Book news and reviews – February 2016

Words by:
Yusef Sayed
Featured in:
February 2016

A new independent bookshop has opened in Lincoln. Wilgress Books is located on Grantham Street in the city centre. In addition to stocking new and used books, the shop is hosting poetry readings and other events. For more information visit or call 01522 589275.

Popular travel author Bill Bryson has been allowed to retain the image of Skegness’s Jolly Fisherman for the cover of his latest book The Road to Little Dribbling, after it was used without permission by the publishers. Skegness Town Council has liaised with Transworld to ensure that the picture is credited in future printings.

A new limited edition book celebrating the Magna Carta, focusing on the document’s impact on Lincolnshire, has been published. The book includes reflections on the continuing importance of the historic charter from educationalists, schoolchildren, artists and business leaders, and specially commissioned poems by Carol Ann-Duffy, Gillian Clarke and Imtiaz Dharker. 1215 copies have been printed, with 800 going to local schools and libraries. For more information visit

Published by Virgin Books,
Price £20 (hbk)

Just twelve months in the life of superbike racer, mechanic and television presenter Guy Martin have given him enough anecdotes to produce his second book. When You Dead, You Dead takes its seize-the-day title from the wisdom of Martin’s Latvian grandfather, and follows on from My Autobiography, which covered the first thirty years of his life.

Martin, from North Lincolnshire has risen to national fame in recent years beyond the motorcycle circuits with a number of documentaries, most recently a special in which he helped to restore the Vulcan Bomber for a farewell tour. His no-nonsense, decisive character has endeared him to many and comes across in the writing. Beginning with a report from the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the US, the book covers his day-to-day life from truck fitting and gravity racing, to the anxieties of being a “performing monkey” doing television publicity for his shows. Martin’s disinterest in the fame game is refreshing in this age of instant and instantly forgettable celebrity and he evidently prefers to be fiddling with a Scania in Grimsby than facing the TV cameras.

But even those drawn to Martin’s adventurous spirit might find his writing lacks daring. The mechanic slang does add colour to his otherwise blunt style but elsewhere there are rather dull descriptions and remarks – about an overpriced ice cream, for example, and the pleasures of a mountaintop toilet visit. These parts of Martin’s account do make one wonder whether this second memoir might have come a little too fast. Still, fans will fly through it at championship speed.

Published by Meze Publishing,
Price £14.95 (pbk)

There are plenty of friends of Lincolnshire Life showcasing their food specialities in this colourful new cookbook, which compiles over thirty-five recipes from around the county. With contributions by chefs including Rachel Green and Colin McGurran from Winteringham Fields, The Lincolnshire Cookbook is part of a series of county-focused food guides by Meze Publishing.

The book features full colour photographs and in addition to the recipes it serves as a comprehensive overview of the best in Lincolnshire food for residents and visitors to the area, with profiles on Stokes, Doddington Hall, Redhill Farm and Uncle Henry’s Farm Shop among others. As a result, there are fewer recipe ideas than one would normally expect from a cookbook, but there’s plenty to whet your appetite and encourage you to try some fresh meal ideas using some of the county’s finest ingredients.

While our magazine keeps you up to date on what is happening among our innovative food producers around the county each month, this book will serve as a useful introduction to the county and to some of its best eateries.

Published by Middleton Press,
Price £18.95 (hbk)

This is foremost a historical guide for local train enthusiasts, with timetables, photographs and short commentaries sketching out the changing makeup of Lincolnshire’s railway lines between the late nineteenth century and the 1960s.

The book captures the villages and towns around Lincolnshire in the days before increasing affluence allowed many to own motor cars and no longer rely on local train services. Today services to small stations remain very much limited and the different demands of businesses and industries that drive the economy mean that the sight of daily coal hauls along the tracks are a thing of the past.

Comprising more images than text, the book gives readers a sense of the role the railway branch lines played in the past, though the sense of emptiness in most of the pictures – no thronging crowds on station platforms – points forward to their eventual demise. But those interested in sidings, signal boxes and single tickets from the past will delight in the book’s ephemera.

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