Six No-Guilt Novels for Valentine’s Day

Romance novels get a bad rap, and it is entirely possible to find good, heart-warming stories that aren’t poorly written or saccharine sweet. However with Fifty Shades and its brethren being the most often donated texts to charity bookshops, you might assume that the reading public are looking for something with a bit more substance (and a bit less bite?).

Last year the QI Elves reported that one Oxfam shop had received so many copies of E. L. James’ work, that they had constructed a creepy book fort:

50-shades-fort

Source: http://ow.ly/QKxy308Qj4w, http://ow.ly/1hFh308QjjE

So here is a list of six much better books for you to check out on Valentine’s Day- and if you’ve got someone for whom you need to buy a last minute present, don’t say I haven’t given you plenty of great ideas.

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5 books that make really good gifts

Every year I get a pile of books for Birthdays and Christmases, and it’s always really exciting to wade through and pick out what to read first. However, if somebody doesn’t know you very well or they’re a bit uninspired, then you’ll probably get a recent celebrity autobiography, a cookbook, or a Christmas annual. If you don’t want to become that friend, then try out the list below, guaranteed to charm all your favourite bibliophiles. Pick the genre that they’re most likely to read from, and there’s a gift idea for you. Just make sure to give them until a few days before you go in with the spoilers.

As this is an ongoing series of posts, I’ll let you know that today I’ve listed ‘Fashion,’ ‘Fairytales and Magic,’ ‘Cookbooks,’ ‘Historical Fiction,’ and ‘Hipster.’
Look out for the next post- why not suggest a genre in the comments?

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Sunday Non-Fiction Spotlight: Theodore Roosevelt and celebrity-presidents.

I spent a lot of time thinking about America this week. I wrote two short editorials about the election, and I thought that this week’s non-fiction spotlight might pick up on the things I discussed there, but instead I’ve chosen to reflect on the changes that have happened throughout history to the role that the president plays in the US.
Theodore Roosevelt has been much explored for his role as a huge transformative force in US politics: one of the most interesting things to consider is the role that his personal character, one might call it a ‘brand,’ had on how the public viewed him as a person, and how it has since changed the role the president plays in America.

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Five Reads from Five Genres: Guy Fawkes Night.

Halloween is gone, but if you’re British then you’ll know that the loudest night of the year is coming up. Guy Fawkes, or Bonfire Night as it’s very often colloquially known, is the fifth of November every year. It’s really just another night of glorious snack food and festive social gatherings, (plus fireworks!) but the roots of it lie in the subverted conspiracy to blow up Parliament in 1605. It became a celebratory occasion when establishment figures realised they could generate public faith in the parliamentary government by throwing a big party every year.

So here are five things to read, from five different genres, all about this noblest of sticky-toffee and fireworks related holidays.

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle: Shirley Jackson

“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all, I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in our family is dead.”

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