Tag books


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

DAY 7 – Feat. Kirsty Wark, author of Two Roads’ classic The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle (find out more at http://bit.ly/kirstywark)

Two Roads 12 Days of Christmas Day 7There’s nowhere quite like a bookshop in the run up to Christmas.

Enticing tables of best sellers, design books, and fabulous stationery – among my purchases: The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell for Caitlin, Cicero by Robert Harris for Alan, and for James the reissued play by Gregory Burke, Blackwatch.

But my local Waterstones is too damn tempting, so I had to buy for myself too! I chose The Witches, Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff, and I shall also be dipping into Poems by Elizabeth Bishop.

I will light the fire, put on candles (from ANTA) and immerse myself for a stolen hour on Christmas Eve.


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

DAY 6 – Feat. Two Roads’ Senior Editor Kate Hewson

Two Roads 12 Days of Christmas Day 6For me, Christmas is usually a time for rereading old children’s classics – partly for the nostalgia factor, but also partly because, let’s face it, by Christmas my brain has usually packed up for the year, and anything more complicated is a bit beyond me.

This year, however, I’m pushing out the boat with two children’s classics I have never read before –Black Beauty and Ballet Shoes. Apparently having not read these basically disbars me from working in publishing, so Publisher Lisa got me these two beautiful Puffin Classics editions for Christmas, and I’m going to have to read them while I’m off if I’m to be allowed back in January.
I’m very much looking forward to it though, and who knows, they might even be added to the list for future Christmas rereads.

Happy Bookmas everybody!


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

DAY 5 – Feat. Janet Ellis, author of the forthcoming The Butcher’s Hook (find out more at http://bit.ly/thebutchershook)

Two Roads 12 Days of Christmas Day 5The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith is the perfect Christmas book.

It’s like a selection box, full of delicious treats – and with no odd fudge-ey thing no one wants. Every diary entry is funny, every character recognisable and Mr Pooter’s pompous bossiness is a salient reminder to any control freaks (moi?) that sometimes it’s best just to let things happen.

The Pooter Christmas is a masterclass in all the expected friction and disarray and the unexpected moments of happiness and love during the Festive Season. It’s also written with great kindness.

Some sort of New Year Resolution in that, I think…


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

DAY 4 – Feat. Two Roads’ Assistant Editor Federico Andornino

Two Roads 12 Days of Christmas Day 4Christmas really is my favourite time of year: I put up the tree as soon as my flatmate will allow it, blast Christmas tunes on my way to work thanks to my fantastically diverse playlist (I’ve got everyone, from Darlene Love to Mariah Carey) and get happy with friends and mulled wine.

But the thing I love the most is spending a good amount of time looking for the perfect presents for friends and family. I am not a big fan of shopping for shopping’s sake: I believe buying a good gift for a loved one requires time and effort and a good dose of love.

It also requires a good bookshop: books are the absolute centre of my Christmas giving campaign. So here’s what I’ve been busy gift-wrapping over the past few weeks:

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in the new, brilliant edition illustrated by Jim Kay. It’s completely stunning and manages to re-imagine the magic world of Harry Potter without relying on the films;
Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, the first of four novels by the mysterious Italian literary star. If you haven’t read it already go out and buy it now;
Coralie Bickford-Smith’s The Fox and the Star, because it wouldn’t be Christmas without a gorgeous children’s book.

Buon Natale everyone!


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

DAY 3 – Feat. Sally Magnusson, author of Two Roads bestseller Where Memories Go (find out more at http://bit.ly/sallymagnusson)

Two Roads 12 Days of Christmas Day 3I only want comfy books at Christmas, so I’ve just taken delivery of these two in the consoling certainty that I’ll be able to slip into their worlds and entirely disappear.

Robert Harris is the king of historical novelists and I’ve been waiting for Dictator, the third in his Cicero trilogy, for ages.

Christmas also requires at least one new crime book. Under the Robert Galbraith pseudonym J.K. Rowling has brought such a light touch, dark plotting and clever characterisation to her Cormoran Strike novels that I have high hopes for this third one, Career of Evil.

Off to put on the slippers and fill my glass. Cheers!


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

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.



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

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.







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.





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


Independent Booksellers Week might be over but doesn’t mean you can’t support your local indie when shopping for your summer reading books.

And of course, Two Roads is here to make finding that independent bookshop super easy. We’ve put together a map of all the bookshops we’ve visited as part of our IBW Indie Tour (2014 and 2015 editions), complete with London locations, pictures and links.

All you have to do is click on the map below.

For a more comprehensive list of independents try this.

IBW Two Roads Indies Map

#IBW2015 Two Roads Indie TourINDIE BOOKSHOP WEEK – Day 5


Day 5 of our Indie Tour is upon us and we’ve got a treat for you: follow our Publicist Yassine as he pays a visit to Brick Lane Bookshop

Pungent smells of turmeric and spiced onions mingle in the air over the lower end of Brick Lane as I walk up from Aldgate East tube station. Dancing past the curry-house waiters who try to tempt you in with promises of 25% off your bill, a much more tempting mainstay of Brick Lane can be found up ahead – Brick Lane Bookshop. Located at 166 Brick Lane, this is a small bookshop in terms of space but its bookshelves have a pulsating array of texts – ranging from children’s books to classic texts to London history to contemporary fiction. The time I spent scanning the shelves and tables and speaking to the owner Denise Jones found me feeling that this is a bookshop that is assured in its identity and proud of its history.

Brick Lane Bookshop was originally known as the Tower Hamlets Arts Project (THAP), later to be known as Eastside, with Brick Lane Bookshop being the latest incarnation. The shop started out in the early 1970s when there was not a single bookshop in Tower Hamlets. As the owner Denise Jones has said, ‘There was a group of local people who were not prepared to put up with this we realised that we would have to start one – but start small.’ This determination to put right a visible wrong has clearly stuck and fuels the bookshop’s ethos to take books out into the community. This is evident in the bookshop supplying books to local schools, having stalls at school author events as well as having author events at the bookshop and conducting its own reading group every month.

I walked away with three titles that were recommended to me by Denise. The first was Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London’s Radical History by David Rosenberg (Pluto Press) which is a book that looks at periods in London history where dissenters have tried to usurp the Establishment. Each historical episode is then followed up by a map and route that you can walk in the footsteps of past heroes. I was also handed the sublimely designed pamphlet for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s essay We Should All Be Feminists (Fourth Estate) – a well-crafted treatise on gender inequality in society and how he can set about curing such disparity through an increase in awareness and inclusion. Probably my favourite of Denise’s recommendations was The Diary of Edward the Hamster, 1990 to 1990 (Boxtree) by Miriam Elia and Ezra Elia – a tragic, comic, and stirring read of poet/philosopher Edward the Hamster’s journals during his days in caged confinement. Existential angst pours out of each entry, replete with beautiful monochromatic illustrations – a diary that make you laugh and think in equal measure. Each of these recommendations echoed the identity of Brick Lane Bookshop – one that believes in the power of words and books in making us more socially conscious. For a bookshop that is such a part of its immediate community, I hope those further afield will flock to visit.

Brick Lane Bookshop - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

Brick Lane Bookshop - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2Brick Lane Bookshop - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

Brick Lane Bookshop - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

Come back tomorrow for our next stop and find out more about Independent Bookshop Week at indiebookshopweek.com.

Slightly Foxed - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 1


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