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Hoogly Book Club

Hoogly Book Club

Greetings Hoogly fans! It’s that time again: the chance to discover what’s hot in the literary world, sharing our top picks to help you relax, unwind and distract yourself from the stresses and strains of everyday life! It’s been a sensational year of publishing, with so many established authors bringing out big books, as well as stunning breakthrough debuts by a host of rising stars—it’s been very hard to whittle down our choices. But we’re here to make the tough decisions so you don’t have to; so, if you’re sitting comfortably, then we’ll begin…

 

BIOGRAPHY:

Will Smith, ‘Will’

This charts the career of one of the biggest stars of music and film of our time. This profound read is not only a life story that chronicles some of the most recognisable cultural moments of the last few decades, but also a personal journey of self-discovery, acknowledging the toll his stardom took on those around him, and the vital lessons he learned about the way his mind works, and how best to grapple with all the pressure that surrounded him. It’s a book that—like its subject—is in a category all of its own, a book that will transport you behind the scenes into superstardom, as well as provide genuine universal wisdom that will echo in your own life.

 

FICTION:

Jennifer Saint, ‘Ariadne’

This debut has become a huge hit, latching onto the current popularity of the Greek Myths in literature, and carving out its own distinct niche with a dazzling re-telling of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, written from the perspective of Ariadne, Princess of Crete. First capturing your heart with a sensational cover jacket (really—look it up, it’s gorgeous), this beautifully written novel weaves themes of sisterhood, love and secrets into a world of petulant gods and monsters, asking us to look afresh at an old story, bolstered by the shining beacon of female strength and courage. This wonderful book will brighten the darkest February day and put a smile on your face.

CRIME/THRILLER

Sophie Hannah, ‘Haven’t They Grown’

This gripping read came out in 2020 and got a little lost in the chaos of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. I picked it up the other night and couldn’t put it down for the next two days!! It tells the story of Beth, a mum-of-two who lost touch with her best friend Flora and her family twelve years before. While she is in the vicinity of Flora’s new house, Beth decides to have a cheeky snoop. She sees Flora’s two children get out of the car, Flora calling their names. But the kids haven’t aged a single day. They look exactly the same as they did twelve years ago—and Flora seems in some distress. Beth drives away, thinking she must be mad. Thus begins a feverish, unsettling and paranoid search for the truth of what Beth has witnessed, a mission she cannot let lie, even though her husband protests, and there appear to be no plausible answers. What secret lies at the heart of Flora’s family? Whatever it is, Beth realises, it can’t be good…

CHILDREN’S

Mark Dawson, ‘The Case of the Smuggler’s Curse’

A brand-new book for ages 9-12, with echoes of an all-time favourite: Enid Blyton. Lucy, Max, Charlie and Joe spot a phantom figure on Southwold beach one winter evening and are soon thrown into an unexpected mystery. But this should be no problem for the After-School Detective Club! As they dig deeper, the task gets more difficult, and they have to summon all their wits when they realise they are up against a ruthless gang of smugglers! Prepare for motorboat tracking devices, bedroom escapes, daring ocean rescues and undercover operations! This is the perfect read to keep the kids engrossed and entertained, harking back to those glorious Famous Five and Secret Seven adventures of yesteryear!

That’s it for the book recommendations—now for the tea recommendations!

This month, our perfect book club companion is Apple Strudel Green Tea! A classic Hoogly combination of taste and scent, this delightful brew will warm your cockles with a blend of juicy apples and sweet spices, bound together with a beautiful roasted green tea, adding a well-baked twist!

And if you really want to treat yourself, why not go for Chocolate Brownie black tea? This is a pleasingly rich and unapologetically decadent chocolate delight, perfect to sip as you flip pages of the latest best-seller, satisfying your craving for something oh-so-naughty. Just like your book—you won’t want it to end!

That’s it for now, Hoogly fans. Have fun with your books, stay safe, and we’ll see you soon!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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TAKE MY WORD FOR IT

TAKE MY WORD FOR IT

I’ve always loved words. The sound of them. The shape of them. The way they can be both familiar and exotic. The way they can bring comfort but also consistently surprise, bewilder and entertain. Words are alive. Like us, and in their own way, they are organic and evolve over time, sometimes changing meaning, sometimes created out of apparent nothingness like the Big Bang, sometimes changing for very specific and progressive reasons. Words are a reflection of our societies and our lives. Our dictionaries are currently awash with words spawned from technology, often abbreviated as a nod to our fast-paced world: App, I-Pad, Hashtag, Vlog. Some of these words have shown the abovementioned evolution from their original or previous meaning: Wireless, text, memory, data, glitch, hack… If technology and science is our new religion, words of the past have reflected our foundation in the ancient and foundational beliefs: shrine, faith, dogma. Other words have developed from our propensity for organised violence and war: camouflage, torpedo, manoeuvre. And from war to crime: Alibi, culprit, ransack. And from destruction to the nurturing and noble art of medicine: Cataract, germ, inoculate—and one we’re sadly all too familiar with—virus.

I’m now going to gather together some of my favourite words—words that bring me pleasure, comfort or solace—and discuss the origin of each. It’s a really lovely, relaxing exercise for the mind, and I highly recommend giving it some time and thought yourselves. Even though, as discussed, words can mutate over time, the building blocks will always be there, a colossal and dynamic constant, like the walls of some ancient or fantasy city on a hill. Behind those walls we can feel safe. From their towers, we can observe the stories and achievements of our forebears, and build ever upwards towards a brighter future.

 

  • Silhouette. This magnificent word has a hint of poetry about it, touching as it does on light and dark, whilst also straddling the boundary between the sinister and the beautiful. The word comes from a name: Etienne de Silhouette, an 18th century French author and politician. Why he should lend his name to the dark outline of something against a bright background remains in dispute. Some accounts connect the word to his policies as Controller General, others to his brevity in the role. One French dictionary claimed he decorated the walls of his chateau with outline portraits. We shall probably never discover the truth, adding a suitable shade of mystery.
  • Nonchalant. Another French word—meaning literally ‘not being concerned.’ The laid-back, couldn’t-give-a-damn, aloof attitude was one I aspired to as a young man, but always failed to achieve. It was the cool kid in school. The movie star in sunglasses. It was an especially desirable trait to have, I remember, in close proximity to those I was interested in dating—but instead I always seemed to come across as stuttering, oafish and embarrassing. I can be nonchalant about those failures now, of course. It’s only taken twenty years to forget…
  • Diddle. This is one of those words that sounds funny and silly but has rather unpleasant meaning. The current version--to ‘cheat or swindle--’came into use soon after Irish dramatist James Kenney’s play ‘Raising the Wind’ (1803) in which character Jeremy Diddler repeatedly borrows and fails to repay money, and is most likely attributed to the impact of this character.
  • Eccentric.  A word that always puts a smile on my face, creating surreal visions of people sitting in their underpants and a top-hat on a sofa in their front garden. There are greater and lesser displays of eccentricity, of course, and I imagine most of us have someone in the family who displays such tendencies with great regularity. The word means ‘unconventional or slightly strange,’ but it started off as an astronomical term meaning ‘a circle or orbit not having the earth precisely in its centre.’ From the Greek ekkentros, from ek ‘out of’ and kentron ‘centre.’
  • Tantalize. That wonderful-but-just-out-of-reach dream or object. It comes from Greek Mythology and King Tantalus, who killed his son Pelops and fed him to the gods in a stew. In reparation, Tantalus was made to stand for eternity up to his chin in water that receded when he tried to take a sip, and under fruit that retreated when he reached for it. Lesson learned, I would expect.

 

From everyone at Hoogly, thank you for all your support in this crazy, unprecedented year. We hope you have a wonderful, calm and safe Christmas and very happy New Year. Until next time, keep calm and put the kettle on!

written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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