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Behind-The-Books Blog

I can’t believe it’s not batter!

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

IT’S PANCAKE DAY! The one day a year when the average Joe feels no remorse in gorging on doughy goodness, because everyone’s doing it, right? (Although the fact that several pizza chains have 2-for-1 offers every Tuesday throughout the year means that collective dough indulgence is now commonplace…) Having willingly filled myself to bursting point […]

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Doctor Faustus Returns!

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

My week has been brightened my the news that Kit Harington is returning to the stage for Christopher Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus. My favourite Game of Thrones character (‘You know nothing, Jon Snow’) will take on the title role in the 400-year-old story of the man who swaps his soul for the ability to do as […]

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An Anniversary Reading List

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

If you had come across me about this time in 2006 I was probably on the rumpled side. You see, I was doing the clichéd post-student thing of sleeping on friends’ and family’s sofas and floors, not just for the ‘fun’ of it, but so that I could do work experience placements and short-term jobs […]

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Hogwarts Casts a Love Spell

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Just when you thought the Harry Potter franchise had done everything possible in the name of wizarding awesomeness: the theme park, the studio tour, the two-part theatrical production coming this year – think again. Following the success of the Hogwarts Christmas meal last month, couples can now book to have their Valentine’s Day meal in […]

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A Prescription for Fiction

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Life is too short for bad books. I recently came across bibliotherapy: the art of prescribing fiction to cure life’s ills in an attempt to help, heal or provoke. So you’ll never have to read a bad book again. The School of Life in London runs a bibliotherapy session where you meet with one of their trained consultants […]

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The story is after you!

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Oh, sorry, was that a little too enthusiastic for you? OK, granted, it’s grey outside, it’s a long way until pay day and you’re suddenly regretting the seconds you helped yourself to over Christmas. But if the idea of leaving your hibernation on the sofa with a good book is hard to […]

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Jackanory 50th Anniversary

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

I’ve recently found out my childhood, while wonderful, was missing out on one thing: ‘Jackanory‘. A BBC children’s television series designed to stimulate an interest in reading (not that I needed any coaxing). The format usually involved an actor reading from children’s novels or fairy tales, such as The Snow Queen or A Bear Called […]

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A Mind to Murder: a personal tribute to PD James by Mandy Morton

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

When someone famous dies we are treated to a glut of views and tributes from people who knew them, worked with them or were inspired by them. With these insights, we build up a lasting understanding of who they were and the imprint they have left behind. After the death of PD James in November last year, the expected tributes were fast and […]

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The Met’s Secret Archives

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Calling all amateur sleuths – for the first time the secret archives of the Metropolitan Police are going on display in a new exhibition at the Museum of London. The city’s most inaccessible museum must surely be The Crime Museum, a macabre collection of evidence and criminal tales which was created in 1875 but has only […]

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A ‘Real-Life’ Amazon Book Store?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Yes, it’s happening, Amazon opened their first brick-and-mortar store on 3rd November last week. Waterstones have already spoken out with the slightly-hilarious-yet-aggressive notion that they hope the store “falls flat on its face”. But how should we, the general public and fellow book-lovers, feel? Personally I am a little confused about how I feel. Whenever […]

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Bletchley Park – guest post by author Mary Nichols

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

We’re delighted to feature this post from our author Mary Nichols. If it whets your appetite for what is on display at Bletchley Park, we’re offering subscribers to our monthly customer Books Bulletin the chance to win a family ticket. Scroll down to sign up now! In the interests of research for We’ll Meet Again, […]

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Going…going…GONE!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Abebooks revealed last week what they think of as their most unusual item on their site: Edith Wharton’s baby rattle. £10,500 and it’s yours! It’s just a rattle. The Guardian describes it as simply a ‘sterling silver and coral’ rattle, engraved ‘Edith’ which Wharton even gave away to her friend’s daughter. For those looking for a pricier […]

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Have my cake and eat / read it

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

As a mum to a toddler (toddler – when did that happen?!), my reading this past year has been more Julia Donaldson than Julian Stockwin. (See my last post here before starting maternity leave – ha! So many left unread…) Basically, if you find yourself in need of a slightly frazzled person to recite children’s […]

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A week with the Editorial Department

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Want to know what goes on behind the scenes here at A&B? Here’s a snapshot of a week in the editorial department… MONDAY While Sophie, our editor, travels to Ely to see our lovely author Mary Nichols, discussing future projects and consuming lemon meringue pie, looking très chic… …Kelly is stuck on the Saw ride […]

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Rail’s Golden Age

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

In light of Birmingham’s main station reopening after a £750m makeover, the National Railway Museum in York is using its latest exhibition to celebrate the architectural styles from the past and the Golden Age of train stations. Most of our current railway stations favour a futuristic design on the outside, with a bright and spacious […]

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‘Freedom is a powerful drug': A&B author Sarah Grazebrook talks Suffragettes

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Next month sees the release of the eagerly anticipated Suffragette movie starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter, Meryl Streep and many more names of note. It inspired us to ask A&B author Sarah Grazebrook, who wrote about the suffrage movement in her novel Crooked Pieces, what is so inspiring about this moment in history. ‘Man is […]

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Licence to thrill – our love affair with spies

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Next month I will be embarking on an international adventure, living the high life with an attractive partner by my side and infiltrating the shady goings-on in an illicit sinister organization with only my wits and trusty Walther PPK to help me… OK, so that’s a ‘bit’ of a tall story, what I mean of […]

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Discovering London’s Time Ball

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Despite being born and raised in London, frequenting the capital’s many attractions is something I have been woefully neglectful of. Prompted by the arrival of American cousins however, I took it upon myself to become a tourist in my own city – and it was then that I discovered the concept of the Time Ball. […]

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Inspiration and writing practice with A&B author Alanna Knight MBE

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Inspiration? The answer to that most-asked question is more like perspiration, constantly fighting time with six months to write one historical crime novel a year, excluding the research involved, meanwhile no coffee mornings for the novel’s duration, and my friends know the rules so it’s a quiet time. A computer at 9 a. m. is not […]

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Across the Pond . . . Simplified English?

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Technically speaking, we Brits and our friends across the pond, the Americans, speak (and read) the same language. However, anyone who has ever crossed the Atlantic in either direction can tell you that isn’t quite the case. Somewhere along the way, after they dumped our tea into Boston harbour, declared their independence and grew into […]

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