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Book Review: Deep

Deep – James Nestor

Ever wondered what it would be like to dive 30 stories down into the ocean without scuba gear? To swim alongside sperm whales, hold your breath for four minutes at a time, and plumb the black depths of the ocean in a makeshift submarine? James Nestor has, and in his wonderful book Deep he attempts to find the answers himself. He explores free diving in all its slightly insane forms, from the international competitions where underwater blackouts are both regular and expected, to the more practical uses. The latter are extraordinary: meet the researchers who swim with whales the size of buses, and whose lungs shrink to the size of fists under conditions that would kill a scuba diver instantly. These people believe that investigating the sea from a scuba suit is like investigating jungle wildlife from within a land rover with the windows up and music on. And marine life seems to agree with them – animals are far friendlier to free divers. As Nestor shows, more has been learned about whales, sharks and echolocation from free diving than ever before, and what they have learned is fascinating. But eventually the author’s curiosity goes too deep, beyond what any human can withstand. He enlists the help of a dubious Honduran who has built a makeshift submarine that tends to fizz and buckle when deep. But go deep they do, down to black depths where the pressure for a human would be ‘like balancing the Eiffel Tower on your head.’ Here Nestor witnesses the ‘71% silent majority’ of life on Earth: the strange glowing, pulsing life of the deep ocean. It is hard to decide which part of Nestor’s adventure is the best, but it is a book you won’t want to end.

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For the Love of the Lido: Our pick of the best summer swimming reads

Here at Jaffé & Neale in Chipping Norton, we’re really lucky to have access to our local open air Lido. The pool has been run by local people as a charity since 2004 and describes itself as a ‘pool with a social conscience’, relying on the generous support of the public to maintain this treasured facility. Continue reading For the Love of the Lido: Our pick of the best summer swimming reads

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Christmas and New Year Recommendations

We here at Jaffe & Neale are always happy to recommend our favourite reads. Here are a sample of our favourite picks for this Christmas and New Year.

The Secret Life of Cows, Rosamund Young, £9.99

This is a must read for the whole human race. The simplicity of the message is deceptive as the message behind this book could save the planet. Rosamund Young is an important commentator on modern farming techniques and man’s inhumanity to creatures.


The Lost Words: A Spell Book, Robert Macfarlane, Jackie Morris, £20.00

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The Lost Words is one of the most beautiful books of the year, for children and adults, a symphony to the wonders of the natural world, and a stand against the disappearance of wild childhood.


To Die in Spring, Ralf Rothmann, Shaun Whiteside, £12.99

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Patrick’s favourite book of the year. 2 seventeen year olds are drafted to the SS in 1944 to fight on the Eastern Front. Rothmann’s prose gives you a steadycam view of their travails and hopes. A gem.


Talking to My Daughter About the Economy, Yanis Varoufakis, £14.99

Image result for talking to my daughter about the economy a brief history of capitalism

Answering the question posed by his daughter ‘Why is there so much inequality?’, the unique voice of Varoufakis gives an accessible account of the current economic climate. With clear explanations, Varoufakis helps to make sense of a troubling world while inspiring us to make it a better one.


Lonely Planet’s Where To Go When, £19.99

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This beautiful book lives up to Lonely Planet’s usual spectacular quality, providing travel ideas for every month of the year. Perfect for constant traveller in your life.

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Jaffe & Neale Summer Reads

However you plan on spending the summer, whether you’re holidaying in the Himalayas, cruising in the Caribbean, or just basking in the back garden, there’s one thing you can’t do without: a good book.

That’s why we here at Jaffé & Neale have put together a collection of our favourite summer reads for you to enjoy, and until the 31st of August if you buy any three of the titles, we can give you one free swim at the Chipping Norton Lido. The current list of books can be found below, but we are constantly updating it. 

For more information, you can contact us by phone on 01608 641033 or email us at

Let Me Tell You About a Man I knew, Susan Fletcher

Nobody’s Fool, Richard Russo

Seveneves, Neal Stevenson

The Lonely City, Olivia Laing

New and Selected Poems, Mary Oliver

Rail Head, Philip Reeve

Mend the Living, Maylis de Kerangal

The Girls, Emma Cline

The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry

Pages For You, Sylvia Brownrigg

Watermarks, various

Norwegian By Night, Derek B. Miller

Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson

The Disaster Artist, Greg Sestero

A Little History of the World, E.  H. Gombrich

Letters From the Lighthouse, Emma Carroll

Matilda, Roald Dahl

Claude On Holiday, Alex T. Smith

Claude All on Holiday, Alex T. Smith

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Leap In, Alexandra Heminsly

A Home for Gully, Joan Clegg

Maisy Goes Swimming, Lucy Cousins

The Art of Losing Control, Jules Evans

A Book of American Martyrs, Joyce Carol Oates

I Found My Tribe, Ruth Fitzmaurice

The Power, Naomi Alderman

Heartless, Marissa Meyer

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini




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A few more graphic novels…


essexThe Complete Essex County by Jeff Lemire £22.50

Essex County tells the stories of residents living in a rural farming town. Individually, the tales are hugely moving; Lemire explores loneliness, regret and loss, but as a set they weave together and expose a deep, interconnected community. The result is a book that is incredibly involving, hauntingly beautiful and utterly unforgettable.




sculptThe Sculptor by Scott McCloud £18.99

Equal parts elating and melancholic, The Sculptor perfectly captures the passion and desperation of a struggling artist. Vibrantly written and illustrated, McCloud takes you on an emotional adventure that will keep you guessing right up until the heart-breaking conclusion.  





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Healthy eating has become a vibrant, fun thing with cookbook after cookbook showing you the beauty of cooking the things that will make your body feel good inside and out. We’ve seen the Hemsley sisters reminding us how to eat well, Deliciously Ella reinventing the way we view food and Dale Pinnock showing us how to eat our way to better health. But it can still be a problem to get the right vitamins and minerals into our diet.

If you haven’t already discovered the joys of juicing you need to. More and more people are incorporating juices into this healthy lifestyle that we are seeing modelled. I know you may have a whole stack of cookbooks already this year but here’s one more to add; a perfectly sized, easy to use juicing book by Rosemary Ferguson. rosemaryCategorised into six sections including Detox & Heal, Rest & De-Stress and Energize, Ferguson’s debut book is concise in its method and descriptions but incising and intriguing. There is a stunning freshness throughout the book, both pictorially and in its content, that for me, an owner of far too many cookbooks, cannot help but buy immediately. The brilliant thing, yet another to add to the list, is that no matter if you have a Nutribullet or a more simple juicer, her recipes are there to suit all. Read more about model and nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson here

One of the joys of being in such a wonderful independent bookshop is being able to welcome authors into the shop and we have the privilege of having a Spring Saturday morning with Rosemary Ferguson. Join us on Saturday 11th April from 10-11am for a book signing and juicing demos. Sample a variety of her delicious juices and be inspired whether be it for yourself or finally finding a way for your kids to get fruit and vegetables into their diet.juice

Order your copy of Juice by Rosemary Ferguson in store now and be sure to join us on 11th April.


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Book Review: Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

reasons to stay aliveAfter the success of The Humans, Matt Haig’s new book is one of a slightly more serious and current subject matter than that of an alien disguised as a Cambridge University Mathematics lecturer. Writing with the same ease, style and humour however Haig’s Reasons To Stay Alive is a profound account of one man’s struggle with depression. His ability to write with such clarity about the mental illness that is far from simple is astounding and a book that you will not be able to put down. It is honest, original and all together life changing for depression survivors, sufferers and those merely looking from the outside in. Hear Matt Haig talk about it for himself on BBC Radio 2 here and make sure you buy tickets now to see him at Chipping Norton Literary Festival. For more details click here

Buy your copy of Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig in the shop today for £9.99

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A Week of Inspiration


Chris Riddell Feb 2015 021
Chris Riddell bringing our window to life.

Life in the bookshop is always filled with mind-blowing new books, gems of literature that you never knew you needed and a community of wit, knowledge and talent. It is only until you have a week like this, at the end of a grey and rather cold February, that you realise how truly incredible the people are behind the books and how much more wit, knowledge and, especially, talent there is in the literary world. We had the privilege of being joined by two men who need no introduction and their reputation alone got us all excited about their visit to the shop. Chris Riddell, award winning author and illustrator, political cartoonist for The Observer, illustrator of works by Neil Gaiman, cover artist for The Literary Review… the list goes on, arrived one perfectly ordinary Wednesday lunchtime, but from the moment he entered the shop there was something magical that happened. His pure and natural, rather astounding, talent as an illustrator was so much more than inspiring; it was infectious and quite simply left us all speechless… for once! Drawing our favourite characters from his series Goth Girl, and portraits from Ottoline, we felt as if he had brought our friends to play for the day. We were not the only ones to enjoy his company. Regular customers and young fans were able to meet the creator of such fond children stories. At 4pm he read, he drew, he made us laugh, and his scribbled his beautiful signature in our books. If you didn’t make it to the event please do come and buy a Chris Riddell book, signed and sealed, by the man himself.

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What a cool mathematician!

From one genius to another, as we waved off Chris Riddell Matt Parker, the Stand-Up mathematician, joined us for a Friday night bookshop event. I know many of you will roll your eyes when you say that there are people out there who make mathematics a subject that is genuinely interesting, but please keep those eyes still and believe us when we say that Matt Parker has a gift at keeping you gripped when talking about maths. His adrenalin may be slightly off the wall but when you start understanding the patterns and algorithms that he sees in the everyday you soon are equally infected by such excitement. Even the most basic of things like tying your shoes laces was enhanced by a technique that still baffles Leanne and Patrick. And his style? How many people know of such an intelligent man with such unique clothing? A scarf, made by his mother, knitted with the binary code of ‘Maths is fun’. Now that alone makes you inquisitive. For those of you who are still not convinced, and even after hearing maths sceptics like Leanne talking about the joy of this event, I challenge you to watch Matt Parker online or in person, and we cannot recommend his book enough. Signed copies of Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension are available now.

What a week.

Bring on March.

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Epic Journeys Through Words and Pictures

With our most recent new member to the Jaffé & Neale team, Peter Jones, taking a wide interest in Graphic Novels we have all been recommending our favourite GNs in the shop. Typically associated with Comic Book series the genre of Graphic Novels has moved from superheroes to the adventures of everyday life in all of its beauty, bleakness and bold relationships that we, as humans, have experienced throughout time. Here are some of our recommendations:

MausThe Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman £16.99

Tanya Recommends

The first graphic novel I have ever read and I loved it. Telling the story of what happened to his father in World War II, Art Spiegelman recounts the holocaust like never before.


watchmenWatchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons £14.99

Peter Recommends

Moore has created an incredible story, exploring the political, ethical and psychological consequences of life as a vigilante. The sheer scope of issues Moore tackles is breath-taking, and its magnificent details is matched only by its beautiful illustration. The Watchmen sets the benchmark for modern superhero storytelling.


Take a step out of your comfort zone and try a new graphic novel or come and ask us for our recommendations. These books are like nothing you will have experienced before. Look out for authors such as Chris Ware, Joe Sacco and Bryan Lee O’Malley.

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Lunch with David Mitchell

david mitchell 021As we all sat there expectantly, each imagining the genius behind Cloud Atlas and Black Swan Green, nothing could prepare us for the compelling and engaging character of David Mitchell. Far from the stereotypical absent author persona, Mitchell greeted us as friends and very much spoke to us as if we had been reunited after years apart. Sitting in his arm chair, drinking tea and flickers of a whole literary world unfolding in his imagination I was amazed by his passion to share his love of books and the everyday joy that reading can bring.

david mitchell 026His new book, The Bone Clocks, is yet another imaginative and challenging tale that is not restrained by worlds or by genres; a brilliant blend of hard-hitting political writing, fantasy and the journey that is human existence. This book is apart of the ‘Mitchell World’ with the clever, and perfect fit, of Hugo Lamb, seen in Black Swan Green, reappearing and new characters that have a depth that will inevitably  draw you in. david mitchell 022

Whether you have read a book by such an acclaimed author before this book exceeds expectations.