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Mark Zuckerberg’s A Year of Books Reading Challenge

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

‘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.

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Reader Review Panel members thoughts on Holy Spy by Rory Clements

When we passed the Reader Review panel members thoughts on the book Holy Spy by Rory Clements to the publisher Hodder they were so pleased they have used them in their campaign to promote the book. We think they look splendid and wanted to share them with you.

Holy-Spy-quote-cards-all

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Discover romantic literary moments from around the world (and find out how romantic you are)

A good romantic book can bring memories flooding back – how you felt when you read it, the things going on in your life at the time and the noises and smells around you as we were absorbed in its pages.

This emotional connection is even stronger when you read a romantic novel on holiday. Perhaps you could hear the sound of waves lapping on the shore as you finished One Day? Or maybe the hubbub of New York City was the in the background as you got stuck into Birdsong?

romantic moments

We’ve partnered with TravelSupermarket to share some of the most romantic literary moments from across the world. The iconic moments we’ve chosen go as far back as 1782 and the epic Les Liaisons Dangereuses all the way up to Eleanor & Park in 2013. And they have taken place everywhere, from remote areas of Russia to the sunny pastures of California.

Have you loved with Ifemelu in Americanah or felt the same pain as George in A Single Man? Explore the Romantic Moments site to find out where you fall on the romantic reader scale.

Scroll through the map to find your favourite romantic novel, and if you feel TravelSupermarket has missed one out, let us know.

We asked you to share your standout #RomanticMoments from your favourite novels. All suggestions will be entered into a draw to win a three-night city break in Paris, provided by TravelSupermarket.

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Most popular books on Lovereading 15 – 22 February 2015

Lovereading Top 10

1
Wolf Winter Wolf Winter
Cecilia Ekback
February 2015 Debut of the Month.
The most impressive thing about this extraordinary book is its atmosphere. You can feel the cold and the desperation of the people trying to live through the ‘wolf winter’, a term used to describe the …
Download free opening extract
2
The Two of Us The Two of Us
Andy Jones
February 2015 eBook of the Month.
Eloquently emotional and amusingly witty, this is a beautifully written and utterly compelling relationship tale. It’s easy to find yourself falling in love with this book as you read, the author has the ability to …
Download free opening extract
3
The Mirror World of Melody Black The Mirror World of Melody Black
Gavin Extence
A surprisingly intimate and compelling read, and one that exposes an emotionally challenging and often hidden world. The diverting way in which the author introduces Abby, suggests that something is essentially different, but at the same time she feels extraordinarily …
Download free opening extract
4
The Ice Twins The Ice Twins
S. K. Tremayne
February 2015 Debut of the Month.
Twins, the mother Sarah favours one, the father Angus the other. When one dies aged six the devastation in the family is catastrophic. Then Sarah begins to worry whether maybe they buried the wrong twin, …
Download free opening extract
5
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances
Neil Gaiman
February 2015 eBook of the Month.
It is almost impossible to talk about how good Neil Gaiman’s writing is in a short review like this; once started it is hard to stop. He is wonderful. Truly. Dark, mystical, poetic, surprising; one …
Download free opening extract
6
A Place Called Winter A Place Called Winter
Patrick Gale
A slight departure for this highly regarded author being an historical tale of Edwardian London and Canada based on a true story from his family history. Harry Case, a gentleman in suburban London, marries and has a daughter. Unexpectedly he …
Download free opening extract
7
The Doll's House Di Helen Grace The Doll’s House Di Helen Grace
M. J. Arlidge
Helen Grace’s third case. She is an interesting character coming from an abused childhood but although that and her two earlier cases are referred to here you don’t really need the knowledge. What is far more intriguing is the relationships …
Download free opening extract
8
Elizabeth is Missing Elizabeth is Missing
Emma Healey
Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2014.
One of our Books of the Year 2014.
Eighty-something Maud is getting forgetful and so writes notes to herself.  ‘Elizabeth is missing’ is one such note which Maud then becomes obsessed with for Elizabeth …
Download free opening extract
9
The Art of Waiting The Art of Waiting
Christopher Jory
An utterly compelling and very human tale that transports you to the heart of what really matters. Although set before, during and after the Second World War, this is by no means a novel just about war, it is rather, …
Download free opening extract
10
The Temporary Gentleman The Temporary Gentleman
Sebastian Barry
February 2015 Book of the Month.
Like Roddy Doyle, Sebastian Barry is one of those great Irish writers whose characters get under your skin and whose stories stay with you forever. The Temporary Gentleman is the third book very loosely charting …
Download free opening extract

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Ask the Author: Karen Maitland

Book Review: The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland, plus Q&A with the author 

By Vikki Patis

When Karen Maitland’s new novel The Raven’s Head came up for review on Lovereading, I was ecstatic. I simply had to have it.

I adore Maitland’s work. Her books are dark, gritty, and utterly absorbing. I always read her historical notes, finding them fascinating, and extremely informative. Maitland is an utterly brilliant storyteller. Her novels are always full of dark, creepy settings, and captivating characters. The Raven’s Head is no different.

The Raven’s Head introduces us to several interesting characters, from different walks of life, who come together under the roof of one man – Lord Sylvain. Vincent, an apprentice librarian from France, flees the country after angering his master, who plots to have him killed. In his possession is a beautiful raven’s head, which refuses to be sold, as it seeks out its true master.

Gisa, a young woman who lives and works in her uncle’s apothecary shop, is soon recruited by Lord Sylvain, for her knowledge of herbs and her innocence. Wilky, a small boy who was offered up by his father as payment for a debt, is taken by the menacing White Canons, and becomes Regulus, the little king. He soon learns a life of hardship and fear.

All three will be useful to Sylvain and the White Canons, as they endeavour to use the power of alchemy to fulfil their wildest dreams.

A wonderful historical fiction, full of the supernatural and intrigue, The Raven’s Head is yet another triumph for Maitland.

I took the opportunity to ask Maitland a few questions about The Raven’s Head.

As mentioned in a previous interview, Maitland usually looks at contemporary issues, and tries to find a historical counterpart to base her stories on. I wanted to know which issues inspired The Raven’s Head.

There are two current issues. Today, in 2015, we are all aware of the terrible atrocities that are being committed by members of different religious groups in the name of their God. Throughout the centuries, greed, ambition and hatred have driven individuals and groups to murder, but when people believe they are acting as instruments of God, it seems to makes them much more ruthless and cruel. Since the dawn of writing, men have been able to twist the meaning of any holy text to justify their actions in their quest for absolute power. In THE RAVEN’S HEAD, two men each have different interpretations of the same book. Each is convinced he alone knows God’s mind. Such men are always exceeding dangerous.

Photo---Karen-Maitland_smThe story of THE RAVEN’S HEAD revolves around the mysterious art of medieval alchemy which, at its heart, was the search for never-ending life. Today, medical researchers and scientists are still searching for the exactly the same thing as those medieval alchemists – how to stop people dying; how to prolong life and how to resurrect the dead, though today we try to do it through storing eggs and sperm; through cryonics; or by using the DNA to create clones. While scientists now believe that the answer to prolonging life and preventing death could lie in altering the genetic code of human cells, the alchemists believed that by altering the balance of elements in the body they could prevent death. Centuries apart we are still looking for that magic alchemist’s stone.

But THE RAVEN’S HEAD has its lighter moments too. The young medieval hero of the novel is always trying to think of ways to get rich that don’t involve actual work and like many of us, he is dreaming of the medieval equivalent of today’s lottery win.

Maitland’s books are always incredibly well-researched, with extensive historical notes at the end. I wanted to know how she goes about her research.

Finding the right setting is always the starting point for the research. I was walking along a road in the Norfolk fens one night when I glimpsed the pale ruins of Langley Abbey rising out of the mist. It was so eerie that I knew I’d found the setting for THE RAVEN’S HEAD. I began by reading the records of past archaeological excavations carried out on the site and as well as the medieval ecclesiastical records of the abbey itself, including the reports on its finances written by Thomas Cromwell’s men during the reformation.

The ecclesiastical records revealed that the white canons at Langley Abbey were accused of all kinds of sins and throughout the Middle Ages new abbots were repeatedly appointed to try to discipline them, but on most occasions, it seems, the abbots appeared to be corrupted by Langley and had to be replaced.

For the alchemy aspect of the novel, she read as many texts written by medieval alchemists as she could find.

To protect themselves and their knowledge, the alchemists recorded their experiments in a coded language using elaborate symbols, often in the form of pictures. As I pored over the strange and violent images in the manuscripts – pictures of hermaphrodite sovereigns descending into tombs and boys being eaten by their fathers – the challenge for me was to try to understand how the medieval mind might have interpreted these images.

Maitland is drawn to the Dark Ages for many reasons.

It is an age on the cusp between the ancient and the modern world. An age of omens and magic on the one hand, yet if you had walked into medieval alchemist laboratory, you would instantly recognise apparatus and techniques that are still used in modern science labs today. I am constantly surprised to discover what they knew in Middle Ages such how to use anaesthetic and antiseptics and how to drill and fill teeth.

It was an age of rapid change and of great contrast in the way people lived. While some people rarely left their villages, others traded right across the world, bringing goods, and exotic animals, into England from India, Africa and Siberia. The English even exported herrings as far as the Middle East. This variety and colour gives any novelist enormous scope. I love to delve into the lives of groups of people pushed into the margins of society, those who lurk forgotten in the dark corners of history. The Middle Ages is full of such people whose stories have never really been heard.

A woman after my own heart, Maitland loves reading novels set in the murky depths of Victorian life.

But that’s rather a crowded field for writers. So for now I am happy to stay in the medieval world. It is such a broad span of history with so many little-known aspects to write about, but if I was going to explore another era, I’d probably want to go back rather than forward, maybe to Saxon times or Viking times, or perhaps delve into much earlier civilisations in Europe.

In August 2015, Maitland will be one of the Arvon tutors on the Historical Fiction residential course for writers, working together with the brilliant historical novelist M.C. Scott, of whom Maitland is a huge fan.

I am really excited about sharing time with the students on the course and reading their writing. I’ll also be leading a one-day ‘Historical Crime and Thriller’ writing workshop in September in Norwich as part of the Norwich Crime Writing Weekend. So it seems to be a year when I will be helping new historical novel writers to blossom, which is fantastic.

As for her next novel, Maitland is hard at work on a new one, but it is not yet at a stage where she can talk about it to anyone without destroying the magic of the writing process.

So, like the medieval alchemists, I am locked away in my own laboratory of secrets, mixing my potions and muttering to myself.

Author photo © John C. Gibson

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Most popular books on Lovereading 11 – 18 February 2015

Lovereading Top 10

1
Closer Than You Think Closer Than You Think
Karen Rose
February 2015 Book of the Month.
No. 5 in the Lovereading top 10 ‘Readers’ Choice’ Books of the Year 2014.
This is the first in a new series by this terrific author. It mixes crime with romance and rattles along at a …
Download free opening extract
2
Forensics The Anatomy of Crime Forensics The Anatomy of Crime
Val McDermid
February 2015 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.
Forensics is the ultimate detective work and has a surprisingly long history with a Chinese textbook detailing forensic cases from as far back as the Thirteenth Century. Val McDermid turns from the fictional forensics …
Download free opening extract
3
The Temporary Gentleman The Temporary Gentleman
Sebastian Barry
February 2015 Book of the Month.
Like Roddy Doyle, Sebastian Barry is one of those great Irish writers whose characters get under your skin and whose stories stay with you forever. The Temporary Gentleman is the third book very loosely charting …
Download free opening extract
4
The Ice Twins The Ice Twins
S. K. Tremayne
February 2015 Debut of the Month.
Twins, the mother Sarah favours one, the father Angus the other. When one dies aged six the devastation in the family is catastrophic. Then Sarah begins to worry whether maybe they buried the wrong twin, …
Download free opening extract
5
Wolf Winter Wolf Winter
Cecilia Ekback
February 2015 Debut of the Month.
The most impressive thing about this extraordinary book is its atmosphere. You can feel the cold and the desperation of the people trying to live through the ‘wolf winter’, a term used to describe the …
Download free opening extract
6
Mind of Winter Mind of Winter
Laura Kasischke
Clever, persuasive writing where the ending has you reaching for the beginning. The first few sentences grab your attention and from then on, you find yourself analysing, speculating, wondering. This story plays with your mind, encouraging it to turn one …
Download free opening extract
7
Etta and Otto and Russell and James Etta and Otto and Russell and James
Emma Hooper
February 2015 MEGA Debut of the Month.
Etta, after being married to Otto for many years, decides, aged 82, that she wants to see the sea before she dies so she sets off from their farm in the middle of Canada …
Download free opening extract
8
Elizabeth is Missing Elizabeth is Missing
Emma Healey
Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2014.
One of our Books of the Year 2014.
Eighty-something Maud is getting forgetful and so writes notes to herself.  ‘Elizabeth is missing’ is one such note which Maud then becomes obsessed with for Elizabeth …
Download free opening extract
9
Sisters of Treason Sisters of Treason
Elizabeth Fremantle
February 2015 Book of the Month.
This is indeed a novel for obviously all the conversations are imagined but it is so bound in fact it might easily be non-fiction. A huge amount of history and copious potted biographies make for …
Download free opening extract
10
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances
Neil Gaiman
February 2015 eBook of the Month.
It is almost impossible to talk about how good Neil Gaiman’s writing is in a short review like this; once started it is hard to stop. He is wonderful. Truly. Dark, mystical, poetic, surprising; one …
Download free opening extract

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Win a three-night stay in Paris worth up to £500

What’s your favourite romantic literary moment?

Tell us to be in with the chance to win a three-night stay in Paris worth up to £500

TSM-Romantic-Moments-Competition_sm

TravelSupermarket is about to launch a new microsite looking at celebrated romantic moments in literature. To kick off the launch, we’ve teamed up with the travel comparison site to give readers a chance to win a three-night stay in the City of Love itself: Paris.

To enter this competition, all you have to do is head on over to either our Twitter or Facebook pages and tell us what your favourite romantic literary moment is, adding the hashtag #RomanticMoments.

The moment you choose is up to you. Perhaps George kissing Lucy in the field of violets in A Room with a View makes your heart race? Or maybe Hazel and Augustus’ visit to Anne Frank House in The Fault in Our Stars makes your eyes water, just a little…

Whatever it is, we want to hear about it! If the book is a little obscure, perhaps you could add the book title as well (just in case we’re not as well read as you are).

The winner will be chosen at random during the week of February 23 and will be announced on our social media pages.

If you aren’t lucky enough to win, you can find your own romantic city break on TravelSupermarket.com.

Good luck!

Romantic Literary Moments Prize Draw

Terms and conditions

  1. This prize draw (“Prize Draw”) is promoted by Moneysupermarket.com Limited (“MoneySuperMarket”), whose registered office is at Moneysupermarket House, St. David’s Park, Ewloe, Chester, CH5 3UZ and is subject to the following terms and conditions.
  2. This Prize Draw is open to all UK residents aged 18 or over except employees or family members of employees of MoneySuperMarket or LoveReading Ltd or any companies or agencies directly connected with the creation and/or administration of this Prize Draw.
  3. The Prize Draw opens on Monday 9/2/15 and ends at 3pm on Monday 23/2/15
  4. Participants enter this Prize Draw by suggesting one of their favourite romantic literary moments on either Love Reading’s Romantic Reading Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/books.romanticfiction) or Twitter page (@lovereadinguk) with the hastag #romanticmoments.
  5. No purchase is necessary to enter this Prize Draw.
  6. Proof of entry is not automatically proof of receipt.
  7. The winner will receive a three night stay in Paris for two including return train tickets with a total value of up to the value of £500 (the train tickets and accommodation will be selected by Moneysupermarket in its absolute discretion).
  8. The Prize is non-transferable, non-negotiable and cannot be substituted by the winner for any other prize or cash value.
  9. The winner will be selected at random by LoveReading Ltd.  The decision of LoveReading Ltd on the winner will be final.
  10. The winner will be notified that they have won via the social media channel they entered and must respond to the message accepting the Prize within seven days of receiving notification. In the event that LoveReading Ltd does not receive a valid response from the winner within the seven day period (as determined by LoveReading.co.uk at its sole discretion), LoveReading Ltd reserves the right to reallocate the Prize to a different winner who will be notified and must respond in this same way and in the same time frames as set out in this paragraph.
  11. By entering the Prize Draw, participants agree to these Prize Draw terms and conditions; to the terms of MoneySuperMarket’s Privacy Policy, to being contacted by MoneySuperMarket for marketing purposes; that, as between the participant and MoneySuperMarket, all intellectual property rights in the comments submitted to the prize draw will become the property of MoneySuperMarket and can be used by MoneySuperMarket in its absolute discretion (including in promotions and in social media); and to take part, for no fee, in any publicity accompanying or resulting from this Prize Draw.
  12. MoneySuperMarket does not accept any responsibility or liability under or in connection with this prize draw (including without limitation as a result of technical fault, computer or electronic malfunction, or incomplete, illegible, lost or fraudulent entries).
  13. MoneySuperMarket reserves the right to cancel or modify the prize draw and/or these terms and conditions at any time and at its sole discretion.
  14. If any paragraph in these terms and conditions is found by any court or administrative body of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unenforceable, such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the other paragraphs of these terms and conditions, which shall remain in full force and effect.
  15. These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. The Courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction in connection with these terms and conditions.

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York Literature Festival 19-29 March, Daunt Books Festival 19 – 20 March

York Literature Festival 19 – 29 March 2015 Inspired by history and politics, football and feminism

Politics, history, football and feminism will be discussed by headlining artists including Dr David Starkey, Jenni Murray, Polly Toynbee and Helen Lederer at this year’s York Literature Festival, which takes place in the city which has provided inspiration for writers for centuries.

YLF-BEST-logo-sm

York Literature Festival is an established event on the national literary festival scene, and this year celebrates its ninth year with a bigger and more eclectic programme, including talks by many nationally-renowned commentators and writers, workshops with literary agents for aspiring writers, book readings, and events where anyone with a love of the printed word can converse with like-minded enthusiasts.

David-Starkey_smWhether you are looking for political insight from some of the country’s best-known commentators like Polly Toynbee and Matthew d’Ancona, stories from behind the microphone from BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Jenni Murray, or hilarious anecdotes from comedienne and star of Absolutely Fabulous, Helen Lederer, there’s an event for you. There’s also a chance to celebrate many of York’s own literary talent, with local authors including Carole Bromley, Nuala Casey, a football-themed evening with The Minstermen, and even walks around the city to find the places where authors have lived and found inspiration within the city walls.

Highlights include:

  • TV historian Dr David Starkey, who will talk about ‘York’s Place In History’ at York Grand Opera House, 7.00pm, Sunday 22nd March
  • Polly Toynbee and David Walker will ask if David Cameron has been good or bad for the UK at the launch event at York St John University, 7.30pm, Thursday 19th March
  • Jenni Murray, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour will talk about her life in broadcasting at 7.00pm, Saturday 21st March, St Peter’s School
  • Novelist Matt Haig will discuss his new book, Reasons To Stay Alive at Waterstones York, 7.00pm, Monday 23rd March
  • An afternoon of music and comedy will feature hilarious poet John Hegley and York band Blackbeard’s Tea Party at the Grand Opera House, Sunday March 22nd, 2.30pm
  • A panel discussion about Virginia Woolf, celebrating 100 years since her first book was published in March 1915 at 11.00 am, York St John University, Thursday 26th March
  • Helen Lederer, star of ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, will talk about her new novel, Losing It at 7.00pm, St Peter’s School, Saturday 28th March, St Peter’s School
  • Matthew D’Ancona, political journalist, will examine the pitfalls of working with your political enemies as he scrutinises the coalition over the last five years on Friday 20th March, St Peter’s School
  • A guided walk around York’s sites of literary interest. (See programme for details.)
  • Comedian and poet Kate Fox and York acoustic duo Union Jill will team up to ‘Let Off Steam’ at the National Centre For Early Music, Thursday 26th March, 7.30pm

jenni_murray_smYork recently secured the UK’s first designation of UNESCO City of Media Arts, which is relevant to the many authors who are now turning to digital self-publishing as a means of reaching a wider audience, and the literature festival provides a great opportunity for writers from York and beyond to learn from the best about writing for a potentially global audience.

The festival, which is sponsored by York St John University, is organised by a team of 30 people. Partner organisations include York Theatre Royal, Visit York, St Peter’s School, York Museums Trust, Waterstones, City Screen Cinema and University of York. Additional support comes from City of York Council’s Community York fund.

Tickets are on sale now via York Theatre Royal Box Office: 01904 623568.

The full programme can be downloaded now at yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk, with updates posted on Twitter @YorkLitFest

DAUNT BOOKS FESTIVAL 19-20 March 2015

Following the success of last year’s inaugural festival, the Daunt Books Festival returns on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th March 2015. The festival is two days of celebration and inspiration for writers and readers, illustrating their belief that a bookshop is not just a place to buy books, but a means of creating a community – a unique space for booklovers to come together.

Daunt-Books-interiorSMAuthors and publishers have been thrilled to support Daunt Books, resulting in an incredible line-up, featuring such luminaries as Michael Palin, Antonia Fraser, Michael Rosen, Anne Sebba, Owen Jones and William Fiennes. Subjects for discussion range from heroines to spies, nature to politics, and women of the 1950s to Russian émigrés of the 1920s. And, once again, their walking book club will be discussing a classic novel while strolling around Regent’s Park.

Daunt Books’ Marylebone location in London is in the midst of many other renowned independent establishments, and many will be involved with the festival. Rococo, La Fromagerie, The Ginger Pig, The Monocle Cafe and Honey &Co are all providing tasty treats for their daytime events. The festival also features performances by students from the nearby Royal Academy of Music.

Whilst Daunt Books has hosted many literary evenings over the years, the festival is the only time they put on talks during the day. For those who can’t take the time off work, they are encouraging you to sneak out of the office for their 45-minute lunch-break talks and eat a sandwich while digesting some food for thought. They are also delighted to be offering free after-school festival events for children and teenagers, starring Michael Rosen and Robert Muchamore.

The Daunt Books Festival shows that in the face of online competition, their bookshop has never been a more inspiring place.

 “A splendid venture by the finest bookshops in the country.” Colin Thubron

 

Tickets are available from Daunt Books, 83 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QW, by phoning 020 7224 2295 or at dauntbooks.co.uk

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Win a Luxury Weekend Break in Salisbury Worth Over £300 and Some Great Reads

Lovereading has teamed up with VisitWiltshire and book publisher Hodder & Staughton to offer one lucky Lovereading member the chance to win a delightful weekend in Salisbury worth over £300 together with a copy of Magna Carta and Us by eminent historian David Starkey (published 9 April 2015) in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the signing of this famous charter in 1215.

The winner and two runners-up will also receive a selection of bestselling fiction and non-fiction, some of them signed, including Wolf Winter by Cecila Eckback, Brethren by Robin Young, Holy Spy by Rory Clements, Thomas Cromwell by Tracy Borman and Enemies at Home by Lyndsey Davis and all published by Hodder.

enter prize draw

The top prize is a two-night stay at the riverside Grasmere House Hotel including breakfast on both mornings and dinner on the first evening along with two tickets for a Tower Tour of Salisbury Cathedral for some fantastic views across the city and a £25 gift voucher for Fisherton Mill, the south of England’s largest independent gallery with café and artist studios.  Together with a collection of great reads, and a £15 money off Lovereading voucher, this amazing prize is worth over £300.

photo credit Ash MillsPlease note that this draw is open only for UK residents, is free to enter and the prize does not include transport to and from Salisbury. Draw closes on 15 April 2015. The winner and runners up will be chosen randomly from all entrants and they will be notified by 20 April 2015. The decision of the judges is final. By providing us with your contact details when you enter the competition, you are agreeing to future contact from VisitWiltshire and its selected partners. You can also sign up to H is for History, the new history reading community from Hodder’s parent company Hachette, to hear more about other great historical books.

enter prize draw

More about Salisbury and the amazing prize.

Salisbury has been a special place for a very long time and 2015 is particularly important as it is 800 years since the signing of Magna Carta. The finest original version is found at Salisbury’s magnificent Cathedral.

Described as ‘the city in the countryside’ a weekend here will help put back what the rest of the week has taken out.

Here’s your chance to win a break to this beautiful city…

Win a two-night break to Salisbury for two people staying at the riverside Grasmere House Hotel. This charming hotel is a great venue for those wishing to spend time taking in the delights of Salisbury and the surrounding Wiltshire countryside. Your prize includes breakfast on both mornings and dinner on your first evening.  Find out more at grasmerehotel.com.

You’ll also get tickets for a Tower Tour of Salisbury Cathedral for some fantastic views across the city! Step inside the Chapter House at this magnificent Gothic Cathedral and you can see for yourself the best preserved of only four remaining original 1215 Magna Carta manuscripts, displayed in a spectacular medieval setting. A major exhibition opening in early March will explain the historic context behind Magna Carta and show how it remains as relevant as ever today. Find out more at salisburycathedral.org.uk.

 

Plus, a £25 gift voucher is also on offer from Fisherton Mill, the south of England’s largest independent gallery with on-site café and artist studios. It’s the perfect location to pick up a hand-made reminder of your visit to Salisbury. Find out more at fishertonmill.co.uk.

To find out more about what to see and do in Salisbury, please visit visitsalisbury.co.uk/2015.

About our publishing partner, Hodder and the books to win:

Hodder & Stoughton is a major publisher within Hachette UK, one of the UK’s biggest publishing groups. They publish a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles and are renowned for passion, quality and delivering bestselling commercial books in many different formats. To sign up to their H is for History newsletter go to their website – HforHistory.co.uk.  You can also join their Facebook and Tumblr communities – facebook.com/HforHistory or HforHistory.tumblr.com or follow them on Twitter – twitter.com/H_forHistory

 

Magna Carta and Us by David Starkey – To mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta, bestselling historian David Starkey explores the Magna Carta and its influence on Britain today.

Wolf Winter by Cecila Eckback – The most impressive thing about this extraordinary book is its atmosphere. This is very special, a ghostly feel of menace lies just beneath the surface in a long, complicated and gripping tale. Awesome.

Brethren by Robin Young – Two men are destined to collide in that extraordinary clash of civilizations know in the West as the Crusades.

Holy Spy by Rory Clements – A galloping good yarn, stuffed full to the brim with double crossing intrigue, yet intelligently braced against historical fact and figures. Clements has developed a wonderfully entertaining series, and ‘Holy Spy’ keeps with tradition as a compelling and immensely satisfying read.

Thomas Cromwell by Tracy Borman – Thomas Cromwell is known to millions as the leading character in Hilary Mantel’s bestselling Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. But who was the real Cromwell? Born a lowly tavern keeper’s son, Cromwell rose swiftly through the ranks to become Henry VIII’s right hand man, and one of the most powerful figures in Tudor history. Tracy Borman examines the life, loves and legacy of the man who changed the shape of England forever.

Enemies at Home, Lyndsey Davis – Well plotted, hugely entertaining and as full of fascinating detail as you’d expect from one of our greatest Ancient Rome novelists.

enter prize draw

Extra Terms & Conditions for this Free Prize Draw

Prize: One winner will win a two-night break to Salisbury for two people staying at the Grasmere House Hotel. The prize includes breakfast on both mornings and dinner on the first evening. Please note that this is subject to availability and excludes Bank Holiday weekends. The prize also includes two tickets for a Tower Tour of Salisbury Cathedral (advance booking required) a £25 gift voucher from Fisherton Mill. Plus the books detailed above and a £15 money off Lovereading.co.uk voucher. Travel is not included.

  • Salisbury Cathedral – Tower Tour

Tours must be booked in advance. Please note that tours may be restricted or cancelled in the event of high winds.

  • Important Health and Safety Information

Some of the stone spiral staircases date back to the 13th century and have no handrails. Please take care while ascending and descending. To ensure your safety and comfort, sensible footwear is essential – no high heels, bare feet or flip flops, and any sandals must be securely fastened. Children must be at least 4ft (120cm) tall and 7 years old to take the tour. Each child aged 7-10 must be individually accompanied by a responsible adult and for children aged 11-17 there must be at least one adult for every 5 children.

  • By entering, entrants agree to opt in for their data to be supplied to VisitWiltshire for promotional purposes.
  • VisitWiltshire

VisitWiltshire also have some generic terms and conditions, which can be viewed here:- http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/footer-pages/terms-and-conditions

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Find your fantasy Valentine’s date with Expedia’s Romantic Novel Flowchart

And have the chance to win a £50 Expedia voucher.

This flow chart to romance, via book characters, gave us a smile on this chilly February day so we thought we would share it with you.

And once you’ve followed the flowchart, write your perfect Valentine’s experience in the comments on the Expedia blog along with your email address (personal contact details will not be published).

Then simply share the flowchart on Facebook or Twitter using the hash tag #expediavalentines to enter, and you could receive a £50 Expedia voucher to put towards a real-life romantic city break of your own…  Just click the image below to get started. Good luck.

expedia_valentines

 

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