No matter the far-flung destination I’ve found myself living in or travelling to, the one constant is my incurable fascination with books. From new releases to flea-market finds, I’m like a magpie to these gems that hold the keys to new fictional or factual adventures. You can keep your Kindle and iBooks, I’ll take the tangible printed word over a sterile virtual copy any day.
With a familiar crispness creeping back into the air, I’m on the hunt for my next favourite page-turner, because there are few pleasures better than curling up with a hot cup of tea, a cozy sweater, and a good book. The best recommendations come from friends, and it’s with this model in mind that the team at lifestyle brand TOAST have unveiled their Book Sharing campaign. Taking inspiration from the overarching theme of their Autumn/Winter 2017 collection, ‘The Enrichment of Other’, this nationwide activity will be open to all, with the aim of fostering thought and sparking dialogues between customers.
In each TOAST store, members of the public will be invited to leave a book that has enriched them in some way which they would like to share with others. The individual will write a message on how the book is important to them on a card to be placed inside for others to read.
To launch the campaign, the company will be hosting the TOAST Author Talk, an evening of literary discussion with a panel of renowned authors to celebrate the ways in which books have enriched our lives. Ahead of the talk, I asked some of the TOAST team to share their favourite books and what puts them at the top of the list of what you should read next.
A collection of Tom Lubbock’s weekly essays on a single work of art, written for The Independent from 2005 to 2010. As an art critic and philosopher Lubbock invites you to question what you see, to go beyond the obvious and to delve a little deeper. His writing is lucid, profound and illuminating. Reading his essays changed the way I look at paintings – now I always stop and wonder…
The Midnight Folk and its sequel, The Box of Delights, were published between the First and Second World Wars. They tell of the adventures of Kay Harker whom we assume, though it is never overtly stated, to be an orphan. In the first book he is living with a wicked governess, Sylvia Daisy Pouncer, and seeking the lost treasure of his seafaring great-grandfather; in the second he is living with a kindly governess, Caroline Louisa, and battling for possession of powerful magic box. Although, in his adventures, Kay flies on broomsticks and magical horses, sails the high seas, changes size, talks with animals, swims with mermaids and so on, the magic never feels contrived – perhaps because, firstly, the narrative holds together so well and, secondly, the magic feels as though it could be rooted in the reality of a lonely young boy’s imagination. Nothing that takes place seems absurd. The wickedness is just frightening enough while the magic delights.
I first came across the books as a very young boy – four or five years old – when they were read to me by my father. I read them myself a few times as a child and then have reread them a couple of times as an adult – never with any of the sense of disappointment that rereading a childhood favourite might bring. Why do I love them so much? Because they opened the door for me, at a very early age, to the thrilling, unbounded possibilities of the unfettered imagination; and to the gorgeous mysteries of nighttime.
This is his debut novel after an acclaimed career as a short story author. The book relates the true story of Abraham Lincoln losing his beloved son to fever and layers over an imagined world of ghosts, still tied to their earthly lives by attachment. Its original structure, tender observations of a father’s love and humorous cast of characters make it a gorgeous, surprising read.
The most beautifully written love story. I was completely lost in the narrative and found myself re-reading paragraphs for sheer pleasure. A work of art.
The TOAST Author talk forms part of TOAST’s Book Sharing campaign which celebrates the ways in which books have enriched our lives. To be a part of it, consumers need to take a book into any of TOAST’s eleven shops, write a sentence or two on a small card provided in store on what it means to them and then take a book in return. You can learn more at www.toa.st/uk/enrichmentofother.
I’m a recovering finance lawyer turned freelance lifestyle writer and photographer. This is where I share my shoots, fashion, personal style, travels, street style, interviews, and everything in between.