Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas time.

Saturday December 20th. From 6pm until ..who knows.
By way of saying thanks for the incredible support you show us, we're having a right old Christmas knees up on Saturday evening.

We’d love you to join us.

Appearing on the night will be:
Tim “The Proprietor” West
Simon “The other Proprietor” Key
Also making a very special festive appearance..
There will also be big shiny discounts on all our books (but keep that quiet).

Friday, October 31, 2014

Galley Beggars Press & friends. Sunday November 16th.

Sunday November 16th from 4.30pm - 6.30pm
Galley Beggars Press & Friends - Paul Ewen, Jonathan Gibbs, Lee Rourke.
You know how much we like Galley Beggar’s Press don’t you?
Well this is what I wrote about them last year when I was organising our Literary Festival.
Since I wrote this, A Girl Is a Half Formed Thing has won every book prize going and Galley Beggar’s have continued to publish the most high quality, interesting and diverse books.   
So, we thought to ourselves, why not invite them back to the shop. And the good news is that they agreed.
We have (at least) three brilliant authors appearing on this very special late Sunday afternoon event.
Paul Ewen is author of the so funny it hurts novel Francis Plug; How to Be a Public Author
'A wonderful survey of the strange world of famous authors... Plug's exchanges with dozens of Booker-prizewinning authors are priceless. But the novel (really an ingenious hybrid of fact and surreal fantasy) takes on much extra resonance in the portrayal of Plug himself, an alcoholic chancer with a propensity for whisky-fuelled escapades.' - The Guardian

'Francis Plug is a brilliant, deranged new comic creation by the unknown writer Paul Ewen... Like all great comic creations he inspires deep sympathy, loyalty as well as laughter. As a portrait of literary life, it is as spot-on as George Gissing's New Grub Street... Francis Plug is the funniest book I ve read in years. I haven t laughed so much since Martin Amis's Money. I hope the hugely talented Ewen refuses all author talks, signings and festivals, and still sells half a million copies
.' Sunday Times
Jonathan Gibbs has written Randall, a brilliant reimagining of the 90s Brit Art scene.
'Gibbs has produced the sort of novel you pray for as a reviewer... Galley Beggar Press [have] had recent success with A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. Randall, I'd contend, is a better novel.’  Tibor Fischer in The Guardian

'Both absurd and eerily believable... Gibbs's novel is more than mischief: as with all the best lampoons, it dissects things that really matter and have gone awry... The characterisation is disarmingly sympathetic and the prose fluid and inventive, right up to the final, playful revelation.' The Telegraph
Lee Rourke’s latest powerful & dark novel, Vulgar Things was published earlier this year.
'A claustrophobic work that's ripe with alcohol and despair.’ Guardian
‘Sad, lost men looking for maps in the starry Essex sky, small-town strippers, absent mothers, angry brothers, planets photographed on smart phones, cider and a lot of rare steak – Rourke is on his way to becoming the J. G. Ballard of Southend-on-Sea.’ Deborah Levy.
We'll aslo be joined by Sam Jordison, co-owner of Galley Beggars Press.
There'll be readings, chat, fun, and refreshments and if you come along, there'll be an opportunity to get some Christmas Shopping done too as we'll be offering a very special deal to those of you who come along. 

An Illustrated Reading with Matilda Tristram. November 26th

Wednesday November 26th at 7.00pm-8.30pm
An Illustrated Reading with Matilda Tristram

Matilda Tristram was 17 weeks pregnant and looking forward to having her first baby when she discovered she had cancer.
Her touching graphic memoir, Probably Nothing, published by Penguin, starts when Matilda was diagnosed and ends when her chemotherapy finished in October last year. Recording the awkward conversations, the highs and lows of treatment, and the reality of still having to queue too long for croissants, Matilda captures her experiences with style and warmth. Along the way she cherishes the small details of life, and learns not to sweat the big things.
Her beautiful and boisterous son James was born without complications.
Matilda studied animation at the Royal College of Art, graduating in 2008. She’s worked as a children's writer, lecturer and filmmaker. She was co-writer on two animated BBC TV shows for CBeebies with Ragdoll Productions, The Adventures of Abney and Teal and Dipdap (so parents have a LOT to thank her for!)
Please join us for this special evening with Matilda when she will read from her wonderful book.
Refreshments will be available.
Tickets are just £3, which is redeemable on the book.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Flat to Rent in Noel Park, Wood Green, N22

When my little boy Ollie was born, my family and I very quickly realised that living in a small but perfectly formed flat with 2 children was a huge struggle. 

So, we looked for something equally cheap and a bit bigger to move into. Sadly, because I co-own the Big Green Bookshop, the mortgage companies were unwilling to offer us a mortgage. Small businesses/big risk etc.So we decided to rent our flat out and to find a place to rent ourselves. Which is how we found Brookmans Park, the place where we opened our new shop, Tuffet's Serendipity eh?Anyway, one of the lovely tenants who is currently at our flat is moving out on November 20th, and I thought it might be a good idea to put something on our blog, in case there were any readers who were looking for a place to move to.
The other tenant, Robin, is a delightful fellow, who often helps us out at the bookshop. He doesn't really want to move out (because it's such a lovely flat, obviously), so we're both hoping to find a better solution 
Below are all the details, and if you do know anyone who may be interested, please get in touch. 

The shop's phone number is 020 8881 6767 and if i'm not there, someone will give you my mobile number. 
Thanks for this.

Salisbury Rd, Wood Green, London N22
First floor Victorian garden conversion, on quiet residential street, close to tube

My flat

Situated in the leafy and tranquil Noel Park conservation area. Recently redecorated throughout; newly carpeted. To see a floorplan of this property click here
Layout as follows:
Internal staircase from front door to landing and hallway.
Bedroom 1 (14'7 x 10'5 ft) spacious converted living room, unfurnished, with laminate floor. Two large double glazed windows to front aspect. Built-in wooden shelving either side of chimney-piece.
Living Room
Bedroom 2 (10'10 x 9'1 ft) double bedroom, laminate flooring, double-glazed window to rear aspect overlooking gardens.
Kitchen (12 x 9'5 ft at widest): modern, recently fitted kitchen on two sides, with low level units, and oiled hardwood counter-top. Double aspect to side and rear of building, double-glazed. Ceramic tiled floor and splash-back. Stainless-steel gas hob. Full-height fridge/freezer. Washing machine.
Bathroom (6 x 5'8 ft): recently fitted white bathroom suite, comprising bath with showerscreen, wall-mounted electric pump-assisted shower, pedestal basin, and close-coupled low-d flush w.c. Double-glazed. Ceramic tiled mosaic walls; ceramic tiled floor.
Roof terrace with external steps descending to charming (and low maintenance) decked patio-style back garden.

0.37 miles to Wood Green Piccadilly line Underground Station; close to Wood Green High Road's many shops, cinemas, and Shopping City.

Available unfurnished £437.50 pcm, subject to contract.

To see a street map showing this property's exact location, click here The Map will open in a new window in your browser, so just close it to get back to this page.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Story Cabaret: Story time for grown-ups

Do you want to listen to some lovely stories? (apparently you do)

The voters have spoken, the polls are closed, the results are in.

Story-telling for grown-ups pipped wine-tasting to the post, and so...

Join us on Friday November 14th at the Big Green Bookshop for the inaugural evening of storytelling for adults.

Enjoy brilliant stories told, sung, read and performed by inspiring storytellers in great company. AND there could be an Open-Mic spot.

Tickets are only £3.00 click here to buy.

And don't forget to bring your own refreshments

Your stories can be funny or sad, fact or fiction, long or short. They can be told, sung, recited or acted.

We welcome experienced performers and enthusiastic first-timers – everyone with a tale to tell.

If you’d like a slot at Story Cabaret, email with:
·         Your name and experience level (e.g. professional/ enthusiast/ newbie).
·         The title and subject of your story, with a 30 word summary.

We’ll be in touch to let you know if we can include you in this edition of Story Cabaret.

If you want more information on being a performer, or being in the audience just give a call on 020 8881 6767

Exciting isn't it?????

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Cake & Bake Show

In the middle of September, we were contacted by the organisers of the Cake and Bake Show, and asked to be the official bookshop at this year's Show in Earls Court. Tim and I had a quick chat and a look at the website and decided it was too good an opportunity to turn down. We had a couple of weeks to pull it all together, because the show was being held from October 3rd-5th.

The more information we got, the more we realised that it was quite a big deal. They were expecting 25,000 visitors and we would be the only bookseller there. We would be looking after all the celeb chef signings and we needed to bring down enough copies to meet the demand.

First things first then. How could we persuade publishers to let us have all this stock? Our credit limit with most of the big publishers just isn't enough to cover the cost of the numbers of books we needed, so Tim and I started asking nicely. Most publishers were great, although we did have to pay a bit of dosh to some of them.

Special thanks goes to Gardners and Bertrams, two big book wholesalers who both did a great job of getting the bulk of the stock to us.

Next. How would we get the books to Earls Court. We don't drive and there were around 100 boxes of books to take to the venue. Step in Marky Market. If you don't know who Marky is, he's a bit of a legend. Twice a week he wakes up at 2am and visits all the London meat markets, buys nothing but the best produce and then delivers this personally throughout London during the day to his customers. read more about him HERE  . Follow him on Twitter if you do that ( @MarkyMarket ).
Mark volunteered to take us down to Earls Court in a Zipvan, so bright and very early for me, I headed to the bookshop last Thursday and Mark, Tim and I filled the poor van to the very brim.

Once at Earls Court we unpacked, I bid Mark adieu and started unpacking the books. I had some help for a few hours, as Katie, my girlfriend came down at about 10am to lend a hand, and by about 5pm things looked lovely.
Mmm, books.
So, the following three days, with help from Carmel and Laura, we sold lots of books, looked after author signings and generally had lots of fun. 
The show was even busier than predicted, but i'm very pleased to say that I think we did a pretty good job. We had the right books, we kept the stall looking good despite being mobbed at times and I think the chefs liked us. 

I also saw this....
Embedded image permalink 

Well, it seems we did do OK, because yesterday, the organisers from the Cake International Show at Birmingham NEC, asked us to be the official bookshop there.
So in early November we'll be on our travels to the Midlands.

No doubt we'll be asking you for favours to enable us to make this possible, but we're so pleased that it all worked out so well last weekend.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

James Patterson

Earlier this year, James Patterson announced that he was going to be donating £250,000 to independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland. James Patterson is a bestselling author whose books have now sold more than 300 million (well played James). The money was going to be given to shops who would use it on encouraging children to read and we had to pitch ideas. Grants between £250 and £5k we're being given out.

Obviously, Tim and I didn't want to miss out on the chance of free money, so we sent a proposal saying we wanted the money to allow us to invest more energy and time in our school visits over the next 6-12 months, with a plan to set up systems so that this could be sustained after the funding had been spent. There was a bit more detail than that, but that's essentially what we want to do.

Well, blow me down if we didn't get an email from Team Patterson yesterday telling us that our proposal had been accepted!
Simon & Tim celebrate.  (stock photo)
We asked for £5K (I mean, it would have been rude not to), and although we didn't get the full amount, we are pretty thrilled with what's been allocated to us.

As I wrote in the proposal.

  "These visits are some of the most rewarding events we put on, and I know that for many of the children, meeting an actual author is an experience that they don’t forget. These events bring reading to life for some of the kids and in many cases give them the encouragement they so desperately need to start reading books."
I really hope that we can get a few more children excited about reading and I want to thank James Patterson for giving us the opportunity to do so.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cake & Bake Show - Help Required

Last week, we were asked to be the Official Bookshop for The Cake & Bake Show in Earl's Court. 

We said "YES PLEASE".

There's going to be loads of famous and talented chefs there, baking and the like. A lot of them have books, which is jolly great, because hopefully we'll be able to sell them. 
We've been allocated a space roughly the size of the Big Green Bookshop to display our books (!) and so we want to make sure our pop up shop is as awesome as it can possibly be. 

In order to do this, we're going to have to invest some money (and time) into it. We're heading off this weekend to buy some new bookcases to set up at Earl's Court. We're also going to be buying pretty display things, bunting etc. 
Then we're going to be ordering a hod load of books.

We need some help with the next bit. 

Next Thursday (October 2nd), we'll need to get the books, bookcases and display material down to Earl's Court. We'll hire a van for this, but we need someone to drive it. We could hire a driver, but to be honest, we've just paid our rent, and also we have to pay all the publishers at the end of each month, so we're trying not to spend any more dosh than we have to. 

If you are free next Thursday, probably for the morning, and can drive a van and can help us out, that would be amazing. It would involve coming to the bookshop, loading up and driving down to Earl's Court. Once we've unloaded the van, you can take it back again. 

We may also need someone to help us work at Earl's Court, selling books, smiling, and generally representing The Big Green Bookshop in a positive way. 
if you're free to help out, give us a call or send an email. 

020 8881 six seven six seven
enquiries at biggreenbookshop dot com. 

Hope you can help. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Recent Reads

Thought I'd share my thoughts on a few books I've read recently.

Any Other Mouth by Anneliese Mackintosh

Published by Freight Books, this was recommended to me by a couple of people on Twitter. It's a stunning collection of short stories, which can be read individually or as a complete work. It's an incredibly brave book by Anneliese Mackintosh, as the stories are clearly based on her own personal experiences. Dealing with subjects like bereavement, sex, and difficult relationships, it is at the same time, hilarious, heartbreaking, thought provoking and brutally honest. It reminded me a little of Legend of a Suicide, as I found myself wondering whether it was written as a way for the author to exorcise their feelings. Please, if you get the chance read this book.

The Red Pony by John Steinbeck

Another recommendation, this time from one of our customers, this is a coming of age story set in a Californian ranch.
Ten year old Jody is the central character in each the four stories in the book and in them we watch as he takes on and learns the responsibilities of adulthood. A cracking read. 

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

This has got lots of hype this year and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. There are some lovely moments in the book and a very interesting twist, which I won't spoil. I enjoyed the voice of Rosemary, the narrator, who is now at college and looking back to her childhood, growing up with her twin sister and older brother. The story revolves around the time, when Rosemary was five and is sent away to her grandparents. When she returns, her sister Fern is no longer there.

OK, it's good, but it didn't quite convince me. I can understand why people are raving about it, but not me. 

He Wants by Alison Moore  

This is a book i'd been really looking forward to reading. Alison Moore is the author of The Lighthouse, which I reviewed (quite badly) HERE.

He Wants is the story of Lewis Sullivan, a retired teacher who has lived a life of routine and order. But this all begins to unravel when someone from his past turns up. Flicking back and forth through Lewis' life, the tension slowly builds and builds, as a series of events never allow the reader to know exactly where the story will go. 

There is nothing of Alison Moore's that I haven't loved. Her short stories are mini classics and the two novels  are an absolute masterclass in pacing 

Et Tu Babe by Mark Leyner

Ah, this is my favourite author, and it's the third time i've read this. Mark Leyner writes like nobody else. This is the follow up to his first novel, My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist, which was raved about when it first came out in the early 90s (i think).

This book is a parody biography of his life after the global success of "My Cousin...", where he lives a life of deluded megalomania, surrounded by Team Leyner, a group dedicated to ensure that his every whim is catered for. If you haven't read any Leyner, imagine a nonstop energy burst of spectacular stream of literary  consciousness. This is writing without a safety net. It's an outrageous carnival of imagination and I have no idea how he does it. 
I reviewed another of Mark's books The Sugar Frosted Nutsack HERE  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Owen Jones. October 15th.

Wednesday October 15th 7.00pm (please note change of date)
Owen Jones Discusses "The Establishment".

We're absolutely delighted to bring you another amazing event at the bookshop, when on October 15th we welcome Owen Jones.
Owen's a socialist, Guardian columnist and author of internationally bestselling book Chavs.
His new book, "The Establishment" has just been published. In it Owen offers a biting critique of the British Establishment and a passionate plea for democracy. Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City.
Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how, in claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite. In fact, they represent the biggest threat to our democracy today - and it is time they were challenged.
Owen will be at the shop to present this argument, and to debate its implications.
Tickets for this are just £18.00 (which includes a copy of his book) or £5 (entrance only). Both Owen's books will be available on the night.
We hope you can make it, however if you are unable, you can pre-order signed copies of his book, which we'll post out after the event (free P+P in the UK)