Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Conversations in a Bookshop

A Conversation in a U.S. Bookshop:

Me: “How can I help you?”

Caller: “This a bookstore?”

Me: “Yes, this is a bookstore.”

Caller: “Oh. I need the 8th Harry Potter book.”

Me: “I’m sorry sir, but there are only 7 Harry Potter books.”

Caller: “But I need the 8th one.”

Me: “There are only 7 books, sir.”

Caller: “Why?”

Me: “Because there are only 7 years at Hogwarts.”

Caller: “What does that mean?”

Me: “Sir, have you read the Harry Potter books?”

Caller: “No, my son reads them and he finished the 7th one and asked me to get the 8th one.”

Me: “Sir, if he read the 7th one, he would know that that was the final book in the series.”

Caller: “But he wants to read it. What can I do?”

Me: “Contact the author?”

Caller: “Do you have his number?”

Me: “Do I have J.K. Rowling’s number?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Me: “No. I… uh… don’t happen to have that on me.”

Caller: “Oh. Can you tell my son that there are only 7?”

Me: “No, I’m sure you’re quite capable of doing that all on your own.”

Caller: “He will be very upset!” *hangs up*

Monday, October 4, 2010

It Takes all Types of Customers!

Working in a Bookshop is always interesting and bookstore owners across the UK are compiling a list of the most stupid and amusing they have heard from shoppers.

Examples so far include the customer who asked if Anne Frank wrote any more books after her diary - and the man who when asked to specify what sort of map he wanted said "mappy maps."

Another of the gems compiled to celebrate Independent Booksellers Week is the lady who asked "Did Charles Dickens write any shorter versions of his books?"

I like the teenager who wanted to return a copy of Douglas Adams'Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy' - because it didn't even contain anything about Italy where she was going Euro-railing.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Big Day!

Today was a big day with visits from some writers.
This morning, Craig Smith, author of The Wonky Donkey, visited The Children's Bookshop. What a star! He sang his way through story-time and the kids loved him. The day ended with a visit by Georgia Blain, author of Darkwater and many other texts. About 30 people bravely came out into the rainy night to enjoy a great discussion of Georgia's work... And I am looking forward to meeting Jeannie Baker next week!
Who would I like to visit the shop over the next twelve months? Tim Winton, Shaun Tan, Pamela Allen... and we always love a visit from Markus Zusak. We will see!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book Clubs for Adults.

August is our busiest month of the year because of Book week Events and Book Fairs that we host. But after a long day I happily stayed back for our Third Tuesday Book Club Group meeting- and the discussion was great! We now have three book clubs for adults with almost 50 Book club members and we recently celebrated three years of Book Club meetings. Tonight we discussed Truth by Peter Temple and I was fascinated by the varied responses to the book. We agreed that the book utilises some great language- a clipped, raw poetic style with sharp, masculine dialogue. We all had different memories of what happened in the novel and while we agreed that Truth is a challenging read, the book offered something for all. I don't like to re-read books but I am keen to re-read this one.

I am particularly looking forward to discussing Room by Emma Donoghue- the most intriguing book I've read for a long time!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stellar Visitors!

The week becomes worthwhile when you get a chance to meet talented writers such as Isobelle Carmody. Forty or more fans met this afternoon at The Children's Bookshop to listen to Isobelle discuss her new junior fantasy novel The Red Wind, part one in her new series, Kingdom of the Lost. We were charmed by Isobelle as she shared insights, read from her novel and answered a range of questions. Isobelle never patronises the reader and I love to see junior novels such as this using great descriptive language that draws you further into the world of the novel.

The week was also memorable because I read a brilliant new novel, Room, by Emma Donoghue.This is a remarkable novel that has just been long-listed for the Man Booker. I won't say much about this novel except to say that it is narrated by a five year old boywho has lived within a single room for his entire life. This is an absolutely compelling read!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Book Clubs for Adult Readers

Our original Book Club Members (that's our Book Club for Adults) have now been meeting for three years! We now have two groups, the Second Tuesday Book Club and the Last Tuesday Book Club, both groups meeting in the evenings at 7-30pm.

Last night, the group discussed The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell. We have never had such universal praise for a book- members loved it! Our meeting distinctly lacked conflict and argument (which I normallyl love) since all agreed that Maggie O'Farrell is indeed a fine writer. Is she one the greatest contemporary writers as some critics have advocated? Our last meeting focused on Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Many greeted the book with trepidation though all agreed that McCarthy's book is indeed one of the great novels of the past decade.

What books lies ahead? In coming months we are reading Brooklyn by Colm Toibin and Truth by Peter Temple. Great books ahead!

Paul Macdonald

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More Visitors to The Children's Bookshop

At The Children's Bookshop, our philosophy has long been that we are more than a bookshop! Our goal is to bring readers together to enjoy the experience of books and that includes opportunities to meet authors and illustrators.

Yesterday, twenty five primary school kids were lucky enough to experience a writing workshop with author Belinda Murrell. Belinda is the author of The Ruby Talisman and many other novels for young readers. She is not only a writer to watch but she is a great teacher of writing skills. The group focused on character, setting and other aspects of narrative and they had fun- and were challenged! Today, a younger group of five to seven year olds enjoyed a Pirates and Princesses workshop with our regular workshop leader Jocelyn Shute. We started in a darkened pirates' cave (we had to improvise because of the blackout many Sydney-siders experienced) and Jocelyn again was a fantastic presenter.

I am looking forward to next week when illustrator Sarah Davis is visiting for a drawing workshop.

Paul Macdonald

Friday, July 2, 2010

Some Great Reads!

Anthony Browne is back with his new picture book Me and You, a re-working of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This book is vintage Browne and schools will love playing with this book as part of a visual literacy focus. A post modern reading of a known tale, Me and You shifts the reader's empathy and we are left to think about class, family and parallel lives. I love this book!

One of the best YA novels this year must be Dark Water by Georgia Blain. Amanda Clark is found dead, floating facedown by the riverbank. This begins a beautifully written book about family, politics and murder in an idyllic Sydney suburb. This book starts and ends brilliantly and is a great page-turner. I loved the way the protagonist's name is introduced to the reader. Highly recommended for teens! Thanks to Linsay Knight from Random House for pointing me in the direction of this book- I wasn't disappointed!

Paul Macdonald

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Approaching the School Holidays!

The School Holidays are approaching and thanks to everyone for their support of our regular holiday workshop program. Author Belinda Murrell will be working with a group developing writing skills and characterisation. That workshop is already filled! Illustrator Sarah Davis is focusing on drawing and picturebooks with a keen group. Little ones are playing with the ideas of Pirates and Princesses while a small group of Advanced English HSC students will be preparing for Trials.

And what are the hot reads for the holidays? There are many!

Favourite Picturebooks include: Queen Victoria's Underpants by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley; The Important Things by Peter Carnavas; Magpie by Luke Davies (still my favourite!); Monster by Andrew Daddo and Bruce Whatley (again!); The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinknet.

Favourite Junior Fiction includes: Battle Boy by Charlie Carter; Thai-fiffic by Oliver Phommavahn; The EJ12 series; Now by Morris Gleitzman; and Toppling by Sally Murphy. And of course, huge numbers of kids continue to read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Favourite YA include: The Necromancer by Michael Scott; The Truth about Leo by David Tyelland; Alone by James Phelan; Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness; The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.

And favourite Adult Fiction: The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall; The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell; Brooklyn by Colm Toibin; Indelible Ink by Fiona McGregor.

I am looking forward to reading The Trophy Kid by Pat Flynn, Oracle by Jackie French and I'll dip into Little Vampire Women by Alcott and Messina.

Happy Reading! Let me know what you are reading.

Paul Mac

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 2010- Busy Times

The last few weeks have been busy times with a range of visitors to The Children's Bookshop. Earlier in the month Sally Murphy visited schools and dropped in to talk about her books Pearl Verses the World and Toppling. We loved Craig Smith's visit when he sang his way through his best selling picturebook Wonky Donkey.
Last Saturday 19th June, Jackie French and Bruce Whatley visited the store to share their new book Queen Victoria's Underpants. A crowd of approximately sixty gathered and we loved the book and the storytelling!
On Monday 21st June, Oliver Phommavanh joined the V.I.P. group of younger readers for a Thai afternoon tea to discuss his new novel Thai-riffic! I was impressed by his good humour and we sold lots of his book to keen readers.
I am looking forward to some visitors to the store in July- Andrew Daddo, Bruce Whatley (for a return visit) and Isobelle Carmody.
What's the staff reading? I am enjoying Indelible Ink by Fiona McGregor (for adults) and I have no idea how it is going to end. Ann loved The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall. Claire loved Passage by Justin Cronin- sounds intriguing. There are amazing picturebooks in the store at the moment- Armin Greder's The City, Luke Davies' Magpie and Oliver Jeffers' The Heart and the Bottle. And I am looking forward to reading Jackie French's new novel Oracle.
Lots of great books out there- so little time!