Chances are that the answer to that question is no.
Plants by their sedentary nature aren’t very scary, however, that hasn’t stopped writers from across history using them as central features in their novels, with the intention of eliciting fear. Of course, as with many things, the degree to which something is considered ‘scary’ will depend largely on context. A simple weed growing in a back garden may not be deemed that frightening, however, given the right context that plant can be a real fixation of fear for a homeowner.
Take an invasive plant such as Japanese knotweed, a plant that has the capability of knocking up to 10% off the value of a home (thanks to Knotweed Help for the research!). This plant is by no means frightening when looked at from a distance, but when you take into account the damage that it could cause to a person’s fortune, it’s not hard to imagine this plant becoming a staple in some homeowners’ nightmares. Getting rid of Japanese knotweed can be a gargantuan task, so it’s unsurprising that this plant could be considered so frightening by certain folks – it’s all about context!
The following four works all used plants in some shape or another to elicit fear:
There’s nothing quite like a literary festival to enliven the senses and widen your cultural horizons. Combining this experience with a city break can be a fantastic way of getting to know a different side to a place that you’re visiting, whilst also giving you the opportunity of meeting people from the local area who share the same interest as you. If you’re considering booking a trip to stay in a UK city this year, then why not take a look at our top picks of city-based literary festivals.
Known the world over for its legendary Fringe Festival, it can be notoriously difficult to secure a room during this period of time, making the International Book Festival a great fall back option for those looking to explore this historic city and also get a dose of high culture. The festival takes place over the duration of three weeks and is considered to be one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world. Expect readings, signings and workshops for attendees of all ages, the full programme will be confirmed in June.
Another historic town that deserves a visit is Bath, with its iconic ‘Bath stone’ buildings contributing to a classy ambience that is perfect for a weekend’s stay. The annual Festival of Children’s Literature is also the largest of it’s kind in the world and often hosts some of the best known children authors in the land. Young book lovers will be more than pleased the vast array of events that are tailored especially for them and feature classic characters, as well as the hottest new YA books.
This historically rich city is the perfect place for a Historical Literary festival and is often attended by some of the most prominent writers in the field. Warwick is a quiet university city that makes for a romantic getaway for history lovers and Anglophiles alike, and during the festival it’s a hot spot for big names in history and historical fiction. Previous speakers include Alison Ward, Andy Kershaw and Tracey Thorn.
Run by the University of Liverpool, the Liverpool Literary Festival is only in its fourth year, but has still managed to attract some impressive names to previous incarnations including Tony Robinson, Val McDermid and Shami Chakrabarti. Liverpool is a wonderful city well worth a visit to any one who has not yet had the pleasure, offering equal parts raucous entertainment and historical diversions, including the striking St. George’s Hall, Walker Art Gallery and historic Royal Albert Docks.
Would rather stay in the countryside for your Literary Festival? We don’t blame you – check out our top picks for rural book festivals here.
Although modern readers might keep all their favourite titles on digital record (organising them is a task for another article!), millions of readers around the world are still steadfastly dedicated to paper copies, and who can blame them! There’s nothing more satisfying to an avid reader than getting all their books in order, but a habit of picking up new books (and not letting go of old volumes) can lead to hoarding levels of untidiness.
If you feel like you’ve reached a point where you can no longer deal with the amount of books filling your home, then maybe the time has come to either get some professional help or roll up your sleeves and get down some organising!
Should you be blessed with the financial capability, whilst also being short on time, then you could consider hiring a professional organiser from You Need A Vicky to come to your home and help you make sense of your collection. Decluttering a home of hundreds (or even thousands) of books can take some time, so you should be clear on the hourly rate that your helper will charge. If possible, ask for quote beforehand, so that you know roughly how much you might have to pay once the work has been completed.
If like most people, you simply don’t have the cash for getting a professional organiser in, then you’ll need to gee yourself up and get to it yourself. Clear a weekend or two, so that you have plenty of free time and read our tips to put yourself in the best position.
The first thing you’ll want to do is take stock of your entire collection and figure out what books you want to keep on your shelves, and which you might feel are better to get rid of. You should know instinctively which books ‘spark joy’, as Marie Kondo would put it and which volumes are ready to find a new home.
Once you’ve sorted the wheat from the chaff you can kick off the process proper by sending off any unwanted books to new homes, whether that’s as library donations, gifts, eBay auctions or wholesalers. Getting a chunk of your collection organised in this way is a great motivator and should push you to properly organise the books that you’re planning on keeping.
Now that you’ve got yourself in a good position to start organising you’ll want to consider how you want to sort your books. Organising a collection should involve the implementation of some kind of system so that you’ll be able to find each book in your collection with ease, rather than spending hours trawling through your bookcases.
Libraries have been using this simple, effective system for centuries as an intuitive way of keeping books in order and making them universally accessible for any English-language speaker. Use the ‘Sort’ functionality on a spreadsheet software to quickly alphabetise your collection with the least fuss.
This is a much more personal way of organising a book collection and will require some real mental gymnastics, especially if you’re dealing with a large collection of books. Again, a spreadsheet may come in useful here as it will allow you to quickly visualise your entire collection and assign them each a timestamp according to when you acquired them. Sort by Descending (or Ascending) to finish the job.
This is a fun way of organising your collection which is best suited to those with eclectic collections that span decades, or even centuries. A quick fix of finding the date of publication for each volume, without going through the hassle of opening each one, is to simply enter each item into Wikipedia, which should contain the relevant information required.
Whilst it could be argued that the most prized literary works in the English language originate from our sceptred isle (as a certain English wordsmith once put it), modern history has given rise to some truly significant writers from the land of the brave and free.
Although the origins of the novel can certainly be traced back to English writers such as Daniel Defoe and John Bunyan, it wasn’t long until American writers such as Thomas Attwood Digges and William Hill Brown followed suit with celebrated works of their own. These early American works were quickly surpassed in popularity by the writing of Susanna Rowson and Harriet Beecher Stowe. These writers led the way for modern writers from all social classes and backgrounds to engage with the written word, paving the way for eminent writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, amongst others, to carve out an American style which is continued and celebrated today in a huge variety of literary festivals in the States.
Would you rather visit a literary festival in the UK? Check out our top picks for Literary Festivals in the Countryside and in the City!
Whilst the Havant Literary Festival may be on hiatus for the time being, there are still plenty of other fantastic literary events happening up and down the country. Whilst many of these events take place in the urban metropolises of our great country, there are also dozens of events taking place in the lush, verdant countryside of our great nation. Let’s take a look at the pick of the crops and find the next best literary event for you to attend:
Are you thinking of attending one of these literary events? Or perhaps you’re going to another that we’ve not mentioned here – let us know by getting in touch!