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Stepping out to look back in

Reviewing the Situation with Lena Davis

Lena Davis
Lena Davis

Lena has been a music producer, writer and Personal Manager; a photographer and journalist and, over thirty years ago, got together with Caroline Scattergood to create the Caring & Sharing Trust to bring music, hope and love into the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families from throughout Northamptonshire.


Paul O’Grady excels at so many things his talent as a writer is often overlooked. When so much of celebrity writings are obviously ghost written (thanks to the wonderful Katie Price cheerfully admitting she hadn’t got round to reading all of her own best sellers!) Paul has a real and personal aptitude that makes for wonderful reading.

I have read all four previous volumes of his autobiography but “Paul O’Grady’s County Life” (Bantam Press £20.00) is something completely different.

If you love the country and are wild about animals, gardening and even cookery then this is the book for you. It gives glimpses into Paul’s home life and a bit about his show business life – but most of all it is a personal look into the very soul of a genuinely lovely man.

The book itself is a beautiful production designed to lift your heart. Even when you have finished reading the volume it will do you good to just to flick through the pages.

“Thinking Outside the Brainbox” (Floris Books £20.00) has been translated by Philip Mees from Arie Bos’s original Dutch.

It is one of a continuous stream of attempts by neuroscientists, philosophers and even spiritual folk to understand why we human beings are so peculiar. Why do our brains send us different and confusing messages? Why, when we know our life span is so brief, do we do and say nasty things to ourselves and others? The list of questions go on and on. My question is, why do these experts believe the brain is so important when its functions are so easily altered by pain, love, desire, health, drugs, alcohol, religious fervour, etc.?

In fact, those of us who share our lives with people born with a learning disability often find our friends are considerably nicer than ourselves. Maybe when my mother used to refer to me as a “brain box” she wasn’t being as complimentary as I thought!

Arie Bos argues that we’re more than just some kind of biological computer. Who’s arguing?

One undeniable fact of life is that most of us are completely bewildered as to the whys and wherefores of our actions. Just trying to make sense of one particular action we nearly all have in common is Lee De-Wit in his book “What’s Your Bias? – The Surprising Science of Why We Vote the Way We Do” (published by Elliott & Thompson Ltd £12.99)

Lee is a psychologist and neuroscientist who has studied and worked at so many leading universities in the UK and Europe that he must undeniably know his stuff. What’s more, he also knows how to write and makes the whole subject really interesting and pertinent.

Many of us find it very difficult to have a cut-and-dried attitude to supporting one particular political party. Hence the ongoing feeling that a new political party needs to be formed. The lack of support amongst politicians for this notion is probably down to the memories regarding the rise, followed by the fall of the Liberal Democrats.

Actually, “What’s Your Bias?” makes for fascinating ideas presented by a rather good writer. The publishers claim that you should read this book if you want to know more about yourself, your friends and family or the bigger political picture. I couldn’t agree more.

I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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