World Book Night. Thursday 23 April 2020.

Come on everybody- lets do it! Something to help us through Lockdown.

You’re invited to the #ReadingHour

Large reading hour

Everyone is invited to join us at 7pm on 23 April for the #ReadingHour! You can do anything you want related to books: read alone, read with or to someone, or even call a friend to chat about books and share recommendations.

1 in 3 people in England don’t regularly read for pleasure, but we know the benefits that reading brings to our lives. We want to share this more people, encouraging everyone to set aside time in our busy lives to read more. Why should you read?

  • 19% of readers say that reading stops them from feeling lonely
  • Regular readers for pleasure have report fewer feelings of stress and depression than non-readers, and stronger feelings of relaxation from reading than from watching television or engaging with technology intensive activities
  • Adults who read for just 30 minutes a week are 20% more likely to report greater life satisfaction

You can read a print book, e-book, or listen to an audiobook, and it doesn’t matter what you read. Pick up the book that you’ve been meaning to read for years, or borrow a book from your local library’s digital lending services (sign-up now if you’re not already a member). If you’re looking for suggestions, our booklist has something for everyone, including fiction, non-fiction and books for young adults. If you’re really stuck, just tweet us at @WorldBookNight and we’d be happy to provide a recommendation!

Valentine’s Day.

Tomorrow is St Valentine’s Day, which got me thinking about the day’s origins.

Valentine’s Day has been marked in liturgical calendars for centuries. As a Christian feast day, Valentine’s Day actually commemorates two Saint Valentines: Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni.

But Valentine’s Day only became associated with romantic love during the late fourteenth century, when Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400), author of The Canterbury Tales, made the association in his poem ‘The Parlement of Foules’ (written to honour the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia- both fifteen years old).

The poem features a parliament, or assembly, of birds, which have gathered together in order to choose their mates:

 ‘For this was on seynt Volantynys day / Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.’

Since literature seems to be the origins for modern  Valentine’s Day, then it is still the perfect medium in which to talk about love, and here are two of my favourite literary love quotes:

“You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how”

Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell

“I’ve never had a moment’s doubt. I love you. I believe in you completely. You are my dearest one. My reason for life”

Atonement by Ian McEwan.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

Pride and Proud

Friday 28th June 2019 was the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, which led to the gay liberation movement in the US.

It was also the day my beautiful daughter married her equally beautiful partner.

Fifty years ago this was unthinkable. How proud I am to be living now in 2019 when this is possible.

Below is a picture I took at London Pride 2016. It summed the day and the meaning behind Pride celebrations up perfectly for me The sheer joy!