Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City


Russell Shorto traces the idiosyncratic evolution of Amsterdam and examines its role as the fount of liberalism. Weaving in his own experiences of his adopted home, he delivers a delightful and intellectually engaging story of the city from the building of the first canals in the 1300s through its brutal struggle for independence and its golden age as a vast empire, to its complex present in which its cherished ideals are being questioned anew.

Camino Frances


The 2014 Camino Frances guide produced by the confraternity of St James in Britain is now available. This little guide is updated every year largely with information from pilgrims who have most recently completed the journey. It provides brief details of the sites of special historic or religious interest that are found to be along the way. Suggestions are made as to where to sleep, eat and shop for food. The accommodation listed covers a wide range of prices although the emphasis is on cheaper better value-for-money establishments. The list is not exhaustive. The image here is of the 2013 guide. It will be replaced when 2014 pic becomes available.

The Luminaries


Eleanor Catton won the 2013 Man Booker prize. A wonderful achievement for a young writer. An intense, complex and very enjoyable read.

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous sum of money has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into a mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

A Fork in the Road


A collection of travel stories of food experiences around the globe. Compiled by James Oseland of ‘Saveur’ Magazine.