A GIFT FOR YOU

Just before Christmas, Penguin Random House sent me two copies of a book. One for me and one for one of my readers.

Not one to normally frequent the Self-Help section in bookshops (there’s nothing wrong with doing that by the way, it’s just not where I personally seek solace) this is one that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have discovered. It is a sort of dip-in-and-out-of book with the aim of setting you on the road to mindfulness, painted in soothing pictures and calming words. I don’t want to say too much about it as the best gifts are given as a surprise, but I believe this this book should go to someone in need of a break, who enjoys the beauty of print and needs a little help in taking some time out for themselves at the moment.

So if you know someone who you think deserves this as a new year treat – whether they have just gone through a major break up or if they just need assistance in stopping for more than a coffee – then comment below/Facebook/Tweet/Email me with their name, why you think they deserve a copy of the book and I’ll be in touch with details about sending it on its merry way. The catch? I’ll give it until the 25th January when I’ll choose a winner at random. Oh, and your nominated reader needs to live in the UK.

Help someone beat their blues this January.

Good luck!

THE BOOK

large (22)After running a competition where I was giving away five beautiful, limited edition novels, I had twelve replies. Yes, TWELVE.

Now, with the likes of Google Analytics, I’m well aware how many people viewed the post and can tell you that the number of entries I received was considerably lower than the number of hits it got.

I didn’t run the competition to gain followers, drive traffic or benefit myself. In fact, the books were free, I’ve made no profit from doing it and I actually have to fork out money for postage. And I’m happy to. The whole reason I chose to run the competition was to aid World Book Night in their quest to promote reading to those who have forgotten about the written word.

I clearly failed. But why am I so bothered?

I’m bothered because, had I been giving away a mascara, a bronzer or even a framed photo of Jonathan Ross, I guarantee I’d have been inundated. But a book? With pages? Giving life to a beautiful story?

Silence.

We all say that it’s not easy to find the time to read, but really, if you find the time to browse YouTube videos or scroll through pictures of cats online, then you do in fact have time. Plus, everyone needs a poo at some point or other, so instead of counting floor tiles, turn some pages and use your imagination.

This post sounds aggressive, probably because it is. But it’s only because I care.

Perhaps I care because I’m currently surrounded by books on a daily basis? Perhaps it’s because I studied Literature at university? I think the main reason is because I appreciate how much work goes into producing a novel. Particularly a good one. Which is why I have been dedicating twenty minutes each evening to reading. No excuses.

I’m genuinely begging you to chuck a book in your bag before you set off for work in the morning. Then, on your lunch break, on that same old lengthy commute, or just when you’re really, really bored, get it out and begin your reading journey.

I went through a phase of not reading for a while, it happens to everyone. And when I started back up again, it felt weird at first. And dare I say it, a bit boring. But once your author has introduced you to your characters for the next 573 pages and has transported you to their chosen destination, you’ll find yourself no longer on the dreary Northern Line, but wherever they’ve decided to take you that morning. And that’s much more appealing than avoiding eye contact with strangers or playing Candy Crush for an hour.

Of course, there are some books out there that are a bit shit. Others just might not be your cup of tea. But saying you don’t like books before you’ve read all the books in the world is like saying you don’t like music without exploring all avenues: you just haven’t figured out what your taste buds are craving yet. So, much like I used to tell my old English students, do a taste test or a “fifty page run” and then decide whether to stick with it or sack it off- no one is forcing you to read a certain type of book. It’s the reason we have thousands of imprints; different folks, different strokes and all that.

Aside from all of this moaning from little old me, I was really happy to receive some competition entries. And I loved them.

The winners of my beautiful book are:

Heidi Dyson

Imani Backes

Cha Cha

Marielo

Catherine Dunne

and…

Fleur McCorkindale

Thank you so much to all of you who entered, I (and the books) really appreciate it. Don’t forget to pass them on when you’re done.

Happy Reading!