All Posts By

Rowan Jones

10 Fantastical Gifts for Fantasy Fiction Fans

By | Inspired by Literature | No Comments
If you or someone you know is a fan of fantasy fiction then this list may be of interest to you. Aside from being wonderful escapism, fantasy also guides us through moral and ethical conundrums, and satirises social and political events.

The worlds that fantasy authors create are full of amazing creatures, fearsome warriors, and magical beings beyond human comprehension… It is no wonder it is one of the most popular fiction genres!

Here are 10 of the most fantastical gifts for fantasy fiction fans we could find…

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The Private Lives of Authors: Franz Kafka

By | Authors, Literature | No Comments
Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was a German speaking Jewish novelist born in Prague to a middle class family. His childhood was lonely despite being the eldest of six children; his two brothers unfortunately died in their infancy and the remaining children were mainly raised by governesses. Both parents worked hard in the family business and were consequently absent for much of the working week, leaving the household in the care of servants.

Kafka was a shy and introverted character, and an avid reader. He considered writers such as Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, and Heinrich Von Kleist to be “true blood brothers”. Kafka’s father expected him to take over the family goods business, however, after completing a degree in Law he worked for insurance companies, and started an asbestos factory with an acquaintance. He claimed to despise working just to pay bills and would much rather have spent his time writing. Illness plagued him through his adult life, with complications arising from tuberculosis keeping him from joining the military.

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Michael Rosen and Tony Ross Recreate a Christmas Classic

By | Children's Literature, New Releases | No Comments
“This Christmas, join Michael Rosen and Tony Ross with their unforgettable retelling of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic. In a school theatrical production of “A Christmas Carol”, the boy who plays Scrooge is extra nervous because his very busy father is in the audience. However, it’s likely his father won’t stay for the duration, due to business. As always. Will the classic story’s message of Christmas cheer and family love reach his father’s distracted heart?”

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10 Literary Gifts For Him

By | Inspired by Literature, Literature | No Comments
This list is for anyone with a well-read boyfriend, literary uncle, bookish father, or cultured grandfather. If the man in your life enjoys a brilliant work of fiction, or disappearing into a favourite famous face’s biography, then this may just be the place you find the perfect gift for them!

The men in my family are notoriously difficult to buy for but thankfully they are all avid readers so taking them as inspiration we bring you- 10 Literary Gifts For Him. We hope to cover all the bases here, from the classy intellectual to the nerdy and humorous, you will find what you need.

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Brambly Hedge Creator Jill Barklem Died Aged 66

By | Authors, Children's Literature | No Comments
Born in Epping in 1951, Jill Barklem had a natural talent for art and drawing. He interest in the natural world became a real influence in her work, and after completing her study of illustration at St Martin’s in London, she went on to research extensively for her Brambly Hedge stories.

Her curiosity and interest in rural life bled into her quaint and sweet stories, accompanied by beautifully detailed images of anthropomorphised field mice and other hedgerow creatures.  Her Brambly Hedge stories were adored by many children growing up in the 80s and 90s from her first book ‘A Spring Story’ (1980) to ‘A Year in Brambly Hedge’ (2010). Her work was made into an animation in 1996, voiced by two British treasures- Jim Broadbent and June Whitfield.

After a long illness Jill died, aged 66, on November 16th 2017. The publisher’s staff at HarperCollins were all deeply saddened at the news of Barklem’s death. “Her exquisite Brambly Hedge stories have enchanted children and many adult admirers across the world for more than 35 years. Jill was a lovely person with a rare talent to turn her astute observation of the English countryside into an enchanting miniature world,” she said. “Her enduring stories about the mice of Brambly Hedge remain as beautiful today as when she first created them and will continue to be treasured by future generations.”

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The Horse-Riding Librarians of the 1930s

By | Culture, Libraries | No Comments
You may know a badass librarian of two, a school librarian who was a stickler for the rules, or a community librarian who would go above and beyond for her library-goers. Have you ever met a librarian who would traverse snowy mountains to provide books and other reading materials for her people?

If your community was cut off from the rest of the country, how would you access your new and favourite books?

Back in the 1930s, after the Great Depression, there was a lack of funds for public services such as libraries. In around May 1936 the American Library Association estimated that over a third of all Americans had no real access to public libraries.

The Pack Horse Library Project was started in 1935 to help tackle this problem in the area of the Appalachian Mountains. This area of Kentucky, USA was particularly inaccessible back then, with over 30% of the rural community there being illiterate. The poorer communities realised that literacy was one way out of poverty so they banded together to donate books, and facilities to store books.

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What Kind of Reader Are You?

By | Quizzes, Reading Habits | No Comments
Besides a deep love for books, none of us Reading Addicts are exactly alike. We all have our preferences and idiosyncrasies that make us who we are.

Some of us think the bath tub is the perfect place for a good read, others have a special chair where they feel at their most comfortable. I personally love a steaming hot cup of tea with my book, but others may prefer a long, cool glass of something fizzy…

One of you might love to join every book club you live near, while to others such a gathering sounds like Hell on Earth. Many of you have a TBR (to be read) pile taller than your ‘have read’ pile, however each of us handles that particular problem differently: through evasion, or to see it as a challenge!

Let’s see if your reader personality matches with any of our definitions below…

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The World Digital Library Is Now Open

By | Culture, Libraries | No Comments
Have you always wanted to search through 16,982 items from 193 countries between 8000 BCE and 2000 AD? The World Digital Library offers ways to do just that.

With help from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) the Digital Library has been available since September and is free for all users.

The library boasts an extensive range of books, along with manuscripts, videos, artworks, maps, and audio, and in seven different languages. Users can search for content in various ways: through simple searches of type of item, topic, etc, or with the interactive maps and timelines.

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Betty Pepper Proves There Is Life After Death For Damaged Books

By | Arty, Inspired by Literature | No Comments
Meet Betty Pepper, saviour of discarded and damaged books.

Jill Ashton graduated in 2004 from The University of Central England with a First Class BA Hons in Jewellery and Silversmithing. Now, as Betty Pepper the artist based in the South East of England, she spends a lot of time making each unique piece of art and jewellery. Betty’s literary-inspired art is created from silver wire and fabric fragments, and any orphaned books she finds while out on a ‘rummage’. She gives life to old and ruined books once more by fashioning quirky and whimsical pieces from their pages.

Betty’s work is displayed and sold across Europe from Glasgow to Paris, with collections and commissions also available via MadeByHandOnline. The artwork can also be found at worldwide exhibitions- most recently in the UK (Suffolk, and Leeds) and Munich, Germany. 

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The Lord Of The Rings Reworked For Brand New Television Series

By | Adaptations, Television | No Comments
In surprising news for Tolkien fans, corporation giant Amazon have bought the global television rights to The Lord Of The Rings. 

On Monday 13th of November 2017, Amazon announced they were ready to produce the biggest and most expensive show for their streaming site. Amazon are set to create multiple-seasons of a series that precede Tolkien’s first of the LotR trilogy: “The Fellowship of the Ring,”.

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