As a card-carrying member of the “I Take History Seriously” Team, I’ve gained a reputation for my love of miserabilist non-fiction. From How Europe Underdeveloped Africa all the way to Late Victorian Holocausts (an actual book title!), if there’s been a vaguely depressing title to read, I’ve sought it out.
But I’ve decided to start a clean slate as of this moment: I’m reviewing something contemporary(!), fictional(!!) AND only partially depressing(!!!). And what could be a better fit with those three qualities than Daisy Johnson’s Everything Under.
An unmissable exhibition showcasing the work of four artists who use self-portraiture to confront, and evade, the viewer’s gaze.
Francesca Woodman [1958-1981] plays the ghost in her small, exquisitely crafted photographs of abandoned interiors; half there, half absent, presaging her own tragic disappearance at the age of 23; a short life to give birth to such hauntingly beautiful work.
The current Ingleby Gallery exhibition would be worth seeing for Woodman alone, but alongside her are Zanele Muholi [b 1972] a black South African whose strong, confrontational self portraits dominate and entrance the viewer with their steely glare, Oana Stanciu in stances at once unsettlingly provisional and wryly timeless, and presiding over them all Cindy Sherman [b1954] grand master of the posed self-portrait as mirror to our weird world. All self-absorbed, but in ways that reach well beyond the self to touch us all.
On a dark and blustery night, with nary a Christmas twinkle to be seen, our readers came out in force for an superbly rejuvenating Readers’ Salon (the first of the year).
There were some tremendous recommendations from some new faces and regulars, plus a spirited discussion on various topics, including (but not limited to) the size of Africa, the dispiriting effect of small town support for their local sports teams, Irish historical accuracy from British correspondents and the annoyance of writing supplementary novels in the footnotes.
Braving the suddenly biting cold of a November night in Edinburgh, our readers came out in force to let us know what they were reading as the days turn short and dark.
From excellent non-fiction recommendations to metamorphic classics to bizarre and hilarious fiction via an exploration of psychopaths in literature, we had a really wonderful time. We hope that the books listed below give you a flavour of the vibe from Readers’ Salon, as well as prompting more inspiration for your own winter reading! Continue reading Readers’ Salon Recommendations (November 2018)
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
[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
[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,
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Here at Golden Hare Books we are big fans of Young Adult fiction – it’s sadly a much-overlooked genre by adults and we want that to change. We’ve always tried to promote our YA books in more prominent ways in the shop, such as having the YA section in the fiction room instead of the children’s room and hosting events with YA authors.
[vc_row][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There’s a video making the rounds on YouTube at the moment: A Magazine is an iPad that Does Not Work. In the video, we see an adorable one year old girl gleefully swiping left and right on an iPad screen. Her face lights up as icons bounce back and forth, moving in and out of focus, when – all of a sudden – she finds the iPad replaced with a paper magazine. With a look of bewilderment on her face, the girl prods the magazine’s cover. She swipes at the photos inside, and tries to scroll down the columns. When the pictures fail to move, or light up, or grow, or shrink, the girl gives up – after all, where is the fun in a boring old page?!
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There is, doubtless, a thread of magic that runs through the way books come to us. As if we emit a pulse, like deep-sea locators, calling toward us certain books at certain times. Books to console. Books to bolster. Books to nourish. These books, when they come, assume a place in the pantheon of favourite books, and often, we return to them in times of unrest, because we require their solace once again.Continue reading A Bookseller Reviews…The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein