RRP £9.99