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Follet and Morpurgo star in Harrogate History Fest line-up

Ken Follett, Michael Morpurgo, and Kate Mosse will be among the writers at the third Harrogate History Festival.
Others appearing at the festival, run in association with the Historical Writers’ Association (HWA), include Princess Michael of Kent, Thomas Cromwell biographer Tracy Borman, and Scottish historian and broadcaster Neil Oliver.
Gemma Rowland, literature festivals manager, said: “Harrogate’s literary festivals are an essential part of the publishing calendar and the History Festival is no exception. “Now in our third year, we have gathered some of the most exciting names in historical writing, both fiction and non-fiction, for old and young alike. From Michael Morpurgo to Kate Mosse, Neil Oliver to Melvyn Bragg and Princess Michael of Kent, we have something for everyone, and all united in a passion for history in all its forms.”
The festival will open with the HWA Debut Crown for New Historical Fiction and the Harrogate History Festival’s Outstanding Contribution to Historical Fiction will also be presented, in a ceremony hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson.
Other events include a ‘My Era’s Better than Yours’ vote, in which period writers will attempt to convince the audience that the Romans, Tudors, Vikings or Ancient Greeks are the best eras for time travellers to return to in a Tardis.
The Harrogate History Festival takes place at the Old Swan Hotel from 22nd to 25th October.


Special Guest: Michael Morpurgo  – The former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo has written over 130 books. One of our best-loved storytellers, War Horse was adapted to film by Spielberg and stage by the National Theatre.
History is his inspiration – the combination of truth and the magic of storytelling, “speak to us personally and perhaps even have the power to change us as people.”
Prepare to be inspired. Friday 23 October Old Swan Hotel | 9am

Special Guest: Kate Mosse in Conversation with Manda Scott
Two towering pioneers of historical fiction promise to enlighten, enthral and entertain.
Kate Mosse is the international bestselling author who declared our times a ‘golden age’ for historical fiction. Who better to discuss why ‘history is hot’ than with Manda Scott – the author and Chair of the Historical Writers’ Association. Scott is a passionate advocate of the genre that allows us to ‘live a thousand lives’. A novelist, commentator and screenwriter, her books have been short listed for an Orange Prize, nominated for an Edgar Award and translated into over twenty languages.
Friday 23 October Old Swan Hotel | 5pm

New Blood
You heard it here first!  Every year, new writers hit the bookshelves; new names, fresh names, good names – and here, we have brought you four new writers of the very best new historical works of fiction. The Historical Writers’ Association is in the fourth year of its Debut Crown Award for best debut historical novel. Here we have our pick of the best new novelists whose books cross eras and span continents.  The New Blood panel brings you four of the brilliant shortlisted authors, Toby Clements for The Winter Pilgrims, Ben Ferguson for The Spring of Kasper Meier, Antonia Hodgson for The Devil in the Marshalsea and Anna Hope for Wake.

These four sparkling new talents will talk to HWA and Prize committee Chair, Manda Scott, about their books, their experience of life in the world of publishing, and their plans for the future.
Saturday 24 October Old Swan Hotel | 12.00pm

Special Guest: Melvyn Bragg  – Melvyn Bragg’s new novel is set in 1381 when the people of England marched on London to protest against unfair taxes, corruption and to demonstrate  their  complete loss of faith in authority. The Peasant’s Revolt  was the biggest rebellion in English history.
Now Is The Time powerfully captures all the passion and patriotism of this extraordinary struggle between those in power and the apparently powerless.
Sunday 25 October Old Swan Hotel | 11.30am

Special Guest: HRH Princess Michael of Kent –  Royalty has always enthralled and been the most enduring subject for historical writing – fact and fiction. Who better than to welcome to the Harrogate History Festival, a bona fide Princess!
Alongside being a member of the British royal family, the Princess is also a best-selling author, releasing five books including the royal-inspired The Serpent and The Moon and The Queen of Four Kingdoms.
For more than twenty five years, the Princess has pursued a successful career lecturing on historical topics. She lives with her husband, Prince Michael of Kent, in Kensington Palace in London.
In Harrogate, she’ll discuss the third book in her Anjou trilogy following the Queen of Four Kingdoms and Agnes Sorel: Mistress of Beauty.
Saturday 24 October – Old Swan Hotel | 8.30pm

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Mid August Summer Reading

If you have a late August holiday planned or just want some ‘me’ time to curl up with a book then don’t miss our hand-picked, mood-based Summer Reading selections. Or use our Awesome Author Recommender! You can also stay ahead of the crowds by having a sneak peek at some exclusive extracts of books coming out in September … read on for more.

Early Harvest – September Pre-Pubs

This is your monthly chance to get hold of exclusive extracts of great new titles before anyone else has read them. Our September favourites are:

The Serpent Papers by Jessica Cornwell – Sprawling, complex, intriguing, dark and dusty death in the world of rare books from debut novelist and daughter of John le Carré. Or Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – Profound, surprising, propulsive and emotionally riveting, this is a soul-stirring and truly original look at relationships and love. Finally Solomon Creed by Simon Toyne – Superb psychological thriller from The Sunday Times bestselling author of the Sanctus series. Who is Solomon Creed?


If You Like You’ll Love …

You know how this works by now: you tell us an author you really like and we suggest others that you’ll love. Simple. No more book-ending blues! See the site for more recommendations or use our Awesome Author Recommender!

If you like Emma Kavanagh you’ll love The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth. If you like Katie Flynn you’ll love The Last Embrace by Pam Jenoff. If you like Madeline Miller you’ll love Skin by Ilka Tampke.
If you like Lucy Diamond you’ll love The Piano Man Project by Kat French. If you like John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) you’ll love Night Owls by Jenn Bennett.
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Take it E–asy! – eBooks of the Month

We’re still the only place to get a vast array of downloadable books for the widest range of eReaders. This month, we recommend:

The Dress by Kate Kerrigan – Charming, character-led and time-shifting – An alluring, moving and sharply observed read.

The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray – A comic masterpiece about love, art, greed and the banking crisis, from the author of Skippy Dies.


Maxim Jakubowski Recommends

Crime guru Maxim Jakubowski has once again been thumbing the tomes of his favourite genres to give us his top tips for August. There’s no higher recommendation, if this is your sort of thing, so buckle up and tentatively take his hand as he rattles you through the pages of dark and deadly crimes, from modern-day California to Soho during WWII. His top picks are:

All The Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer – Scalpel-like dissection of relationship secrets in a spy-thriller like no other. A melancholy, bittersweet gem.

And Without the Moon by Cathi Unsworth – War-torn side alleys of sadistic Soho in a sublime, enigmatic and captivating book that’s so vivid, you’ll smell the blood.

Nelly Knows it All

Nelly Dean by Alison Case – beautifully written, heartbreaking tribute to the wild darkness and despair of Wuthering Heights reimagined through the eyes of the Earnshaws’ loyal servant, Nelly Dean. Whether or not you have devoured and loved the original, Nelly Dean is a clever, enticing and stimulating must-read.

Group Love

We’re big fans of reading groups. Every month we recommend perfect talking point titles and discounts on multiple orders! This month, try:

The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan – Indulge your love of The Great British Bake Off and first-class relationship tales with this brilliant mash-up! …And, check out the site for other Reading Group recommendations.

Literary Festival Late Summer update

The jewel in the crown of Literary Festivals is The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival (2-11 October). This year Lovereading4kids is proud to announce we are sponsoring the highlight event of the children’s programme: Where My Wellies Take Me with Michael Morpurgo (11 October). Also this August and September look out for other festivals such as: Beyond Borders International Festival of Literature and Thought 22-23 Aug … Bewdley Book Week 7 – 13 Sep … The International Agatha Christie Festival 11-20 Sep … Bloody Scotland 11 – 13 Sept … Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival 17 – 20 Sep … Henley Literature Festival 28 Sept – 4 Oct.

P.S. Any fans of mysterious quests and compelling family sagas should definitely check out the compelling The Moonstone Legacy Trilogy which begins where Wilkie Collins’ classic left off – the last line of The Moonstone reads: ‘What will be the next adventure of the Moonstone? Who can tell?’. Read Moonstone Legacy Trilogy to find out. There is also an extra treat of a specially commissioned recording of The Age of Aquarius (for any fan of the ’60s musical Hair) and the author of Moonstone Legacy Trilogy can be heard on the track reading passages from the novel as at a crucial moment in the book, a fictional DJ named Phil Solaris performs an improvised version of the hit as meteoric diamonds falls to earth during a total eclipse. Read an extract and this new recording of The Age of Aquarius can be downloaded here free.

So, that’s August at Lovereading, see our final selection of Summer Reads below. We’re off to find an apple orchard to sit in and read something fruity until September. See you then!

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Author Talk: Sophie Cousens, winner of Love At First Write

When I first read about the Love at First Write competition, I had only written the first few chapters of my book, How to get Ahead in Television, and had no idea where the story was going. Seeing that the competition was run in conjunction with Lovereading made me convinced I had to get writing and enter. They have always been my ‘go-to’ whenever I’m debating what to read next, or just want to see what is going on in the world of books.

on setEntering the competition gave me the impetus to keep writing my book, then finding out I had been shortlisted gave me the confidence that this was actually a book worth writing.  When I received the phone call to tell me I had won I was actually at work in a TV production office. I was so thrilled, but I don’t think I could believe it at first. The conversation went something like this:

Corvus, “We’re calling to say you’ve won the Love at First Write Competition.”

Me, “What?”

Corvus, “You’ve won. We’re going to publish your book.”

Me, “You’re joking!”

Corvus, “No we’re not joking.”
Me, “No!”

How_to_get_Ahead_in_TV_cover_reducedCorvus, “Yes!”

Me (jumping up and down on my chair) “Really?”

My colleagues, eavesdropping on this conversation, assumed something amazing must have happened with the show we were making; perhaps I’d managed to book David Beckham as a guest? Sadly they were to be disappointed, but I was ecstatic – I’d much rather have my book published than meet David Beckham.

The team at Corvus have been fantastic throughout, and I’ve learnt so much from the editing process. I’ve felt very supported and am very proud of the finished manuscript. I just hope people will enjoy How to Get Ahead in Television and that I prove to be a worthy winner.

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August eNewsletter

Mellow August with its lazy ripeness and hazy summer breeze is the perfect month for escaping into a good book. Luckily, we’ve been busy bees harvesting the best of the best in all genres for your late summer flights of fancy. With our specially-crafted, mood dependent, Summer Reading and the latest in our many and varied fiction and non-fiction categories, we’re confident that, whatever your poison, there’s a taste sensation for everyone at Lovereading this month. Read on for more.

An August Gathering! – Books of the Month

As always, we’ve lovingly filled our August bookshelf with the very brightest talent in all genres. Our top pick is:

Daughter of the House by Rosie Thomas – Beautiful, atmospheric sequel to The Illusionist: “Smell the greasepaint of the theatre, shiver at the chill of spiritualism, share the secrets of illicit affairs. A great read!” (Lovereading Reader Reviewer).


First Fruits – Debuts of the Month

August is a time of harvest and we’ve got some real peaches of first-timers for you this month. Don’t miss:

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan – Enjoyable, exotic, India-set mystery for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and for those who loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Or Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal – Joyful, quirky and heartwarming story with a heroine who, love her or envy her, you’ll never forget.

‘Captivating’, ‘a feast of a book’, ‘an absolute gem’ are just some of the superbly deserved accolades from our Reader Review Panel, given to Rembrandt’s Mirror by Kim Devereux. And Freedom’s Child by Jax Miller – ‘What a pulsating, driving rush this book is … superbly crafted … mesmerising and very hard to put down’ (Lovereading Reader Reviewer).


An Author Who’s Too Close to Home?

Not only is Too Close to Home the title of one of her books, but you sense that the unique voice of Susan Lewis’s spiralling family dramas comes from a place very near truth.

You will be part of the family, feeling every heartbeat of their lives. And you’ll want to devour every one of her books. Luckily, we’ve got them. Here. Happy reading!

Sci-Fi Series of the Month from Jeff VanderMeer

If we told you that we’d found a hybrid of J.J. Abrams and Margaret Atwood you might think we’d gone mad. It would be Science Fiction indeed! But then along comes Jeff VanderMeer who, to all intents and purposes, is their lovechild – literarily not literally, if you see what we mean? Creepily brilliant and unforgettable, his Southern Reach trilogy – AnnihilationAuthority and Acceptance – is utterly awesome. Alison Flood, one of our Fiction editorial experts said, ‘I’m not sure I’ve read a trilogy which scared me, and stayed with me so much, for years.’


WWII – VJ Day Anniversary

August 15 sees the 70th anniversary of the end of the mammoth conflict that shook the globe from 1939-1945 and we have a category of books – fiction and non-fiction – inspired by that incredible period in human history. Adventure, heroism, horror, cruelty, sacrifice, survival all abound and this category is a tribute to all who died and to those who lived through it.


New Work from New York – Jonathan Franzen

Novelist and die-hard New Yorker Jonathan Franzen has received worldwide acclaim for his work. The Corrections (2001) is a uniquely insightful exposé of modern America through the individual lives of the members of one family. Multi-award winning and an international bestseller, it has sealed its place as one of the great American novels. We are quietly excited (he wouldn’t want a fuss) about the arrival of his long-awaited new title, Purity, a dark-hued comedy of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder. It’s published in September.

Literary Festival Late Summer Update

This August and September look out for book festivals such as: Beyond Borders International Festival of Literature and Thought 22-23 Aug … Bewdley Book Week 7 – 13 Sep … The International Agatha Christie Festival 11-20 Sep … Bloody Scotland 11 – 13 Sep … Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival 17 – 20 Sep … Henley Literature Festival 28 Sep – 4 Oct.

Happy Reading …

P.S. The Man Booker Longlist has been announced. You can find them all here and despite the number of British contenders being reduced our office favs are still the home-grown Anne Enright and Tom McCarthy.

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Lovereading most popular books 27 July – 2 August 2015

Lovereading Top 10

The Song Collector The Song Collector
Natasha Solomons
July 2015 Book of the Month.
‘The Song Collector’ subtly tiptoes under your skin, the first few sentences call to you, draw you in, envelop you… and then it doesn’t let you go until the very last page. Fox recollects meeting …
Download free opening extract
The Girl on the Train The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
Shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award 2015.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title.
In the footsteps of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, the unreliable narrator domestic drama of untruths is the new ‘hot’ genre. …
Download free opening extract
Too Close to Home Too Close to Home
Susan Lewis
A page turner of a family drama that twists and wrenches at your heart strings. The author sets in motion a series of harrowing events and allows the reader glimpses and flashes of knowledge and understanding long before the mum …
Download free opening extract
Those We Left Behind Jack Lennon Those We Left Behind Jack Lennon
Stuart Neville
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title.
Neville introduced Belfast cop DCI Serena Flanagan in his last novel THE FINAL SILENCE in which she appeared as a firm but empathetic antagonist to his previous lead character, troubled policeman Jack Lennon. Now back at …
Download free opening extract
Loving Amy A Mother's Story Loving Amy A Mother’s Story
Janis Winehouse
A new and intimate appraisal of Amy Winehouse from her mother, Janis. Watching her precocious and often difficult daughter grow-up, Janis saw her develop into a musician with a world-wide following, beset with addiction problems Janis then lost her daughter …
Download free opening extract
Fifty Shades of Grey Fifty Shades of Grey
E. L. James
The book everyone’s been talking about, now a major motion picture. Young and innocent Anastasia Steele doesn’t quite know what to make of the smouldering industrialist Christian Grey when she interviews him for her student paper. Things get both troubling …
Download free opening extract
Gorsky Gorsky
Vesna Goldsworthy
Maxim Jakubowski July 2015 Highly Recommended.
A rich oligarch’s path crosses the path of a disillusioned bookseller through whose voice his story, and that of the beautiful woman married to another whom he loves, is told all the way to its …
Download free opening extract
To Kill A Mockingbird To Kill A Mockingbird
Harper Lee
You may have read this but it certainly deserves another read.  It’s the sort of book that becomes more profound with each reading.  It is quite simply brilliant, a tale of prejudices and injustice in small town America which should …
Download free opening extract
Black by Design: A 2-tone Memoir Black by Design: A 2-tone Memoir
Pauline Black
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 15 March 2012.
Weaving her rise to fame and recollections of the 2-tone phenomenon with her moving search for her birth parents, Black By Design is a funny and enlightening memoir …
Download free opening extract
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year
Sue Townsend
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 22 March 2012.
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year is a funny and touching novel about what happens when someone refuses to be the person everyone expects them to …
Download free opening extract
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Lovereading Review: Pearl River Delta Guide: Hong Kong’s Back Yard by Thomas Bird

Pearl River Delta Guide is an informative and entertaining travel guide to Hong Kong’s Back Yard – one of the world’s hottest new destinations.

The region dubbed the “workshop of the world” – already home to 50 million people – is set to become one of the world’s largest and most influential ‘megacities’ of the 21st Century and is fast becoming a tourist hotspot in its own right.

Located on the outskirts of Asia’s global city, Hong Kong, where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea, it covers the bustling cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Zhuhai – all of them linked by high-speed transport networks.


But Pearl River Delta Guide is more than a traditional travel guide. Author Thomas Bird, an expert in this region, examines the myriad of cultural and historical treasures that remain a closely-guarded secret to all but a select handful of travellers.


Ideal both for business travellers and holidaymakers, the guide includes a variety of wonderfully-romantic day trips and excursions across the region – from jazz concerts in Zhuhai to poetry reading in Shenzhen. Heavy on tips about the Arts, not only does it highlight the best literary festivals to catch, it also has sections on the region’s thriving grassroots creative enterprises and its cutting-edge shows and exhibitions. Indeed, it seems there is something for everyone – from underground music to contemporary Art – with museums, galleries, opera houses and concert halls all being listed.

The Pearl River Delta Guide also covers the best places for family days out and other heartwarming – and heart-stopping activities. From the Lost City Water Park in Zhuhai, to hiking, bungee jumping, horse riding and rock climbing – this region really is an outdoor playground. [For a less energetic option – of which there are, thankfully, many! – you can bathe in hot springs or top up a tan on any number of fabulous, unspoilt beaches.
It also highlights the best shopping, hotels and restaurants (head to Guangzhou for the best Cantonese cuisine, which sounds fabulous). There’s plenty of ‘top fives’, too – from the best historic sites to the must-see religious destinations.
This quirky 260-page guide, which is filled with great photos, is also packed with current price points, transport schedules, colour maps and helpful miscellaneous information, such as the ‘best new writers in the region’.


Bird, the author of the acclaimed Hong Kong’s Back Yard: Explore The Pearl River Delta, has put this fascinating region on the international map. Such is the quality of his guidebook, it seems likely that an updated version will be published annually.


It is the only reputable guidebook covering this area, making it essential reading for both international travellers and Hong Kong locals.

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Book Review: A Trip Beyond Imagination By Tony Butcher

This fascinating new book by Tony Butcher is a delightful story of one man’s spiritual awakening.

tbfcATripBeyondImagination_smButcher was working as a headmaster in Surrey when an ‘inner calling’ drew him to travel to India – Earth’s spiritual centre – where he embarked on an incredible and life-changing journey of self-discovery. [He was in his seventies at the time – what an inspiration!]

A Trip Beyond Imagination is a travelogue of his adventures as he delves deeper and deeper into transcendental meditation, unlocking the true path to peace, happiness and inner contentment lacking from his daily life.

As Butcher says: “What is called happiness in this world are like small breaks in drudgery, such as love at first sight, a holiday and any kind of pleasant surprise. These are just like small breaks in the cloud on a very gloomy day and soon disappear. Real happiness comes from within. And it resonates outwards through you into relative life.”
The author describes his journey travelling around India, staying in Ashrams and meeting with gurus, and how this journey of self-discovery gave him a sense of purpose and meaning on earth. Many pages are devoted to the great power of transcendental meditation (TM), and how it uses a mantra to help a person go deep into their being, giving their mind and body a period of complete rest. Whether or not this is your cup of tea, it sounds like a welcome tonic in today’s frantic, immediate world.

The book, then, will appeal to those who enjoy bold adventure stories. But it also promises to aid anyone who is considering their own journey of self-discovery and self-fulfilment.

Packed full of information and titbits on India, it will also captivate anyone interested in this vast, eclectic country.

A Trip Beyond Imagination is described as a travel book. But, in many ways, it also falls into the self-help genre. It is, then, a unique blend of spiritual guide, memoir and travelogue that will delight anyone interested in yoga, spirituality, meditation and self-development. Well worth reading.
A Trip Beyond Imagination by Tony Butcher is out now on Kindle only, priced at £2.26.

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Mark Zuckerberg’s A Year of Books Reading Challenge

January 2015 Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook posted the message below….

zukerberg‘My challenge for 2015 is to read a new book every other week — with an emphasis on learning about different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies.

I’m excited for my reading challenge. I’ve found reading books very intellectually fulfilling. Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today. I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books.’ He has called this A Year of Books.

A year in books

To make it easy to follow Mark Zuckerberg’s selections we will be featuring them all on this blog post – and in time on a special category on the website.


Book 1 January: The End of Power by Moises Naim

The End of Power From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge isn’t What it Used to be argues that in every field of endeavor – business, religion, politics, and all matters of war and peace – power is no longer what it used to be.

The author deftly delineates the shifting global dynamics in control, authority and expertise between the traditionally dominant megaplayers and the newly ascendant micropowers.

Book 2 January: The Better Angels of Our Nature A History of Violence and Humanity by Steven Pinker

This title was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2012 and argues that, contrary to popular belief, humankind has become progressively less violent, over millenia and decades. Can violence really have declined?

The images of conflict we see daily on our screens from around the world suggest this is an almost obscene claim to be making. Extraordinarily, however, Steven Pinker shows violence within and between societies – both murder and warfare – really has declined from prehistory to today.

Book 3 February: Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh

Sudhir Venkatesh the young sociologist who became famous in Freakonomics (Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?) describes his time living with the gangs on the Southside of Chicago and answers another question: what’s it like to live in hell? In the Robert Taylor Homes projects on Chicago’s South Side, Sudhir befriends J.T., a gang leader for the Black Kings. As he slowly gains J.T.’s trust, one day, in order to convince Sudhir of his own CEO-like qualities, J.T. makes him leader of the gang…Why does J.T. make his henchmen, the ‘shorties’, stay in school? What is the difference between a ‘regular’ hustler and a ‘hype’ – and is Peanut telling him the truth about which she is? And, when the FBI finally starts cracking down on the Black Kings, is it time to get out – or is it too late?

Book 4 February: On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

In this bold, fascinating book, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear – fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what may be in your children’s air, food, mattresses, medicines, and vaccines. Reflecting on her own experience as a new mother, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire’s Candide, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Susan Sontag’s AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is an inoculation against our fear and a moving account of how we are all interconnected – our bodies and our fates.

Book 5 March: Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

As9780593070109-300x400 a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: to make the world’s first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream first as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start, and then forged an early partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his founding Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter in 1986. Nine years later and against all odds, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever. Since then, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, and WALL-E, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner twenty-seven Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is. Now, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques, honed over years, that have made Pixar so widely admired – and so profitable. Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation Studios – into the story meetings, the postmortems, and the ‘Braintrust’ sessions where art is born. It is, at heart, a book about how to build and sustain a creative culture-but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, ‘an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.’

Book 6 March: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn

9780226458120A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were-and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. And fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation, but that revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of normal science, as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age.  Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.


Book 7 April Rational Ritual Culture, Coordination and Common Knowledge Michael Suk-Young Chwe

9780691114712Why do Internet, financial service, and beer commercials dominate Super Bowl advertising? How do political ceremonies establish authority? Why does repetition characterize anthems and ritual speech? Why were circular forms favored for public festivals during the French Revolution? This book answers these questions using a single concept: common knowledge. Game theory shows that in order to coordinate its actions, a group of people must form common knowledge. Each person wants to participate only if others also participate. Members must have knowledge of each other, knowledge of that knowledge, knowledge of the knowledge of that knowledge, and so on. Michael Chwe applies this insight, with striking erudition, to analyze a range of rituals across history and cultures


Book 8 April Dealing with China Hank Poulson 

DEALING WITH CHINA takes the reader behind closed doors to witness the creation and evolution and future of China’s state-controlled capitalism. Hank Paulson has dealt with China unlike any other foreigner. As head of Goldman Sachs, Paulson had a pivotal role in opening up China to private enterprise. Then, as Treasury secretary, he created the Strategic Economic Dialogue with what is now the world’s second-largest economy. While negotiating with China on needed economic reforms, he safeguarded the teetering U.S. financial system. Over his career, Paulson has worked with scores of top Chinese leaders, including Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful man in decades. How can the West negotiate with and influence China given its authoritarian rule, its massive environmental concerns, and its huge population’s unrelenting demands for economic growth and security? Written in an anecdote-rich, page-turning style, DEALING WITH CHINA is certain to become the classic and definitive examination of unlocking, building, and engaging an economic superpower.


Book 9 May Orwell’s Revenge by Peter Huber

11160563_710041985771899_1625807478025891231_nIn an extraordinary demonstration of the emerging supermedium’s potential to engender new forms of creativity, Huber’s book boldly reimagines 1984 from the computer’s point of view. After first scanning all of Orwell’s writings into his personal computer, Huber used the machine to rewrite the book completely, for the most part using Orwell’s own language. Alternating fiction and non-fiction chapters, Huber advances Orwell’s plot to a surprising new conclusion while seamlessly interpolating his own explanations and arguments. The result is a fascinating utopian work which envisions a world at our fingertips of ever-increasing information, equal opportunity, and freedom of choice.

Book 10 May The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as “brave and bold,” this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a “call to action.”

Called “stunning” by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David Levering Lewis, “invaluable” by the Daily Kos, “explosive” by Kirkus, and “profoundly necessary” by the Miami Herald, this updated and revised paperback edition of The New Jim Crow, now with a foreword by Cornel West, is a must-read for all people of conscience.

Book 11 June Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldun

MuqaddimahThe first complete English translation of the introduction to a history of the world by the 14th-century Islamic scholar and statesman Ibn Khaldn. (from wikipedia) The Muqaddimah, also known as the Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun (Arabicمقدّمة ابن خلدون, meaning in English: Ibn Khaldun’s Introduction) or Ibn Khaldun’s Prolegomena (Greek: Προλεγόμενα), is a book written by the Tunisian, Arab, North African Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun in 1377 which records an early view of universal history. Some modern thinkers view it as the first work dealing with the philosophy of history or the social sciences of sociology,demography,historiography,cultural history, social darwinism, ecologist, marxism, darwinian and economics. The Muqaddimah also deals with Islamic theologypolitical theory and the natural sciences of biology and chemistry.

Book 12 June Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

9780099590088Nothing less than a history of humankind from when the first species known as “humans” evolved through to the modern day. Dealing with how and why humans became the dominant species, Yuval Noah Harari also seeks to show how our species adapted and changed throughout human history. Taking in everything from religion to science to capitalism – an exhilarating journey through human history.


Book 13 July The Player of Games by Iain M Banks

9781857231465Don’t pigeon hole Iain M Banks Culture novels as just Sci-fi novels  – they are just engrossing, political, thought provoking and mind opening. The Player of Games was a 2012 World Book Night selection. The Culture – a human/machine symbiotic society – has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game…a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life – and very possibly his death..

Book 14 July Energy by Vaclav Smil

9781851684526As Einstein pointed out in his famous equation, E=MC2, all matter can be described as energy. It is everywhere; it is everything. In this engaging book, prolific author and academic Vaclav Smil provides an introduction to the far-reaching term and gives the reader a greater understanding of energy’s place in both past and present society. Starting with an explanation of the concept, he goes on to cover such exciting topics as the inner workings of the human body, and the race for more efficient and environmentally friendly fuels.

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Book Festival News Update August 2015

See below for our latest round up of Book festivals for the late Summer and Early Autumn. Click on the links below or scroll down to find out more.

Beyond Borders International Festival of Literature and Thought – Scottish Borders 22-23 Aug

Bewdley Book Week – Worcestershire 7 – 13 Sept

The International Agatha Christie Festival –  Torquay, Devon 11-20 Sept

Bloody Scotland – Stirling 11 – 13 Sept

Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival – 17 – 20 Sep

Henley Literature Festival – 28 Sept – 4 Oct


Beyond Borders International Festival of Literature and Thought Traquair House, August 22-23

First Ministers Past and Present Gather at Traquair House

Beyond-Borders-LogsmBeyond Borders Scotland has launched the programme for its sixth International Festival of Literature and Thought – held at Traquair House on August 22 & 23 – welcoming three First Ministers, past and present, to the platform to share their personal experiences and future hopes for Scotland in the UK and the wider world.

Mark Muller Stuart, Executive-Director of Beyond Borders said; “We believe there is something for everyone in this year’s programme. Whether you are interested in politics, literature, art, music or spellbinding stories from around the world, Traquair House and its beautiful grounds offer the perfect setting for a weekend of vibrant public debate, walks, rides and food tasting. We urge everyone to come and travel beyond borders.”

This year the Scottish political landscape takes centre stage with panels uncovering the lives of some of Scotland’s foremost politicians. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond MP join the Festival on different days to discuss the impact of the Referendum and the General Election as well as what it means to be the First Minister of Scotland, while Lord Jack McConnell reveals what happens when you lose high office in ‘What Jack did Next: Life after Politics’.

Looking further afield, 20 years on from the tragic events in Srebrenica, Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson MSP goes back to her roots in journalism to interview veteran foreign correspondents Janine di Giovanni and Allan Little about reporting from international conflict zones in ‘Srebrenica Remembered’. This panel will be accompanied by all-day screenings of Srebrenica Survivors, a documentary film directed by Bosnian Samir Mehanovic, which tells the stories of those who survived the genocide.

Other international talks feature Magnus Linklater on the rise of Islamic State, veteran UN diplomat Staffan de Mistura on the search for peace in Syria, and Indian politician Shashi Tharoor on the future of India.

The programme also encompasses numerous literary talks from celebrated poet Blake Morrison, novelist Rachel Cusk, Palestinian writer Raja Shehadeh, as well as historical tales from William Dalrymple about “Mughals in Kilts” and Andrew Duff on a Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom. Away from the main stage, Stuart Kelly talks to Murray Pittock in the Traquair Chapel about the Jacobite Uprising, while Mary Kenny takes walkers on a Jacobite romp, and food writer Fiona Bird goes foraging with local writer Fi Houston.

On a more light-hearted note Steve Richards returns for a satirical look at the UK’s political classes with Sir Menzies Campbell, while Yasmin Alibhai-Brown performs her Fringe show ‘Promiscuous England.’ Other theatrical performances include Guy Masterson’s award-winning rendition of Under Milkwood, and Gerald Gifford plays a unique collection of 18th century pieces on the Traquair Rucker’s harpsichord.

Richard Demarco, Director of the Demarco European Arts Foundation, who will speak about his life in the arts in celebration of his 85th birthday, said of the Festival, “This Festival puts Traquair on the international map and gives a new and dynamic beating heart to international arts festivals.”

The full Beyond Borders Scotland Summer Events Programme and Box Office is available online at Tickets: Weekend Pass £45/Day Pass £24/Individual Events £9/Walks and Cycle Rides £6. For more information, email or call 0131 557 7775.



Bewdley Book Week 7-13 September 2015

Poet Laureate Star of Bewdley Book Week

Bewdley logoIn what is a major coup for a literary festival of its size, Bewdley Book Week has secured an appearance by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

The week-long festival of writing is only in its fifth year but the appearance of the internationally recognised wordsmith this September marks a step-change in its growth. In this eye-catching event, Carol Ann Duffy will perform her work in a distinctly informal setting in tandem with traditional music from Worcester-based band Bitterroots. There’s support from Malvern-based poet Michael Woods. The show is on Friday 11th September and tickets (only £12) are on sale now. It’s bound to be a sell-out so the organisers are encouraging everybody to book early to avoid missing out on what promises to be a lively and stimulating evening.

There’s something for everyone in the eclectic Book Week 2015 programme from a philosopher talking about life from the point of view of death (Raymond Tallis – Monday 7th September) to a music biographer talking about shady goings on in the world of pop music (Clinton Heylin – Wednesday 9th September). Somewhere in between, a BBC foreign affairs producer lifts the lid on his turbulent relationship with the BBC’s World Affairs Editor, John Simpson (Oggy Boytchev – Tuesday 8th September.)

Another event that is already proving to be hugely attractive, the Saturday afternoon event ‘Tea and Cake with Katie, Jo and Rachel’, Heart FM’s breakfast show co-presenter Rachel New, herself an aspiring author, will moderate a conversation with bestselling romantic novelists Katie Fforde and Jo Thomas.

There’s lots more besides and the full programme can be found at Tickets can be purchased on-line from this website. Alternatively, they’re available from Bewdley’s Tourist Information Centre 0845 607 7819.


Fresh insights into the life, literature and legacy of the world’s best-selling author are promised to visitors of all ages when the expanded 125th anniversary edition of the International Agatha Christie Festival (IACF) takes place in her home town of Torquay in Devon, from September 11-20.

Upwards of 10,000 people are expected to be drawn in by the festival’s nine days of talks, tours, book launches, exhibitions, theatre, films, writing workshops, vintage entertainments and by a celebrity guest list which includes broadcaster Kate Adie; novelists Martin Edwards, Sophie Hannah, Bonnie MacBird and Ali Sparkes; Christie scholar John Curran, theatre expert Julius Green and artist Tom Adams, among many others.

Speaking as the full programme was published online, Dr Anna Farthing, director of the 2015 festival, said: “As well as being the world’s best-selling author, its most translated novelist and the UK’s most successful woman playwright, Dame Agatha Christie was a fascinating character, whose work was shaped by her life and times and whose enduring impact reaches much further than her writings. In programming this 125th anniversary festival, my aim has been to fully reflect this breadth and depth by supplementing favourite and familiar stories with new viewpoints and fresh insights – some of them never made public before – in ways that will appeal as much to younger people and newcomers as they will to lifelong fans.”

More than 100 events will be on the festival menu with each day taking a special theme, starting on Saturday 12 September with a Family Day of children’s author-led workshops, trails, stories and an outdoor show on the lawns where a young Agatha herself performed. The week then continues with focuses on the First World War years; Miss Marple; the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, International Agatha, Agatha & Theatre and Agatha For Everyone.

At the heart of the programme will be a birthday party on September 15 at the festival’s main venue, Torre Abbey, while other highlights and locations will include:

  • an exhibition of previously unpublished photos from the Christie family’s private archives;
  • book talks and launches by, among others, Kate Adie (discussing Agatha & WW1); Sophie Hannah (whose new novel A GAME FOR ALL THE FAMILY was written while she was also working on her recent Poirot best-seller), crime writer Martin Edwards sharing episodes from his factual account, THE GOLDEN AGE OF MURDER and Julius Green, whose latest title CURTAIN UP, explores Agatha Christie’s output as the world’s most successful female playwright;
  • French cookery writer Anne Martinetti, author of a series of recipe books linked to writers/film-makers, preparing food from Christie stories in the kitchen at Agatha’s long-time Devon home: Greenway on the river Dart, near Brixham;
  • John Curran leading an illustrated Q&A with the artist Tom Adams, 90 next year, who between 1963 and 1975 designed around 100 covers for Christie’s paperbacks
  • daily workshops led by leading authors and publishers
  • a series of vintage and social occasions – among them a vintage fair, a tea dance, a cocktail party and a grand ball at Greenway
  • an introduction to poisons by A IS FOR ARSENIC author Dr Kathryn Harkup and a guided tour of the potent plants garden at Torre Abbey
  • A resident company of professional actors giving pop-up performances and readings
  • Events linked to the BBC’s new David Walliams and Jessica Raine series, PARTNERS IN CRIME, based on Agatha Christie’s Tommy & Tuppence stories plus a rare silent film featuring the same characters showing with a live piano accompaniment
  • A gala evening marking the 80th anniversary of the RNIB’s Talking Book for the Blind service and its choice of Christie’s THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD as its first work of fiction.

For full programme details, including venues, ticket prices and bookings, please see:


BLOODY SCOTLAND 11-13 September in Stirling

Bloody-Scotland-smAs the literary world celebrates Agatha Christie’s 125th anniversary, this year’s Bloody Scotland festival pays homage to crime writing past, present and future. Martina Cole, Linwood Barclay, Ian Rankin, Arne Dahl, Val McDermid, Lindsey Davis and Ann Cleeves are amongst the major names confirmed to attend the most star-studded edition of the Stirling-based crime writing festival to date.

The festival, which showcases the best of Scottish and international crime writing in the historic and ancient town centre of Stirling, will run from 11 – 13 September this year. The science behind crime writing comes to the fore in a number of events, some of the most famous crime authors in the world are coming to Stirling to talk about their books, and the festival joins in the Agatha Christie celebrations with an extra special event.

In a huge coup for the festival, Martina Cole, one of the biggest names in international crime fiction, whose books have sold over ten million copies in the UK alone, will offer Bloody Scotland audiences an exclusive sneak preview of her soon-to-be-published novel Get Even, in conversation with Guardian columnist Erwin James.
Linwood Barclay, author of thirteen novels including the international best-sellers Trust Your Eyes, A Tap on the Window and No Time for Goodbye, comes over from Canada for a UK exclusive event, to close the festival in style. Lindsey Davis, the phenomenally popular creator of Roman dectective Falco, is guaranteed to fill Stirling’s Albert Halls as she introduces her new novel Deadly Election. Arne Dahl, possibly Sweden’s most famous crime fiction export, returns to Bloody Scotland following the huge success of his series about the Intercrime Unit on BBC4. Ian Rankin teams up with Philip Kerr, author of the Bernie Gunther novels, to discuss what happens when your lead detective becomes even more popular than you are. Ann Cleeves will not only be appearing at the festival, but will be taking a group of readers on a trip to Shetland immediately after the festival proper finishes for a tour of the landscapes that inspired her Jimmy Perez novels and the hugely-acclaimed BBC TV series. Denise Mina teams up with award-winning South African-based novelist Belinda Bauer to discuss the creations of intelligent, character-driven fiction.

The science of crime comes under the microscope this year. The festival celebrates Agatha Christie’s anniversary with an exciting event looking at the grande dame of crime fiction’s obsession with poisons. Dr Kathryn Harkup, author of the book A is for Arsenic, and Christie expert Ragnar Jonasson, who has been Christie’s Icelandic translator since he was seventeen, will discuss the art of chemistry Christie used to kill the vast majority of her ‘victims’. Leading authors Val McDermid and Lin Anderson discuss the science of forensic evidence: Anderson’s Rhona MacLeod novels show her years of research into forensic and scientific detection, while McDermid has recently published a fascinating non-fiction work, Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime.

As ever, Bloody Scotland includes lots of events that don’t quite conform to the standard book festival template. After its huge popularity in 2014, the festival restages its Scotland vs. England all-crime-writers football match, with team captain Ian Rankin and star strikers Chris Brookmyre and Doug Johnstone already confirmed for the Scotland squad.   Whose Crime Is It Anyway? sees comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli and a live audience force authors Caro Ramsay, Kevin Wignall and Chris Brookmyre to improvise the plot of a novel live onstage. The festival will also be taking over Stirling’s famous Curly Coo pub for a night of song and comedy hosted by a number of authors.

Scottish crime writers including William McIlvanney, Doug Johnstone, Craig Robertson and Neil Broadfoot look at what make Glasgow and Edinburgh such distinctive settings for noir fiction, while a special true crime event looks sees Tom Wood, one of the leading officers in Edinburgh’s notorious World’s End Murders case, in conversation with journalist Bob Smyth, who covered the case extensively.

There are also a number of events celebrating crime fiction’s next generation. Bestselling author Alex Gray presents her choice of the best new crime books around (and their authors); highly acclaimed debut novelists Lucy Ribchester (The Hourglass Factory) and Not The Booker Prize-winner Simon Sylvester (The Visitors) make first-time appearances with their alternative takes on the genre, and the Pitch Perfect event offers new writers the chance to pitch their novels and get advice from a panel of publishing experts. The festival also teams up with other established crime writing organisations, including Nordic Noir, Brighton’s Dark & Stormy Festival and the authors’ collective Killer Women.

Finally, the festival will also include the fourth annual Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year Award – a gala dinner in the company of major crime writers. Last year’s winner, Peter May, will be opening the festival in conversation with Val McDermid.

Tickets are on sale from or at the Box Office in the Tolbooth, Stirling, from Tuesday – Saturday (10-6am) on 01786 27 4000. Free standby tickets are available to the unemployed or those on a low income, on the day of the event if there is good availability. Proof of eligibility is required: visit


budlitfest_logo_colourThis year’s festival reveals a diverse selection of critically acclaimed, award-winning authors who are set to descend on the East Devon seaside town for the festival’s 7th consecutive year.

Appearing on Thursday afternoon will be celebrated children’s author and artist, Judith Kerr, creator of iconic books such as The Tiger Who Came to Tea, When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit and the Mog series. Judith will be discussing Creatures: A Celebration of the Life and Work, which celebrates her impressive 45 year career.

Also making an appearance on Thursday afternoon will be British actress, comedian and writer Helen Lederer who will discuss her debut novel Losing It, and her colourful career. Returning to the festival line-up is double Man Booker Prize winner and long-standing Honorary Festival President, Dame Hilary Mantel DBE, who will give an account of the literature that has shaped her life and writing, in an event entitled My Life in Books, the first of two appearances over the four days.

On the Friday, acclaimed biographers Ruth Scurr and Rachel Holmes will discuss their weighty biographies of 17th century English gentleman John Aubrey and radical feminist, campaigner and biographer Eleanor Marx.

Legendary artist and textile designer Kaffe Fassett will share his love of colour and bold patterns, whilst former cricketer turned cricket commentator David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd will talk about his forthcoming memoir and thoughts on the game. Debut authors Paula Hawkins and Renee Knight will also wax lyrical about their exceptional and bestselling, debut thrillers, The Girl on The Train and Disclaimer.

Following the success of her debut novel Tigers in Red Weather, former New York Times journalist and Sunday Times bestselling author, Liza Klaussman will be discussing her latest book Villa America. Set on the French Riviera in the 1920s, the novel focuses on Gerald and Sara Murphy; the couple that inspired Tender is the Night, and the distinguished guests that visited them, including Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald and Pablo Picasso.

Friday evening closes with an exciting event that celebrates the BBC’s television adaptations of Winston Graham’s much loved Poldark. His son Andrew Graham will discuss the process of bringing the characters, stories and rugged Cornish Coast to life with the series scriptwriter Debbie Horsfield (Making Out, Cutting It, Sex, Chips and Rock’n’Roll). There’s also a strong possibility that members of the cast or crew will join this event.

Also on Saturday is acclaimed British dramatist David Hare who will be making a special appearance at the Festival to talk about his exceptional life writing for theatre, film and television. A BAFTA winner, he will be discussing his forthcoming memoir, The Blue Touch Paper, with Observer writer Rachel Cooke.

British-Chinese writer and Radio presenter Xinran will be talking about her thoughts on China and her eye-opening new book Buy Me The Sky: the Remarkable Truth of China’s One-Child Generation. Eminent philosopher John Gray will be discussing free will and pondering the timeless question: Do human beings want more choice in their lives…. Or do they really dream of being free from the burden of choice altogether?

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland and explore what makes Lewis Carroll’s magical tale of Alice so unique and distinctive, whilst Bookclub favourite Patrick Gale will talk about the mysterious family history that inspired his wonderful new novel, A Place Called Winter.

Dame Margaret Drabble will discuss her fantastic latest novel, The Pure Gold Baby and her thoughts on storytelling and great literature, whilst Man Booker Prize winner Ben Okri will wax lyrical about creativity, transformation and his first new novel in seven years, The Age of Magic. Bringing the festival to a close on Sunday afternoon will be much loved author Sarah Waters who will read and talk about her acclaimed latest novel, The Paying Guests.

The Festival will also feature three local authors. Christine Lee will discuss her relationship with her sister Jennifer Worth (author of Call the Midwife) and her debut novel The Midwife’s Sister. Budleigh author and artist Jed Falby will talk about his debut graphic novel, Le Train de Michel, with renowned comic expert and author Paul Gravett. And Peter Nasmyth will share his passion for the Literature and Landscape of East Devon with an illustrated talk.

For information and to purchase tickets visit . Tickets can be booked in person or by phone from The Tourist Information Centre: 01395 445 275.

HENLEY LITERARY FESTIVAL 28 September – 4 October

Actors, adventurers, comedians, cooks, politicians And sports stars join bestsellers  at Henley Literary Festival

Henley Literary festival_1This autumn’s Henley Literary Festival is the biggest yet with 170 talks, Q&As, performances and workshops with speakers including Brian Blessed, Jane Hawking, Lynda La Plante, Sue Perkins and the Archbishop of York.

Henley Literary Festival, in association with Baillie Gifford, takes place at venues across the picturesque riverside town from September 28 to October 4, including one of the UK’s oldest theatres, a boat on the Thames and the historic Fawley Court, which is opening its doors to the public for the first time in 175 years for a special event with Downtown Abbey writer Jessica Fellowes. Jane Hawking will discuss her memoir, which formed the basis for Oscar-winning film The Theory of Everything. Adventurers Ranulph Fiennes and Ben Fogle will be returning to Henley after sell-out events in the past, while the world of religion will be represented by Cormac Murphy O’Connor, former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.

Fiction events range from international bestsellers Louis de Bernieres, Lynda La Plante, SJ Watson, Deborah Moggach and Sex & The City creator Candace Bushnell to newer talents including Emma Hooper, Sunny Singh, and Vaseem Khan. Festival favourites Rachel Johnson, Melvyn Bragg, Gill Hornby and Princess Michael of Kent will also be discussing their latest novels.

History will loom large as ever, including Max Hastings on World War Two, Peter Snow on Waterloo and Bonnie Greer on Rosa Parks. Food-writers Ella Woodward, Prue Leith, Shivi Ramoutar and Celebrity Masterchef winner Lisa Faulkner will all be appearing at the festival, as will music stars Tracey Thorn, Bob Harris and Dean Friedman.

From stage and screen there is Brian Blessed, Virginia McKenna, Sue Perkins and Pam St Clement, while sport will be represented by former England cricket coach David Lloyd and Australian Rugby World Cup winner Michael Lynagh. Politicians past and present include Vince Cable, Caroline Lucas, Charles Clarke and William Waldegrave. Other speakers over the week include columnists Polly Vernon, Bryony Gordon, Yasmin Alibhai‐Brown and Will Hutton, campaigner Caroline Criado‐Perez and raconteur Gyles Brandreth, who hosts the Festival’s first literary lunch at Henley’s Hotel du Vin.

For tickets and further information visit:

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Lovereading Mid July email update

Welcome to our mid-July email update full of hand-picked Summer Reading selections, exclusive Pre-Publication Opening Extracts, amazing free to enter prize draws and all that’s new and exciting in the book world. Read on and enjoy…

Must reads for August!

What’s better than getting your mitts on a new novel as soon as it hits the shelves. Reading some of it before it does. That’s what! See what’s new NEXT month. We love:

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan. Inspired by the author seeing an elephant lumbering down a busy Indian street, it is an enjoyable, exotic, India-set mystery for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Rachel Joyce.

Rembrandt’s Mirror by Kim Devereux is simply stunning and our Reader Reviewers loved it too: ‘An evocative and reflective tale which is aesthetically delicious … a sheer delight.’ And The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies, author of the brilliant The Separation, is an exotically intense, vibrant and memorable tale, set in 1925 Ceylon.


eBooks of the Month

Find something you like. Download. Go. It’s really as simple as that. Two of our favourites this month are:

The Dress by Kate Kerrigan. Charming, character-led and time-shifting. An alluring, moving and sharply real read.

And The Madagaskar Plan by Guy Saville is second in this exciting series of alternative histories that began with The Afrika Reich. Perfect for any fan of Robert Harris or Len Deighton.

Liked that? You’ll LOVE this!

Simple, but brilliant. This category matches authors you like with others that you’ll love without an algorithm in sight. Spreading the love is what we’re all about!

If you like Carole Matthews you’ll love Some Kind of Wonderful by Sarah Morgan If you like Robert Harris you’ll love The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland If you like Victoria Hislop you’ll love No Place for a Lady by Gill Paul

Reading Group selections

Members of reading groups take note, we can help you choose some amazing titles for your group to read and discuss. Just visit our special category, where we put our monthly favourites, then download a few free Opening Extracts to pick your favourite. Our top choice this month is The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman. It is rich storytelling and set in and around a group of female boxers and their patrons in late 18th century Bristol with each character being given a voice and view in separate chapters.

Jan-Philipp Sendker’s Eastern Delights

Former Asia correspondent to Stern magazine and now world-renowned novelist, Jan-Philipp Sendker is able to transport his readers into the exotic and mysterious world of the Far East with a biting sense of realism that makes the journey both mystical and very, very human. We received some astonishing feedback from our Reader Reviewers for his first novel, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. His latest, Whispering Shadows explores the dark forces at the shoulder of China’s huge economic boom and has been universally admired too: ‘one of the best I’ve read in recent years’, ‘a masterful fusion of emotional turmoil and exciting thriller’. Find out more about these books today.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats – A beautifully written, inspiring love story and fairy tale. A Well-Tempered Heart – An intriguing and beguiling read, told with great eloquence. Whispering Shadows – A murder mystery with true heart and soul, and a sincerely beautiful read.

Books That Stand the Test of Time – Evergreens

“Timeless” and “classic” are words that are bandied about more than “unique” and “brilliant” these days. But, we have put together a brand new collection of titles that we believe are the Evergreens of literature. So that’s what we called it. ‘Evergreens’ are books that endure, stay fresh and continue to capture the hearts and minds of people the world over. Books like the career defining To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee … before you read the just published sequel Go Set a Watchman. Have a good old thumb through the lot, here. We plan to refresh the list so come back for more on a regular basis.

And if that weren’t enough …

If you are still stuck for your next read then we heartily recommend you have a browse through our Books of the Month or Debuts of the Month categories where we have an eclectic mix that made it to the top of our recommendation list.

If thrillers are your thing try Only We Know by Karen Perry or You by Caroline Kepnes. And if you like to mix music and stories don’t miss the emotional and moving The Song Collector by Natasha Solomons.

Finally non-fiction WW2 fans will love the gripping The Secret Life of Fighter Command by Sinclair McKay.

STOP PRESS … Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award

On 16 July at the Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate a new queen of crime was crowned. Sarah Hilary’s DI Rome isn’t new to us (or our Crime aficionados) but if you haven’t read this corker of a crime series then we most definitely recommend you start with her award-winning debut Someone Else’s Skin which has just won this year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. This stars sparky DI Marnie Rome and her sidekick, quieter DS Noah Jake, a splendid duo. Set largely in a refuge for battered women their case is dreadful and the faint-hearted should stay away … but once you start reading we think that you will find that rather hard.

P.S. Did you know Alexander McCall Smith is also a top-notch children’s author? Fans of his No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels can now treat their 9+ children to the adventures of a younger Precious Ramotswe as well as many other exciting stories he has penned. Full details on our sister site Lovereading4kids.

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