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Roast Books

See other beautiful and unusual gems - such as little books and boxset books.

Georgian Wine Society

Enter through spectacular mountain scenery and get yourself an exotic taste of Georgia (I love Tbilvino's Saperavi, Marani's Mukuzani and Satrapezo is perfect for typical English weather).

A Good Old-Fashioned 120 Unit Week

All of literature is here from Serge Gainsbourg, Irvine Welsh and Keith Waterhouse to PG Wodehouse, JG Farrell and John Milton and amazingly - all of it contains alcohol. Start reading and you won't be able to stop. You may also find that you subsequently have to log onto a library catalogue or Amazon.

Private Secret Diary

Family man in village. Hilarious and minimalist - the perfect blog.


The craziness of life. In the best possible way. Monty-Pythonesque.

BBC World Service Writer in Residence

He is Uzbek writer Hamid Ismailov. There is Uzbek folklore and he asks how we reconcile dreams with the day-to-day. The opposite of content-free.

Alexander Masters

The author of wonderful Stuart: a life backwards. An example of memoir at its best.

Nami Nami

Pille Petersoo's fabulous food blog (Yummy Yummy) from Estonia. Wild strawberry jam on baby pancakes and how 'bout this for a simple summer supper - Chantarelles in butter, new potatoes and garden leaves with sour cream.

A Spinster's Quest

The blogsite that launched Lucy-Anne Holmes's hilarious book 50 Ways to Find a Lover. Read her advice on online dating, including a "Suggested response when an unconventional looking man sends you a message..."

BBC Close-up: Dining at a Georgian Feast

Get a taster of Georgian toasting, singing and dancing from this mini video. It's part of a BBC series focusing on world customs - such as waltzing in Austria, Latvian singing, plastic food in Japan and even our very own Shipping Forecast!

Scrumptious website of Canadian illustrator/writer with a great sense of style. Click to add a drawing to her website, read her visual blog or browse her imaginative and interactive books. Titles like How to Be an Explorer of the World (portable life museum), Guerilla Art Kit and Wreck This Journal. The latter includes activities such as documenting your dinner, tongue painting and journal golf.

The Gastronomical Me

Food: the eating and the making of it, with an international and Russian flavour. Katrina is a Russian, brought up in Estonia. Check out her breakfasts from around the world. And bird baking.

Russia Through a Shot Glass

Wonderful, wonderful sad memoir. The story of a good man, a Russian Mr. Average, who didn't want to tread the Soviet mill. Brought up by alcoholics he eventually turned to alcohol too. This is the story of how he lost his family and lived a vagrant life, but retained his humanity. By C.S. Walton, it is soon to be reissued as Smashed in the USSR.

Hearing Birds Fly

Another wonderful memoir of a year spent in a very very remote Mongolian village. We are talking animal skinning, ice-breaking and erecting a ger (yurt). It is very hard core. You won't want to follow in Louisa Waugh's footsteps, but it is poetically told and you will wonder how on earth she did it.

The Screaming Goat

Man of much knowledge and deep thinking writes on writing and the world. Everything from narrative drive to drug addicts.

The Cook and the Curator

The Cook is Jacqui Newling – gastronomer and food archaeologist at Sydney Living Museums. Scott Hill is a Curator for SLM, who speaks with energy and excitement about the customs and characters of yesteryear.

SLM is a charitable organisation which maintains 12 historic house and garden museums, and organises living history in them.

But to quote the Cook & Curator:

“We’ll comb through old cookery books, decipher handwritten recipes, experiment with heirloom produce, rediscover lost culinary arts, and reveal family stories.”

Blog entries feature titles like,

Bread and Dripping, an “institution”
Barking mad: cinnamon and cassia
How to host a Regency Breakfast
Dining by Lamplight

The Empathy Museum

“What is it like to have spent years in prison, or to be a child growing up in Tehran, or to have rediscovered love in your eighties?”

Wear someone's shoes (that is actually wear their actual shoes), as they tell their story into your ear through some headphones.

The Empathy Museum's other projects include:

A Thousand and One Books - a crowd-sourced library of quite a lot of pre-loved books.

Human Library – where you borrow a person for a short time (kind of like speed dating without the dating).

All text and images copyright 2010-17 Amy Spurling unless otherwise noted