Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Calais Jungle Library - HELP!

OK then. We've been raising money and collecting books to donate to the "Jungle Library" in the Calais refugee camp. 

So far, we've raised over £2,500 and we have a ton load of books kindly donated by people from all over the country. We're still getting around twenty parcels a day with books to take to Calais. 

Image result for help

Here are three things;

  1. We need help sorting the books out. If you are free tomorrow (Thursday) and can spare an hour or two, please get in touch. 020 8881 6767. 
  2. We spoke to Mary Jones, the person looking after the Library and she is currently in the position where she's got plenty of fiction and kids books (in English) at the library. A lot of what's been donated is fiction and kids stuff, so we suggested to her that we have a mammoth sale of all the second stuff we've got and add that to the money that we're raising for her. She LOVED this idea, so we are having a....  
Image result for "pay what you like"

From Friday 18th September until Sunday 20th September

you can choose up to 6 books and pay as little as 1p for each (YOU MONSTER). You could pay a tenner for each too, but that's up to you.
We have well over 3,000 secondhand books here all looking to go to good homes.
We're hoping for sunny few days so that we can get the tables and boxes outside.

     3. I'm going to Calais on Monday 21st September to deliver the books we have and also to meet Mary and to give her some dosh. We've persuaded the lovely people at ZIPCAR to let us have a van, and we've (I think) persuaded the BBC to let us borrow a camera, so we can film our journey. 
Neither Tim or I drive, but the lovely Mark White, aka MarkyMarket is very kindly giving up his time and is going to help me get the books to Calais. 

This is all very exciting and I can't wait to meet Mary. Our aim is for this not to be a one-off thing. We'd like to keep our link with the library in Calais and continue to work with  Mary to ensure that at the very least, there is always a well stocked library at the camp. 

Thank you. 

The Suffragettes. A panel discussion. Thursday October 15th - 7.00pm


We're delighted to be able to put on a fantastic panel event at the shop to coincide with the release of the new film "SUFFRAGETTE", starring Helena Bonham-Carter, Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan.
We have three amazing authors here, who will be discussing the suffragette movement and the importance it played.
The authors are;
Lyndsey Jenkins
Lyndsey's book, 'Lady Constance Lytton: Aristocrat, Suffragette, Martyr' is a fascinating look at the life of one the more unlikely suffragettes. Daughter of a Viceroy of India and a lady in waiting to the Queen. She grew up in the family home of Knebworth and in embassies around the world…
Katherine Connelly
Author of 'Sylvia Pankhurst: Suffragette, Socailist and Scourge of the Empire'. In this vivid biography Katherine Connelly examines Pankhurst’s role at the forefront of significant developments in the history of radical politics…
Fern Riddell
Fern is the author of 'The Victorian Guide to Sex', An exciting factual romp through sexual desire, practises and deviance in the Victorian era. The Victorian Guide to Sex will reveal advice and ideas on sexuality from the Victorian period. Drawing on both satirical and real life events from the period, it explores every facet of sexuality that the Victorians encountered.
There will be a discussion and also a Q+A, followed by a book signing.
Refreshements will be available.
Tickets for this are just £3, redeemable on any book on the night. 

An Evening with Sarah Winman - Thursday October 8th - 7.00pm

We’ve been trying for some considerable time to sort this out and now finally, we are delighted that Sarah Winman will be joining us at the shop.
Sarah’s first book, ‘When God Was a Rabbit’ published in 2011 is a brilliant story looking primarily at the intense relationship between Elly and her older brother Joe. It’s a dark , funny and very moving novel, which I suggest you purchase right now…Oh, but before you do, you ought to know that Sarah’s new novel, ‘A Year of Marvellous Ways’ has just come out. Another triumph, this is a beautifully constructed novel telling the unlikely friendship of 90 year oldMarvellous Ways and a young soldier Freddy Drake.
Sarah will be here to read and discuss her novels and to answer any questions you may have. Here books will be available on the night to buy and Sarah will be happy to sign copies for you.
Tickets are just £3, redeemable on either book purchased at the shop. 

Monday, September 07, 2015

Calais Jungle Library - another update!

Short introduction;
We're raising money to get books for a makeshift library in the Calais refugee camp (known as The Jungle), set up by teacher Mary Jones. Read about it HERE

OK, are you all up to speed now? Excellent.

Today, I had the pleasure of speaking to Mary (who's been so busy in the last week, that she only found out about what we were doing this morning!) on the telephone.

A telephone, earlier today. 

She was absolutely rushed off her feet, and during the fifteen minute conversation we had, it was apparent that her role in the camp was so much more than 'simply' looking after the Library. She'd just received a delivery of donated shoes and was sorting out who in the camp needed them (it seemed that a large number of the donations the camp received, books or otherwise, were delivered to her).

She wanted to say how incredibly grateful she was for the response for her "more books for the library" plea.
She has been overwhelmed.

Jungle Books Library, earlier today. 

Now, here is the bit I need you to read.


If you've already sent them to us, or if they are in the post already, that is brilliant. THANK YOU.
But if you were planning on dropping off any more books for us to get to the library, please hold off.

At the moment, the stuff we have and the books we are going to order especially for those people at the camp are more than enough.

However, Mary did say...


These donations will  go towards restocking the shelves at the library, as the books that we donate will be given to those people in the camp (we're not expecting the books to be returned to the library). This is a longer term plan than but we want to try and sustain the library for as long as possible.


It looks like we'll be delivering the books to Calais ourselves, and we'll also be putting a video together of the trip there.  

A map, earlier today. 

We've (nearly) managed to persuade a company to let us have a free van for a couple of days, and it also looks like we'll be able to borrow a camera from the Broadcasting Company whose license fee is worth every penny.

Anyway, more of that next time.
Thanks for your continued support for this. 

Sunday, September 06, 2015

The Jungle Library. Update.

10 days ago, I posted a thing on here asking for donations for The Jungle Library, a makeshift library set up by a teacher called  Mary Jones at the refugee camp in Calais.

Up until last Wednesday, we'd had a few, very generous donations from our customers and we were delighted that we could help in some way.

Then, following the media reporting of poor Aylan Kurdi, whose image I will never forget, things changed.
I have very mixed feeling about how the media portrayed this, (and i'm not going to argue this point with anyone, so let's not go there OK?), but one thing it did do was change attitudes and more importantly it seems to have led to a change in government policy.

On a very local level, our small appeal for books for the library was suddenly catapulted into the limelight, as The Independent and the Telegraph picked up on the story.

All of a sudden we were inundated with kind offers as thousands (about 26,000 at the last count) read the blogpost.

Here are a few things that have happened so far:

  • over £2,500 has been donated towards books and stuff for the Calais refugees (you can add to this too, if you want)

  • We've received thousands of books (and know we'll be getting at least three times as many this week too) from you lovely people. 

A small selection
  • The BBC came over to our gaff and stuck us on the London News. This is no longer available to view, but you'll have to take my word for it that I looked fabulous and it was worth the licence fee money alone. 
  • An Amazon Wishlist, set up by Worzel Wooface , attracted 160 purchases! Rather than donate books, this list was curated especially, so that people could buy specific books and games that the people at the camp need and get them delivered direct to us. Essentially we are going to be getting 160 Amazon parcels through the post! But it was an spectacular success, and those parcels amount to over £1200 worth of goods. 
There are other more incredible things that happened. Here are a couple that you really ought to know about.

Patrick Ness (he's an author. He's written some rather exceptional books too, but don't let him get all big headed about it), started an appeal for Save the Children's Syrian Refugee fund, in which he pledged to match donations if they got to £10,000. It took less than 2 hours! 

Good old Patrick Ness (as of Sept 6th 2015)

It then took on a life of its own with authors including Jojo Moyes, David Nicholls, Anthony Horowitz and Marian Keyes all agreeing to add £10,000 if more donations were given. Money currently raised is teetering around half a million pounds!! That's fucking AMAZING!!!
Give more money HERE (if you can).

£1300 was raised by publisher and all round nice guy Scott Pack and Jonathan Main, who owns The Bookseller Crow, London's second best bookshop. They offered professional advice to authors in exchange for money for the Syrian refugees. 

The book industry is ace.

Our next step is getting the books over to Calais....(that will be covered in the next blogpost, as this one is long enough already). 

Please, if you can, keep donating and sharing the message. These people need our help.