THE WORLD OF BOOKS 2019                                                              


March 2019. Extra opening hours on Wednesdays at Harpenden Library thanks to volunteers from The Harpenden Society.

Now 5 years of service

Click here for details

It’s the first time that an author has ever won both the Gold and Debut Daggers in one year with the last Double Dagger title achieved in almost ten years ago by Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl) for Sharp Objects in 2007.


For fans of THE WIRE, GEORGE PELECANOS and CLOCKERS, Dodgers announces the arrival of an exceptional new talent. This gripping literary thriller, with an ensemble cast, fuses a moving, coming of age story with a meditation on the very nature of belonging.

When fifteen year old East, a low-level lookout for a Los Angeles drug organisation, loses his watch house in a police raid, his boss recruits him for a very different job: a road trip – straight down the middle of white, rural America – to assassinate a judge in Wisconsin.

Having no choice, East and a crew of untested boys – including his inscrutable, trigger- happy younger brother, Ty – leave the only home they’ve ever known. Setting off in a nondescript blue van, with a roll of cash, a map and a gun they shouldn’t have, this amateur crew embark on a life-changing odyssey into the unknown.

Along the way, the country surprises East. The blood on his hands isn’t the blood he expects. And he reaches places where only he can decide which way to go – or which person to become.

An intense, dangerous thriller delivered with a poignancy that will break your heart, Dodgers is the American road trip for our times. From the mean streets of south LA to the hinterlands of the American Midwest, the pared down, raw prose of Beverly’s incredible debut will keep you spellbound, shocked and thrilled to the very last page.

BILL BEVERLY (right) was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He studied literature and writing at Oberlin College, including time in London studying theatre and the Industrial Revolution. He then studied fiction and pursued a Ph.D. in American literature at the University of Florida. His research on criminal fugitives and the stories surrounding them became the book On the Lam: Narratives of Flight in J. Edgar Hoover’s America. He lives with his wife and daughter in Maryland, and teaches American literature and writing at Trinity University in Washington D.C. He collects beer cans.

‘There’s not much in this little nugget of a debut novel that doesn’t impress...Beverly’s writing turns the most banal setting into a thing of beauty. Terrific.’ Paul Connolly, Metro


Local author has his second book published

"Grandad What was Football like in the 1970s ?"

Interested then click below.

Link -

2018 The Food Teacher Wins ‘Best in the World’ at the Gourmand Cookbook Award.

Following success in national business awards and a string of appearances at Food Festivals and Community events, Katharine Tate, The Food Teacher, has won her second world renowned Gormand Cookbook Award.

‘Now We’re Cooking!’

Teaching cooking and nutrition was brought back into primary schools in 2014 and since this time Katharine Tate, The Food Teacher has been supporting schools to successfully deliver the curriculum but most importantly make cooking and nutrition education purposeful, engaging and fun. Her latest book ‘Now We’re Cooking!’ was co-authored with Tim Baker, Headteacher of Charlton Manor Primary School in Greenwich and experienced class teacher Marie Reynolds. (pictured below with Katharine on the right)This focuses on supporting schools to deliver the National Curriculum through food, an education model delivered at Charlton Manor Primary that has proved highly engaging and motivating for pupils.

The book aims to support other schools who wish to follow this ethos themselves. It outlines what can be done in class and the school to develop positive food culture, how to take food education beyond the classroom, effective parental engagement and how Charlton Manor and The Food Teacher can support you.



“Head Teacher Tim Baker, The Food Teacher, Katharine Tate, Marie Reynolds, his staff, and the pupils have created a brilliant book here. Schools and local authorities need all the help they can get, and this book contains brilliant ideas for lesson plans that bring food into every part of the curriculum.” Jamie Oliver, MBE

“The impact of these changes at Charlton Manor has been significant particularly around pupil engagement and enthusiasm for learning within a purposeful, hands on theme – food.” Tim Baker, Head Teacher at Charlton Manor Primary School.

Katharine is delighted to have won a special award in the Gourmand, which is often described as the ‘Oscars of the Food Awards’.  “For our book to have won from over 26,000 food and wine books produced each year is a huge achievement. As the Food Teacher I encourage children and families to think about what they eat and to embrace a healthy lifestyle.  When writing Now We’re Cooking we set out to use our expertise to support schools to put food at the top of their agendas. The impact of developing school food culture can have wide reaching benefits included greater engagement, improved long-term health and community inclusion. To get this level of recognition for this book is an amazing achievement.”

Book sales income was up 5% on the previous year, according to annual figures released by the Publishers Association (mid July 2018). Delivering the record year for the UK industry was a 31% rise in hardback book sales income, as well as a 25% increase of income from audiobooks and an 8% uplift from exports. Income from fiction and non-fiction also rose, by 3% and 4% respectively, which the Publishers Association’s chief executive, Stephen Lotinga, said proved that people’s love of books showed no sign of waning. “Publishers are catering to modern consumers who are reading books in different formats across different platforms, but still showing a very significant attachment to the printed word, as we continue to see the resilience and popularity of print across publishing sectors,” he said.

Nicola Solomon, the chief executive of the Society of Authors, hailed the figures as “excellent news for authors and for wider society”. She said she was concerned that publishers were investing in a shrinking pool of established writers and celebrities.

As a result, authors on the verge of success may never reach it, she said, pointing to the children’s author Geraldine McCaughrean, who was dropped after disappointing sales but has since won the Carnegie medal. “Publishers are acquiring lots of authors, but not always really investing in what they acquire, especially when they haven’t paid a fortune to acquire them,” Solomon said.

Award winning Canadian author Michael Redhill visits Harpenden publisher No Exit Press via his appearance at the Edinburgh Festival on Aug 15.

Harpenden based book publisher boss Ion Mills hosted a dinner at The Harpenden Arms on Aug 13 for staff to meet Michael on an informal basis.

I will be reading his new Book BELLEVUE SQUARE (which won Canada’s prestigious Giller prize.) and publishing a review on Harpendia soon.

Ron Taylor. Editor

Above centre rear; Ion Mills; Front far right Michael Redhill with Ron Taylor adjacent .

Huge agricultural book sale in London yields £1.6 million for the Lawes Agricultural Trust.

(Auctioned on July 10/11 by Forum Auctions)

The books were a private collection which was owned by the Lawes Agricultural Trust, which is the landowner of the Rothamsted estate. They comprised items which were mainly acquired using Trust funds during the 1920s and 1930s by Sir John Russell (an Institute Director at the time) to provide a resource for his personal study of the development of European agriculture, and were not intended to support the day to day work of the Rothamsted Experimental Station. With c 3,000 books this was one of the finest collections of agricultural books ever assembled.

The collection contained a variety of antique books and manuscripts from the 15th to 19th century (many duplicated a number of times) on areas such as estate management, agriculture, gardening and veterinary science.

The key reasons for selling these assets are that they were very rarely consulted or used and have been an insurance risk for the Trust for some time - as a result the Trustees considered that it was better to realise the cash which was tied up in these assets so that it can be used to support the charitable Trust's* ongoing needs.

The 800+ lots included an early 14th century manuscript presenting the almost complete text of Walter of Henley’s ‘Husbandry’ in the form of a sermon from father to son. It made £40,000. Cato’s 1598 ‘De Agricultura’ (illustrated) sold for £20,000. A woodcut from the first illustrated edition of Pietro Crescenzi’s ‘Ruralia Commoda’  printed c. 1490-95 sold for £36,000. ‘The Assise of Breade, what it ought to Weygh, after the price of a Quarter of Wheat..’ dated 1580 (illustrated) sold for £15,000. Bee books sold well inc a dust soiled 1634 ‘The Ordering of Bees’ by John Levett made £4,800 and the writings of Jethro Tull in the form of his 1731 ‘The New Horse-Houghing, Husbandry: or an Essay on the Principles of Tillage and Vegetation sold at £8.500.

*The Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT), established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research's national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.

Background information courtesy Antiques Trade Gazette

Above. ‘The Assise of Breade,

Above Cato’s 1598 ‘De Agricultura’

Above Pietro Crescenzi’s ‘Ruralia Commoda’

The early May 2019 book charts from WHSmith in Harpenden


  1. 1.Hinch Yourself by Mrs Hinch

  2. 2.Pinch of Nom by Kay Fetherstone

  3. 3.Diary of an Awesome Friendky Kid by Jeff Kinney

  4. 4.Fing by David Walliams

  5. 5.Tom Gates: Mega Make and Do Stories by Liz Pichon

  6. 6.Break Point by Ollie Ollerton

  7. 7.Becoming by Michelle Obama

  8. 8.Bish Bash Bosh by Henry Firth

  9. 9.Redemption by David Baldacci

  10. 10.King of Kings by Wibur Smith

  11. 11.What Would Danni Do? byDani Dyer

  12. 12.Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine

  13. 13.Mary Berry’s Quick Cooking

  14. 14.How 2B a Domestic Godess by Nigella Lawson

  15. 15.Diary of  a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

  16. 16.Jamie 15 Minute Meals

  17. 17.The Dancing Charleston by jacqueline Wilson

  18. 18. Gennaro’s Complete Italian

  19. 19.Wonders and Solar Bind Up by Brian Cox

  20. 20.I Talk Too Much by Francis Rossi


  1. 1.The Mister by E L James

  2. 2.Past Tense by Lee Child

  3. 3.The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

  4. 4.The Tatooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

  5. 5.Normal People by Sally Rooney

  6. 6.The Temptation of Grace by Santa Montefiore

  7. 7.Vietnam by Max Hastings

  8. 8.First Man In by Ant Middleton

  9. 9.Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

  10. 10.BBC Proms Guide 2019

  11. 11.Bad Dad by David Walliams

  12. 12.The Ghost Tree by Barbara Erskine

  13. 13.Arnhem by Antony Beever

  14. 14.Ultimatum by Frank Gardner

  15. 15.Juror No 3 by James Patterson

  16. 16.Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

  17. 17.Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

  18. 18.Listening to The Animals by Noel Fitzpatrick

  19. 19.Still Me by Jojo Moyes

  20. 20.The Language of Kindness by Christie Watson

SEE WHO MET THE AUTHOR at the WHSmith BOOK SIGNING Harpenden  on Saturday Aug 25. ‘BUDDY WIZARD’
Author Ralph Brammer.

A magical realism book for all primary,middle and senior school pupils Aged 9-16.

‘Bullies, beware - or you will face me to give you a scare.’

Lots of shoppers were buying signed copies as gifts.

LEFT. Store manager Allan Roberts with author Ralph Brammer (right)

Sept 2018 New libraries under construction at local fire stations

Building work has started on new libraries for Redbourn and Wheathampstead. The libraries will be moving from their current homes to modern new facilities on the same site as their village fire stations.

Work began at both sites on 10 September and the new libraries are due to open to the public in the spring. The fire stations will operate throughout the works, with minimal disruption expected. Plans are in place to make sure that fire engines will be available to cover the villages at all times. The fire stations will also be refurbished as part of the development and will operate alongside the libraries once they open.

The aim is to deliver bright, attractive, welcoming, flexible, tech-enabled libraries in convenient locations, and free up the existing library sites for alternative uses.

Terry Hone, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Fire stations and libraries are both at the heart of the communities they serve and it makes perfect sense to use space more flexibly at our village fire stations to support other important local services. This scheme will help to support the long-term future of both our local fire stations and local libraries. It’s a great example of how public services can work together creatively to improve value for money.”

Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Libraries, said: “Sharing sites will keep our running costs down without sacrificing services. We are committed to sustaining library services across the county, and this shows how we are working creatively with partners and communities to achieve this and creating a library service to meet current needs.”

Redbourn and Wheathampstead Libraries will continue to operate from their current locations until the new buildings are ready.