Formula 1 season starts again

We’re now two races in to the 2013 racing season, and after these first two races Sebastian Vettel is already making his intentions clear, trying to start the new season where he left off: with victory in the 2012 season. But it has not been without controversy.

After a podium finish for the Red Bull driver in the first race of the season in Melbourne last weekend, hopes were high when Vettel started the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend from pole position. And it was looking good for a Red Bull 1 and 2, when after the final round of pit stops Vettel fell into place behind his teammate Mark Webber.

Radio orders from the team instructed both drivers to maintain their positions and carry on to the end, conserving their tyres and fuel. But, to great controversy, Vettel had other ideas. Always a competitive racer, he and Webber were engaged in a ferocious battle for first position, and Vettel eventually made the pass stick thirteen laps from the finish.

The race finished with Vettel in first position, Webber fuming in second (and his anger at his teammate was evident even whilst on the podium), and they were joined by Lewis Hamilton in third, his first podium finish for his new team Mercedes. The upshot of this is that Vettel is now nine points clear at the top of the drivers’ standings, clearly signalling his intent for this season.

But, even though Vettel has since apologised to his teammate, it’s clear that Webber and Vettel will be dealing with the fall-out from this incident for the rest of the season…

For the first English-language biography of Sebastian Vettel, read Meet Sebastian Vettel, published by Souvenir Press.

Meet Sebastian Vettel cover


This week’s review round-up

With more wonderful reviews coming in this week for a whole variety of different Souvenir Press titles, this is your chance to read extracts of them all in one place. As always, we’ve got a great mix of titles in here – just another reminder of the eclectic mix we publish here at Souvenir Press.

Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies? – Jena Pincott

“A fun take on the traditional pregnancy book… with lots of unusual information… A great read… It really gives you an understanding about what’s happening to you, both physically and psychologically.” – Book of the Month, Pregnancy & Birth magazine (review not online at present)

The Book – Alan Watts

“Watts’ views are therefore now more relevant than ever … this last great taboo – the question of who or what we are – could never be more pressing.” –

Modesty Blaise – Peter O’Donnell

“A rollicking adventure that outpaces James Bond at his most lethal.” – Daily Mail

Terribly English – Rupert Besley

“What’s funny about the English? … Quite a lot… A guide book with a difference… a gem.” – Let’s Talk (review not available online)

Are you a blogger interested in reviewing any of the titles from Souvenir Press? Take a look at our blog post, ‘Calling All Bloggers’ for information on how to get in touch. I’ll be happy to send you a copy of our latest catalogue to peruse – just give me a shout.

Have you seen a review that we’ve missed? Let me know!

Try a brain-boosting puzzle!

Perhaps you’re reading this during a tea break at work, or on your lunch break. Or perhaps (shh!) you’re at your desk looking like you’re working hard, but actually you’re reading the latest offering on the Take Home a Souvenir blog.

Whatever you’re doing, hopefully you’ve got a few minutes free, and would like to try a fun sample puzzle, taken from our forthcoming book How Puzzles Improve Your Brain by Richard Restak and with puzzles by Scott Kim (published March 21st in paperback and as an ebook). Restak writes about how puzzles can boost different mental functions, and includes more than fifty puzzles accompanied by an explanation of how each puzzle can improve your brain.

This particular puzzle is specially designed to work on your long-term memory, but there are over fifty other puzzles in the book to improve thirteen other brain functions, including:

  • Concentration
  • Fine motor skills
  • Visual observation
  • Logic
  • Numbers
  • Vocabulary
  • Visual-spatial thinking
  • Imagination
  • Creativity.

This sample puzzle will be of particular interest to you if – like me – you struggle to remember names and faces, particularly if you’re meeting several new people at once.

The premise is simple: a grid of twelve faces, all labelled with their names. You take a couple of minutes to memorise these names and faces, and then move on to the next page, where you will see those faces again, but without the names. How many can you remember? Scott Kim then offers a couple of hints and tricks designed to help you remember these names and faces, and invites you to try again.

When I tried it, the first time I remembered seven out of the twelve faces pictured – not bad, I thought – and this increased to ten out of twelve on my second attempt, making use of the tips outlined in the puzzle. I’m looking forward to putting these tips into practise next time I’m at a party or a networking event – maybe I’ll be a little better with names and faces!

This is just one of over fifty puzzles that can improve your brain, and to highlight the full range of brain functions covered in this book you can take a look at the contents page of How Puzzles Improve Your Brain which clearly shows which mental functions can be boosted by the puzzles in this book.

Click here to view the puzzle, taken from How Puzzles Improve Your Brain by Richard Restak and Scott Kim.

Have you tried this puzzle? Let us know how you got on – either in the comments below, or by tweeting @SouvenirPress using the #puzzlingbrain hashtag.


World Sleep Day 2013

March 15th is World Sleep Day, an annual event to celebrate sleep and raise awareness on issues such as sleep deprivation, sleeplessness, the increasing use of sleep medication, and sleep disorders.

When you’re sleeping well it’s wonderful; you wake up feeling refreshed, full of energy and ready to go. But if, like an increasing number of people in the UK, you have trouble sleeping, it catches up with you quickly. You’ll experience low energy, tiredness and low mood, and prolonged periods of sleep problems can lead to a host of other health problems.

And the worst part is that sleep can often be a habit: if you aren’t sleeping well, you become stressed about not sleeping well, and so the next night you don’t sleep well because you’re worried about it. And if you’re sleeping well every night you’ll turn the light out and barely give it a thought.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, author of TIRED BUT WIRED, wrote in the Daily Mail this week with handy tips to help your child get to sleep at night, but many of her tips will be very useful for adults too. Adopting a wind-down routine, not using technology such as iPads, computers and smartphones in the 90 minutes before bed, and creating a calm environment to sleep in are just some of the tips she suggests in that article, all of which are designed to help you or your child relax before bed.

This World Sleep Day, stop and think: do you get a good night’s sleep? If so, that’s great. But if not, maybe it’s time to change your routine, and work out what you can do to help yourself. There are plenty of resources available on the World Sleep Day website, and, of course, you can read Dr Nerina Ramlakhan’s book TIRED BUT WIRED.

tired but wired

Introducing: Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?

This is the next post in our series introducing you to our new spring titles for 2013. If you missed our previous post, you can read about How Puzzles Improve Your Brain.

Our second title, Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies by Jena Pincott is published today. Already it is attracting a lot of attention from the media and bloggers alike, particularly after it was featured in The Daily Mail at the beginning of the month.

A pregnancy book like no other, it looks at the why of pregnancy, rather than the how-to. The QI of maternity books, Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies is packed with facts that will intrigue and surprise expectant mums and dads. Science writer Jena Pincott provides a deeper understanding of what is happening to both mother and baby as mum’s pregnancy progresses.

Find out:

What the shape of your bump really means
Why labour so often starts in the early hours of the morning
How your sense of smell changes during pregnancy
Where the maternal instinct comes from
What foetuses learn when they eavesdrop

And much more. Using research from the latest studies in biology, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology and epigenetics, Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies is a fascinating supplement to the typical maternity guide, and will answer countless queries that expectant mums and dads will have about the surprising science of pregnancy.

In the next couple of weeks we looking forward to bringing you a guest blog post from author Jena Pincott herself. She will share with you some of her favourite pregnancy facts, taken from Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies. Given that she started researching the book during her own pregnancy, it will be particularly interesting to see which facts have intrigued her the most.

Available now in hardback, paperback and as an e-book, now is your chance to uncover some amazing facts about pregnancy and discover the answers to questions that you might not have even thought of!


Brain Games for Your Child

One of our backlist titles here at Souvenir Press, Brain Games For Your Child by Robert Fisher, has been newly published as an e-book. To celebrate, we sent copies of this book to a selection of top parenting bloggers to see what they, and their children, thought. Brain Games For Your Child is a fun resource containing over 200 games suitable for children from age 0 to 10, making it perfect for parents with children of different ages, and meaning that as your child grows you will dip into it again and again.

With half our reviews now in, now is your chance to see what three of the UK’s top parent bloggers (according to Tots100) have said about Brain Games For Your Child.

From TheBoyAndMe:

“As a teacher, I’m only too aware of the need to develop problem-solving and thinking skills in children… ‘Brain Games for Your Child’ provides over two hundred games to help children build their thinking, number, language and social skills. There are games that focus on music and art, treasure hunts, card games, word and number battles that are games to be played by all the family… I would recommend investing in this book because it’s become a little bit of a Bible for activities in our house, and will last for years!” Read the review in full.

From CatsYellowDays, who is also offering the chance to win a copy of this book on her blog (ends 1st April):

“One of the great things about having kids is watching them learn from every little thing they do but that does mean that parents can sometimes feel the pressure to come up with new and interesting activities to help them develop all those important skills…  ‘Brain Games for Your Child’… can help us all with that… I particularly like that some of the games that you may have played before, like I spy for example, have been further developed to give you new ways of using it, like ‘purpose-spy’ (I spy something that we eat/wear/play with…) or ‘rhyming-spy’ (I spy something that rhymes with…) that I wouldn’t have thought of.” Read the review in full.

From DorkyMum:

“It’s great for dipping into on a rainy day to find some new ideas for ways to engage with your child and occupy them without having to turn the house upside down!” Read the review in full.

Previously praised by online parenting communities Parents In Touch and Games for Your Child is a clear favourite with parents and children alike.

Brain Games cover

Rediscover: John Masters

Thirty years after his death, two novels by John Masters have been republished as ebooks by Souvenir Press, introducing Masters’ historical novels to a new generation of readers.

Nightrunners of Bengal, first published in 1951, and Bhowani Junction, first published in 1954, are two of his seven novels which followed several generations of the Savage family serving in the British Army in India. Notable for their treatment of the British Empire in India, these are recognised as classic historical novels which brought India to life in a way which no other writer did at that time.

One Indian novelist, Khushwant Singh, remarked that as E.M. Forster understood India, so Masters understood the Indian people. Drawing on Masters’ own experiences in India (he served in the British Army in India from 1934-1948), the novels explore crucial moments in the history of the British Empire in India.

Nightrunners of Bengal focuses on the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The central character, Captain Rodney Savage, is an officer in a Bengal Native Infantry regiment, based in the fictional city of Bhowani. When rebellion breaks out, the British community in Bengal is shattered. Savage’s empathy for the Indians is shaken, as the British try to discover who is loyal to them and who is not. This was the first novel that Masters wrote in the series, and is one of his best-known works.

Bhowani Junction is set in the wake of the partition of India, as the British prepare to withdraw from the newly independent country. Evoking the tensions and conflicts that accompanied the birth of modern India, the characters struggle to find their place in the new India that is emerging. Bhowani Junction is Masters’ most famous novel, and was made into a film in 1956.

Two of the great novels of India, Nightrunners of Bengal and Bhowani Junction combine John Master’s mastery of story-telling with an intuitive sense of history. Must-reads for anyone with an interest in the history of the British Empire, the British Army, or the British in India.