Our first edition of 2017 and a special Anniversary Issue to mark 20 years of The Reader magazine.
As Angela McMillan, co-editor of The Reader magazine, turns her attention to her reading list for the year ahead, we ask what she loved in 2016.
Winter’s chill may not have the same bite as we might have expected but there’s plenty to chew on in the latest issue of The Reader.
The weather is turning, the leaves are falling, Autumn is most certainly upon us and with a new season comes a new edition of The Reader Magazine. Introducing Issue 63.
In every issue of The Reader, you’ll find Nellibobs – otherwise known as Brian Nellist – recommending ‘The Old Poem’; a poem pre-dating more contemporary times which, owing to the wealth of verse that is written each century, may have been unfortunately forgotten or consigned to history before its due. The latest issue features Edward Young – a poet whose name may not be immediately familiar, but mention the phrase ‘procrastination is the thief of time’ and you’re sure to have heard of him, as he was responsible for the immortal line. His major work was the blank-verse poem Night-Thoughts, describing his musings on death over a series of nine ‘nights’ – all of which are poems in their own right. Within Night-Thoughts, Young ponders the loss of his wife and friends, as well as opportunities and the status of life as being something fragile.
On a day where it can be too easy to put things to one side, why not have a read through the following – taken from Night-Thoughts, and which includes the most famous pondering on procrastination – and see if you feel inspired.
By Nature’s law, what may be, may be now;
There’s no prerogative in human hours.
In human hearts what bolder thought can rise,
Than man’s presumption on to-morrow’s dawn?
Where is to-morrow? In another world.
For numbers this is certain; the reverse
Is sure to none; and yet on this perhaps,
This peradventure, infamous for lies,
As on a rock of adamant we build
Our mountain hopes, spin out eternal schemes
As we the Fatal Sisters could out-spin,
And big with life’s futurities, expire.
Not ev’n Philander had bespoke his shroud,
Nor had he cause; a warning was deny’d:
How many fall as sudden, not as safe!
As sudden, though for years admonish’d home.
Of human ills the last extreme beware;
Beware, Lorenzo, a slow-sudden death.
How dreadful that deliberate surprise!
Be wise to-day; ’tis madness to defer;
Next day the fatal precedent will plead;
Thus on, till wisdom is push’d out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time;
Year after year it steals, till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.
If not so frequent, would not this be strange?
That ’tis so frequent, this is stranger still.
Of man’s miraculous mistakes this bears
The palm, “That all men are about to live,”
For ever on the brink of being born,
All pay themselves the compliment to think
They, one day, shall not drivel: and their pride
On this reversion takes up ready praise;
At least, their own; their future selves applauds;
How excellent that life they ne’er will lead!
Time lodg’d in their own hands is Folly’s vails;
That lodg’d in Fate’s to Wisdom they consign.
The thing they can’t but purpose, they postpone.
‘Tis not in folly not to scorn a fool,
And scarce in human wisdom to do more.
All promise is poor dilatory man,
And that through every stage; when young, indeed,
In full content we sometimes nobly rest,
Unanxious for ourselves; and only wish,
As duteous sons our fathers were more wise.
At thirty man suspects himself a fool,
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan;
At fifty chides his infamous delay,
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve;
In all the magnanimity of thought
Resolves, and re-resolves, then dies the same.
It’s the perfect time to curl up with this brand new issue of The Reader as those cold, dark evenings draw in. In issue 55 which is packed with literary goodness, our editor Phil Davis talks to actress Maxine Peake about risk taking and writing and you will find a fascinating essay from the wonderful Howard Jacobson on Jane Austen. We hope you will also enjoy the excellent selection of new and old literature in this issue including new fiction from llana Baram and a particularly fine collection of poetry from Anna Woodford, Tony Cosier, David Constantine and Paul Connolly.
Please note we are currently having some technical issues with our website, so to order your copy, or subscribe to The Reader please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We will inform you on here when the website is fixed.
Have a lovely weekend all.
When you’ve read your trusty copy of The Reader magazine cover to cover, are you often thirsting for more literary goodness? Perhaps there’s a poem, short story or feature article that has got you enthused and you want to say more about it?
Well now you can get even more from between the pages as we’re happy to announce that The Reader has gone online with a brand new blog dedicated to bringing readers even closer to quality literature and the wealth of thinking behind it.
Of course you’ll still be able to enjoy the pleasures of ink on paper – Issue 54 is hot off the press and physical copies can be ordered from The Reader Organisation’s website as well as in a selection of bookshops around the UK, including Waterstones Liverpool One – but now if you’ve read something that’s moved, vexed or roused you or you’re simply keen for more of the same, just a few clicks and it will all be at your fingertips.
A spirit of sharing has always been at the heart of The Reader since its first publication in 1997, and the blog gives the perfect opportunity to take that idea further. Online you’ll find a range of additional articles and features to enliven the print version of the magazine with further discussion and audio, though it is intended that the content will also stand alone for readers who prefer their reading in pixels.
The Reader blog is already brimming with topical content available for you to read at your leisure, and with a particular focus on the current hot issue of reading in prisons. Author and TRO patron Erwin James‘s powerful essay detailing the profound effect a book on French artillery officer Alfred Dreyfus had on the state of his mind during his time in prison is available in full – and already gaining a remarkable response from readers online:
Following Erwin’s story – and the many other stories that say that reading really does make a difference to prisoners – contributors from Issue 54 including Shauneen Lambe, Sean Elliot and Margaret Drabble recommend the books they would give to a friend in prison exclusively for The Reader blog.
The blog is also where we’ll be building up an archive of poetry readings, our first additions coming from poet and regular Reader contributor Julie-ann Rowell reading two selections from her work.
So much to get you reading already, all to be found on www.thereadermagazine.co.uk
Don’t forget that you can delve into The Reader archives by purchasing your vintage copies from the website, as well as subscribing for your regular dose of Readerly goodness: www.thereader.org.uk/magazine
You’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)
Athenaeum Boekhandel (in Amsterdam!)
Alternatively, you can search for your own nearest indie bookstore here.