No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...Find out more
Browse audiobooks narrated by Eric Meyers, listen to samples and when you're ready head over to Audiobooks.com where you can get 3 FREE audiobooks on us
Willa Sibert Cather was born on 7th December, 1873 on her grandmother's farm in the Back Creek Valley near Winchester, Virginia. After several years and moves the family eventually settled in Red Cloud, Nebraska and for the first time Cather could now attend school.In Red Cloud Cather had her earliest writings published in the local Red Cloud Chief newspaper. Her time in the mid-West created a vivid tranche of experiences for the young woman. It was still, for the most part, the frontier; a landscape of dramatic environment and weather, the vastness of the Nebraska prairie, as well as the many diverse cultures of the local families. Attending the University of Nebraska she published a well received essay on Thomas Carlyle in the Nebraska State Journal and thereafter became a regular contributor to its offerings. After being hired to write for the Home Monthly, in 1896, Cather moved to Pittsburgh. Within a year she became a telegraph editor and drama critic for the Pittsburgh Leader as well as contributing poetry and short fiction to The Library, another local publication. Her first collection of short stories, "The Troll Garden", was published in 1905 and contains several of her most famous including "A Wagner Matinee," "The Sculptor's Funeral," and "Paul's Case."As a writer Cather was now taking immense strides forward. By 1912 she had finished her first novel "Alexander's Bridge" which was serialized in McClure's to favourable reviews. Cather now began her Prairie Trilogy: "O Pioneers!" (1913), "The Song of the Lark" (1915), and "My Ántonia" (1918). All three were popular and critical successes nationwide.Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, Cather continued to establish herself as a major American writer and received the Pulitzer Prize in 1922 for her novel "One of Ours". A determinedly private person, Cather destroyed many old drafts, personal papers, and letters. Her will would also restrict the ability of scholars to quote from personal papers that remained. In 1932, Cather published her final collection of short stories, "Obscure Destinies" which contained the highly regarded "Neighbour Rosicky." She now began work on "Lucy Gayheart", a novel that was rather darker than those before it.With her career settled as one of America's greatest writers honours began to flow. In 1943 she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The following year, 1944, Cather received the gold medal for fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. However time was about to settle scores with her. On April 24th, 1947, Willa Siebert Cather died of a cerebral haemorrhage at her home at 570 Park Avenue in Manhattan. She was 73.Show more
Stephen Crane was born 1st November, 1871 in Newark, New Jersey and was the eighth surviving child out of fourteen. Incredibly he began writing at the age of four and was published several times by the age of sixteen. Crane only began a full-time education when he was nine but quickly mastered the grades needed to catch up and move forward. Although educated at Lafayette and Syracuse he had little interest in completing university and was keener to move on to a career, declaring college to be 'a waste of time'. By twenty he was a reporter and two years later had published his debut novel 'Maggie: A Girl of the Streets'. In literary circles this was hailed as the first work of American literary Naturalism. Two years later, in 1895, he was the subject of worldwide acclaim for his Civil War novel, written without the benefit of any actual war experiences, 'The Red Badge of Courage'. It was indeed a masterpiece and his finest hour. A year later life began its downwards descent when he became embroiled in a scandal which was to doom his career. In attempting to help a suspected prostitute being falsely charged by a policeman he became the target of the authorities.Later the same year en-route to Cuba as a War Correspondent he met the hotel madam Cora Taylor in Jacksonville, Florida. This was to become the defining relationship of his life. Continuing his journey, somewhere between Florida and Cuba his ship sank, and he was cast adrift for several days. Rescued, he returned to cover conflicts wherever they were situated, some as far away as Greece. For a time he lived in England with Cora, usually beyond their means, befriending fellow writers such as H G Wells and Joseph Conrad. In declining health and beset by money problems, Stephen Crane died of tuberculosis, aged a mere 28 on 5th June 5, 1900, at Badenweiler, Germany. He is buried in New Jersey.Show more
Benét was born on 22nd July in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His father was a serving Army colonel and his first decade dictated that family life and education was centered at the base his father was serving from. From ten it became a little more stable when he was dispatched for a traumatic year to the Hitchcock Military Academy in San Rafael, California before graduating from the Summerville Academy in Augusta, Georgia and thence to Yale University, at age 17, where he quickly established himself in its deep literary traditions. He edited as well as contributed a selection of light verse to the campus humor magazine, The Yale Record, and gave freely and generously of his time thereafter to keep Yale producing new literary talents. Prodigiously his first book was published at 17 and for he obtained his M.A. in English when he submitted a poetry volume as his thesis.Whilst travelling in France, in the early 20s, he met and quickly married a fellow writer and poet, Rosemary Carr. She would also collaborate with him on several works. In Paris he wrote the book-length narrative poem of the American Civil War 'John Brown's Body', for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.Benét was immensely gifted. A mere glance at his literary CV dazzles with literary gems. Some of his poems seem to foretell both the rise of machines and of Fascism. He won the O'Henry Award on three occasions, for his short stories as well as an incredible four Pulitzers; two for poetry and two for short stories. Add in his several novels, speech-writing, radio scripts and various other pursuits and you have some measure of the man. In 1930, Benét was hit with debilitating attacks of arthritis of the spine which made the rest of his life one of much pain and discomfort.Stephen Vincent Benét died in his wife's arms on 13th March 1943 of a heart attack in New York City. He was 44. He was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for Western Star, an ambitious and projected five, six or nine book narrative poem (there are various accounts of its projected length) on the settling of the United States, for which he only finished the first book.Show more
Herman Melville was born in New York City on 1st August 1819. At the age of 7 Melville contracted scarlet fever which permanently diminished his eyesight. Add this to a contemporary description of being "very backwards in speech and somewhat slow in comprehension" and his opportunities for success seemed limited.His father died when he was 12 leaving the family in very straitened times. 2 years later Melville took a job in a bank and followed up with a failed stint as a surveyor. He went to sea and travelled across to Liverpool and then to the Pacific on adventures which included a mutiny, being jailed and falling in love with a South Pacific beauty. He was also a figure of opposition to the coercion of native Hawaiians to the Christian religion. These experiences helped provide the novels 'Typee', 'Omoo', and 'White-Jacket'.By 1851 his ambitious masterpiece, 'Moby Dick', was ready to be published. It never sold out its initial print run of 3,000 and Melville's earnings on his masterpiece was a mere $556.37.In succeeding years his reputation waned, life was increasingly difficult. His family was growing and a stable income was essential. Melville took the advice of friends to try public lecturing, as others had, to increase his revenues. He embarked on three successful lecture tours, speaking on Roman statuary and sightseeing in Rome. In 1876 he was at last able to publish privately his 16,000 line epic poem 'Clarel'. It was to no avail. The book had an initial printing of 350 copies, but sales failed miserably.It was only in late 1885 that Melville was at last able to retire after his wife inherited several legacies, enough to provide them with a reasonable income.Herman Melville, novelist, poet, short story writer and essayist, died at his home on 28th September 1891 from cardiovascular disease.Perhaps his best known short story is 'Bartleby, the Scrivener' an enduring story of a Wall Street lawyer and his very particular assistant.Show more
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on 24th September 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota into an upper-middle class family. Whilst his mother was pregnant with him, his two young sisters tragically died. Fitzgerald once said this was when his destiny as a writer was ordained.His intelligence and talent was recognised from an early age, with his first story, about a detective being published in the school magazine when he was just 13. In 1913 he enrolled at Princeton but his devotion to his own literary pursuits resulted in him leaving and, rather bizarrely, joining the Army. In 1918, stationed at Fort Sheridan near Montgomery, Alabama he met and became infatuated and then inseparable from Zelda Sayre. Initially though she refused to marry him but with the success of 'This Side of Paradise', the fame and the flow of money enabled them both to begin a gilded life. For them this was The Jazz Age. For Fitzgerald he was already an alcoholic.He continued to write with great mastery and the titles of his novels and many of his 164 short stories are household names. The Great Gatsby, often cited as The Great American Novel was published to mixed reviews. As America moved from the Great Depression to the slaughter of the Second World War his works and himself were seen as far too entwined with the decadent twenties. The world had moved on and he hadn't. Further tragedy was never far from his life. Zelda after years of erratic and now intolerable behaviour was committed to an institution in 1936. His own sales began to decline and he became a hack for hire in Hollywood, dependent on increasing amounts of booze and the weekly pay check. His drunken state had often resulted in arrest or hospitalisation, further imperiling his talents. Despite his contribution to many MGM films he received only one credit.The end came all too soon for one of America's greatest ever writers. On 21st December 1940, at only 44 years of age in Hollywood, F Scott Fitzgerald succumbed to a heart attack.Amongst his many short story gems is 'The Four Fists'. It follows a life, from boyhood to maturity, and how an occasional brush with physical force influences and changes that life.Show more
Alan Seeger was born on 22nd June 1888 in New York. When he was one the family moved to Staten Island and nine years later onwards to Mexico for two years. After attending several elite preparatory schools he enrolled at Harvard in 1906, where he also edited and wrote for the Harvard Monthly.He graduated in 1910 and went to live the life of a bohemian in New York's Greenwich Village, and thereafter moved to Paris to continue his poetry writing in the Latin quarter. War's looming dark shadow was to have a transformative effect on the young poet and on 24th August 24th 1914 he joined the French Foreign Legion so he could fight for the Allies.On American Independence day, 4th July 1917 whilst urging on his fellow soldiers in a successful charge at Belloy-en-Santerre he was hit several times by machine gun fire and died.His poetry was published posthumously later that year, it although not a great success his poem 'I Have a Rendezvous with Death . . .' is now regarded as a classic.On the sixth anniversary of his death a memorial to the American volunteers was unveiled in the Place des Etats-Unis. The memorial was created by Jean Boucher who had used a photograph of Seeger as his inspiration. Also inscribed upon it are Seeger's moving words: "They did not pursue worldly rewards; they wanted nothing more than to live without regret, brothers pledged to the honour implicit in living one's own life and dying one's own death. Hail, brothers! Goodbye to you, the exalted dead! To you, we owe two debts of gratitude forever: the glory of having died for France, and the homage due to you in our memories."Show more
The Holocaust: The Basics is a concise introduction to the study of this seismic event in mid twentieth-century human history. The book takes an original approach as both a narrative and thematic introduction to the topic, and provides a core foundation for readers embarking upon their own study. It examines a range of perspectives and subjects surrounding the Holocaust, including: the perpetrators of the Holocaust the victims resistance to the Holocaust liberation legacies and survivors' memories of the Holocaust. Suppported by a chronology, glossary, questions for discussion, and boxed case studies that focus the reader's thoughts and develop their appreciation of the subjects considered more broadly, The Holocaust: The Basics is the ideal introduction to this controversial and widely debated topic for both students and the more general listener.Show more
In a world divided by the ideological struggles of the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement, more than one-fifth of the people on the planet paused to watch the live transmission of the Apollo 11 mission. To watch as humanity took a giant leap forward. A companion book to the landmark documentary series on BBC TV. The journey from Cape Canaveral to the Moon was a tremendous achievement of human courage and ingenuity. It was also a long, deadly march, haunted by the possibility of catastrophic failure on the world's stage. In an era when the most advanced portable computer weighed 70 pounds, had a 36-kilobite memory and operated on less power than a 60-watt lightbulb, the sheer audacity of the goal is breath-taking. But the triumph of imagination and the unity of the Earth that day would change the world. Based on eyewitness accounts and newly discovered archival material, Chasing the Moon reveals the unknown stories of the individuals who made the Moon landing a possibility, from inspirational science fiction writer Arthur C. Clark and controversial engineer Wernher von Braun, to pioneers like mathematician Poppy Northcutt and astronaut Edward Dwight. It vividly revisits the dawn of the Space Age, a heady time of scientific innovation, political calculation, media spectacle, visionary impulses and personal drama.Show more
Two billion people worldwide watch YouTube. Yet its stars remain a mystery to much of the public and media. What is the secret of their appeal? How do they cope with being in front of the lens? And who is behind them? Wired journalist Chris Stokel-Walker reveals the answers in the first independent in-depth book on YouTube. For three years he has interviewed more than 100 figures connected with the world's biggest video-sharing website, including leading agents, managers and the YouTubers themselves. He charts YouTube's rise from showing a single video of a zoo to multi-billion-dollar site that outmuscles Facebook. And he delves into thorny issues about brands, burnout and authenticity. He explains why YouTubers keep stopping traffic in city centres and whether they will eat normal TV. If you are a journalist, publicist, advertiser, or marketer who needs to know how YouTube works or a parent intrigued by what the kids are watching and why (or just fascinated by the lives of leading creators) you will be informed and entertained by this book.Show more
The stunningly original new YA novel from renowned spoken-word poet Steven Camden. With a dash of Inception and a bit of Jennifer Niven, this is the story of a teen girl and her imaginary friend, and we guarantee you have never read anything like it... Marcie is real. With real problems. For years she has been hitching a ride on the train of her best friend Cara's life. Now there's only one more summer until they're off to college together. Just like they planned. But Marcie has a secret, and time is running out for her to decide what she really wants. Years ago, Thor was also Marcie's friend before she cast him out, back to his own world. Time is running out for him too. If he doesn't make a decision soon, he's going to face the fade. But Thor is not real. And that's a real problem . . .Show more
When First Lady Michelle Obama approached the podium at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, nobody could have predicted that her rousing and emotional “When they go low, we go high” speech would go on to become the motto for the political left and an anthem for opponents of oppression worldwide. It was a speech with the kind of emotional pull rarely heard these days, joining a long list of addresses that have made history. But what about Obama’s speech made it so great? When They Go Low, We Go High explores the most notable speeches in history, analyzing the rhetorical tricks to uncover how the right speech at the right time can profoundly shape the world. Traveling across continents and centuries, political speechwriter Philip Collins reveals what Thomas Jefferson owes to Cicero and Pericles, who really gave the Gettysburg Address, and what Elizabeth I shares with Winston Churchill. In telling the story of great and sometimes infamous speeches—including those from Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., Disraeli, Hitler, Elie Wiesel, Margaret Thatcher, and Barack and Michelle Obama—Collins breathes new life into words you thought you knew well, telling the story of democracy. Whether it’s the inaugural addresses of presidents or the revolutionary writings of Castro, Pankhurst, and Mandela, Collins illuminates and contextualizes these moments with sensitivity and humor. When They Go Low, We Go High is a strong defense of the power of public speaking to propagate and protect democracy and an urgent reminder that when great men and women speak to us, their words can change the world.Show more
The Stunningly original new YA novel from renowned spoken-word poet Steven Camden, AKA PolarBear Marcie is real. With real problems. For years she has been hitching a ride on the train of her best friend Cara's life. Now there's only one more summer until they're off to uni together. Just like they planned. But Marcie has a secret, and time is running out for her to decide what she really wants. Years ago, Thor was also Marcie's friend before she cast him out, back to his own world. Time is running out for him too. If he doesn't make a decision soon, he's going to face the fade. But Thor is not real. And that's a real problem . . .Show more
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.