Discover a diverse selection of must-read books, as recommended by friends of Begg x Co, such as Clare Hunter and Kirsty Wark. A positive space where we celebrate the literature that moves us.
Paul Flynn Good as You: From Prejudice to Pride - 30 Years of Gay Britain
Paul Flynn is a journalist, editor and author. His first book, Good As You: 30 Years of Gay Britain was published by Ebury Press in 2017. Read our interview with Paul as we discuss the inspiration behind his first book, what Pride means to him, and how music has influenced him over the years. Portrait by Danny Moran.
Jeremy Langmead is an editor and writer. He is the former brand and content director of MR PORTER, the online men’s style destination, as well as a regular contributor to The Times. Previously he has been the editor of Esquire, Wallpaper and the Sunday Times Style magazines. We caught up with Jeremy to discuss his new book 'Vain Glorious'.
"Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.The novel is based on real events in Canada around the conviction of Grace Marks for the murder of her employer and his housekeeper. Margaret Atwood weaves a gripping story around the maid which has stayed with me for years. The Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg.To read this is to understand much about Scotland! It’s a dark psychological drama and to be is a tour de force by Hogg.
The Narrow Land. Christine Dwyer Hinkley. This is a mediation on art marriage and the muse. The fictionalised story of Edward Hopper and his wife Josephine Nivison. Set on Cape Cod the atmosphere is incredibly haunting. Such a Fun Age. Kiley Reid. One of my lockdown reads. A story about race and class in American which is vividly told and whipsmart."
Rosamund de la Hey was formerly children’s marketing director at Bloomsbury Publishing where she worked from 1994-2007 and was fortunate to work on the Harry Potter series from the very beginning.
Bill de la Hey worked as a freelance photographer in London from 1992-2004, working for publications ranging from The Telegraph to Car Magazine. Rosamund was brought up in Scotland and returned with her family in 2003 to live in the Borders. On moving north, Bill retrained as a chef, and together they opened The Mainstreet Trading Company in June 2008.
Originally a bookshop & café, the shop was extended in 2012 to create a deli and homeware department. Mainstreet has won various awards over the years, most recently Britain’s Best Small Shop 2018. Rosamund was a member of the Booksellers Association Council 2011-2018 and served as President 2016-2018.
Read our interview with Rosamund and Bill De La Hey and learn about their journey and get some expert book recommendations for all ages.
"I’m a journalist and author, currently living in England. My first book, Foxes Unearthed: A Story of Love & Loathing in Modern Britain, was published by Elliott & Thompson in 2016. It was long-listed for the Wainwright Prize and won the Society of Authors' Roger Deakin Award. My second book, Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need The Wild was published in February 2020 by Penguin Press.
I also write a weekly culture column called State Of The Arts for The Independent, review books, and haphazardly update my Wildlife Daily Tumblr. Before going freelance in 2015, I worked at NME and The Daily Telegraph." We had an amazing insightful Q&A with Lucy where she uncovers more behind her inspiration for writing Losing Eden and how she is coping with the current circumstances.
The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd. This book is so inspiring and was gifted to me by a good friend. It’s the most divine descriptive account of The Cairngorms - and who knew Nan Shepherd was on the Scottish £5 note!? Ametora - How Japan Saved American Style this book is a sartorial delight for any Menswear Geek. The Hare with Amber Eyes was recommended by my dear friend Rosa Park, Editor in Chief and Co Founder of CEREAL magazine.
It’s a beautifully written book to immerse yourself in. Convenience Store Woman is a peculiar little book and probably quite a good read when your world shrinks like ours has now. The Travelling Cat Chronicles is so Beautiful and very sad, for cat lovers or even those who don’t love cats, it’s about life’s journey, quite literally.
Modern Crochet by Molla Mills. By Day I am a woven textile designer, but in my spare time really enjoy crochet. I mainly make blankets and soft toys for the new babies of friends and family. Modern crochet is a great book of quick-to-make, quirky home accessories that mostly use recycled jersey yarn. Folding Techniques for Designers: From Sheet to Form by Paul Jackson This is a great, beautifully put together book full of practical instructions for creating structural, origami forms out of paper. There is also an accompanying website with demonstration videos.
Threads of Life: A History of the World through the Eye of a Needle by Clare Hunter My Paternal grandmother was a keen crafter. When she passed away a few years ago I was lucky enough to inherit the contents of her craft room. It was amazing and moving experience going through all of her half-finished projects and seeing a reflection of my interests and habits in her belongings. I feel that fabrics have a unique way of holding onto memories and stories.
I enjoyed Diane Von Furstenberg - The Woman I Wanted to Be. She has a really interesting and inspiring life story. In her book she gives a very honest account of her career, her family, overcoming cancer, building a global brand, and empowering women every step of the way. Dries Van Noten: Inspirations. I always find his collections so interesting, he uses a really interesting mix of colours in his collection, and he uses an eclectic mix of fabrics.
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald – it's my favourite book of all time. I designed my graduate collection around this book and contains a lot of symbolism and it was interesting to create a concept based on this and tell a story through fabrics. This is going to hurt – Adam Kay. A raw, honest and funny account of life as a junior doctor.
In 2013 she embarked on an M.Litt. at the University of Dundee, being awarded Distinction, and began work on her first book Threads of Life. Clare Hunter started her professional career in theatre before becoming involved in arts promotion, consultancy and community arts. In the late 1980s, she established NeedleWorks in Glasgow, an award-winning community sewing enterprise, which she ran for a decade. She continued a career in sewing running community sewing projects and curating textile exhibitions in Scotland.
It was published by Sceptre of Hodder & Stoughton in 2019, was chosen by Radio 4 as its Book of the Week, reached the Sunday Times Best Seller list and was the winner of the Saltire Literary Award for First Book. In March 2020 the bookseller Waterstones chose it as its Book of the Month in Scotland. Clare Hunter is currently working on her next book which will be about Mary, Queen of Scots and her textiles.
Kirsty Wark is one of Britain's most experienced television journalists. She has presented a wide range of programmes over the past thirty years - from the groundbreaking, Late Show to Election specials, live stadium events and, since 1993, the BBC's flagship nightly current affairs show Newsnight. She also hosted the weekly Arts and Cultural review and comment show, The Review Show (formerly Newsnight Review) for over a decade.
She has conducted long form interviews with everyone from Margaret Thatcher to Madonna, Harold Pinter, Elton John, the musician Pete Doherty, Damian Hirst to George Clooney and the likes of Toni Morrison, Donna Tartt and Philip Roth.