We live in troubled times. But we always have words. Literature connects us, books soothe us, writing is a way to build relationships.
We asked our team what books they will be bunkering down with over the next few weeks. The books that make them feel good. The ones that help them through troubled times. Just the ones they love.
Here’s our suggestions…
Elspeth Penfold is an artist weaving stories through Thread and Word, recommends Daemon Voices: Essays on Storytelling by Phillip Pullman, ‘a selection of over thirty essays written over twenty years on the craft of writing and storytelling . I dipped in and read a selection of essays on a trip to Argentina and haven’t had time since my return. I think I now have the time!’
Gemma Pettman, PR and marketing expert suggests that we get stuck into Happy by Derren Brown ‘It is one of the best books I have ever read. He delves into the ways in which we view what’s happening around us and demonstrates why it’s futile to worry about the things we can’t control, and how we’re better focussing on how we react to situations. A perfect read for the here and now.’
Philip Roth’s American Pastoral is Andrew Dennis’ suggestion. He’s the man behind Love Where You Live, and says ‘It’s the best book I’ve ever read – the optimism and energy of the 60s bumps up against inter-generational fear, resentment and, ultimately, loathing. It’s like King Lear but with fewer daughters and more glove-making…’
Samantha Osbourne is our social media whizz when it comes to events. She says ‘The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy resonates so strongly at this time of powerlessness and loss around the world at the moment. Levy’s book is about how she rebuilds her life after the death of her mother and her divorce. I think the hope that she inspires and the reminder that rebuilding is possible is one we need to hold onto in these desperate, scary times.’
Co-programmer and marketing lead Francesca Baker is going to use this time to revisit one of her favourites. She’ll be settling down Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. ‘For me it’s the perfect book, as it beautifully covers our interior world and our social world, and the delicate balancing act between the two. The language is stunning, and London and the party fizz off the page. The struggles of Septimus and Clarissa are delicately and sensitively portrayed. And it’s a reminder that soon we will get to go out and have fun at parties again!’