Posts by Ian Anstice

Six minutes to less stress

Posted Tuesday 15 May 2018 by Ian Anstice in Opinion

6 minutesLook, I like a walk as much as the next person. Ask my dog. It's a very relaxing thing to do. As is having a hot drink or listening to music. But these activities have nothing on reading. And we have the scientific evidence to prove it.

Time To Read ran a campaign a few years ago about squeezing 6 Minutes reading into busy lives because it will make us feel better. It does this by focusing our thoughts, taking us away from distractions and helping us enter another state of mind. Watch our video about the research here.

Of course, we don't mean the hectic searching for facts that typifies our internet browsing. Nah, we mean slow reading. Slow reading is not about reading at a snail's pace, but about slowing down the pace of life to take pleasure in reading. Instead of rushing to the finishing, skimming text and missing large blocks as we down when reading text online.

coffee 6 minutesThat means you can feel seriously more relaxed by having a read in a café . Hmm, that café thing. I wonder if having a tea and a read gives you an extra stress discount? Worth a go I think.

Or you could find a use for some of that dead time that we all have in our lives, like when commuting. BusNext time you're on a bus or train, don't check your emails or look out of the window. Nope. Take out a book. Savour each page and get odd looks by sniggering at the ironic humour (if it's by Donald Trump at least). And, just think, by doing so, you'd have saved six times as much as if you'd played games on your phone instead. That's a saving of half hour every six minutes. Whoah, I've heard of the train taking the strain but that's ridiculous.

Or, look, you don't have to have me recommend a space. You can find your own but, please, find it. And live longer. And relax.



Parts of this  article come from a previous piece on slow reading and the six minutes campaign available here.

Crime Reading Month in May 2018

Posted Thursday 19 April 2018 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News


National Crime Reading Month is a unique literary festival, held throughout the UK, which promotes the crime genre, both fiction and non fiction. NCRM is designed to bring together writers and readers in order to promote the genre as a whole and writers specifically. We work with venues across the UK, libraries and independent bookshops, to arrange events which include  talks, lectures, guided tours, book signings and panel events.

In the North West, we have the following:

Rebecca Fleet

Rebecca Fleet. Exciting debut crime writer Rebecca Fleet will be talking about her explosive new thriller ‘The House Swap’. Bolton, 4th May.

Rachel Abbott Sharon BoltonRachel Abbott and Sharon Bolton. Award winning crime writers Rachel Abbott and Sharon Bolton will be talking about their thrilling new books. Bolton, 8th May.

Chris SimmsChris Simms - Chris will be speaking about his latest novel in the Jon Spicer series "Death Games". Bredbury, 9th May.

Tall thin photo of writer dessed as detective holding a gunZoe Sharp - Bestselling author Zoe Sharp, writer of the bestselling Charlie Fox series, described as a female version of Jack Reacher. 10th May, Ellesmere Port.

Also on 10th May, Kate Ellis, described by The Times as ‘a beguiling author who interweaves past and present’, will be at Sale Library, talking about her new novel, The Mehcanical Devil.

99 Reasons to join Elisabeth Carpenter for Brunch. In conversation over brunch Elisabeth will be sharing her journey to publishing success and perhaps revealing some of those local places that she likes to use as settings in her novels. Blackpool Palatine Library, 16th May.

Love Like Blood – Mark Billingham. Crime Writer Mark Billingham will be discussing the 14th book in his Tom Thorne series with Head of Blackpool Libraries Mark McCree.  Tackling the difficult and emotive subject of honour killings in the UK this shocking and topical thriller has received much critical acclaim. Blackppol, 16th May.

The 16th May is clearly a busy date for crime authors, as TM Logan will also be talking at Blackburn Central Library on that day. He'll be talking about his " sensational new page-turning thriller" 29 Seconds. One to watch, as T.M. Logan's first book was the bestselling psychological thriller Lies which was published in 2017 and has sold more than 300,000 copies in the UK.

DeaverCaroline England. Caroline is a former divorce lawyer, now a full time author. Her debut novel Beneath the Skin, a beautifully written dark psychological thriller, was published last year. Coppice Avenue, Sale, 21st May.

Jeffery Deaver. Number one bestselling author and ultimate thriller writer Jeffery Deaver is in the UK for a limited time to talk about his brand new Lincoln Rhyme investigation and you can catch him in person at Storyhouse. Chester, 23rd May.

On the very last day of Crime Reading Month, crime fighter turned crime write Roger A Price will be talking about his police career and writing. Is getting published more difficult than solving crime? Find out at Ansdell, 31st May.

Last, but not least, a lot of libraries are doing special displays and other promotions for the month so do check up next time you drop in. Some of them are getting quite creative, such as these last pictures from Malpas and Upton libraries in Cheshire.Malpas LibraryUpton CRM


Posted Tuesday 17 April 2018 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

Wordpool 2018Amazingly this is Wordpool’s twelfth year! Twelve years and eighteen festivals, hundreds of amazing writers, artists, poets, musicians and performers sharing the power of words with our audiences of all ages. 2018 promises to be yet another fantastic year.

Mark BillinghamWe’ll be reflecting the mood of the nation and sharing the romance of Royal Wedding week with an evening of bestselling romantic fiction from authors Carole Matthews and Fiona Walker. Our guest authors’ journeys to fiction often surprise us and actor, TV writer and comedian Mark Billingham is no exception. If he doesn’t mention playing Gary the guard in TV’s cult children’s series Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, we will!

Darren McGarvey aka Scottish rapper, Loki will be challenging our young audiences at Blackpool 6th Form College with his wise and witty manifesto for change, Poverty Safari.

Death in the seaWe’re always excited to be able to showcase new talent and 2018 publishing sensations C J Tudor and Nick Clark Windo are creating quite a buzz at Wordpool HQ.

Independent Publishing is transforming the literary world and we’re delighted to be working with CommaPress and BlueMoose Books to bring you events and writing projects focussed on the short story form.

This is the last year of our two year development programme funded through Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants, we thank them for their support.

It’s going to be a good one…come along and join us

Knowsley Crime Fiction

Posted Wednesday 11 April 2018 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

Knowsley Libraries are hosting some great crime writers this month. As soon as the police release them from this line-up that is.

Four authorsSarah Dunnakey
Friday 20 April 2018
Kirkby Library 11am...
Brought to you by Read Regional 2018
Winner of a Northern Writers Award and one of this year’s Read
Regional authors, Sarah Dunnakey will talk about her debut novel ‘TheCompanion’ and the starting point for her story of buried secrets, set between the 1930s and the present day, on the wild Yorkshire moors.

Martin Edwards
Friday 20 April 2018
Huyton Library 2pm
Martin Edwards is an award-winning author of more than 60 short crime stories. He’s also written a series of novels set in Liverpool about the lawyer Harry Devlin and seven books featuring Detective Inspector Hannah Scarlett and historian Daniel Kind set in the beautiful Lake District. Martin will give a fascinating talk about his career as a crime writer, inspired by his love of vintage detective fiction.

Four authorsA A Dhand
Monday 23 April 2018
Halewood Library 11am
Brought to you by Read Regional 2018
‘Girl Zero’ is a tense, forty-eight hours in the life of “DI Harry Virdee”, and the follow-up novel to the best-selling Bradford-based debut, ‘Streets of Darkness’. Raised in Bradford Amit Dhand will talk about how the city has inspired his writing and become an integral part of his fiction.

Ian Marsh
Tuesday 24 April 2018
Prescot Library 2pm
Dr Ian Marsh, from Prescot, has been a university lecturer for many years and has taught, researched and written widely on crime and criminal justice. ‘Gemma Makes her Mark’ is his second fiction book - following on from ‘Murderer: On Your Mark’, published in 2015.

Events are free but places are limited so book yours now by contacting your local library.

North West Libraries

Librarians in the North West have pioneered partnership working to encourage new readers into libraries. Time To Read is a partnership of librarians engaged in reader development activity in public library authorities in the North West Region. 22 public library authorities in the region currently support Time To Read.

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