Friday, 31 October 2014

5 books more people should read

Good morning! Here's a video where I chat about five books I wish more people knew about. Let me know which ones catch your eye, and which books you love that you wish more people had heard of! x

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Recommended Reads for Halloween

Want to read a scary book for Halloween? Below are a few recommendations. The top four I've read and loved (the first one in particular is quite terrifying!); the last three I plan to read very soon. (You can keep up with what I'm reading over on Goodreads :)).

Let me know in the comments if you are planning to read any scary books this week. I'm actually away this weekend, in a cottage in the middle of the woods. Yep, on Halloween. In the middle of nowhere. In the dark. Hmm. This may have been a mistake. If you don't hear from me next Monday, send out a search party....

1. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Malorie raises the children the only way she can: indoors. The house is quiet. The doors are locked, the curtains are closed, mattresses are nailed over the windows. They are out there. She might let them in. The children sleep in the bedroom across the hall. Soon she will have to wake them. Soon she will have to blindfold them. Today they must leave the house. Today they will risk everything.

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh. Melanie is a very special girl.

This was our first read for the 'Weird Things...' Book Club. You can read my interview with MR Carey over here

Alex Broccoli is ten years old, likes onions on toast, and can balance on the back legs of his chair for fourteen minutes. His best friend is a 9000-year-old demon called Ruen.
When his depressive mother attempts suicide yet again, Alex meets child psychiatrist Anya. Still bearing the scars of her own daughter's battle with schizophrenia, Anya fears for Alex's mental health and attempts to convince him that Ruen doesn't exist. But as she runs out of medical proof for many of Alex's claims, she is faced with a question: does Alex suffer from schizophrenia, or can he really see demons?

A man calling himself Doctor John Shepherd arrives at an isolated women's mental hospital to begin work as assistant to the owner Dr Morgan. As Shepherd struggles to conceal his own dark secrets, he finds the asylum has plenty of its own. Who is the woman who wanders the corridors by night with murderous intent? Why does the chief nurse hate him? And why is he not allowed to visit the hospital's top floor?

This is a fantastically dark and timeless graphic debut, for fans of Grimm Tales, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and the works of Neil Gaiman. 'It came from the woods. Most strange things do.' Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss. These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll. Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there...

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara's fate, she discovers that she's not the only person who's desperately looking for someone that they've lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

Vienna, 1899. Josef Breuer - celebrated psychoanalyst - is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name, no feelings - to be, in fact, not even human. Intrigued, Breuer determines to fathom the roots of her disturbance.

Years later, in Germany, we meet Krysta. Krysta's Papa is busy working in the infirmary with the 'animal people', so little Krysta plays alone, lost in the stories of Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper, and more. And when everything changes and the real world around her becomes as frightening as any fairy tale, Krysta finds that her imagination holds powers beyond what she could have ever guessed . . .


I'm excited to get stuck in! 

Thanks to everyone for their kind comments over on my first Youtube video, by the way. You are lovely! xx

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Jen Joins Youtube!

Guys! You've been asking me to set up a Youtube channel to chat about books.... so I did! The first video just went up (a look at the books I bought in October... there were quite a few!) You can watch it over here. I hope you like it. If you do, it would be fab if you wanted to subscribe. Leave me a comment over at the video letting me know what you'd like me to film next. xx

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Round up: 'The Bookshop Book' on Tour Week 2

Hello bookish friends! I write this still on my travels. What could be better than talking about bookshops in bookshops, surrounded by books and people who love them? Here's a summary of week two!

The second week of 'The Bookshop Book' book tour saw the launch of this year's Books Are My Bag campaign - celebrating bookshops all around the UK.

And to celebrate Books Are My Bag, on the 11th October I did twelve book signings all across London. It was lovely, if slightly mad, and it was a journey fuelled by much tea and an unhealthy amount of cake. Booksellers know their tea and cake. Oh yes, they do.

From there, I did an event at West End Land Books, and someone brought along their Russian edition of 'Weird Things....', which was pretty cool!

From there to the BBC studios, where I had a chat about The Bookshop Book on the radio. 

Aaand from there to Norwich, where I signed stock at Jarrold Books (the department store was empty, but the security guard let me in and the booksellers had left out some cake and a note saying 'Feel free to have a snoop around!' An empty bookshop at night? With cake? Excellent!)

Then round the corner to Waterstones, where I did an event and the lovely booksellers there had made cupcakes with edible books on them, and a bouquet made out of book pages. Booksellers are awesome: fact. 

Thursday's event was in Oxford, where we had a panel discussing whether bookshops would still be around in one hundred years. We all declared that yes, they would. So, thank goodness for that. 

The last event of the week was in Chorley, Lancashire at Ebb and Flo. There was even more cake (this time with my book on it); I finally got to meet the excellent Carys Bray in person; and afterwards my friend Jo and I went to the cutest tearoom you've ever seen where, if you so wished, you could get candyfloss in your hot chocolate. 

Phewf! I hopped back on a train to London, with The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy by my side (it's excellent, even though it did make me cry in public several times. That Rachel Joyce is good!). I collapsed in a heap, and then got up and did it all over again. (I'll tell you about week three soon!)

The Bookshop Book has been featured over in The Guardian, Stylist and Curious Animal, if you've yet to buy a copy and you'd like to see what it's all about, then you can click on those links :) 

Over the next few weeks I'm doing events in Coventry, Sussex, Suffolk, Ross-on-Wye, Paris, Hull, Devon, Merseyside & Richmond. Come along to one of them, if you can - I'll be chatting about weird and wonderful bookshops around the world Thanks so much to those of you who have come along to events so far, it's been so lovely meeting you! xx

Friday, 17 October 2014

A quick note to say....

Hi everyone! I'm still running around the UK (you can find out where I am over here) but I'm going to do a blog post on the train tomorrow with a round up of everything that's happened this week. :)

In the mean time, I just wanted to post a note for anyone ordering signed copies of The Bookshop Book as a gift: I can gift wrap the book for free and put a postcard in with a note of your choice if you want me to :)  Just leave a message in the 'note to buyer' section letting me know, or drop me an email after you've ordered a copy.

Have a fantastic weekend! x

Monday, 13 October 2014

"In a way, the Bookshop Book is a lot like a bookshop itself."

I don't normally share reviews, but this one in particular made my heart happy.

"In a way The Bookshop Book is a lot like a bookshop itself. You know the really good bookshops that seem kind of small from the outside but when you go inside they seem to go back and up from the street for miles. You wander around finding new and interesting things that you never expected to come across. The Bookshop Book is like that. You expect it to be a book about bookshops, but hidden inside are little sections with Bookish Facts and Wonderful Things and photos and interviews and you think just one more page but then something on the next one catches your eye and you have to carry on reading..." You can read the rest over here.

The Bookshop Book actually went to reprint today! Which is wonderful - thank you so much to those who have already bought a copy! xx

Where I am this week!

LONDONERS! Tomorrow I'll be at West End Lane Books at 7:30pm, for a chat about The Bookshop Book


NORWICH-FOLK! On Wednesday, I'm going to be at Waterstones, Norwich, 7:30pm giving a talk and signing books


OXFORD-PALS! On Thursday I'll be at Blackwell's in Oxford at 7pm on a panel with Mark Forsyth and other lovely people debating whether bookshops will still be around in 100 years (Hint: my answer is yes). I'll also be chatting about The Bookshop Book and signing copies.


LANCASHIRE-PEOPLE: On Saturday I'm going to be at Ebb and Flo books in Chorley at 2pm, talking about bookshops and signing books. There will be cake!


If any of you are close by to these events, please do come along :) It would be fab to see you. xx

Friday, 10 October 2014

The Bookshop Book: London Bookshop Crawl to support BAMB

This year's Books Are My Bag campaign launched yesterday - basically it's a lovefest for highstreet bookshops - and on Saturday bookshops up and down the country will be throwing parties!

As The Bookshop Book is the official book of this year's BAMB campaign, to celebrate, I'm going to be taking The Bookshop Book around London. I'm going to be signing at 12 bookshops across the city on Saturday (phewf!), and you can keep up with my travels on Twitter and Instagram. (I'm also touring the UK - details over here). If you're in London this weekend, do come and say hello! You can always Tweet me to make sure we're running on time :) I'm doing warm-up stretches as I type!

I hope you see some of you on my travels! xx

Every bookshop has a story.

We’re not talking about rooms that are just full of books. We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.

Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France. Meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains. Meet the bookshop in Canada that’s invented the world’s first antiquarian book vending machine. 
And that’s just the beginning. 

From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).

The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.

Useful links: Foyles, Blackwell's., Waterstones., Hive
Signed copies are available here.
Full book tour details here.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Book tour, radio and crazy times

 Folks! Apologies for the radio silence over on the blog - I have begun book tour and things are slightly mad (in an excellent way!).

Let me tell you what's been happening!

The Bookshop Book came out last Thursday. I know it's not my first book, but I still can't get over the fact that something I wrote is being read by other people... it's an odd experience.

The launch was at the London Review Bookshop - there were lots of books and a lot of wine, and I made a slightly overwhelmed-type speech. It was lovely. (The evening, that is - goodness knows what I actually said in my speech. I think there were words.)

On Friday I was at the BBC studios to chat on BBC Radio Scotland. You can catch up on that over here - I'm at 1hr 19. And from there, I hopped on a train and went up to Scotland. I was thrilled to be at the Wigtown Book Festival this year - especially as Wigtown is the first place I write about in The Bookshop Book, so it seemed rather apt! Wigtown is Scotland's National Book Town with twelve bookshops in a very small area next to the salt marshes on the west coast. I arrived, stumbled across a massive 'More Weird Things...' and had dinner in a bookshop. As you do. As always, whenever I visit, I didn't want to leave. 

On Sunday I had my event, which was chaired by the lovely Jessica Fox, author of Three Things You Need to Know About Rockets. We basically gossiped about the book trade with people watching, and it was lovely. Jessica is Shaun Bythell's partner (if you've read The Bookshop Book, you know who I'm talking about!) - Shaun runs The Bookshop - the largest bookshop in Wigtown and, indeed, the largest secondhand bookshop in Scotland. He and Jessica share a rather excellent bookshop romance - think 84, Charing Cross Road but with emails instead of letters and fewer powdered eggs. Shaun never fails to make me giggle (you might want to check out his Facebook page, which is a bit like Black Books... but real), and it was lovely to be back. 

From Wigtown, I went back over the border and signed books at Waterstones in Newcastle, and did an event at Book Corner in Saltburn. Tomorrow is the lauch of the Books Are My Bag campaign at Foyles, and on Saturday it's the main Books Are My Bag day, with bookshops throwing parties all over the country. To help celebrate, I'm doing a mad bookshop dash all across London, signing copies of The Bookshop Book at as many places as I can get to (I'll post the itinerary tomorrow, and you can follow my progress on Twitter, too). 

As The Bookshop Book is the official book of this year's Books Are My Bag campaign, you can spy it in some Booktuber 'Unboxing' videos, such as Sanne's and Carrie's :), and there was a lovely mention in The Independent, as well. 

I've still got twenty events lined up for The Bookshop Book, and all details are over here. If you're nearby one, it would be lovely to see you! If you've bought The Bookshop Book then THANK YOU, I hope that you're enjoying it! If you've yet to buy a copy, you can find one at your local bookshop if you're in the UK and Ireland (copies are making their way down to Aus, NZ right now - and are in English bookshops around the world, too. Re. North America - watch this space :) news on that very soon). 

Alternatively, if you'd like to buy a signed copy of the book, you can grab one of those over here. I'm posting copies worldwide (and all pre-orders have been shipped :) ). 

Thanks so much for all of your support, everyone! You are wonderful. 

Lots of love, 

Jen xx