The Virago Press #BooksForChange Challenge: Part Two

If you missed part one of this challenge, you can find it here


Virago is a British publishing company, founded in 1973, with the intention of giving voice and publishing presence to female authors. Since then, the mission statement has expanded to include authors and reprinted works with a broader positive intention; LGBTQ texts; books written by non-binary authors; works which reflect a diversity of neurological conditions and mental illnesses; and lots more. You can find Virago online here, where they have a fascinating timeline of their own history.

virago

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On This Day – The Reichstag Fire, 27 February 1933

It’s a real change of pace today- I don’t often do On This Day posts, but this one really stood out to me. Not least because it’s one of those fact-and-dates that is clinging on from my GCSE days (the exam flashbacks are looming), but because it’s startling relevant now.

The burning of the Reichstag building is a real history-mystery with dubious blame and potential cover-ups. It was a fundamental rung on Hitler’s ladder to power, and another part of the story of anti-communism in the 1930s. Today I’m going to briefly outline the event and talk about it from a modern perspective, what with the rise of fascism being a frequently trending topic on twitter. Let me know what you think about this new format, and if you like the slightly more narrative structure.

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Sunday Non-Fiction Spotlight: White House Histories

This week I’m spotlighting three interesting non-fiction books about the White House, which each reveal three very different narratives about the building, its many presidents, and American politics more widely.

The White House is a symbol for many things in America. It is the home to presidents, their families; it is the workplace of staffers, advisors, journalists and commentators; it is the creche for First Children; it is the beating political heart of a nation. However it also embodies many of the core contradictions of the United States. The White House is a symbol of freedom, and yet it was built by slaves. It represents equality, and yet there have been no female presidents. It embodies honesty and authenticity, despite the years of presidential mishaps, cover-ups and mistakes. It is a symbol which exists out of a desire for the purity it stands for; a desire which has so far outweighed the political reality. Let’s see how the symbolic meaning of the White House continues to develop and change under President #45.

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Five Books about Books

There are so many books out there that we’ve all got reading lists a mile long. Our shelves groan and overspill, but I bet you’ve got room for a few more. Today I’ve got a list for you of five book written about the subject of books- I’m talking book-binding, ‘biographies’ of publishing houses, and histories of bookish groups and people from throughout time. Definitely gift potential for your bookish friends.

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