Category Judy Fairbairns

Earlier this month the people behind the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction launched a wonderful campaign to get readers to share the one book, written by a female author, that has had the most impact on their life. Called #thisbook, the call to arms has seen many familiar faces involved, from journalist Grace Dent to author Joanna Trollope and Olympic medalist Katherine Grainger, and you can find out more on their website: thisbook.com.

To celebrate the Baileys Prize, awarded later tonight, we’ve asked some of our Two Roads authors to share their favourite book written by a female author. See their picks below…

I read To Kill A Mockingbird in school, like most of us. Emotionally, it struck chords, even as its larger themes – racism, justice, courage – were likely lost on me, as larger themes often are when we encounter them via assignment, not experience. Years later, when my father died, a federal judge gave a eulogy comparing him to Atticus Finch. I’d never made that connection, though the links were there: my father fought for social justice. He wasn’t afraid to do the right thing, even courting controversy. He took a role in civil rights. That judge ended that eulogy by riffing on a line from Lee’s novel: “Stand up; a great man is passing.” It’s what’s said to Jean Louise (Scout) as her father exits the courtroom. “Stand up; your father is passing”. And so she stands. She probably stands for reasons it will take her a long time to understand, though the reader knows immediately: that day will be one of the most meaningful of that little girl’s life.

We may not choose our experiences. In a way, though, we play a critical editorial role in our memories. We may not choose what we read the first time we read something but once a book becomes part of our sense of ourselves, click: a match is struck; something’s illuminated. I had that experience with To Kill A Mockingbird. I had that experience with Scout.

Lea Carpenter graduated from Princeton and has an MBA from Harvard. She was one of the original editors at Francis Ford Coppola’s literary magazine, Zoetrope, and later served as Deputy Publisher for The Paris Review. Her debut novel, Eleven Days, was longlisted for the Baileys Prize for Fiction 2014. She lives in New York with her husband and their two sons.

Not long ago, an Advanced Readers Copy of a novel called Half the Kingdom by Lore Segal arrived at my door. Over my morning cup of Earl Grey, I somewhat lackadaisically opened it. My expectations were not high. I’d never heard of this “Lore,” and the publisher was not one of the major houses. I assumed the novelist was yet another young graduate of an MFA program. And then I read the first two sentences:

‘The doctors, nurses, and patients in the overcrowded, too-brightly lit Emergency Room turned toward the commotion. It was the very old woman, thrashing about her with improbably strength and agility. “You do not,” she shouted, “you do not tell me to relax. I will not relax.” ‘

Two hours later, as I turned the last page (it’s a short book and I’m a fast reader), I lay back, stunned. The novel was masterful. Concise and incisive. The prose assured and confident. The subject matter complex, transcendent of genre. Mordant and wise, and terribly sad without being maudlin. There was no way this book was written by a twenty-three year old.

A quick Google search revealed the depth of my ignorance and my hubris in imagining I knew anything at all about who really matters in contemporary American fiction. Lore Segal is not 23. She is 86 years old. Her previous novel, Shakespeare’s Kitchen, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Within a week I had not only read that book, but two others, Her First American, and Other People’s Houses. How could it be that I had missed the work of Lore Segal until now? Please, I beseech you, if you suffer from the same literary deficit as I, do yourself the favor of remedying it right now.

Ayelet Waldman is the author of Love and TreasureRed Hook Road and the New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Vogue, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. She and her husband, the novelist Michael Chabon, live in Berkeley, California, with their four children.

Any book by a woman about a woman’s fight with life compels me to dive into the story. For years I believed I was bad at it, this living of life, because each day felt like a big bruiser out to knock me down. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan tells of a woman following her husband into the wilderness, trusting and loyal, strong and determined to make good. Just like me.  Gradually the work load and the loneliness and the deprivations take their toll, until something breaks. Just like me. And, in reading how she rises from the depths of despair into a new light, I also found strength. Without books like Mudbound, I’m not sure I would have found that strength. I read and read, to realise I was not alone, yes, but more, to feed my own hungry soul and to find the guts to keep going.  Mudbound, and other great stories, were and are my daily bread.

Judy Fairbairns has lived on her Scottish island with her husband since 1978. Married now for 40 years, she has five children, all grown up – one of whom runs the whale watching business she and her husband started. Island Wife, a memoir about living on a remote Scottish island, is her first book. She paints, takes wild walks and is working on a novel.

Have you wondered what writers like to read when they go on holiday?

Research material for their next book?

The classics?

Nothing at all?

Well, we have the answer: we asked a few of our own authors to share their summer reading piles and to explain why they picked those books in particular. Take a look!

Judy Fairbairns, author of Island Wife: Living on the Edge of the Wild

I like variety when I read a pile of books. All these

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are about man’s relationship to something or someone and that, for me is the fascination of life.

Judy Fairbairns summer reading pile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lea Carpenter, author of Eleven Days

Anna is enough on her own, but the others offer balance. And each of the others is also riveting.

Lea Carpenter summer reading pile

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Kirsty Wark, author of The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle

I like the way books accumulate. I think of them as a treat in store rather than a daunting task – though the Su Doku has stuck in there for a while now: my game plan for burnishing my brain cells isn’t really working. I will add to and subtract from the pile over the summer.

Kirsty Wark author of The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle summer reading pile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book

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Club

The Watch Tower is part of a series called ‘Text Classics’. It’s a great series of books from a terrific Australian publisher. Everyone has been talking about Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Pat Barker’s ‘Regeneration Trilogy’ gave me some of my best reading ever – so of course I can’t wait to read her new one, Toby’s Room. I heard William Dalrymple speak and he was captivating. And this is such an important piece of history. I started The Stranger’s Child and was so enthralled that I actually made myself stop for a while so that I could save it for a perfect summer day. Leigh Newman’s memoir goes between Alaska and New York, portraying a remarkable childhood. And The Orchardist is a bookseller favorite – I kept seeing it on ‘staff recommends’ shelves.

Of course I’ll pick up lots more along the way. And I’ve already raced through some wonderful books.

Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club summer reading book pile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Roads Books is literally made up of two roads: Lisa and Fede. Which is why, every once in a while, we are very happy to welcome work experience people to our lovely HQs: they get a better idea of what it is like working in publishing (the fun bits, the exciting bits and the incredibly boring bits) and we get much needed help. Last month we had a student – Jamie – from UCL’s MA in Publishing spending two weeks with us, and we thought it might be nice for him to share his experience and tell you how wonderful we are!

I spent the first two weeks of my UCL Publishing placement with Two Roads and couldn’t have asked for a more useful time. I was made to feel welcome upon arrival with a copy of Z: a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald and a de rigour tote bag to carry my possessions around town in. Right from the get-go Lisa and Fede included me in the processes that went into making their books, whether that was allowing me to attend meetings or giving me tasks to do. With any luck there were one or two things I did that they found useful in return!

The majority of my time was spent working with Judy Fairbairn’s memoir Island Wife, which was published during my first week at Two Roads. This involved a mixture of marketing and editorial work. Firstly, I worked with the title on social media platforms, but beyond simply providing information about its release an important element of the work was to develop a community around the title, such

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as with the Vintage Island Wife photoset that added to the greater sense of the book. I was also able to fulfill a couple of editorial jobs and it was great to approach the title from the two angles and see how it all came together.

Published at the same time was Z: a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler, which we celebrated with a prohibition themed party, replete with lipstick-stained teacups, pearls and gossip. As the title went through its final stages before becoming an eBook I was tasked with checking translations and prelims. I was also able to sit with Fede as he filled out the eBook conversion form – a task I did not envy him for.

Overall, I’d like to thank Two Roads for making my time with the company both enjoyable and useful. Lisa and Fede were kind enough to regularly explain elements of the business to me, whether that was how the Australian book market differed from the UK’s or some of the finer nuances of the London Book Fair as a myriad of agents, editors, sales and rights workers rushed around us in the Hachette stand.

See? We are nice! Thank you Jamie for your hard work and for always tackling projects with a great deal of enthusiasm, even when they involved Excel spreadsheets!

 

Good morning and happy Monday to you faithful followers of all things Two Roads!

Are you feeling down? Did you have a wet, miserable weekend? Did you look like this while crossing the road today?

Well then it’s definitely time for a healthy dose of Two Roads Monday Blues Remedy!

FORTHCOMING BOOKS FROM TWO ROADS

The Stockholm Octavo (out in paperback on February 14th)

Here’s the updated cover for the paperback edition of Karen’s novel.

New look.

Same fantastic feel.

We are also launching a tumblr. blog devoted to the art of creating the perfect Octavo. Do check it out and follow the slow unveiling of this mysterious art of cartomancy on Twitter and Facebook as well.

 

 

Doodlemum (out on February 28th)

Angie is hard at work on a secret Two Roads project (more juicy details to follow!). But in the meantime go ahead and enjoy her daily dose of Doodlemum on her website (and remember to like her Facebook page!) Stay tuned for a great update from our publicity department coming next week…

 

After Cleo Came Jonah (out in paperback on February 28th)

If you haven’t already go visit Helen’s Facebook page and read Jonah’s Blog. Last post: THE ENEMY.

Beware of that cat…

 

 

 

Until I Say Good-Bye (out on March 14th)

As you know a wonderful video has been uploaded on Susan’s page and on the Two Roads website. It’s a powerful message and although it’s Susan’s husband speaking, you can feel her energy coming through. It’s very moving. Watch & share and keep checking Susan’s Facebook page for touching (and quite funny) updates like this.

Island Wife (out March 28th)

Finally the advance praise is in and it includes quotes from fellow writers, poets and rock stars (yup: you got that right!). Here’s a quick selection:

  • ‘Brave, funny, poignant, beautifully written.’Elisabeth Luard, food-writer, journalist, and broadcaster
  •  ‘The day to day details of a family who have followed the man’s ambitions to the remote island of Mull are  hilarious and very touching. A beautifully told story’Mike Rutherford, founding member of Genesis
  • ‘Humour and honesty prevail throughout and always there is the poetic backdrop of the wild landscape of the island and the wild emotions that come and go with its tides.’Mairi Hedderwick, author of the Katie Morag series
  • ‘Warm but never sentimental… It balances wry humour and lyrical delight, practical toughness and vulnerability in equal measure… A joy to read.’Philip Gross, novelist and poet
  • ‘Island Wife is a breezy (in every sense), frequently funny and often dreadfully sad tale of a madcap adventure with an intrepid farmer husband and five children on a romantic Hebridean island, which often turns out to be not quite as romantic as the wide-eyed author had imagined.’ Christopher Matthew, author and journalist

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (out April 11th)

Great news coming from the US. Z is part of Publishers’ Marketplace BUZZ BOOKS 2013 (spring/summer edition).

You can download the digital booklet here or read the extract on USA Today’s website.

 

 

 

 

The Still Point of the Turning World (out April 11th)

Will Schwalbe, author of the New York Times bestseller The End of Your Life Book Club, loved Emily’s book. Here’s what he had to say:

  • ‘It’s hard to find words that do justice to Emily Rapp’s The Still Point of the Turning World. It’s one of those rare books that you want to press into people’s hands and simply say, “You must read this. You will thank me.” At every turn, Rapp avoids the maudlin and the expected to get at very deep truths, sometimes painful and sometimes liberating and sometimes both. She looks for wisdom and comfort to a wide range of sources ranging from C.S. Lewis to Marilynne Robinson to Buddhist teaching. And she looks to her son. This is one family’s story of living while facing death, but also an astonishingly generous work about recognizing the pain and grace that exist all around us.’

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

You can now find Fede on instagram as well: just look for Due_Strade_London. Lots of pics of London, Italy & Italian food (and wine), and of course books, books, and even more books.

ONE MORE THING…

Public service announcement!!!

In case you intend to visit Leicester in the future with a dead monarch in the boot of your car…

 

 

 

 

 

Until next week..

 

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our blog’s new weekly digest of all things Two Roads! Every Monday morning we bring you the latest updates on our books, authors, events and giveaways.

It’s our own little way of helping you begin each new week with a spring in your step and a positive attitude. Hey: if it doesn’t work there’s always coffee!

Here we go…

 

WEBSITE REFRESH

Our new home page is live! Go to www.tworoadsbooks.com to see a list of upcoming titles and see an updated take on our mantra: stories… voices… places… lives…

Stay tuned for even more changes…

 

FORTHCOMING BOOKS FROM TWO ROADS

Our publishing schedule for the next few months is filled with loads of great books and we want you to be constantly up-to-date with the latest news. So, in strict order of publication:

 

The Stockholm Octavo (out in paperback on February 14th)

The paperbacks have arrived in the Two Roads office and they look fantastic! TCPalm.com run an in-depth Q&A with Karen with some fascinating questions including Karen’s pick for main actor in a film adaptation of her book (we’ll give you a hint: he’s blond, charming and Canadian). Read more here.

 

Doodlemum (out on February 28th)

We are gearing up for the pub date of Doodlemum’s first book. Do check her blog and her Facebook page to see why we are so excited about this celebration of family life in drawings. Here’s an example that pretty much sums up how we all feel during those long, bleak, winter evenings (the message is simple: hug someone!)

 

Until I Say Good-Bye (out on March 14th)

We have just added this beautiful (and definitely emotional) video of Susan and her husband talking about her book on her page: it really captures the essence of Until I Say Good-Bye, and the joy that transpires from every single page of the book. Susan updates her Facebook page herself: have a look and share the journey of this incredible woman. There’s also a great website with more info on the book, pictures and posts from Susan.

 

Island Wife (out March 28th)

Advance praise for the book keep pouring in so keep coming back to her page for more info. And if you’ve always wondered what life on a remote island might be like read Judy’s take on it here.

 

Z: a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (out April 11th)

Many, many different events lined up in the coming months taking full advantage of the Gatsby-mania spurred by the release of the Baz Luhrmann film. Take a sneak peek at the film costumes designed by Miuccia Prada or book your tickets for the stage adaptation coming to Wilton’s Music Hall in London at the end of February.

Also, Sam Baker, editor of RED, tweeted about Z last week (excitement is building already!)

 

The Still Point of the Turning World (out April 11th)

The website page is live and includes wonderful quotes from the likes of Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, and Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story. Have a look!

 

TWO ROADS AUTHORS NEWS

Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen keeps making the headlines. She was part of a recent New York Times profile on self-help authors and she is now in her 98th straight week on the NYT bestseller list.

 

TWO ROADS BIRTHDAY!!

Two Roads is turning 2 this month! We are looking forward to celebrating this milestone with you, the readers who make all of this possible, and we will give you more details on a big (no, really: BIG) giveaway we are planning very soon. So keep coming back for more..

That’s all folks for this issue of the Two Roads Monday Blues Remedy.

Have a great week!

 

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