Friday, September 19, 2014

Owen Jones. October 21st

Tuesday October 21st 7.00pm
Owen Jones Discusses "The Establishment".

We're absolutely delighted to bring you another amazing event at the bookshop, when on October 21st 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 £17.00 (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)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Splinters. The Best Collection of Dark Fiction EVER

In November 2012 I (Simon) published a collection of short stories by Joseph D'Lacey. It is called Splinters.

This was my second foray into the murky world of publishing. My first was a book called London Tales by Greg Stekelman (which incidentally I have just unearthed 3 more copies, if anyone wants to buy it). 

Anyway, back to Splinters. 
For those of you who are interested, Joseph D'Lacey is an phenomenal author. In 2009 he won Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards, after the publication of Meat, a deliciously dark slice of post apocalyptic horror.
This was followed by Garbage Man (landfill comes to life, bad things happen), Kill Crew (200 survivors, trapped together, from who knows what...), Blood Fugue (Eco thriller, visceral vampire horror), Snake Eyes (two novellas. One a total mind trip, the other a surreal giant monster tale with a twist) and most recently his stupendous two volume Black Dawn series, which if you haven't read, I thoroughly recommend. You will never look at a crow in the same way again. 

As you can probably tell, I am a huge fan of Joseph's writing. Which is why I asked him if I could publish his short stories. I'm delighted he agreed.
It's a collection of short stories that showcases Joseph's talents as a writer.
Here are some reviews;

Michael Wilson's review HERE 
Nathan Robinson's HERE 
and HERE is the review by BookCunt.

During September I am selling Splinters for just £4.49 (free P+P)

The reason I am doing this is because I really want you to read it. It needs to be read. So, if you like fiction, NO MATTER WHAT GENRE,  I urge you to give it a go. Joseph is a very special author.


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Judy Dyble. Live at the Big Green Bookshop

Friday October 17th – 7.30pm
Judy Dyble is an award winning singer songwriter, who was one of  the vocalists and founder members of the legendary band Fairport Convention. After Fairport and some early work with Giles Giles & Fripp, she became half of Trader Horne. More recently she's released two solo albums, to huge critical acclaim. I got to know Judy when I found out that she used to work in Wood Green Library! Isn't the internet amazing. She's been a big supporter of TBGBs since we decided to try and open the shop. Here's an interview I did with her in 2008.

Here's Fairport in 1968

I was also very lucky to see her perform at the 100 Club when her incredible album, Talking With Strangers was released. The intimate atmosphere of the club really highlighted Judy's amazing voice.

So, it is with immense pleasure that we can announce that on Friday October 17th, Judy will be performing LIVE at the even more intimate Big Green Bookshop, with Alistair Murphy and Jeremy Salmon.

I still can't believe it's actually going to happen!

Tickets for this are just £6 and available HERE. Be quick, because they will sell out very quickly.

Do NOT miss this (if you can help it).

Booker Prize

For the last 4 years, we have run a Booker Book Challenge.  

It worked like this. When the Shortlist was announced, we'd get in copies of the books and challenge our customers to read as many of they could before the winner was announced, about 5-6 weeks later. For a one off payment of £25, we became a lending library, where instead of forking out up to £80-£90 on the shortlist, people could borrow each of the books from the shop and at the end keep their favourite. 
We also offered 20% off all the books (unheard of!).

We'd then meet on the evening that the winner was announced and discuss each of the books, choosing our own winner, before watching the result live on TV.

It was really popular and we loved that so many people got involved.

The shortlist is being announced today, but we're not going to be running it this year. 
It doesn't make me happy to do this and it won't make a blind bit of difference to the Booker Prize organisers, but (and I've been banging on about this for a while now) there is still a book on the longlist, a longlist that was announced OVER A MONTH AGO, that isn't even published!

There are a number of issues about this that piss me off. Here's the main one. 

To be eligible to enter the Man Booker Prize novels must be published between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2014 in the UK 

However, this is another one of the rules;
Publishers, I suspect knowing that the organisers would do nothing, ignored it completely. 
The organisers did nothing. 

How are bookshops expected to support and champion this prize, if our customers aren't given the opportunity to READ the books. Yes, I could have got in touch with the publishers and got advanced reading copies for myself to read, but that really isn't the point. 
Actually, it is the point. Because it seems to me that the Prize has little to do with the public. It seems to be becoming an inclusive, industry focused love in. 
This is an important year for the Man Booker Prize. They've changed the rules, so that now all English-language writers are eligible (don't get me started on this). So for the first year, I might not be able to read books by US authors too!

++ Update ++
The shortlist has just been announced and the six books on it are published. One was published last week and one was published 10 days ago. Both these titles broke the rules of the Booker Prize.
I hope that next year, the Booker Prize organisers ensure that the rules are adhered to, and act if publishers ignore them. Because until they don't, we won't be supporting the Prize.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Stocking Small Presses

It’s really hard for small presses or self published books to get into any bookshop. With so much stuff being published at the moment, it’s a real minefield for bookshops. This must be frustrating for the publishers and the authors too.

We get many emails and visits from authors asking us if we'd like to stock their books. Sometimes these visits work. Like when Jason from Guerilla Books came in with author Andrew Lambie and persuaded me to read Carnival of the Flesh. I did, I adored it and now we stock it and have sold around 30-40 copies at £20 each. 
This is amazing. Buy it.

But this is a rarity. We can't read every book that's shown to us.

But, we want to support small presses and self published authors, so we’re going to try and give you an opportunity to have your books, face out at the front of our bookshop. But you’re going to really have to believe that your books will sell...

Here is the usual journey of a new book to our bookshop;
  • ·         We like the look/sound of a book
  • ·         We order it from the publishers
  • ·         It arrives with an invoice, which we have to pay in 30 days.
  • ·         We get the books at a discounted price, so for example we will buy a £7.99 paperback for about a fiver
  • ·         The book sells and we make about £3
  • ·         We reorder it

The best chance we have of selling a book is by displaying it at the front of the store, on a table, or by writing a review or by telling our customers that it is a brilliant book.
This is how we propose to give small presses the opportunity to get their books on the shelves.
  • ·         You get in touch with us and tell us a maximum of 3 titles you want us to stock (they MUST be fiction)
  • ·         Once we agree, you pay us £1.50 per book per month (between 3 and 6 copies per title) to display in the shop.
  • ·         We will then put your books in our dedicated “Small Presses” bookcase at the front of the shop.
  • ·         The book sells for £7.99 (for example).
  • ·         We give you £7.99

So, essentially, you will be paying as little as £4.50 per month to have your book displayed in the shop. That’s a very small price to pay, but the potential rewards are very good. You will have the opportunity to write a review of the book, which we will stick on the shelf by the book. You can also tell all your friends that the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green stocks your book, so they can come and buy it. If you sell all the books within a month, you can put some more there for a quid each.

So, if you really think your book is good enough to sell, get in touch and persuade us to put it in the “Small Presses” bookcase. Obviously, if it sells loads, we’ll stock it permanently.

The bookcase will be launched at the beginning of October, so if you want to there at the very beginning, now’s your chance.  

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

It's David Quantick!

Thursday November 6th - 6.30pm-8.00pm
What? Do you need any more persuading to come to the Big Green Bookshop?
David Quantick will be here, isn’t that enough for you?
Writer, critic, journalist and all round legend, David will be here to read from, discuss and answer questions about his new book “How To Write Everything”. There are few people more qualified to have penned this.
David really has written everything. As a television writer, he has written for The Thick Of It, The Day Today, Brass Eye, TV Burp and many other shows. He is also an award-winning writer on HBO's Veep and wrote the critically-praised Sky Arts Playhouse, Snodgrass. As a radio writer, he created Radio 4's One and Radio 2's The Blagger's Guide. His novel Sparks (described as 'excellent'; by Neil Gaiman) is a brilliant sci-fi comedy and his graphic series Louis Wain (created with Savage Pencil) was published in Alan Moore's Dodgem Logic.
As well as a series of music books and the official biography of Eddie Izzard, David wrote the Sunday Times best-seller Grumpy Old Men and has written for over 50 magazines and newspapers, from The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph to NME and Q. With Jane Bussmann, he created the world's first internet sitcom, The Junkies, and he is also the writer of several short films, including the highly-acclaimed Lot 13.
Tickets are just three quid and David will be happy to sign copies of the book, which will be available at the Big Green Bookshop on the night at just £9.99.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch

Friday September 12th – 7.00pm – 8.30pm
Nick Davies – Hack Attack
At first, it seemed like a small story. The royal editor of the News of the World was caught listening to the voicemail messages of staff at BuckinghamPalace. In 2007 he and a private investigator were sentenced to prison and the case was closed. But Nick Davies felt sure there was more to it and began his painstaking investigation which ultimately exposed a world of crime and cover-up, of fear and favour - reaching all the way to the top.
This book is the definitive, inside story of one of the major scandals of our age. Drawing on exclusive interviews with private investigators, journalists, politicians, police officers and Murdoch executives, it blows the lid off FleetStreet, Scotland Yard - and Downing Street. It tells for the first time how Davies and a network of rebel lawyers, MPs and celebrities took on Rupert Murdoch, one of the most powerful men in the world. It takes us into the newsroom of the News of the World and exposes the bullying and law-breaking that went on there, and into the underworld of the private investigators who hacked phones, listened to live calls and bribed the police. Above all, this book paints an intimate portrait of the power elite which gave Murdoch privileged access to government, and allowed him and his people to intimidate anyone who stood up to them.
We're delighted that Nick will be at the Bookshop to talk about his experiences.
Hack Attack is a nail-biting account of an investigative journalist's quest, and is a shining example of the might of good journalism. It tells the story of what happened when truth caught up with power.
There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and Nick will be happy to sign copies of the book.
Tickets are just £5, redeemable on the book.
Please book early

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Groups, Clubs, Socials

We – at the Big Green Bookshop – do groups.

And by "DO" I mean we love groups, we encourage groups, and we like to think that we nurture groups. In short(ish) we dig groups, societies, socials, friends of, bands, crowds, committees, sub-committees, boards, clubs, bodies or quangos. Call 'em what you will, we love 'em.

 We already have a busy schedule, but we find ourselves with an evening or two to spare, so we thought we'd let you decide what type of group we should run.

Here is a list of suggestions (some made by customers) for you to vote for. Or you can suggest one of your very own.

(If you want to suggest a group you can email, or tweet @biggreenbooks, or call 020 8881 6767, or come into the shop for a chat.) 

  • Storytime for Adults
We will invite people to tell their stories, read their poems or sing their songs that have a narrative. It must tell a story or it won't make the cut. The performers can be professional or amateur so long as they have a tale to tell. The stories can be funny or sad, fact or fiction, long or short. AND there could be an Open-Mic spot.
This would be the type of event where we would like both story-tellers and an audience.
We would operate this is a similar way to the Comedy Nights, where we charge an entry fee and the performers take a cut. This suggestion was made by a customer.

  • Screen or Script Writing Group
It may simply be coincidence, but recently I have met a number of people who are working on scripts 'n' screenplays, and it occurred to me that they need as much support as any other writers.
Our writing group recently grew so popular that we had to split it into two, but there's nothing for the dedicated playwriter.
If this proves to be the choice of the people then we would contact the lovely folk at Mountview Theatre School to encourage their students to attend to table-read the offerings.
Like the writing group this would involve a £3.00 sub

  • Wine Tasting
Surprisingly this is Simon's idea. I suppose that's because there's already a lot of wine tasting (and swallowing) at events that I host. (this is Tim writing this by the way. If you don't know who I am (maybe you're a fan of the shop from Twitter, or Facebook or some other digital-e-based thingy all of which Simon is king) well, I am the other one. After a few glasses of wine I is the better looking one….
This group may seem self explanatory, but I should add that it would not be one of us leading the group. We would find a local expert (maybe from a nice independent off-licence) to chair the meetings.
Also, as we have forged some links to local brewers, it wouldn't just be wine we'd be tasting.
There would have to be a charge to cover the cost of the wine.

  • Book Swap with Food to Share

But you already do a book swap, don't you? Well yes, but the emphasis is always on visiting authors. This book swap would be much more relaxed, and more about meeting new people and recommending books to them over shared food & drink. We would have visiting authors, but not every time. 
This would be a free event (so long as everybody brings something for the table)

  • Women's Institute Style Talks
We would invite local businesspersons, journalists, minor celebs, people in the news, maybe a local Politian or two to come and tell us their tales. and answer questions.
We wouldn't advertise who was coming in advance so every month would be a surprise.
There would be a £3.00 sub for this event, and we would encourage people to bring food & drink to share.

  • News or Philosophy group
Come together to discuss the news of the day, or the big questions facing the modern philosopher. Sometimes you just want to let off steam about the injustices in the world, or to share a page 20 good news story that most people won't have seen. Sometimes just asking a question out loud provides you with the answer. This would be an opportunity to meet new people and listen to their opinions. This group was suggested by a customer

  • Senseless Argument Group
Also suggested by a customer….
Pick a pointless subject (Why should adding ridges to a crisp make it taste better?) add in some alcohol and go…
Incidentally, have dustbin men actually got louder now that the old tin dustbins are no more?

And lastly

  • Singles Book Swap Group
It's tricky to meet new people with a view to dating. What do you talk about? Well this could be a chance to meet that special someone.
Bring a book to recommend and swap, maybe some food or drink to share. 
Could literary compatibility lead to anything more?
This group was suggested by a customer

Check out this list first. We may already run the perfect group for you.

You will find below all the events that happen every month, regular as clockwork.

Monday 10.00am – 11.00am
Storytime & Songs for under 5s
Come and enjoy some books and join in with the singing. Suitable for newborns to 5 year olds. A great opportunity to meet other local parents. There's tea & coffee for the parents and a flapjack for the kids.
And it's FREE (although donations are gratefully accepted)

Monday 7.00pm
Monday Evening Reading Group 
We're always looking for more people to come along to our Reading Groups.
This one usually meets on the LAST MONDAY of each month,
There are drinks and snacks at the shop, but you're more than welcome to bring something to share.

Monday 7.00pm
Songwriting Salon 
Stuck for a rhyme? Stuck for a tune? Or have a song that you want to test drive before you play it live at the O2? Try it out with a friendly group of amateur musicians/songwriters
We meet on the SECOND MONDAY of every month.
Bring along some refreshments to share.
This group was suggested by a customer.

Tuesday 7.00pm
Tuesday Evening Reading Group 
We're always looking for more people to come along to our Reading Groups.
This one usually meets on the SECOND TUESDAY of each month,
There are drinks and snacks at the shop, but you're more than welcome to bring something to share.

Tuesday 7.00pm
Music Jam – Campfire Night
A few of our customers (like me (Tim)) play instruments, but the only chance they get to play them is in the privacy of their own homes.
We thought it might be a good idea to invite them to come along, bring an instrument (we can't fit a piano through the front door), relax and have fun with like minded musicians at the bookshop.
It's open to everyone whatever age and level you're at and who knows, this time next year you could be playing in front of thousands of screaming fans at Wembley Arena
We meet on the FIRST TUESDAY of each month.
We call this the Campfire Night because it's like sitting round a campfire sharing songs.
Bring along some refreshments to share.
This group was suggested by a customer.

Wednesday 7.00pm
Writers Group
Do you write short stories or novels?  Are you interested in joining a writers group? Do you have £3 spare?
So many questions....
But if the answer to these is yes, or even maybe, then why not come along to this group,
There are now two groups which run on alternate Wednesdays.
Writing Support Group. The ideal opportunity to test out your work and get feedback from a friendly group of fellow authors.
Critique Group. For those who have finished – or nearly – finished their work, this is a chance to fine tune it. There are also in-depth discussions on how to get your work published.
Both groups have only two rules.
 Rule 1 - Leave your ego at the door. Nobody's work is above constructive criticism.
 Rule 2 - Remember you're dealing with people's personal work, thoughts and words. Be constructive, not dismissive.
We know there are many of you out there who are really keen to write and this maybe something that'll help. You can come as little of as often as you like, to as many groups as you like, but if you think it may help, then why not come along.
Contact the shop to check dates.
Both groups are £3 per session, which will cover refreshments and the cost of the venue.
This group was suggested by a customer

Thursday 7.00pm
Short Story Reading Group 
We're always looking for more people to come along to our Reading Groups.
This one usually meets on the LAST THURSDAY of each month, and is dedicated to reading short stories.
There are drinks and snacks at the shop, but you're more than welcome to bring something to share.
This group was suggested by a customer.

Thursday 7.00pm
Gardeners' Questions
Is everything in your garden rosy? Or are weeds kicking sand in your face? (Metaphorically)
Either way this could be the group for you. Come and sow your knowledge, or gain a bit of home grown wisdom from other members of the group.
Subjects ranging from organic gardening to foraging will be discussed over the next few months.
This group meets on the THIRD THURSDAY of the month; check in the shop for further details.
This group was suggested by a customer

Friday 10.00am – 11.00am
Storytime & Songs for under 5s
Come and enjoy some books and join in with the singing. Suitable for newborns to 5 year olds. A great opportunity to meet other local parents. There's tea & coffee for the parents and a flapjack for the kids.
And it's FREE (although donations are gratefully accepted)

Friday 8.00pm
Working Title Comedy Night
On the LAST FRIDAY of each month. Our Monthly Stand-Up Comedy night. It's now become an established venue on the London comedy circuit. Each month we have some great stand-ups. There's a mixture of highly regarded newcomers, award winning comics as well as television and festival favourites. There are usually 4 or 5 great acts and an open mic session, all wonderfully compered by your host for the night, Chris Brosnahan (Described by The Sun as "a Comedian")
Bring your own refreshments, sit back and enjoy a great night at the bookshop.
Check the Events & Diary page for full details

Sunday 1.00pm-4.00pm
Knitting Club
It's the FIRST SUNDAY of the month, so it must be Knitting Club. It's simple.
Turn up, knit, chat, knit some more, eat biscuits and drink tea.
Everyone is welcome, even crochetters.

Sunday 1.00pm – 5.00pm
Boardgames Day
It's the LAST SUNDAY of the month, so it must be board games day at the Big Green Bookshop. You'll have the chance to relive some of your childhood classics like Monopoly but also try some of the new generation of games like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne and Labyrinth. These are fun, pacey, challenging games that don't drag on endlessly until you've lost the will to live.
Come along to the bookshop anytime throughout the afternoon, choose a game and spend a pleasant afternoon in the lovely surroundings of the bookshop trying to build your railway network, build your medieval empire or create a new civilisation. We'll provide coffee and tea, but bring along snacks to keep your mind focussed on destroying your opponents. Come along with friends or by yourself, we'll sure that there'll be a game you can join in with. If you want to bring along your own game then that's fine (especially if it's Escape From Colditz, I haven't played that for years) or if you want us to get a particular boardgame then just let us know and we'll do our best to get it (not Twister!).
There's even a Facebook Group called BOARD TO DEATH.....

This is a FREE club and we hope you tell all your friends about it.
This group was suggested by a customer

You can see how many of our groups have come from our lovely customers. We really do listen.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Big Green Bookswap, with Nikesh Shukla and James Smythe

Wednesday July 30th  7.30pm-9.30pm
The Big Green Bookswap with Nikesh Shukla and James Smythe

£3. (includes drink). Buy Tickets HERE

Join us for a glorious evening of entertainment and literary chat at the Big Green Bookshop (one of the 14 most beautiful indie bookshops in London).

There are two rules of Book Swap
1.       Bring a book with you that you like enough to recommend but are happy to swap
2.       Prepare to be entertained.
At these Book Swaps we ask the audience to each write down a question to ask our special guests.  The catch is that the question must have NOTHING to do with books. These questions are then placed in the "Bucket of Mystery" which Simon will randomly dip into throughout the evening.
"Special guests?" you say.
YES. We have two exceptional authors appearing this month. The clue to who they are was in the title of this event, but let us give you a little bit more information.

 NIKESH SHUKLA is the author of the hilarious Coconut Unlimited, which was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. His short stories have featured pretty much everywhere, including The Salt Best British Short stories collection. I would seriously recommend if you have the facility to do so, you should dowload The Time Machine, which will make you cry.
And now his second novel has just been published. Meatspace (you may have heard us mention this book before) is a smart, funny cautionary tale about a struggling author's obsession with social media. Read about it HERE.
I must also mention that Nikesh likes Spider-Man, possibly a bit too much.
JAMES SMYTHE  is the author of (among others) The Testimony, which won the Wales Book of the Year Award, The Explorer and No Harm Can Come to a Good Man. His latest novel is the phenomenalThe Machine, which was Shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2014. You can read about the book HERE.
He is currently on book 29 (!) in his Guardian series entitled"Rereading Steven King".
Along with Nikesh, James co-hosts a sci-fi podcast, called Meat Up, Hulk Out. So there's every chance that he likes Spider-Man too much as well.
All these books we've mentioned will be available on the night at excitingly less than recommended retail prices.
Book Swaps are fun. DO YOU LIKE FUN? Fun that costs three pounds and includes a drink?
Well come along then!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Shappi Khorsandi. Friday July 25th

Friday July 25th 8.00pm-11.00pm
Working Title Comedy Night with Shappi Khorsandi
We have something very special indeed for you this month, as we welcome the amazing Shappi Khorsandi to the Big Green Bookshop. 
She'll be heading off to the Edinburgh Festival the following week, but we're going to be treated to a preview of her show before she goes.
After being knocked up like a 1950s teenager, she missed the festival last year, but now she is back and it's forward march for Shappi.
Reflecting on the good things, she celebrates her haphazard, zigzag towards her dreams.
She introduces us to friends, family and total strangers who have helped her on her personal Yellow Brick Road. 
She's feisty, flirty and effortlessly funny she handles every subject with a razor sharp wit, softened only by her deliciously dizzy delivery and endless charm. 
Now, you know that tickets will sell out very quickly, so if you want to come along, PLEASE make sure you buy them in advance, as we won't be letting people in on the door.
Tickets are just FIVE POUNDS (bring your own refreshments) and your host will be the spectacular Chris Brosnahan.

Hope to see you there.  
Support acts TBA