Reading Round-Up: 9th August-22nd August

Book Close UpHere we are with another Reading Round-Up, giving you all the literary latest from the last fortnight with our Arts Admin Intern Rebecca Pollard:

The Hachette vs. Amazon war is still waging on. If you aren’t aware of what is going on with this, Hachette and Amazon have exchanged open letters to each other which has resulted in Amazon halting the sales of Hachette novels on their website, and hundreds of authors publishing an open letter against Amazon.

In an effort to remain impartial (this battle has split readers across the world), you can read a summary of what has happened so far on the Guardian website.


A recent Ofcom report has shown that the bookshelves of Britain are still stocked full with literature. The report shows that 16-24-year olds have the smallest book collections, and 55-64-year olds have the largest. It also highlights that whilst physical book collections have dwindled, ebook sales are on the rise – showing that literature is still consumed and appreciated by modern readers.

You can read more on this story on the Guardian website.


There has been controversy around the Warburg Institute, which is cared for by the University of London. Academics have spoken out against the University of London who are currently rumoured to be investigating the legality of the contract they signed with the Warburg family in 1944.

The Warburg Institute’s main concern is ‘cultural history, art history and history of ideas, especially in the Renaissance’; it remains significant, however, due to its removal (and the smuggling of its physical book collection) from Nazi Germany to London.

You can find more about this story here, and discover more about the Warburg Institute on their website.


Three schools in East Devon have come together to write a combined novel. In this Telegraph article, Jane Bidder writes about how children were collectively inspired and involved with the process of writing a story. The children were given an opening chapter, and then asked to choose what the characters should look like, and how the plot should continue.

The idea was thought up by NAFDAS (National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies) as a way of encouraging creativity amongst schoolchildren.

You can read the full story on The Telegraph website.


Julian Gough has created a Kickstarter campaign to fund his newest novel, and has equally found an ingenious new way of funding new literature. He argues that ‘the market in the written ephemera of writers is huge’ but that no modern authors leave a paper trail. He is repaying his backers with postcards, PDFs of his stories, and more besides. He believes that this idea – which he has dubbed ‘Litcoin’ – could be a new way of funding authors who are often very underpaid.

The Guardian reports the story here.


On the lighter side of literature, the Nottingham Post has recently reported on a woman who has 10,000 children’s books in her shed. Arguably in possession of a bibliophile’s dream (or the biggest shed known to man), Gillian James buys and sells her books from her back garden.

The Independent has recently reported that the attic that was used as the inspiration for Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre has recently been opened to the public. Norton Conyers have opened their doors for people wishing to see to where Bertha was confined in Mr Rochester’s home.

Don’t forget, you can keep in touch with what’s happening at TRO by following us on Twitter: @thereaderorg

Independent Booksellers Week

independent-booksellers-weekYou’ve probably all noticed that we’ve been talking quite a lot about Independent Booksellers Week lately, taking place this week from 29th June to 6th July. Originally organised by the Booksellers Association in 2007, IBW celebrates and supports independent bookstores everywhere! It encourages readers to explore and become better-acquainted with their local indie bookstore, in the hope that they will find a reason to shop there more frequently instead of at the usual high-street chains. IBW helps to ensure that these increasingly elusive cultural gems do not become abandoned or worse, extinct.

Since Amazon’s recent tax-avoidance escapade, many consumers – that includes readers and authors – have admitted to being driven more towards shopping at indie bookshops to get their literary fix. Why is this? Perhaps they feel it is a more honest, pure way to shop; maybe they like the uniqueness, the exclusivity of it all…or maybe its the special exchange that takes place between bookseller, who cherishes books almost like a faithful collector, and avid reader, who often secretly wishes to be said collector.

Overall, a strong sense of community is created by the presence of independent shops and traders, and according to Kate Mosse, just one of this year’s IBW’s many literary advocates, independent booksellers do this beautifully. So far, IBW has been supported by the likes of David Walliams, Eoin Colfer, Nick Sharratt, Alan Bennett, and dozens of others, and many have been rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in this week to show their fans the many perks of shopping the indie way.

This Week At A Glance…

IBW began with National Reading Group Day on 29th June, which celebrated everything to do with reading groups and the benefits they can bring for people everywhere. Since then, the Annual Independent Bookseller Awards took place, awarding US authors Ruth Ozeki and RJ Palacio their very first UK literary awards, decided by independent booksellers.

Then there was the Southbank Centre Debate on 3rd July in London – a talk reflecting on booksellers’ fight for the high street, involving writers Kate Mosse, James Runcie (Head of Literature at Southbank Centre) and Anne Sebba, (Chair of the Society of Authors).

AuthorFest sees Mosse, along with fellow authors Malorie Blackman, Anthony Beevor and Ann Widdecombe appear in their own local bookshops to share their thoughts on supporting the trade. Widdecombe is also participating in Strictly Come Bookselling, which involves authors stepping behind the counters of local bookstores, perhaps surprising a fan or two!

The Telegraph offers a good overview of all this week’s key dates right here.

Want to get involved? Then make the most of this fantastic period in your literary calendar, and attend a local bookstore today! Below are some of our favourite bookstores across the nation. If you’re situated in or near any of these locations, be sure to pop in (and don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Reader Issue #50 when you do)!

Books Upstairs (Dublin)

News From Nowhere (our home, Liverpool)

Scarthin Books (Peak District)

Linghams (Heswall)

Athenaeum Boekhandel (in Amsterdam!)

Alternatively, you can search for your own nearest indie bookstore here.

You can let us know about your favourite independent bookstore and what it is you love about it by leaving a comment here, on Twitter or Facebook.