Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Wood Green Literary Festival

Tim and I try and attend as many of the Local Business meetings as we can in Haringey. The majority of these meetings have been instigated by the good people in the Regeneration Department at Haringey Council. And they are good people.

A few months ago, at one of these meetings, it was announced that Haringey had been given £50k of the Government's 'High Street Innovation Fund'. This money was put up to support projects that improve the vibrancy of town centres. The Council wanted town centre organisations to put forward their proposals for how the money should be spent. They  asked organisations to submit detailed proposals on how they would improve Haringey's high streets.

So, we thought, why don't we propose the idea of a Literary festival in Wood Green. I filled in the proposal form, including stuff like this.

"We are seeking funding to organise a richly diverse, exciting, and truly unique Literary Festival in Wood Green in 2013. It’s hoped that staging this will increase footfall in the area, and act as a positive showcase for Wood Green.
We aim to put the 3 day festival on in October 2013, running from Friday evening to Sunday evening. As well as traditional venues...we will also look to use other local gems, such as the Karamel Club & The West Indian Cultural Centre to host events.
We will also investigate the possibilities of using outdoor spaces and schools"
and also,

"It’s an event that local businesses and residents can get behind. Not only will it have a big appeal to locals as a wonderful opportunity to be involved in an exciting and positive event, but businesses will see the potential of higher footfall in the area and therefore an opportunity to get more people through their doors.
A literary festival in Wood Green would be a very clear sign that the area is a vibrant and ‘happening’ place to visit and live. This could prove to be a catalyst for more community based events and it has the potential to attract more new businesses to the area, who will see Wood Green in a positive light."
 I'll spare you the detail, but I sent the form off about 8 weeks ago and we crossed our fingers.
About a week ago we got this letter back from Haringey Council.

It's official.
It says that 'subject to approvals' we have been awarded £10,000 to put on a Literary Festival next year.

So, after we finished dancing around the shop, and we'd composed songs and poems praising Mary Portas and Haringey Council, we thought we'd let you know.

 We're not going to be able to start organising anything this side of Christmas, what with all the other stuff we're trying to do at the moment (selling books and that..), but in the New Year we'll be putting together a Festival Committee, who we're hoping will help us to put on a truly wonderful celebration of books and reading.

We'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Solicitor wanted.

OK, this is where we are with things.

We've agreed the terms for the letting of the new premises. We now have to 'contribute' a big wad of cash to the landlords solicitors costs. That's fair enough, we had to do that when we opened the shop in Wood Green.
Once they receive this wad of cash (tomorrow), their solicitors are going to send us the draft lease document.
We probably won't understand most of it, but having not had the greatest of experiences with solicitors during the process of opening the Big Green Bookshop (mark 1), we are slightly wary of solicitors.
So, naturally, we need your help. Serious help.
We are looking for a solicitor who
  • knows about property law.
  • is patient enough to deal with Tim and I.
  • understands how urgently we need this all to happen.
  • is not going to charge us a large wad of cash.
  • will make us love solicitors.
Not much to ask, eh??

If there is anyone out there who can help, please get in touch.
Twitter @biggreenbooks
Email enquiries at biggreenbookshop dot com
telephone  020 8881 6767

Monday, November 19, 2012

You're Going to do What????

We opened the Big Green Bookshop in March 2008. It is the greatest bookshop in the whole world (well we think so anyway).

We've had some ups and downs over the last couple of years, but because we have the most incredible customers and friends, we 've managed to get through the hard times.
We've always been a community led shop, and we've tried to be more than just a place where you just come to buy books. With author events, school visits, comedy nights, storytelling, writing, knitting and boardgames groups as well as all the other stuff we do, we hope that there's something that appeals to you. We will continue to do this, because we absolutely love doing it and we believe this is the way that our bookshop should run.

Never ones to tread water, we're always looking for new and exciting things that we can do to share the Big Green Bookshop love. One thing we are hoping to finalise this week, for example, is to get the go ahead to put on a huge literary festival in Wood Green next year. This is something we've wanted to do since we opened, but have never been able to afford. We still can't afford it, but are hoping that we'll be getting some funding...(fingers crossed).

The other thing we've always wanted to do is to open another bookshop. So, just because we can't afford to do this either, we're going to do this too!
A lease became available in a small commercial property near to where Simon now lives in Brookmans Park.
It's a barber's shop at the moment, and it looks something like this.
Hello barber's shop.
It's a very different area from Wood Green, but it's crying out for a bookshop. We have managed to negotiate a 'subject to contract' agreement with the owner, with a view to take on the lease on January 1st 2013. But, with a bit of luck and trickery, we'll hopefully be getting the keys on December 1st (13 days time)
 We're then going to try and turn it into a bookshop in another 13 days time, and open on Saturday December 14th.
 It's going to be a children's bookshop, with a sideline in toys, and Tim and Simon are going to split their time between the two shops. Katie will also be taking on a more permanent role in the Bookshop in Brookmans Park and we'll be taking on one (possibly two) part time members of staff at Wood Green. It will share the same community philosophy as the Wood Green shop and we'll try to offer the residents of Brookmans Park a bookshop they can call their own.

Yes, it's totally crazy, but we are really fired up about this new opportunity.
'Open another Bookshop, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?'

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Joe and Me by David Moody. Number 8 of #365biggreenbooks

I am way behind on my book review challenge, but I shall carry on regardless.
Joe and Me

Joe and Me by David Moody is a wonderful chapbook published by This is Horror. It's one of a series that they are producing. So far, the quality of this series has been very very high. David Moody is the author of, blimey, at least 9 novels. I guess the best known is Hater. A few of my friends have told me how good he was and after reading Joe and Me, I am totally convinced
Joe and Me tells the story of a couple and their 8 year old boy (Joe). Essentially they are an ordinary family, with the usual day to day issues. However, Joe's mum is a scientist who's working on a vaccine which might just save the planet from total annihalation.
Told from the point of view of Simon, the father, this beautifully paced story cleverly looks at the challenge faced in juggling normal family life when one of the parents is forced to spend time away from the family (trying to save the world).
And when the government take away the funding and threaten to use the research for less noble means, things take an even more sinister turn.
But can the family survive against all the odds?
I love that it was told from the point of view of Simon, the father, who seems the least potent of the 3 members of the family.
I loved loved loved this little chapbook. In less than 50 pages, you have a fully formed story and a great introduction to the literary talents of a wonderful author. It's a gem. Horrific, emotional, and beautifully written. Yes, it's horrific.
I give it 8, and that's a big old 8.
I shall be reading more David Moody very soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review - Splinters by Joseph D'Lacey-PART2

Hello. As promised, here is my review of the second half of Splinters, the collection of short stories by Joseph D'lacey that I shall be publishing in a couple of weeks. Actually it's ten days. As I explained in the last blogpost, I feel that I am in a good position to review this book, despite the fact that i'm publishing it.
Yes, of course I think it's brilliant. I wouldn't be publishing it otherwise. By publishing this book, i'm doing a public service. I'm sharing with you the brilliance of Joseph D'Lacey.

 There are twelve stories in the collection. The first six I reviewed in the last blogpost. As well as reviewing the stories, i'll try and give you an insight into the reasons the stories were chosen and their order in the book.
Stories 7-12;

Armageddon Fish Pie
  This is a poignant, thought provoking story which follows one man as he prepares for the end of the world. Throughout the story, he watches the reactions of others and reflects on his past. This was one of the first stories I chose to put in the collection, because once again it shows how versatile a writer Joseph is. In fact, the last three stories are all so individual you may think they'd been written by different people. This is unlike any 'End of the World' story you would imagine.

  This story, based in and around New Delhi, is a warning of how too much heroin can transform you into something completely different. It's the shortest story in the collection, and there's something about it that reminds me of this scene in An American Werewolf In London.

Rhiannon's Reach
This, in contrast to Kundalini, is the longest of the stories in the collection. Previously published in a wonderful chapbook a few years ago, this is the story of a man who, after having a near-death experience whilst diving is now equally terrified  and obsessed with the sea. Much like being in the sea, this story carries us along, until we suddenly find ourselves out of our depth. Joseph once again touches on man's relationship with nature in this tale, which keeps you guessing until the very end.
Son of Porn
 Time for a little relief, in the form of Nutbuster McGooch. A porn baron who is possibly the most sexually depraved person alive. I think Joseph enjoyed writing this story and despite its light hearted nature, does ask a few questions about evolution. Possibly. After the last story, I wanted to add something that changed the mood. I think this does it very effectively.
What They Want (What Aliens Really, Really Want)
Another inspired and totally unique story, taking a whole new look at why aliens may be interested in the human race. It's actually 4 mini stories in one, each story looking at a different period of time and location in history. The last of these four stories is the killer. And the last line gets you just there.
So we've reached the last story in the collection. And we couldn't leave you without first giving you a zombie story. But as is the way throughout this collection, it's a different take on the traditional zombie story. So here it is.
The Food Of Love 
This is a beautiful, tender love story, in which a doctor and nurse fall in love trying to find a cure to a terrible illness that is sweeping the earth. Symptoms of this illness inevitably lead to death, but worse than that (for those still living at least), the dead come back to life shortly afterwards and are hungry for meat in whatever form it takes.
This story has it all, and Joseph really cranks up the emotion. There's a lot more going on in this final story than just zombies and it's a fitting way to end the collection.
There you go then. That's Splinters. It's awesome. If you like awesome, there are two free stories that aren't in the book on this microsite.
Oh, and if you haven't bought it yet and i've persuaded you to give it a try...ta.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review - Splinters by Joseph D'Lacey-PART 1

Yes, this is the book I'm publishing on November 1st. So, you'd expect my review to be biased.
Of course I like the book, and the stories in it. But I think I am in a fairly good position to talk about it, seeing as it's been a part of my life for the last six months.

Anyway here is a preview of the jacket. I imagine if you click on it, amazing things will happen.
This is a collection of twelve short stories by Joseph D'Lacey. It think it's fair to say that I have read more of Joseph's writing than pretty much anyone apart from Joseph himself. It is a credit to his writing that I still crave more.

The process of putting this collection of stories together involved me reading every finished short story that he'd written over the last eleven years. That's a lot of stories.
I wanted those we chose to put in the book to reflect the versatility of Joseph's writing. There is a stigma that comes with being known as a 'genre' author. Especially if it's science fiction, fantasy or horror. This was highlighted rather well by a fact about the Man Booker Prize for fiction that I learnt yesterday which is illustrated below.

This is from the Guardian btw

I realise this is just one snapshot, but what I wanted to show in this collection is that genre fiction, in this case horror, can be literary, accessible, challenging and very readable. Yes, by its very nature it can be disturbing too. But if books provoke emotion then is that so wrong?
What i'm trying to say is if you don't read horror, because 'well, it's horror, isn't it?', I would urge you to reconsider.

Twelve stories are included in the collection and here I shall try to give you a taste of each one. The first six I shall review here and the second six I shall review next week.

Here goes;

  Set in Gemini Apartments, the story explores paranoia, where nosey neighbours take on a modern twist. It's a multilayered story that starts off with a sinister uneasy undertone, which then spirals and spirals to a whole new level. I chose this story to put in first, because a) it's one of my personal favourites and b) because it sets a tone for the whole book.

Lights Out
  When you were young were you scared of the dark? Did you think there was something under your bed that might get you? This is the classic premise of this 10 pager. Our main character Joe has lived with this fear since he was young, but it has remained with him. As he has grown, his imagination of what could possibly be under the bed has grown with him. And now his son is beginning to worry what's under HIS bed. There's a twist. A brilliant twist.

By now, after two stories, you'll probably need a break. Not only to compose yourself, but to savour the stories you've just read.

Right, OK? Let's continue.

Altar Girl
  This story marks a change of direction in the book. Life, for Sophie has not turned out the way she'd dreamt. Her husband is a slob and her kids are spoilt and ungrateful. As she stands by the kitchen sink, she wonders to herself, 'if only things were different...'
It's a Wonderful Life never got this dark.

The Quiet Ones
  This tale follows an assassin's journey across a treacherous and inhospitable frozen landscape to eradicate a commune, who have chosen to leave behind civilization. What grabbed me about this story was how claustrophobic it felt, despite the vast open spaces this story is set in. It's also told by an unseen narrator, which adds to the sense of unease.
This short passage sums this up;
'You zero the crosshairs on her temple & let your finger rest on the trigger.
Death is a moment away.
You are the keeper of that moment'.

Four stories down .
I know, you're already convinced. So here's a helpful link to where you can buy it now

OK, now you've sorted that out, we'll continue;

The Unwrapping of Alistair Perry
  Another multilayered story, literally in this case. Our eponymous hero finds himself transforming into something different. Something he's always wanted, but something unattainable until now. But this is just the start of Alistair's journey. Where will this transformation lead him?
Another superb and well thought out surreal story that keeps you guessing until the very end.

The Mango Tree
  Joseph's previous novels Meat, Garbage Man & to a certain extent Kill Crew explore our relationship the earth the dangers of not living in harmony with nature, earning these books a further sub-genre 'Eco Horror'. Mango Tree also visits this theme.
On the island where he lives, Etoile is a loner. The islanders visit him to buy the fish he catches, as it is far superior than any other.
The children on the island avoid him & the other islanders warn them that he will come for them at night if they don't behave. When Etoile catches one of the children trying to pick a mango from the tree next to his hut, after a dare, we learn that perhaps there is something special about Etoile. Something very special indeed.
This story highlights, once again, how versatile Joesph is as a writer. The pace and style of it is completely different from the previous five stories in this collection. It is a beautiful piece of writing.

So, here are the first six stories. Yes, we're half way through now. There are still half a dozen little gems to go. Not a zombie in sight, yet.

There's only going to be 500 printed and each will be numbered and signed by Joseph. It's only £8.99 and if you order it before November 3rd you stand a chance of winning loads of stuff. LOOK HERE.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Man Booker Prize - I stick my neck out.

OK, earlier I wrote a post about our Booker Book Challenge and also to encourage you to vote for the book you thought would win the Booker Prize tonight. (vote NOW=>).
I was undecided about who I was going to plump for earlier, but I've had some time to think and I reckon I have decided who I'd like to win now.

I have already reviewed Deborah Levy's Swimming Home HERE.

But what about the others.....

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayl

Set in the drug riddled underbelly of Bombay in the 1970s, this is an atmospheric read and captures the smells and tastes of the city. But where Jeet Thayl excels is in the dream like drug fuelled undertone of the whole book. It's a dangerous, bleak and desperate read . Not all the characters in the book captured my imagination, although some, especially the tragic Dimple and truly horrible Rumi were spot on.
Although I found the descriptions of the various drug trips a little monotonous at times, this lively descriptive novel is full of great imagination.

Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

This is, ultimately a story about the relationship between Yun Ling, the only survivor of a Japanese POW camp  and gardener Nakamura Aritomo, the Japanese gardener who she employs to build a garden in memory of her sister who died in the camp.
It took me a little while to get into the story, but once there, it was wonderful. The writing is poetic, the imagery and the sense of place is spot on, and the story of the relationship and redemption is memorable.
There were a couple of things that slightly spoiled my enjoyment. Firstly, I got confused about the timeline of the book. It chopped and changed a bit too much for me to fully relax into the story and the author italicises the Japanese words throughout the book. I didn't know whether to google them or to just carry on reading and not worry if I didn't work out what they meant.
But overall, these are small complaints and I really did rate this book highly.
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore
This is the story of Futh, a hugely unremarkable man in his 40s, recently separated from his wife and embarking on a walking holiday in Germany, revisiting a holiday of his childhood.
His circular tour begins and ends in a hotel in the town of Hellhaus. This hotel is run by Ester and her husband and it is ester who is the stories secondary character. She is trapped in a loveless marriage and consoles herself by having sexual encounters with the hotel guests.
The Lighthouse of the title, is a perfume bottle (shaped like a lighthouse) that Futh carries with him at all times. This is the only thing he has to remind him of his mother, who abandoned his family when he was twelve.
As Futh sets of on his holiday we can only watch as this shambolic, socially awkward and tragic character's situation becomes more and more desperate.
There are hints of Magnus Mills in her writing and although towards the end of the book, I could see what was ultimately going to happen, it didn't make it any less harrowing.
Alison Moore has written a wonderful novel, which I adored.

Umbrella by Will Self 

Bloody hell. Will Self. I love some of his books. Cock and Bull is fabulous, truly fabulous. But sometimes I wonder whether he makes it difficult for the reader on purpose. This is 400 pages of 'stream of consciousness' narrative, as far as I can tell. I haven't finished it yet, so I cannot give it a full review. The first 20 pages were almost enough to put me off completely, but I gave it a second chance and I am now (after 130 pages) beginning to 'Get it'.
But the argument remains. Books are meant to be read. Yes, they can be challenging (I encourage challenging), and I like a bit of stream of consciousness writing. My love for Mark Leyner, a master of this type of writing, is well documented. But they need to be accessible.
I withhold judgement until I've finished the book.

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (I haven't read).
Again, I am mental for Mantel. Fludd and Wolf Hall are two staggeringly brilliant books and I have no doubt I will devour Bring Up the Bodies. A review will be forthcoming.

So I have to stick my neck out and say who I think will win.
It depends what the judges are looking for.
I'll tell you what would be good for the book industry. Even if Mantel doesn't win, hundreds of thousands of people will read Bring Up the Bones. If Will Self wins with this book, I suspect he'll sell loads, but many people will not read it or finish it.
The most accessible AND LITERARY book on the list is The Lighthouse by Alison Moore. If this wins, it will raise the profile massively of the book, it will sell a hundred thousand at least and most of those bought will be read and enjoyed. I'd like to think this is what books are all about.
The Booker Prize judges should think about this when making the decision.
Or maybe they shouldn't. Hey , I don't know, maybe Hilary Mantel should win.
No. I think Alison Moore.
That's it. (I did enjoy Swimming Home too)

No Alison Moore it is.



The Man Booker Prize 2012

So, tonight's the night that the winner of the Man Booker Prize is announced. This is all very exciting for book fans. As a fan of books I am very excited.
Each year in the shop we run a Booker Prize Book Challenge. This is how it works.
As soon as the shortlist was announced, we ordered up copies of each of the books. Those who wanted to take up the challenge were invited to meet on an evening in September to say hello, take home one or more of the titles, and enjoy some rather lovely wine.
Over the next five or so weeks challenge was to make a concerted effort to read as many of the six shortlisted books as possible.
 The group will meet again, tonight to discuss each of the books. After a heated debate, the group will vote for whom they think should win. We’ll then watch the televised ceremony, and hopefully cheer as our choice and the actual winner is one and the same. Or more likely, shout and curse as our least favourite book takes the glory.
Take make things more affordable, for a one off payment of £25, people could borrow each of the 6 books and get to keep their favourite at the end.

This year I've managed 4 and a half (I will try and make it 5 by this evening) of the books. The one I haven't read is Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel. I remember, when reading Wolf Hall (the book that precedes this one), how difficult it was to read quickly. I adored Wolf Hall and wanted to savour the rich language and immerse myself in the story. I suspect the same applies to this one, so i'm going to read it without feeling any pressure to do so quickly.

So, of the 4/5 books i've read, I thought 3 were excellent. I am struggling to decide who I want to win (although I know who I really don't want to win).

My personal success at picking the winner is not great. I did choose Wolf Hall, but last year I was a big Jamrach's Menagerie fan and the year before I wanted The Room by Emma Donoghue to do the biz.

I have set up a poll on the side of the blog. It is purely unscientific. You can vote on who you think will win. We shall see if it corresponds with either a) the actual result or b) who the Booker Book Challenge group think should win.
Whichever book is leading  at 8.00pm BST, I shall bet £10 (TEN POUNDS) on, at my friendly local online bookies*.
Don't let me down.


*bet responsibly

Monday, October 08, 2012

London Tales by Greg Stekelman. Last 10 copies!

Last year I published my first book. It was called London Tales and it was by the brilliant Greg Stekelman (TheManWhoFellAsleep).
here it is.

What started out as a plan to reissue Greg's first book "A Year in the Life of TheManWhoFellAsleep" soon blossomed into this wonderful idea to create a collection of Greg's illustrations and turn them into this extraordinary and beautiful book. You can read more about it here.
 We produced just 250 copies of the book which are all numbered and signed.
Greg and I agreed early on that when we got down to the last 10 copies we would offer them at a discounted price.

We will be selling the last 10 copies of London Tales for just £25 (not, as Rhodri Marsden so eloquently put it "forty fucking quid" )
If you want to get your hands on a copy, please head this way.
Once these copies have been sold, that's it. It will no longer be available.

I'm really proud to have published London Tales. As someone who loves books and has spent many many (many) years working in the book industry, this has been a very special time for me. I hope, if you do decide to purchase a copy, you'll appreciate what a gorgeous book it is.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Ask Caitlin Moran a Question, Win a Signed Copy of Moranthology


Caitlin Moran is coming to the Big Green Bookshop tonight. 

Yes, you heard me right. 

Tickets have sold out for the event, but here's a chance for someone on Twitter to win a signed copy of her new book, Moranthology.

Simply tweet a question you'd like to ask her, using the hashtag #askcaitlin. 
We'll then print them off and ask Caitlin to answer a few of them. The person who asks the question that Caitlin deems the best will win a signed book. 

Go on. 

Remember you can still order signed copies of Moranthology from our website here

Friday, September 21, 2012

End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas. Number 3 of #365BigGreenBooks

Book 3 in the challenge. Already way behind schedule.
This is one of those books that I've been meaning to read for years. I've had so many people come in to the shop and pick it up and say, 'oooh, have you read this? it's amazing'. And i've shuffled my feet and said '..er, yeah. I've heard it's really good'. And so earlier this year I finally got round to reading it.
The End Of Mr. Y
Well, it didn't take me too long to realise why people were raving about it. This is a truly wonderful book. It's trippy.
 I still haven't quite worked out how to describe it. Is it a fantasy? An adventure story? A philosophical conundrum? A magical time travelling freak festival?
What I can tell you is that it grips you from the very first moment you open the book.
The main protagonist, PHD student Ariel, comes across a seemingly impossibly obscure book which, whilst incredibly important to the studies she's doing, also has a 'curse'. Everyone who reads it or is in any way involved with it, dies. Yoinks.
The book takes her on a most amazing journey, both in reality and in her dreams.
There are some parts of the book that I had no idea what was going on, but I have to tell you, it made no difference to my enjoyment whatsoever. Scarlett Thomas knows how to write. She knows how to engage the reader.
I guess it kind of looks at life, existence and being (trippy, like I said). There is also a mouse god in it called Apollo Smintheus. YES.
I am not going to reveal anything more about this book, because I want YOU to read it. It is book that people should read.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Earth Abides by George R Stewart. Number 2 of #365BigGreenBooks

Here is the second book of the ridiculous challenge i've set myself. We have a few Book Groups at the shop. I oversee the one we hold on the second Tuesday of each month. How we choose the books is quite democratic. Everyone writes their choice down on a piece of paper and puts it in a hat, and then one is picked at random. It seems to work well. A couple of month's ago, out of the hat came Earth Abides.
Earth Abides
This pleased me greatly. I like a bit of post apocalyptic fiction, and by the sounds of it this was right up my street.

"Oh no", I hear you cry, "not another one of those 'end of the world', over the top stories".


The story is set around California. Nearly all of the population has perished an unknown disease. Ish Williams, having been on a scientific study of the mountains around California, somehow survives. Returning to civilisation he finds no humans alive. Being something of a loner, Ish is able to deal with this far better than the other (very very few) survivors he encounters.
It dawns on him that he is now in a position of great responsibility if civilisation is going to survive and begins a quest to find people who will help him rebuild and repopulate the earth.

What is so very very special about this novel is that it doesn't go over the top, like so many other books on the subject. It is beautifully paced, and incredibly thoughtfully put together. It looks specifically at the issue of what would happen to the planet if humans were virtually wiped out. It not only focuses on practical issues such as the neglection of roads, and water pipes, the eventual end of electricity, food, transport and homes, but it also looks at stuff like religion and reproduction.

Ish finally finds Em, who, like Ish understands the importance of her survival. She's a hugely important figure in the book (possibly the most important), and together they begin to build a Tribe, a group of people who will hopefully be able to repopulate the world.
It very cleverly then goes follows the Tribe through 3 or 4 generations and looks at how this group of people develop and thrive.
I don't want to give too much away, but I was pretty blown away by this book.
The Book Group were also full of high praise for it and (of the 22 people who attended the meeting) its lowest score out of 10 was 6.

I gave it a 9, because it's that good.

If you want to buy it you can do so here. FREE P+P.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy. Number 1 of #365BigGreenBooks

So, the challenge that I've set myself begins. To review 365 books in 365 days. Books that I've read since January 1st 2012. You can read a little bit more about this here 
Where do I start?
Well, I guess this is as good a place as any.
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
I was on holiday last week. Yes, it was lovely thanks. We went to Bude in North Cornwall. So I took some books with me to read. This was one of them. It's been longlisted for this years Man Booker Prize and I'm delighted that such a new and small publisher such as &otherstories has a book on the longlist, although to be honest when it comes to sales, it's only when a book reaches the shortlist that things really start to kick off.
Anyway, I thought I'd give it a go. It's probably not the kind of book I would usually read, but the more I think about it, it has many of the ingredients that I like in a book. Dark humour, unusual prose, and a powerful and thought provoking storyline. Hey, what's not to like?
The story is set in a villa near Nice in the mid nineties. A famous poet, just arriving there with his family sees what he thinks is a body in the swimming pool. It turns out that this body is in fact very much alive. It is Kitty French, who is about to turn the whole families holiday upside down.
She is a huge fan of Joe's and wants to share a poem with him that she's written.
The family (strangely) insist she stays with them until she sorts out alternative accommodation. Kitty seems to possess a kind of hypnotic hold on the people she encounters throughout the book, and her self destructive nature threatens to destroy all of them. It looks at how depression can affect people differently and how difficult people can find it to totally remove it from their lives. If I had to fault it, I'd say that Jurgen the hippy German handyman, who spends his days getting stoned and reading Hermann Hesse seemed caricatured, but this is a  small fault.
At just over 150 pages, it didn't take too long to read, but to suggest that 150 pages is too short would be doing the book an injustice. I think that Deborah Levy uses language thoughtfully and doesn't fluff the novel out with flowery descriptions or pointless asides. The story is tight, powerful, sometimes disturbing, but delightfully written.
Whether it makes the Booker Shortlist, we shall find out tomorrow. I suspect not, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't (my predictions for the shortlist by the way are, Hilary Mantel, Will Self, Nicola Barker, Alison Moore, Michael Frayn and Ned Beauman). If it does, then it will make doing this years Booker Book Challenge a bit easier.
So part of the rules of my challenge is that I have to mark books out of 10. Remember, this is just my opinion. You may have very different thoughts about it.
It's available to buy here. Free P+P too (and we also pay our corporation tax). x

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

365 Books in 365 Days

I like books. So much so, in fact, that I read quite a few of them. Some make me shake with excitement just thinking about them. Some make me pleased that I've read them. Some make me angry. But every book I read makes me feel something.
I get many opportunities to share these feelings in the bookshop, where I will delightedly bang on about (for example) how incredible chapter 33 of Mr Chartwell is or how simple the language in Brooklyn by Colm Toibin is, but how it draws you into the story without realising it.

Ah, books.
Books, books books books.

Despite my woeful lack of bloggery on this particular blog recently, I also like typing words and making them into sentences, which I then like to post online.

So, I thought, why not combine these two things into one bigger thing. A THING.
So here's the THING.

Announcing 365 BIG GREEN BOOKS (twitter hashtag #365BigGreenBooks). One year, 365 book  reviews (that is a tagline).

Here are my rules. I made them all by myself.
  • 365 Big Green Books will start on Monday September 10th 2012 and finish on September 9th 2013
  • all books must have been read since January 1st 2012
  • at least 30% of a book must have been read to register a review (I am not going to finish reading a book I can't stand)
  • all genres of books are included (although it's likely that it will mainly be fiction and kids)
  • Each book will be marked out of 10
  • I do not have to review one book a day.  e.g. I can review 5 books in one blog if I like.
  • This rule isn't important, please ignore it.
  • I can change the rules. I made them, I can break them.
So, that's it really.

This is what I am hoping to achieve by doing this.
  1. It will allow me to share my love of books with you.
  2. It will stimulate debate about the books I have read.
  3. I will be recommended books to read by you lot, that I might not have read otherwise.
  4. It will encourage me to blog more here.
I'm quite excited about this. I thnk it's going to be a good THING.
I think i'd better go and read some more books now.

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Epiphany", by the Fairy Bookmother.

On a dark day in December, "Appalled of Harringay" learnt of the statistic that one in three children do not own a single book.
"That's real poverty", she cried (for it was a she).
"This is a situation up with which we cannot put", she continued.
She ran (stopping only to catch the 141 bus) to the Big Green Bookshop for a why-oh-why session with Tim and Simon. When calm had been restored, they put their heads together and the Fairy Bookmother Intiative (FBI) was inaugurated, its aim being to share the enjoyment of reading & work towards raising literacy and reducing book-poverty amongst children in the borough of Haringey.

Using a donation from the Fairy Bookmother, the Bookshop supplied books to certain schools in the borough with the remit of getting the books into the hands of those children who were least likely to own a book. This proved tricky, but it was a START.
The Fairy Bookmother is not a millionaire philanthropist (with or without a youthful ward) and is therefore looking for people who share her outrage and would be willing to join with her in further developing the FBI. This may mean a small donation or something less tangible.
She wishes to remain anonymous, at least outside the group, but if anyone is interested in helping out in any way please contact the bookshop.
You could be an individual, a business or maybe you are someone in Haringey Council who may have the facility to take this initiative to another level. Whoever you are, if you think you can help, please get in touch.


Tel. 020 8881 6767
Email. enquiries@biggreenbookshop.com

Thursday, June 14, 2012


 Last month we had a big old sale of on all our 2nd hand books. We'd been inundated by your generous book donations and we'd got to a stage where we had boxes and boxes of books that we just had no room to display.
Rather than leave them in boxes, feeling sorry for themselves, we decided to set them free and offer all our 2nd hand books to our customers at whatever price they wanted to pay.
It worked really well and we were able to free hundred, if not thousands of books on the day.
What the day also achieved was raise the profile of our second hand section. This has led to us getting boxes and boxes more second hand books since the day. This is brilliant, because what it means is....WE'RE GOING TO DO IT AGAIN. 

Yes, this Saturday, ALL DAY we're having another


Once again, you can choose up to 6 books and pay as little as 1p for each. You could pay a tenner for each too, but that's up to you.
We still have well over 3,500 secondhand books here and we're bringing in a load more.
We're hoping for another sunny day so that we can get the tables and boxes outside again.
It's great that we can do this, as we know that lots of you were really sad that you missed the last one.


Monday, May 21, 2012


One of my favourite books ever is Fludd by Hilary Mantel. It's about a dying town in the north of England. The priest has lost his faith and the town has given up on life. Suddenly a preacher called Fludd arrives, informing the priest that he's been sent to renew his (and the town's) faith. Strange things start to happen when he turns up, almost like miracles. Is he good or evil? Oh man, it's a great book.
However this isn't the Fludd i'm talking about today.
 Because this Saturday we had a FLOOD. Not just a leak (we've had lots of those before, as our roof is a bit shite), but a big old flood.
There we were in our small, relatively dry bookshop when a mini tsunami appeared from the 2nd hand book corner. It was a shock. It didn't stop either and continued to pump out gallon after gallon of unpleasant smelling water.
Ten minutes later, after we'd removed bookcases and books from the area in question, we were confronted with this.
The brown thing on the floor looks like a poorly constructed robot with no arms.

We lost a few hundred quids worth of books and the emergency plumber (who was brilliant btw) cost us another couple of hundred. Bugger.

we're getting back to normality and apart from a squelchy green carpet and a slightly damp smell, things are OK.

I guess this is the kind of thing that exemplifies the title of this blog really.

La la la. (these are my happy noises).

If there is a preacher called Fludd out there who fancies visiting Wood Green any time soon, that'd be great. x


Monday, May 14, 2012

Garden. A Progress Report

There's a bit of ground by the side of the shop that we have intended to make better use of since we opened. With the help of volunteers we've cleared the area twice now, with plans to turn it into a reading garden. For one reason or another these plans didn't materialise.

Until now.

(left click on the picture and it gets bigger)

Here is the plan that our good friend Louise (a garden designer) has put together. She has sourced almost all the materials that we need to make this a reality and is free to help do the work over the next month. There is also Ben and Alyson, who came to our Bookshop Meeting on Saturday who have kindly agreed to manage the project from our end.
Louise is in the process of making the benches to go into garden once the paving has been put down, and we're pretty much ready to get going.
So, as usual, we're looking for some help.
On the 'Schedule of Works', the first thing we need to do is totally clear the area. At the moment it's covered in gravel and other nasty stuff that will require gloves..All this will need to be transported to a gravel pit in Highgate, where we've been told we can dump it.
Once this is done Louise and the team can get going with putting the fence posts in and doing all the clever things that they need to do.
So , if you're free on Saturday 19th May from 11am and want to give us a hand, then please get in touch. Also, if you have a van or a car that you don't mind being used to transport gravel and stuff to Highgate in, please let us know.
It's going to look fantastic and we're keen that it's done as soon as possible so that our customers can make use of it over the Summer.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Medieval Banquet

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (in my opinion) thoroughly deserved to win the 2009 Booker Prize for fiction. It also won the National Book Critics Circle award for Fiction, The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. It was the winner of the Morning News Tournament of Books, Wimbledon and The Eurovision Song Contest. It was beaten in the semi final of the Champions League by Barcelona after a controversial disallowed goal, which once again brought up the issue of the use of goal line technology.
It is an excellent novel about the early life of Thomas Cromwell and his rise to power in the early 1500s.

Yesterday Fourth Estate published the sequel. This is BIG NEWS in our part of town, so we thought we'd do something appropriate to celebrate.
So we threw a medieval banquet in the bookshop.

This is what our bookshop looks like.

So, we needed to make it look a bit more authentic

Not bad, eh. (that's a log fire in the top left hand corner).

The food was incredible and supplied by local caterers The Hungry Wolf. There were roasted pigeons with parsley and bread sauce, fish pies with pears and spices, a staggeringly tasty mutton stew apple pies, marchipane, fruit jellies. For the vegetarians we had a mushroom and prune stuffed bread, (which was out of this world) and a borage leaf and parsley egg pie.
This was all washed down with lashings of spiced wine and ale.  


We also managed to secure SIGNED FIRST EDITIONS of the book, which guests got to take home at the end of the evening (all wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string).

We still have some of the Signed First Editions if you're interested.

As usual, we couldn't have pulled this off without the help of our fantastic customers and friends. All the material and cloth that covered the shelves was borrowed, as were the trestle tables which we used to build the long table. The publishers were great in making sure we got the signed copies that we'd asked for and we even managed to borrow the plates from the cafe next door.

So, to sum up, people got together, chatted, laughed, enjoyed a wonderful meal and took home a great book in a pretty little parcel and hopefully had a memorable evening.

Amazon must be quaking in their boots. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Timeline Books. An Announcement.

I am  a bookseller. But I am also a publisher. My publishing company is called Timeline Books. I have published one book so far. Yes, ONE. It is London Tales by Greg Stekelman. It is awesome and if you haven't bought it by now and you have £40, then I suggest you do. There are only 250 in the whole world and tests prove that by buying a copy your life will improve on average by 3.2%*.
When I set up Timeline Books, I thought to myself that i'd probably publish just the one book. But having enjoyed the whole experience so very very much, my taste for publishing more has grown.
And this is why I am delighted to announce that I am going to be publishing Timeline Books second book.
It's going to be a collection of the finest short stories by Joseph D'Lacey. Joseph is awesome and I cannot tell you how excited I am to be publishing this.

Let me tell you a bit about Mr D'Lacey.
  • He wrote a book called Meat, which I reviewed on this blog here back in 2008 (there is also an interview I did too).He also wrote a book called Garbage Man, which has some of the most powerful imagery I have read. He also wrote the novella Kill Crew, which I reviewed a bit here
  • He was awarded Best Newcomer in 2009 at the British Fantasy Society awards for Meat
  • Stephen King is a massive fan and has said that 'Joseph D'Lacey Rocks'.
  • I have spent the last 2 months reading his short stories and I feel like I am the luckiest person alive. They are brilliant.
This is what Joseph looks like, should you want to say hello to him if you meet him.

Joseph would probably be filed under Horror in bookshops. If there was a more specific sub genre, it would be Eco Horror. But the scope of his writing means that I am reluctant to place him in one particular genre. His stories put me in mind of Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected, but with an even darker, more sinister (and sometimes hilarious) conclusion. What I love about his writing is that I never know quite what to expect. His latest book, Snake Eyes, published in the USA, contains two novellas. Each one takes you on a journey that has layer after layer of storyline. It takes you further and further into his crazy and imaginative mind. You don't know what's going to happen, but when it does happen...BOOM!!

The book will be published on September 27th 2012. This coincides with the publication of a book by JK Rowling, which one or two of you might know about. We thought it would be good for her to have a bit of competition.
There will be a Limited Edition of just 500 copies. Each one will be signed and numbered.
There will be a competition to design the cover of the book. This will be launched in May at the same time as the title of the book is announced.
There are more things, but this is quite enough excitement for one blogpost.

This is going to be something very special. If you know anyone who you think would want of copy of this (who wouldn't to be honest), please let them know.

*I made this up, but you should still buy a copy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mark Leyner's Sugar Frosted Nutsack

Late last year I was doing my usual check on our American book suppliers website for copies of Mark Leyner's books. I like to keep them in stock, because I think they're pure literary gold. As usual they had one or two copies of My Cousin My Gastroenterologist (his first novel) & a copy of the Tetherballs of Bougainville. Mark Leyner wrote these books back in the 90s along with a couple of other novels, but then stopped writing fiction.
I never suspected to see what I saw that day.
Because on the American suppliers website, in front of my very eyes, was a NEW TITLE by Mark, due to be published at the end of March 2012.
I stared at for a few moments, trying to take this information in. Mark Leyner had written a new novel after a gap of well over a decade. This made me do a small dance. Yes, I danced in the Bookshop at the thought of reading a NEW Mark Leyner book.
It was called The Sugar Frosted Nutsack (why the hell not) and I had to wait 5 months before I could get my hands on it.

So fast forward to March 2012. A parcel arrives from our US book suppliers. I open it.
It was like that scene from Pulp Fiction when John Travolta opens the briefcase, or when Charlie Bucket unwraps his Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight. Because inside the box we're copies of the book I had been waiting to read for 5 months. More dancing ensued.

OK, so now I've read the book. Did I enjoy it?  Did it live up to my expectations (they were very high)?  Has Mark Leyner still got the jazz?


Reading a book by Mark Leyner is an experience. It is inspiring, exhausting, hilarious, dangerous, explosive, filthy, unpredictable and magical.

The Sugar Frosted Nutsack storyline, if there is one, centres around Ike Karton, a plaything of the Gods. There are a lot of Gods in the book. They include El Burbuja, the God of Bubbles, El Brazo, the God of Urology and El Cucho, God of Concussions, Alcoholic Blackouts, Brainwashing & Amnesia amongst other things. El Cucho is also known as XOXO and figures heavily in the book.
These Gods look down from the tallest building on the planet and observe Ike on his stoop, going to a diner, flirting with a waitress, talking to his daughters drug dealing boyfriend and ultimately getting shot.
There, that's the story. That's it. But it isn't about the story, it's about how Mark Leyner plays with it. The book is also about 'The Sugar Frosted Nutsack', an epic book within the book that we are reading, which, when performed (usually by drug-addled blind bards), any variation to the original telling then becomes the official story, which must consequently be performed with those variations. Having been performed thousands (if not millions) of times, the original story and the one that is now performed are completely different. And discussion rages throughout the book about what was the original story and what has been added. With XOXO mischievously mixing things up and changing the story throughout, it is impossible to know what the real story is.
Or are the Gods all figments of Ike's imagination? Is he a deluded madman who believes that fate had put him on earth simply for the purpose of the story?
Everything in the book has been carefully considered. I have no idea where in the book the author started writing. It's almost as though he wrote one sentence and then wrapped that sentence with two more, and on, and on until he had produced a ball of words, which the reader can then slowly unwrap. There are countless repeated passages throughout, which, far from being annoying (unless Leyner does it to be annoying, which he does on purpose at times), hypnotise and take you off on a totally new direction. He playfully experiments with sentence structure, grammar, font, and language throughout and it is certainly not a book I could read quickly. It did my brain in. It poked it and stroked it in a most enjoyable way.
I don't think I can do this book the justice it deserves. Mark Leyner is a genius and I will happily admit that some parts of the book overwhelmed me, such was the surreal ferocity of it. But even when this happened, I let the book take me along on its insane journey, safe in the knowledge that I had no idea what to expect.
If you want to read some more by Mark Leyner, I would suggest, My Cousin My Gastroenterologist. I adored The Sugar Frosted Nutsack and my tired brain has just enough strength left to stand and applaud this freakishly talented author before jumping into this 1966 Triumph Herald convertible and riding off into the sunset.

Monday, April 02, 2012

My Bookselling Life. Part One (first steps)

I started selling books to humans in 1984. I looked like this in 1984

Of course, I haven't changed a bit. But bookselling has quite considerably.
In 1984 and just about to celebrate my 6th (alright 16th) Birthday, I left school with 3 O Levels. O levels are today's equivalent of degrees, so I was clearly a genius. However, my school required that I achieve 5 O Levels to be allowed to stay on to the sixth form and turfed me out.
To say I didn't care was an understatement. I was a moody teenager, who didn't really care about very much at all. Thankfully, I had parents who did, and with their 'encouragement' I enrolled onto a Youth Training Scheme (YTS). I chose to be trained in retail and was given the option of working in one of two shops. One was a camera shop and the other was George's Bookshop in Bristol. Luckily I lived in Bristol at the time and so I chose the bookshop.
The scheme worked like this. I would be paid £25 a week and for that I would spend 3 days at college learning about retail and 2 days at George's as a sales assistant.
College was a massive eye opener. Having been to a relatively good school and just being a lazy sod, I wasn't aware that there were 16 year olds who didn't actually know what 6+5 was, or how many days in a week there were. But there I was in a classroom, a naive 16 year old, with people the same age as me who education had forgot. That lesson was the only thing that the college taught me, but it has stuck with me to this day.
The 2 days I spent at the bookshop, however, were incredible.
George's Bookshop was owned by Blackwell's and had been proudly selling books in Bristol since 1871. It was located on  Park Street and occupied 6 different locations on the street. Yes, that's right, there were 6 George's Bookshops on one street! One sold 2nd Hand, one sold Academic books, two had Art books, one was a Computer bookshop (actually this opened after I started there, but hey) and there was the glorious main bookshop at number 91. This was at the very top of the street and it was massive.
This is what it looked like in 1936 (a couple of years before I started).

This building not only held 4 floors of books, but also the unpacking department, the accounts department, the admin offices and it was also where the office of John May was. John was the managing director, who was both terrifying, creepy and lovely all at the same time. 

My first role in the shop was working in the section selling maps, foreign languages and travel (a heady mixture). My first manager was Gertrude Scanlon, who was a formidable lady in her 50's, who took me under her wing like a friendly albatross.
The travel section included an official Ordnance Survey Map Printer....
This machine took up about size of a snooker table, without the pockets, and people could come in and ask us to print off specific maps that they needed. The machine could do all scales and was very popular indeed. Being a trainee, I wasn't allowed anywhere near this machine and busied myself (when shouted at) with tidying shelves and checking what books we had.

There wasn't a computerised stock control system  in 1984. Are you mad?
No, we had stock cards. Files and files of them. Each card had the information about a book on, (Title, Author, ISBN, Publisher, Date arrived, etc), which was all handwritten by us, and it was our job to regularly go through all of these cards, checking how many copies were there.
There were drawers and drawers of these cards and this was something that took up a large part of the working day.
If something had sold we would mark the date on the card and the number of copies we thought we should order. The card would then be stuck upwards and replaced in the files, for Gertrude to check.
Should she deem that the book should be reordered the files would then be taken down to the basement, where a man in a suit sat, in the dark typing ISBN's and order quantities into what looked like a typewriter. This was in fact the cutting edge of book ordering systems and enabled books, once ordered, to be delivered to the bookshop within two weeks (sometimes as little as TEN DAYS).

It's odd to think that nowadays, people's  expectations are so high, that having to wait more than a couple of days for something seems almost unheard of. In the 1980's people were very impressed by the idea that we could get a book for them within a fortnight.

So my first months at the bookshop were great. I was still a bit naughty, and would take the occasional sickie, but they seemed to put up with me. In order to earn a bit more cash I would work Saturdays as well and my pay packet would be bulging with £37.50 a week.
We got paid weekly and we did actually get a pay packet, with cash in and everything. It was great.

After 2 months of college I had had enough of it. I wasn't learning anything, and the teachers knew this. I stopped going and took my first grown up decision of my life. I asked for a full time job at George's. I explained to Gertrude the situation and she spoke to her manager.
Staggeringly they said yes and in November 2004 I started full time employment at the bookshop. I was now earning £42.00 and life was good.

Oh yes, and I had to wear a tie.


Monday, March 19, 2012

A Newsletter

Each week I write a newsletter to send out to all the customers on our mailing list. I think there are about 3,000 recipients. This is a very useful thing and even if only 10% read it, that's a lot of people who know what's happening at the shop.
Here is this week's Newsletter. I'd be interested if you could let me know what you think? I know it's too long....

our comedy night last week was our most popular yet. All tickets were sold out before the event and the shop was filled for a fantastic night of laughter and enjoyment. Thanks to everyone who came along. We put the tickets for next months Comedy Night, which happens on Friday April 13th, on sale on our website here. Alternatively, if you like, you can contact us directly.

This Thursday, March 22nd, it's our Monthly Quiz. Starting at 7pm, there will be six rounds of questions, ranging from books, music, films and art as well as more quirky rounds like celebrity deaths and the dreaded anagrams round. The question master is the brilliant Greg Stekelman (@themanwhofell on Twitter) and it's always a lot of fun.
Here are the rules;
£2 per team member
Maximum of 4 per team
Get there on time.
The winning team will get £25!
Please bring your own refreshments.

The following week is going to be one of our busiest ever. There is something going on every day (sometimes more than one thing).

On Sunday March 25th, it's our regular Boardgames day at the Bookshop. Running from 1pm to 5pm, just come along and join in with one of the great games that are available to play. Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan seem to be current favourites, but if you have a game you'd like to bring along and share with the group, that'd be great. You don't have to stay for the whole afternoon and there's free coffee, tea and biscuits available for everyone. 
On Monday March 26th at 7pm, Jeremy Cassidy is here to help you experience the Alexander Technique. The theme of the evening is 'Reading with Ease', and there will be 3 other Alexander Technique teachers who will be here to give you a short lesson after Jeremy's talk. This is a FREE event.

Our Photography Club meets on Tuesday March 27th at 7pm. It's open to anyone who wants to learn more about photography or who simply wants to take better photos. Each month a subject is chosen by the group to take a photo/photos of to bring to the following meeting. This mont's subject is BLUE.
There is a Flickr Group set up called The Big Green Bookshop Photo Club, which people can download their photos onto as well.
It's £3 a month and refreshments are provided.
Come along if you get the chance.

On Wednesday March 28th at 7pm, we are delighted to be hosting an evening with Merle Hoffman, a pioneer in women's health care since 1971, a staunch defender of abortion rights, an untiring activist and writer around feminist and progressive issues. Merle is over from the states for three days to coincide with the publication of her memoir Intimate Wars. She has countless interviews and radio appearances booked and we are so pleased that The Big Green Bookshop was chosen to be the venue of her only Bookshop talk. She will be talking about and reading from her book and there will be a chance to ask questions too.
This is a FREE event and refreshments wil be available.

Merle's appearance means that for one week only the Writer's Group will be meeting in another venue (to be announced). Keep an eye out on our website for more news about this.

On Thursday March 29th at 7pm, we welcome Stephanie Butland to the shop. In her book 'How I said Bah! to Cancer', Stephanie tells us how she rallied against cancer through thinking strategies, a proactive approach to treatment, and a determination to keep the rest of her life going and retain a sense of humour. Truthful, personal, funny, and above all helpful, you could find 'How I Said Bah! to Cancer' to be the ideal straight-talking best friend to help you along your cancer journey - or support a loved one on theirs.
Stephanie will be reading from her book and will also answer any questions you may have.
This is a FREE event and refreshments will be available.

Friday March 30th at 7pm sees the launch party of Keith Lowe's incredible book Savage Continent; Europe in the Aftermath of World War 2 at the bookshop. In this epic book, Keith describes a continent still racked by violence, where large sections of the population had yet to accept that the war was over. He outlines the warped morality and the insatiable urge for vengeance that were the legacy of the conflict. He describes the ethnic cleansing and civil wars that tore apart the lives of ordinary people from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean, and the establishment of a new world order that finally brought stability to a shattered generation.
Please feel free to join him and his friends as he celebrates publication of this important new title. Refreshments will be served and it is FREE entry.

There's more??

Overnight from 6.30pm on Saturday March 31st until 6.30am on Sunday 1st April, there will be a Writer All-Nighter at the Bookshop. The aim of this is to provide you some quiet time to get some writing done and also to meet other writers. We hosted a similar event last November and it was a huge success.
There'll be periods of time dedicated purely to writing and these'll be broken up by some fun activities, to allow you a chance to refresh and take a break from what you're doing.
Things to consider bringing;
Cushions or a blanket. We have a limited supply at the bookshop.
A sleeping bag, if you think you'll want a nap.
Multiplug. We do have some, but it might be worth bringing one along too.
Refreshments. We will be providing some, but bring some along too if you like.
Tickets are £4, which will cover the use of the bookshop and also refreshments. These can be purchased online here or you can get them direct from the bookshop.
You don't have to stay the whole night, nor do you have to turn up when it starts, but we'd appreciate it if you could tell us when you think you'll be getting there. 

We will also be selling books at the North London Literary Festival in Hendon from Tuesday 27th March until Thursday 29th March. Details can be found here, http://www.mdx.ac.uk/aboutus/news-events/literary-festival.aspx and authors appearing include Mark Billingham, Jan Pienkowski (Meg and Mog), Laura Dockrill and Alex Wheatle. If you can't make it but would like signed copies any of the authors' books, please let us know.

So, we'll be quite busy then. But not too busy to say hello if you come to the shop. Which we hope you will.
Have a great week,
Simon, Tim and Katie