Quercus is publishing a new small-format "how to" series of books to help readers learn new skills for a more fun-filled and enriching life, called Little Ways to Live a Big Life.
The topics in question are "all those skills you’ve always wanted to learn, and all those talents you’ve wanted to acquire, but then life got in the way", with launch titles touching on traditional hobbies such as 'how to the piano' and 'how to draw' as well as more obscure talents such as 'how to count to infinity' and how to 'land a plane'.
Designed to be "short and beautiful", each book is approximately 60 pages long. The jackets are illustrated by the Spanish artist David de las Heras and designed by Sergio Ibañez at Setanta.
Katy Follain, Quercus non fiction publisher, has signed up six authors so far, five of which will be published in September 2017.
Joining the series is concert pianist James Rhodes' How to Play the Piano, a book that was soft-launched in October 2016, promising readers who have never touched a piano how to play one of Bach’s preludes in just six weeks. According to Quercus, it has already sold 10,000 copies to date. It will now be published with the new series jacket look.
It also comprises: mathematician Marcus du Sautoy's How to Count to Infinity, a book that will guide readers through the intricacies of eternity through mathematics; How to Draw Anything by Scriberia, an illustrated agency that has worked with international brands including Pottermore; scientist Christophe Galfard's How to Understand E = mc2, the most famous theory of all time; and airline pilot Mark Vanhoenacker's How to Land a Plane, offering a new perspective on flying.
The sixth author, who will be published in the Spring 2018, is Shaun Usher, author of Letters of Note. His book How to Write a Letter will focus on the art of letter-writing, drawing on ancient history, Victorian how-to guides, and looking at how the advance of technology has had a detrimental effect.
Katy Follain said: "This project is an incredibly exciting one to be developing. There is so much potential. Not only is the packaging elegant and exquisite, the books themselves are gems of knowledge for all of us who are curious about our world and want to keep our minds active. I think of it as a midlife-crisis series, because it’s about the stuff you’ve always wanted to do but jobs and kids got in the way. The authors have all got huge international platforms and are part of the absolute crème de la crème in their line of work. It is an honour and a privilege to make their incredible talent and expertise available in such a delightful and accessible way."
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