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Recommended Reads: 2 August


With Kate De Goldi

Every Tuesday morning, the Paper Plus Book Review looks at three new reads, and gives a candid review of each.

Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (Faber and Faber)

Stylish, absorbing historical novel by the much-hailed author of The Observations.

As she sits in her Bloomsbury home, with her two birds for company, elderly Harriet Baxter sets out to relate the story of her acquaintance, nearly four decades previously, with Ned Gillespie, a talented artist who never achieved the fame she maintains he deserved. Back in 1888, the young, art-loving Harriet arrives in Glasgow at the time of the International Exhibition. After a chance encounter she befriends the Gillespie family and soon becomes a fixture in all of their lives. But when tragedy strikes - leading to a notorious criminal trial - the promise and certainties of this world all too rapidly disintegrate into mystery and deception.

The Moment by Douglas Kennedy (Hutchinson)

New novel by best-selling author...a writer searches for a love from a long-ago, turbulent time.

Thomas Nesbitt is a divorced American writer in the midst of a rueful middle age. Living a very private life in Maine - in touch only with his daughter and still trying to reconcile himself to the end of a long marriage that he knew was flawed from the outset - he finds his solitude disrupted by the arrival, one wintry morning, of a box postmarked Berlin.

The return address on the box - Dussmann - unsettles him completely. For it is the name of the woman with whom he had an intense love affair 26 years ago in Berlin - at a time when the city was cleaved in two, and personal and political allegiances were haunted by the deep shadows of the Cold War.

Refusing initially to confront what he might find in that box, Thomas nevertheless finds himself forced to grapple with a past he has never discussed with any living person - and in the process relive those months in Berlin, when he discovered, for the first and only time in his life, the full, extraordinary force of true love. But Petra Dussmann - the woman to whom he lost his heart - was not just a refugee from a police state, but also someone who lived with an ongoing sorrow beyond dreams...and one which gradually rewrote both their destinies.

Just My Type by Simon Garfield (Profile Books)

The fascinating, wonderfully written book about fonts (typefaces) and their stories.

What's your type? Suddenly everyone's obsessed with fonts. Whether you're enraged by Ikea's Verdanagate, want to know what the Beach Boys have in common with easy Jet or why it's okay to like Comic Sans, "Just My Type" will have the answer.

Learn why using upper case got a New Zealand health worker sacked. Refer to Prince in the Tafkap years as a Dingbat (that works on many levels). Spot where movies get their time periods wrong and don't be duped by fake posters on eBay. Simon Garfield meets the people behind the typefaces and along the way learns why some fonts - like men - are from Mars and some are from Venus. From type on the high street and album covers, to the print in our homes and offices, Garfield is the font of all types of knowledge.

(TX: 2 August 2011)


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