Welcome to this quarter’s digital library, full of extra content on different aspects of the theme ‘together’ that we can’t put into your box. Enjoy!



Focus + Read

Your first playlist is half an hour of acoustic music chosen specifically to help switch off any distractions and lose yourself in a book. It was created by musician and songwriter, Ailsa Bates, to evoke a sense of wintery togetherness. She says:

“I put together this playlist while thinking about being together and winter. So, there’s an icy feel to some of the music, as well as a warmth and joy to other pieces, creating a contrast between inside and out. Snow falling and time passing, spiciness and firelight, then spinning into a beautiful daydream to finish. I hope you enjoy it and it helps you in your reading!”



Ailsa BatesAilsa is a musician and songwriter living in Edinburgh who works with a variety of collaborators to perform other people’s music and create her own. She particularly loves the piano and ambient, classical and jazz music. Ailsa has recorded a number of albums, regularly performs live and is passionate about playing and listening to music that spans the decades.


Winter Vibes

For your other playlist this quarter we asked DJ and jazz vocalist, Katrina Smith, to create an hour of music to set the mood for a laid back get together with friends. No Christmas songs per se but it should evoke some offbeat festive spirit nonetheless. Play in the order it’s been compiled to go from pre-party preparations before your guests arrive, to a gathering in full flow and perhaps even some gentle bopping in the living room as you reach the hour.


Katrina SmithKatrina is an eclectic retro DJ and jazz vocalist who also plays the ukulele and occasionally the kazoo. Katrina has two gramophones and a collection of over 500 vinyl records, ranging from Alpert to Zappa




Curious Minds at Work

Author Joe Keohane, whose book we’ve sent you this quarter, talks to host Gayle Allen about what he learned from the workshops he attended while writing the book. The Curious Minds podcast aims to help listeners thrive at work and each episode features a specific book that could help you achieve your goals. If you’re looking for some reading recommendations in the self-help genre, check out their back catalogue of episodes for a massive list of interesting titles to explore.


Crtl Alt Delete

Writer, editor and founder of The Pound Project, JP Watson, talks to author Emma Gannon about how to crowdfund a book.

Ctrl Alt Delete is an award-winning podcast that subverts the traditional career show. You can access the full back catalogue here, including episodes with Oliver Burkeman, Glennon Doyle, Clover Stroud and more.

But Why

Journalist Clemmie Telford talks to psychotherapist and author, Anna Mathur, about loneliness. Other episodes that speak to our theme this quarter are a chat with broadcaster Gemma Cairney about Friendship and a conversation with Emma Gannon on Disconnection. You can find all these episodes and more at Apple Podcasts.


What is Social Enterprise

Nestled inside your winter box is a delicious gift from Refuge Chocolate. Click through to find the episode when Refuge founder, Tara Mullen, talks to the #WISE Business Podcast about where the idea came from and how the business supports Flourish, an anti human trafficking charity based in Northern Ireland.


If Books Could Kill

Huffington Post journalist Michael Hobbs, co-founder of the excellent You're Wrong About, has a new podcast in which he and Peter Shamshiri cast a quizzical eye over the claims made in classic non-fiction bestsellers: "The airport bestsellers that captured our hearts and ruined our minds".




How we can eat our landscapes

A TED talk from 2012, but probably more relevant than ever, from brilliant community leader and activist, Pam Warhurst, chair of Incredible Edible and of the Todmorden Town Deal. Pam explains, with trademark can-do energy, how communities can work together to put food at the heart of all kinds of grassroots actions.




How to Write a Novel with Three of Your Friends

The author of one of your books this quarter, Joe Keohane, has just published his first novel but unusually he wrote it in collaboration with two friends, Kevin Alexander and Alessandra Lusardi. This article, also written by all three authors, explains how you go about writing co-operative fiction.


Relational Diversity in Social Portfolios Predicts Well-being

The link between social connection and well-being is well documented. This recent research paper looks at which types of relationship partners – family, close friends, acquaintances and strangers – and how many interactions with each type is most predictive of well-being.




Wherever you see an asterisk in the magazine, there’s more good stuff about the topic here in the digital library. Here are the extras from this quarter’s magazine.

Cover Art

Watch fine artist Esté MacLeod create our magazine cover image using acrylic paints and collage.


Raves in the Wreckage: Party Planners help Rebuild Ukraine

Before the war, Kyiv’s music scene earned the city a reputation for being the ‘new Berlin’ but Russia’s invasion halted the city’s nightlife and put many young creative professionals out of work. This short film from The Washington Post looks at how some of those creatives are now taking volunteers to clean-up raves in villages devastated by Russian attacks. 

Watch this Instagram Story from Repair Together to see a rave weekend in action.


What's So Great about Community Shares 

Community shares are a special kind of crowdfunding that raise large sums of money for community groups looking to fund projects. This video from The Community Shares Company (which is our other business!) explains what community shares are and how they can give ownership and control of community assets to the people who use them. 



The Club on the Edge of Town

Award-winning filmmaker, Brett Chapman, looks at what happened when Slung Low took over the oldest working men’s club in the UK. You’ll recognise some of the names and faces you meet in the second book in your box.

A year later, Chapman goes back to The Holbeck to see how Slung Low responded to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

And finally, have a listen to the original song by RashDash created to celebrate the release of the audiobook of The Club On the Edge of Town.


A message from Tara Mullen, founder of Refuge Chocolate



Love is wise – hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other. We have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things we don’t like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.

Bertrand Russell in the BBC programme Face to Face, broadcast in 1959



That’s it for this quarter’s digital extras. The next box will arrive with subscribers and gift recipients in March and there’ll be a whole load more thought-provoking extras to access then. Until then, see you over on Instagram.

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