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STRICTLY SUSAN

 

 

Blackpool week has been and gone, and it’s getting harder and harder to write about Susan on Strictly without sounding a bit ‘schmaltzy’.

But, as Susan rightly points out, Strictly is schmaltzy, wonderfully so: it’s full of sequins and schmaltz and seriously complicated footwork,
and for eleven weeks now (that’s right, eleven weeks: somehow, hideously, it’s practically December) it’s been a source of sheer joy.

 

And it’s  been wonderful to hear how much the winners of our giveaways have been enjoyingCheer Up, Love. This week, as promised, there’s another giveaway. You know the drill: retweet, give us a follow, and cross your fingers.

We’d also like to share some of our favourite quotes from the book, a poignant, deeply personal and painfully funny discussion of what it means to live with depression (a.k.a. The Crab of Hate), and finding joy in life.

“The problem is that depression is like all-male comedy panel shows. No matter how much you want them to piss off, they’re still there for everyone to see.”

“I may have left my day job behind but, much like herpes, there’s no real cure for being a lawyer.

It could be worse! No, no it couldn’t. Right at this moment, in my head, nothing could be worse. I couldn’t feel more awful and ugly and sad. Leave me to my misery and this giant bowl of mashed potato I’ve made for myself.

“I’ve never recovered from the time I watched Up. The first ten minutes destroyed me.”

Best of luck to Susan and Kevin this Saturday, dancing the American Smooth to Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea”

Happy listening, and happy weekends all.

#TeamCalman #StrictlySusan

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***UPDATE***

They only went and did it. Susan and Kevin are off to the bright lights Blackpool!

And we couldn’t be more thrilled.

Mostly because we’re not sure the BBC is ready for what may be the end of the world as we know it when the forces for good of Susan plus Kevin and J.K. Rowling are united under one, glitter-stained roof. Watch this space.

Things are getting real now.

Really real.

So real that Susan and Kevin could be heading to Blackpool this time next week, joined by none other than J K Rowling.

This would be a collision of nearly all of our favourite things, and people, in one shiny sparkly episode of Strictly.

As exciting a prospect as that is, it’d be wrong to forget how far they have already come: from foxtrots to jives, from Viennese Waltzes to Wonder Woman costumes, Susan and Kevin have been an absolute delight, bringing cheer to increasingly gloomy winter evenings.

This week, they’ll be dancing the Tango to Katy Perry’s Firework (which, incidentally, is an absolute cracker of a song)

And, as ever, we’ll be giving away signed copies of Cheer Up, Love  (T&Cs at the bottom of this blog post!)

So if you’ve missed out thus far, do try again: we’ll keep giving them away, as long as you keep voting, to keep Susan dancing. It’s a win-win-win.
 

Click here for a preview of Calman’s hilariously, movingly honest wit and wisdom in Cheer Up, Love.

#TeamCalman #StrictlySusan

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The polls are in and it’s official: the world is a better place with Susan Calman in it.

Especially when it’s Susan Calman, on Strictly, showing us the true meaning of joy.

And it turns out joy is dancing to Queen, dressed as the Queen of Dragons, and cheering up a nation’s Saturday night.

Here are some of our highlights from the past week:

The politest fan:

Couldn’t have put it better ourselves, actually.

A surprise message:

http://bit.ly/2zaFEh8 

From one Queen to another.

And, of course, the main event:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05l9pr8 

We’ll be safely installed on our sofas come Saturday night, ready for Susan and Kevin to show us their best jive.

#TeamCalman #StrictlySusan

p.s. this Monday next marks Susan’s birthday, so please join us in wishing her a day full of celebrations, and a lifetime full of dancing (literally and metaphorically speaking)

 

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#TeamCalman, assemble!

It’s time for another giveaway.

 

 

 

 

Just like last week, we will be giving away three signed copies of Susan Calman’s Cheer Up, Love (you can’t say we’re not good to you)
For information on how to enter, head to our Twitter page, and for full T&Cs, see below.
You have until midnight Monday!

In other, not unrelated and arguably more exciting news, this week is Halloween week.

Susan and Kevin will be dancing the the Foxtrot to Killer Queen. 

Which seems most fitting, really. #AllHailSusan

 Lisa is off to join the live audience, cheering from the sidelines whilst we – on our sofas – frantically try to catch a glimpse of her on TV.

All the more reason to watch – and to vote!

And for anyone who was foolish enough to make plans on a Saturday night and therefore missed Susan’s performance, here you are.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05kl16w 

You’re welcome.

#TeamCalman #StrictlySusan

Terms & Conditions:

1. This is a prize draw for one of three signed copies of Cheer Up, Love by Susan Calman. To enter, please respond to the pinned tweet on the @TwoRoadsBooks account.
2. The winners will be selected at random from the entries received in accordance with these terms and conditions by Emma Petfield, whose decision will be final.
3. The winners may see their entry posted on the Hodder & Stoughton Ltd  (hereinafter the ’Company’) website and on other websites and social media accounts.
4. There is no purchase necessary to enter.
5. The prize draw opens at 15:00 am BST on 27/10/2017 and closes at 11:59 pm BST on 30/10/2017. Any entries received outside these specified times and dates will not be eligible for entry into the competition.
6. The prize draw is open to anyone aged 16 or over in the United Kingdom except employees of the Company, their families, or anyone professionally connected to the competition either themselves or through their families. If the winners are under 18 years of age, the winners will be asked to have his or her guardian complete waivers, consent forms and/or other documentation as prerequisite for being awarded the prize.
7. Only one entry per person allowed. Second or subsequent entries will be disqualified. Entries will not be accepted via agents, third parties or in bulk.
8. The Company is not responsible for contacting or forwarding prizes to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for entries lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed.
9. The Company reserves the right to alter the prizes or cancel the prize draw without notice. No cash alternatives to prizes will be provided.
10. The winners’ names will be published on the Two Roads Books Twitter Channel on 31/10/2017.
11. The Company will make available the name and county of the winners to anyone who requests this information by writing to the following address Hodder and Stoughton Ltd, Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0DZ.
12. The email addresses of entrants may be shared with companies within the Hachette group of companies but will not be shared with other companies outside the Hachette group. It will be used by the Hachette companies to send you news about books, products and promotions.  You will be given the option of opting out in those emails if you don’t want to receive any further news.
13. By entering the prize draw you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.
14. This competition is being organised by Hodder and Stoughton Ltd, Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0DZ.
15. These terms and conditions and any disputes or claims (including non-contractual disputes or claims) arising out of these terms and Conditions shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of England, whose courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction.

If you need proof that LEAP YEAR, the new book by Helen Russell, actually works, read on! Helen is the author of the bestselling The Year of Living Danishly (and the person who brought hygge to the UK!) – but her new book tackles a much bigger topic: when so many of us are filled with indecision and fear of change, what can we actually do to change our lives for the better, and for good?

We’ve been conducting our own experiments in-house, road-testing the theories from the book, and improving our own lives along the way. In today’s blog, Kate, Senior Editor and the person who has just published LEAP YEAR, takes you behind the scenes and shows you how this book has changed her life (and the life of her desk neighbour!)…

I have many, many character flaws, but if you asked a) my boyfriend and b) my boss/desk neighbour what my biggest flaw is I’m pretty sure they’d say, in unison, SHE IS MESSY. I am. It’s almost a talent; a kind of Midas touch for chaos. I’m Bernard Black in Black Books. When I walk into a hotel room everything I’ve packed leaps out of my suitcase and strews itself across the floor. My desk is a disaster zone.

So when I read the chapter on Home in LEAP YEAR (surrounded by piles of paper and empty coffee cups) I thought that maybe I could use it to try to sort of my desk. And then, possibly, the rest of my life. There are loads of great techniques in this chapter, but the one that I felt I’d be most able to implement was what Helen called The Danish Art of Decluttering. Long story short, if it doesn’t either have a specific function, or enhance your existence through being a Nice Thing, it goes. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a picture of a hedgehog little Horatio painted on a rock for you – unless you actually feel attached to it.

This was phase one and two of the desk clearout, anyway – and it was really freeing to stop worrying about what I thought I needed and just go, ‘Do I need it?’ or ‘Do I like it?’ Another thing that Helen notes in the book is that the longer you do it, the more ruthless you get! Half a day later, and my desk was as clean as a whistle. That’s when stage 3 comes in – putting back a few touches that either make a desk an oasis, or (as in the case of hygge), make a house a home. For me, this mostly consisted of edible things. Tea, vegemite (what? It’s an iconic piece of design.), coffee beans, biscuits…but you might have less food-centric tastes. From that point on I tried to instigate Helen’s ‘one in, one out’ rule’. Working away over the next few months, I felt remarkably…light. And, er, I knew where everything was. And I was less likely to spill coffee on my keyboard. And we all lived happily ever after.

…well, almost.  A few months down the line, I noticed that the mess had crept back. I say I noticed: mostly I noticed that my boss had built a wall of books between our desks so she didn’t have to look at mine. And this is where another of Helen’s techniques from elsewhere in the book came in – in the past, I’d have been tempted to just write it all off as a failure. But actually, I now had the skills to clear it again, and faster and more efficiently: so I did. It turns out, when you struggle to make changes, the only way to fix it is to go right back to the beginning and start again. It’s not the magic fix so many people promise us when it comes to improving our lives, but at the same time it’s not rocket science, and it actually WORKS.

This is our Day 3 in a series of blog posts celebrating Helen Russell’s new book LEAP YEAR. Helen is the author of the bestselling The Year of Living Danishly (and the person who brought hygge to the UK!) – but her new book tackles a much bigger topic: when so many of us are filled with indecision and fear of change, what can we actually do to change our lives for the better, and for good?

We’ve been conducting our own experiments in-house, road-testing the theories from the book, and improving our own lives along the way. In today’s blog, Assistant Editor Becky focuses on her mental health…

I pay a lot of attention to how my body feels and notice when something isn’t right: I feel tired, I have a headache, I hurt my leg while out training for that half marathon (whose idea was that anyway?). But when I got to the ‘Mind’ chapter of LEAP YEAR, I suddenly realised that I spend a lot less time thinking about my mental health. And it’s really something we should be thinking about a lot more than we do.

I sometimes feel a little anxious, a little jittery, a little stressed. I could sleep better. As I read, I realised I wanted to change all that. I didn’t want to feel anxious and jittery and stressed. I wanted a solid 8 hours uninterrupted sleep and I was enthusiastic about trying Helen’s techniques – and the things that appealed most were meditation, and spending less time on social media. I thought ten minutes spent sitting in quiet contemplation a day wouldn’t be taxing, and staying off social media after 8 p.m. would actually be a pleasure.

It helped that I’d just come back from a holiday to Cuba where internet is almost non-existent and where my phone couldn’t even get signal for half the holiday. Did I miss not being on it, did I miss out on any crucial news while I was away from Facebook and Twitter? No. In fact, I didn’t miss out on anything and I didn’t miss it at all. But when I came back home I was right back on my phone, wasting my time, scrolling away. But I knew I could do it and this experiment gave me the incentive to not be on my phone before bed or first thing after waking up. I’ve found that I’m happier the less time I spend online.

As for the meditation side of things, the only prior experience I’d had of this was when, at the end of a particularly hard yoga class, we lay down on our backs and our teacher asked us to meditate on what it would be like to be an amoeba. Obviously it wasn’t the best of starts. But a few minutes of quiet contemplation? That’s actually been quite nice amongst the hectic pre-Christmas mayhem. I’ve only been doing it for a few days but I already feel calmer. I think it’s easier to stick with a new resolution when you don’t make it at the start of a new year and this will certainly be one I’ll be keeping.

INDIE BOOKSHOP WEEK – Day 6

#IBW2015 #GIVEABOOK

It’s the final day in our Indie Tour and we’re going out with a bang! Senior Editor Kate visits Stanfords in Covent Garden, ‘the UK’s leading specialist retailer of maps, travel books and other travel accessories’ open for business since 1853. Read her thoughts below:

This afternoon I donned my khakis and my desert boots and set off on the arduous twenty-minute walk from our offices at Blackfriars to one of my favourite bookshops: Stanfords, the travel bookshop in Covent Garden. Calling Stanfords a bookshop is a bit of a misnomer really, because it’s far more than that – it sells a huge number of maps (it began life as a cartographers’), atlases, globes, notebooks, beautiful wrapping paper, and has its own horse and cart waiting outside to do tours of London – as all bookshops should, frankly. But the books are at the heart of what they do, from guidebooks to novels. So I asked their lovely bookseller Lizzie for some recommendations and came away with three fascinating titles to add to my to-read pile. First, the beautifully designed The Edge of the World: How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are, by Michael Pye, then Sarah Turnbull’s wonderfully charming Almost French, and finally Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin, because even us non-fiction editors have to read fiction sometimes.

One of the best things about Stanfords is that it’s like walking into history. It’s been going in one shape or another since 1853, and I got some fascinating factoids from their marketing manager and walking encyclopaedia Dan Lewis, as follows:

  1. The shop features in The Hound of the Baskervilles
  2. In 1922 the company produced the smallest ever maps for Queen Mary’s doll’s house
  3. When the shop was bombed in an air raid in 1941, the thousands of maps helped to put out the flames (the shop then sold the slightly-charred maps)
  4. Kenneth Williams of Carry On! fame once worked in the shop as a ‘very promising’ draughtsman

So, if you’re looking for a wonderfully bespoke bookshop with a colourful history, head over to Stanfords. After all, the best books are about taking you somewhere, and no-one knows that better than them.

 

Brick Lane Bookshop - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

Stanfords - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

Stanfords - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2Stanfords - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

Thank you for joining us on our Indie Tour! Come back next year and in the meantime find out more about Independent Bookshop Week at indiebookshopweek.com.

Slightly Foxed - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 1

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

Another year, another Frankfurt Book Fair and Lisa, our indefatigable Publisher, was once again in Germany spending her days walking up and down the halls of the Fair, meeting agents and  foreign editors.

She did have time to snap a few pictures though, so here’s an insider’s view of the Fair, just for you guys!

The Hachette stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair: lots of busy book people around

 

 

Can you spot the cover of SOIL, a brand new novel coming from Two Roads in 2015?

 

 

A quick stop at a (very German) food truck: editors need their energy!

 

 

Another view of the busy Hachette stand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have just been notified that Where Memories Go, Sally’s beautiful memoir of caring for someone with dementia, has reached number 1 in Iceland, where the book (translated into Icelandic) was published last week.

Huge congrats to Sally and to her Icelandic publisher. Find out more about the book here.

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