Herons on the March – 4 March 2023

I am diving straight into the piles of books with which the shop is happily overflowing. I have just read Hijab Butch Blues by Lamya H. This memoir weaves stories from the Quran together with her own experiences as a queer Muslim immigrant. I followed her story, full of anger and despair and then hope. The book is a really wise and radical achievement. Meanwhile Josh has just read Peter Frankopan’s epic The Earth Transformed. He had to write a 150-word review; the book is 736 pages and covers the natural world from the Big Bang to, erm, the future… So, no mean feat from either of them.

Meanwhile publishers set about proving that World Book Day is not just for children. And not just for the day. Here is just the smallest selection of new books this week:


Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks: in the nightclubs of 1970s London, Yamaye finds love and then loses it; she must follow the beat of the music to Bristol and then to Jamaica in search of answers.

Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh: in war-torn rural France, life for a baker’s wife can seem pretty dull, until the arrival of a glamorous ambassador’s wife, followed by ghostly sightings, dead horses and then worse…

Lady MacBethad by Isabelle Schuler: behind every female villain there’s a real woman just trying to survive, but surviving in Medieval Scotland can be quite a challenge.

Nothing Special by Nicole Flattery: does being Andy Warhol’s typist offer an escape from a mundane teenage life, or does art and the high life bring its own dangers?


Anaximander by Carlo Rovelli: Rovelli looks at how Greek philosopher Anaximander’s thinking revolutionised conceptions of the world and tells the origin story of scientific thinking.

The Patriarchs by Angela Saini: Saini goes in search of the true roots of gendered oppression, uncovering a complex history of how male domination became embedded in societies. What part do we all play in keeping these structures alive?

Ten Birds that Changed the World by Stephen Moss: from Odin’s faithful raven companions to Darwin’s finches, and from the wild turkey of the Americas to the emperor penguin as potent symbol of the climate crisis, Moss tells the story of our relationship with birds.

Younger readers

Mr Leopard’s Bookshop by Alexa Brown: even more magical than Heron Books, Mr Leopard’s bookshop has a rather special unique selling point. If only we could persuade a heron to host story time.

Adventuremice: Otter Chaos by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre: mice, otters, puns, adventures at sea. Very much the story parents will be as excited to read as the children.

Stand Up by Nikesh Shukla (YA): things are really tough for 17-year-old Madhu until a clip of her performing stand up goes viral and offers her the chance of a lifetime…

Event news:

Poetry in Herons is getting underway. We kick off with Bob Walton, local poet and poet wrangler, on 18th March followed by a double bill on 15th April with Sarah Hemings and Nina Parmenter. I can think of no better pre-prandial activity than poetry.

We are thrilled to be launching Lindsey Joanne Bauer’s book, Implosion on 22nd April. Lindsey is an absolute force; I’m so excited for you to hear the stories of strength in this incredible book.

And book groups continue to be teeming with great discussion and enjoyable disagreement. Fiction details for the Wednesday group and the Thursday group here; non-fiction details here.

Now back to the to be read pile. Because, in case I forgot to say, also out this week in paperback are Lessons in Chemistry, Sins of My Father and My Fourth Time We Drowned. Happy reading!

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