Wishing for the Better: The life story of a dreamer by John Needham

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Well… the fact that this book is written by someone who is not a celebrity makes it so much the better. In it, John Needham lets the reader into his life, sharing with them what it was like growing up in the 40’s and 50’s with his siblings.

It is lovely too that there are so many pictures, bringing the story even more to life. The preschool picture is adorable, and with his brother. This wonderful biography brings back personal memories of times long past, and due to the changing world, and advances in technology, never to be repeated. We walk in his shoes through his childhood adventures, holidays, home life, starting work, getting a car and learning to drive.

Like many of us, life’s natural course finds the author’s spiralling towards love, marriage and children. However, as with many of us, these paths are not always straight and uncomplicated, and can be tinged with sadness. However, John Needham with great courage takes us through the decades sharing selflessly with us one man’s triumphs and struggles.

The author says in his synopsis that he is a dreamer, well, his dreams and leaps of faith have provided him with an interesting life, career choices, and also they have given him a the opportunity to write this interesting book, I look forward to reading part two.

 

About the author:      

I have had a love affair with the written and printed word all my life. An avid reader as a child, my passion for print really took off when I was apprenticed as a compositor in the bygone age of hot-metal letterpress, long before the advent of computers, high-tech printing and ebooks.

Much of my career continued around print, in copywriting and as a graphic designer. Now retired from all that, I write books, issues-based and exploring the human condition. I have produced two house renovation books although not yet published them, and published part one of an autobiography, Wishing for the Better.

In fiction, my debut novel was Convergence, a story of elderly, interracial love. This was followed by Forebears, a family saga set in the east of England spanning 106 years from the early 20th century almost to the present day.

A third novel, The One of Us, is about the trials and tribulations and nature/nurture theory of separated-when-babies, adopted identical twins. My fourth book, Secret Shame, is a companion to The One of Us, telling the later poignant story of the birth mother of the twins.

My fifth novel, The Flautist, about a minor character from Secret Shame, is a gentle, sometimes sad story of music, love, belonging and rescue from despair.

Awakening is a small anthology of short stories: six of them stand-alone and five modified sample chapters from my novels.

I live and write my words in west Wales.

About the book:

This is not the autobiography of a Celebrity. Not a Well Known Person; not a Loved-By-The-Nation Lovie Thespian or Revered Rock Star or Virtually Deified Sportsperson. Or even a Politician.

No; it’s simply the sometimes funny, sometimes sad story of a really very ordinary, poorly educated bloke born in England during the dark days of World War Two to humble working-class parents, who might well have spent his life a tradesman like his dad (not that there’s anything wrong with that of course) but instead always had Ideas Above His Station; who had the sneaking suspicion that life could be full of exciting opportunities if one just dared to Go For It; that the grass just might indeed be greener on the other side of the fence; that one didn’t have to settle for the mundane. That one could Wish For The Better.

That it might be possible for daydreams to come true; that there might be a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow.

So this is it: the story (Part One, anyway) of that famous complete unknown, John Needham, sometime typesetter, graphic designer, house renovator, landscape gardener and now, in retirement, writer with passion. Please, if you’ve a mind to, Look Inside to sample the aperitif; see what you think.

 

Available from Amazon in Kindle fomat:

Amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wishing-Better-life-story-dreamer-ebook/dp/B01DRDHTCI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1463561305&sr=8-2&keywords=john+needham

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Wishing-Better-life-story-dreamer-ebook/dp/B01DRDHTCI?ie=UTF8&qid=1463561925&ref_=la_B00JNRZDDA_1_7&s=books&sr=1-7

 

 

 

The One of Us by John Needham

The_One_Of_Us_cover_latest_001NEW RELEASE:  The One of Us by John Needham

A compelling and fascinating story.

 

About the book: Jim and Maureen Harrison ache to have a child. Glyn and Sioned Rees want a brother or sister for their daughter Lowri. But for both couples, further pregnancy is impossible. So what to do?

The answers to both their dreams are sucking their thumbs in the Strawberry Field children’s home in Liverpool: foundlings, twin baby boys. Glyn and Sioned adopt one, whom they bring up in Wales. Jim and Maureen adopt the other, rearing him in north Yorkshire.

And so the boys are brought up in very different social and family environments, developing markedly different personalities and aspirations. But are they entirely different? After all, they are monozygotic: identical. Does their genetic commonality confer similar character traits deep down? John Needham’s third novel explores nature/nurture theory, weaving it into an absorbing, at times exquisitely moving tale of brothers.

Readers of his previous book, Forebears, will be re-acquainted with warm-hearted, buff, call-a-spade-a-bloody-shovel Yorkshire lass Helen, now taking a larger role, telling her story from an earlier time.

This gentle, compelling, sometimes poignant novel tells the boys’ stories in parallel as they grow to manhood, converging to a dramatic, heart-wrenching reunion that will wring your emotions dry. 

A heart-warming tale of identical, foundling twin brothers separated as babies and adopted to be brought up in very different environments. The boy’s stories are told in parallel as they grow to manhood, converging to an unusual, emotionally-searing reunion.

***

My first impression of this book was, what a strange title, however, having read it, there could be no more perfect one.

How could Julie have known, way back in 1984 when she left her native Ireland to live in Liverpool that her fancying Paul, at a nightclub, the consequences of that night, and the relationship which followed would change so many people’s lives, including her own?

Glyn and Sioned love their daughter Lowri, yet they yearn for another child. Jim and Maureen are trying to come to terms with Maureen’s inability to carry a baby to term. Two couples who, for two very different reasons, decide to adopt a baby, but each of their choices leave them inextricably tied in a way they could never imagine.

Life has a way of changing just when we think we are settled, and as a result, Glyn, Sioned, Lowri and little adopted Tomos find themselves moving back to their native Wales. Whilst Jim, Maureen and their little adopted son Wayne relocate to Northallerton in North Yorkshire.

This is the story of these two boys, each having very different childhoods, achievements, plans and dreams. As they grow into men, however, it is discovered that they have one thing in common, and in the end, does anything else matter?

I found this story un-put-down-able, it has a very unusual storyline, plenty of twists and turns, and a real surprise ending.

Those of us who love this author’s very humane way of writing are, yet again, treated to another beautifully written story. At the end of the book, as an added bonus, the author has included a couple of chapters of ‘Forebears’ one of his previously published novels, which also features one of the characters in this story.

 

***

About the Author: I have had a love affair with the written word all my life. An avid reader as a child, my passion for print moved up a gear when I was apprenticed into the compositor’s art in the bygone age of hot-metal letterpress, long before the advent of computers, high-tech printing and ebooks.

Much of my career continued in a parallel vein, in copywriting and as a graphic designer. Now retired from all that, I write books: issues-based and exploring the human condition. I have produced two house renovation books although not yet published them, and an autobiography, Wishing for the Better, is being published free-to-read on my website, wordsfromjohn.wordpress.com.

In fiction, my debut novel was Convergence, a story of elderly, interracial love. This was followed by Forebears, a family saga set in the east of England spanning 106 years from the early 20th century almost to the present day.

My third novel, The One of Us, about the trials and tribulations and nature/nurture theory of separated-as-babies, adopted identical twins, will be followed by a fourth that tells the story of another character in that novel.

I live and produce my words in west Wales.

Author’s Website: http://wordsfromjohn.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/nature-or-nurture/

The One of Us is available to purchase from:

Autharium  http://www.autharium.com/Ebook/wordsfrom%20john/the-one-of-us

and in Kindle format from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Us-John-Needham-ebook/dp/B00OAAUOPW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412837081&sr=8-1&keywords=the+one+of+us+by+john+needham

 

Another Spring by John Needham

Capture_Another_Spring_blue_palerAbout the Book: An un-named black girl finds awakening of love in her barren life. A young girl samples a first kiss with a young man after having a fright at the seaside in 1924. Two couples go through the hopes and anxieties of child adoption, finding they have something in common. The angst of being an ugly duckling teenage boy in the 1950s comes good, with a surprise twist in the tail. A writer reminisces about the recent years of his past in recollections bitter-sweet.

These are stories that will tug the heart strings and sometimes make you smile. And sometimes too, perhaps, they might provoke another sort of smile: a wry one of remembrance.

 

 

A lovely collection of short stories.

This book is a collection of short stories, each possessing different themes, but all written in the style of writing that lovers of John Needham’s other books will recognise. 

John writes from experience, hindsight and observation. These stories are poignant, reflective, heartrending and celebratory, they will make you laugh, smile, think and reflect.

If you are a fan of fly on the wall stories or memoirs, you will love the way that his pen dips into the past as he captures the essence of life then, and the innocence of bygone days, in the first two of his short stories which are called Awakening and Skeggy Day Out.

Tantalisingly, Baby Blues is a taster for his next novel The One of Us. As two couples explore their thoughts and feelings whilst deciding whether they are going to adopt.

Of course everyone has fallen in love. Dream, Dream, Dream, takes its title from the famous song as one man reflects on life and love in the 50’s.

Whilst in the final story a writer shares a little of himself in Another Spring…

Even though two of the stories are modified extracts from the author’s novels Convergence and Forebears, the others are new, and I am confident in saying that fans of John’s writing will not be disappointed in this new book.

 Available in Kindle format from:

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Another-Spring-heart-warming-seasonal-tales-ebook/dp/B00LN6AQJA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405089596&sr=8-1&keywords=Another+spring+by+john+needham

Amazon.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/Another-Spring-heart-warming-seasonal-tales-ebook/dp/B00LN6AQJA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405090739&sr=8-1&keywords=another+spring+by+john+needham

Autharium http://www.autharium.com/Ebook/wordsfrom%20john/another-spring-story

 

 

 

 

 

Foot Soldiers by Paddy Bostock

A brilliant, hilarious story.

 

About the book: Outraged at the market economic policies adopted by their university, Professor Vinnie McVittie and his colleagues in the Podiatry department kidnap a senior academic, Dr. Malcolm Moon, in protest. Initially they have little hope of success, particularly as their captive refuses to be freed from his new — and improved — life on the North Wales farm where he is being held. However, the chance coincidence of the interests of the gutter press, the Pantymwyn branch of Welsh Freedom Fighters, and a Prime Minister struggling for re-election combine to ensure a minor campus story escalates into cataclysmic national proportion.

Review by Susan Keefe
Being popular and getting the votes is the foremost objective in the mind of any government. When it comes down to it, making the right noises at the right times and  spending time thinking of good ideas for saving the country money, making more, lining their own pockets and looking after themselves is what really matters. There is little consideration given, to the effects of the new policies on the people involved by the government or those who are unaffected; the affected may protest, but their complaints are just brushed under the carpet, and forgotten.

 

However, this is the story of what happens when the people fight back, when the government’s economic policies are not just meekly  accepted.    When the Podiatry department of a university hears about proposed cutbacks, which may affect them, the professor in charge of the department Professor Vinnie McVittie and his colleagues decide to fight back, and their plan is to kidnap Dr. Malcolm Moon, a senior academic.

 

Plan accomplished, the Podiatry department with their captive, hide out, deep in the welsh countryside. However, Malcolm discovers, on the farm a part of him he has never see before and experiences emotions he never knew existed. His incarceration has not turned out as his captors expected, a fact, which soon becomes worryingly apparent.

 

Back in London, the race to find out where the missing academic is being held is on. With a Prime Minister who has ‘issues’ and is desperate for re-election, government policies and university politics, it seems nothing more could complicate the search for the missing academic, until the journalists become involved…

 

This amazing story is jam-packed with fantastic characters. They come in all shapes and sizes, the weird, the wonderful and the stereotypical images of government officials, ‘old boys’ and regional characters, all of whom are brought brilliantly to life by this talented author.

 

This really is the funniest book that I have read in a very long time, in the same vein as Tom Sharpe.  I found the author’s use of local dialect really added to the story. I came originally from the U.K., although not from the Midlands, and I actually know the areas and roads in the story very well, having spent the last three years travelling to visit my daughter at university in Wales.

 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone, it is witty, has a fast moving plot and I, for one, just couldn’t put it down.

Available:

from Amazon.co.uk in Kindle format http://www.amazon.co.uk/Foot-Soldiers-Paddy-Bostock-ebook/dp/B00F1LLGSS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1387214050&sr=1-1