Craig Smith

Dicksy's Fifty Years in Football: The Autobiography of Alan Dicks by Alan Dicks with Paul Evans (Ember Press, 2023), £20.00.

Alan Dicks’ football career spanned the second half of the 20th century.

During those fifty years the game fundamentally changed and Dicksy was there, playing his part, when history was made.

  • In Chelsea’s first ever League title win in 1955.
  • Double promotion glory alongside Jimmy Hill at Coventry City in the 1960s.
  • Boss at Bristol City for thirteen extraordinary years until 1980.
  • And managing teams around the world.

At Ashton Gate, he built a side on a shoestring budget and an indestructible spirit, becoming a national figure.

A living legend to Robins’ fans, taking the club up to the top flight after a 65-year wait, it’s part of an amazing football tale of a time when loyalty meant more than money.

Football has waited over 30 years to hear his story. Finally, here it is.

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Spring Paths: An Anthology by Angela Wren (ISBN Canada, 2023), £10.14 (pbk), £2.97 (Kindle).

Sometimes, a compelling short story is all you need.

Let these tales of gods, ghosts, alien worlds, mystery, secrecy, love, loss and horror get under your skin for a while.

Nine North Atlantic writers have collaborated to create this anthology, the third in a series of multi-genre fables that will entertain, possibly unsettle, and cause you to think about the present in which we live.

Curl up on the sofa and allow yourself to be lost in the pages of this fascinating book.

Editor's note: I have not edited the complete book but instead edited the Angela Wren short story entitled Madame Beauvary’s Curio Shop.

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Managing Change – The Science of Happy Endings: Harnessing people, science and technology to deliver seamless change in any organisation by Yvonne de Ville (Delph2020, 2023), £14.99 (pbk), £0.99 (Kindle).

Managing Change: The Science of Happy Endings is a reassuring guide that equips you with the correct tools, techniques and proven methodologies to embrace change, and ensure you not only survive but thrive in our ever-evolving world. Defining what constitutes change and delving into the key change-driven challenges facing large organisations today, from how to secure support from decision-makers and harnessing the power of your community, to understanding organisational culture and perfecting the art of communication, the book also offers comprehensive insight on artificial intelligence (AI) and an in-depth analysis of the metaverse world, unravelling these hot topics to help you adapt to the landscape.

By reading this book, you’ll be empowered to embrace the inevitability of change to ensure you thrive in a way that makes you happy.

You will learn how to:

  • embrace positive change and develop a strong group dynamic
  • succeed with the help of renowned leadership business models
  • create a culture for your workforce in the metaverse world.

This comprehensive, practical guide is the perfect companion to help you understand and manage change in the most positive way imaginable.

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The Secret Wild Wolves of Britain by Dave Gregson (Olympia Publishers, 2023), £5.99 (pbk).

Wolves have been extinct in Great Britain for centuries. With discussions rampant about reintroducing them back into the wilderness in Britain, Gregson's novel subtly highlights the arguments around this and what it would mean for human-wolf coexistence.

The protagonist, Jack, is on the lookout to spot a wolf, convinced that they might have survived in Scotland, hidden all this time. How were the local ecosystems affected by their absence and what value would they have by being brought back? The potential for wolves to affect the ecosystem in this world that needs to redevelop its environment is immense.

Although based on facts, this fictional story is for nature and animal lovers, casual readers and just about anyone who enjoys reading.

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The Wellness Almanac: 366 Days of Wellbeing by Isabel Carter (Isabel Carter, 2023), £13.99 (pbk), £6.99 (Kindle).

Would you like to have more energy? Perhaps you yearn for a better night’s sleep? To be able to relax, better able to manage stress and anxiety? Maybe you are looking for simple things to keep your back and joints happy, or to support your digestive system? Whatever wellbeing means to you, among these pages you will find 366 health and wellness tips and techniques to bring ease and balance to mind, body and soul. Tried and tested, these are simple, effective and practical techniques designed to bring wellbeing benefits, drawing from 30 years of yoga practice and personal development in the field of complementary and holistic therapies.

Each day there is something to try or consider, or a small lifestyle tweak you might be inspired to try out, making a positive difference to you and your world. You can be assured the wisdom shared is practical and effective and, more importantly, yields many health and wellbeing benefits. The author’s wish is for this book to become a trusted and encouraging companion as we flow with grace and harmony through the seasons. This is a book to help you through every day.

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The Run of Life: How any runner can reach their mountain top by Steve Till (Still Running, 2023), £9.99 (pbk), £4.99 (Kindle).

What do you desperately want to achieve in running, in sport, in life? How do you identify the summit that your passion is driving you towards? How do you harness that passion’s remarkable power? How do you plan your path towards that towering achievement? Why should motivation not be a problem? How do you overcome setbacks? How can YOU reach your mountain top?

International ultra-runner and coach Steve Till analyses his own experiences, inspirations and beliefs – as well as those of sportspeople of all standards – to trace how they have shaped and empowered his remarkably long and wide-ranging career, in an exploration of goal-setting, motivation, resilience and achievement, to create a book that is a must-read for runners at any level, and indeed all of us who try and make the best of our abilities in any walk – or run – of life.

Steve has competed in 100km and 24-hour events for his country, won medals in national championships, run more than 100 marathons, over 500 parkruns, and is a Centurion, having race-walked 100 miles in less than 24 hours. His hard-won insights and moving examples can help you to harness your passion, identify your mountain top, plan your ascent, overcome any setbacks and finally reach your personal summit.

Primarily about running but directly applicable to any challenge, The Run of Life explores what it takes to identify the right goal – the one that excites your passion – to plan for its achievement, to overcome any setbacks and to prepare yourself for the ultimate test. It does this by examining Steve’s own journey from coming last in university cross-country races to running for Great Britain and Northern Ireland in ultra-running events, and the experiences of dozens of other runners, sportspeople and those who strive in any arena. There are lessons here, but it’s not preaching. It is more about ideas, interest and inspiration.

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AntiManipulation: Exposing the tools, tricks and techniques THEY use to manipulate YOU into buying THEIR stuff by Keith Blakemore-Noble (Be Your Change, 2023), £15.74 (pbk), £8.99 (Kindle).

When you buy something, are you buying because YOU want to buy? Or are you buying because THEY want you to buy? How would you even know the difference? In AntiManipulation, Keith Blakemore-Noble helps to give you the upper hand by showing just how the unscrupulous attempt to manipulate us.

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Mary-Ann and the Convenience of the Married Man by Amaryllis Cirma (Amaryllis Cirma, 2022).

This is the authentic story of the life of a strikingly beautiful blonde woman. Uninterested in marriage to any man, and who loved the excitement of secret visits to her flat en route home, to work and at weekends, she was happy with her own company. Reading books was her greatest pleasure.

She could not have known that she would end up caring for someone else’s husband till death, but to also carry the burden of his troubles, sadness, entangled emotions and battle with alcoholism, as well as all the tribulations that came with his dysfunctional family.

Sally Calms the Storm: With soothing reflexology for all the family by Georgina Strickland (Georgina Strickland, 2022), £9.99 (pbk), £5.99 (Kindle).

Welcome to the happy, healing world of Sally the Sloth and her friends. Follow Sally through the jungle storm as she helps her friends overcome anxiety, fear, headaches, sleep problems and more, with the help of face and hand reflexology. This charming story equips parents with techniques to calm and soothe young children, and gives older children self-soothing tips to help improve their health and wellbeing throughout their life.

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Winter Paths: An Anthology by Angela Wren (Seasonal Collective, 2022), £10.92 (pbk), £3.17 (Kindle).

From the frozen north, across continents, space and time, these stories will mystify, enlighten, intrigue and perhaps bring a tear to the eye. With a linking theme of winter – in all its guises – experience the warmth of friendly hearts, find companionship and place, encounter battles, uncover secrets, meet ghosts and witness the strength of maternal love.

There’s a story for everyone in this thrilling new collection.

Editor's note: I have not edited the complete book but instead edited the Angela Wren short story entitled Marguerite.

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Being Woake: Political satire about how to be woke in 21st century Britain by Jon Cross (Alsatian Publishing, 2022), £11.99 (pbk), £3.99 (Kindle).

Meet Sebastian Woake: successful barrister, reluctant politician and a man struggling with political correctness.

Newly elected onto the local district council, Woake’s political career will lead him to contend with the challenges which are quangos, obnoxious Chinese delegations, rampaging bulls, pompous (and occasionally corrupt) councillors, flirtatious colleagues, exploding nightclubs, over-zealous equality and diversity trainers, and dreary civil servants.

When he is promoted to lead the finance team (as surprising as it is unlooked for) Woake must achieve the impossible; keeping a bankrupt council financially solvent whilst maintaining his tumultuous legal career. Hate crime, Latvian drug traffickers, benefits cheats and an overbearing Head of Chambers are just some of the problems he faces.

Struggling to balance law with politics, Sebastian Woake must ensure that his decisions, behaviour and humour do not alienate him from his colleagues and the Council in an increasingly woke world.

Based on the author’s surprisingly real-life experiences, Being Woake is one man’s hilarious, sometimes questioning, politically incorrect journey attempting to answer the impossible: how to be woke in 21st century Britain?

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Drawing Your Goal Closer: An art-based approach to visualising your goals and making them a reality by Richanah Daly (self-published, 2022), £17.99 (pbk), £9.99 (Kindle).

A powerfully creative method to achieve career success, get clear on where you're going and the steps you need to take with this unique 'big picture' approach specially designed for visual thinkers.

Discover an immersive way to transform your ideas and aspirations into reality by using your own creativity to map out a clear pathway to your career goals.

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Winners & Losers: Betrayal by Ashley McCarthy (Ashley McCarthy Publishing, 2022), £8.99 (pbk), £1.99 (Kindle).

Inés had little time for herself. Helping her eldest daughter, Erin, make it onto the British showjumping team, while making multi-million dollar deals across the globe was enough of a challenge. To top it all, a huge, unexpected tax bill had thrown her for a loop and brought back painful memories of her deceased husband.

It had been four years since his tragic death and it was about time Inés started seeking love again. Maybe Kent was more than just an old friend, maybe he wasn't the only one interested in her. Inés might make a few mistakes along the way, but who gets it right all the time?

There are winners; there are losers. Inés intends to win, even if she has to rig the game.

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The Heralding by Ashley McCarthy (Self-published, 2021), £7.99 (pbk), £1.99 (Kindle).

In the midst of The Great Famine of the Fourteenth Century something is awakened in the nearby woods …

As hunger and fever grip Matilda’s village, theft, madness and starvation follow quickly. People are attacked by something powerful and frightening. Then a new enemy emerges; fear.

As accusations are hurled, will a newly arrived stranger be Matilda’s salvation or downfall?

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Where Does Time Go? by Amanda Peet (Self-published, 2021), £7.99 (pbk), £4.99 (Kindle).

From the author of Mind Your Mind: Using the power of words comes a short read to help you work out where your time goes and choose what you want to do going forward with your life minutes.

We all have the same number of life minutes each day. 1,440 if you are wondering.

The action within this book does not take more than a few seconds each day, and the good news is you only have to do it for a week to find out what you are doing with your time and where you want to make changes.

In order to move forward or make changes, sometimes you need a little stocktake. Working out how you are spending your time is an ideal place to start.

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Nothing of Interest by Dave Gregson (Olympia Publishers, 2021), £5.99 (pbk), £2.99 (Kindle).

This collection of short stories, each with a twist to the tale, is engaging and often written with wit. There is also a slight Ray Bradbury-esque feel to them which makes them even more absorbing. The author writes with a kind of certainty and although his subject matter ranges widely within this collection, anyone who is fond of the short story genre will enjoy this collection.

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Safe Practice in Physical Education, School Sport and Physical Activity by Steve Caldecott, Nicky Scott and Jan Hickman (Association for Physical Education / UK Coaching, 2020), £44.99 (pbk).

Published every four years, this essential reference and developmental tool offers up-to-date advice across PE, School Sport and Physical Activity, to help teachers, coaches and school governors protect their students and themselves from potential risks across both the curriculum and extra-curricular activities.

Fully updated to reflect recent developments in legal practice, national guidance, statute law and case law.

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