Hello, my literary lovelies
I hope that you have all had a fabulous week and are looking forward to an action-packed weekend! I, for one, have scheduled a wonderful series of literary excursions. Tomorrow, I shall be carting my fiancé into London for a trip to the British Library and a visit to some of my favourite bookshops. Sunday will see us at a National Theatre Live broadcast of the recent stage production of King Lear, featuring the magnificent Simon Russell Beale. Whether you are planning similar jaunts, or are simply looking forward to absorbing yourself in a book, I wish you a totally contented weekend! And here, to get you on your way, is another edition of The Weekly Reader.
‘Eoin Colfer Named Ireland’s Children’s Laureate’ – BBC
Creator of the Artemis Fowl series, Eoin Colfer, has been chosen as Ireland’s newest Children’s Laureate. This is exciting news for fans of his books, but also for bibliophiles worldwide. Colfer’s selection comes at a time when the debate about child literacy is a particularly hot issue, with library closures and alterations to national curriculums presenting significant and continuing challenges. Colfer’s promise to spend his time “spreading stories to every nook and cranny in the country” must surely serve as some reassurance that the push against worrying literacy trends has its champions.
‘Your Beach Book Doesn’t Have To Be A Light Read’ – Kit Steinkellner, at Book Riot
It’s approaching that time of year again, my friends. The beach umbrellas and picnic baskets are standing to attention, ready to jump into use as the summer draws in. While not a beach lover myself (sand or stones, it’s all unpleasant to me), I fully understand that desire to bask in the sun, with book in hand. This article touches on a topic with which I think we are all somewhat familiar – the endless drone of ‘summer reads’ that flood our bookshops, supermarkets, and social media feeds, recommending themselves for some ‘easy’ escapism. The concept of the ‘light’ book as a summer requisite is taken as written. But the assumption that all holidaymakers must indulge in light reading is totally misleading and unhelpful.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with engrossing yourself in a book deemed ‘light’ or labelled as ‘popular fiction’. Nothing at all. But I wonder why marketing for summer reads seems to rest on a specific subset of fiction. Where is the diversity? Why don’t we see booksellers pushing traditional classics such as Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, or modern classics such as Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits? Reading should be seen as an activity that transcends the seasons, but it is of course logical to target readers when they have more time to indulge themselves. However, I would argue that there needs to be a shift away from focusing solely on light reads as the recipe for the perfect summer break. All readers are different, and this must be reflected in the industry’s marketing practices.
‘Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society Takes Off’ – Alison Flood, at The Guardian
And finally, a little lighthearted literary news. You may very well have seen reports of the Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society that is currently gracing New York. Conceived in part to raise awareness of the New York law that women are permitted to go topless in any places where men enjoy that right, the Society has gained significant popularity. With events and meetups abounding, it is fair to wonder (as the author of this article does) whether the model will be replicated elsewhere.
‘London International Antiquarian Book Fair’ 22nd to 24th May – National Hall Olympia, London
London’s Antiquarian Book Fair is back again. Promising bliss for bibliophiles, this 3 day event offers the opportunity to browse and buy antiquarian books. A number of interesting demonstrations are also scheduled, including lessons in calligraphy and bookbinding. This promises to be another excellent event for any bibliophiles in London this May. Plus, tickets are FREE!
Top in Book Fetish
Not only has my book collection almost doubled within the space of a year, but this trend is one that only increases as time passes. This wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the severe lack of space I have, with stacks of books now taking over much of my floor. I remain on the hunt for new shelves – a shopping task which, I confess, I don’t find the most enjoyable. With it, however, comes the excitement of looking at bookends. And there are some stellar ones out there.
‘Morph and Chas Book Ends’ – Morph Book Ends
Hands up those of you who remember Morph? The most exciting character made of plasticine to ever grace our television sets. Well now it’s possible to have him in your living space. Morph’s eternal fame has been secured.
‘Antique Brown and Gold Leaning Books Book Ends’ – Home Works
These are appropriate mostly because my habit tends to be using stacks of books as bookends. I feel that this purchase may be a slight progression on from that.
‘Human Replica Skull Bookends’ – FatJs
And for those more creepily-inclined. Also spectacular if acting out soliloquies from Hamlet is your occupation of choice.