Category Christmas

TWO ROADS’ 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Bringing you festive, bookish cheer from our authors and the Two Roads team!

Snowflake
DAY 2 – Feat. Two Roads publisher Lisa Highton

The Penguin Book of the British Short Story edited by Phillip Hensher

Volume 1 from Daniel Defoe to John Buchan

Volume 2 from P G Wodehouse to Zadie Smith  

 

Two Roads 12 Days of Christmas Day 2This is my Christmas present to me.  It comes with a gift tag which says:

I hereby give you permission to put your feet up and read other people’s books over the Christmas holidays, much love etc

I have a passion for short stories and have a huge collection. They’re so marvellously liberating, allowing you to dip in and out – they are the cocktail party of literature.

There’s a publishing myth that short stories don’t sell, which is probably utter nonsense (along with green books not selling – though that one may actually be true). Whatever, the truth is that they are one of the most enjoyable forms of reading.

This incredibly handsome and well curated collection is so tantalising it’s almost edible. It includes some favourites such as Muriel Spark’s Bang-Bang You’re Dead, the old masters such as Saki and Maugham, and some new discoveries for me such as Margaret Oliphant, who wrote prolifically all her life to support her family. I can’t wait.

Happy book break to everyone.

Lisa

TWO ROADS’ 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Bringing you festive, bookish cheer from our authors and the Two Roads team!

Snowflake
DAY 1 – Feat. Guinevere Glasfurd, author of the forthcoming The Words In My Hand (find out more at http://bit.ly/thewordsinmyhand)


Two Roads 12 Days of Christmas Day 1I was lucky to see Edna O’Brien in conversation twice this year – first, in early February, when she read from the final draft of her latest novel (still a sheaf of loose papers) and then again in November when those papers had become a book: her seventeenth novel, The Little Red Chairs.

The Little Red Chairs deals with the horror of the Bosnian war and brings that horror home – in this case to an unwitting, but in some ways complicit, village community in Ireland. Writing the novel, O’Brien said, was a way to confront the evil of the war, to face down the unrepentant swagger of the men who perpetrated it; to bear witness through language and literature.

Many of us remember the Bosnian war, the nightly reports on the news. It was awful, horrific, but we were largely safe from it. O’Brien’s novel breaks this down absolutely. There is no safe distance, she seems to be saying; the war is ours, it was then and is now. If we do not confront it, (or are simply complacent), then we are within reach and liable to its harm, to its consequences.

I saw The Little Red Chairs first as a bundle of papers and then as a book. As my first novel makes its way towards being published, I’m aware of the work needed to bring a book to print. I’m aware too of how hard it is, as a woman, to write, and how few women make a living as writers and sustain that over many years.

So, read The Little Red Chairs because it is a great work, and read it for it is: an astonishingly rare thing: a seventeenth novel – one woman’s writing life.

 

 

As it’s now officially December, our thoughts have turned to those feelgood books that can warm the cockles even if it’s freezing outside. Here at Two Roads, we* have a particular soft spot for all members of the animal kingdom, and we think a great animal book is the purrfect read at any time of year. So here are our top recommendations: two classics, and one future classic that we’re publishing in May next year.

 

 

marley and me

Marley and Me, by John Grogan

An international bestseller and a Hollywood film, this is the original and best bad-dog-done-good story, about a little wriggly cannonball of a Labrador puppy who changed his owners’ lives forever. Hilarious and heartbreaking; it would take a heart of stone to resist it.**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All creatures

All Creatures Great and Small, James Herriot

If you grew up watching the charming, but somewhat twee TV series, you’ll be surprised by how funny, gritty and moving James Herriot’s books are. Herriot’s tales of life as a rural vet in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s speak of a different world to ours, but the relationships with animals are universal. Utterly charming; they have never been bettered.

 

 

 

 

 

art2

Arthur, Mikael Lindnord

Coming next year, this is the incredible story of Arthur, the stray dog who walked out of the Ecuadorean jungle when offered a meatball by Mikael Lindnord, captain of a Swedish extreme sports team. The team were on a 430-mile race through the Amazon when they met Arthur, but the dog wouldn’t leave them, despite injury and illness. He followed them all the way to the finish line, where Mikael realised he had to save Arthur, whatever it took. Gripping and touching in equal measure, their story is a testament to the bond between dogs and their humans, and to the power of unconditional love.

 

art

 

 

*With the exception of one of us. Mentioning no names. But if I were, his name would be Fede.

** WOULDN’T IT, FEDE?

self-help cat

It’s February, as you might have noticed – supposedly the shortest month of the year, but it often feels like the longest. It’s cold, it’s dark, New Year’s resolutions have already fallen apart, and it’s an awfully long way ‘til next Christmas.

Still, it’s not all bad news: creme eggs are already on sale, the nights are getting shorter, and it’s a pretty good time of year for donning a third jumper and settling down to read in the evening. And, on the topic of books, for many people February can actually be a much more sensible and sustainable time to engage with those books that can help improve your life, away from the post-Christmas pressures. So with that in mind, here are three books we’d recommend to inspire you to make the small changes that can actually make the biggest difference this year.

 

1. Thrive by Arianna Huffington. Whatever you think of HuffPo, there’s no denying that Arianna Huffington is one of the most successful businesswomen on the planet, and Thrive is her manifesto. Refreshingly, it doesn’t espouse getting up at 3am to check emails or eating only maca powder to fuel your inhuman working days. Rather, it’s a personal and thoughtful look at what it means to be a working woman: what works, what doesn’t, and what we really, really need to change.

thrive

2. The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. Alongside having the best pastries on the planet and being the inventors of Lego, Denmark has long been officially ranked as the happiest country in the world. In this book, Helen Russell – stressed-out Londoner, happiness sceptic and very funny author – sets out to discover the reasons. I won’t spoil it, but with the exception of having a special Viking gene, most of the solutions are easier to implement than you’d think.

The Year of Living Danishly

3. Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. All right, so technically this one isn’t out until March, but it’s the big one – what good are all those life-changing techniques if you don’t actually do them on a regular basis? Gretchen is a passionate, friendly and meticulously researched guide to how to build habits into your daily existence and make real changes happen – thanks to her techniques I now go to bed an hour earlier and get up in time to eat breakfast, which I’m pretty sure are the first steps to taking over the world.

Better than Before

So, it’s time to come out of hibernation and get reading. Which books have inspired you to make changes? Why not visit our Facebook page and let us know? facebook.com/TwoRoadsBooks

A tasty one for Day 8 of #Road2Christmas!

Time for another delicious Christmas recipe. Inspired by her passion for all things festive our colleague Becky, Editorial Assistant at John Murray, has created this pretty impressive chocolate Christmas tree.
Not the easiest of cakes, but well worth the effort!

Find a step-by-step guide here: heypesto.ie/tag/darina-allen/

Road2Christmas-Day8

Snowflake

THE ROAD TO CHRISTMAS

#Road2Christmas

Every day we’ll share a piece of festive news to keep you going in these cold, dark, often madly-busy pre-Christmas days, may that be a list of our favourite books from 2014 or authors and ideas we’re excited to be publishing in the new year; or even our authors and colleagues’ favourite holiday reads.

Visit our Facebook page (facebook.com/TwoRoadsBooks) and follow us on Twitter (Lisa as @TwoRoadsBooks, Fede as @Due_Strade) to get involved!

Get that fire going: it’s day 7 of our #Road2Christmas countdown!

Wishing you could spend a cosy Christmas by the fireplace with a glass of mulled wine and a good book? Well, we can’t do much about the wine (or the fireplace) but we can recommend the perfect read: one of our favourite characters, created by one of our favourite authors, Ms. Agatha Christie.

Road2Christmas-Day7

Snowflake

THE ROAD TO CHRISTMAS

#Road2Christmas

Every day we’ll share a piece of festive news to keep you going in these cold, dark, often madly-busy pre-Christmas days, may that be a list of our favourite books from 2014 or authors and ideas we’re excited to be publishing in the new year; or even our authors and colleagues’ favourite holiday reads.

Visit our Facebook page (facebook.com/TwoRoadsBooks) and follow us on Twitter (Lisa as @TwoRoadsBooks, Fede as @Due_Strade) to get involved!

Welcome to Day 6 of our #Road2Christmas campaign!

This book needs no introduction. A beautiful, inspiring, moving account of living with someone with dementia, Where Memories Go is a book we’re particularly proud of. It’s also the Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year.
Find out more here on our website.
Join the Where Memories Go community on Facebook: facebook.com/WhereMemoriesGo

Road2Christmas-Day6

Snowflake

THE ROAD TO CHRISTMAS

#Road2Christmas

Every day we’ll share a piece of festive news to keep you going in these cold, dark, often madly-busy pre-Christmas days, may that be a list of our favourite books from 2014 or authors and ideas we’re excited to be publishing in the new year; or even our authors and colleagues’ favourite holiday reads.

Visit our Facebook page (facebook.com/TwoRoadsBooks) and follow us on Twitter (Lisa as @TwoRoadsBooks, Fede as @Due_Strade) to get involved!

Day 5 of our #Road2Christmas campaign is here!

Have you picked your favourite books of 2014? We most certainly have and over the next couple of weeks we’ll share with you the books that we think deserve a special place under the tree (in other words: stocking-filler alert!)
Here’s Lisa’s eclectic fiction selection:

Road2Christmas-Day5(version 2)

Snowflake

THE ROAD TO CHRISTMAS

#Road2Christmas

Every day we’ll share a piece of festive news to keep you going in these cold, dark, often madly-busy pre-Christmas days, may that be a list of our favourite books from 2014 or authors and ideas we’re excited to be publishing in the new year; or even our authors and colleagues’ favourite holiday reads.

Visit our Facebook page (facebook.com/TwoRoadsBooks) and follow us on Twitter (Lisa as @TwoRoadsBooks, Fede as @Due_Strade) to get involved!

Day 4 of our #Road2Christmas campaign and it’s time for something sweet!

So, why not get in the festive spirit with Two Roads author Carrie Snyder? She’s baking different types of biscuits with her family every Sunday until Christmas, starting with these delicious Zimtsterne (aka lemon cinnamon stars).

Find the recipe below (with UK measurements). For the American version head over to Carrie’s blog (just click here).

And look out for Carrie’s debut novel Girl Runner, coming in February 2015. Find out more here.

Road2Christmas-Day4

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon stars) – Carrie Snyder’s version

Ingredients

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, plus zest 1 lemon
  • 200g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

Heat oven to 200C.

Grate the zest from one lemon into a small bowl. Sift 200g icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add 250g ground almonds, the lemon zest and lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix together.

In a separate bowl, beat two egg whites until stiff. Fold the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture, and stir until the batter comes together. It will make a stiff dough. If it’s sticky, add more ground almonds.

Divide the dough in two to make it easier to roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut out cookies (we used a tiny star cookie cutter for ours), and lay onto baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 5 minutes. Use up all the scraps by gathering and re-rolling.

Let cool on rack. Ice with a lemon glaze made from 1 and 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice mixed with 40g of icing sugar (or more). We used three batches of glaze to ice our cookies.

Snowflake

THE ROAD TO CHRISTMAS

#Road2Christmas

Every day we’ll share a piece of festive news to keep you going in these cold, dark, often madly-busy pre-Christmas days, may that be a list of our favourite books from 2014 or authors and ideas we’re excited to be publishing in the new year; or even our authors and colleagues’ favourite holiday reads.

Visit our Facebook page (facebook.com/TwoRoadsBooks) and follow us on Twitter (Lisa as @TwoRoadsBooks, Fede as @Due_Strade) to get involved!

Road2Christmas-Day3

It’s day 3 of our #Road2Christmas campaign and once again we’re looking at an upcoming 2015 Two Roads title.

Coming in March next year, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives is the perfect guide to living a more fulfilled life.

Let Gretchen RubinNew York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Happier At Home, show you how you can harness the extraordinary power of habits to revolutionise your daily life.

Find out more here on our website, or visit Gretchen’s website at gretchenrubin.com.

Snowflake

THE ROAD TO CHRISTMAS

#Road2Christmas

Every day we’ll share a piece of festive news to keep you going in these cold, dark, often madly-busy pre-Christmas days, may that be a list of our favourite books from 2014 or authors and ideas we’re excited to be publishing in the new year; or even our authors and colleagues’ favourite holiday reads.

Visit our Facebook page (facebook.com/TwoRoadsBooks) and follow us on Twitter (Lisa as @TwoRoadsBooks, Fede as @Due_Strade) to get involved!

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