Category: BOOKS

Ilkley Literature Festival: a beacon of poetry and literary excellence celebrates 50th anniversary

Ilkey Book Festival

This year marks a remarkable milestone for Ilkley Literature Festival, the longest-established literary festival in the North. The festival, steeped in a rich poetic tradition, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. From 6th to 22nd October, the small Yorkshire spa town of Ilkley will bathe in the glow of literary fervor, hosting around 100 author events spanning over 17 days. This year’s headline acts flawlessly blend the old and the new, featuring celebrated authors like Jacqueline Wilson, Jeanette Winterson, Clare Balding, Simon Armitage, Gyles Brandreth, and Monica Ali. The lineup also brings laughter and lightness with comedian Shaparak Khorsandi and presenters Melanie Sykes, Helen Skelton, Anton Du Beke, and Ray Mears. A good number of journalists will be sharing insights from their latest books, including Gavin Esler, Luke Harding, Samuel Kasumu, Tim Marshall, James Naughtie, Grace Dent and Polly Toynbee. International literary stars have also graced the event, with Bryan Washington, winner of the 2020 International Dylan Thomas Prize, making his first ever in-person event in the UK at Ilkley to discuss his latest novel, “Family Meal.” C Pam Zhang, whose novel “How Much of These Hills Is Gold” was named one of Barack Obama’s favourite reads in 2020, will be talking about her latest book, “Land of Milk and Honey.” Founded in 1973 by the revered poet W.H. Auden, Ilkley Literature Festival has consistently championed poetry, hosting performances from illustrious poets including Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, and Carol Ann Duffy. This year, it continues its legacy by providing a platform for new and emerging poets…. Read More

What to look forward to in an evening with Mary Beard at London’s Barbican

Mary Beard classics professor

Prepare yourselves, culture and history enthusiasts, for an enchanting evening at the Barbican in London with none other than the eminent scholar, Mary Beard. Known for her engaging storytelling and profound insights, Beard will guide us on an unparalleled intellectual adventure. This night is set to be a celebration of the rich tapestry of past civilisations, and the resonance of their narratives in our present times. Here’s more about what to look forward to After the very recent release of her new book, Emperor of Rome, a riveting exploration of Roman history, from its humble beginnings to the pinnacle of its power. We will hear from Beard, with her characteristic wit and profound knowledge, as she paints a vivid picture of life in Rome during the reign of its most famous emperor. This gripping narrative, rich in detail and brimming with insights, is a testament to Beard’s storytelling prowess and her deep understanding of the past. It’s more than just a history book; it’s an immersive journey into an era long gone. Readers will find themselves right at the heart of Rome, amidst the grandeur, power struggles, and everyday life of its people. Emperor of Rome is not only an essential read for history enthusiasts but also a captivating tale that will enthrall any reader. Don’t miss this chance to experience Rome like never before, through the eyes of a master storyteller. Set within the architectural marvel that is the Barbican, this enriching evening promises to be anything but ordinary. Not only will you have… Read More

What to look forward to in Mary Beard’s new book: Emperor of Rome, 2023

Mary Beard classics professor

Prepare for a journey into the heart of Rome as Mary Beard, the eminent historian and classicist, is back with her latest book, Emperor of Rome. This riveting masterpiece promises to deliver an unparalleled deep-dive into the intriguing world of Roman emperors, a subject that has long fascinated readers. Beard’s exceptional storytelling prowess, coupled with her profound understanding of Roman history, sets the stage for illuminating insights into the lives of the most powerful individuals of ancient Rome. From their political machinations to their personal intrigues, Beard unravels them all with a deft touch. Emperor of Rome is also poised to shatter conventional wisdom, offering fresh perspectives on the infamous rulers’ reigns and their impacts that reverberate to this day. With Beard’s impeccable scholarship and lively narration, expect to be transported back in time, witnessing firsthand the spectacle of Rome under its emperors. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or a casual reader, Emperor of Rome is a must-read. It invites you to immerse yourself in the grandeur, the drama, and the unvarnished realities of Rome’s imperial past, seen through the discerning lens of Mary Beard. So, brace yourself for an enthralling exploration of an epoch that continues to shape the course of history. Buy Emperor of Rome here Feature image

How to be resilient as a stoic in this tough modern world

Marcus Aurelius

Modern Stoicism: Top 5 Books to Help You Live a More Meaningful Life Stoicism, an ancient Greek philosophy, has been gaining popularity in recent years as a practical approach to living a more mindful and fulfilling life. The principles of Stoicism emphasise the importance of self-control, rational thinking, and mindfulness to achieve inner peace amid the chaos of everyday life. In this article, we’ll explore the top 5 books on modern Stoicism that can help you incorporate these principles into your daily routine, and ultimately, lead a more meaningful life. All the books are on sale, too! In conclusion, these top 5 books on modern Stoicism offer practical insights and exercises to help readers live a more meaningful and fulfilling life. Whether you’re new to Stoicism or a seasoned practitioner, these books are sure to provide valuable insights and inspiration.

See the best of Europe in Lonely Planet’s Gourmet Trails book

Man travel alleyway lane

The new book from Lonely Planet Food, titled “Gourmet Trails.” This book offers a fresh perspective on the traditional cuisines of Europe, including local specialities and creative modern-day chef creations. With 40 foodie trails to choose from, travellers can indulge in both indulgent and affordable itineraries that cater to their unique tastes. Lonely Planet’s team of writers has curated an exquisite showcase of Europe’s epicurean countries, tailoring itineraries that celebrate vibrant local produce and the creative minds that deliver these culinary delights. Whether you’re foraging in the woods, trialling a country cooking class, tasting pungent cheeses, quaffing local wines, discovering local tavernas, tasting wild food, or bartering at a local market, this guide celebrates the best of Europe on a platter. The book covers popular and lesser-known food and wine stops throughout Europe, providing readers with the best places to stay, cool restaurants and bars, where to eat, what to do along the way, and local culture, including festivals and celebrations. Each trail features 6-8 must eat and drink stops, suiting a shorter getaway or jaunt of two to three days. Itineraries include a route map, photography, and planning information such as how to get there, where to stay, what to do, and the best time to visit. There’s also the chance to experience celebrated producers, sample local specialties, and learn about the history of regional dishes. Some of the highlights of this book include Alsace’s Route des Vins, an introduction to the Corsican pantry, delving into Danish pastry in Copenhagen, tasting the seasons in… Read More

Book review: Twelve Caesars by Mary Beard

Julius Caesar Rome

Twelve Caesars by Mary Beard is a brilliant and engaging historical account of the lives of twelve Roman emperors. The book is a remarkable feat of scholarship that brings to life the personal and political complexities of these powerful men. Already want to read it? Kindle is doing a free 30 days – try it now Mary Beard is an acclaimed historian and classicist who has written several books on ancient Rome. In Twelve Caesars, she explores the lives of the emperors who ruled Rome from Julius Caesar to Domitian. The book combines meticulous research with a lively and accessible writing style that makes it both informative and entertaining. One of the strengths of the book is the way Beard situates the biographies of the emperors within the broader historical context of the Roman Empire. She provides an insightful analysis of the political, economic, and social changes that occurred during the reign of each emperor. She demonstrates how their personal ambitions and flaws influenced their decision making and contributed to the successes and failures of their reigns. Another strength of Twelve Caesars is Beard’s ability to draw out the human side of the emperors. She vividly portrays their personalities, quirks, and foibles, making them seem like real people rather than just historical figures. One of the most memorable aspects of the book is the way Beard describes the extravagant and often bizarre behavior of the emperors, such as Nero’s obsession with theatre and Caligula’s penchant for dressing up as a god. Through the stories of… Read More

Edinburgh by Robert Louis Stevenson is this winter’s must-read


It is Rebeka Russell who’s started Manderlay Press, a unique book publisher in the UK with a unique take all its own. And this year, they’ve kicked things off with Edinburgh by Robert Louis Stevenson, with an introduction by bestselling Edinburgh-based author Alexander McCall Smith. He said: “This is not a compendium of dry facts – this is an account of why Stevenson found Edinburgh so fascinating and such a rich source of inspiration for his writing.” Manderley Press will reissue around six books a year and each title will feature a specially commissioned introduction by a contemporary writer and new front cover artwork. Both the artist and writer will be chosen for their connections to the place at the heart of each publication. The first book launch is so exciting, though, because many of the buildings, places and people Stevenson describes in Edinburgh would inform the settings of his classic adventure novels, many names you’re bound to have heard; including Kidnapped, Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. For a taste of the book and to secure your own while you can, head to Manderley Press.

Book Club key to surviving the winter blues? Top tips for starting one

Reading book

– Lucy Pearson, Bibliotherapist and Scribd Ambassador It’s no secret that I have a love affair with reading. Beyond expanding my mind and helping me relax, one of the things I love most about a great read is discussing a text, whether that’s at the Bondi Literary Salon or with friends.   Clearly I am not alone in this! Book clubs have seen a huge resurgence in the past few years, with everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Kaia Gerber starting their own book clubs.  Attending a regular book club creates a sense of connection with others through a shared love of reading. Recently I’ve seen a lot of book clubs take up ebook subscriptions as a way to keep reading and maintain a human connection during this challenging time. I personally love Scribd, as it has a huge library of local and international content and shares personalised recommendations with me based on my tastes.  For those feeling inspired to start your own book club, and want to be sure it lasts beyond the first cheese board –  here are my my top five tips, from my favourite ebook service, to getting a great conversation flowing with discussion points.  Happy reading!  A compelling read  A book club starts with a great read. Mix it up with fiction and non-fiction, local and international authors. Pick your selections from a diverse range of authors to step outside your comfort zone. This will keep your club engaged, and continually challenged.  Share around the responsibility of selecting a title and think… Read More

Why Covid was a dream for new writer Mark Ashbury: about his new book ‘The Fallen’

Man writing laptop book

If there was one thing Covid gave the world – other than unconquerable frustration – it was time. Time, which new author Mark Ashbury used well, to achieve new projects and mount new heights! His new book The Fallen, is the first volume one of the engrossing ‘Book of Souls’ saga. The new book has been 30 years in the making – and is an impressive tome – that tells the story of one young woman who fights to reclaim her home and her birthright. She enlists the help of ex-bomb disposal experts, catapulting the entire cast into an unforgettable fantasy adventure unlike anything else on the market. A cinematic-in-style sci-fi tale that taps into Ashbury’s creative narrative, he harnessed his time furloughed from work to achieve his aspirations and unfurl the tale of Lalitha that spans over the course of a series of books. For more information and to order a copy, go to Amazon

How to get a good job after 50

Old woman laptop work

After the last year or so we’ve all had, you could hardly be blamed for beginning to think well into the future, off the back of a lot of people’s reassessment of their lives, future and desires, right? So, thinking about your middle age and what that’s going to look like’s a pretty good idea, to that end! This is why the latest instalment of Rupert French’s work, How to get a good job after 50 is such a must-read for anyone. The book’s a step-by-step guide, for older job seekers, showing them how to take control of their careers with expertise and confidence. With age comes experience, reliability and practised skills, and this book explains how to market these qualities to prospective employers. Covering all aspects of the job search, this is a tried and tested recipe for career success! Due for release after 7 June 2020, the book’s a must for those who need to udnerstand how to qualify for a pension, maintain success, stay in the workforce longerand much more. Find out more at Exisle Publishing’s website