The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty

By Kitty Kelley £7.99 paperback Bantam Books

This portrait of the family that has spawned presidents, governors, senators and business magnates starts with Prescott Bush in the early 1900s and ends with George W.’s ‘mission accomplished’ aircraft carrier stunt in 2003. Don’t expect a detailed critique of US foreign policy, or indeed any major secrets, but do expect a comprehensive catalogue of candid moments raked up from politics and private life, that reveals the wealthy Bushes to be just as small-minded, elitist, casually racist, ruthlessly ambitious and dislikeable as you’d expect them to be. And ‘Dubya’ never looked like a future president to his university contemporaries …
“How anyone ever got out of Yale without developing some interest in the world besides sports and booze stuns me. This guy has no concept of complex issues … He’s a simple-minded zealot and – God help us all – he’s now the guy with his finger on the button”

In Praise of Slow

By Carl Honoré £7.99 paperback Orion

Carl Honoré realized that something was fundamentally wrong with his outlook on life when he caught himself thinking that a ‘One Minute Bedtime Story’ sounded like a great time-saving idea. So began his investigation into the philosophy of ‘Slow’, which is manifested in many different ways worldwide. In Italy he discovers the ‘Slow Food’ movement and municipalities that have defiantly turned themselves into ‘Slow Cities’, cutting traffic, supporting local businesses, creating a more peaceful environment. He tries meditation, slow workouts and tantric sex workshops, finds out about homeschooling, and about the compelling arguments for working less hard. This book is sometimes a little superficial, often resembling an extended magazine article, but overall it is a thought-provoking look at how our culture’s ‘need for speed’ has seriously eroded our quality of life, and offers numerous creative ways to resist this. Break free from your frantic enslavement to the clock and take things Slowly!

A Hat Full of Sky

By Terry Pratchett £6.99 paperback Corgi

Since the new Harry Potter needs no extra publicity, here’s a different story of magical apprenticeship. Terry Pratchett’s ludicrously funny stories of the imaginary Discworld may feature witches, wizards and other improbabilities, but also much deep insight into human nature. His Discworld books for children, The Wee Free Men and its sequel A Hat Full of Sky are no exception. Eleven-year old Tiffany leaves the rolling downlands where her family have shepherded for generations to learn to be a witch with the kindly but strange Miss Level. Meanwhile Tiffany’s friends the Nac Mac Feegle, a tribe of tiny but fiercely indomitable blue pictsies (“They can tak' oour lives but they cannae tak' oour troousers!”) race to warn her of impending danger. Tiffany is a resourceful young heroine and the hard lessons she learns are as much about her own power and responsibilities as about magic spells. Wonderfully inventive storytelling.

Reviewed by Mandy Vere & Maria Ng from News from Nowhere

Printer friendly page