Avocado Sweet Book Club: Longbourn by Jo Baker

It’s about time someone took a fresh look at the whole Darcy and Pemberley set up. He, his grand house and the Bennett sisters all appear as secondary characters in Longbourn, Jo Baker’s brilliant dissection of Pride and Prejudice from the point of the view of the servants, and we form a subtly different impression of them, different in particular from the fawning portrayals of film and television adaptations. Baker’s

Enter our competition to win a beautiful new book!

Win a copy of Robert the Bruce! Recently we featured the publication of a stunning new book about Robert the Bruce as told by award winning author James Robertson and illustrated by the brilliant Jill Calder. We are delighted that the publishers Birlinn Books have offered us a copy of the 64 page hardback book as a prize in our competition. All you need to do is answer a simple question

Tom Hanks: ‘Damn You All to Hell’

In 2012 Chris Hardwick sent a beautiful 1934 Smith Corona to noted typewriter collector Tom Hanks as in ingenious way of asking him to give an interview on Nerdist Podcast. Within days, Hanks responded with the charming letter seen below, typed on the Corona.   Via Letters of Note, published by Shaun Usher.

Jill Calder illustrates the story of Robert the Bruce

With the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn being commemorated this year, a stunning new telling of the Robert the Bruce story has been produced by Edinburgh based publishers Birlinn Books. With text by award winning author James Robertson the book has been illustrated by Scotland’s finest Jill Calder. Jill spent a year working on the illustrations for this book, producing over 174 large sheets of ink drawings and lettering

The Strongest of the Strange Ones by Charles Bukowski

  you won’t see them often for wherever the crowd is they are not. those odd ones, not many but from them come the few good paintings the few good symphonies the few good books and other works. and from the best of the strange ones perhaps nothing. they are their own paintings their own books their own music their own work. sometimes I think I see them – say

Robert Burns and the Love-Begotten Babies

It’s a pity that the reputation of Robert Burns, a prolific and uniformly brilliant poet, is consistently condensed into the same few poems, quoted and misquoted over and over again. He wrote on diverse topics – money and politics among them – but on ly a few of his works are widely known. A recurrent theme was his love for and lack of shame in babies born in unconventional cirncumstances.

Farewell to Elizabeth Jane Howard

Very sad to hear of the death, at 90, of the brilliant Elizabeth Jane Howard and irritated that obituaries are focusing on her lovers and marriages. The woman was a genius as anyone deeply touched by The Beautiful Visit, The Sea Change or the mighty Cazalet Chronicles will attest. Seriously – Kingsley who? RIP Ms Howard and thanks.  

Sylvia Plath and Victoria Wood: on rotting figs and reincarnation

Women are often smug about being able to multi task but maybe a facet of the ability to be in more than one place in your head at the same time is the sense that we could and should always be doing more, an awareness that there are others lives we could live. Below, Sylvia Plath and Victoria Wood both capture the angst perfectly: Plath beating herself up about it,

John Hegley at the Scottish Poetry Library tonight

The great John Hegley will be reading from his new collection Peace, Love and Potatoes this evening at the Scottish Poetry Library in Crichton’s Close Edinburgh. Tickets are £7. Hegley has long been a favourite with us at Avocado Sweet and this latest collection has all the whip smart-yet-vulnerable, simple-but-meaningful charm of his previous work: An Alien Address Do you have bendy buses or are you jet propelled? Do you

The Tay Moses by Kathleen Jamie – World Poetry Day

Today is World Poetry Day so we’ll expecting you to speak in rhyme until bedtime. To mark the occasion we’re featuring a poem from our part of the world. The brilliant Scottish – indeed Fife – poet Kathleen Jamie wrote this when she was expecting her first child and unsure of how she’d feel about the new arrival. The Tay Moses What can I fashion for you but a woven