November Wrap Up: What We’ve Been Reading

How have you been keeping this month, and what have you been reading?

I have been thinking a lot recently about fallow periods, and times of gathering-in and hibernating. This may have been forced upon us this year due to the lockdown, but there is a value in a time of quietitude and reflection. Sometimes if you sit with the silence, creativity and ideas may begin to flow again. As is so often the case, Tove Jannson can expresses this so beautifully in Moominvalley in November, a book I often turn to at this time of year:

“The quiet transition from autumn to winter is not a bad time at all. It’s a time for protecting and securing things and for making sure you’ve got in as many supplies as you can. It’s nice to gather together everything you possess as close to you as possible, to store up your warmth and your thoughts and burrow yourself into a deep hole inside, a core of safety where you can defend what is important and precious and your very own. Then the cold and the storms and the darkness can do their worst. They can grope their way up the walls looking for a way in, but they won’t find one, everything is shut, and you sit inside, laughing in your warmth and your solitude, for you have had foresight.”

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September Wrap Up: What We’ve Been Reading

Well, this September has been packed with glorious new books, and we saw a Super Thursday like no other, with over 600 books published on the same day following lockdown publication delays across the industry.  Just like that, it seems as though we’re on the run up to Christmas. Well, as a bookseller Super Thursday has always meant the start of Christmas for me!

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My Year of Dickens, an interview with Victoria Keating

One of the few nice consequences of the pandemic was a chance to properly get to know my neighbour, singer songwriter Victoria Keating, without the stiff formalities of nodding hello on the morning commute. As she moved in just prior to lockdown I had the privilege of getting to know her in a strange isolation: we were meeting no family or friends and jumped at the chance to chat across the garden fence.

As the country began to emerge from lockdown, I sat down to chat with Victoria about her inspirations and her creative process, and how a year spent immersed in the works of Dickens inspired both a new song, and the title for her lockdown project: Little Rooms, Big Music.

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