Short reads

Shorter than a conventional book but longer than an article, the length of the midform publication is, like Baby Bear’s porridge, ‘just right’ for certain subjects.
The books further down are extracts from full-length publications, edited as stand-alone ebooks for those interested in a particular subject.
A word about book-buying. If you would like an alternative to Amazon, my most recent books are available via Payhip and The Great British Bookshop. All paperbacks can be ordered from a bookshop.

SPYLESS IN TIRANA: An Albanian adventure

Once cut off from the rest of Europe by dictator Enver Hoxha, Albania has long been a source of fascination for Alex Klaushofer. Thirty years after the fall of communism, she spends a spring in Tirana, gaining a privileged insight into the country as it strives to join the modern West.

Volunteering at Tirana’s first hostel and interviewing a wide range of people, the author talks to a political prisoner about his experiences under the regime and meets the student activists trying to change a system which is still corrupt. She hears about the discrimination suffered by the disabled and sees how a new culture of caring for animals is slowly developing. She learns how, in a state where religion was banned, faith is making a comeback and discovers how profoundly the architecture reflects the changing fortunes of the city.

THE LITTLE BOOK OF GHOST STORIES: True tales from trusted sources

In this collection of real-life encounters with ghosts and spirits, Alex brings some true tales of the supernatural to publication for the first time. 

The thirteen accounts tell of everyday hauntings in homes and workplaces and of communication between the living and the dead. Chronicling events in England and Wales, these ghost stories open a window onto the way we see place and our relationship to the past.

fox cub sitting in grass looking scared

ORPHANED FOXES: A true tale of rescue and release

One spring evening a young fox appeared in Alex’s suburban garden, apparently asking for help. Her accidental fostering of Little Fox led her to, five years later, to volunteer at a wildlife rescue centre in the West Country, following the fortunes of a litter of orphaned cubs as they grew to adulthood and were released back into the wild. 

Part reportage, part nature writing, Orphaned Foxes gives a rare insight into one of Britain’s most secretive animals, revealing much about our relationship with wild animals and the complexities of modern conservation.

Photo of In Search of Glastonbury book - Glastonbury Tor on a hill

IN SEARCH OF GLASTONBURY

Glastonbury promises big things to its visitors – to meet their spiritual needs, possibly even transform their lives. One summer Alex – fancying herself a latter-day female incarnation of H.V. Morton – went to explore how far twenty-first century Glastonbury lives up to its promise of being a New Age mecca for our times. 

Combining interviews with some its most informed residents and undercover work as a mystery spiritual seeker, she gets under the skin of this eccentric English town in ways that reveal both its folly and its charm.

Photo of The New British Druid book - acorn on a branch

THE NEW BRITISH DRUIDS: Connecting with nature in the 21st century (The Secret Life of God Book 1)

As growing numbers of people embrace nature-based spiritualities, Druidry – arguably the indigenous faith of the British Isles – is undergoing a resurgence. Alex Klaushofer brings a sympathetic yet detached eye to contemporary British Druidry, talking to the movement’s leading figures and experiencing Druid life first-hand through the rituals of a summer camp. The resulting piece of reportage gives a unique insight into modern paganism and how an ancient faith is metamorphosing into a contemporary way of connecting with nature.

Photo of Sufi Circles book - dancer

SUFI CIRCLES: Undercover with Britain’s other Muslims (The Secret Life of God Book 2)

Britain’s Muslims are often caught between a polarised image which portrays them as either religious extremists or ordinary citizens no different from their secular counterparts. In this piece of reportage, Alex Klaushofer goes undercover to explore the little-known world of Britain’s other Muslims – the modern-day followers of the ancient mystical tradition of Sufism.

Photo of The New Monastics book - gate and view through an stone arch

THE NEW MONASTICS: Experiments in contemplation (The Secret Life of God Book 3)

While traditional monasticism is on the decline, the rise of new religious communities shows that there is still a hunger for the contemplative life. In a piece of reportage which reveals how the life of the spirit is rooted in place, Alex Klaushofer visits two groups who are pioneering modern monasticism: a Benedictine start-up and an ecumenical community following in the steps of Bonhoeffer.

Photo of Hidden Hermits book - man sat looking at a large hill

HIDDEN HERMITS: 21st century seekers of solitude (The Secret Life of God Book 4)

The hermit – that strange, solitary figure – is generally thought to belong to the past. Yet in this surprising piece of reportage, Alex Klaushofer reveals how solitary spirituality is alive and well in Britain today. She visits a hilltop hermitage to interview a hermit of some forty years’ standing and uncovers a network of modern solitaries seeking silence in the everyday.

THE LOST WORLD OF DAMASCUS:
Syria before the war (Excerpt from Paradise Divided)

In 2004, Alex Klaushofer took a bus across the Anti-Lebanon mountains and found herself at the heart of life in Damascus under Bashar al Assad. Sharing a flat with students, she heard about the hopes and fears of the young, met some of Syria’s main political dissidents and witnessed one of the first protests against the authoritarian regime that had ruled the country for the past four decades.