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Behind-The-Books Blog

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Whilst I didn’t compete in the London’s greatest running event last weekend, I must admit it’s been a bit of a marathon to get to the Easter holiday this year. It does make a difference when it falls to the end of April, doesn’t it?! Nevertheless, it’s been a great couple of weeks, full of […]


Sunday Papers Live

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

I don’t often read the weekend papers, though when I do, proper time is devoted to it and easily assembled food must be on tap. In my mind it’s a treat similar to wallowing in a bath for a hour or more. Which is why the approach of Sunday Papers Live appeals to me on […]


What could have been . . .

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Sometimes I wonder how writers decide which chapters to keep and which to omit as a single changed chapter can drastically change a book. More often than not, an editor casts a critical eye over the manuscript and decides what needs to be cut. At other times, the author will choose to delete certain sections […]


“Please look after this book…”

Monday, April 14th, 2014

If you’re stuck for present ideas for the altruistic bibliophile in your life, then I’ve stumbled upon the perfect suggestion: adopting a book in need of conservation and expertise at the British Library. For £25 you can help with the British Library”s ongoing conservation work and, most importantly, keeping a vast array of titles on […]


Down the rabbit/cake hole

Friday, April 11th, 2014

‘Pop-up’ has become a buzz word lately, though it still makes me think of jack-in-the-boxes making me jump rather than trendy temporary boutiques and events. But the term’s connotations seem appropriate to two upcoming nights of Alice and Wonderland-themed fun later this month. Fancy following the White Rabbit to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party? Note, […]


Mo’s Marathon

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Of all the great things happening in April, I think I’m most excited about the London Marathon. 35, 000 runners will descend upon the capital and complete a 26.2 mile course alongside some of Britain’s greatest landmarks. My favourite runner, Mo Farah, is making his full marathon debut, not only aiming to complete the race […]


Literary sequels

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

By the time of his death in 1959, Raymond Chandler had completed seven novels featuring his most famous creation, Philip Marlowe. But as with many other great literary heroes, the detective’s appeal has endured far beyond the lifetime of his creator. This year, Marlowe appears again in Benjamin Black’s The Black Eyed Blonde. The book […]


Cityread 2014

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Have you spotted the Cityread events popping up around London this month? Supported and funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Cityread London is an annual celebration of literature that aims to bring reading to life for the whole capital. Each April, Cityread asks London’s citizens, workers and visitors to pick up a […]


The Wild Girl competitions – WINNERS!

Monday, April 7th, 2014

During March we were celebrating all things fairy tale following the publication of The Wild Girl in paperback. There were competitions with fantastic prizes and, in true fairy tale tradition, there were a magical three winners. In our main competition we were offering the chance for one lucky winner and a friend to enjoy a […]


Chocolate Connections

Friday, April 4th, 2014

While reading Stylist magazine last week I struck (Terry’s Chocolate) gold: Saturday past saw the launch of this year’s Chocolate Festivals. Kicking off first in Brighton, the rest of the UK will get their chance of a Wonka-like experience as it moves on to Bristol, London and Oxford through April. I think it’s no coincidence […]


Literary Ballets

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

After seeing the Shanghai Ballet’s production of Jane Eyre, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for more dance adaptations of literary works. And I didn’t have to wait long. A ballet based on the life and works of Virginia Woolf, titled Woolf Works will premiere next year, forming a central part of The Royal Opera House’s […]


Wednesday Cover Story: The Eyes have it

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Have you ever felt like you’re being watched? Not me. I’m the kind of oblivious person who usually has her nose in a book or her mind merrily in the clouds and has to be shouted at repeatedly before I realise someone wants my attention. But even I have noticed a proliferation of creepy eyes […]


An Austentatious Night Out

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Anyone who reads our blog posts or tweets for any length of time will come to realise that I’m a bit of a Jane Austen fan. But, I hasten to add, I’d like to think I’m not the scary, militant type that would take it as a personal insult if you happened to say you […]


Fermenting Fiction

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Did you know that the Bloody Mary is rumoured to have been named by Ernest Hemingway? Just one of the exciting and, ahem, educational facts you could learn upon purchasing this book. Reminiscent of another A&B favourite, Tequila Mockingbird (see Lesley’s blog post here ), To Have and Have Another is cocktail connoisseur Philip Greene’s […]


A View from the Top

Friday, March 28th, 2014

I recently put aside my fairly sizable fear of heights and ventured up The Shard, London’s latest tourist attraction. Everything in the building is very dark and glossy, and I felt uncouth just being in the reception. The viewing platform is on floor 69, with access up to floor 74 via stairs. I was a […]


The Godfather of Fonts

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

‘The Godfather of Fonts’. It’s a snappy title, don’t you think, though I wonder whether Mike Parker, who died in February this year, liked the moniker. You probably encounter Parker’s work fifty times a day: he was the man who adapted and promulgated the font that became known as Helvetica. The typeface with its unfussy […]


Wednesday Cover Story: Go Big or Go Home

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

At this time of year we’re busy with preparations for the London Book Fair: finalising appointments, consulting the seminar schedule for interesting topics and, my favourite, planning on how we can make our stand look stunning. A big part of that are the posters that will adorn the stand, giving those wandering the aisles of […]


Get a bouquet from that book

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

It’s often said that our sense of smell is the most powerful and evocative sense, able to transport us back in time and to different locations in the whiff of a scent. So, excepting what I’ve found among the output of some children’s publishers, has the book trade been missing out on a trick not […]


Hwæt! Beowulf’s back again?

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Beowulf, as the oldest work of English literature, has done the rounds. Whether or not you enjoy ploughing through Old English vernacular, its dragons, mead halls and monsters certainly set a precedent in terms of the word ‘epic’. With translations and interpretations from the great (Seamus Heaney) to the terrible ((yet hilarious) 2007 film starring Ray […]


The characters are invading

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Which fictional characters in your opinion have lived on far beyond the turn of the last page of a book, or the scroll of the credits on the small or silver screen? BBC Radio 4 is investigating the power of character and letting a number take over with a day’s programming and free events next […]


  • Currently we are...

  • …loading up

    Lesley: on books for the long weekend. Please can someone schedule decent sunshine to read in too?

  • …Reading

    The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
    Sophie: Yes, regular readers of the blog might remember that this one cropped up before, I'm still making my way through. At nearly 800 pages I think I’ll still be reading it at Christmas. But it’s so good I don’t think I care.

  • …Tweeting