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Six staff recommendations for World Book Day

Thursday, 1 March 2018
Snowbound at home in your World Book Day fancy dress costume? We hear you! Here's what the Vertebrate staff are currently reading to keep themselves entertained ...
Jon, Managing Director
For reasons I don’t want to discuss I’m reading the sports training book Fast After Fifty by Joe Friel.
Sophie, Office Manager
I am currently reading The Lemon Tree Café by Cathy Bramley. A great easy read which combines two of my favourites things: cake and the Peak District.
Camilla, Editor
A Deeper Beauty: Buddhist reflections on everyday life by Paramananda. This book was recommended to me by a friend after a discussion about how important yet tricky it is to stay in the present moment in our chaotic and stressful day-to-day lives. The author gives great, relatable examples of everyday situations in which it’s easy for us to be distracted, to procrastinate, ruminate etc., and then goes on to talk about how we can tweak little things in order to spend more of our waking hours in the present, to appreciate and connect more with the world and people around us. I’m only about a third of the way in, but so far it’s really down to earth and practical. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to read this (I’m not); it’s stuff we could all use a reminder of.
Lorna, Head of Marketing
A Column of Fire by Ken Follett. This is the third book in the Kingsbridge novels series – the first being The Pillars of the Earth, which is my favourite book ever written. A Column of Fire was published back in September 2017 so naturally it went straight on my Christmas list. While it will never live up to Pillars, it evokes many of the elements I loved about the first book: an array of well-drawn characters whose bravery and ambition are testament to human endurance; the juxtaposition between good and evil, where on the one hand the most religious figures are not to be trusted and, on the other, the social outcasts try to be decent people; and a historical setting – Elizabethan England in this case – with plenty of factual content packed in so you learn as you read. 
Jane, Senior Designer
Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers.
“The man with the monocle glanced round the little Soho restaurant with a faint smile. The fat man on the right was unctuously entertaining two ladies of the chorus; beyond him, two elderly habitués were showing their acquaintance with the fare at the ‘Au Bon Bourgeois’ by consuming a Tripes à la Mode de Caen (which they do very excellently there) and a bottle of Chablis Moutonne 1916; on the other side of the room a provincial and his wife were stupidly clamouring for a cut off the joint with lemonade for the lady and whisky and soda for the gentleman, while at the adjoining table, the handsome silver-haired proprietor, absorbed in fatiguing a salad for a family party, had for the moment no thoughts beyond the nice adjustment of the chopped herbs and garlic.”
I do love a good crime novel and was intrigued by Dorothy L. Sayers writing from the early twentieth century. I usually read contemporary crime novels which can be gritty whereas Sayers writing is far more sophisticated. Most people are familiar with Agatha Christie but many feel that Sayers has been overlooked. I particularly like this passage describing some restaurant goers – I think the words neatly incapsulate the characters that must have been so familiar at that time. You almost feel sorry for the fat man!
John, Publishing Manager
The last book I read (and I’ve reread much of it) was Jerry Moffatt’s Mastermind. As I get older I find climbing is as much a mental game as a physical game, so – against the current cult of stopwatches and weighted pull-ups in training – this is an interesting and timely book. I’m currently reading Nan Shepherd's The Living Mountain. After the somewhat-verbose introduction, Nan’s writing has incredible clarity – not unlike the waters of the Cairngorms of which she writes. I’m finding I’m reading a chapter and then going back and reading it again – turning a short book into a long book! It’s so vivid and beautiful. Makes me a) want to get back up to the Cairngorms, and b) more locally, follow the words of Andy Popp: ‘We must all, literally, know our places.’ 
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