Other People’s Shelves – The Copywriter and her Son

Last spring I spent two weeks in London for a work experience placement at Slightly Foxed: The Real Reader’s Quarterly. While I was there, I took the opportunity to invite myself for a meal at the lovely flat of a busy copywriter and mother. Lots of good food was had, including a very tasty cheesecake made by the eight-year-old son, and the wine flowed freely. But one of the reasons for the evening, was to talk about writing.

As many of you will know, getting any sort of work as a writer is very difficult with or without the relative experience. My host, having been a copywriter for about 12 years, is the perfect person to give advice about how to make it in this competitive industry.

I was pleased to discover that not only is this fab mother good with words, she also enjoys reading them. So while she was clearing away the remains of our delicious Coq au Vin, I sneaked off, wine glass in hand, to check out her bookshelves.

The fun began in her son’s bedroom, which is creative, colourful and, as every kid’s room should be, absolutely crammed with books!

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Poetry Pamphlets ‘Instead of a Card’ – Candlestick Press

I am not normally the sort of person to think much about Valentine’s Day, but when I was given a beautifully designed pamphlet named Ten Poems about Love, I couldn’t help myself! I was given the pamphlet by Jenny Swann, a poetry lover and the woman behind Candlestick Press.

Candlestick Press, a small publishing company based in Nottingham, is doing a wonderful job of making poetry enjoyable and special. Instead of a card, ten or so poems are selected on a certain theme and published in a simple and tasteful pamphlet, with a bookmark and envelope included so that you can send it to a loved one on a special day. The pamphlets are more thoughtful than a card and yet only a little more expensive. At £4.95, I would much rather spend a bit extra and not have the last minute worry of finding the perfect card. Continue reading

Fever Dreams – Yahia Lababidi

I have to admit that I am not the world’s greatest fan of poetry. In fact, I haven’t opened a poetry book since I studied Philip Larkin seven years ago (a brilliant poet by the way!) So when I received Yahia Lababidi’s email with the offer of a free copy of his latest book, Fever Dreams, I was both excited and a little nervous at the prospect.

I chose a peaceful Saturday morning to read through the poems, with only the occasional sip at my tea to disturb me. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the quiet time I spent with Fever Dreams, away from the rush and bustle of the modern world.

Words, the appropriate opening poem of Fever Dreams is, as you might have guessed, all about the importance of words. For a poet and aphorist, words are the tools of the trade, along with a creative flare. Lababidi believes strongly in the careful use and placement of certain words. This is demonstrated in his aphorisms, which are widely read.

‘Certain words must be earned

Just as emotions are suffered

Before they can be uttered

-clean as a kept promise.’

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Other People’s Shelves – Mr. and Mrs. S and their Book Heaven

Now I don’t have a bookshelf at the moment. Instead, I have books lying around in bundles everywhere, tottering towers waiting to be read and ever growing ‘finished’ piles. So when I get a chance to browse through other people’s books on their accessible and easy to view shelves, I get quite excited! A particular house I like to visit, belonging to Mr. and Mrs. S gets me particularly excited – it’s my version of Book Heaven.

Staying with this friendly couple is a real treat for book lovers. As two voracious readers, with a huge collection and variety of books, you could spend hours wondering around the house, browsing the shelves. You also get the added bonus of book recommendations with your morning coffee and mild debates about Charles Dickens over dinner.

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