Are you interested in book illustration?

The TwitsIf so, you may be interested in The House of Illustration which recently opened to the public.

Situated near London’s King’s Cross, it’s described as the world’s first public gallery and education space dedicated to illustration. It aims to feature many forms of drawing such as political cartoons, advertisements, scientific drawings and fashion designs.

Its inaugural exhibition, Inside Stories, celebrates Quentin Blake, including his work on Roald Dahl’s The Twits and Danny, the Champion of the World. Other books featured in the show are The Boy in The Dress by David Walliams and Michael Rosen’s Sad Book.

 In partnership with The Folio Society, House of Illustration also hold The Book Illustration Competition. The annual international competition is open to illustrators aged 18+, both student and professional, with the winner receiving a prestigious Folio Society commission. Previous books featured in the competition include Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter, and The Outsider by Albert Camus.

This year’s book was Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

The 2014 winner will be announced in September this year.  View the longlist  here.

#FF Poem of the week

Jacket Image for The collected poems of C.P. Cavafy:a new translationCandles by C P Cavafy

Days to come stand in front of us
like a row of lighted candles—
golden, warm, and vivid candles.

Days gone by fall behind us,
a gloomy line of snuffed-out candles;
the nearest are smoking still,
cold, melted, and bent.

I don’t want to look at them: their shape saddens me,
and it saddens me to remember their original light.
I look ahead at my lighted candles.

I don’t want to turn for fear of seeing, terrified,
how quickly that dark line gets longer,
how quickly the snuffed-out candles proliferate.

Books by Constantine Cavafy in stock

In memory of our colleague John Armstrong

Pronto! Fast cooking for summer

Pronto!: let's cook Italian in 20 minutesDo you want to sit and relax rather than slaving making dinner?

Pronto!: let’s cook Italian in 20 minutes by Gino D’Acampo may be worth taking a look at. It’s got 130 delicious and quick dishes to inspire you to leave behind the same ‘dull, after-work meals’. Recipes are organised by ingredients, so you can easily find a dish using what you have in the cupboard or fridge

Or there’s Emma Lewis’s Food for friends: every dish, three ways – you choose!: 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 10 minutes   This is a collection of 360 recipes, providing a wealth of inspiration for relaxing meals to share with friends even when you’re short of time

Fay Ripley’s ‘Fay makes it easy: 100 delicious recipes to impress with no stress’  100 deliciously easy and simple recipes that will keep your family and friends coming back for more

Trials of Passion: Crimes in the name of love and madness

Trials of Passion

If you like true crime, Lisa Appignanesi’s book Trials of Passion  investigates the motives and thinking of the time on insanity leading to such crimes. Here’s a taste, no pun intended, of one of the crimes which began in Brighton on 8th August 1871.

“The chocolate cream poisoner,” Christiana Edmunds, was the unmarried daughter of a once famous British architect. She  set off from Brighton ostensibly to visit her sister’s grave in Margate, about a hundred miles away. 

Travelling on her own, she rented a room in Margate for two nights (unusual) and then moved on to London. She left behind boxes in rented room which contained a variety of ‘sweetmeats’. These turned out to have been doctored with strychnine and were posted to well-known Brighton people . The town was left living in fear.

Her motive?  She was passionately in love with a married doctor, who wanted to end their relationship. He told her to stop writing to him – he had a wife, a wife who became her first target. 


The top 20 most influential books by women.

The Baileys women’s prize for fiction launched a campaign to find the novels, by women, “that have most impacted, shaped or changed readers’ lives”. After contributors including Mary Beard and Joanna Trollope chose their own most influential title, thousands of people – male and female – voted for their own selections.
Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ has come out on top.
“With human rights under attack the world over, the enduring appeal of Harper Lee’s great tale gives hope that justice and equality might yet triumph over prejudice,” said Shami Chakrabarti, who was also announced as chair of the judging panel for next year’s Baileys prize.
The top 20 most influential books by women, as voted for by the public:
1) To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
2) The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
3) Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
4) Harry Potter – JK Rowling
5) Wuthering HeightsEmily Brontë
6) Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
7) Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
8) Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
9) The Secret History – Donna Tartt
10) I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
11) The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
12) Beloved – Toni Morrison
13) Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
14) We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
15) The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
16) Middlemarch – George Eliot
17) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
18) The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
19) The Colour Purple – Alice Walker
20) The Women’s Room – Marilyn French

Good cover, bad cover

Bad_Voltage_cover French author Jonathan Littell  wrote ‘Bad Voltage’  in 1989 which might expalin the BeeGee-ish gentleman on the cover. He called it a youthful folly. A reviewer said at the time: “Jonathan Littell’s 984-page book is so bloatedly inept that its reverential reception across the Channel seems barely comprehensible.”

It’s scifi – ‘High-tech lowlifes, bio-enhanced delinquents, or doped-out street kids, they’ve learned to survive in riot-torn future Paris, playing simulated war games in the fall-out shelters beneath the city. Soaring high and fast on gravfield simboots, they head straight into the heart of violence and terror, then out and down to the safety of the tunnels toThe kindly ones: a novel party until it’s time to run again’.

His latest book which is in stock is ‘The Kindly Ones’ reviewed by Antony Beevor as ‘a great work of literary fiction which readers will turn to for decades to come.
This Faustian story with a terrifying twist is the fictional memoir of Dr Max Aue, a former SS intelligence officer, who has reinvented himself as a family man and owner of a lace factory in post-war France.














Fantastic new fiction

Here’s this week’s list of new fiction.

It includes an intriguingly titled novel ‘What would Mary Berry do?’ by Clare Sandy. Block buster ‘Liverpool Angels’ by Lyn Andrews and Nadine Dorries’ ‘The Four Streets’  feature Liverpool ( WW1 and the 50s)

The Four Streets gets 5 stars from 2 readers, but the Daily Telegraph reviewer said it was the worst novel they’d read in  10 years!!

Most copies this week of  Ann Cleeves’ ‘Harbour Street’, the sixth book in her series of crime novels set in Newcastle, about Vera Stanhope, played in the TV detective drama VERA by Brenda Blethyn.

‘Brick Mother’ by  S J Bradley is a gripping debut novel, set in a psychiatric institution with stories of real characters struggling with their lives, both inmates and staff.