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Lost City

3 Nottingham Books to Read This February

5 February 20

Three page-turners to get lost in this month... 

Take Three
(Soundswrite Press)

This exciting collection features the work of three female poets living and working in Nottinghamshire: Tuesday Shannon, Pippa Hennessy and Elizabeth Hourston. Split into three sections, each poet has space to project their own voice in the collection, with elements of shared kinship coming through.

Perseverance and family come to form two of the most noticeable motifs for each poet. It builds a cohesive sense of the whole collection, with differences between each poet’s work maintained. For example, in comparison to Hennessy, Shannon and Hourston maintain a more structured approach to free verse. Hennessy instead uses the page to demonstrate her ability to connect the elements of found poetry in Quantum Theory and the speaker’s voice. This collection as a whole is extremely enjoyable to read and will definitely be one I return to. Kate Hewett

Brian Clough: Fifty Defining Fixtures
Marcus Alton
(Amberley Publishing)

There are few characters in Nottingham’s history that have provided as many hours of endless entertainment as the late, great Brian Clough. Countless books have been written on Ol’ Big Head but, whether it’s his personal or professional life (if you can really make a distinction between the two), Clough provides a seemingly endless well of fascinating, hilarious anecdotes. 

Focusing more, although not exclusively, on the football side of things, Marcus Alton’s comprehensive, endlessly readable Fifty Defining Fixtures is a must-read for any who have an interest in Clough’s life. Alton’s uncluttered, entertaining narrative flair is perfect for providing the backstory on the football games that made Clough a legend, delivering a perfect balance of statistics, first-hand accounts and context. Whether you’re reading cover-to-cover, or dipping in and out for specific games, it’s a genuinely absorbing read. Ashley Carter

Face Blind in Berlin, Suffolk and Gedling 
Chris Cook Cann
(Loaf on a Stick Press)

Mushroom Bookshop served as Nottingham’s premier radical bookshop from the early seventies until its closure in 2000. With its roots firmly set in the anarchist movement, it blessed Heathcoat Street with a selection of counter-culture, lesbian and gay literature for almost three decades, courtesy of co-founder Chris Cook Cann. 

While Cann’s endlessly enjoyable memoir, Face Blind in Berlin, Suffolk and Gedling, covers this distinctive period in Nottingham’s cultural history, it also delves into many more chapters in the author's fascinating story. Her life’s events, which span from growing up as something of a child spy in sixties Berlin, her involvement in non-violent direct action in the eighties and her campaigning efforts to save day case at Hayward House, are also accompanied by the list of books Cann was reading at the time, providing an interesting, contextualizing insight into her mindset and changing interests. 

It’s a hard book to review in as much as the most honest thing I can say about it would be: just pick up a copy and start reading. Cann writes with wit, wonderfully capturing some of the weird and wonderful idiosyncrasies of life, as well as providing a unique insight into an incredibly important chapter in Nottingham’s past. Helen Baxter-Clark

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