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Did you know there was a literary prize for books about mountains?

I didn’t and I’ve been doing this job for a long time. The Boardman Tasker Prize celebrates mountain literature and is organised by the Boardman Tasker Trust. The prize of £3,000 commemorates the lives of climbers Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker, who died in 1982 while climbing Mount Everest. Both men wrote about mountaineering, hence […]

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2014 Booker Prize shortlist announced

The shortlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize has been announced. The six books shortlisted are: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma Death Railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his affair with his uncle’s young wife two years […]

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Should we all be reading The Plague by Albert Camus?

Should we all be reading The Plague by Albert Camus? NPR (National Public Radio) in the United States thinks so as the Ebola outbreak continues to dominate news headlines. La Peste, as the novel is called in French, was published in 1947.  It’s set in an Algerian city and looks at a wide range of […]

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One bad cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and five good ones

Penguin’s latest cover for that enduring children’s classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is about as popular as a rattlesnake in a lucky dip. My sources tell me Roald Dahl is turning in his grave. The cover of the new Penguin Modern Classics edition is targeted at adults. No Charlie, no Mr Wonka – just […]

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Today’s startling news, Harry Potter is going grey

JK Rowling has placed a 1,500-word article on her Pottermore site where Harry Potter is reunited with Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and their old Hogwarts friends at the final of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup. The boy who lived is now the middle-aged man who was once famous. The article is written in the sensational […]

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A date for your diary – PBFA’s new Christmas Fair on December 6

There’s a new event on the UK’s book fair calendar. The PBFA (Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association) has added the Kensington Christmas Book Fair to its extensive list of fairs. The Kensington Christmas Book Fair takes places on 6 December at Kensington Town Hall in the heart of London, and AbeBooks.co.uk is a sponsor. The PBFA […]

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Ray Bradbury’s house is for sale

Ray Bradbury’s former home in Los Angeles is for sale at $1,495,000. The three-bedroom house was built in 1937. Bradbury died in 2012 at the age of 91. The author wrote in the basement of the home but also kept an office in Beverly Hills where he also wrote. I flicked through the slideshow of […]

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Novelist Mary Stewart, author of the Merlin series, dies at 97

The bestselling author of the Merlin series, Mary Stewart, has died at the grand, old age of 97. The five books in the Merlin series, sometimes called Merlin Chronicles, were published between 1970 and 1995 – they are The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment, The Wicked Day, and The Prince and the […]

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Supermarket chain Waitrose hires poet Roger McGough to liven up its aisles

Posh supermarket chain Waitrose has turned to poetry in its latest bid to win over Britain’s shoppers. The Guardian reports Waitrose plans to display “poetry throughout its stores as part of a year-long campaign which, it says, is aimed at reducing the drudgery of the regular shop. Amen to that! I can tell you horror […]

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Heston Blumenthal’s historic tribute to British cuisine wins 2014 James Beard cookbook of the year

The biggest prize in the cookbook genre was announced yesterday and a book describing the long and complex legacy of British cuisine has picked up the main award. The James Beard Foundation Book Awards named Historic Heston by English chef Heston Blumenthal as cookbook of the year. Blumenthal, owner of The Fat Duck, details the identity […]

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