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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.

 

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

#IBW2015 #GIVEABOOK

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

 

#IBW2015 Two Roads Indie TourINDIE BOOKSHOP WEEK – Day 4

#IBW2015 #GIVEABOOK

Time to head North (at least North London) for the fourth day in our Indie Tour and visit another fantastic independent bookshop, the Stoke Newington Bookshop in (you guessed it) Stokey! This is our Assistant Editor Fede’s local and that’s where he gets all his Hive purchases delivered (find out more about the free service here). Read his blog below and see why this is such a brilliant example of a truly creative indie:

It’s always such a joy to go through the doors of the Stoke Newington Bookshop: first of all it’s just a quick walk away from my flat, in one of London’s most up-and-coming and lively neighbourhoods; and then they always have a wonderful selection of titles in the shop, ranging from exciting new hardback fiction and non-fiction to the latest bestselling paperbacks, from slighlty obscure literature in translation to colourful children books.

The bookshop was in particularly fine form when I visited, with a glorious Independent Bookshop Week window display – all that orange is really eye-catching – and some fun tables inside too. I spoke with Anthony, one of the booksellers, who talked me through the various initiatives organised for IBW 2015. My absolute favourite was the display on one of the main tables, a map of the UK and Ireland with indie book picks from all over the country: the bookshop’s owner, Jo Adams, had personally called colleagues up and down the country – London, Wales, the North, Scotland, Ireland – to ask for the one book they are desperate for people to read. A treasure trove of smart and surprising recommendations. Completely genius.

I then asked the question: what would Anthony recommend? A simple question, and yet he had read so many excellent books recently that for a moment he was slightly overwhelmed by the different options. Now that is the sign of a passionate bookseller! In the end he picked two: Neil Smith’s debut novel BOO, which I had never heard of but sounded beautifully quirky, and one of Hoxton Mini Press’ terrific little books, Martin Usborne’s I’VE LIVED IN EAST LONDON FOR 86 AND A HALF YEARS, which promised to be a fun and poignant read.

Stoke Newington Bookshop - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

Stoke Newington Bookshop - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2Stoke Newington Bookshop - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

 

Stoke Newington Bookshop - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

Stoke Newington 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

#IBW2015 Two Roads Indie Tour

INDIE BOOKSHOP WEEK – Day 3

#IBW2015 #GIVEABOOK

If there’s one thing that’s absolutely brilliant about our new offices on Victoria Embankment is that we are so close to the Southbank. So it seemed only fair that we go across the river for Day 3 of our IBW 2015 Indie Tour and say hi to the great people at the Southbank Centre branch of Foyles. Find out what Rosie – our Publicity Director – loved about this bookshop below:

You can almost – almost – wave to Foyles Southbank from Two Roads’ new home in Carmelite House and what better way to make an IBW book buying visit to our new neighbours than a summer night stroll along the Thames? After crossing Blackfriars Bridge and resisting the temptations of the Wahaca burrito truck, I arrived to find a busy Foyles on Belvedere Road.

Laid out on one floor and joining on to the busy Southbank Centre, it’s an airy space with a wide selection of titles, with bestsellers and new releases welcoming you at the door, and a large children’s section stretching across the shop. They hold launch parties here fairly regularly (no wonder, it’s a great spot for an evening drink, and you’re unlikely to find space anywhere else if the sun is out…) and have lots of signed copies, courtesy of the bookselling they do for the Southbank literature programme events.  Despite the fact that this is one of London’s busiest tourist hotspots, the very helpful staff tell me that they do have regulars, as well as the theatre goers and Southbank flaneurs.

I met manager Emily and her colleagues Nick and Kajra. When I asked them for recommendations, it was quickly clear they’re a brilliantly informed and enthusiastic team – Nick was able to tell me  more about the publication of THE VORHH by Brian Catling (a book from within the Hodder group) than I knew already! Interesting to hear that THE EXAMINED LIFE by Stephen Gross remains one of their bestsellers, over two years on from its original publication date – with Ali Smith’s HOW TO BE BOTH a more obvious recent popular title.

I came away with a copy of Theodore Zeldin’s LIFE (more for the unusual format than the content…) and THE VERSIONS OF US by Laura Barnett, another title that is currently doing well for them, and is headed for the beach with me. Given that the office is only a 15min walk away I intend to reclaim my lunch hour every now and then to cross the river more often…

Foyles Southbank - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

Foyles Southbank - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

Foyles Southbank - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

Foyles Southbank - Two Roads IBW indie tour day 2

Foyles Southbank - 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

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!

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