Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Jungle Library

A makeshift library has been set up at the migrant camp at Calais. They need more books. 
We want to help. But, of course, we would like your help too. 

On Monday, I read this article in The Guardian about a teacher, who has set up a small library in the growing refugee camp in Calais. 

The teacher Mary Jones said;

“I wanted to start something that offered real, practical help. Many people here are well-educated — they want to get on and they want books that will help them read and write English, apply for jobs, fill-in forms.” 




Christened "Jungle Books" (the camp is nicknamed The Jungle), when the article was written they had about 300 books.

Now i'm sure they've been inundated with offers of help since then. I emailed Mary myself on Tuesday to let her know that I was going to try and get some more books for her.
So if you're able and would like to help the library in Calais, please feel free to bring in any books you think might be useful. Depending on how many we get, we'll get them delivered once a week, for how ever long they need them.

We have a load of secondhand books here which we're going to box up and get to the camp (we'll look out particularly for kids books, dictionaries and fiction, but as Mary says;

“We’ve only just set the library up and it’s been fascinating to see what people are asking for — short stories and poetry, for example — but we need Pashto-French dictionaries, Pashto-English dictionaries, Eritrean dictionaries, books in native languages"

So if you're able and would like to help the library in Calais, please feel free to bring in any books you think might be useful. Depending on how many we get, we'll get them delivered once a week, for how ever long they need them.

Oh, and if there are any publishers/distributors out there who'd like to help too that'd be great. 

Contact the shop on 020 8881 6767.

Books I Read On Holiday.

Hello.
I went to France last week. It was our first holiday abroad since we had Freya (SEVEN YEARS AGO) and I have to tell you, it was pretty damn groovy.

We stayed in a lovely mobile home at a place called Camping Du Lac De Jaunay, in the Vendée. Here it is;


Lovely
Anyway, as well as goofing about with my family, loafing around on the beach, eating delicious food and drinking cheap wine, I also had a chance to read a book or three whilst I was there.

Would you like to know what they were and what I thought of them? 

OK then.

Shame by Melanie Finn (only available in silly hardback at the moment).


This is the story of Pilgrim Jones, who has travelled to a remote part of Africa to escape her past, after divorce and a tragic accident leave her with little reason to remain where she is. 

This is a book that I can't quite categorise (which is a good thing). It's a thriller, a book about loss, guilt, and it has a cracking unexpected turn. 

Great story, great atmosphere, fantastic sense of place. There were a couple of moments where you had to suspend your disbelief, but I was drawn into the story and loved it. 

Pilgrim is not a likeable character, despite the tragedy that has befallen her. She is almost simply a vessel for the story. But Melanie Finn writes wonderfully and I would encourage you to seek this out.  


Fish Net by Kirstin Innes (available in a sensible paperback stylee)



Wow. 

Fiona is stuck in a mundane office job, but everything changes when she finds out that her sister Rosa, who disappeared six years previously had been working as a prostitute. 
As she furthers the search for Rosa, her life and attitudes change dramatically. 

An enjoyable and thought provoking novel, that risks being preachy, but to my mind pitches itself just about right. 

The characters were realistic.I particularly liked Fiona, who was uncomfortably and refreshingly true to life. The story (in most parts) was believable, and it was a book whose subject matter was dealt with in a uncharacteristically positive way. 

I am very pleased I read it. 

The Good Son by Paul McVeigh (paperback, innit)


Oh yes.
Ireland. Mickey Donnelly is the smartest kid in class. His smartness is only matched by his imagination. Sadly for him, this makes him a target. Mickey is at a school in Belfast during the peak of the Troubles. 
His Da is an alcoholic and his older brother Paddy is drawn to the IRA. Mickey's relationship with his little sister Wee Maggie is very special, but not as special as the one with his Ma, who despite the fierce words and smacks around the head, he loves unconditionally. 
He's about to go to secondary school and he is the only one in his school who's been accepted at St Malachy's Grammar School. 
He thinks this is his chance to escape, but then this chance is snatched away from him. 
This story covers the eight weeks of Mickey's summer holiday, after leaving primary school and preparing to deal with life in secondary school with the same bullies he's put up with for the previous few years.
It is stormingly brilliant. Mickey is a superb character. Paul McVeigh brings him to life in a very special way. This book made me cry. Twice (maybe 4 times).
I rate this book.

All three of these books have been shortlisted for The Guardian's Not The Booker Prize, and there'll be a chance to see all six (hopefully) of the shortlisted authors here at the Big Green Bookshop on Saturday October 10th, when the Not the Booker will be holding its ONLY event!
More details HERE

I shall be reading the other three titles over the next few weeks. 

As you were. 




Thursday, August 06, 2015

Not The Booker - LIVE EVENT.

Saturday October 10th at 7.00pm
Not the Booker LIVE EVENT
 
 
The first Not The Booker Prize was launched in 2009 by Sam Jordison in the Guardian. This award offers the public  a chance to have their say in deciding who wins the prize. Mmm, slightly more democratic than other big book prizes, don’t you think?
 
This Year's Prize
The entry criterion is very similar to the Booker Prize.
Readers are asked to nominate a book fitting these criteria and a longlist is then announced. This longlist is then whittled down to six books.
 
The six shortlisted books were announced on August 3rd.
 
They are;
 
 
Kirstin Innes – Fishnet  (Freight Books)
Kat Gordon – The Artificial Anatomy of Parks  (Legend Press)
Oliver Langmead – Dark Star  (Unsung Stories)
Paul McVeigh – The Good Son  (Salt)
Tasha Kavanagh – Things We Have in Common  (Canongate)
Melanie Finn - Shame  (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
 
And we are delighted that the Not the Booker Prize is going live! Wembley Arena was deemed too insignificant and The South Bank was turned down. Only Wood Green could host such an event.
 
All six authors have been invited by The Guardian to attend a panel reading and discussion. We are delighted that we think all six will be able to make it...
 
Hosted by Sam Jordison, not only will you get the chance to meet the authors, there will also be a Q and A and a signing.
 
Tickets for this event are just £5, available HERE, redeemable on any of the shortlisted books.
Spaces are very limited and this event is likely to sell out very quickly.

David Nicholls - Tuesday September 29th

 Tuesday September 29th – 7.00pm – 9.00pm
An Evening with David Nicholls
 
 
 
Following on from the bestselling One Day,we are absolutely delighted that David Nicholls will be joining us to discuss his latest paperback Us.
 
Douglas Petersen understands his wife's need to 'rediscover herself' now that their son is leaving home.
He just thought they'd be doing their rediscovering together.
So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again.
The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed.
What could possibly go wrong?
 
Us is a hilarious, eminently readable story about love and families, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year.
 
Not content with writing brilliant, bestselling novels, David is also a BAFTA nominated screenwriter whose TV credits include the third series of Cold Feet, Rescue Me, and I Saw You. His adaptation of Far From The Madding Crowd, was released earlier this year.
 
David will be here discussing his writing and will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Copies of his books will be available to purchase on the night.
 
Tickets are just £5 (HERE) and are likely to sell very quickly, so please book early.

Helen Lederer - Thursday August 13th

Thursday August 13th 7.00pm
An Evening with Helen Lederer
 
 
Ooh, another fantastic evening's entertainment to look forward to in N22, as we welcome the brilliant Helen Lederer to the shop.
Helen will be here to discuss all things literary …..and beyond: her own comedy novel, the new genre of mid lit, comedy fiction for women - … and, well, all sorts of things including a tongue in cheek journey around her brush with show business, literati and reality TV.
 
Did I mention Helen's new novel? Oh yes, I did.
 
Losing It, published by Pan Macmillan is the hilarious story of Millie, agony aunt for ‘The Good Woman Magazine’. In debt, divorced and desperate, she’s about to lose her house. Worse, she has no money, a best friend with a better sex life than her, a daughter in Papua New Guinea and too much weight in places she really doesn’t want. Can a middle aged woman really have it all? 
Losing It is a hilarious, brutally honest exploration of a woman who still feels 30 but can't deny the odd stray grey …
 
The book, which is priced just at just £7.99 will be available on the night and Helen will be happy to sign and dedicate copies for you.
Tickets for this Absolutely Fabulous (did you see what I did there) evening are just £3, and they're available HERE.

Jonathan Franzen - Monday August 31st.

Monday August 31st – from 7.00pm until midnight. 
A Very Special Evening celebrating Jonathan Franzen’s New Novel, PURITY.  
Including a traditional Thanksgiving Meal, a SIGNED first edition of the new book and some very special guests.
 
£40. Including Signed Book (early bird price) BUY TICKETS HERE 
£25. Without Book BUY TICKETS HERE.
 
 
Purity, the new novel by Jonathan Franzen is being published on Tuesday September 1st. That's in less than a month.
 
Young Pip Tyler doesn’t know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she’s saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she’s squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother – her only family – is hazardous. But she doesn’t have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she’ll ever have a normal life.
Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with the Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world – including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now on the lam in Bolivia, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn’t understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong.
  
The book is strictly embargoed. It will not be available to buy until midnight on August 31st/September 1st. 
 
A new book by Jonathan Franzen is always huge news. This is his first novel since FREEDOM, five years ago. Here, at the Big Green Bookshop, we want to show our appreciation of this and so we're holding a special night to celebrate.
  
+++We have secured extremely rare SIGNED first editions of Purity, which ticket holders will be able to take home after the event+++
 
 There will be some very special guests throughout the evening, reading and discussing the enigma that is Jonathan Franzen. And, with a nod to Denise Lambert’s culinary efforts in The Corrections, a spectacular traditional Thanksgiving meal prepared by the amazing local caterers Thelma’s Trailer (@Thelmas_Trailer). There is a vegetarian option (and a vegan option), but when booking tickets, please let us know.
 
HERE'S THE MENU. 
 
Opening:
Homemade cornbread with chipotle ranch dip 
Main:
Roast chicken,
Maple glazed pork with crackling & stuffing
Served with:
Homemade cranberry sauce, gravy and bread sauce
and
Carrots, green beans, caramelized sweet potatoes and macaroni cheese  
Dessert:
Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Brownie & cream
 
 
More details of evening’s entertainment will be available nearer the time, but we wanted to let you know about this as soon as possible, so you could secure a place at the table.
 

If you can't make it for the evening, but would like a copy of the SIGNED first edition we have a very limited number available HERE. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Bear Faced Honeymoon

I've just got home from one of the BEST nights in the bookshop ever. 

It was an opportunity to tell two of our best friends, Ben & Tara how much we love them. 

LISTEN TO THIS!

Tara (@bear_faced_lady on Twitter) and Ben (he's not on Twitter) met  for the first time at the Big Green Bookshop about 4-5 years ago. They became friends. Then one thing led to another and they started snogging etc. Here is a picture of them snogging, in case you don't believe me.


 After much snogging, Tara and Ben decided to get married. This wonderful thing happened earlier this year and it was brilliant. They are a most lovely couple. 

Right, here's the thing. Ben and Tara didn't have a honeymoon. And we thought that they deserved one....

I got in touch with Tara's best friend, Stef ( @princessofVp) and suggested that we could sneakily try and raise some money so that Tara & Ben could go away for a holiday. Stef was brilliant, set up a Paypal account  and we started to get in touch with  their friends to ask if the could spare a few quid. 

Here is the Paypal account email, btw.

bearfacehoneymoon@gmail.com

Earlier this month we'd  raised enough to think that maybe it was time to tell them. So we organised a meet up in the shop and made sure that Tara and Ben would be there.

After a drink or two, Stef announced to Tara and Ben what the evening was all about.

They had absolutely no idea.
Hee hee.

Then, as expected, everyone cried.

We had raised £500 for them to go away. 


Designed by @gillpea


I'd love it if we could raise a bit more money for them too. They talked about going to Madeira. It's somewhere they both always wanted to go. 

If you can spare a bit of cash and you know them, or if you have no idea who they are but  just like this story, please donate. Ben and Tara are wonderful people who deserve good things to happen to them. 

I hope we can get them to Madeira at the very least. Thanks.

Here's the Paypal account again.

bearfacehoneymoon@gmail.com



Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Tweet Up

Thursday July 9th. From 6.00pm
Big Green Bookshop Social


For no reason whatsoever other than fun, we’re having a local Twitter Meet Up (or, as I shudder to call it by it 'official' name a Tweetup) on Thursday July 9th and we’d like to invite you. Come and join us for a drink and meet lots of lovely people off of the internet (oh, and we’ll be there too).

You can drop in any time after 6pm and, depending on how we feel, we’ll probably go to a pub or for something to eat at about 8pm. Hey, but everything is flexible.

We’ll have snacks and drinks, but feel free to bring along something to add to the table. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Join the Big Green XI cricket team.


JULY 17th. 6.00pm Alexandra Palace


Well, this should be fun.

Local cricket team Archway Ladder CC are looking to recruit new team members to play midweek and on weekends. Having heard this, I (perhaps foolishly) suggested to Adam, one of their players, that we could put together a team and give them a match.

And so, that is exactly what we’re going to do!

WE NEED PLAYERS!
Do you fancy joining the Big Green XI on Friday July 17th up at Ally Pally from 6pm.
We’ll be playing a 20 over match.
Enthusiasm is far more important than pure natural talent. Both would be great though.

There’s a bar there that sells snacks and beer (obviously) and we’ll probably sort out pizza afterwards.

PLEASE GET IN TOUCH IF YOU’RE INTERESTED.
020 8881 6767

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Benjamin Johncock - LIVE IN LONDON!

Wednesday July 8th - 7.00pm - 8.30pm
An Evening with Benjamin Johncock

DON'T MISS THIS ONE!

Benjamin Johncock brings the space race to life in his stunning novel The Last Pilot, published in July by Myriad.

...and he's going to be HERE at the Big Green Bookshop!!

The story begins in the bone-dry Mojave Desert in the late 1940s, where US Air Force test pilots are racing to break the sound barrier. Among this select band is ace pilot Jim Harrison.

Over a decade later, the space race is well and truly underway and Harrison is among an elite team offered a place in history as the world's first astronauts. But when his young family is thrown into crisis, Jim is faced with a decision that will affect the course of the rest of his life - whether to accept his ticket to the moon and at what cost.


The Last Pilot has been described by Joanne Harris as ‘by far the best debut novel I’ve read in years’. Having been lucky enough to read the book myself, I was totally caught up in the extraordinary human story that unfolds as two nations battle against each other in their quest to get to space.

We'll be at the bookshop chatting to Benjamin about this fabulous book, where there'll be a reading or two, a chance to ask questions and the you'll be able to get a signed copy of the book which will be available to buy on the night.

Benjamin is only in London for a whistle stop tour and I couldn't be happier he's coming to the shop for this event. THE BOOK IS FABULOUS!

It's a FREE event and refreshments will be served, so please do come along. It'll be a cracking night.