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Behind-The-Books Blog

Allison & Buzz-Bee

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Few insects seem as friendly and well-loved as the bee. Sartorially snappy in stripes, B rivals other mini-beasts in the garden and is far from bumbling as she floats elegantly from plant to plant. Commonly associated with honey and flowers; it’s no wonder she has such an excellent reputation. When we add to this the […]


Holiday Destinations: which book belongs in your suitcase?

Friday, July 25th, 2014

We’re finally having that global-warming-induced fabulous summer. The sun is beaming down and a mirage appears: you’re reclining by the pool with a large glass of perfectly chilled rosé, a tantalizing book within your beautifully bronzed hands. Whether you’re enjoying the sunshine at home or traveling abroad, a good book is essential to the summer […]



Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

We’ve spotted a recent Twitter trend that we’re enjoying even more than this… or indeed this… You already know that the trend for ‘Selfies’ has lead to the noun being announced as the word of 2013, by the Oxford Dictionary – but did you know that the #sHelfie may soon be joining it’s ranks – recently […]


Summer Reads-Take Out the Trash!

Monday, July 21st, 2014

The “Summer Read” has come to refer to trashy, ‘chick-lit’, easy reads. The Fifty-Shades phenomenon (which coincidentally was followed by a massive increase in the popularity of the discreet eBook) cemented this genre of the ‘holiday-read’ as guilty-pleasures, not ‘proper’ books. But this is a myth! The holidays are the perfect time to read books […]


Pipe Dreams

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Everyone loves an excuse for fancy dress – as proved by the thousands that turned up for London Comic Convention last weekend (read Lydia’s blog here) and by the recent smattering of authors dressing up as their favourite book characters – my favourite is Neil Gaiman as Badger from Wind in The Willows. It does seem unfair that once […]


A new era for the God of Thunder

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Yesterday Marvel comics announced a new era for the Norse superhero Thor - the character will become a woman. The publisher hopes that recasting Thor as female will attract more woman and girls to comic books and graphic novels. ‘The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads “Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power […]


A trip to London’s Comic Con – any excuse to promote indie bookshops . . .

Monday, July 14th, 2014

You’ve spent months carefully hand-making a cosplay outfit to replicate your favourite anime character – what’s the perfect accessory to complete the look? Why, a Books Are My Bag tote, of course! Kathryn and Lydia took a trip to Earls Court on Saturday to check out some of the best costumes the London Film and Comic […]


Reading Leave

Friday, July 11th, 2014

I am about to embark (I use the word advisedly, as I certainly feel like I could give the new HMS Queen Elizabeth a run for its money) on maternity leave. While I’m excited about my little one’s imminent arrival, the idea of not coming into A&B HQ every week is still a very alien […]


Dancers, acrobats, mermaids and jazz – a bold and vibrant world according to Henri Matisse

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

I made  my way around the spectacular Cut-Outs exhibition at the Tate Modern on Friday, and I left feeling overwhelmingly inspired by the abundant positivity and energy that beams out of Matisse’s later works. One of the most innovative painters of the twentieth-century alongside Duchamp and Picasso, health problems in the last seventeen years of […]


Celebrating Childhood Story Heroes

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

The Story Museum in Oxford has had a great idea: celebrating childhood story heroes. The exhibition, called 26 Characters, features some of Britain’s best-loved storytellers transforming themselves into the characters they loved as children.  Writers included are Anthony Horowitz, Terry Pratchett and Malorie Blackman. Although I think my must-see would be Neil Gaiman as a certain woodland creature […]


Feeling Emotional

Monday, July 7th, 2014

How much do you rely on technology to communicate with friends and colleagues nowadays? I’m going to guess it’s a lot. But as I’ve noticed recently, there’s a politics to these digital discussions, unchartered territory when it comes to kisses, smiley faces and sign offs – and that’s before you’ve even visited the brave new […]


Books about Town

Friday, July 4th, 2014

The National Literary Trust is running a new project this summer: Books about Town. Hoping to encourage readers to sit down with a good book, books as diverse as Mary Poppins, The Wind in the Willows and Agatha Christie’s various Poirot adventures are being re-imagined as a limited series of eye-catching benches dotted about London. […]


YA or not, this lady’s all for reading The Fault in Our Stars

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

As umbrellas went up and trendy festival goers assembled onto the muddy fields of Glastonbury this weekend – I chose not to stand in the rain. Instead, I chose the cosy velour of the cinema. Last week saw the UK release of The Fault in Our Stars, the film adaptation of the chart-topping YA novel […]


An unfortunate event for a library

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Through the wonder of twitter I have seen a few fabulous pictures of people’s mini free libraries around the country and the world. Whether in disused phone boxes, as we highlighted in last week’s blog, in other nooks and crannies or in little bird-box-like constructions, there’s a growing variety out there. Check out this blog […]


Middle Eastern Delights

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Fitzrovia’s  beloved restaurant Honey & Co. have finally got their own book. It was only a matter of time. The tiny cafe on Warren Street has a religious following of foodie fans (I am one of them) and now I can experiment with the recipes at home. In their debut book, the restaurant owners share […]


Browning Ribs on the BBQ

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

How did you enjoy the beautiful weather last weekend? I was at a friend’s flat-warming BBQ, eating some great food and relaxing in her courtyard garden (very exciting, as private outdoors space in London is still a novelty for most of us). I had just eating my seventh chargrilled king prawn (jealous yet?) when I […]


Fonts in the flesh

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

As you might expect in an office filled with bookish types, we’re partial to a good font at A&B. In fact, spotting the ‘Morganville Vampires’ font has become something of an office game, with our former colleague Chiara the current champion with most far-flung points. The picture below was taken a suburb Sydney. But I […]


Literary Ink

Friday, June 20th, 2014

I’m not what you’d call squeamish in the stereotypical sense of the word but when I think about to pain and permanence of tattoos I do a whole body shiver. And, as it happens, tattoos have been cropping up quite a bit this week. Firstly, I’m currently reading Salt and Storm, and have just finished […]


Unlikely Libraries

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Over the years the rise of the mobile phone has left many phone boxes falling into disrepair. Often vandalised, they appear on street corners looking rather forlorn and neglected. But BT stepped in and launched their Adopt a Kiosk scheme.  Then a group of innovative volunteers in Brockley, Lewisham decided to repair, renovate and turn their phone […]


Happy Families

Monday, June 16th, 2014

The Father’s Day celebration over the weekend got me thinking about the parent-child relationships in some of our favourite A&B titles. See below my pick of the most functional and dysfunctional of Allison and Busby’s fictional families: Tom Perrota: Little Children This comical bestseller is a classic that proves that mums and dads come in […]


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