John Murray is publishing Things I Learned on the 6.28: A Commuter's Guide to Reading by Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell this November.
The book covers "a life-changing year of reading" in the life of Abell, who read books across genres and time periods on his long commute to work. Mark Richards and Georgina Laycock at John Murray, bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown.
Abell read everything from crime novels to translated fiction to American classics on his commute into work, and the resulting book–also serving as "a brisk guide to the canon of Western literature", according to John Murray–looks at the impact of these books on our culture and his own life.
"The result is a work of many things," reads John Murray's blurb, "an intimate engagement with writers from Shakespeare to Daphne du Maurier, Marcel Proust to Zora Neale Hurston; a wise and funny celebration of the power of words; and a meditation on mental unrest and how to tackle it. It will help you discover new books to love, give you the confidence to give up on those that you don't, and remind you of ones that you already do."
Abell was a panellist behind the BBC’s "100 Novels That Changed the World" and is soon to be a presenter on Times Radio. His first book, How Britain Really Works, was published in 2018 by John Murray.
"I wrote this book at a time when you could sit on a busy train without fear of anything much more than body odour," said Abell. "Much has changed, but my experience still feels very relevant: in a time of uncertainty and anguish, the experience of reading always provides solace, escape and the chance to discover more about the world. I learned a lot of things on the 6.28, and want this book to be a guide to all types of literature written by all sorts of people, and a celebration of the value of brilliant, beautiful books. We now need books and booksellers more than ever, so this is a fitting time to publish something in gratitude to them."
John Murray will publish on 12th November in £16.99 hardback. It will be supported by a marketing and publicity campaign that will focus on the mental health benefits of books as well as creating retailer partnerships and social media plans revolved around reader recommendations of their favourite books.