Given that Linda’s Book Bag is all about sharing the book love, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a brand new quarterly magazine, Chapter Catcher, which is designed to promote reading. I’d like to thank Nicole for sending me the launch issue. I’m delighted to review it today; even if that is an irony as Chapter Catcher isn’t a review magazine, but a presentation of extracts, stories and poems that readers can dip into, with the idea ‘that readers should do their own reading’ without being told what others think about the pieces they read.
The brain child of John, Lord Bird and Phil Ryan, the duo behind The Big Issue, Chapter Catcher‘s mission is:
- 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.
My Review of the Launch Issue of Chapter Catcher
I’ve spent the whole of my adult life promoting reading and literacy and think Chapter Catcher is just wonderful; a cornucopia of bookish delight.
The first half a dozen pages concentrate on a literacy and literary news digest with helpful web addresses as well as articles and spotlights. I couldn’t agree more with John Rickets about the importance of libraries in his piece on Our Cultural Inheritance.
The remainder of the magazine is a smorgasbord of reading pleasure. Divided into sections that include Contemporary, Rediscovered, Classic, Non-Fiction and works In Process, authors included range from Stephen Fry, through F. Scott Fitzgerald to Dante and Mary Jean Chan so that there is a pleasing balance of familiar, established, writers set alongside new and innovative ones. I particularly loved Max Porter’s Crow and Border by Kapka Kassabova. Indeed, this latter proves that Chapter Catcher is already achieving what it aims to do. I normally read little non-fiction, but Border has sparked my interest in a book that would otherwise have passed me by.
Within the pages of this magazine are pieces that can be read as the fancy takes the reader. They are just the right length for a break in the evening after work, for example, or during a lunch break, or when the baby has just gone down for an afternoon sleep perhaps. I can imagine Chapter Catcher bringing joy to many when they simply don’t have the time or the inclination to read a complete book. Equally, I can envisage readers eagerly visiting bookshops and libraries to hunt down full copies of the texts they have encountered here.
However, I wouldn’t limit Chapter Catcher to just readers. There’s opportunity here for art lovers too as the pages are adorned with attractive artwork and photography and writers can not only read as writers, they can, in this issue, hone their creative skills by entering a writing competition to win dinner with a famous (mystery writer); which intrigued me as I didn’t know if the author’s identity was a mystery, whether they write mystery books or both! And that sums us Chapter Catcher for me – it leads the reader (and writer) down different avenues, to discover new and exciting aspects of books and literacy. Writers are also encouraged to submit their work for inclusion in future issues so that there is real opportunity for this initiative to go from strength to strength, broadening its own readership whilst enhancing the readership for an increasing range of authors.
I’d urge you to get involved with this initiative because I think it’s a fabulous concept. You can visit the Chapter Catcher website here, or follow Chapter Catcher on Twitter via @ChapterCatcher or the hashtag ##ReadWiderDeeper. You’ll also find Chapter Catcher on Facebook and Instagram.