The glory of growing older is the freedom to be more truly ourselves—with age we gain the liberty to pursue bold new endeavors and worry less about what other people think. In this richly illustrated volume, bestselling author and artist Lisa Congdon explores the power of women over the age of forty who are thriving and living life on their own terms. Profiles, interviews, and essays from women—including Vera Wang, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Julia Child, Cheryl Strayed, and many more—who’ve found creative fulfillment and accomplished great things in the second half of their lives are lavishly illustrated and hand-lettered in Congdon’s signature style. The perfect gift for women of all ages, A Glorious Freedom celebrates extraordinary lives and redefines what it means to gain wisdom and maturity.

The following is an extract from A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon.

Cheryl’s famous memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail was published when she was 43 years old. It took her two and a half years to trace the steps, challenges, and revelations she faced during her three-month, 1,100-mile hike from the Mojave Desert to the Pacific Northwest onto paper—and about two minutes for the finished book to land on the New York Times bestseller list. In the months following, Cheryl experienced instant fame—from Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 to the film adaptation championed by Reese Witherspoon and Nick Hornby, Wild went, well, wild. It is an international bestseller and a recipient of the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and the Oregon Book Award. Cheryl is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough. Her first novel, Torch, was published in 2007. Her essays have been published in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Vogue, and Tin House, among others, and her work has been selected three times for inclusion in the The Best American Essays. She anonymously authored The Rumpus’s popular Dear Sugar advice column from 2010 to 2012, for which she now cohosts a podcast. She currently lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.


Lisa: You worked for many years at writing, and it wasn’t until just a few short years ago, in your early 40s, you published the book that made you a household name. I encounter a lot of young artists who imagine that if they just concoct some magical formula they can have “instant success.” How would you describe the role of purpose, work, and patience in your own journey?

Cheryl: I was a successful writer long before Wild was published. What happened with Wild wasn’t “success.” It was crazy lightning striking. I’m always taken aback when people imply that I achieved success in my 40s. In fact, I had a pretty steady upward career trajectory as a writer, and all of that came about because, as you say, I showed up each day to do the work. I began publishing in my 20s. By the time I was in my early 30s I had won many awards and grants, and was publishing in respected magazines, and I’d earned my MFA in creative writing. In my mid-30s I sold my first novel to a major publisher and it was broadly reviewed and sold well. Meanwhile, I was continuing to publish essays in prominent places and I was also teaching writing.

I was known in the literary community. Then Wild happened and with that came fame and a much broader international audience. It was astounding and glorious, but it didn’t, for me, mark the beginning of the sense that I’d arrived as a writer. I was already there and I’m still here—working my tail off. That’s the magic formula: work.

Lisa: One of the most life-changing lessons I’ve learned over the past ten years is the power of embracing all of my life experience, and this is something you write about as well. Why is this idea of owning and learning to love all of your experience (even the stuff that makes us cringe or that would normally make us feel shame), why is it so important?

Cheryl: I’ve long believed our mistakes and failures teach us as much as our victories and successes. When you acknowledge the full spectrum of your possibility—as both someone who can be great and as someone who is sometimes not so great—you can bring the full force of your humanity to everything you do.

Lisa: What for you is the best part of getting older?

Cheryl: Feeling more secure about who I am. Feeling stronger about being okay with disappointing people. Putting up less of a facade. Being gentler with myself and others, too.

Lisa: What do you think is the relationship between forgiveness and the ability to age joyfully?

Cheryl: I’ve written about forgiveness a lot and it all pretty much boils down to the fact that when you can’t forgive people who have harmed you (or forgive yourself for the harm you’ve done to others) you stay locked in that struggle. Forgiveness is, to me, really acceptance. Accepting that what’s true is true. It’s saying, this is the way it was and onward we go.

Lisa: What are the three greatest lessons you’ve learned in the last ten years?

Cheryl: 1. Saying no is one form of saying yes. 2. Our ideas about famous people are projections of who we are, not a reflection of who they are. 3. Everyone struggles. Everyone hurts. Everyone wants to be told it’s all going to be okay.

Lisa: What advice do you have for women who fear getting older?

Cheryl: The fear of getting older is about the false notion that one’s power was rooted in the things that youth offers us—namely, beauty. My advice would be to see that for the lie that it always was. Our power is never about how pretty we are. Our power is about how we live our lives. Start living it.

A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon publishes on 03 October 2017. Find out more here. 

See the stunning book trailer here

Bookstore of the Month | Much Ado Books

Bookstore of the Month

Let us introduce you to our Bookstore of the Month; Much Ado Books.

“We are Cate Olson and Nash Robbins – Americans who decided to sell books in a Medieval village tucked in the South Downs . . .”

Much Ado Books Much Ado Books

  1. Describe Much Ado Books in Three Words

Unexpected discoveries abound

Much Ado best spot

  1. Where is your favourite spot in your store?

Upstairs, in the comfy armchair of our Arts & Letters Room, surrounded by books.

Much Ado Books Much Ado Books

  1. Give us a brief history of Much Ado Books.

Twenty years selling vintage books in America and dreaming of living in Britain, which led to 13 years selling both new and old books in rural East Sussex

Much Ado Chickens Much Ado Books

  1. Has Much Ado got a store pet?

We have three bantam hens, named Little One, Bully Girl and Frizzle. They occupy their time eating plants, making trouble and showing off for customers.

  1. Do you have a favourite author? If yes, who is it?

Robertson Davies – his books are sparkling, funny and engaging as well as thought-provoking; he should have won the Nobel Prize for Literature!

  1. What is your favourite opening line from a book?

“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” Dodie Smith – I Capture the Castle.

  1. What was the last book you read?

Cate: Annie Barrows, The Truth According to Us

Nash: Joanna Kavenna – A Field Guide to Reality

Together (we read aloud every night): Elizabeth Leitch – The Saturday Club (an out-of-print classic given by a friend who loves childrens’ books)

  1. What is your favourite A&CB books?

Downstairs favourite: Andrea Beaty – Iggy Peck Architect

Upstairs favourite: Carlos Fuentes The Diary of Frida Kahlo

  1. What is your favourite book?

Discussions (arguments?) are on-going!

  1. Share a #Shelfie with us! 

Much Ado Books  Much Ado Books Much Ado Books


You will find this award-winning independent bookshop in Alfriston, East Sussex.

Much Ado Books
8 West Street
East Sussex
BN26 5UX

t: 01323 871222

e: shop@muchadobooks.com

Follow them on Twitter and Instagram. And don’t forget to sign-up to their newsletter.

Have yourself a very Merry Bookmas, part Two!

Merry Bookmas

Next-up to board the A&CB Polar Express is Yvette van Boven, chef behind the delicious Home Made series.

Stop by tomorrow (and everyday till Christmas!) for more Christmas songs, including picks from Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett, Anita Grace Howard and Jeffery Brown!


Psst – you can listen to the A&CB Bookmas playlist on our Spotify! See if you can guess who picked which song!

#FiveYearsOfBooks | Top Five Books for 8-12 Year Olds


Celebrating five years of reading with our Top 5 Middle Grade books! Share your favourite with #FiveYearsOfBooks.
The Strange Case of Origami Yoga
Tom Angleberger Amulet Books

This gem of a book is one of the best introductions to a series we have ever read. In The Strange Case of Origami Yoda we meet Dwight and his uncannily intelligent finger puppet, Origami Yoda. We can’t recommend Tom Angleberger’s unique and funny series highly enough.

In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel.

Book One: National Espionage, Rescue and Defense Society
Michael Buckley, illustrated by Ethen Beavers
Amulet Books

Espionage, superheros, evil villains and a group of misfits…Michael Buckley’s middle grade series N.E.R.D.S, a veteran of our Children’s list, is a favourite in the A&CB office and beyond.

In the first book in the projected five-book series, five unpopular students run a spy network from inside their elementary school. Each of the kids is a complete social misfit with his or her own unique nerdy burden to bear. With the help of cutting-edge science, the kids’ afflictions are enhanced and become incredible abilities. Working as a team, they are the latest members of the National Espionage, Rescue and Defense Society, or N.E.R.D.S., which battles an array of James Bond-style villains each with an evil plan more diabolical than the last. Dr. Jigsaw, the villain in Book One, wants to use a giant tractor beam to pull all the continents back together. What’s a few million lives versus a completed puzzle?

The Popularity Papers Book One
Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang
Amy Ignatow
Amulet Books

The unique style of The Popularity Papers has made it a hit with young readers everywhere. Julie and Lydia deserve have a special place in our hearts and on our Top 5 Middle Grade Reads list.

This scrapbook-style novel charts the friendship of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang as they embark on a quest to study the behaviours and tastes of the ‘popular’ girls so they can join their ranks in Secondary school. They scheme together to invent their first crushes, go to great lengths to obtain a mobile phone, and save each other from major embarrassment. When Lydia starts to become friends with the “popular” girls she’s forced to choose between them and Julie. The Popularity Papers figures in the centre of an epic Secondary school power struggle. Their story is genuinely funny and good-hearted with a wealth of funny details. As they write their own story, their friendship evolves in touching and relatable ways.

The Sisters Grimm Book One
Book One: The Fairy Tale Detectives
Michael Buckley, illustrated by Peter Ferguson
Amulet Books

Our Top 5 Middle Grade Reads wouldn’t be complete without Michael Buckley’s Sisters Grimm series. This unique take on classic fairy tales has us returning to Sabrina & Daphne’s story again and again.

Orphaned sisters Sabrina and Daphne are sent to live with their mysterious grandmother, Relda Grimm, who lives in a town in rural New York State that experiences an extraordinary number of unexplained and unusual crimes. As it turns out, the two girls are the descendants of the Brothers Grimm, whose famous book of fairy tales is actually a history book. Snow White, the Three Little Pigs and countless other fairy-tale folk are all neighbours of Granny Grimm in a secret community of Everafters. It’s the Grimm family’s legacy to keep the Everafters in line and Sabrina and Daphne are the family’s newest detectives. In this first book in the series, the girls are pitted against a giant who has been rampaging through town. But who set the giant loose in the first place? Was it Mayor Charming, formerly Prince Charming, who has plans to get his kingdom back? The Three Not-So-Little Pigs? Or a giant-killer named Jack, currently working at a Big & Tall store?

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor
Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Brian Biggs
Amulet Books

Last but my no means least, out final pick in our Top 5 Middle Grade reads is the one and only FRANK EINSTEIN!

“I never thought I could read about the Hadron Collider and smile so all credit to Jon Scieszka for writing an accessible story about science…and I can’t wait for the second instalment of Frank’s adventures.” We Love This Book

Frank Einstein loves to tinker, build and take things apart. He loves to observe, hypothesise, experiment and invent. Frank Einstein is a kid genius who loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination and definitely unusual. After an uneventful experiment with a garage-lab artificially intelligent RoboBug, a lightning storm and a flash of electricity, Frank’s inventions—the robots Klink and Klank—suddenly come to life. Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wise-cracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank are a help nonetheless as Frank attempts to perfect his Dark Energy Drive . . . that is until Frank’s arch nemesis, T. Edison, steals Klink and Klank for his evil doomsday plan! With the help of his friends, Frank sets out to rescue the robots and stop T. Edison from carrying out his twisted plans! Using real science and drawing inspiration from the classic pulp stories of Tom Swift, Jon Scieszka has created a unique world of adventure and science fiction.

Abrams & Chronicle Books are Turning Five!

YOU are invited.

YOU are invited to our 5th Birthday!

Help us celebrate #FiveYearsOfBooks with five days of reading.


We are hosting a #FiveYearsOfBooks Read-a-thon from 13th – 17th July. To join in simply follow the instructions below & use the #FiveYearsOfBooks hastag.

Reading challenges to complete:

Read the 5th book on your bookshelf
Read a book with a title beginning with A, C or B
Read a book with a title containing ‘&’ or ‘and’
Read a book set in New York or San Francisco
Read a book with more than 500 pages

Join us on Twitter at 5pm for Daily Reading Sprints & our daily challenge:

Monday 13th July: An image of the 5th shelf on your bookshelves

Tuesday 14th July: An image of your top 5 favourite books of all time

Wednesday 15th July: An image of your TBR (To Be Read) choices for the week

Thursday 16th July: An image of 5 black or red books

Friday 17th July: 5 things that would feature in your perfect book

Every daily challenge you complete enters you into our 5th Anniversary Giveaway. Which includes an EXCLUSIVE print from one of our incredible illustrators, a copy of our One Line a Day Journal AND a copy of our Literary Listography Journal!

reading challenge

Bookstore of the Week – The British Library Bookshop

We are here once again to make your Wednesday afternoon just that little bit more exciting and we know this weeks bookstore will get all you book lovers drooling.

This week we are celebrating the ever impressive British Library Bookshop.

The British Library Entrance

Housed in the British Library this bookshop is a mecca for book-lovers of all shapes and sizes. You could be forgiven for missing this gem as it stands next to the magnificently grand St Pancras International Building, but then you probably didn’t know that 10 million bricks and 180,000 tonnes of concrete were needed to complete the building AND the library has a total floor area of over 112,000 sq metres spread over 14 floors – 9 above ground, 5 below!
Now you will never forget it. 

British Library Courtyard

With a range of books and bookish gifts the bookshop is a treasure trove, even if you are just shopping for a little pick-me-up for yourself! Perhaps one of their postcard collections will take your fancy or perhaps an Alice In Wonderland book broach. The shop features a wide range of books, audio and gifts, relating to the British Library and its unique archives. 

British Library Shop
Image courtesy of British Library Bookshop


And what a range that makes! The Library itself receives a copy of EVERY publication produced in the UK and Ireland, 3 million new items are added every year! They also have the world’s earliest dated printed book, the Diamond Sutra, is sometimes on display in our exhibition galleries alongside many other treasures.

British Library Bookshop
Image courtesy of British Library Shop.


You can’t help but be inspired by the sheer scale of publications that fill these walls!

The British Library

For more from the British Library Bookstore folks follow them on Twitter, Facebook, sign-up for their Newsletter and be sure you checkout their Blogs. With topics ranging from; 10 tips to help you start a successful business to Forgotten histories of the Passage: the whalers you are sure to find something to dive into!

Find them at:

96 Euston Road

London NW1 2DB

United Kingdom

020 7412 7735

P.S – It’s not too late to pick-up a Valentines Present for that someone special, take a look at what they offer & for more inspiration join in with #ArtBooksForValentines on Twitter!

Bookstore of the Week – The Owl Bookshop

Owl Bookshop

Today we are celebrating a lovely little independent in Kentish Town; The Owl Bookshop.

The Owl Bookshop opened in 1974 and offers a wonderful range of classic and current titles. They have a fantastic (and big!) children’s section, making it a hit with the local community. Plus, there are armchairs to help you relax while you mull over your choices.

Brought by Daunt Books in 2010 when the former owner Kevin Ramage has moved to Aberfeldy in Scotland. But James Daunt chose to keep the Owl’s identity and as such it hasn’t lost its own brand of charm or its authenticity.

Owl Bookshop Logo

The Owl has earned its reputation as one of the best bookshops in North London through its range of fiction and non-fiction, but it also offers next day ordering, school supply and a carefully selected range of DVDs (predominately cult classics) and stationery. It is so much more than just a bookshop.

But don’t take our word for it; its character speaks for itself through glowing reviews:

“One of the best bookshops in North London, with a wide range of books and knowledgeable staff, it has a pleasant atmosphere and good author events.” Amanda Craig[1]

“Owl Bookshop is a fantastic independent selling new books, as well as cards, wrapping paper, calendars and so on. It’s surprisingly large for an indie, and very airy and spacious.” Tom Bell[2]

Trading for more than four decades, the Owl Bookshop covers everything from food and drink to fiction, all judiciously laid out. It is an invaluable local resource in this colourful part of North London.

Kentish Town

Three cheers to The Owl Bookshop!

Find them at:

209 Kentish Town Road, London, United Kingdom

Keep In Touch!


020 7485 7793

Find them on Facebook

On Twitter


Little tip; customers who join the Owl’s loyalty scheme get discount and a newsletter with information about events and offers.


[1] Google+ – https://plus.google.com/110879518176399961303/about

[2] Google+ https://plus.google.com/110879518176399961303/about

Bookstore of the Week – Salts Mill Gallery & Bookshop

Happy New Year ladies and Gentlemen!

We would like to introduce you to our first Bookstore of the Week of 2015…

*Drum roll Please* 

Salts Mill Gallery & Bookshop in West Yorkshire.


Salts Mill Gallery & Bookshop is set in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Saltaire, in a Grade II Listed historic mill building built in 1853 by Sir Titus Salt. Home to four galleries (the Mill is home to a permanent exhibition on David Hockney’s work), a selection of places to eat and drink, and spaces to rent Salts Mill creates a hive of culture truly underpinned by history.


The main bookshop is upstairs and has an eclectic mix of books on all subjects. Housed in a beautiful and spacious stone hall, it retains clear traces of its industrial past; the stone floor, cast iron columns, metal pulley and huge windows.

Little history trivia for you, the quality of light was important to the cloth-manufacturing processes in the mill.

Occupying half of one of the huge galleries on the second floor of the West Mill, the bookstore has the luxury of displaying a significant number of titles on tables rather than shelves. Exposing the eye to a rainbow of covers and encouraging even the most prudent to pick-up a book (or two).


It can be quite a busy place, especially at weekends, so there is a satisfying buzz about it, but it’s also a space made for quiet browsing. The shop is enhanced by all the artwork on the walls; many are Hockney prints but some are the work of other artists.


Salts Mill Bookshop is the kind of shop you could linger in all day, the placement of everything is designed so that book covers and spines sit in intriguing harmony. We couldn’t recommend visiting more highly, but we do suggest taking someone with you, party to share the love, partly to make sure you don’t buy one of everything…

Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Planning a Visit?

Salts Mill,
West Yorkshire
BD18 3LA,

Tel: 01274 531163 (General Enquiries, Galleries, Cafe in to the Opera, Salts Diner)

Fax: 01274 531184

Email : post@saltsmill.org.uk

Find out more at http://www.saltsmill.org.uk/

Merry Christmas from Abrams and Chronicle Books

We hope your day is filled with festive fun and charm.

We wanted to share our own festive cheer with a glance at the 1914 Christmas Truce, that started on Christmas Eve 100 years ago, through John Hendrix’s book Shooting At The Stars.


Shooting at the Stars is the moving story of a young British soldier on the front lines during World War I in 1914, writing a letter home to his mother describing his unforgettable Christmas Eve.


Despite fierce fighting from both sides, both German and Allied soldiers ceased firing and came together on the battle field to celebrate the holiday. They sang Christmas carols, exchanged gifts and played football. But as the sun began to rise, they returned to their separate trenches and waited for the battle to begin again.


Interweaving beautiful illustrations with hand-lettered text, author and illustrator John Hendrix tells a story that celebrates the humanity and kindness that can persist even during the darkest periods of our history.


Very Merry Christmas one and all.

#BookstoreoftheWeek – X Marks the Bökship

Our #BookstoreoftheWeek is, in their own words, ‘like a bookshop, but not’, it’s X Marks the Bökship!

X Marks the Bökship is a bookshop and project space for independent publishers in London. Born and raised sharing a space with Donlon Books, X Marks the Bökship grew up and moved to Cambridge Heath Road from 2008 – 2014 before finding it’s current home at Matt’s Gallery in Mile End.

They specialise in works by indie publishers,works and projects by artists and designers, journals and discourse. They promote contemporary publishing activity through book launches, events and production resources that bring together individual practitioners to create a local publishing community. A treasure trove for the rare, the beautiful and the ‘I don’t know how I ever lived without this book’ book. All of which you can buy on their online shop.

The bookshop host I’VE NEVER READ HER, an amazing bookshop focusing on short fiction & essays by women, every second Wednesday of the month. Everybody welcome, just bring a bottle (or not) and your thoughts. This incredible club also host screenings and events around the texts that they read.

Interesting alternative bookshop, with a lot on offer. Give them a visit!

X Marks the Bökship

^ Matt’s Gallery

42 – 44 Copperfield Road
Mile End
London E3 4RR