News & Features
October 2021: Currently Reading
By- 31 October 2021 - 08:47am
If you attended our Autumn Edition this year, we want your feedback to help us with our planning
By- 31 October 2021 - 08:47am
In our latest instalment of ‘Currently Reading’, the team will share what they have been reading during the past month. Our Autumn Edition is fast approaching, and we very much look forward to seeing as many people as possible, whether in-person or online.
Sian, Festival Director: Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
A bit daunting at over 600 pages, but sometimes you read a book that you really don’t want to end - and this is one of those. An epic in many ways, the story takes you all over the world. There are actually two parallel stories: one of Marian Graves, a pioneering aviator born in 1914 and another about a young Hollywood actress playing her in a film. The characters are beautifully crafted and vivid, the stories cleverly unpick the story of Marian’s life with each moving it on as you switch between the two. It’s an adventure, a moving love story and a mystery. Would love it to win the Booker as it would be a very accessible winner and deserves a huge audience. It also had (what I thought was) a very satisfactory ending.
Gini, Festival Manager: Are We Having Fun Yet? By Lucy Mangan
A rollercoaster of a romp through a year of family life seen through the diary entries of multi-tasking, working mum Liz. As a parent, so much of this book resonated with me about the juggling of home, family, husband and work and the highs and lows of life with young children, with never enough hours in the day to do any job properly! Lucy Mangan captures it all with great insight, humour, and love and, for the most part, accuracy (although there are a few moments of implausibility!). If you want a read that celebrates life, makes you laugh out loud and reassures you that you are not the only one dropping a few spinning plates, this is one for you.
We’re delighted Lucy will join us at our Festival this year, you can book tickets here.
Helen Bauer, Shared Writing Co-Ordinator: Square Haunting by Francesca Wade
Inspired by her event at the Festival last June, I have been reading Francesca Wade’s Square Haunting. The Square in question is Mecklenburgh Square in Bloomsbury, and the book traces the history of the Square and the area through the lives of five women writers who lived there for differing lengths of time between the First and Second World Wars. Before reading the book, I only knew two of the writers - Dorothy L Sayers and Virginia Woolf. The others are Hilda Doolittle (H. D.) the modernist poet, and two major academic historians, Jane Harrison, and Eileen Power. The text is dense and many-layered. Not only does it give insight into each woman’s life, with the focus on the work they did while living in the Square, but it also brings in many other themes - life during the World Wars, the growing role of independent women in the 1920s and 30s and the many different themes and events which engaged the ‘Bloomsbury set’ at this time. A fascinating read.
Jo, Shared Reading Co-Ordinator: Two Hitlers and a Marilyn by Adam Andrusier
I’ve just finished reading Adam Andrusier’s book and really enjoyed it. I really liked the way he describes his experience of collecting and then selling autographs against the backdrop of his childhood and transition to adulthood. It also made me laugh out loud with his descriptions of different scenes from his childhood (which is unusual for me!) Would recommend!
Adam Andrusier will attend our Autumn Edition. You can buy tickets here.
Felicity, Festival Administrator: Wintering by Katherine May
Resting during hard times sounds like the obvious solution, but how many of us actually stop when we need to? We’re so used to powering through that we can lose sight of what we need, and what is best for us. In her book, Wintering, Katherine May likens the seasons we experience every year to life, in that the good times are like summer, and the harder times, winter. She highlights her personal experiences of ‘wintering’ and the power of rest and retreat during hard times. She uses case studies from other cultures that embrace the winter instead of fighting it. What I love most about this book is the way the natural world is integral to Katherine’s journey and the lessons we can all learn from nature. A must-read for anyone who is facing their own winter.
Katherine will join us at our Autumn Edition. You can view our ticket options here.
Sign up to our e-shot for the latest news about our plans.