Reader development

World Book Night

Displaying or distributing any of the World Book Night books?  Up the ante and try pairing off each novel tantalisingly with another book. (Have a quick scan of our 2013 and 2014 New Title Recommendations.) Better still, perhaps some regular readers and staff will help you provide more matches. Here's your starter for ten:

What would Arkady Renko read?

It's a matter of record that Martin Cruz Smith's maverick Russian cop thinks poetry makes living bearable. He'd give a lot - possibly on the black market - to read John Burnside's All One Breath (Cape, 2014).   Gorky Park + All One Breath

What accompanies Tales of the City?

Eland Publishing's lovely pocket-sized anthologies of poetry about places and cities - including the most recent Paris: Poetry of place, ed Hetty Meyric Hughes (Eland, 2014) - will be just the ticket for the flaneur who likes to explore life by way of location. Tales of the City + Paris: Poetry of place

Getting rid of who?

Jane Fallon's Getting Rid of Matthew, with a plot twisted tight as a corkscrew and dry as a crisp white wine, needs to be accompanied by the essential reference book for any such situation:  Sophie Hannah's new anthology The Poetry of Sex (Viking, 2014).  Getting Rid of Matthew + The Poetry of Sex

Bernardine Evaristo

If you're intrigued by Hello Mum, it's good to know that the rest of her work mixes poetry and fiction - call them 'verse novels' to help capture the vivid fusion of language. Try Lara or The Emperor's Babe.  Hello Mum + The Emperor's Babe

But would Hercule approve?

M. Poirot is investigating a savage hatchet job after a very respectable funeral. Would it be too much to suggest Robin Robertson's new version of Euripides' The Bacchae (Vintage, 2014) - the story of what happens when a bunch of respectable women get caught up in some very visceral goings-on? Oh dear, we're almost sure Hercule would not wish Miss Lemon to study this. After The Funeral + The Bacchae (Robin Robertson) 

And if you just want to remind everybody how much reading can be a source of pleasure, you can always search our Poem Posters for inspiring quotations on the subject of Poetry & Reading

The Reader Organisation’s National Conference 2014

Thursday 15th May, British Library, London

‘Better with a Book: Exploring the relationship between literature and mental health’

Find out more and book your place

Poetry for the jaded

There's a new blog in town, packed with resources for teaching and engaging through poetry. Our Education blog, Making Makars, is off to a strong start in 2014 with some free teaching resources to download.  

But teaching resources are inspiration not only for the teachers. This week, teacher Jane Bonnyman offers 'poetry for the jaded' which explores the work of Louis MacNeice and Bob Dylan and is aimed at those, particularly boys, who are reluctant to engage with poetry.  Download the plan from our teachers' resources section.

If your own reading palate, or that of your reading group, is feeling a little jaded and in need of a fresh start, bookmark the Making Makars blog and raid it for inspiration.

Poetry of War

You can browse all the poems on our site so far that relate to World War I and World War II, conveniently grouped together in our subject tags.

But there is also a good choice of contemporary war poetry. 

For display, look out titles such as the new anthology 1914: Poetry Remembers edited by Carol Ann Duffy (Faber, 2013), or her illustrated poem The Christmas Truce (Picador, 2012) by which narrates the Christmas ceasefire between British and German troops in World War One. Popular poet and broadcaster Ian MacMillan has a new book out, The Tale of Walter the Pencil Man (Smokestack Books, Oct 2013).

Mick Imlah’s ‘London Scottish’ and Carol Ann Duffy's ‘War Photographer’ are attractive individual poems for discussion, as is The Not Dead (Pomona Books) by Simon Armitage: watch him discussing his war poetry here. Our Reel Iraq podcast gives an interesting cultural perspective on the experiences of poets living in a conflict zone. 

For a pre-World War I perspective, try Kipling's 'Tommy', which still has resonance for many readers today, or explore poems in our World War I selection online which include evocative pieces by writers such as John Buchan and 'Para Handy' author Neil Munro.