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Name a book set around Halloween and win a treat!

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Happy Halloween everyone! Amongst the things I’ve thought about today are: Why is treak or treating just for kids?; shall I make a pumkin soup or pumpkin risotto for dinner tonight?; and what good books have been set on or around Halloween? The only one I could think of was one by the great Tony […]


Friday Fun: How you comin’ on with that novel?

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Time for some end of week laughs. I’m a fan of the irreverently brilliant series Family Guy, a fan of Stewie’s character (the baby) in particular, and my all-time favourite bits have to be Stewie’s monologues about Brian’s novel (that’s Brian the dog). And so I bring you these aforementioned clips from the show… Here’s […]


Meet & Greet with Cassandra Clark in Bracknell

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Saturday 12th November, 11.00am – 3.00 pm  WATERSTONE’S, BRACKNELL Don’t miss this chance to chat to author Cassandra Clark! She will be mingling with customers and signing copies of her medieval mystery series featuring Abbess Hildegard of Meaux, including her latest book The Law of Angels at Waterstone’s, 17 Stanley Walk, Bracknell RG12 1HA. For […]


Bring on the rain, and the stories that go with it…

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

It’s another miserable day: the sky outside is a stubborn steely grey, and rain periodically lashes or drizzles against the A&B office windows. Those of us unlucky enough to have forgotten our umbrellas have reached our desks soggy and displeased, damning our bleak British weather. But perhaps we shouldn’t condemn the precipitation too quickly. Often […]


Wednesday Cover Story: Andrew Davidson’s work

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The printers have just delivered finished copies of The Mapping of Love and Death (out in November) – the upcoming release in the New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series by the much-acclaimed Jacqueline Winspear. (And we’re looking forward to welcoming the author in the offices next week – she’s visiting the UK all the […]


What do you think of the World Book Night List for 2012?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

The list of 25 books selected for next year’s World Book Night has now been announced. The public voted for their favourite titles and the final selection was chosen by an editorial committee – mostly booksellers, authors and critics (last year’s committee included Allison & Busby’s co-founder Margaret Busby!). You can see the full 2012 […]


‘It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…’

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Here in the UK it seems it’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas. We used to wait till after Halloween, but not anymore. As soon as the last heatwave subsides, we need something festive to look forward to so we can get through the winter months. The lights are up on Oxford Street, […]


CANCELLED – Cassandra Clark at Kirklees Libray

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Tuesday 15th November, 7.30pm – 9.00pm         KIRKLEES LIBRARY PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. Come and meet Cassandra Clark, author The Law of Angels, the latest in the medieval mystery series featuring Abbess Hildegard of Meaux.  She will be speaking on a historical crime panel and signing copies of her books at […]


Breakfast is Business

Friday, October 21st, 2011

I have often wondered why people feel the need to broadcast on Twitter or Facebook what they are having for breakfast. Now if it were something special, like they were sitting in Mama’s in San Francisco (my n.1 favourite breakfast place in the world) and waxing lyrical about their Banana Nut French Toast, that’s one […]


My Top 5 American Novels

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Chiara’s recent trip to the U.S. has inspired me to write this week’s blog on my top American novels. And no, unlike all other ‘Great American Novels’ lists I’ve come across, To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn will not be making an appearance… 1. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck: One of my […]


Wednesday Cover Story: The Canons

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

I have mentioned many times before that I am a sucker for book “sets” – where various titles have been collected and given special cover designs that follow a similar pattern. And hence not only do they usually provide great reading (there’s usually good reason for publishers to bother revamping such books) but they look […]


The taste of a good book…

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

This Saturday I found myself at the Southbank Centre’s Autumn Wine and Cheese Festival. On two levels, booths packed side by side boasted their wines, ales, ciders, cheese, bread and goods for those passing by.  Now I don’t know about you, but when I see that many sweet treats tempting me in one place, I […]


The Culture of Words

Monday, October 17th, 2011

There’s that much used cliché that there are dozens of Icelandic words for the subtleties of snow, and from personal experience I can vouch that there is a similar thing in Ireland with rain. My favourite, and one that I remember my Granddad in particular using, is ‘teaming’. And, after my other half walked home […]


Is this responsible TV viewing?

Friday, October 14th, 2011

I can often be heard griping about the fact that the hunt for high ratings increasingly sees TV broadcasting companies providing us with entertainment that panders to the basest of our desires – voyeurism, sex and cheap thrills. So today, when I read the news about how ITV is still deciding whether to continue broadcasting […]


Groovy punctuation…

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

The internet has a lot to answer for: identity theft, horror porn, and Rebecca Black, to name just a few examples. However, if there’s one thing it is good for (unless, that is, you are a sadistic online thief with a penchant for woeful bubblegum pop), then that is providing a wealth of semi-useless information […]


Wednesday Cover Story: Monsieur Pamplemousse gets a makeover

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Michael Bond is adored by millions as the creator of Paddington Bear. I have a particular soft spot for the man as the creator of my favourite childhood guinea pig, Olga da Polga. And he is of course adored by us all at A&B and by his legion of fans for creating the inimitable Monsieur […]


The Power of Making at the V&A

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Craftsmanship and innovative design can be something we neglect at a time of mass-produced, one-size- fits-all products. So it is especially nice, and occasionally awe-inspiring, when you come across an item that has clearly had lots of time and energy lavished upon it by an individual. Like a life-size crocheted bear, for instance. Said bear […]


Time to indulge in some poetry

Monday, October 10th, 2011

It’s all about Carol Ann Duffy right now. The release of her newest collection of poetry, The Bees, has been accompanied by a flurry of magazine articles and poetry readings – including one at the Southbank centre which I’m disappointed I couldn’t attend. Having studied her poems at A level, I’m a big Carol Ann […]


A last day in Boston

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Tomorrow I head back to London, busing it down from Maine to Boston, where I intend to spend a day on memory lane. I spent many long summers in this most European of American cities – interning at a local newspaper on Boston’s chic Newbury Street (spoiled early, it’s no wonder I now love working […]


Let’s hear it for the Bard

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Check out this scribbled page which has gone viral for a dose of visual and literature juice! Cool and somewhat beautiful, n’est pas? What you’re looking at is a variety of expressions that we owe to Shakespeare. And, as you can tell by the fact that they are jammed cheek by jowl onto one moleskin […]


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