Blackwell’s Blogger Event

Day 5/100.

I usually shelve posts like this as too long after the fact, but really – is it ever too late to learn about good books to buy? No, never, exactly! So on with the post…

A few weeks ago an invite landed in my inbox and I was very excited because I am not the sort of person who gets invited to things very often. This was an event for ‘bloggers, influencers and affiliates’ of Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford. Although Blackwell’s is a large well known brand across the UK, it’s still an independent bookshop and the flagship Oxford store is my local and I love it in there. Sooooo many books, the Norrington room is amazing.

Anyway, back to event – set in the afore mentioned Norrington room, plied with wine and snacks, we took a seat. The event was intended as a precursor to ‘Super Thursday‘ a popular event in bookland where over 500 books are released on one day, although this is the first I’ve heard of it. We (me and the actual, real book bloggers and people who get to write about this sort of thing for the local press) were treated to Blackwell’s staff telling us about the books they were excited about – some had been released recently, some were being released on Super Thursday but they also included some way older books.

9781472260086

The passion of the various staff members was infectios, I cam away wishing I had hoards of child relatives to buy ALL the books for. However the ones that stood out for me included Art Matters by Neil Gaiman that was so cute I bought it there and then.

Bibliophile An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount- described as a love letter to all things bookish, is the latest project from Mount who has spent several years painting people’s bookshelves very beautifully. In this latest book she paints the world’s favourite bookshops, author workspaces to name a few. This one has gone on my wishlist already.

The Writer’s Map An Atlas of Imaginary Lands edited by Huw Lewis-Jones is probably the one I’m most excited about, being a bit of a map geek as well. This is a book that contains not only the maps you find drawn inside the pages of some of the most loved books, but also the maps that inspired them, sketches that authors have used whilst writing the stories. It’s a large format, hardback, book full of colour plates – I’m really wishing for this one in my Christmas stocking this year.

Brit(ish) On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch is another book that stood out, albeit more serious than the ones mentioned so far, particularly in the current UK climate. This book discusses British identity coupled with racism and history.

And the final book that grabbed my attention was Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill, this book is about “The fantastic lives of sixteen extraordinary Australian writers” the catch being, that they’re all made up, and we’ve been assured it’s very funny!

After the presentation of books that left most of us drooling, there was plenty of time to chat, buy books, look at books and we got a goodybag to go home with! Not that I need more books, I’m not complaining – several books, a lovely limited edition print (which I’m currently trying to find space to hang), a great pen (you know sometimes you get a pen that just writes SO NICE it makes you write with your best handwriting?, it was one of those), and all packaged in a very sturdy high quality tote! It was a fantastic event, to meet people who also get super excited by books and I was honored to be invited.

www.blackwells.co.uk

Review: Norse and Nordic Oxford

Norse and Nordic OxfordNorse and Nordic Oxford by Ann-Turi Ford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a mixed bag of a review, in part because I think the book itself is a mixed bag. I bought this book last year at a signing/launch event at Blackwell’s bookshop here in Oxford – being a huge Nordophile this was right up my street. My memories of the event are now a little hazy, but overall it was funny (one of the authors – Richard, is British with that ever depreciating sense of humour), if a little awkward. On reading the book, I realised that the jokes scattered within had been relayed at the author event – so double edged sword of having heard them before, but being able to read the book in Richard’s jovial manner – I don’t think I would’ve gotten all the jokey/ironic/amusing bits had I not been aware of his manner – which segues into the book. The book itself was really interesting full of historical and more modern day facts about any Nordic/Scandinavian links with Oxford whatsoever (and yes, some are tedious links), the delivery could’ve been slicker – I think I stopped counting after 10 grammar/spelling/wrongly labelled photo errors – but this is down to the publishers/editors – something I might expect from a self published ebook but not something purchased in hard copy from Blackwell’s if I’m honest. There was also a couple of historically incorrect pieces such as the statement that there are 3 days of the week in English that are named after Norse gods – with Tuesday being named after Thor (as we geeks know: Tyr – Tuesday, Thor – Thursday), but again, with a proper publisher, wouldn’t this have been fact checked? 10 seconds on wikipedia will find the answer.
The longer into the book I read I found it becoming more travel guide than Guide to Norse and Nordic Oxford, eg you should visit places X,y,z in Oxford that have no known links to Norse/Nordic culture but are must sees for any travellers to Oxford – I guess I found these snippets unnecessary and some recommendations were repeated several times over the course of the book – but again, I felt that these were things that an editor would eliminate along with incorrectly labelled photos and the photos in the book that were lovely but had no context.
So overall a really interesting book, but due to poor editing gets 3/5

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