Helena Markou has the enviable title of Publishing Innovation Manager for Blackwell’s (the retail chain).
When she isn’t making or selling books she can be found in the printmakers studio covered in indigo ink, in the dojo shooting arrows, or in a karaoke-box hogging the mic.
Here are her summer reading selections:
Holiday reading is a bit of a dilemma for me. Torn between the desire to laze around doing nothing and not waste a second of the day, I tend to avoid the all engrossing page-turners if I want to get out of bed. So with me to a 17th Century Bakehouse in Devon came the following selection of non-fiction.
A 1939 Ward Lock Red Guide to Torquay and South Devon purchased especially for the trip. Complete with original 1930s advertising, fold out maps (a la Jolly Postman), and eloquent descriptions of all holiday resorts accessible by rail or bicycle at the time of publication. In addition to bringing the history of a town to life, the author’s witty commentary often had us laughing out loud. I cannot recommend these Guides enough for anyone taking a UK break (NB: When buying second-hand online do ask if any maps are missing/damage and that price is discounted accordingly).
How to Be Free by Tom Hodgekinson This is a book that should come with a warning label. I was given a copy earlier in the year, read the first chapter, allowed myself to be persuaded by Tom that I should rid myself of all work related shackles, and spent the following day at work fighting the urge to hand in my notice. Having safely tucked the book away until I was no longer a liability to myself, I found it stimulated a well needed holiday audit of the work life balance.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I have to confess I am slightly addicted to the Penguin Great Ideas series, and bought this (along with eight others) on the arbitrary basis of how much I liked the cover design. Fortunately, this lucky dip selection process throws up some gems. The calm and considered words of wisdom of Aurelius are easy to read, thought provoking, and for the most part, as relevant today as they were 2000 years ago.
“At dawn’s first light have in readiness, against disinclination to leave your bed” It is reassuring to know that even Roman Emperors struggled to find the motivation to get up in the morning.