The Weekly Reader: 25/09/13

As promised, this post is coming to you from a very dreary and foggy part of the UK. I have returned to an autumn fully underway – the jumpers, duvets, and hot water bottles are all back with a vengeance. While I try my best to adapt, here’s another edition of The Weekly Reader, keeping you up-to-date with literary happenings.


‘Lisa Appignanesi’s Top 10 Books About Paris’ – The Guardian

Paris is my favourite city. That may very well make me a traitor to my home, but I am prepared to incur the wrath of pro-Londoners everywhere. To describe Paris as the city of romance is, I think, reductionist. Of course it is romantic. Who hasn’t dreamed of walks along the Seine and night-time views of the Eiffel Tower with their love? But, as with all cities, Paris is a diversity of dynamics and angles. It has a history steeped in violence, as well as providing the setting for many of the world’s greatest love affairs. I adore reading books set in Paris – they evoke some wonderful memories, as well as provoking many  dreams and hopes. This article, detailing 10 great works set in the world’s greatest city, is a wonderful starting point for those looking to dip into the contrasts and conflicts that characterise Paris.

‘Banned Books Week: In Asia, Freedom Of Speech Is Not As Simple As It Seems’ – The Guardian

This week is Banned Books Week, combatting the ongoing issue of censorship. This is not a problem restricted to dictatorships. It rears its head everywhere, in often the most subtle and unnoticed ways. This article casts a spotlight on censorship in Malaysia, describing the manner in which traditional censorship has been replaced with a developing pattern of conservatism online. For any avid reader or writer, this is surely an issue that must penetrate to the core. Books, in particular, address themselves to the heart of the human experience. They are the source of inspiration, consolation, and challenge. They force empathy and engagement. So that censorship continues to work an influence in the world is a problem of immediate concern. The awareness raised by articles like this is one vital way of challenging the process.

‘Bill Bryson Urges E-Book Bundle Tie-Up’ – BBC

Bill Bryson has addressed himself to one of the central concerns currently facing the publishing industry – the increasing turn to digitalisation of books. As readers continue to move more forcefully towards the convenience of e-books, there remains a very real fear that print books will fall into redundancy. Bryson suggests a solution that is beginning to come to the fore – booksellers offering free or cut-price e-books when purchasers buy hard copy. Amazon US has already announced a plan along these lines. It is, as Bryson details, not a matter deriding the value of digital books. Rather, it comes from a desire to save print. I still can’t reconcile myself to the idea of empty bookshelves, or a life without the feel and smell of printed paper. And nor should we be forced to take this route.


This week, I have decided to celebrate another of my favourite books – Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. A heroine if ever there was one, and definitely worthy of this insubstantial homage.

‘Jane Eyre – A String Tied Here Under My Left Rib Print’ – PemberleyPond

Granted, this is a strange quote to celebrate in print form. But the sentiment is undeniably beautiful and, I think, speaks to the core of the novel.

‘Jane Eyre Quote Necklace’ – Sweetly Spoken Jewelry

This is quite possibly my favourite quote from Jane Eyre and, as those long-time followers of the blog will know, currently decorates my iPhone case. So it is unsurprising that this necklace appeals!

‘Custom Jane Eyre Costume Dress’ – Bonnybluearts

You all know that I have an adoration for literary-themed costumes. Unfortunately, this comes only in children’s sizes. Giving you some idea as to the reason why my children will be heckled in the streets.

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