Canned Coffee & Kimonos by Tom Fitzmaurice

Canned Coffee & Kimonos by Tom Fitzmaurice

Price: £9.95

ISBN: 978-1-8384686-5-1

Canned coffee and Kimonos is Tom Fitzmaurice’s memoir of the four years he spent living and teaching in Tokyo, the biggest city on Earth. A young man from England’s rural West Country, he was thrust into a new world for which he was completely unprepared and which he found utterly bewildering. Tom gives an insight into the life of an English teacher in this most fascinating of countries and how he found his feet teaching students aged two to ninety-one.

From sitting in a robot restaurant watching a giant metal triceratops firing multicoloured laser beams, to the quietude of secluded and ancient mountain-top shrines on remote Japanese islands, this is a story of coming of age in a beguiling metropolis, of culture shock, faux pas, joy, hilarity, horror and the steepest of learning curves.

Earthquakes, hedgehog cafes, bathing with the yakuza, love hotels, typhoons, geisha, nuclear fallout, fascists, festivals, temples, bullet trains, karaoke, samurai swords, sushi and sumo. This memoir has it all.

Unveiling Arabia by Sahera Patel

Unveiling Arabia by Sahera Patel

Non-Fiction

Price: Paperback £9.98, Kindle £3.99

ISBN: 978-1-9999129-5-6

A rare, realistic and entertaining insight into a world shrouded by embedded suspicion and judgement. Sahera Patel writes about her year living and working in Saudi with a refreshingly honest determination. She reveals the reality of Gallardos and glamour juxtaposed with a deep reverence of religiosity and spirituality. Her tales of strong women with independent minds slap the exaggerated media image across the face whilst her personal experiences of a subtle tyranny reveal a dark reality. From the tales of the taxi drivers to the exploits of the powerful, Sahera Patel provides a refreshing reality told through amusing anecdotes.  Her ability to show humour in the most uncomfortable and even dangerous situations is a rare talent and guaranteed to entertain whilst unveiling an Arabia hidden from the Western eye.

Sahera Patel is a forty-four-year-old primary teacher, born-again student and now, a real-life author! Forming coherent sentences with the English language has always been a passion of mine, but the routines of life came in the way of becoming a published author. Marriage, work, children and the responsibilities of day-to-day life restricted my ability to free the author in me, but finally, after years of perhaps and maybes I have achieved my goal.

My first book is I’m not a celebrity I am a Muslim, and being an autobiography, the content was not difficult to find, and the second one, Unveiling Arabia, also didn’t prove a struggle in terms of material as it recounts my year spent in Saudi Arabia, teaching and living in the land of the Arabs with an intense heat and desert sands as far as the eye can see.

The front cover of my first book is a picture of myself taken by my twelve-year-old son in Kerala, India and the second cover is a picture of two colleagues and close friends at the Al Rahma mosque in Jeddah.

Journeys with Open Eyes: Seeking Empathy with Strangers by Hugh Roberts

Journeys with Open Eyes: Seeking Empathy with Strangers by Hugh Roberts

Non-Fiction

Price: Paperback £9.98 Kindle £3.99

ISBN: 978-0-9955729-9-7

Journeys with Open Eyes is not a travel book although it provides a wealth of information about places far-away and sometimes very close to home, both locationally and psychologically. Nor is it a history book, although the author, Hugh Roberts, was present in or around many of the world’s trouble spots immediately before or after some of the epoch-making events of the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Journeys … is a book about people. As such it is concerned with Hugh’s empathetic approach to members of the human race, be they indigenous residents of the High Andes, Soviet functionaries, Arab princes, white South Africans of the Apartheid era and numerous others. There can be no doubt that empathy helped him in his career as an international Urban Planner but empathy like this is only found in those with a genuine love for humankind.

He judges systems of government but rarely the people operating or imposing them. As a result, he invariably gets the best out of his fellows whether as friends, work colleagues or chance acquaintances. Journeys … will entertain and educate the reader in full measure and should be required reading for all who care for the inhabitants of this planet.

After graduating from the Universities of Oxford and Wales, author Hugh Roberts spent over forty-five years in planning, design and development consultancy for new towns and urban, industrial and regional infrastructure. He worked for some of the largest built environment consultancies in UK, the US and Australia and lived and worked in a wide range of countries throughout all six continents.

Following a series of professional journal publications, for example, in the Middle East Economic Digest, he wrote An Urban Profile of the Middle East published in 1979 (Croom Helm). They were taken over by Routledge/ Taylor & Francis who published it again in 2016. In 2017, he wrote Journeys with Open Eyes: Seeking Empathy with Strangers (i2i Publishing), a travelogue and biography of the projects and people with whom he interacted with across multiple working and domestic cultures worldwide. The book is partly serious commentary on trends in urban development, but also anecdotal about bizarre situations – some mundane, others hilarious and a few even life-threatening – encountered through a long and varied career. Fractured Society: Causes, Effects and Resolutions is Hugh Roberts’ third.