On failing to leave Twitter…

How to Leave Twitter by Grace Dent is very good, very funny and left me feeling unsettled. Admittedly I read it on Friday night when I was more tired than I remember being outside of looking after a newborn and wasn’t looking forward to getting up at 4.30am to drive to Harwich. I love going to Holland. I love seeing my husband’s family, I love the ferry from Harwich. The only thing I don’t like is the drive to Harwich because it is annoying, whichever way you go, but has also developed into a bone of marital contention. I think it is better to go out on the M4 and around the M25, my husband thinks is better to cross across London on the North Circular. I’m not sure why he holds so firmly to the superiority of the worst road in the world. I prefer my route because although it is longer there is less chance of sitting in traffic jams, it is impossible to go wrong and I would rather look at motorway than look at almost everything you can see from the middle of the road works on the North Circular. Continue reading

Child free!!!!!


In general I am not a fan of the idea that you can only understand something if you have personally experienced it. Always seems like cliquey unimaginative nonsense to me. But, there is something that I think you can only understand if you are a parent. And that is the way that you would simultaneously happily die on behalf on your adored child, but are also ready to die WITH GRATITUDE if someone trustworthy is willing to take them away for a bit.

All week long I have been giddily boasting that the small dude will be spending a few days in Cornwall with his Grandparents. I have been jumping up and down with excitement. ‘Child free,’ I’ve been shouting whilst waving my arms in the air, ‘Child free.’ Parents look at me with molten envy dripping from their eyes. Non-parents smile weakly, ‘That’s nice,’ they say and shuffle off thinking that I’m either insane or a bad mother (or both.)

We both went to the pub on Friday night with work chaps and could both lie in on Saturday morning. We only got up when we were hungry and decided to go out somewhere where they would be no children. We thought we’d remember what it feels like to not be in thrall to a tiny person. Continue reading

Just how much do you love that book?

So, on Radio 4 this morning a discussion about how reading novels is good for you and helps you open yourself up to the world. Not news, possibly, to anyone who already reads. Though a new justification, possibly:

‘Sorry, darling, I’m not going to get involved in dishwasher loading/nappy changing/insert dull domestic chore of choice until I’ve finished opening myself up to this new world. Only 60 pages left…’

I always get a bit nervous when we tell people that reading is good for them because I worry that the initiated already know it, and it doesn’t sound terribly tempting to those who don’t. The consumption of books shouldn’t be like trying to clock up five fruit and veg portions a day or three brisk walks a week. Don’t read because it’s good for you, read because you get to walk a mile in another man’s shoes, because you can travel to the moon and the stars, because you can see the world through the eyes of a tiny child. Continue reading

Ten (unintentionally) heartbreaking books for WBN

One of the great joys of bookselling is making lists. You want to set up a themed display so you pick your theme and start curating your list.

Just yesterday I was talking to my friend Rik (bookselling genius and all round good egg) about the excitement you feel as a new bookseller the first time you get to order up your own display.

And then, what joy, I see on Twitter that World Book Night are asking for ten books from everyone. I could be choosing that forever I think, and cunningly set myself the deadline of Sunday lunchtime. By Sunday lunchtime I will have submitted my ten. No messing. Continue reading

Mission update

Mission Update as promised – more the promise of an update, really.

Warning – this is extremely soppy!

Yesterday I went to our lovely shop at Piccadilly and was interviewed by a very nice man from The Evening Standard about what we plan to do to support their magnificent Get London Reading campaign.

I can’t say what it is quite yet but it will be in The Standard later today. It is big, bold, and I’m incredibly proud to be involved. A lot of people have worked extremely hard to set it up and all our lovely London booksellers will work extremely hard to pull it off. Continue reading