Happy Mother’s Day

“To the other village girls Mother was something of a case, yet they were curiously drawn towards her. Her strain of fantasy, her deranged sense of fun, her invention, satire and elegance of manner, must have intrigued and perplexed them equally.”

It’s another special date in the calendar as Mother’s Day has arrived in the UK and Ireland – as well as Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Nigeria.

If you haven’t managed to find your mum the perfect present then there’s no need to worry, as you can show how much you love her through the simple act of reading. The ‘Most Near, Most Dear’ section of A Little, Aloud with Love is dedicated to the love children have for their mothers, through fond remembrance and in both happy times and sorrow, with an extract from Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee and the poem To My Mother by George Barker.

And, of course, both A Little, Aloud and A Little, Aloud for Children have plenty of stories and poems that are perfect for sharing together.

It might be too late to buy your copy for today but we happen to think that every day should be Mother’s Day, so if your mum loves to read then why not order a copy of A Little, Aloud with Love to treat her? You can always save it for May, when the holiday is celebrated elsewhere around the world...

A Little, Aloud with Love is launched!

Last week was a special one – not only because it was Valentine’s Day, but also because we officially launched A Little, Aloud with Love!

Gogglebox stars and Liverpool lovebirds Leon and June read at our A Little, Aloud with Love launch in Waterstones Liverpool ONE
Gogglebox stars and Liverpool lovebirds Leon and June read at our A Little, Aloud with Love launch in Waterstones Liverpool ONE

Our destination was Waterstones Liverpool ONE – a beautiful and suitably intimate setting for book lovers. Before things got underway, guests were treated to fizz, nibbles, chocolate and even Love Hearts, if they took their fancy, and were serenaded with live love songs from our musicians playing everything from The Beatles to Ed Sheeran – the mood was perfect to make us feel full of love.

Owner of one of the smoothest voices on radio, BBC Radio Merseyside’s Roger Phillips played host for the evening, leading us effortlessly through the many aspects of love the book contains and posing some romantic teasers to our guest readers. Starting the evening in style actor, performer and presenter Mike Neary read Haruki Murakami’s On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning, causing sighs and contemplation, giving lots to think on the topics of love at first sight and feelings of romantic deja vu. Mike also spoke about the beauty of reading aloud, which is something we definitely agree with!

The evening took a more poignant turn with paired readings from A Little, Aloud with Love’s editor Angela Macmillan and Professor Philip Davis, Director of the Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society at the University of Liverpool. Angie read a heartwrenching extract from Under Storm’s Wing, written by Helen Thomas in memory of her husband, the poet Edward Thomas, who was killed in World War One. Hearing it next to a poem from Edward – emotionally titled And You, Helen, and read by Professor Davis – made the selection all the more moving.

Our amazing editor Angie Macmillan signs copies of the book for an eager audience
Our amazing editor Angie Macmillan signs copies of the book for an eager audience

After a break for more treats amongst the rose petals, tears of sorrow quickly turned ones of laughter as Gogglebox favourites and veterans of love June and Leon took to the stage to read to one another and the eager audience – June’s choice being My Lover by Wendy Cope and Leon replying with Love Poem by John Frederick Nims. The local lovebirds – married for over 60 years – told us about the most ‘unromantic’ things they do for one another and shared some of their secrets of what makes such a long-lasting relationship.

The night was rounded off by none other than The Reader’s Founder and Director Jane Davis with plenty of words of love to set A Little, Aloud with Love out into the world. There was even an extra treat for a lucky crowd member thanks to a sumptous hamper donated by Delifonseca, all for buying a copy of the book on the night.

We’ll be celebrating the book in London later this year – another love-filled event for us to look forward to, and there’ll be further details to come right here on the A Little, Aloud blog in the coming weeks. There’s no need to wait to get your hands on a copy however, as they’re available to buy now, in stores and online.

 

A Little Love on Valentine’s Day

Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

A Little Aloud With Love tpbHappy Valentine’s Day! Whatever your plans are with that special someone, or if you’re hoping to get the attention of the object of your affection, there’s always time for a little spot of reading amongst the chocolates and flowers…

Delve into A Little, Aloud with Love and you’ll find all kinds of literary illustrations on romance, all handily sectioned by theme for wherever you might find yourself in the world of loving encounters.

  • Feeling the first flush of love? Try ‘Love so sudden and so sweet’ with one of literature’s most-famed couples
  • Need some courage in winning the heart of the one your admire? Take advice from Sir Walter Scott and Thomas Campbell on being ‘So daring in love’ 
  • Taking a risk by declaring your Valentine? Have a look at ‘I know not if I sink or swim’ 
  • Perhaps the day has left you feeling dejected and a little in despair – know that you’re not alone by reading ‘Why do I love?’ 
  • Already loved-up and looking to the future? Skip along to ‘Hand in hand we’ll go’

And that’s just a small selection – there are tons more choices inside to take your fancy.

Of course love isn’t only to be celebrated for one day alone, so if you haven’t got your copy of A Little, Aloud with Love then you can snap one up and keep the loving feeling going throughout the year.

 

 

 

The most romantic lines in literature

The most romantic day of the year is just around the corner, and we’re definitely feeling loved-up as the Liverpool launch of A Little, Aloud with Love is taking place this evening at Waterstones Liverpool One with guests including the editor of all of our A Little, Aloud books Angela Macmillan and Gogglebox stars and one of Liverpool’s favourite couples June and Leon. A few tickets are still available and can be purchased on the door or by calling Waterstones Liverpool One on 0151 709 9820.

One of the most romantic lines in the English language is featured in Far From The Madding Crowd - and A Little, Aloud with Love!
One of the most romantic lines in the English language is featured in Far From The Madding Crowd – and A Little, Aloud with Love!

Our hearts have been thoroughly warmed by the results of a poll to find the most romantic line in the English language, carried out by the TV channel Drama. Quotes from not one, nor two but three classic novels made the Top 10 with lots of competition also coming from film and TV – and what’s even better is that extracts from two out of the three listed books are featured in A Little, Aloud with Love.

Topping the literary words of love at number 5 is Cathy’s declaration that Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” about Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.

Making number 8 in the poll isAnd at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall be. And whenever I look up, there will be you” as said by Gabriel Oak to Bathsheba Everdene in Far From The Madding Crowd – and the very same quote appears in the extract from the book in A Little, Aloud with Love, no less!

Finally, rounding off the romantic utterances are Darcy’s immortal words to Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice: ‘In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Topping the list is ”My heart is, and always will be, yours” from the film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Even though the line doesn’t appear in the book, as Sense and Sensibility is another of A Little, Aloud with Love‘s chosen texts we’re willing to bend the rules slightly…

The spellbinding ballroom scene between Natasha and Prince Andrei in War and Peace
The spellbinding ballroom scene between Natasha and Prince Andrei in War and Peace

Hearts have also been racing with BBC One’s adaptation of War and Peace, which has attracted millions of viewers and came to its conclusion on Sunday night. The twists and turns in romantic affairs amidst the backdrop of the 1812 French invasion of Russia have captivated audiences, with the ballroom scene between Natasha Rostova (as played by Lily James) and Prince Andrei Bolkonsky (portrayed by James Norton) being one of the most memorable and spectacular moments. An extract following the famed scene of Natasha and Andrei’s first meeting is also featured in A Little, Aloud with Love, so for those of you having withdrawals of not yet brave enough to commit to the entirety of the novel, it’s the perfect place to begin – and what’s more it’s paired with a beautiful poem by Andrew Marvell, which is a definite bonus.

With all of these extracts combined packed into one book, we think we can safely say that the romance rating of A Little, Aloud with Love is very high indeed!

 

Launching A Little, Aloud with Love

A Little, Aloud with Love may have been on sale for over a week, but we decided we’d wait a little bit longer to launch it – seeing as it’s February and a certain romantic date is approaching…

If you’re in Liverpool next Thursday 11th February, we’d love for you to celebrate A Little, Aloud with Love with us in Waterstones Liverpool One from 6.30 – 8pm at the book’s special launch event. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, get in the mood for love – no matter if you’re single or coupled-up – as we present an magical evening of live reading and music to pluck at your heart strings.

The night will be hosted by none other than BBC Radio Merseyside’s Roger Phillips and will feature a special guest appearance from Channel 4’s Gogglebox stars and Liverpool lovebirds June and Leon. Having met in 1955 at teacher-training college and being married for over 60 years, there couldn’t be a better couple to help us celebrate the power of love in literature. You can read more about June and Leon’s love story over on The Guardian website.

You’ll also get the chance to pick up your copy of A Little, Aloud with Loveif you haven’t got it already – at the store on the night: a perfect choice for a Valentine’s gift.

Tickets to the A Little, Aloud with Love launch are £3 each and can be bought on the door or in advance by ringing Waterstones Liverpool One on 0151 709 9820. For more information, visit the Waterstones Liverpool One website.

Liverpool's favourite couple June and Leon will be joining us for the A Little, Aloud with Love launch at Waterstones Liverpool One
Liverpool’s favourite couple June and Leon will be joining us for the A Little, Aloud with Love launch at Waterstones Liverpool One

Introducing: A Little, Aloud with Love!

We’re delighted to have a new addition to the A Little, Aloud series, as A Little, Aloud with Love is published today!

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Literature is not short of lovers and odes to the great emotion itself, and A Little, Aloud with Love celebrates love in all its forms, from the heady first flush to the agony of heartbreak, joyful reunions with loves lost and the endurance of love through the years, as well as the kinds of love shared between friends and families and the love of a parent for their child. With the wealth of stories and poetry on the subject vast, narrowing down the selection wasn’t an easy task but our editor Angela Macmillan has chosen carefully from a diverse range, with texts both classic and contemporary filling the pages and warming the heart. Read Romeo and Juliet alongside John Clare, combine the quirkiness of Haruki Murakami with the wisdom of Walt Whitman, bring Emily Bronte together with the romance of Shelley. Within the book you’ll be able to revisit old favourites as well as make new discoveries, and find lots to love.

As with both of the previous A Little, Aloud anthologies, the book is designed to be read aloud and shared with someone you love – whoever they may be. Each section of prose and matched poem has its own heading – ranging from ‘Our places by the fireplace’, ‘My love is come to me’, ‘Most near, most dear’ and ‘A need to reach out sometimes’ – and the poems and stories are given added emotional power by the accompaniment of the thoughts and reactions of the members of The Reader’s Shared Reading groups from around the UK. Humorous, poignant, sweet and real – all of the personal observations and connections come entirely from the texts themselves, and may act as conversation starters while you’re reading.

‘Her name was Ruth and I was mad about her for two years and never plucked up the courage to even speak to her,’ said a man in a nursing-home reading group. 

‘Reading that poem left me feeling tearful,’ said a woman in a library group. ‘I’m not sure why because weddings are happy occasions, aren’t they?

‘It’s true that we can’t help falling in love, but of course we are to blame if we cause damage as a result,’ said a man in a community group.

We’re feeling even more love as Chatto & Windus, the publisher of A Little, Aloud with Love, are donating all royalties from the book to support The Reader’s Shared Reading groups, allowing more loving connections to be made each week.

A Little, Aloud with Love is available to buy now – just in time to sort out those Valentine’s Day gifts…

With the arrival of A Little, Aloud with Love we’re also relaunching the A Little, Aloud blog. Make sure that you keep us bookmarked for lots of A Little, Aloud with Love news, announcements and treats, and you can also let us know what you think about the book and what your favourite pieces are over on the Your Comments page. Perhaps you even have a story of how reading has played a part in one of your own relationships – we’d love to hear those too.