No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
LoveReading’s Creativity section is perfect for those who want to make things with their own hands. Whether you’d like to learn the latest craft technique, see what others are doing as design inspiration and trying to keep up and have a go at the latest technological developments, have a look at the selection of titles we have below.
Lucinda Gosling’s John Hassall: The Life and Art of the Poster King is an exquisite feast of vibrant visuals for anyone interested in art and design history. While exhaustive in its coverage and analysis of John Hassall, whose iconic posters and postcards are instantly - and widely - recognisable, its lively, accessible tone will also enthral interested laypeople. Born in 1868, John Hassall began his long, successful, influential career as an advertising artist after studying in Paris, where he was influenced by Czech design innovator, Alphonse Mucha. Hassall went on to found an art school and work across multiple disciplines, including pottery, toy-making, book illustration, fine art and commercial art, each of them bearing his distinctive bold style and wit. His impactful WWI and travel and transport posters are instantly recognisable, as are his striking ads for big brands like Colman’s Mustard and Nestlé. Many sketches, letters and diary excerpts are here published for the first time, and the standard of the reproductions do excellent justice to the striking quality of the art itself. Alongside learning about Hassall’s life, and enjoying the high-quality visuals, I was especially wowed by seeing some of his book illustrations for the first time, among them a stunning Art Nouveau Little Red Riding Hood, and his astonishing “Pantomime ABC”.
Perhaps best known for her seminal WWII photojournalism, or her earlier life as a surrealist model and muse, or her sublimely striking solarised portraits, Lee Miller was also an exceptional fashion photographer, whose work illuminated the pages of British Vogue (Brogue) from 1939 to 1944. Featuring over 130 images, plus an excellent contextualisation essay by Ami Bouhassane, Miller’s granddaughter and Co-Director of the Lee Miller Archives, Lee Miller: Fashion in Wartime Britain is a breathtakingly beautiful, informative book - clearly a must-have for Lee devotees, and also essential for those interested in forties fashion and style. Since many of the images featured here haven’t been seen since they were shot in the 1940s (they came to light while being archived in 2020), this truly is a treasure chest to delight in. Miller’s editor at Brogue wrote of her in 1941 that “she has borne the whole weight of our studio production through the most difficult period in Brogue’s history” and this book is a glorious record and celebration of Lee’s contribution to the publication, with an essay by Robin Muir, contributing editor to British Vogue, furnishing readers with detail on this. The range of subjects, settings and fashion is a joy to behold, and fashion historian Amber Butchart’s essay offers fascinating insights into the era. There are classic Lee portraits of women wearing tailored suits, striking angled poses in stark light. There are women positioned by rubble, or going about their day-to-day business. There are staged studio shots of women in elegant eveningwear. And there are women (and the occasional man) in utilitarian outfits - “fashion factories”. All of them, of course, bear Miller’s inimitable panache, her way of seeing the world and its people. Simply stunning.
In 1938, as Europe prepared for war. Roland Penrose and Lee Miller made a journey together through the Balkans. Penrose was a painter, author and curator, Miller, previously a model, had had succesful photographic studios in Paris and New York, and was a brilliant photographer. As they travelled Penrose created pictures and took notes. On their return Penrose produced a charming handmade photobook for Miller, a surrealist love poem, drawn from his own memories and records. A limited edition of the book was soon printed. The first of which he personalised for Lee Miller.
Exhaustively researched, and stunningly presented with photographs, paintings and portraits, Anne Hall’s Angela Thirkell: A Writer’s Life is unquestionably essential reading for Thirkell enthusiasts, and also comes recommended for aficionados of literary history. After being immersed by this lively biography, I look forward to discovering Thirkell’s novels. As the granddaughter of Pre-Raphaelite painter and designer Edward Burne-Jones, goddaughter of J.M. Barrie, cousin to Rudyard Kipling, and having a grandmother who counted George Eliot among her friends, it’s perhaps little wonder that Angela Thirkell forged a creative life for herself. Born in Kensington in 1890, her childhood was cosmopolitan, with a family friend jokingly suggesting that he preface her memoir stating that she was “between the ages of four and nine the most terrifying female I have ever met.” In her youth, Thirkell was described as having formidable wit and breath-taking beauty, attending fancy dress balls in extravagant, enchanting costumes, and never suffering male fools gladly. While divorce brought scandal, it also - ultimately - brought Thirkell to writing, for it wasn’t until she married her second husband and moved with him to Australia that she began to write, initially for financial reasons. Some eleven years later, in 1929, Thirkell suddenly left her second husband and returned to England, where she went on to write more than thirty books, beginning with her Three Houses memoir and closely followed by her mischievously comic, bestselling Barsetshire novels, now published by Virago. Forensically detailed, with broader bigger-picture appeal, this is a fine biography.
I found it difficult to get my head round why someone who was personally acquainted with the members of a world renowned rock band would fictionalise their experience but in 'Lost Souls. A fictional journey through 50 years of Pink Floyd' this is exactly what Dutch music journalist, Edwin Ammerlaan has done. In the foreword to the book the author sets out his reasons for it, which seem to be mainly his need to find a new slant on the history after all the many biographies and autobiographies which had gone before but I still find it a disturbing and slightly dangerous concept. Made up events and dialogues and imaginary characters are surely out of place in a book celebrating a larger than life group and their music. However, that said, the book is a fascinating and moving read. Obviously written with love and passion for the subject matter, the author conveys this to the reader in spades. It left me eager to find out more,(especially just how much of it was actually true), to listen to their music and, above all, it left me wondering how I could have lived through those times and remained largely unmoved by their influence. My loss I guess but maybe one it's not too late to redress. I would recommend this book to anyone with any degree of interest in the music scene, whether they're Floyd fans or not. The author doesn't gloss over the cut-throat nature of the business, the difficulties caused by the group's personal dynamics nor the slow nature of the maturing of the creative process to a successful sound but these are all described with honesty and empathy. It's 'another brick in the wall' of Pink Floyd knowledge. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
With bright, modern, full colour illustrations, anyone can quickly learn to knit, master new stitches and make a selection of cute and easy knitting projects with Hello Knitting! With this book safely at your side for guidance, even those who have never picked up a pair of knitting needles before will soon be making brilliant projects while learning new techniques. A super little book containing everything you need to know to start your knitting journey. With projects from finger puppets to doorstops, there really is something here to suit everyone. ~ Liz Robinson
The BBC Proms is the world's biggest and longest -running classical music festival and one of the jewels in the crown for the BBC. It is one of the strongest brand names in the music world and attracts a glittering array of artists and orchestras from the UK and around the world in over 150 concerts, talks, workshops and family events around London every summer. Whether you're a first- time visitor or an experienced Prommer, watching at home or listening on radio or online, the BBC Proms Guide will help you to plan your summer of music and discover in depth what lies behind the Proms - from the composers to the performers to how the events are broadcast. The Proms Guide contains brand- new articles on featured composers and insights on performers, new music and accompanying events.
This consummately fascinating study into the relationship between dance and poetry – the “step” of dance, and the “foot” of verse – presents a complex, intricate interlacing of disciplines. Dappled with personal anecdotes alongside probing evolutionary questions, historical depth and contemporary insights, it is at once thought-provoking and engaging. The author’s experience as both a dancer and poet inform his unique investigation. He ascribes his long-held passion for both to a deep-rooted childhood awareness of rhythm: “Rhythm is common to both pursuits. Increasingly I have come to feel that dance is a language and that language is a dance.” I found the “Which Came First?” chapter especially compelling. The author’s exploration of humankind’s transition to bipedalism and language takes in fascinating linguistic and archaeological theories, and links the shift to bipedalism to the development of reflective thought, and to walking as an expressive activity. Suffused in spirited intellectualism and a global perspective, this is a must-read for anyone interested in poetry, dance and exploring the history of humanity through the lens of the arts.
Simply gorgeous! Seriously everyone, this really is THE most lovely book. I don’t know about you, but I adore looking at beautiful houses, and boy is Cath Kidston’s home stunning, it is also deliciously homely too. Yes of course, this is Cath Kidston of the Cath Kidston vintage-inspired homeware and designer brand. She has sent a gorgeous invitation to wander around her home, telling us how they found it, and how each room came into being. Pavilion have created a perfectly sized and visually beautiful book. Stuffed full of vivid, colourful photographs (shout out to Christopher Simon Sykes), I sank into the pages. I love her quirky touches, such as the cracker adorned painting, and the colour, oh my, the colour just pops! Yes I am rather gushing over this book, that’s because it sang to me, and I have fallen in love with it. A Place Called Home would make the perfect gift, but make sure you buy one for yourself too! Chosen as a LoveReading Star Book, just because it is so beautiful.
Catie Marron’s City Parks captures the spirit and beauty of eighteen of the world’s most-loved city parks. Zadie Smith, Ian Frazier, Candice Bergen, Colm Tóibín, Nicole Krauss, Jan Morris, and a dozen other remarkable contributors reflect on a particular park that holds special meaning for them. Andrew Sean Greer eloquently paints a portrait of first love in the Presidio; André Aciman muses on time’s fleeting nature and the changing face of New York viewed from the High Line; Pico Iyer explores hidden places and privacy in Kyoto; Jonathan Alter takes readers from the 1968 race riots to Obama’s 2008 victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park; Simon Winchester invites us along on his adventures in the Maidan; and Bill Clinton writes of his affection for Dumbarton Oaks. Oberto Gili’s color and black-and-white photographs unify the writers’ unique and personal voices. Taken around the world over the course of a year, in every season, his pictures capture the inherent mood of each place. Fusing images and text, City Parks is an extraordinary and unique project: through personal reflection and intimate detail it taps into collective memory and our sense of time’s passage.
Before appearing on the BBC's The Great British Sewing Bee, Chinelo Bally had never used a sewing pattern. She wowed the judges with her ability to create stylish, fitted garments using a freehand cutting method that was taught to her by an aunt. In Freehand Fashion, Chinelo lets us in to the secret of how she does this exciting sewing technique that is likely to be brand new to most people and even to experienced dressmakers. There really are no limits in learning to sew the perfect wardrobe - and the beauty of this technique is that it can be applied to any body shape. ~ Liz Robinson You can also join the conversation online and share your creations - #FreehandFashion A message from Chinelo: I am a Nigeria-born Brit with an overly healthy appetite for fashion and sewing. I have always loved fashion, but I began my dressmaking journey just four years ago... After only three months of sewing for myself, I began dressmaking and making clothes for family members and friends... I want to offer beginners a fresh take on home sewing, one that is fashionable and trendy and I also want to entice seasoned sewists to step away from traditional rules and try the exciting freehand method... This is a technique everyone can learn, and I look forward to walking you through it, step-by-step.
I must admit to a great love of William Morris's textiles and Arts & Crafts furniture so reading Elizabeth Wilhide's guide to creating the “Morris look” can hardly be classed as work. If you want to find out how to choose pattern and colour and how to co-ordinate furniture and fittings there is a wealth of detail here, the well-chosen illustrations feature some of the very best Morris interiors, always detailing the patterns used with further key fabric and wallpaper pattern examples to be found in an appendix. The text itself is “a good” read, more than a how-to guide it gives much useful background, the way that Morris designs were viewed and how they gradually became so influential in the way we furnish and decorate our rooms. All-in-all a top introduction to William Morris, the price, an astonishingly reasonable £14.99. ~ Sue BakerLike for ReadingWilliam Morris: A Life for Our Time, Fiona McCarthyWilliam Morris and the Arts & Crafts Home, Pamela Todd
This enchanting reinvention of a Natural History of Fairies written by botanist Professor Elsie Arbour in the 1920s glows with timeless charm and the magic of nature. What’s more, author Emily Hawkins’s message about protecting fairies’ natural habitats has important real-world resonance, such as this: “human actions are putting fairies’ habitats at risk. When forests and woodland are cut down to make space for farmland…then fairies’ homes are destroyed.” Fairy enthusiasts will delight in the detail of the softly-radiant illustrations that present fairy anatomy and life cycles in the manner of natural history books, replete with labels and descriptions. Throughout, the book is suffused with a thrilling feeling that fairies might be found - if you know what you’re looking for, and where to look. The section on language and secret scripts will undoubtedly inspire young readers to write their own fairy codes, while coverage of a huge range of habitats - from meadows, gardens and woodlands, to mountains, marine environments and jungles - gives a satisfying global feel. Alongside providing fairy-lovers with much fodder for exploration, this coverage of habitats, and information on the likes of leaves, plants and animals, might also spark a wider love of nature. Sumptuously presented, with a silk bookmark, and gold edging and cover foil supplementing Jessica Roux’s illustrations, this book’s style is every bit as charming as its content, which makes it a gift to treasure.
I’ve read that origami is going to be the next “thing” after adult colouring books, another craft that can help stress relief and bring about the state of mindfulness. As an introduction to the craft, Esther Thorpe demonstrates some modern and useful applications for origami, providing decorative items for the home, everything from mobiles and mini storage baskets to paper flowers and lampshades. ~ Sue BakerLike for Like ReadingEasy Origami, John MontrollPapercraft, DK Click here to find out how Esther Thorpe came to write this book.
What you can do with a pencil – and it's not all drawing! There's pencil games, Hangman, there's learning how to twizzle a Pencil round your thumb and there are emergency pencil uses. The instructions, in a cartoon type format, are intersperced with pencil related information in a fun and jokey way with added quotes from famous pencil weilders like Picasso and da Vinci. Very doable for even the most ham-fisted, Guy Field reveals all the tips and tricks you'll need to produce basic drawings, cartoons, lettering and even creating your own superhero, Pencilman! ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards You Can Draw in 30 Days, Mark Kistler
Written by Mabel Haynes’s granddaughter following the fortuitous discovery of her grandmother’s connection to Stein, this is an innovative, intimate and complex exploration of an intimate, complex relationship between three women. While this book doesn’t follow a chronological form, its subject could be said to begin with Gertrude Stein’s first novel, Q.E.D., which was never published during her lifetime. Q.E.D. represents Stein’s attempt to deal with her first love affair with May Bookstaver, who was also the friend and lover of Mabel Haynes. All three were students at the same Boston medical school: “they came of age in the gilded age and were of a class that expected them to display themselves with the right cut of their garments, the right sort of bearing to carry it off.” While the impact and influence of these women on Stein’s writing has been examined, this is the first time the lives of the women themselves have been fully explored. Generously peppered with photographs, and drawing on multiple source types (private letters, Stein’s writing), this paints broad cultural brushstrokes alongside the deeply personal portraiture, and is a ground-breaking feat of biographical writing.
A title that doesn’t lie, these are really good dog photos. Containing the work of some of the best animal photographers there are naturally many different approaches to photographing dogs, many of the pictures have the “aaah” factor, many show the beauty, the fun, the work of dogs and there are some here to tug the heart-strings – particularly the portraits of dogs marooned in rescue centres. An excellent introduction to the subject featuring photographers such as Elliott Erwitt and William Wegman. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading The Dogist by Elias Weiss Friedman
Our mass produced globalised world does give us all access to things from around the world but they do lack any personality and individuality so it's not surprising there is currently a real upsurge in making and creating beautiful and interesting things yourself.
As William Morris once said 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.'
Here is a lovingly chosen selection of books to get you creating some beauty for your home. Whether you would like to knit, sew, sketch or print, you can hopefully find a book here that will spark your imagination.