Who and What

Janet Swan: (Reading, Story, Voice)

I love getting lost in books. I also love stories and songs. And all because I love words. I read and sing in order to be moved, impassioned and in order to learn something about life.

I am a passionate reader and chartered librarian with a specialism in reading development and reader advice. Also I am a qualified speech and language therapist, have an MA in Reading in Practice (University of Liverpool) and believe that reading and singing are good for your health.

What I do:

I lead a wide range of different projects showing how words, songs and stories can help us think about things in a new way. This might be leading a walk along the canal – reading or telling stories as we go, it might be working with groups of individuals to rewrite history the way they see it and so find a voice, it might be remembering songs and poems together or perhaps a “close reading” or creative writing session designed to give us time to think. We can be responsive too and help you add a new dimension to something you are doing, as you will see in the example below.

I can add a new dimension to your book festival!

We originated the online personalised book recommendation service. Because of the massive demand for this service we now do it in situ at reading and book festivals. The recommendation comes from people who care about reading (see below) and who you can trust.

Book Doctor Janet comes to town in her Lit Wagon. How does it work?

1. You know you need a book – but you can’t find the right one.

2. We spend time with you in the format of an interview about your reading preferences and what is important to you in your life right now.

3. We make a recommendation and help you find ways to get it – either from your local library, an independent bookshop or from the range we will have available in the Lit Wagon.

Our Ethos

We believe that we can help you chose the best book for you, by helping you understand your likes and dislikes

  • We definitely don’t want to tell you what you SHOULD be reading
  • We have a commitment to support libraries, independent bookshops and independent publishers
  • We believe that reading is creative and good for you!
  • We want our service to be a personal response not something generated by a computer or the lowest common denominator approach of “the people who liked this also liked this”
  • We believe in offering a broad range of titles available for readers, not just the ones that generate most profits for large companies
  • We are not paid commission to promote particular books, hence we can recommend books truly independently
  • We want to serve a wide range of customers including people who may have difficulty knowing what to read next


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