This week is Independent Bookshop Week! Celebrations will be taking place in bookshops all around the country, so make sure you visit your local indie – I popped into one of my favourites, award-winning Storytellers Inc in the seaside town of St Annes, earlier this week.
As part of this year’s activities, the Independent Bookshop Week organisers are asking people to share their favourite reading spots online, using the hashtag #myreadingplace. Normally my favourite reading place would be at home (probably tucked up in bed, if I’m honest!) but at the moment, I’m staying at my mum’s house and (in between the rain storms) her lovely sunny garden, above, has been the perfect reading spot for me this week.
So what exactly have I been reading in this very nice spot? First up, The Guggenheim Mystery by my author pal Robin Stevens – this is the sequel to Siobhan Dowd’s wonderful The London Eye Mystery. As anyone who has read The Painted Dragon will already know, I love an art-themed mystery – and this story centres around the mysterious theft of a priceless Kandinsky painting from New York’s famous Guggenheim. It’s a captivating mystery, and Robin has done an incredible job of continuing Siobhan’s story, in particular capturing the distinctive voice of narrator Ted Sparks. It’s not published until August so there’s a little while to wait yet (this book is an early ‘proof’ copy that I was lucky enough to be sent by Puffin) but fans of Robin’s work are in for a real treat.
The cover by David Dean also needs a special mention – what a beauty. And I was VERY thrilled to see a familiar name pop up on p 235!
Oh wow hi there Miss Woodfine the art teacher! What an awesome name you have! ❤️ #GuggenheimMystery pic.twitter.com/OmqpCBAGgM
— Katherine Woodfine (@followtheyellow) June 25, 2017
I’ve talked a lot about how much I love the Lockwood & Co books by the brilliant Jonathan Stroud. The last book in the series is out in October and I can’t wait! In the meantime I’m catching up with his previous Bartimaeus books, starting with The Amulet of Samarkand. I’m astonished I haven’t read these before – they are witty, intriguing and completely enchanting. It’s no wonder Diana Wynne Jones herself gave them the thumbs up!
On the subject of firm favourites, I’ve been re-reading some of my much-loved Eva Ibbotson books. Eva Ibbotson is one of my all-time favourite children’s writers and her books are always full of warmth and heart. If you want to find out a bit more about her you can read this recent piece from the Telegraph. I’ve just read her gorgeous The Dragonfly Pool all over again.
Next up, a magical treat – Dragon Rider and its sequel The Griffin’s Feather by Cornelia Funke. Although I’ve read lots of Cornelia’s books before, I’d never read Dragon Rider, though I knew that it was beloved by readers all over the world. When I saw that Chicken House were republishing the book and its sequel, with gorgeous new covers by Laura Ellen Anderson, I was excited to dive in! These books are such a delight, with their magical creatures, exciting adventures and a great hero in dragon rider Ben and his silver dragon Firedrake. You’ll find the new editions in bookshops next month (and I’m also very excited to be chairing a special event with Cornelia Funke at Waterstones Piccadilly on 17th July – find out more here).
I haven’t started it yet, but next on my reading list is The Explorer by Katherine Rundell. I love Katherine’s beautiful books, and this new one sounds glorious – an adventure set in the jungle, which itself is partly inspired by one of my favourite Eva Ibbotson books, Journey to the River Sea. It’s published in August, so be sure to look out for it in bookshops then!
Pop over to the Independent Bookshop Week website to check out a Q&A with me, featuring picture books, where I write, and the importance of good writing snacks!
Hope you’re enjoying Independent Bookshop Week – drop me a comment to let me know what you’ve been reading!