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Golden Hare’s Observer Summer Reads

Summery recommendations and glamorous photoshoots: standard stuff for the GH crew.

Golden Hare manager Julie and bookseller David were recently asked for their summer read recommendations by The Observer newspaper. While being superstar-level famous types is part of a normal day at Golden Hare, we thought we’d share this one for those looking for some compelling holiday reads!

You can find the Observer article here or, if you want to get a little more detail for each recommendation, continue reading below…

Julie Danskin, manager

When shoppers ask me for holiday reads, they often want something engrossing for a plane journey. I highly recommend the immersive Vivian by Christina Hesselholdt (Fitzcarraldo), about the life of photographer Vivian Maier, or merman romantic comedy The Pisces by Melissa Broder (Bloomsbury). For those who prefer nonfiction, The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells (Allen Lane) is an unflinching look into our climate catastrophe. When you’re by the pool or relaxing on a terrace, I recommend short stories and essays, especially Nicole Flattery’s Show Them a Good Time (Bloomsbury) or Emilie Pine’s vivid Notes to Self (Penguin).

Anthologies make such great holiday reads, as you can discover new authors to seek out on your return to reality: see especially Being Various: New Irish Short Stories, edited by Lucy Caldwell (Faber & Faber); The Penguin Book of the Contemporary British Short Story , edited by Philip Hensher; and either volume of The Bi-ble, edited by Lauren Nickodemus and Ellen Desmond (Monstrous Regiment) – essays about bisexuality. 

If, however, you prefer a doorstop novel, I absolutely loved The Parisian by Isabella Hammad (Jonathan Cape), a sprawling, Middlemarch-ian historical epic of love and resistance between France and Palestine.

David Bloomfield, bookseller

Getting away from it all doesn’t mean avoiding socially conscious books, especially when they’re addictive page-turners like Booker prize-nominated Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Serpent’s Tail): imagine Jules Verne’s globetrotting style, but told from the perspective of a black slave, chronicling his story from backbreaking field labour to airship adventurer. Hopping from one place to the next, this book marries two unusual elements in a way that I previously wouldn’t have thought possible; the effect is very impressive and has made me want to read everything Edugyan has written up to this point!

For those with a taste for the curiously curated, Edward Carey’s Little (Aardvark Bureau) charts the rise of the small girl who would become the famed Madame Tussaud. Initially penniless, she is taken under the wing of a cripplingly shy doctor who teaches her how to make perfect wax heads for the guillotine-wielding leaders of the French Revolution. The pace is relentless but its a deeply charming book, with the historical backdrop and carnival of famous figures not getting in the way. A constantly intriguing historical fiction curio, especially with Carey’s hand-drawn illustrations gracing many of the pages! 

Brilliant, readable nonfiction is out there too: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (Penguin) examines how white people attempt to prevent anti-racism measures, knowingly and unknowingly, and suggests how to challenge such behaviour in ourselves and others. Tracing the origins of racism from slavery to the present day, DiAngelo lucidly points out the way white people still support racist culture, daring to question the culturally safe narrative about racists always being obviously “bad people”, showing how people who consider themselves non-racist can also engage in white fragility. Written in a no-nonsense, concise fashion, this is a must-read if you want to be an ally rather than an enemy. 

And for those who want to be in the know, Fabulosa! The Story of Polari, Britain’s Secret Gay Language by Paul Baker (Reaktion) is a compelling history of the linguistic lengths to which gay people had to go to hide in plain sight within an aggressively homophobic culture. With Pride now so visible and celebrated, it can be easy to forget that, for a long period of time, the mainstream attitude in the UK was often quite brutal and oppressive to gay people; Polari is a brilliant, engaging reminder of that truth.

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Comfy, Cosy, & Creative: 6 Great Places to Read in Edinburgh

Our bookseller Sarah (@strikesofluck) gives us her guide to the best cosy, creative spots Edinburgh spots to snuggle up with a book...

The cafe scene in Edinburgh is one that begs the question: where are the best cafes for voracious readers to consume their favourites and their discoveries?

We obviously prefer ones within a ten to fifteen minute walk from Golden Hare because when you inevitably finish your current read, you have to come back for another!

With that, we present our picks for the “Comfy, Cosy, and Creative: 6 Great Places to Observe, and, Of Course, Read,” Golden Hare style:

“The reinvention of the wine bar gallops apace across the city, but S&G are still the daddy. Brilliant curation, brilliant concept, it’s a voyage of wine based discovery.”
— Eating and Drinking Guide 2018, The List
Continue reading Comfy, Cosy, & Creative: 6 Great Places to Read in Edinburgh
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Comfy, Cosy, & Creative: 6 Great Places to Read in Edinburgh

Our bookseller Sarah (@strikesofluck) gives us her guide to the best cosy, creative spots Edinburgh spots to snuggle up with a book...

The cafe scene in Edinburgh is one that begs the question: where are the best cafes for voracious readers to consume their favourites and their discoveries?

Continue reading Comfy, Cosy, & Creative: 6 Great Places to Read in Edinburgh
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Uncomfortably Female: My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

In life as in fiction, women are often forced into unnaturally sanitised and sexualised roles in society. The burgeoning acknowledgement of this long term reality has given birth to the #MeToo movement online, as well as an increasing sense that women are rightly seizing the chance to present their lives and views as they really are, without the modifications that patriarchal societies demand. Continue reading Uncomfortably Female: My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

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Charco Press & the Art of Translation

Translating fiction can be extraordinarily difficult. So how do you find a publisher that guarantees high quality translations with every book?

We’ve all had that experience of reading a book that was apparently wonderful in the original French which then turns out to be disjointed, stilted and sometimes plain weird in the translation!

Translating fiction from other languages while retaining the spirit of the original is one of the toughest challenges out there for a publishing company. Many try but few succeed as consistently as our featured publisher: Charco Press.

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An Abundance of Anniversaries

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This year, as you may have heard, is the centenary of Muriel Spark’s birth! We love her work here at the Golden Hare and our copies of Polygon’s beautiful editions have been selling like hotcakes. At the beginning of April we had a wonderful event with Alan Taylor, Candia McWilliam and Rosemary Goring to discuss Spark’s life and our window is all Sparked up this month.

While we love Muriel, we won’t pretend to be as well-versed in her life as the wonderful experts we had at our event. So, instead of trying to impress you with Spark facts from Google, we thought we would introduce you to some of the other literary anniversaries being celebrated in 2018.

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Our Favourite Picture Books

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]To celebrate the wonderful, amazing, magnificent news that we’ve been nominated for the British Book Awards Children’s Bookseller of the Year, we wanted to put together a list of some of our all-time favourite picture books. There’s a common theme throughout the list: these are innovative, gorgeously written and beautifully illustrated wonderbooks which all of us at the Golden Hare are crazy about. We’d love to hear from you too – which do you think are the best children’s books and why? Continue reading Our Favourite Picture Books

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What does Shakespeare mean to me?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There’s a copy of Romeo and Juliet somewhere in my old high school which is badly graffitied. If you turn to the back of the small book, there are countless quotes scratched across the final pages in black and blue ink. The largest reads:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“And when I shall die,

Take him and cut him out in little stars,

And he will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world will be in love with night

And pay no worship to the garish sun.”

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The Golden Hare Reading Challenge 2018 – March

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]And, just like that, February has passed us by. One moment it’s Burns’ Night, the next you’ve realised it’s almost Mother’s Day. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy February while it was here – au contraire, we had a wonderful month full of fascinating events and some exciting new releases. Hopefully, too, your month included a book set in Edinburgh as per the instructions of the Reading Challenge! If not, never fear, we aren’t teachers chasing up your homework, that’s the beauty of the challenge – it can be something you keep track of throughout the year, or it can be a helpful way to pick up a book you wouldn’t have normally read.

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March Books of the Month

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Birds of America by Mary McCarthy


We are, undeniably, living in changing times. The news is full of apocalyptic sentiment and terrifying stories of a world gone mad. It feels like this is the end, that this is the world changing beyond recognition and any sense of idealism is naïve and utopian. No, I am not describing 2018; instead, it is the world that Mary McCarthy paints for us in our fiction choice this month.

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