Tag Archives: Howard League for Penal Reform

Prepare for World Book Night 2015!

140 WBN 2015World Book Night 2015 is on Thursday 23rd April. There are too many lists in the world of book blogs, but I don’t hesitate to add the World Book Night list for 2015. World Book Night seems to be fading in other countries, but in the UK we have the Reading Agency to keep it strong.

140 Reading AThe purpose of World Book Night is to celebrate and promote books and reading. Apparently about 35% people do not read regularly. To reduce this proportion thousands of books from the list are given away on the night. The list is therefore intended to include lots of different kinds of books so there is something that will appeal everyone.

Here are the books for World Book Night 2015:

  1. After the Fall by Charity Norman (Allen and Unwin)
  2. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton (Constable, Little, Brown)
  3. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (HarperCollins)
  4. Chickenfeed by Minette Walters (Quick Read) (Pan Macmillan)
  5. Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts by Mary Gibson (Head of Zeus)
  6. Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle (Quick Read) (Vintage, Penguin Random House)
  7. Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden (Pan Macmillan)
  8. Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy, Neil Astley (ed.) (Bloodaxe)
  9. Honour by Elif Shafak (Penguin General, Penguin Random House)
  10. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher (Orion / Hachette Children’s)
  11. Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante (Simon & Schuster)
  12. Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle (Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House)
  13. Skellig by David Almond (Hachette Children’s)
  14. Spring Tide by Cilla and Rolf Börjlind (Hesperus)
  15. Street Cat Bob by James Bowen(Quick Read) (Hodder)
  16. The Martian by Andy Weir (Ebury, Penguin Random House)
  17. The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington (Canongate)
  18. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Transworld, Penguin Random House)
  19. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Two Roads, John Murray)
  20. When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman (Headline)

140 WBN_CoverGrid-thumb-300x360-12979And here’s another list.

What to do for World Book Night?

  • Visit the World Book Night 2015 web page.
  • Read a book from the list.
  • Give a friend a book from the list.
  • Give two friends two books from the list.
  • Become a volunteer for World Book Night and help give away the books.
  • Join one of the listed community activities from the web page to celebrate and promote books and reading.
  • Buy all the listed books that you don’t already own.
  • Plan to read a book from the list in your reading group around that date.
  • Make a donation to support World Book Night.
  • Leave a book from the list on a train, in a café or in some other public place to be found by a stranger.
  • Read a book from the list that you wouldn’t have read if it wasn’t included.
  • Send the link to this post by Twitter to all your followers.
  • Read all the books on the list by women (the proportion has increased from previous years, according to #readwomen2014).
  • Make/ask for a special display in your local independent bookshop.
  • Make/ask for a special display in your local library.
  • Aim to read the whole list before World Book Night 2016.

You have until 23rd April 2015 to do something! Can you add suggestions of activities to support World Book Day?


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Filed under Books, Reading

Victory for Books for Prisoners

Just announced today (5th December 2014):  the High Court today ruled that the ban on books for prisoners is unlawful. In addition, Mr Justice Collins said that access to libraries in prisons is inadequate. He commented that it was ‘strange’ to refer to books as a privilege

Some days there is good news. Some days justice and good sense prevail.

For more on this see the Howard League’s website.

EnglishPEN and many writers have also been involved in this campaign.

See previous post on Bookword on November 8th for more on this.



Filed under Books, Libraries, Reading

The Craft of Blogging (3) … my checklist for blogposts

OK! You’ve thought about what it means to write on-line, and you’ve sorted out what kind of post you are planning (this one’s another list). And if you haven’t thought about those things see my previous posts on the subjects. Now, here’s a checklist of 9 things I’ve learned to look out for in every blogpost, having now posted 94 of them. Please add your recommendation to bring it up to a big fat 10.

94 hook1. The hook

Entice the reader in, after all they have access to so many blogs. Often your hook is a question, sometimes an intriguingly presented idea. It should entice the reader and not lead to disappointment. The topic may hook readers in by itself – like this one?

2. The title

Your title may be the hook, but either way it should give the reader a clue to the content. Readers have so much choice that they may not spend time on a page, and they don’t want their surfing to be wasted by a misleading title.

3. The first paragraph

Your first paragraph is all important! It tells your reader or confirms the main theme. You can’t expect a reader to wait to the end of the post to find the rabbit in the hat. They just wont. This is true of most writing.

94.links4. Links

Hyperlinks are easy to apply and offer the reader the possibility of going somewhere they never imagined, connected to your theme. Some bloggers manage audio links as well, or links to Youtube, but I haven’t yet, and not found it necessary. I like blogs that do. ‘Links between sites are the fuel of the web*.’


94 Blog on tablet5. Visuals

I did my first writing in a world limited to typewriters and pens. Even biros were newfangled before I reached my teens. Much later I graduated to a word processor. I know almost nothing about the technology that allows such easy inclusion of images into blogs, but you’d be a fool not to take advantage of this added dimension. Watch those copyright issues however; copyright exists to protect the creative.

6. Length

I’ve seen it argued that the shorter the post the better. As Bookword focuses on books, reading and writing I think I can stretch my readers to about 1500 on occasion. Anyway I often find I have that many words to write. It depends on the content – more images may mean fewer words. I always edit to remove surplus words. The post you are reading is just short of 900 words.

94 tape

7. Lightness of touch

For a writer who spent 20 years in academic writing and publishing it comes as a great pleasure to be able to use humour and lightness of touch in blogposts. Of course, not every post lends itself to hilarity, or even a wry smile, but many do. I think that a blog is much more like conversations with friends than addressing an audience of students.

Lightness of touch means thinking about your readership. They are reading on a screen, want to quickly get a sense of what you are saying, absorb it in short paragraphs, without dumbing down, and with headings to guide them.

Here’s a list of points for making the text easy to scan on screen:

  • Be concise and to the point
  • Halve the word count of conventional writing
  • Keep your sentences short, and read aloud.
  • Make one point per sentence.
  • Use bulleted lists for quick reading
  • Emphasise keywords with bold (avoid CAPITALS, because they LOOK LIKE SHOUTING)

This list is from the University of York Writing for the Web pages which you can find here.

Wittiness needs to be without being too clever. (Most of my editing is to remove those over-worked, over-blown ideas I thought would include to show how clever I am. I am currently working on not including them in the first place!) These all help with readability. And you have probably developed your own style (that’s house-style Eileen).

8. Call to arms

Some bloggers recommend a call to arms, usually a question. I can see the point for campaigning posts (like mine on books for prisoners, which asked people to take some action about the restrictions on books for prisoners. Come to think of it, it’s as good a time as any to mention the campaign on Books for Prisoners that you can find at the Howard League for Penal Reform. At the very least you can ask your readers to subscribe to your blog. (See the couple of lines at the end of this and every recent post!)

9. A little bit of passion

A blogpost is better for a bit of passion, not necessarily splurging over the page, but readers like to know that you are enthusiastic about your topic. Enthusiasm and expertise are very attractive. The best blogs inspire one to more: links, reading, ideas, action, enthusiasm …

If you want perfection you could check out this infographic of THE PERFECT BLOG POST. Thank you Social Triggers.

69 ten_logo10 …

And here’s the cta: please add a 10th item to my checklist.

* according to Robin Houghton (2012) Blogging for Creatives, published by ILEX: Lewes Sussex. Her book is highly recommended for novices.


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Filed under The Craft of Blogging