I promised a while ago to put together a list of some of our favourite books of the year, with a focus on the ones that would make good Christmas presents. A little later than planned (story of my life!) here it is, in no particular order:
Naturally Connected is a beautiful book with hundreds of Barry’s excellent wildlife photographs accompanied by his descriptive writing. Over 300 pages of content, mostly about wildlife in North Norfolk, but it also includes a section of images and stories from Barry’s travels abroad. This is the perfect book for any wildlife enthusiast.
Highways and Byways by Marion Addy, shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards this year, is not just another walking guide. Yes, it describes some lovely walks, and in particular points out the interesting features along each walk, but what makes this book special is the illustrations. Apart from being an enthusiastic walker, Marion is a brilliant watercolour artist, and this book is illustrated copiously throughout with her own paintings.
Perhaps not the cheeriest book for Christmas but How Norwich Fought Against the Plague is a remarkably topical book with its reflections on our current response to the pandemic. Winner of the 2021 East Anglian Book Award for History and Tradition, Frank Meeres’ book looks not only at the responses to the outbreaks of plague, but shows how decisions made at the time affected the city of Norwich in many ways still apparent today. A good choice for anyone with an interest in the history of Norwich.
Photographing East Anglia is the book for any aspiring landscape photographer in the region – and would not be out of place on any coffee table as it contains stunning photographs from across the eastern counties. Justin Minns’ book is a guide to the best places to visit, and what time of day and time of year, what equipment to use and to some extent, how to use it. All accompanied by hundreds of photographs illustrating the results that can be achieved and printed on high quality paper. This is quite an expensive book, but well worth the money.
An Affinity of Place is another book for nature lovers, but this time in the form of a novel set in the Norfolk Broads – specifically around Ludham and Potter Heigham. Author Jonathan Falkner makes no secret of his love of Horse Fen and the rivers and marshlands of the Broads, having made copious notes during his many visits to the area. He cleverly weaves his observations into a novel that follows the gentle romance between his two protagonists.
Shuckland takes a new look at folklore and legends from the Waveney valley along the Norfolk-Suffolk border. Written in an entertaining and easily accessible style, journalist and podcaster Charles Christian recounts some of the weird tales and looks into the places they are linked to. A good read.
Emelia Moorgrim and the Medieval Monsters of Norfolk is a great little book for young readers or for parents to read to younger children. Emelia and her cat, Monty Marmalade, use their time-travel watch to journey through history, inspired by items at the Norfolk Heritage Centre and Norfolk landmarks. On their way they untangle mysteries and track down some tricky monsters. Great fun!
This Was Formerly a Port Called Blakeney and Cley is the fascinating history of these two north Norfolk medieval maritime powerhouses. Jonathan Hooton’s book looks at the key events that shaped the estuary’s rise to medieval trading prominence, its subsequent commercial decline and adaptation to tourist destination by the early 20th century. He also provides a guide to locating the existing physical remains of the past in the area.
Dr Paul Richards has written a number of books about the history of King’s Lynn, but this one uses old photographs to illustrate those parts that have been lost and substantially changed during developments in the post-war period of the twentieth century. Lost Kingʼs Lynn presents a portrait of a town and a way of life that has radically changed or disappeared today, showing not just the industries and buildings that have gone, but also people, street scenes, places of entertainment and much more.
Last, but by no means least, Saving Einstein: When Norfolk Hid a Hero, is a great story that has been getting lots of press coverage recently, having been featured on BBC Look East and the Mail Online, as well as the Eastern Daily Press and it’s sister papers. It’s the extraordinary story of how Commander Oliver Locker-Lampson MP recued Albert Einstein from Belgium and the Nazis in 1935 and put him up in a wooden hut at Roughton, near Cromer, for several weeks while his passage to the USA was arranged.
And finally, if you are an angler, coastal walker, beach user or boater, don’t forget to get your copy of our tide tables.