Review of new quarterly magazine – The Chapter Catcher @chaptercatcher

Something a bit different today as I tell you all about a new quarterly magazine called The Chapter Catcher. My thanks to Nicole Raymond for sending me a copy of the launch edition. The Chapter Catcher is the brainchild of Lord John Bird who is behind The Big Issue magazine. The Chapter Catcher aims to encourage people to read more widely by providing chapters from a wide variety of sources in one magazine, thereby giving readers a flavour of different books which can help them decide what to buy from a bookshop or borrow from the library.

The Chapter Catcher Mission

  • Supporting local bookshops through sales and greater footfall and awareness.
  • Supporting local libraries (partnering with Save Our Libraries campaign groups across the UK)
  • Creating partnerships with existing campaign groups to raise the standard of literacy across the UK.
  • Promoting a greater variety of literature from around the world, expanding upon the canon and broadening literary horizons.
  • Providing a platform to aspiring writers.
  • Visualising storytelling and bringing books to life.

In this first issue, I was really encouraged to read about the importance of bookshops and libraries. In particular, I enjoyed the interview with Emma Corfield-Walers who is the owner of Book-ish, an independent bookshop in the Brecon Beacons. There has been a fair bit in the media recently about the resurgence in the independent bookshop which is fantastic news. Here in Edinburgh, we have among others Golden Hare Books in Stockbridge which was recently declared Independent Bookshop of the Year 2019 at the British Book Awards, The Portobello Bookshop which opened just along the road from me a couple of weeks ago and Toppings which is just about to open a large new bookshop in old bank premises in Leith Walk.

In this first edition there are five different sections featuring chapters from books. There are contemporary books where you will find extracts from Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty, Larchfield by Polly Clark, Orpheus (from Heroes) by Stephen Fry and Butterflies by Samantha Schweblin and others. There are Rediscovered book extracts from Virginia Woolf, F Scott Fitzgerald and John Bird among others. In the Classics section you can read extracts by Franz Kafka, Juana Ines de la Cruz, Dante and Allen Ginsburg. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Kapka Kassabova, Richard Wiseman and Dave Cullen all feature in the non-fiction section. You can also find some new writing in the ‘In Process’ section featuring writing from Steve Newark, Phil Ryan, Bryony Littlefair, Branwen Davies and Mary Jean Chan.

As if all that isn’t enough, there is also a news section, a ‘Books on our Radar’ selection, a ‘Mystery Chapter’ competition, and a writing competition. I think it is fair to say that there is something for everyone! You can even send in suggestions for books to be included in future issues.

I think this magazine is such a fantastic idea. It’s not a review magazine. It simply gives a wide range of chapters for people to read and which might tempt them to read further. There were a couple of chapters from books I’ve read but most I hadn’t which I think is the beauty of this magazine. Each extract really gave me a flavour of what the author’s writing was like and whether I would be interested in reading more. There were extracts from books I had heard of but hadn’t read such as Stephen Fry’s Heroes and Kapka Kassabova’s Border. But there were plenty extracts from writers I wasn’t aware of and whose work I hadn’t heard of before. There are definitely more books and writers on my radar now! I really recommend you get yourself a copy of The Chapter Catcher so you can see for yourself what a great idea it is.

The Chapter Catcher is available at local bookshops and libraries, as well as local community groups and charities. If your local library or bookshop doesn’t yet stock it, why not encourage them to? Or you can purchase and subscribe here.

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