Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Some Photos

Here's our window.
One of the local schools (Lea Valley) asked us to judge their T shirt competition recently. The kids had to design a shirt based on their favourite character from a book. It was a tough decision, but we(Tim)finally decided that these were the finest.
I'm glad I didn't have to do the judging because there were some brilliant designs. We have some of the highly commended ones up in the shop too.
This is a brilliant school, who care massively about getting the kids interested and excited about reading, and i'm really glad we're working with them.
I suspect that the maker of this sign, outside a pub in Crouch End, was not an ex pupil of this school. This is Unexeptable.

We've (once again) had the road near our shop dug up. I checked the council website, to find out the reason for this and as there was nothing, I phoned 'em up. Apparently it was an 'emergency', hence there wasn't time to log it on the website. Well Haringey Council, if it's an emergency why is it that after it got dug up on Tuesday, NOTHING got done until the following Monday leaving the pavement looking like this. Unexceptable...
Try getting a buggy or a wheelchair past here. Note all the illegally parked cars/vans. Thanks again Haringey Council for dealing with this constant problem so efficiently as well.

Calm, Calm, Calm. Here's a picture of Freya.That's better.

This is the 300th post. Hurrah.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Two Books

This book here. A Seriously Useful Author's Guide to Marketing and Publicising Books.....I'm not that keen on the cover, but this is a fantastic little (actually 230 pages) book. Written by Mary Cavanagh, author of the wonderful Crowded Bed, it's quite simply exactly as the title suggests. But not only that, it's also an interesting read for anyone in the booktrade, as it has some great advice about selling and marketing books. Mary hasn't just used her experience when putting to gether this book. There are some useful contributions from the great and the good in the business. Mark Robson, a fine exponent of self publicity, Dovegreyreader, book blogger and reviewer, Roderick Gordon, co-author of the mega selling Tunnels, Mark Thornton, owner of the rather special award winning Indie bookshop Mostly Books and many other upstanding citizens.
...but hang on a minute. What's this? on page 126. Why, isn't that my name there? How the heck did that happen?
Well apart from pages 126-128, the book is a wealth of information, and has some brilliant advice for book types everywhere. And available at our shop and plenty of others no doubt at the very reasonable price of £7.99.

The second book is one i'd advise anybody who works in Waterstone's to read.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Two Events and other things too.

Last Wednesday, Karen Maitland, author of the brilliant Company of Liars (reviewed here last year), came to our little shop to talk about, read from and answer questions about this and her new book The Owl Killers. I'd been looking forward to this for ages, and Karen was absolutely wonderful.
She clearly loved what she did, and made the dark ages come alive with her enthusiasm and knowledge. She read the prologue (as instructed by her publicist!!) of the new book and answered all our questions.
She was even kind enough to email me to thank me for the evening, and also in this email she answered a question she was asked on the night that she didn't know the answer to.
In case you're interested, the question was what or who was a corridian. I'll email you the answer if you like.
I hope that we can invite Karen back again, and we will continue to spread the love about her brilliant books.

Friday, and we had quite a different evening planned. Bob Fischer, author of 'Wiffle Lever to Full', a lovingly nostalgic story of one (mad)man's hilarious 'journey' in which Bob spent a year going round cult TV and science fiction conventions. We managed to borrow from Andy McQuade (facebook legend) a film projector, which Bob was going to use for a slideshow. Everything seemed to work fine, but the darn thing just wouldn't play ball. As you can imagine by the very nature of the book, the audience was (in the nicest possible way) predominently geeky, but despite the best efforts of some of the more tech savvy, Bob eventually stuck his laptop in a place where we could see instead.
And he was very very funny. We had given each of the audience Sherbert Dip Dabs to enjoy (here's Bob with said item), and as Bob entertained us with stories of Stormtroopers, Brian Blessed and a glorious one day round trip from Teeside to Cardiff, we all Dipped and Dabbed.

Two very different events, but each really fantastic. You really should come to one of these sometime.

I had this idea too.
Here's a photo or two of our faceout bookcases, so that you can see what we're liking at the moment. If you want you can click on the photos and they'll get bigger. Isn't the internet clever.

I might do this every couple of weeks, and (if you want) i'll pick out some of the less obvious books for you. Not something the Espresso Book Machine can do.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

London Book Fair

I went to this auspicious celebration of books n stuff last Tuesday.
This 3 day event isn't really aimed at bookshops, which I know sounds a bit stupid, but (as the front page of the website says), it's a place where people negotiate rights and distribution of titles. However, it's also a good place to say hello to bookish people and have a nose at stuff you might have missed.
I shall precis what I did that day with appropriate photos.

1. I cycled there and back. I was Augustus Windsock
2. People I had the pleasure in meeting included.
The ever gorgeous Mark Farley, hanging out with some lovely burlesque dancers at the xcite books stand.
The wonderfully talented Tania Glyde making every second count and attending seminars and twittering about the whole experience.
The superspecial Rosie Furber , who has a new book out later this year which I hope we can help celebrate.
Little Tiger Press's very own Lauren 'Lozza' Ace, who showed me some brilliant books and also gave me 2 marshmallow flumps and a pizza.
Anova Books very lovely Mandy Jameson, who joined me at the Cool Camping stand, where we sat in deckchairs and chatted about stuff n that. I've known Mandy since my bookselling days in Bristol (pre 1994) when she was the rep for Mainstream books, and she is brilliant, funny and (in the nicest possible way) has one of the best laughs i've ever heard.
I also visited the Gallic Press stand to thank them for producing such a wonderful selection of books, as well as popping over to the Snowbooks stand and saying hello to Robert. Snowbooks is trooly wunnerful ladeezngenelmen, and you really should check out the list of books they produce.
One person I didn't see there was Scott Pack. I owe him a Toblerone, after my skills at gambling were exposed for all to see. I took the said article... with me in the hope that I could present him with his well deserved confectionary treat, but alas there was no Friday Project stand and despite the epic size of the Harper collins stand it was clear I would be carrying the mighty penthadron shaped snack back home again.
I also saw this thing It is the Espresso Book Machine, which in theory is a machine supposed to be able to print the book you want in a matter of minutes. As Borat might say 'wa wa wee wa'. It's all very exciting...until you think about it for a minute.
When I go into a bookshop, I browse. I don't necessarily know what I want. I like to be surprised and excited by books that I didn't know existed or had forgotten about. I usually look at the tables, displays and shelves and generally find something that I didn't know I wanted, but that is wonderful. I don't always know what I want, so relying on a machine like this (whilst useful up to a point) will destroy the serendipitous moments of discovering the best book you've read in ages. That's what I reckon.
Anyway, I then cycled home where I passed;This Phonebox. Note the phone sex cards inside, plus the london bus and the london cab in the background. If a beefeater had walked past at the same time it would have capped it off perfectly.
I also stopped on the way hoe for this can of Lager
and as I drank it I enjoyed the company of this pigeon
His name is Colin.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I'm going to the London Book Fair tomorrow.
I'm going to cycle the 11.2 miles there and the 11.3 miles back (one way systems).
If anyone sees an exhausted hairy bloke in some blue checked shorts and a badly matched t-shirt, spare a piece of cake.

I'll be back on full blog duties from tomorrow, after my recent lapse.
Keep watching the stars.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Je Suis Tres Fatigue

That's french that is. Like the bloke who pressed the wrong button at Amazon recently. Maybe he was fatigue as well. Probably reading too much porn...not me, the French bloke.

Anyway, It's quite quiet in the shop at the moment, so it gives me a chance to do some returns, and catch up on those little things that i've been meaning to do for ages. A-Z children's picture flats, redo some of the display bays, make the shop pretty. Tim's on holiday at the moment, which means a 7 day stretch at the shop. He did come in for the reading group meeting last night (Poisonwood Bible), so I've been at home in the evening this week.

Tomorrow, i'll be finishing off the returns, if the authorazation comes back that is, and i'll be ordering a wild selection of new and exciting books.

Not a very exciting blog, but at least you know i'm still alive.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Schultz City

I laugh and salute the person who did this.

Ninjaink (for that is the person's name) produced this wonder. All hail Ninjaink

The Big Green Bookshop / Penguin Crime Competition

Last week saw the 50th anniversary of the death of Raymond Chandler. One of the true greats of crime writing. He influenced a whole new genre of writing. His hard drinking, wise cracking private eye Philip Marlowe, who enjoys chess as much as he does solving crimes is often copied but never equalled.
Chandler had an amazing skill for the one liners. Here's just a small selection from some of his books.

From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class. From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away

'She's dark and lovely and passionate. And very, very kind.'
'And exclusive as a mailbox,' I said.

The big foreign car drove itself, but I held the wheel for the sake of appearances.

I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun.

The man was literary gold.

Five of Chandler’s novels have been republished by Hamish Hamilton with original covers. The kind and wise and nice smelling people at Penguin have kindly given us a set of these books to give away in a competition.
So here's the competition.....
It ain't easy, because we don't just want anyone to win this prize. You've got to really really want it. OK?

here are anagrams of 7 classic crime writers. Try and unravel these;


A couple I didn't use were


Anyway, once you have the 7 authors, all you have to do is re-arrange the first letters of their christian names to come up with a fictional detective.

Email this to simonkey68@msn.com with your name and contact details.


The competition will end on Friday May 22nd, on which day we will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of the answers to the anagrams!
This will be going out on our newsletter and on the facebook group too, but if you know someone who may like to win these great books, please let them know.


Friday, April 03, 2009

Another week in a blog

Sometimes it's just too busy to blog. Especially when you don't have a computer in front of you all day, and there are other things to consider like customers and that. So apologies AGAIN for not being more regular (if you'll pardon the expression), but here is the last week.
I had a lovely day with my Mum, who came down to Londinium town to see us.

Tuesday and Wednesday;
I was at the Middlesex University Literary Festival, manning (manfully) the bookstall
some photos...
The wonderful venue.

(photo by Heywood Beacon).
Me selling books to people buying books.

Star speaker Iain Banks entertains the crowd. A very wonderful guest, who read the prologue of his new book, and answered all the questions that the audience threw at him.

This was a cracking festival with plenty of wonderful authors speaking, including Toby Litt, Jean Ure, Sophie Parkin, Amanda Brookfield, Susan Johnson, Angela Young and loads more.
Hopefully we'll be invited back next year.

Tania Glyde came to the shop to answer questions and read from her book 'Cleaning Up'. It's the story of Tania's drink and drug fuelled life and how she finally saved herself. She writes with an immense amount of honesty and humour, despite the fact that it's abook about how she saved her life. She was 'in conversation' with the silky smooth Piers Gibbon, who kept us entertained as well as asking some pretty awkward questions.
Here photo

Piers, in a David Dimbleby style points to the next questioner.

I'm off work again, looking after Freya, as Katie spent the day in Brighton getting a hot stone massage. Oh yeah, she does this every Friday... Well, maybe every Friday 3rd April.
Tonight in the shop, local artist Paul Day is showing a retrospecive of his work. Here's a couple of shots of his work

theres plenty more where that came from too....

OK, so we're up to date.

but here's a couple of other things too.

This man is not Ossie Ardiles or (as the hair might suggest) Steve Perryman. It is, in fact Darren Shan, the king of kids horror. We did a bookstall for him at White Hart Lane recently and the 150 kids who turned up absolutely loved it. Thanks Dazza.

Here are the family and friends of Betty Jones, whose book For All My Life was launched at the shop last Saturday. A really wonderful and celebratory evening.

OK. That'll do for now...

apart from saying that despite my dreadful horse tipping (which hasn't been THAT bad recently) stick a bit each way on Golden Flight in tomorrow's Grand National. The Nicky Henderson/ Barry Geraghty combination has been incredible recently, and at 66/1 you can go wrong. Monster monster.