Are you ready to discover our authors?

Things have been a little quiet here on the Souvenir Press blog over the last couple of weeks – sorry about that. I’ve been busy working away behind the scenes of the Souvenir  website, and have been lining up some fantastic blog posts for you guys over the coming weeks/months.

We’re going to be bringing back our Author Corner feature, and have currently got several of our authors scribbling away to bring you an exclusive view into their lives. Whether they’re sharing their inspiration, telling the story of how their book came to be, or sharing tips and advice, you won’t want to miss it!

Our previous Author Corner posts featured Jessica Thom writing about her book Welcome to Biscuit Land, Richard Smyth on Bum Fodder: An Absorbing History of Toilet Paper, and Arthur Plotnik, author of Better than Great with a handy guide to terms of endearment for your loved one, suitable for Valentines Day and the rest of the year.

Away from the blog, we’ve had some exciting post this week: finished copies of three of our new Spring titles: Code Name Caesar by Jerome Preisler and Kenneth Sewell, Telling Tales in Latin by Dr Lorna Robinson (both published later this month), and Where the Ghosts Walk by Peter Underwood, published early next month. What do you think?

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I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and we’ll be back in the Souvenir Press office on Tuesday after the Bank Holiday. As always, if you’ve got any queries (Where can I buy these books? Can I get your books on my new Nook? Where’s the British Museum in relation to your office?) feel free to leave us a comment below, or you can drop me an email.


Author Corner: Arthur Plotnik with some timely help for Valentine’s Day

Arthur Plotnik is the author of BETTER THAN GREAT, a unique thesaurus of praise and acclaim. Why settle for “great” when you can say “mind-marmalizing” or “pinnacular”? And in this season of romance, will anything short of superlatives be worthy of expressing your love for that special someone in your life? If you’re lost for words, struggling for the right way to tell them that you care, fear not, for help is at hand. Arthur Plotnik has some timely pointers for you this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Season Special: Worthier Words for Your Loved One

“You’re adorable,” “You’re so fabulous and brilliant,” “My sweet,” “You send me.”

Many are the ways to express admiration of our loved ones, but most of the year we can get away with stock phrases over a red table wine. During Valentine’s season, however, the expectations and stakes go up. Fondue by candlelight. Chocolate truffles. Long-stem roses. An extra allowance of this, a bit more of that.

The season also calls for worthier words in praise of the love object—special words to make your soulmate feel more special than your newest shoes or digital toy.

We are talking about words called “superlatives”: terms that indicate high or utmost degree. Superlatives are the currency of praise; so when it comes to your heart’s desire, why parcel out cheapies like “great” or “amazing”? Especially around V-Day, you’ll want to peel off some big denominations in praise of your darling. I’ll be acclaiming my own true love, for example, as “ensorcelling,” “refulgent,” “enrapturing”; “a tintinnabulation of joy.”

But maybe in these tough times you’re feeling as pinched for words as for everything else. Allow me, then–as the author of a book of 6,000 fresh superlatives—to be of some assistance.

“Beautiful,” “Joy-Giving,” and “Sublime” are among the fifteen categories of acclaim in BETTER THAN GREAT: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives, newly and lovingly published by Souvenir Press. Borrowing from terms in these and other categories, I offer a few dozen examples to inspire your own, upgraded love cries. Use them in cards and texts or over champagne or pillows, but with honorable intentions only—at least when Cupid is watching.

For him:
My love, you are:

fatally handsome
my flambeau of joy
balsamaceous (having healing or restorative properties)
beyond dashing
one big loving cup
a Clydesdale (good-looking stud)
gaupísimo [Spanish: extremely hot-looking]
an artisanal masterwork
boombastic (sexy, hot)
a regalement [banquet] for the heart
my yin and my yang
heapin’ hot
a Michelangelian stud-muffin
a heart-impounding heir to Adonis
my anam cara [soul-friend]
George Clooney [Clive Owen? Theo Wolcott? Daniel Craig?] 2.0

For her:
Dearest, you are:

amaranthine (unfadingly beautiful)
an attar [perfume] of allure
rejoicement, a
concupiscible (worthy of amorous desire)
mythopoetically [myth-makingly] beautiful
caressably gracile ( slender, willowy)
fallen from the heavenly clouds
lovely to the outrance (French: ” utmost extremity”)
one fine gabwanaha (good-looking woman)
gaga-makingly gorgeous
gazelline (gazelle-like)
an objet d’art
a cascade of happiness
a conjugation of beauty and grace
Kate Middleton [Kiera Knightley? Kate Winslet? Myleen Class?] 2.0


Arthur Plotnik studied writing under Philip Roth in the Iowa Graduate Writers Workshop where, like one of Roth’s characters, he aspired to be “linguistically large.” In addition to his distinguished career as editorial director for the American Library Association, he is the author of nine books, including two U.S. Book-of-the-Month-Club selections. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins praised Better Than Great “as “Amen-Astonishing!”

This Week in Review(s)

This week has seen a flurry of reviews come in for a selection of Souvenir titles. Below you will find extracts of four great reviews, and the links to the full versions, for four very different titles – as if you needed reminding of the fantastic eclectic mix of titles available from us at Souvenir Press.

Better than Great – Arthur Plotnik

“Better Than Great is a bravura, ingeniously inventive, roaringly intelligent thesaurus of praise and acclaim… Where has this paean-worthy, distressingly excellent book, which certainly goes the whole hog, been all my life?” – YA Yeah Yeah blog

Bum Fodder – Richard Smyth

“Written with a real sense of fun, this is a book to delight anyone with a sense of humour, an inquiring mind and a reasonably strong stomach…  it has certainly been a smash hit in our house, where it has been perused by readers aged  from  49 to 14.” – The Garden Window blog

Through A Dog’s Eyes – Jennifer Arnold

Five out of five stars. “This is an enlightening read, and after finishing this book, I felt I looked at my dog in a new way and I have definitely learned a lot about dog behaviour… This book is a fascinating, informative and worthwhile read for any dog owner.” – The Little Reader Library (on GoodReads, soon to appear on her blog)

Why Does My Rabbit – Anne McBride

“I would recommend every rabbit owner have a read of this book!” – The Rabbit House

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Better than Great

As October draws to a close, November creeps up on us, and for many writers, that can only mean one thing: NaNoWriMo. For those of you not in the know, National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) is an online community built around one thing: writing. In November, writers from across the globe take their seats and begin working on a novel, the aim being to produce 50,000 words in the 30 days. 1,667 words a day. It’s got its critics – it values quantity over quality, but many writers find it helpful as a means of getting started, getting stuck in to that elusive first draft. It encourages you to put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard, perhaps.

If you’re one of the thousands of writers preparing to jump in on November 1st, then we’ve got just the book for you. Available in paperback and e-book, this is one that will definitely get your creativity flowing.

Better Than Great is a unique thesaurus of praise and acclaim, containing humankind’s largest gathering of fresh, potent and larky superlatives for anyone struggling to describe extraordinary things or experiences in ways that will do them justice. The English language has thousands of words to praise but cool , good and great have become our default choices. In Better Than Great Arthur Plotnik adds fresh and engaging new words to our vocabulary of praise, sorted into appropriate categories for easy use. The book is an entertainment in itself, drawing on all levels of expression and offering bonus lists, quotes, sidebar features and the author’s spirited advice and observations on each type of acclaim. Better Than Great draws its terms from slang dictionaries, contemporary writing, specialised glossaries and various quirky sources including the author’s right brain. It presents its inventive terms not simply as fixed locutions but as springboards for further creativity. It is the must-have reference for anyone seeking to rise above tired phrases when quality matters. Critics, journalists, novelists, public speakers, sales reps, marketers, bloggers, Twitterers any writer across the digital and literary spectrum will all find ways to recharge their acclamatory powers and the perfect alternatives to those worn-out phrases that are used too often.