Solstice Shorts: Arachne Press

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My t-shirt arrived for the Solstice Shorts festival, it’s all getting rather exciting to say the least! If you want to check it out, think about entering or coming to visit in Decemeber it’s all hereeee so go check it out here!

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Exciting news here at mylittlebookblog

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Solstice Shorts hosted by Arachne Press

A celebration of National Short Story Day of the Winter Solstice and of the narrative power of folk music, bringing together story and song on the Greenwich Meridian- on the theme of time. The festival has grown in scope at it is now a marvellous mix of live short stories; chosen by our exquisite line up of judges and read by actors; and folk music from leading local professional and amateur musicians, backed up with writing and singing workshops, all of which will be BS: interpreted throughout, as we’d like to make the event as inclusive as possible. We also plan to live broadcast the performances, and podcasting them for future reference. We have  confirmed venues at the beautiful West Greenwich Library from sunrise (8.04) till 11.30 and at The Royal Observatory Greenwich in the Astronomy Centre from 11 till sunset (15.53) We have confirmed judges for the short story competition: Alison Moore (award-winning short story writer and novelist,) Imogen Robertson (writer of the acclaimed Crowther & Westerman historical crime series) Rob Shearman (Doctor Who and multiple short stories) and Anita Sethi (Journalist; reviewer and Broadcaster.) Each of the judges is contributing a story to the day and the book that will be published of the winning stories from the competition.

I, Lizzy Baldwin from mylittlebookblog will be shortlisting the stories for the short story competition with the lovely Cherry Potts. I could never have guessed that MLBB could have brought me so many incredible opportunities and I cannot wait to get stuck in reading and shortlisting. I am so incredibly excited to be part of this festival. If you are interested you can see more here! http://tinyurl.com/mxh849e. There is a little problem and that is that the festival is a little short on funding, I am currently adding some well deserved pennies and pounds but if you fancy donating anything to the cause of this lovely little festival then click here: http://www.sponsume.com/project/solstice-shorts-festival. I have never asked anything from my readers before and do not feel obliged or pressured to, I’m sure we will push this project through no matter what. If you are interested all the information is in the links above! 

Turning 21 in the style of an avid reader…

Hello little bloggers, this is the follow up to the exciting post that I turned 21 a little while ago. Yes, I am now officially an adult apparently. This did not stop me from spending the day running around London searching for benches moulded to look like books. Painted to resemble either a book, an author, or perhaps an illustrator they are dotted around the capital like trophies to portray the brilliance of our capacity to write. There are fifty benches in total and four different trails each to take the searcher on an adventure. On the way you may encounter Paddington bear or perhaps the slightly maddening Dr Seuss. Yes, there is a bench for every type of reader. 
 
The question that has been created through spending the day like an excited child running around the city searching for these brightly coloured statues is; how important is reading? It may be something that we all take for granted; I certainly do. I was brought up on a rich diet of reading. Whether it was spending every Saturday snuggled on a bean bag in the local library devouring every book I could get my hands on, or sat on my parents lap being read to day or night, (The Witches by Roald Dahl was so frightening that it had to be read in the afternoon after school.) I was (luckily) exposed to books from a very young age. In school I raced through the rising reading levels so that I could be allowed free reign on the library. This meant being able to pick my own books; I could travel through steamy, humid jungles laced with dangerous animals, or I could go swimming underwater darting in and out of stunningly colourful coral; reading was ultimately an escape. However, as I’ve grown older and read more I have realised that reading opens so many more doors than my original belief that reading was good because it was enjoyable. 
 
It was reported in the Guardian that ‘Reading for pleasure at the age of 15 is a strong factor in determining future social mobility. Indeed, it has been revealed as the most important indicator of the future success of the child.’ The article picked a difficulty between making children read and making them read for pleasure. Reading for pleasure is, unlike my younger self thought, not just for enjoyment (although this is a factor) but is a tool for social interaction. Reading encourages a number of important skills including mental stimulation, increased knowledge, better cultural and social understanding, an expansion of vocabulary, improved focus and concentration, better written skills, increased content for conversation, among many (many) others. However, technology is taking over, we are losing our ability to communicate. I remember speaking to a friend at university who simply said ‘I don’t read.’ I remember exclaiming you don’t…. but he was adamant. If reading is not introduced as a pleasurable activity does it have an adverse reaction on our ability to communicate correctly? No, not exactly, but our want to positively communicate may be stimulated by our want to read for pleasure. 
 
Going back to my own personal experience, I can firmly say that pleasure through reading can be built into youngsters by allowing a greater access to books of all types of reading. When I was ten, I was allowed to pick out books that I loved and that was when I stumbled across the books that festered a love for reading that have stuck with me for eleven years (and counting!) I discovered the beauty of Sherlock Holmes (who greatly influenced my desire to work in the publishing industry) I discovered child-friendly versions of Treasure Island and Dracula that I quickly read and then went on to discover the adult versions. The point I am making is, it was the ability to read books that weren’t just part of the curriculum. I remember other pupils jealously asking why I could read whatever I wanted and me smugly smiling and running up to the library to gain another great book. But what about those that didn’t master the frightfully boring books that are standard as a curriculum choice. Those that leave school without discovering the beauty of prose, of character build up, of adventure and excitement. As I said above we each have different likes and dislikes, but what if each child could, read what they wanted to, and were allowed to communicate and discuss the books that they personally enjoy. 
 
Moving forward to A level English even though a strong and very enthusiastic reader I hated, yes hated, each of the books that I read through my A levels. Enduring Love, A street car named desire, The Great Gatsby, Frankestein, I disliked and refused to read every one of them. I became a recluse in English Lit, and yet at home I was reading everything I could get my hands on. Here however we tumble into the problem of the ‘cannon of classics.’ I am going to make a statement here; I don’t believe that the classics are the be all and end all. When I was around fifteen I got myself in a right pickle that I hadn’t read enough of said classics. I sat down with a pile desperate to get myself through them and ended up in a pile of salty tears. I understand that knowledge of the classics is said to show ‘cultural identity,’ and ‘show the importance of heritage.’ I loved reading and yet English Literature lead me to question everything that I had ever thought about reading. Yet, when given the choice, the selection, the beauty of a choice, we can stimulate the pleasure of reading and communicate as to our desire.
 
Travelling to London on the train to my 21st birthday, I was surrounded by technological devices. The child in front was watching a film on tablet, the mother was tapping enthusiastically on her blinking iphone, the father was chatting on the phone to another person, far away from reality. The little girl was the only one disengaged and staring into space. When did we become less interested in the people around us than the people excitedly chatting to us through screen. When we stopped reading for pleasure…that’s when.
 
thoughts?
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Lets get the creativity flowing….

I’ve read recently that a number of people that have followed mylittlebookblog have been having trouble finding the right words to finish things. Whether it’s a blog post, or a review or a book they are writing I’ve seen a few negative thoughts. I saw this and thought I have to reblog it! Being creative is so incredibly lovely but sometimes our ability to be creative wears down. These are some reasons that may help you find your creative path once again!

WE ARE ARMSTRONG

The big idea. The small idea. The idea that makes a difference. The idea that changes everything. Ideas have driven us through the Renaissance period and into the digital age. And whether for philanthropy or profit, science or art, when boiled down, everything is based on an idea.

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A to Z Book Survey….

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So I found this at the blog The Perceptual Page Turner. Not only is this blog pretty awesome and the posts thought provoking but the name of this blog is just brilliant. I found this A-Z challenge there and I’d love to hear your answers to! Here is the link to the original post hope you enjoy my answers! http://www.perpetualpageturner.com/2013/08/some-friday-fun.html

Author you’ve read the most books from:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: When I hit year six I became obsessed with reading older books. One day I found a Sherlock Holmes book and was hooked. I still think of Doyle as one of the founding reasons I decided to try and get into the world of publishing.

Best Sequel Ever: When I read Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, I fell in love with J.K Rowling and her amazing writing style. I fell for the dream of a magical world and the suspense, the great character profiles it was all, well, magic! So, when I read the second I was worried I wouldn’t be drawn in as much. I shouldn’t have worried even now I desperately read Rowling’s books, despite the bad reviews! A part of my heart will always be in the Harry Potter series.

Currently Reading: How To Win A Guy In 10 Dates by Jane Linford. I’m taking part in a #Sexmeupreadathon this month and I’m trying to get ahead so starting reading now!

Drink of Choice While Reading: A freezing cold can of Pepsi Max

E-reader or Physical Book?
I’m definitely a physical book girl but love my Kindle for the bus, review copies and when I’m on holiday so I can have lots of options with me without the extra baggage!

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: Nick from the book On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah. He seems like a big brooding character but also deeply emotion with a huge heart, oh, and he sounds incredibly handsome.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Dance The Moon Down by R.L. Bartram. I really disliked the frontcover and was really tempted not to read the book but I gave it go and I’m so glad I did!

Hidden Gem Book: When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
Starting my blog as it really kick-started my reading again, I fell in love with the community feel and it has opened so many doors for me.

Just Finished: Blood of the Rose by Kevin Murray! Read my review below!

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
This is difficult because I’m open to almost all genres. I guess the only one I normally avoid is science fiction. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s just that I often don’t understand all of the jargon language and then I worry that I haven’t understood the book as a whole. I prefer to leave it to people that really love the genre and can give it their full attention!

Longest Book You’ve Read: Maybe Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at 766 pages! Although I must add it was my least favourite of the series!

Major book hangover because of: Remember To Breathe by Simon Pont. I’m slightly over this book now but at the time I fell in love with it. I was also getting over a particularly difficult relationship and this book made me laugh, cry, cry some more, and then look to the future. It was a book that really healed me and showed me that life isn’t always what we see at first.

Number of Bookcases You Own: I have eight extremely well stacked shelves!

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson

Preferred Place To Read:
Snuggled up in bed in my Pajamas with my cuddly toy Eeyore.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”
― Roald Dahl, Matilda

Reading Regret: Not reading 1984 by George Orwell yet. I was supposed to read this years ago but kept putting it off and now I’m still waiting for the perfect time to read it. I just need to get a copy, sit down and get it read!

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):
I’m being a little naughty and not quite answering the question. I need to start the Game of Thrones series, but I haven’t started any of them yet!

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusack
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Harry Potter: I know I’ve said it before but I don’t really follow any other series. Nothing has ever come close to the magic spun by J.K Rowling through Harry Potter

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
Katie Cross’s sequel to her amazing book Miss Mabel’s school for girls, I loved this book so much and cannot wait to read the next!

Worst Bookish Habit:
I lose bookmarks all the time, I can’t seem to keep an eye on them so I, rather terribly, turn over the corners of pages. Shock horror, worst habit ever! I hate it as much as you do!

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
Monster Mission by Eva Ibbotson

Your latest book purchase:
I really don’t buy books anymore because I get sent so many, but the last one probably was Orange is the New Black I bought it after I tried to watch the series on Netflix and then found out it was a book and I absolutely loved it!

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
The Cuckoo’s Calling By Rowling…once again!

I’d love to see yours if you do it too — link back to me and then leave your link in the comments so I can come visit yours!

Questions for mylittlebookblog

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Good evening my lovely little bloggers! Yesterday I asked you to come up with a number of questions for me regarding myself and my blog, so here are the answers to your wonderful questions. I often don’t tend to babble about myself too much and I normally reign it in on the pretense that blogging about yourself is a little boring, but it seems that a number of you have questions for me! So here are the answers…read on, and enjoy! (Hopefully!)

How do you find and/or decide which books to read and/or review?

I really like this question; currently I read almost only books that I get sent by authors. When I was looking around the book blogging sphere I saw that many book bloggers refused books from self-published or new authors and I thought, that’s just not right! I know that book blogging is at times frustrating and tiring, but I think that new authors demand and need just as much attention as well-known or established authors. In terms of deciding what to review I intend to review all the books I am sent as I still cannot believe that people send me their manuscripts, however I try to make sure that the book matches my blog, so nothing too out there and I try to avoid sci-fi if possible as I don’t think I can do it justice due to my lack of interest. I also don’t review books in the order that they appear in my inbox. I like variety and I often get sent a number of the same genre of books at the same time because people have seen my reviews. therefore I try to mix it up and give a variety. Additionally every so often my incredible Mother sends me a book and that gets squeezed in because she is so good at choosing books for me!

How many of the books you read get reviewed in the end?

I honestly review all the books I read; because I specialise in books that are specifically sent to me I make sure that if someone has deliberately got in touch with me and emailed me, to get me at mylittlebookblog to review their book then I will review it, even if it takes a while. Books that arn’t sent to me and I buy myself, I guess it ultimately depends on how well it fits with the blog as a whole! If it fits perfectly and I think people will like it I’ll review but if I ultimately find it tiring or lacking in enjoyment it’s a lot less likely to be reviewed!

Do you read comics or manga or do you prefer novels?

No, I only really read novels!

Do you have a favourite genre? Why do you consider it your favourite?

Love this question so much! Historical fiction is probably my favourite genre! If an author has the ability to transfer me to another era and a completely different world what could be better? I think books are the ultimate escapsim and travelling through time to an entirely new place is incredibly touching!

Do you ever get asked to review something and give a good review even though you didn’t like it?
Great question once again; as of yet I have never been asked to review something and give it a good review even if I didn’t like it and I am so glad because I would have to tell them rather strongly to take their books elsewhere! I always try and write a sandwich review; so sandwich the negatives between positives however I would never lie in my reviews. It not only compromises me as a blogger but it tarnishes the other great books I have read. I have a couple of times been asked to overlook grammar and spelling if there is a new edition being released or the author had a bad experience with their editor!

AND, how do you put your own grade on your reviews?

If you are a regular reader of mylittlebookblog you will see that I do not have a rating system. I’ve kind of explained this before but the main reason is that there are so many things that affect whether I have liked the book. For example; I may have loved the build up of character profiles but disliked the lack of description, I may have loved the writing style but not felt that the plot-line was strong enough to sustain it; to give a rating would be to average all of these factors against each other and that’s not a true representation of my thoughts. Therefore to grade them I leave it up to you, the readers of my review. I tell you the plot and then I outline my thoughts, because all I’m here for is to find you new incredible books to read; but our tastes may be different and by writing my reviews in this way I feel like I can cater for all!

You discover a way to bring one fictional character into the real world, who would you bring out and what would you show them?
I would love to meet Sherlock Holmes, take him for coffee and spend the afternoon people watching in London! We could chat all day about mysteries, people, life, Dr Watson, oh, it would be marvelously British 🙂 ❤

I love your blog! But I’m curious: By the end of the month how many books / words have you read?

Ah how many words? That's too difficult! It really depends on the months but I think between six and eight books a month! Wow that sounds like a lot 🙂

What are your thoughts about international books? I have this thing for books and publications from outside my country, and I was wondering if you have a take (or preference) for it?

I never really take this into account when I'm reading if I'm completely honest! If I like the blurb I'll probably give it a read 🙂

So there it is! Hope you all enjoy 😀 ❤

My Writing Process Blog Tour

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Morning my lovely littlebloggers! Today I am taking part in the ‘My Writing Process Blog Tour,’ and firstly I must thank the both incredibly talented and hilarious blogger Jacke Wilson; I first came into contact with Jacke when he asked me if I wouldn’t mind reviewing his book. Since then I have read and reviewed both his books and he has now recommended me for this blog tour which is super! If you ever have minute please go and take a peak at his blog it is very special and I am a big, big fan! So I’ve checked off  number one. (Acknowledge the person who invited you to the blog tour, and that you are part of “My Writing Process” Blog Tour.) So the next on the checklist is to answer these four questions;

What am I working on? This one is a little difficult for me, as I’m not officially a writer but a book blogger. However, I am currently working on a number of book tours and cover reveals, and I have recently started my own weekly post called Thoughtful Thursdays. Although I say I’m not a writer one day I hope to get a novella published but we will have to see! For now my job as a blogger is to keep reading and reviewing!

How does my work differ from others of its genre? Hmm, this question is difficult for me. As a blogger I think what sets me apart is that I will take any book; it doesn’t matter if it is self-published, or if it’s only a couple of chapters that have been posted as an off-thought. I will read any genre, any stance, any idea, and I will listen and try and reflect. I also spend a lot of time whilst reading trying to understand what the author is trying to tell me, or how they are trying to make me feel as to get the best understanding of a book. I get a lot of people commenting that my blog is more of a community feel in which people can come and comment and reflect and ask questions and I really do try and keep it as open and as comfortable for any writer. I really try and play on the community feel in which to give writers as much support as I can as a blogger.

Why do I write what I do? This question is an easy one for me; I started this blog as a personal project fourteen months ago. It all came from writing for the university magazine Concourse. Although I was writing book reviews I had no idea if anyone was viewing my reviews let alone reading or enjoying them. So, after many suggestions from my wonderful mother I set up ‘mylittlebookblog.’ Now, this started as somewhere to write about my personal reviews of books, until I set up my ‘review requests’ page. Since the setting up of that page I have been inundated with requests. These are books from real authors who have spent months, no, maybe years, creating a product. From the seed of an idea, to the filling out of the characters, the setting of the scene, the editing and re-editing, the tears, the cutting of chapters, the sheer hard work and determination, at the end of it all they pass this creation over to me to hold, and to delve into. Here, I have the ability to read the books of unknown, new authors and I get to spill the secrets of how incredible their books are. How they build their character profiles, or how their prose rises and falls unstilted and beautifully fluid. What could be lovelier; they have no idea how I will find the book and yet they want me, yes me, to review it and I am trusted not to be nice, but to be honest. To give praise and criticism with the knowledge that it is sometimes cruel to be kind and that sometimes to critique helps to make the end product even better and more polished. I have fallen in love with blogging, and I have fallen even more in love with reading if that is even possible. But really, why do I write what I do? Because if I have the chance to help one, just one author, then I have done my job here, and that makes me feel incredible.

How does my writing process work?

Hmm, how does my writing process work?

Pyjamas: Okay, that’s a little specific but for me pyjamas work for my writing process. I guess what I am saying is to be comfortable.

Space: The second most important thing for me is to be in the right space to write. I like to sit with my legs crossed on my bed with the sun streaming through the window. No, I can’t control the weather but as long as I am comfy, with my legs crossed staring out the window, words seem to seep out of my very pores. Rain, sleet, snow, cloudy skies, I seem to gain a creative flow.

Music: Now this is potentially a controversial one; I love to listen to music whilst I am writing. The crooning of Maroon Five or the beauty of Ben Howard a little music goes a long way with me. Now, I know many will disagree but whether it is silence, the buzzing of the radio or pumping chart tunes make sure the noise around you is right for you. Experiment, mix it up, but like number one make sure you are comfortable.

Other Bloggers: The last of my four tips is to use other bloggers; I am always looking at my favourite blogs to find inspiration. As mentioned above Jacke Wilson has inspired me to start potentially writing my own ‘Life in 100 objects,’ and after reading a post on ‘Musing Mondays,’ I decided to start my own ‘Thoughtful Thursdays.’ For me creativity can come from anywhere but bouncing ideas off other bloggers seems to work pretty well

So the last point on the list to check off is; Nominate three more authors to follow, with short bios and blog links, and give the date of their blog.

1) So the first blogger is the incredibly lovely Bradley from http://greenembers.wordpress.com. A couple of months ago Bradley took a chance on me as a blogger and asked me to take part in one of their podcasts. I was a bag of nerves, however he made it so incredibly lovely and since then I have been a daily reader of the blog he runs! It really is worth a look!

2) My second blogger is Shannon Bradford as http://readingwritingcreating.com. Shannon did a blog post for a couple of months back and the response to it was amazing! If you’d like to see more here is a link; https://mylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/?s=guest+post. Knowing that Shannon is a new blogger I really wanted to get her involved as she is a brilliant writer and rather selfishly I want to know more about where she gets her inspiration from whilst also helping to show you littlebloggers her great blog!

3) Last but certainly not least is Jonas Lee from http://jonasleeblog.com. I met Jonas after he asked me to review his book which you can check out here: https://mylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/the-time-travellers-grandchild-jonas-lee. After reading the book we have kept in touch regularly commenting and talking about books! I recently nominated Jonas for a blogging award and his answers were incredibly brilliant and I cannot wait to read about his writing process!

 

Look forward to all three posts and their nominations on the 7th of July!

Right, so they we go, I did it. It’s been a pleasure to be involved and I hope you enjoyed this slightly different post! Ciao.

 

 

 

 

“An Easy and Sophisticated Read”: A Review of The Promotion by My Little Book Blog

Tomorrow you can read my additon to the ‘My Writing Process Blog Tour.’ I am incredibly excited to take part in this book blogging tour and I cannot wait to recommend new bloggers for you start following! Also thank you to the brilliant Jacke Wilson for recommending me for the tour you can check out his post right here at: http://goo.gl/6bg0OO

love you littlebloggers! ❤

Jacke Wilson

“An incredibly quick read…this is a book that makes the reader think…” – My Little Book Blog 

Wow, another great day here on the Jacke blog. I’ve been very fortunate with positive reviews, and the latest review of The Promotion (from Lizzy of My Little Book Blog, who also reviewed The Race a while ago) is another one to print out and hang on the refrigerator.

I love everything about this review; it’s hard to clip passages. But I’ll start with this:

One of the things that I loved most about the book was Wilson’s ability to create so much content in such a short amount of space. We see the main protagonist build, and build to a peak, before seemingly spiraling out of control, unable to deal with the facts he has been told. The mix of trouble and depression contrasted with anticipation and promise is…

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Musing Mondays: mylittlebookblog

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB that asks you to muse about one of several “bookish” questions… you can check the blog out here: http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com! Now my post today comes after reading this post here: http://bookmammalmusings.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/monday-musings-a-book-blogger-quiz/ So, here we go!

Here’s my musing for this week–

Here is The Book Blogger Quiz as featured on Amanda’s Nose In A Book, below are my answers! Comment your answers at the bottom if you fancy! 🙂 ❤

What are your top three book pet hates?

  1. Folded over corners in second hand books…just use a bookmark!
  2. Books that end extremely quickly…as though the author had given up and just wanted to get it over with at the end
  3. Books with bad grammer…as an avid book reader it shocks me that so many books have terrible grammtical errors

Describe your perfect reading spot.

A plushy window seat, a can of freezing cold Pepsi Max, and a bar of cookie-crumble Galaxy cookie crumble on the sill next to me and Lola our little bunny curled up at my feet. Perfect

Tell us three book confessions.

  1. I have never kept a bookmark for more than a couple of days; I am the most disorganised person, and bookmarks just seem to run away from me
  2. Reading a fiction book with parts underlined or circled really upsets me
  3. I never skip to the end of the book, I think it is a terrible thing to do!

When was the last time you cried during a book?

Re-reading the Book Thief, (and yes, I cried the first time too!)

How many books are on your bedside table?

I don’t have a bedside table…but on my desk there is a pile the length of my arm!

What is your favorite snack to eat while you’re reading?

Minstrels!

Name three books you would recommend to everyone.

This is hard—recommending books is so “person-specific”! I’ll list three books I often recommend to fellow booklovers—

  1. The Great Gatsby: Scott Fitzgerald
  2. Remember To Breathe: Simon Pont
  3. The Chocolate Run: Dorothy Koomson

Show us a picture of your favorite shelf on your bookcase.