The joy of reading

Posted by theministry on 12th December 2016

We believe that reading for pleasure helps craft imaginative and descriptive story writing.

That’s why in the new year we’ll be working with Shoreditch Library to help encourage our young writers to read and share great books, so when a young person is faced with a mountain of books, they have a guide to all the brilliant stories before them. In celebration of this idea, we’ve asked the Ministry team to recommend some books for the Senior Ministers to enjoy over the festive break.

Ashley-Parsons

Ashley, Community Engagement

Ashley, Community Engagement Coordinator

Book and Author:

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Why you nominated it:

There’s something deeply comforting in returning to a book time and again, knowing it will make you laugh out loud and still offer surprises. Following this very funny novel’s delusional square-peg loser, Ignatius J. Reilly, on his misadventures through 1960s New Orleans, always does just that. How can one young man be so hilariously and biliously wrong about how to deal with other people?

What was your favourite project/moment from this year?

I really enjoyed getting to know some of our neighbouring shops and organisations in the course of the troll-themed treasure hunt in June. Respect to F. Cooke Pie & Mash for agreeing to serve pots of jellied eyeballs to the hordes of visiting treasure-hunters!

What are you most looking forward to next year at MoS?

I’m excited to see how our community recipe book project will combine favourite family dishes with some seriously flavourful writing. And I’m keen to see how partnering up with local organisations, such as Hackney Community College, Rich Mix, Hackney Opportunity Hub, and London Youth, will help us train even more enthusiastic volunteers as writing mentors and shopkeepers.

Rachel-O-Rourke

Rachel, Programme Lead

Rachael, Writing Programme Leader

Book and Author:

Wise Children by Angela Carter, but I leant my copy to someone and it HAS NOT BEEN RETURNED.

Why you nominated it:

Because it’s unabashedly over-the-top and funny and sad – a perfect bittersweet mix for the end of the year.

What was your favourite project/moment from this year?

Seeing a child who’d struggled to write for weeks create a multi-page space epic for Future London.

What are you most looking forward to next year at MoS?

Getting hungry sampling food writing in our recipe-book project.
Emma Joliffe

Emma Joliffe, Education Manager

Emma, Creative Learning Manager

My book:

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

Why you nominated it:

It’s one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years; but it would be perfect to read over the Christmas holidays because it starts with snow, and it’s a really involving page-turner you could curl up with for hours. It’s about a woman whose life resets every time she dies, with a sort of shadowy instinct/ memory that helps her avoid the death she had before. It sounds gimmicky, but it’s beautifully executed. I recommend it!

What was your favourite project/moment from this year?

That’s a hard question, as there are honestly so many to choose from. One of my favourite moments was seeing the Hoxton Museum of the Future come together, with all the children’s wonderful stories, and Lily Arnold’s beautiful design – it was really magical.

What are you most looking forward to next year at MoS?

Again, lots to choose from! I’m very excited to be doing our first creative project with our corporate partners, Penguin Random House, as we’re asking children to work collaboratively with illustrators to make picture books for younger children. We’ve already got some great illustrators signed up and I can’t wait to see what our young writers come up with.

ozlem-yikici-staff-photo

Oz, Volunteer and Administration Coordinator

Book and Author:  

My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Why you nominated it:

A few years back, my reading took a meandering turn into culture and ethnic explorations. This made me realise that I had not read any books from my own cultural heritage. So I took a gamble with the controversial Turkish writer at the time, Orhan Pamuk. My Name is Red is the second of Pamuk’s books I’ve read, and it stands out by far with its elaborate storytelling and compelling visual descriptions of miniaturists amongst a lavish setting. The story essentially is a who done it following the murder of Enishte Efendi.

What was your favourite project/moment from this year?

I think it’s a close call between our Monster Cookbook launch party and when our volunteers were shortlisted for the Team London Awards.

What are you most looking forward to next year at MoS?

There’s so much to look forward to, but I suppose I’m mostly looking forward to the picture book workshops our Saturday club will be taking part in, it sounds like a fab project for the children. In addition to that, I’m looking forward to how the new Volunteers Writing Group evolves, we’re looking to adopt a new format which will hopefully suit most of our volunteers.

 

thea-king-cr-Tom-Oldham

Thea, Marketing Coordinator

 

Book and Author:  

Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones

Why you nominated it:

This is probably my go-to book any season, but there’s so much warmth, imagination and adventure, I really love curling-up when it’s cold and escaping into it.

What was your favourite project/moment from this year?

There was so much to pick from this year, but I’ve loved seeing the letters written to international Pen Pals and their future selves, as part of Letters out Loud. It felt very special to glimpse what’s important and interesting to young people and what they wish for their futures.

What are you most looking forward to next year at MoS?

I’m really looking forward to seeing students from Highbury Grove write and deliver speeches to MPs at parliament.

 Ilona Leighton Goodall (photo: Tom Oldham)

 Ilona, Co-Director (maternity cover)

Book and Author:  

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Why you nominated it:

Because it’s an engrossing story that you can curl up with on dark evenings and that period of writing about London always seems wintry. The opening description is fantastic.

What was your favourite project/moment from this year?

The screening of Grammarmations at St John the Baptist school was a highlight this year, and I’m also really proud of the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies Cookbook.

What are you most looking forward to next year at MoS?

I’m looking forward to the next picture books project at the start of the year, the characters the children create are always unexpected.

Emily Murdock (photo: Tom Oldham)

Emily, Trading Manager

Emily, Trading Manger Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

Book and Author:  

Hoxton Street Monster Supplies Cookbook

Why you nominated it:

For over 180 years, when good will and festive cheer begin to cause indigestion, the book I turn to time and again is the classic Hoxton Street Monster Supplies Cookbook.  Gingerdead Men, Spicy Earwax Pie and Abominable Snowballs are personal seasonal favourites and the book’s ‘Golden Rules for Entertaining’ and pages of parlour games are especially relevant this time of year for the more sociable monsters amongst us.

What was your favourite project/moment from this year?

My favourite project moment was working with Cara, a copywriter from Octopus Books, helping her find the HSMS voice, explaining to her just how monsters – our monsters anyway – think and see things.  I had to answer serious questions such as “So would they prefer organic humans if the local butcher offered them, or do they not care so much about quality and origin?”
What are you most looking forward to next year at MoS?
Next year I’m looking forward to seeing more interactive elements coming into the shop.
NEXT PAGE: How are we doing? We checked in with our young writers