Indie Publisher of the Month for September 2020 – Short Books @shortbooksUK

For a change, this month I’m featuring a non-fiction publisher – Short Books

Short Books were founded in 2001 and they have established themselves as a publisher of first-class, popular non-fiction.

Their initial publications were a series of compact, informative and entertaining biographies. They have since evolved to focus predominantly on ‘mind, body, spirit’ books. Their success has been helped by the international bestsellers written by Dr Michael Mosley. From the The Fast Diet in 2013, via The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet in 2015 to The Clever Guts Diet (with a companion cookbook) in 2017. His Fast 800 published in 2019 held the UK bestseller spot for 3 weeks.

Other noteworthy successes include Amo, amas, amat… And all that by Harry Mount, The Social Animal by David Brooks, Everything You Need You Have by Gerad Kite, and Andrea Gillies’ Keeper, which won the Wellcome Book Prize and the Orwell Prize. in addition ground-breaking eco-/social regeneration book, Change the World for a Fiver, sold hundreds of thousands of copies around the world.

In 2018 Short Books were shortlisted for the prestigious award of The Independent Publisher of the Year.

So why did I choose Short Book this month (apart from being the owner of most of Dr Mosley’s output) ? Well it seems that now, more than ever we need to be kind to ourselves and other’s. Given the joys (?) of Brexit, followed by a global pandemic resulting in lockdowns & economic chaos, we’ve certainly become more politically aware. But we’ve hopefully also become more aware of our surroundings, of the healing power of nature and the need to care of it. We’re probably also learning things about our selves, we’ve had time to think about what we really need, rather than what we want. In short, to paraphrase Ghandi, this is our opportunity to “be the change we wish to see in the world”. The books that Short Books offer, are perfectly placed to help us do that.

My latest purchase from Short Books is the recently published How To Live by Professor Robert Thomas. My own dance with breast cancer is no secret and the ongoing struggle with side effects from treatment and ongoing medication still impacts my health. But having refused to continue with one of the most debilitating tablets, I’m now taking charge of my future health. Last month I embarked upon the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (which thanks to Covid-19) is now a regular online group meeting which has forced me to tangle with Zoom! When I spotted this book it was a timely support to help me reformat my habits and hopefully get my health back on track.

How To Live : Maximise your body’s natural defences to fight disease and promote long-lasting health by Professor Robert Thomas.

Did you know:

• that drinking a glass of red wine after sunbathing can reduce lasting skin damage?

• that your choice of deodorant can affect your long-term health?

• that some houseplants are more effective in removing air toxins than others?

In How to Live, Professor Robert Thomas, one of Britain’s leading oncologists and an expert in integrating nutritional and lifestyle strategies into cancer treatment, gives us effective, scientifically proven advice about everything from diet and exercise to sleep and skincare.

Thomas demystifies cancer and other chronic diseases by explaining how they develop in our bodies, what we can do to mitigate against damage, and how simple changes to our diet and routine can prevent our biggest killers, from heart disease to diabetes.

This is a health bible for life. Whether you are in your 20s or 70s, it will help you to empower your body against ageing and degenerative disease and live at maximum strength.

Professor Robert Thomas is a Consultant Oncologist at Addenbrooke’s and Bedford Hospitals, a Professor at Cranfield University and a clinical teacher at Cambridge University. He is the author of Lifestyle after Cancer, and has an academic interest in the evaluation of nutritional, lifestyle and self-help strategies after cancer.

Last month I bought Clean by Michele Kirsch, winner of the RSL Christopher Bland Prize 2020, Book of the Week in the Daily Mail and The Lady, and Book of The Month in Psychologies.

When Michele Kirsch’s father is killed in a train crash, her mother gets the vapours and Michele gets extremely nervous. By her mid-
teens, she has found salvation in valium. Her favourite words on the prescription sheet are “Take As Needed”, which she interprets as Take All The Time.

Later, as a wife and mother, she adds alcohol into the mix, and before long her life is spinning out of control. Leaving home “for the sake of the family”, she takes the scenic route to rehab, redemption and reinvention.

But this is no misery memoir. Clean is a darkly comic tale about the difficult choices we have to make as we navigate our lives. While working as a domestic cleaner in her 50s, Michele finds herself living vicariously through other people’s messes, tidying her way through early sobriety. As the Duster of Large Things, she taps into her natural nosiness to reveal the absurdities of a seemingly banal job.

Books that caught my eye

Forthcoming Titles

The Magic Hour : 100 Poems from the Tuesday Afternoon Poetry Club by Charlotte Moore

“Reading a poem gives us a glimpse of past and future possibilities, other worlds and other lives. It makes a gift of unfamiliar words, and refreshes parts of the mind that other art forms cannot reach…”

Charlotte Moore, a writer and former English teacher, has loved poetry all her life. Keen to be able to read and talk about poems with others, she set up a weekly poetry club for anyone interested to join her round her fireplace.

This book brings together a selection of the Tuesday Afternoon Poetry Club’s favourite poems, some well-known, some less so. The poems are grouped into themes – from home and lovers, to war and the planets – each framed with a little context from Charlotte and delightful insights from members of the group.

The Magic Hour offers a source of lifelong pleasure and nourishment, with words to delight and console, while reminding us of moments of personal significance. It demonstrates how we can all benefit from the refreshment of poetry in our daily lives.

Secrets of a Devon Wood : My nature journal by Jo Brown

“Things of such magnitude deserve respect and understanding. They deserve to be remembered…”

Artist and illustrator Jo Brown started keeping her nature diary in a bid to document the small wonders of the wood behind her home in Devon. This book is an exact replica of her original black Moleskin journal, a rich illustrated memory of Jo’s discoveries in the order in which she found them.

In enchanting, minute detail she zooms in on a bog beacon mushroom, a buff-tailed bumble-bee, or a native bluebell. And she notes facts about their physiology and life history.

Secrets of a Devon Wood is a treat for the senses, a hymn to the intricate beauty of the natural world and a quiet call to arms for all of us to acknowledge and preserve it. It is a book that will stay with you long after you finally put it down.

The Fast 800 Easy : Delicious, simple recipes for intermittent fasting and longterm health by Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison


Following her bestselling Fast 800 Recipe Book, this fabulous new cookbook by Dr Clare Bailey features 130 super-simple recipes to enable you to eat well with minimum prep time on your 800-calorie days.

All the dishes in this book can be made with just 7 ingredients or less. There are options to adapt meat dishes for vegetarians, and the other way around; plus simple additions to enable you to expand meals for non-fast days or in order to feed the whole family.

With Fast 800 Easy, everyone can now get the full health benefits of Dr Mosley’s intensive weight-loss programme. Science shows that this regime can not only help you prevent or reverse Type 2 diabetes, but bring down your blood pressure and cholesterol and improve your mood too…

So in Short (see what I did there?) – why not take a look here and see if there’s something that could inform, uplift, help, or even change your own life.


  1. I’ve read Clean (it was possibly on one of your lists) and I like the sound of How to Live, especially as it doesn’t sound like alcohol is banned – I really don’t want someone telling me to cut out red wine, coffee, tea, chocolate…
    I’ve now read all of your Boob Blog – you went through some pretty tough times and I’m hoping I can stay as strong as you did.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clean was on last month’s Kindle sale list. I’m not too far into How to Live yet, but I wanted something realistic. Diet’s are ok but not for long term living. I just wanted to clean up my act and put everything behind me. This seemed a good kick starter. Hope the Boob blog didn’t scare you too much. All treatments are different and people react differently even to the same treatment. I guess if nothing else it might help you see there is light at the end of the tunnel, you just need to get through it the best way you can – and you will xx


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