When French company Short Edition brought five minute stories to vending machines in France we were absolutely thrilled. The short stories are just the right length to be read while you’re waiting for a train and the idea itself is exciting and innovative.
Soon afterwards we heard that the vending machines had gone worldwide and had spread to North America and several other European countries too. However, we still hadn’t seen any in the UK. All that is now changing, as the first of these machines appears in London, and the first short story is penned by Anthony Horowitz.
The vending machines have been installed at train stations and busy commuter areas around the world and dispense free one minute, three minute, and five minute stories to passers by. While the idea might not appeal to ardent reading addicts who always have a book to hand, we encourage anything that gets more people reading, especially as literacy is in such decline.
The three machines were unveiled in Canary Wharf this week and are the first I the UK. The first story is by Anthony Horowitz, but we’re promised genres from sci-fi to romance and even children’s fiction. Horowitz said that it proved a challenge to write a story that could be read between two train stations, he chose a whodunit and enjoyed rising to the challenge of creating a very short story with a resolution that would make people smile.
As Horowitz pointed out, many today as sitting on the train playing on apps, playing games, and looking at old tweets so to draw them into a story, even a short one which is literature with a very small ‘l’ is worthwhile and exciting!
It’s not the first time this idea has come to fruition, in the 1930s Penguin launched the Penguincubator on Charing Cross Road, and in 2016 Singapore came up with a similar book vending machine.
We can only hope these machines are rolled out nationwide soon, as we think they are fantastic!
Joining Peter Rabbit and Friends, Shakespeare, and The Gruffalo, the latest designs are from a cherished childhood story, and Disney movie. The designs have been commissioned to celebrate the 90th anniversary of when JM Barrie gave the rights to his exceptional children’s book Peter Pan to St Ormand’s St Children’s Hospital.
The six specially commissioned designs will adorn the new 50 pence coins, showing a picture and quote from Peter Pan.
The only way to own all six designs is to purchase the collection from The Westminster Collection so get there quick before they run out!
The idea was created by book personalisation company In The Book who have redesigned each stop with a famous literary name such as Graham Greene, Zadie Smith, or Arthur Conan Doyle. The map covers most of zones 1 and 2 with some prolific writers featuring multiple times- Charles Dickens is represented in 7 areas.
Tom Matthews, spokesperson for In The Book said:
“The map aims to give a comprehensive geographical guide to London’s diverse literary history. We’re all familiar with Charles Dickens, Martin Amis and Zadie Smith, but it’s also titles such as Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square and Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows that help colour areas of the city in their own unique way.”
Last week Women’s Prize For Fiction announced they were launching a brand new podcast, “championing the very best writing by women from around the world”, so I grabbed my headphones, hit the subscribe button and had a listen.
27-year-old Ashley Jost from Missouri, USA, picked up the copy of Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis while on a shopping trip in Target. Ashley grabbed a copy of the self-help book after remembering a reading challenge she signed up for with her friends.
Ashley started reading as soon as she got home and didn’t discover the surprise until she was interrupted:
“My dog started barking so I got up from reading and threw the book down on the ottoman when suddenly a five dollar note fell out. I knew it wasn’t mine so I thumbed through the pages and saw a pink post-it stuck to one.”
JK Rowling’s incredible legacy of the Harry Potter universe has been adopted by people all over the world- many of whom have had their Hogwarts school house assigned by Pottermore.
Each fan/student is assigned a house that fits their personality: Slytherin for the cunning and ambitious, Gryffindor for brave and athletic, Hufflepuff for the loyal and humble, and Ravenclaw for the smart and creative.
Shoe company, Vans, have recently revealed the first look at their collaboration with the world of Harry Potter with each shoe design based on each Hogwarts house aesthetic.
Check out the new designs below!