• Big Is Still Beautiful

    Studies by various impressive-sounding academics have shown that, thanks to a multi-tasking whirl of texting, tweeting, one-click buying, email checking (on average 30 times an hour) and – oh, look, a butterfly! – our reading habits are officially rubbish. Statistics verified by the Associ

  • Writing On Writing

    It is a well-worn truism that all novel-writing advice boils down to a handful of simple tenets. Show, don’t tell. Cut adjectives. Kill your darlings. Get in late, and out early. Read your work aloud. Don’t give up your day job, you masochistic fantasist; don’t you know that publishing is

  • The Real Value Of Books

    Do you think Dickens should cost more than Dan Brown? Do you approach a 99p ebook with a different mentality to a £10 hardback? And does a soy latte really have more impact on your life than a book? The value of literature – not in the sense of soul-stirring, brain-pimping, culture-cementing

  • Self-Help Fiction

    Hi. My name is Molly and I’m a self-help addict. Although I avoid anything involving diets, doctrines and fist-pumpers in suits, recent, beautifully written pop-psychology classics as Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts and Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit have given me a social

  • Reading lessons from a 2 year old

    When I first found out that my sister was pregnant, I knew there were countless pleasures in store. Hot, squirmy cuddles. The DUPLO farm. Jelly.

    But above all, I couldn’t wait for the reading. I longed to rediscover the stories I loved as a child, from Each Peach Pear Plum to Pippin and

  • Flush fiction

    The coming of age novel is one of our most popular and powerful literary genres. From The History of Tom Jones to Twilight, The Catcher in the Rye to Carrie, we never tire of watching tender little Homo Sapiens get plunged into the boiling cauldron of life, and no wonder. Stories are based

  • 3 ways to celebrate the future of books

    Do you love to talk about publishing innovation but realise that you behaviour as a reader has barely changed? Are you truly creating, or just ‘being creative’, online? Do you find that the opportunities for writers in social media essentially boil down to shinier and more addictive ways to pro

  • My life in twelve books

    Last week, a colleague of mine asked if I would participate in a Pinterview (a Pinterest interview. Don’t judge.) called ‘My Life In Books.’ The idea was that I would submit images of the covers of twelve books that had been important to me at different stages of my life, in chronological

  • Close encounters of the word kind

    This Christmas, I bought my mother-in-law a Smythson ‘Book Notes’ journal: 128 leaves of gilt-edged, pale blue featherweight paper bound in monogrammed navy lambskin, with each double-spread designed to record the Date, Title, Author and Comments of your latest read. Yes, I am a kiss-ass. Sh

  • Forget Little Women; embrace real heroines

    Did you know that Stella Gibbons, author of Cold Comfort Farm - not to mention twenty-four other novels, three volumes of short stories, four volumes of poetry and copious journalism – was forced to move to “a dark little den” at the back of offices of weekly women’s magazine The Lady 

  • Explore new horizons at the South Asian Literature Festival

    When you sit down for a bedtime recitation Grimm’s Fairy Tales, do you realize that many of those weird and wonderful folk tales have their origins in the ancient Indian animal fables of the Panchatantra? When you hum Baloo’s catchy tune from The Jungle Book, do you know that Kipling’s or

  • James Bond: Trash or Art?

    Indulge me in a little exercise. Open a new tab on your browser, enter Amazon.co.uk and type ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ into the search bar. After multiple DVDs, CDs and audio downloads (but thankfully before the OPI nail varnish, ‘retro maxi poster’, 1:36th scale Aston Martin DBS