Bookshops

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YA Shot 2016 – why you NEED to go!

Published October 16, 2016 by bibliobeth

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Hi everyone, I’m here today to talk about a fantastic young adult literature festival in partnership with Hillingdon Borough Libraries and Waterstones Uxbridge that happens over just one day in Uxbridge (end of Metropolitan and Piccadilly Line just outside of London). Do you love young adult fiction? Are you free next Saturday 22nd October? Then you should definitely check out the YA Shot webpage HERE and see what delights they’re offering. I was lucky enough to attend YA Shot last year with my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads and we hosted a workshop called “Introduction To Blogging.” We were terribly nervous, especially as I’m not big on public speaking but we both ended up having a whale of a time and are so glad we did it.

For now, here are ten reasons why you should give YA Shot a try! (author links take you direct to the YA Shot webpage):

1.) It’s the brainchild of super-duper author and all round lovely person Alexia Casale whose novels The Bone Dragon and House of Windows you simply have to check out for their spellbinding content and beautiful, lyrical prose.

2.) Panel events? YA Shot has them in abundance! For example, Terms of Endearment: feminism and the portrayal of romance in YA – Harriet Reuter Hapgood, Rachel McIntyre, Holly Smale chaired by Holly Bourne sounds completely unmissable.

3.) Tough topics: To Have and Have Not: exploring poverty, privilege and class through YA – Michael Byrne, Patrice Lawrence, Steve Tasane, chaired by Polly Ho Yen, a talk which I’m sure will explore gritty issues and spark a great debate both during and afterwards.

4.) Feeling a bit emotional? The YA Shot team have got it covered with: The Hurt Locker: love, loss and coping – Sarah Alexander, Jenny Downham chaired by Clare Furniss.

5.) For the historical fiction lovers out there (like myself!) this looks incredibly tempting: Out of the Past: the age of the Tudors & Stuarts in YA with Jonathan WeilJane Hardstaff, Ally Sherrick, chaired by Andrew Prentice.

6.) Love the idea of “in conversation” author events? How about: It’s a Wonderful Life: exploring bullying and loss through magical realism with Mike Revell and Nikki Sheehan?

7.) Fancy being a writer yourself? How about an exclusive, small workshop (first come, first served) with a best-selling author where they can teach you all the tricks of the trade?: History is horrible (but great for writing fiction!) with Rhian Ivory.

8.) Do you have a favourite blogger/vlogger? Or maybe you’re just starting out? Come along to: The blogging system: all the things they don’t tell you with Vivienne Dacosta (Serendipity Reviews) and Laura Heath (SisterSpooky), also Blogging/Vlogging: the technical low-down with Stevie Finegan(SableCaught) and Virginie (Chouettblog).

9.) Don’t miss: Managing your reading and choosing what to review with Cora(TeaPartyPrincess) and Luna (Luna’s Little Library). (Hmm…maybe I need to go to this).

10.) There will be book signing sessions. Need I say more?

There are so many more wonderful author events and blogger/vlogger workshops than I’ve had space for in this post and I strongly urge you to visit the website to check out everything that’s going on. It’s a jam packed day that I’m certain will be a roaring success but you need to buy tickets if you want to go! Maybe I’ll see you there? Come and say hello if you see me, I’m sure to be lurking in some capacity!

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Bookish Delights – Ninja Book Swap

Published September 22, 2016 by bibliobeth

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Has everyone heard about the Ninja Book Swap? No? Well, you’re in the perfect place! Sign up for their Autumn Ninja Book Swap has just opened (and remains open until midnight on Saturday October 2nd so you have plenty of time to fill in a really quick and easy form, receive a lovely box of bookish delights from a book ninja picked for you and send your own special package.

Interested? Tell you more?:

Okay, so here are the rules. On a date specified by lovely organiser Bex, you will receive an email giving you a partner. It will let you know their likes and dislikes with a link to their wishlist of books and your mission is to prepare a beautiful parcel based on what you think they would like. This should contain one book from your partner’s wishlist (but you can put more than one in if you like) a small gift and a card saying hello, introducing yourself with your name and Twitter/other social media contact details so that they can thank you for all the bookish goodness.

Bex will let you know the deadline as to when you must post your parcel by and once you send it off make sure you get proof of postage and email the Ninja Book Swap Team with a copy of this to prove that you have sent the package. You can choose to send internationally or locally, just please be aware that it is obviously going to cost a bit more if you choose to send overseas. After the deadline and after you’ve sent your parcel all you have to do is wait eagerly for Mr Postman to deliver your own box of delights from the partner chosen for you. Please also email Bex when you receive your parcel and make sure to thank your ninja on social media!

Make sense? Sign you up?:

First of all, say hello to Bex on Twitter @NinjaBookSwap so she’s aware of you (due to some naughty people taking advantage of the swap). She won’t bite- promise!

http://theninjabookswap.blogspot.co.uk/

Why do I love Ninja Book Swap so?:

I was first introduced to Ninja Book Swap by my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads after I expressed some jealousy at seeing her beautiful surprise packages. I’ve been involved in a couple of swaps now, one regular swap and a special themed spot which is done from time to time. On my first swap, I got the most beautiful bookish gifts – little bookmarks, banned books socks, a little keyring saying “I’d Rather Be Reading,” (so true!) and two fantastic John Lindqvist books which had been on my wishlist for an age but I’d never got round to buying for myself.

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My Instagram post from my very first Ninja Book Swap – amazing goodies!

The themed swap had a Persephone Books theme – this is a specialist bookshop in London which stocks neglected fiction and non-fiction from mostly women writers. Their back catalogue is truly incredible and it was very exciting trying to decide a potential wishlist for my ninja of Persephone books I most wanted. See also my short feature on Persephone Books HERE.

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My Instagram post from my Persephone Book Ninja

Have I enticed you yet? Why not sign up? Might see you soon….as your NINJA! 😛

 

 

A Visit to Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights with Chrissi

Published September 4, 2014 by bibliobeth

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Photo’s of Mr B’s from the website, click on the image to get there!

Ah, you can’t beat a good bookshop. And without a doubt, Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in the centre of Bath, UK is one of the best bookshops I have ever been to. And I’m a bookshop fiend. I was over the moon when my sister found out about the bookshop and took me there as a treat for a “Reading Spa.” More about that later…

Mr B’s Emporium is an independent book shop set over three floors which was founded by Nic and Juliette Bottomley who left their jobs as lawyers to open the bookshop in 2006 (Thanks, guys!). The shop has done so well since it opened that it has twice won independent bookshop of the year in 2008 and 2011 where judges admired their “palpable passion” for books and their “compelling blend of traditional and modern bookselling methods.”

On entering the shop, I wasn’t quite sure where to start! There is so much to admire, look at, and touch for bibliophiles like ourselves that we felt quite overwhelmed. In a happy way, of course! The range of books is incredible and there always seems to be something different around every corner. For example, comic strips across walls, comfy chairs to sit on, free tea and coffee for customers and a fantastic concept where you can rent your own private reading booth, complete with headphones, biscuits and tea/coffee to shut out the world and just get reading! Not only this, but Mr B’s provides reading events with top authors such as Jeff Vandermeer, Sarah Waters and David Mitchell, book groups and ultimate gifts for book lovers like the Reading Spa or Mr B’s Reading Year. The latter involves eleven books being sent out a year (in paperback or hardback) based on a consultation with a biblio-therapist for your reading needs.

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Mr B’s Bibliotherapy Room courtesy of website, please click the image for more information on the Reading Spa

So, after being matched with a biblio-therapist (the lovely Emma) whose favourite books include The Time Traveller’s Wife and Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Chrissi and I were taken to the beautiful Bibliotherapy Room where we had a cup of tea and a chat to Emma so she could get an idea of what to bring us. These were very basic questions such as: What are you reading at the moment? What was the last book you loved? Who are your favourite authors? Is there any genre you really dislike? (ME: “Chick-lit!” CHRISSI: “Really scary horror!”). Emma scribbled some notes, went away and came back with a towering mountain of books which she told us about one by one. I was really impressed with her bookish knowledge and it was so informal, it was like chatting to a friend. I was also really pleased about her choices, as they weren’t necessarily books that I would have been drawn to, but she sold them so well by the end we wanted the whole pile.

Emma left us in the comfy chairs with more tea and we discussed which of the beauties we just had to take away with us and which ones had to stay behind. It was a tough choice, but in the end we had it cut down to thirteen, and here they are!

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The Ocean At The End Of The Lane – Neil Gaiman

Dreams & Shadows – C. Robert Cargill

The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie – Alan Bradley

I Am The Messenger – Markus Zusak

Annihilation – Jeff VanderMeer

The Name Of The Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

The Moth – Catherine Burns

Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion and Betrayal – Mal Peet

Born Weird – Andrew Kaufman

City of Thieves – David Benioff

The Last Banquet – Jonathan Grimwood

1222 – Anne Holt

The Panda Theory – Pascal Garnier

Quite a nice haul, don’t you think? Please click on each link to get to the book description at GoodReads. Armed with a free bookmark and Mr B’s mug to go along with our pile of books, we headed off, DEFINITELY to return again.

Huge thanks to Emma and all the staff at Mr B’s for making our day such a wonderful experience.

The First (but hopefully not the last) Young Adult Literary Convention (YALC) 2014

Published July 25, 2014 by bibliobeth

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YALC is the brain-child of current Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, who was awarded an OBE for her services to children’s literature in 2008 and from the moment appointed, has been incredibly passionate about getting young people to read. Alarming statistics show that only 3 out of 10 young people read daily out of school, and a fifth say they would be embarrassed if a friend saw them reading.

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Malorie Blackman (photo from http://www.theguardian.com)

Malorie says…

“We are incredibly lucky to have such a wealth of fantastic children’s authors and illustrators in this country who create incredible stories for young adults to enjoy.  It’s so important to encourage, sustain and where necessary instil a love of reading in our teenagers.  Reading opens doors and creates life opportunities. That’s why I want to do my utmost to promote YA books for all our young (and older!) readers.”

All hail Queen Malorie! YALC promised a fantastic line-up of events, including panel talks with authors, intimate workshops, a publishers stand with goodies galore and an opportunity to purchase a wide range of YA fiction from sponsor Waterstones. Having bought our Early Bird Tickets for both days (Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th July) my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads were very excited to experience all the delights YALC had to offer. So, how did it go?

DAY 1 – Saturday 12th July

Our introduction to YALC

London Comic Con – the craziness!

Photo from nintendo-insider.com

I have never experienced the pure craziness that is the London Comic Con, and couldn’t believe the immense crowds both outside Earls Court and inside where moving around became a bit of a mammoth task. After finally locating the YALC section at the back of the huge hall, Chrissi Reads and I let out a huge sigh, gritted our teeth and began to move through the crowds. (What things we do for our love of books!). We also weren’t prepared for the amount of people in strange and wonderful costumes – we recognised Spider-Man, Batman, The Power Rangers, Darth Vader and some Stormtroopers and…er… Half-Naked Lady? It was quite an experience! What was funny though was how quickly we got used to seeing costumed superheroes wandering around, checking texts and posing for photos and it became entirely natural to see Iron Man for instance, desperately seeking the toilets.

After locating the YALC Book Zone, our first task was to get some tickets for the first panel talk – The End of The World As We Know It with James Smythe as chair and also featuring Sarah Crossan, Patrick Ness and Malorie Blackman to talk about the dystopian genre, why they think it’s so “hot” right now, and what they see as the future of the genre. Malorie Blackman officially opened the proceedings in a fabulous costume and speaking in Klingon, and Patrick and Sarah provided some witty and interesting insights into the world of dystopia. Does it represent the fears teenagers have for their future? And is there also some hope and positivity in these worlds that young people can cling on to for comfort?

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James Smythe, Sarah Crossan, Patrick Ness and Malorie (Klingon) Blackman

Photo from http://www.theguardian.com

The talk was very entertaining and I was especially excited to see Patrick Ness (my new favourite author) who did not let me down and had me in fits of giggles. Next, it was time to see what else YALC had to offer. We visited publishers stands where I managed to bag some bookmarks, a cute YALC badge and even some advance copies of books I’m quite excited about. This included There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake and Solitaire by Alice Oseman. And where Waterstones are selling books, it’s compulsory to buy some! I picked up Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman and the illustrated edition of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Then we visited a couple of stands where other YA authors were promoting their work and I picked up The Narrows by James Brogden and Dystopia by Anthony Ergo, both authors were absolutely lovely and took time to talk to us. At the Hot Keys Book stand, they had a fabulous idea going where you could bring in a book and swap it with another which is where I acquired a copy of Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd.

After all that book buying and walking around it was time to go home, shoulders feeling the extra strain but incredibly happy bloggers! Bring on Day 2.

DAY 2 – Sunday 13th July

Talks, talks, oh and a Book Wall!

The next morning, Chrissi Reads and I were up bright and early but we were still not prepared for the enormous queue that awaited us when we arrived at Earls Court. Looping right round the building it ended up in the underground parking space and then looped a bit more. We needn’t have worried however, as soon as the doors opened at 09:00, the queue moved very fast and it was a little easier to navigate our way to the Book Zone to make sure we had all the tickets for the talks we wanted to see. The first talk didn’t start for a while, so it was the perfect opportunity to curl up on a bean bag and read under a Wall of Books.

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The Book Wall at YALC

Photo from http://www.theguardian.com

Sooner than we knew it, it was time for the first talk which was set to be interesting with the title: I’m Too Sexy For This Book, featuring the newly-crowned Queen of Teen, James Dawson at the helm and also featuring Cat Clarke, Non Pratt and Beth Reekles. The talk was absolutely hilarious and dragged down into the gutter at times but always in a fun way, with innuendos galore and lots of “sexy fun time.” Where do you draw the line with sex in young adult novels? Shock announcement – yes, some teenagers do actually have sex! All panellists agreed that if the sex is portrayed in a positive and educational way, it cannot be a bad thing. Personally, I remember Judy Blume’s Forever feeling quite graphic to me as a teenager, but I think I also learned a few things that I may have got the wrong information about otherwise.

The next talk was Crossover: Not Just For Kids, the panel consisting of David Maybury as chair and authors Nick Lake, Anthony McGowan, Meg Rosoff and Matt Haig. They explored how novels such as The Hunger Games and The Fault In Our Stars are being read by adults as well as teenagers and the possible reasons for this. They certainly made me feel more comfortable about being an adult YA fan, and Nick Lake made the very good point that a lot of books we consider classics now would actually fit into the YA genre quite well, for example The Catcher In The Rye and Oliver Twist.

Our final talk was Sisters Doing It For Themselves with chair Sarra Manning and female authors Tanya Byrne, Julie Mayhew, Isobel Harrop and Holly Smale. This again was a great bunch of authors with fantastic insights into the role of our modern day heroine in YA fiction and heroines that inspired them personally in literature. We had a range of answers here from Tanya Byrne who took inspiration from people around her, Sarra Manning who had a soft spot for “mad girls” such as Sylvia Plath and one of my own personal favourites, Anne of Green Gables who was Holly Smale’s heroine.

YALC – THE END?

So it was time to drag our weary bodies back home, we had an absolutely fantastic weekend and it was worth every minute queueing and being bumped by crowds. Thank you to Malorie Blackman for putting on a great programme, all the authors who came and gave talks and thoroughly entertained us, and all the publishers and people behind the scenes that made the event possible.

YALC – this time next year? (please?!)

A Visit to Storytellers, Inc.

Published April 19, 2014 by bibliobeth

The story begins….

Last weekend, my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads  went on a bookish trip to St Annes-on-the-Sea near Blackpool to visit our blogger friend Luna’s Little Library. Top of the agenda was a visit to Storytellers, Inc, a beautiful specialist children’s bookshop right in the heart of the town.

Storytellers, Inc you say?…

Storytellers, Inc is the brainchild of Carolyn and Katie Clapham who are passionate about children’s literature and encouraging children to enjoy books from a young age. Their dream turned into reality in November 2010, when Storytellers, Inc opened their doors for the first time and since then they haven’t looked back, keeping up to date with the latest literary trends and awards so their stock is always current, relevant and exciting for customers both young and old. From picture books for the very young to the latest YA must-reads, from beautiful stationary and book-related gifts to comfortable sofas and a secret den, this bookshop is a veritable treasure trove for the developing bibliophile.

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The fabulous reading den at Storytellers, Inc.

There’s more?…

Storytellers, Inc is not just a bookshop, it’s so much more. Carolyn and Katie also run book clubs for all ages and reading abilities, activity sessions, themed events and competitions while also providing a book ordering service for that special something you may be looking for. One recent event held on the 31st March involved a visit from Erin Lange, the author of the book Dead Ends, which I managed to pick up a signed copy of during our visit.

Dead Ends

SYNOPSIS: 

A riddle rarely makes sense the first time you hear it. The connection between Dane and Billy D doesn’t make sense any time you hear it. But it’s a collection of riddles that brings these two unlikely friends together. Dane Washington lives by two rules: don’t hit girls and don’t hit special kids. Billy D has Down syndrome and thinks a fierce boy who won’t hit him could come in useful. Billy D has a puzzle to solve, after all, and he has the perfect plan to make Dane help him. Billy is sure the riddles in his atlas are really clues left by his missing dad. Together, Billy and Dane must embark on an epic road trip, although most of the clues lead to dead ends. What Dane doesn’t realize is that Billy D isn’t as innocent as he seems and the biggest secret is hidden close to home…

A powerful, breathtaking coming-of-age novel about friendship, family and the journey of a lifetime by the critically acclaimed author of Butter.

We arrive at Storytellers, Inc….

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…and this is what we were greeted with!

Left of the picture is the books we had ordered and on the right is the wonderful little tea party complete with tasty cakes that Carolyn and Katie had kindly organised for us so we could munch/drink away while gazing happily at our book selections. Thanks guys!

And there’s a lot to look at….

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As you can see, I’m quite engrossed!

We then spent quite a while wandering around the shop looking and “oohing” at various things, before taking our stacks of books to be paid for. We ended up buying quite a bit… in fact so much that Carolyn and Katie had to lend us a little trolley to get them back to Luna’s.

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OOPS!

I’d like to thank Carolyn and Katie for being so kind and welcoming on our visit to Storytellers, Inc and heartily recommend this wonderful bookshop as a place you must visit. And hey, you could always combine it with a visit to Blackpool Pleasure Beach = bonus! Visit their website to see for yourself HERE

Also many thanks to Luna’s Little Library for letting us stay with her and giving us a beautifully bookish weekend!

Books Are My Bag – My Bookish Life So Far…

Published September 14, 2013 by bibliobeth

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Books Are My Bag is a nationwide celebration of bookshops, calling on all bookworms to purchase a book from their local bookshop on Saturday 14th September,especially as so many of our beloved shops are under threat. So now I am the proud owner of a Books Are My Bag tote bag courtesy of Waterstones Wimbledon branch, I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on My Bookish Life So Far in order to shout out about all things book-related.

Early childhood – Teddy, Timmy the dog, School stories and A Big, Friendly Giant

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This was my very first book! And as dear to me as when I first read it. My mum taught me to read at a very early age (Thanks Mum!) and she always tells the story of when I was at kindergarten and my teacher pulled my mum into a corner for a quiet word. Apparently, I had got a bunch of kids around me and was reading them a story. The teacher thought I was making the story up for the children as I was so young, yet she was shocked that I was reading the actual words. So she spoke to my mum saying: “Do you know your daughter can read?!” My mum replied: “Er…yes, I taught her!”

The books I loved as a child were mainly Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl based – I adored The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and The Malory Towers series from Blyton and The BFG and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Dahl. My all-time favourite book from this time though has to be House at The Corner by Enid Blyton. I read it so many times as a child that it was literally falling apart, but I would refuse to be parted from it.

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The Teenage Years – Horror, and some saucy stuff from Blume

As a teenager, I remember being absolutely obsessed with the Point Horror and Christopher Pike books, which were probably easing me in to my current obsession with my favourite author Stephen King. I had to have them all, and would devour them in a matter of hours.

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Another fond memory from my adolescent reading are novels from Judy Blume, whom I idolised. Other girls of my age must remember passing around “Forever” at school, and being delighted, horrified and curious at the same time?

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The Twenties – Thrills, chills, the King and Historical Fiction

Ah, I discover Stephen KIng! I have a whole shelf devoted to him, and he remains one of my favourite authors today.

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For anyone who has never read him, I highly recommend The Green Mile, The Shining, and It as fantastic reads and a great introduction to his works. During this time I was also reading a lot of thrillers, namely Dean Koontz and James Patterson, and discovered a love of historical fiction a la Philippa Gregory. Her Tudor novels are wonderfully written, and hey… you might even learn a little something?

The Early Thirties – I become a blogger, my reading tastes diversify and my books multiply!

My love for books has only got stronger through the years, and I now read a wide range of material, including non-fiction. I started a blog in January of this year, and I have loved submitting reviews, attending events like The Hay Festival, and “meeting” other bookworms like myself. I listen to a variety of podcasts to keep updated on all literary events, including Books On The Nightstand, A Good Read (Radio 4), Open Book (Radio 4) and Guardian Books. I also love my Kindle, which can store hundreds of books (without the added weight) and find it essential for any sort of commute.

Warning – book buying can turn obsessive and compulsive and you may end up with shelves like these:

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So, how do I see my bookish future? I hope to be still reading a range of material, and enjoying the printed word as much as I do at the moment. Even with the advances in technology, I strongly feel that there is nothing like going into a bookshop, enjoying the sight and smells, purchasing something that catches your eye, and enjoying the journey that it takes you on.

Support your local bookshop! Make books YOUR bag!

New Findings – Persephone Books

Published July 5, 2013 by bibliobeth

I love finding new bookshops, and I was thrilled when Book Lovers London directed me to this beautiful little place, just a short walk from Russell Square Tube Station. Persephone books sells forgotten pieces of fiction and non-fiction, mostly from women authors, but the occasional male element creeps in as well. There are 102 books in the Persephone collection so far, with a view to publishing two more with the change of every season.

The books can be purchased by mail order or in the store, but ten Persephone Classics are available in all good bookshops. The list of authors includes Frances Hodgson Burnett, Monica Dickens, Helen Hull, Katherine Mansfield, Dorothy Whipple and Virginia Woolf to name a few. The books are beautifully presented in grey covers with an individual end paper design for each book that is in some way connected with the theme.  For example, for one of the books I purchased, The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the theme is 1901 figured cotton called “Tulips,” which is “simple, cheerful and graceful.”

Why Persephone? “it has a timeless quality; sounds beautiful; is very obviously feminine; and symbolises new beginnings (and fertility) as well as female creativity…But mainly she is an image of women’s creativity, and that is why our logo, based on a painting on a Greek amphora, shows a woman who is not only reading (the scroll) but also symbolises domesticity (the goose).”

And is also the goddess of the Underworld…..

What did I buy?

The Making of A Marchioness – Frances Hodgson Burnett (a Persephone Classic)

The World That Was Ours – Hilda Bernstein (a Persephone Classic)

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day – Winifred Watson (a Persephone Classic and their bestseller)

The Persephone Book of Short Stories – Various (Persephone’s 100th Book)

The link to their website can be found HERE.