Laura and Anna recently made the most of a trip to Alberta for the International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB) by having a few days’ holiday in the Canadian Rockies beforehand. Highlights included bears, early morning lake swimming, a hike near Lake Louise and a drive up the Icefields Parkway. They stayed on a farm near Lake Mara and in a very secluded cabin between Jasper and Edmonton (that they’d probably never be able to find again if they tried!) It was a very pleasant way to get over the jet lag before the conference. Below are some photos of their travels!
In the final instalment of our Christmas-themed blog posts, Laura and Sarah team up to talk about Father Christmas and Anne of Green Gables.
Which book characters would you like to have Christmas dinner with?
Do you have any Christmas book traditions?
Laura: As a child we used to read Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs many, many times over. I think I still know the words off by heart!
What book would you like to receive on Christmas day?
Laura: I’ve asked for Oh My God What a Complete Aisling as it has been recommended to me by several friends who say it resonates with our generation while being funny and light-hearted too. Fingers crossed Father Christmas delivers!
Which book would you give as a Christmas present?
Laura: I heard and thoroughly enjoyed the serialisation of Becoming by Michele Obama so I am giving that to my sister this Christmas (fingers crossed she doesn’t follow the blog and see this spoiler!)
Sarah: I gave Anne of Green Gables to my friend’s daughter last year which was lovely – she then read it to me next time I babysat!
Favourite/least favourite book you read in 2018?
Laura: I’ve just started reading the complete Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis ahead of a trip to Belfast (his place of birth) in January. I’m really into them but the only problem is, Elinor accidentally told me a major plot spoiler!
Sarah: I really enjoyed The Astonishing Colour of After (Emily X.R. Pan), Love, Hate & Other Filters (Samira Ahmed), How to Stop Time (Matt Haig) and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (Natasha Pulley) – difficult to pick one! 😊
My least favourite was The Bricks that Built the Houses (Kate Tempest) – it wasn’t awful but I didn’t particularly enjoy it.
Is it really mid-October already? The UK saw an unusually long, hot summer this year so autumn has come as quite a shock! Before we resign ourselves to gloves and scarves, here’s what we all got up to on our summer holidays this year…
This summer we travelled to Oulu, where we bathed in a sauna on a raft at Tuira beach, before spending a week in the south of Finland enjoying the peace and quiet of village life and the beautiful lakes and forests of Nuuksio Forest. We then took a week to drive back to the UK, visiting the beautiful cities of Riga, Vilnius, Gdansk and Lübeck. All were very beautiful in different ways, although the Hanseatic connection meant there were certainly some similarities. I can most definitely recommend the pierogi in Gdansk!
This summer I went to St Malo in Brittany with my family. This photo was taken on the day we took a boat trip across the river to Dinard. It was our first foreign holiday with my 1-and-a-half year old son and we all enjoyed spending our days at the beach in the sunshine and eating delicious French food!
This summer I went to Slovenia for the first time…wow! We hiked, swam, rafted, paddle-boarded and drove through the most beautiful wildflower meadows, dramatic mountains and the bluest rivers and lakes imaginable. I haven’t stopped raving about it and Slovenia has since shot to the top of my most recommended countries list!
A week after moving to Bristol from Northumberland we took a much-needed break from unpacking, heading to our holiday house in Mallorca. This is Cala Figuera – a pretty little fishing port in the South East of the island.
Despite it being one of the sunniest summers ever in the UK, my poor timing meant that my holiday this year consisted of a rainy trip to New Zealand and a very rainy week in Wales. A lot of our time this summer has been spent gardening, either in the garden of our new house or on our allotment. The council cleared the plot for us, and then I carted 75 wheelbarrows’ worth of horse manure the 100m from the road to the plot. This is the allotment when we took it over (girls foraging for gooseberries) and this is as it looked a few weeks ago, with winter crops going in. The allotment comes with a view of Cheddar Gorge, and it’s already one of my favourite places in the world.
I had a very late “summer” holiday this year – I’ve just come back from a week in Corfu! It wasn’t my usual sort of holiday – I usually get bored with too much relaxing, but the weather was beautiful (except for one very dramatic storm) and I spent a lot of time in the sea, reading and eating way too much!
8th September is International Literacy Day, a day which is celebrated annually worldwide as an occasion to promote literacy for both children and adults and highlight its importance to individuals, communities and societies. To mark it, we reflect on our own memories of learning to read…
Growing up, bedtime stories were a highlight of every evening. My sister and I had very different tastes in books and so had a complicated rota for whose turn it was to choose the story and in whose bed the story would be read! I don’t really remember when we started reading ourselves rather than being read to but I do have clear memories of having the chicken pox when I was 7 and working my way through every single Famous Five book!
Before I could actually read, I memorised Peter Rabbit and would recite the whole thing, turning the pages in a pretty convincing imitation of reading! The first books I properly read on my own were the Josie Smith books by Magdalen Nabb. I loved these so much that my mum wrote a letter to the author and actually received a handwritten reply! Magdalen was particularly taken with my name as she was living in Florence at the time – “The City of Flowers”, which she lamented was increasingly more populated by cars than flowers…
I don’t remember the first book that I read completely on my own but I do remember the first books that I read together with my parents. We had several books from the Puddle Lane series which had a simple sentence on one page for me to read and then a more detailed paragraph on the opposite page for my mum or dad to read. They were great as I felt like I was reading on my own but still getting a full story. I also enjoyed reading books by Shirley Hughes, particularly the Alfie stories and the book Dogger. Another favourite was Burglar Bill, which I can still quote lines from now and which I look forward to reading with my son when he’s a bit older. I loved reading books (or being read to) from a young age and always looked forward to bedtime stories.
I have always loved books, but one of my main motivations when learning to read was so I could decipher the very glamorous – and not very feminist – women’s magazines that were stuffed down the legs of my mum’s leather boots in the wardrobe in my parent’s bedroom, all red lipstick and impossibly large hair. In fact I always wanted to read things I probably shouldn’t: I can remember being fascinated by Shirley Conran’s Super Woman for quite some time; most of the text meant very little to me, but here was a book entirely about grown-up, real knowledge, to be read when no-one was looking.
Reading has always been a very important part of family life for me, and the house I grew up in and my grandparents’ house were always full of books with shelves occupying most available wall space. We would have books regularly sent over from Finland for birthday and Christmas presents, and Mum, Dad, Naini, Mummi and Vaari, along with anyone else that could be cajoled, would read to us at bedtime. Our summer holidays driving across Europe to Finland always started a week or so before departure with a visit to George’s bookshop in Bristol, so we could select the books to keep us occupied in the back seat. I’ve written about Muumipeikko ja Pyrstötähti (Comet in Moominland) being one of the first books I remember reading on my own for a post on World Book Day so I won’t say any more about that here. The first book that I remember getting in “trouble” for reading was JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit. It was the classic story of a young child not realising that his parents could see the hunched shape and the torchlight visible through the blanket that seems so funny in hindsight. Dad later admitted that he would always let me “get away with it” for half an hour or so before telling me it was really time for lights out… I cannot imagine a life without the pleasure of reading, and a love of books must surely be one of the greatest gifts you can give any child.
Find out more about International Literacy Day on UNESCO’s website.
Today is World Book Day – “a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) reading”. To mark the occasion, the CVP/MM team have been thinking about books that have made an impact on us. Read on to find out more…
My favourite book is Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson. It is the first book that I remember reading on my own, in both Finnish and English. The story is structured in such a way as to keep the reader wanting to read “just one more chapter” and is accompanied by beautiful illustrations. The shopkeeper’s mathematical solution to ensure that Moomintroll was able to buy the Snork Maiden a gift, and that she was able to buy Moomintroll a “medal”, has always guided me in business.
There are way too many good books to choose from but the Anne of Green Gables series is still my favourite. I don’t know whether it’s because the lessons you learn from your childhood reading somehow seem steeped in some kind of greater importance or whether you sometimes feel more jaded in later life/reading. These books really cultivated my imagination, gave me a better appreciation of the beauty of the natural world and an innate belief that you’re never too old to believe in fairies! 🙂 There’s also some great poetry quoted – these lines from Keats seem to capture the above and crop up in a few of L.M. Montgomery’s books:
The same that ofttimes hath
Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
I try to reread the books every few years so as not to forget to look around and wonder once in a while! 🙂
Sticking with the childhood theme, I’ve always had a real soft spot for Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian. It was the book we read as a class when I was 10 years old and, impatient with round-the-class reading, I raced ahead on my own at home. The author created a very cosy world for a child to step into (I’m sure the reality for an evacuee during the second world war wasn’t anywhere near as idyllic!) with just the right amount of peril and tragedy to make it a good story. And of course, the all-important happy ending 🙂
My favourite book is The King’s General by Daphne du Maurier. I adore Daphne du Maurier, so inevitably my favourite book would be one of hers. I’m not quite sure why it’s this one, as it’s not her best book by some distance. I must have read it for the first time at precisely the right moment in my life (I’d guess around 10 or 11) as it’s left a lasting impression on me, and is always the book I comfort read when I have the flu. The heroine, Honor, is refreshingly undrippy and Gartred, her appalling sister-in-law, is the anti-heroine to end all anti-heroines. It’s Gothic and quite ridiculous, but I love it.
I tend not to reread books and haven’t done so since my childhood, so singling out a book as a favourite, having read it just once, doesn’t seem quite right. Instead, I’ll opt to throw a spotlight on my favourite book of the year so far, which is The Muse by Jessie Burton. It’s set in two different time periods: Spain during the civil war and London in the 1960s, with a mystery of a painting connecting the two. I tend to like books set in a different era or context to my life today, so it certainly ticked that box, as well as having a good storyline that kept me guessing right up to the end.
With the welcome return of Elinor Robertson to our office next month after spending a year on maternity leave, we have taken the time to have a reshuffle of some of the main responsibilities within the business, and have a look at our job titles to make sure they truly reflect the work of each team member here at Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters. With a small business it is natural that we all wear many hats, and so it is nearly impossible to get a single job title to accurately cover all aspects of each person’s work. What is more important is that when we present ourselves to our contacts outside the company, our job titles reflect the level of responsibility that we carry, so that our contacts know who to talk to about any given issue.
Elinor Robertson will be returning to her job in charge of all matters relating to marketing. As the most senior person for marketing, her new job title will be Head of Marketing. Because she will be coming back part-time, she will be passing on her role as Commissioning Editor for our series Aspects of Tourism, Aspects of Tourism Texts and Tourism Essentials to Sarah Williams so that she is better able to dedicate her time to marketing all of our books globally.
Laura Longworth will be taking on the newly-created role of Head of Sales, which will involve her taking over the sales related responsibilities that have previously been split between Tommi Grover and Elinor Robertson. Laura will be liaising with distributors, sales representatives, bookshops and wholesalers to ensure that our books get the widest possible distribution, while continuing to manage rights permissions. Laura will also continue to commission for the Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Communication Disorders across Languages, Early Language Learning in School Contexts, Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching, Second Language Acquisition and Translation, Interpreting and Social Justice in a Globalised World book series.
Sarah Williams will take on all commissioning for the Channel View Publications imprint, and with her job as the most senior contact for all production-related issues, her job title will be changed to Head of Production. Sarah manages our freelance production contacts and liaises with all of our suppliers, as well as setting our production strategy and quality values, so carries the responsibility for ensuring that our books are always of high quality, whether they are print books or ebook resources.
Flo McClelland, Anna Roderick and Tommi Grover will keep their current job titles as their jobs are not changing so dramatically:
Flo McClelland is our Marketing and Publishing Coordinator and runs all our social media accounts. She also works with our designers and authors on book covers and with Elinor in the marketing department on all matters relating to marketing and publicity. Flo will be coordinating the work of our incoming Publishing Intern (more to follow later) and you will also come across Flo more often at conferences in the future, so please make sure you say hello if you see her!
Anna Roderick is our Editorial Director and is in charge of editorial strategy for the business. The subject areas we publish in, and the editorial tone of the business, are a constantly-evolving work; although we naturally stay true to our core beliefs, it is important for us to branch out into new fields and it is Anna who searches out these areas and discovers the inspiration for our future publications. She also commissions everything that isn’t commissioned by someone else, and attempts to make the rest of the editorial department do their admin. Together with Tommi she is half of our board of directors, and shares the legal responsibility for the business.
Tommi Grover is Managing Director, and has day-to-day responsibility for all matters relating to finance and the legal side of running the business. He oversees the running of all departments to make sure where possible that each of the heads of departments have adequate resources and skills. Tommi will continue to attend major conferences and book fairs and has commissioning responsibility for our Linguistic Diversity and Language Rights, and CAL Series on Language Education book series.
As an office, we take Christmas very seriously! Celebrations start on 1st December, when we decorate the office and get the Christmas tunes playing. In this post we put a Christmassy spin on our recent Desert Island Discs blog post and share some photos of this year’s CVP/MM Christmas festivities!
If you’re bored of hearing the same 10 Christmas songs played on loop in every shop, you can check out our office’s carefully curated Christmas playlist on Spotify here. Here are our personal favourites, including the one we’d each save from the waves marked with a star.
- *Proper Crimbo – Bo Selecta
- Don’t Shoot Me Santa – The Killers
- Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan
- Donde Esta Santa Claus – Augie Rios
- Christmas was Better in the 80s – The Futureheads
- Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes
- The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
- One More Sleep Til Christmas – The Muppets Christmas Carol
Favourite Christmas Film: All I Want For Christmas
Favourite Christmas Food: Turkey & bread sauce sandwiches
- Must be Santa – Bob Dylan
- *Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
- All Alone on Christmas – Darlene Love
- It’s Clichéd to be Cynical at Christmas – Half Man Half Biscuit
- O Holy Night – Tracy Chapman
- (Don’t Call Me) Mrs Christmas – Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler
- Santa Claus Meets the Purple People Eater – Sheb Wooley
- Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) – Ramones
Favourite Christmas Film: It’s a Wonderful Life, with Nativity! a very VERY close second place
Favourite Christmas Food: Bread sauce
- Gaudete – Steeleye Span
- Feliz Navidad – José Feliciano
- *I Was Born On Christmas Day – Saint Etienne
- Last Christmas – Wham!
- Walking In The Air – Aled Jones
- It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas – Pet Shop Boys
- The Power of Love – Frankie Goes To Hollywood
- Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – Elmo & Patsy
Favourite Christmas Film: As I’ve only seen 3 Christmas films I have very few to narrow down, so it’ll be The Holiday
Favourite Christmas Food: Brandy butter (with mince pies on the side!)
- 2000 Miles – The Pretenders
- Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
- *O Holy Night – Tracy Chapman
- Christmas Eve, 1943 – Tom McRae & The Standing Band
- Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
- Will You Still Be In Love With Me Next Year – Hot Club de Paris
- It’s Clichéd to be Cynical at Christmas – Half Man Half Biscuit
- Kindle a Flame in Her Heart – Los Campesinos!
Favourite Christmas Film: The Muppet Christmas Carol
Favourite Christmas Food: Yule log
Sylvian Joululaulu – Various different artists
- Tonttujen Jouluyö – Various different artists
- Joulupuu on Rakennettu – Various different artists
- Joulupukki – Various different artists
- Joulupukki puree ja lyö – M.A. Numminen
- *Herra Huu Pelkää Joulupukkia – M.A. Numminen
- Näin Sydämmeeni Joulun Teen – Various different artists
- On Hanget Korkeat Nietokset – Various different artists
Favourite Christmas Film: I don’t have a favourite Christmas film, I think they are all pretty appalling and besides I can’t think of anything less Christmassy than watching TV on Christmas Eve, so I would rather sit in a wood fired sauna staring at the flames flickering under the stove. I hope, by the way, that my desert island will be an arctic desert island so I can jump in the snow from the sauna and it will be properly dark.
Favourite Christmas Food: Joulukinkku (Christmas ham)
- A Spaceman Came Travelling – Chris de Burgh
- *Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
- Driving Home for Christmas – Chris Rea
- Last Christmas – Wham!
- 2000 Miles – The Pretenders
- Stop the Cavalry – Jona Lewie
- Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
- In Dulci Jubilo – Mike Oldfield
Favourite Christmas Film: It’s a Wonderful Life
Favourite Christmas Food (/Drink!): Mulled wine!
Merry Christmas from all of us – see you in 2018!
Next month we will be publishing Language Teacher Psychology edited by Sarah Mercer and Achilleas Kostoulas. The book begins with an invitation to the reader to reflect on their own memories of language learning: “If you think back to your language learning at school, you might remember specific tasks or projects you did, but, even more likely, you will remember your teachers.” This sparked a conversation in our office about language teachers we’ve encountered over the years, which we thought would make for an interesting blog post. Here are some of Laura, Flo and Tommi’s reflections on the language teachers that have stuck with them.
My first ever French teacher was obsessed with songs. Every single unit of vocabulary was accompanied by a song and action routine that we all had to learn and perform to the class. I imagine that for the quieter students that must have been a terrifying experience but for the rest of us it was great fun. The songs were incredibly catchy and have stuck with me and my school friends…so much so that we can still recite them off by heart, even 20 years later!
When I was in 6th Form I had French first thing on a Monday morning – not the best time of the week for teenagers! Our teacher came up with the idea that we’d take it in turns to bake a cake over the weekend and bring it in to share with the class that lesson. It was a brilliant idea – not only were we more enthusiastic about coming to class but it also brought us closer together as a group as we were more relaxed while chatting over cake. Some even tried their hand at baking French specialities!
My school German teacher made sure that lessons went well beyond the syllabus. She took the time to get to know us as individuals and often recommended German films and books that she thought we’d like. She made me realise that there’s so much more to studying a language than the topics in the textbook and that languages stretch far beyond the classroom walls. It was also a very good way to get us to engage with German outside lesson time too!
When I was on my year abroad in France I lived with some Spanish students. Over the course of the year they made sure that I learnt basic Spanish, not through formal instruction, but by making sure that they used Spanish as we did things together, such as cooking. Over time I picked up all sorts of vocabulary which has stuck with me since, including the phrase “¿Dónde están mis llaves?” (“Where are my keys?”) which was used on a near daily basis by one forgetful housemate!
During my year abroad I studied Russian at a French university. The course was taught by two teachers – the first was terrifying: incredibly strict with zero tolerance for mistakes. She called me “the foreigner” for the first few weeks, until I got so fed up I wrote my name in huge letters at the top of my essay in the hope she would get the hint. This was juxtaposed completely by the other teacher, who was kind, patient and very understanding of my predicament as a British student in a French classroom learning Russian! He made many allowances for my odd-sounding Russian to French translations and always made sure I understood definitions, often asking me to provide the class with the English translation, which helped me feel less useless! I really appreciated his acknowledgement and thoughtfulness, which meant I never felt lost or excluded from his lessons.
I have French lessons once a week and it’s probably my best language learning experience so far. My teacher has a great sense of humour, is patient, reassuring, and full of praise but never lets mistakes go unchecked. He’s obviously passionate about French culture and during our conversations he often plays us clips from French films, shows us books and photographs or plays songs. The atmosphere in his classroom is very egalitarian – there’s no tangible student/teacher divide and he is quick to be self-deprecating about his own English, which levels the playing field and reminds us that actually we’re all learners.
My A-Level German teacher at school recognised that I hated grammar tables and all of that formal language learning. He would quite often set the class an exercise to do with “der, die, das, die” or whatever. Noticing that I could never really get going at all, he would then come over and chat to me (in German) quite casually for 5-10 minutes, then he would finish with “right, you are now 10 minutes behind the rest of the class, you’d better get some work done”. I suspect I learned more German in those chats than I ever did from grammar tables…
My Italian teacher at Cultura Italiana in Bologna sat with me one day for a private lesson. During the lesson, she would talk, and I would sit leaning back with my arms folded across my chest. Eventually she grew exasperated and said “Tommi, do you care about any of this?” to which I replied “of course I do! I am listening very carefully!” “Argh, no, if you want to learn Italian you mustn’t listen, you need to lean forward, interrupt me and talk over me, that way I will know you want to be part of the conversation! We often go out, everyone talks at the same time, if you are not always saying something I will just assume you are bored and want to be somewhere else!”
For more information about the book that inspired this post, please see our website.
This blog post was inspired by the BBC Radio 4 programme, Desert Island Discs. For those of you not familiar with the format, the show’s guest (or ‘castaway’) chooses eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury item that they would take with them if they were cast away on a desert island. For this post, we’ve each taken a turn at being the castaway and chosen the eight tracks that mean something to us, as well as a book and a luxury. Castaways also nominate the one track they would save if the rest were washed away by the waves, and we’ve marked those with a star. If you use Spotify, you can listen to the playlist of our music choices here.
- Murheellisten Laulujen Maa – Eppu Normaali
- Lapin Jenkka – Tapio Rautavaara
- Ivano Fossati – Viaggiatori D’Occidente
- * Valse Triste – Jean Sibelius
- I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You – Tom Waits
- Sylvian Joululaulu – Various different artists
- Enough is Enough – Chumbawamba & Credit to the Nation
- Tango Pelargonia – Kari Kuuva
Book: Muumipeikko ja Pyrstötähti – Tove Jansson
Luxury item: A compass
- * Joe’s Head – Kings of Leon
- A Day in the Life – The Beatles
- Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing – Stevie Wonder
- Wherever is Your Heart – Brandi Carlile
- Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
- The Only Place – Best Coast
- Doctor! Doctor! – Thompson Twins
- Proper Crimbo – Bo Selecta
Book: Anne of Green Gables series – L. M. Montgomery
Luxury item: A cricket bat and ball
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide – David Bowie
- The Dancer – PJ Harvey
- Doll Parts – Hole
- * Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
- Leader of the Pack – The Shangri-Las
- The Guests – Leonard Cohen
- Proserpina – Martha Wainwright
- Queen of Denmark – John Grant
Book: The Crimson Petal and the White – Michael Faber
Luxury item: A still
- Pure Shores – All Saints
- Good Tradition – Tanita Tikaram
- * Sky And Sand – Paul Kalkbrenner
- Send Me On My Way – Rusted Root
- Books From Boxes – Maximo Park
- Heart and Soul played on a piano
- The Way I Are – Timbaland feat. Justin Timberlake
- Murder On The Dancefloor – Sophie Ellis Bextor
Book: The Noughts & Crosses trilogy – Malorie Blackman
Luxury item: A 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of the world in exceptional detail
- Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks
- What Can I Do To Make You Love Me – The Corrs
- Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
- Mr. Brightside – The Killers
- * Good Arms vs Bad Arms – Frightened Rabbit
- Postcards from Italy – Beirut
- Everlasting Light – The Black Keys
- Coffee – Sylvan Esso
Book: Atonement – Ian McEwan
Luxury item: An everlasting notebook and pen
- * Teardop – Massive Attack
- Rambling Man – Laura Marling
- Respect – Aretha Franklin
- Porcelain – Moby
- Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
- Fake Empire – The National
- The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice
- Peaches – The Presidents of the United States of America
Book: The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
Luxury item: A lifetime supply of painting materials
Spotify users can listen to the full list (almost – sadly not every single song listed above is available on Spotify!) of our Desert Island Discs choices here.