Christmas is a time for tradition, nostalgia and tear-jerkers…

14 November, 2013

The highly anticipated John Lewis chrimbo advert, featuring a bear that befriends a hare at Christmas, aired on our screens this weekend. It reminded me of one of my all time favourite children’s books and a certain Little Nut-brown Hare, from the charming storybook, Guess How Much I Love You, written by Sam McBratney. I […]

Fancy a bit of Rioja this weekend?

8 November, 2013

A couple of weekends ago, I decided to up-sticks from the miserable London weather and head off for a girly weekend to Rioja in northern Spain with my best friend, her mum and sister. A ‘Rioja Road Trip’ so to speak. As seasoned (some might even say, expert!) drinkers of the stuff, we felt it […]

A season of plenty good theatre…

31 October, 2013

‘you may convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty’ (Macbeth, IV, 3) Shakespeare’s Globe and its aptly named ‘Season of Plenty’, delivered on its promise. With its three main productions of The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth, alongside the touring company productions of King Lear, Venus & Adonis, As You Like It and […]

We’ve come a long way from book burnings…

24 October, 2013

I find myself quite regularly on the 259 bus towards the city centre, which takes you past HM Prison Pentonville. Not being a native speaker, it took me a second to figure out that HM stands for ‘Her Majesty’s’. It made me question why other important institutions like the British Library and Museum and the […]

Bookish gifts for the literary-afflicted…

18 October, 2013

Yesterday, a friend of mine told me gleefully that she had gone to Lidle for her first yearly haul of German Christmas gingerbread. This reminded me that the time in nigh to start thinking about Christmas presents in order to avoid the panicked run to random department stores the week before. Which brings me to […]

Hibernation is for Bears, not People

11 October, 2013

With temperatures dropping and dismal weather expected for the weekend, I found myself wondering what to do in the coming months when going for walks in the park and exploring London on foot might become rather unpleasant. Of course, there is the all-time favourite of curling up with a book and a cup of tea […]

Wednesday Cover Story: “I’m looking for that book with the yellow cover…?”

2 October, 2013

Picture this: You’re in the middle of recounting the thrilling events of the latest novel you’ve been devouring to a friend and fellow book-fanatic when they ask you, ‘So what’s the author’s name? What’s the book called?’ And, to your shame and frustration, all your brain will offer up is an image of the book […]

Is it the end of the Man Booker or a fresh start?

26 September, 2013

Often considered a rather staid and sensible prize compared to others of its ilk, The Man Booker Prize has a reputation as a defender of British and Commonwealth writing. Different to its fellow literary prizes, the criteria was simply that the novel be written in the English language by a member of the Commonwealth of […]

So you think you’ve seen London…

20 September, 2013

You’ve gone up the London Eye, watched the guards change at Buckingham Palace, popped inside a selection of our many museums, fed the pigeons in Trafalgar Square and gone shopping in Covent Garden. Maybe you live here or perhaps you’re a happy visitor, but you know London, perhaps not intimately, but you’ve seen the sights […]

Boats against the current…Originality vs. Gatsby

19 September, 2013

Google search Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Once you’ve scrolled passed IMBD and Amazon, the photos of a rather dashing Leo DiCaprio and the mighty Wikipedia, you’ll come to an area of the internet known and loved by many a student. Starting with Sparknotes, you have come to essay territory – prime ground for feckless scholars […]

Happy (dormouse-free) weekend cooking!

13 September, 2013

Once upon a time, not so very far away, the Baron Rothschild had a bit of an accident when six of his imported menagerie escaped from the confines of his estate at Tring. With bulbous black eyes and sharp claws, the Baron could only imagine what he had unwittingly unleashed upon the countryside. For scampering […]

Discovering Hackney

10 September, 2013

“London has the trick of making its past, its long indelible past, always a part of its present …   It is all there in the streets. It is all there in the books.” Anna Quindlen, Imagined London: A Tour of the World’s Greatest Fictional City I can hear my father’s voice telling me: ‘See that […]

A Hashtag by Any Other Name

4 September, 2013

Jason scratched his head. “You named him Festus? You know that in Latin, ‘festus’ means ‘happy’? You want us to ride off to save the world on Happy the Dragon?” – The Lost Hero, Rick Riordan Searching for the perfect baby name can be hard. For parents and authors alike, choosing the right name is […]

Those unforgettable first lines…

29 August, 2013

The authors on the longlist for this year’s Man Booker prize were recently asked what their favourite opening lines from literature were. (Read more in the Guardian here…) Intrigued by this idea and being of the technology-crazed generation where the answer is nearly always “look on Google”, I stepped into the realms of the internet […]

Poetic graffiti

23 August, 2013

Poetry: archaic or beautiful? Its an ongoing debate on which everyone has their own opinions, but whether you see poetry as an art form to be avoided at all costs or as something of great beauty and meaning, it still plays a part in the modern world. From the Underground to underpasses, lyrical musings surround […]

Would a hobbit hole be your perfect reading spot?

13 August, 2013

There are many perfect reading spots, indoors and outdoors (as a child my favourite was the staircase, much to my family’s annoyance). Whilst the crowded doorways of the early morning commuter train is far from perfect, it seems that most of us persevere with reading all the same, whether we are wrestling with a newspaper […]

Reading (and reviewing) The Etymologicon

8 August, 2013

As all booklovers know, it is almost impossible to walk past a book shop and not be enticed inside. Only one thing is more tempting-a bookshop that is having a sale. It is pretty much fatal- you’re guaranteed to leave with yet more books to weigh down that already complaining bookshelf. Last week I gave […]

A living, breathing story…

1 August, 2013

I recently came across an article about the writer Shelley Jackson’s Ineradicable Stain, a project which involves a short story being published on the skin of 2095 volunteers in the form of tattoos, with one word being ‘published’ on each person. The project aims to capture the mortal nature of both words and humanity, and […]

Does the future of print books lie with children?

26 July, 2013

As part of the debate surrounding print books vs. eBooks, new figures from Nielson have suggested that fiction eBooks will be set to overtake print books in 2014. After the success of the Kindle since its first launch in 2007, followed by the phenomenon of shame-free public-transport reading of Fifty Shades of Grey, you might […]

Do you really know who wrote that book you’re reading?

18 July, 2013

In an attempt to write without the pressure of Harry Potter hype, it was revealed this week that JK Rowling had published a crime novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The result being that reviewers had – in contrast to her previous venture into adult literature The Casual Vacancy – unwittingly judged the book on […]

Short on time? Turn to short stories

11 July, 2013

As a newcomer to the somewhat daunting world of the early morning London commute, I am impressed by the people who, undeterred by the uncomfortably close mass of armpits and elbows, continue to be absorbed in their books whilst standing in a cramped tube carriage. Having managed to get on the wrong train once already, […]