Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Anyway, to no great surprise, I was stood up. I didn't mind as Robert is busy setting up his much anticipated new store in Bath. It's quite fun to be involved in all this, if only very tangentially- losing a member of staff to the new shop, losing my hoped for replacement for said member of staff to said bookshop and going to lunch with the most talked about bookseller of the moment- even at this distance I feel some of the excitement and a small tinge of envy.
except that today I got to cycle in through the parks in the sunshine- stopping at the lake and looking at the sedge (apparently) of herons opposite the Barbara Hepworth at Battersea Park (this is my current favourite view in London, they're nesting and I will never tire of looking at herons standing up on the top of tall trees). I arrive at work where 150 signed copies of 'On Chesil Beach' need to be put in the window after Ian McEwans visit yesterday- 'speed date' two reps who, for quite acceptable reasons, needed to be out of here asap- order the copies of 'Rites of Peace: the Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna' (probably the history book I am most looking forward to this year) for when we sell it at the launch party- get the 'kit bags' ready for selling Marina Lewycka's new novel 'Two Caravans' tomorrow night- get given a proof of Armistead Maupin's 'Michael Tolliver Lives' which I'm extremely happy about and just as I come in from lunch I even get to tell a famous TV critic that I thought he had been a bit hard on Shaun the Sheep. Phew, and I've still got 3 hours of my shift left.
Excitement, they don't know the meaning of the word.
Monday, March 26, 2007
I did the CD but have forgotten the running order so Saber, if you're reading this could you post the track list.
Also, if we're lucky, Saber might show us the real 'last post' which I know runs to about 4,000 words but haven't seen- so if we all wish very hard......
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
This is my last blog post. I have realy enjoyed working at the Pan Bookshop. This is possibly the only time that I've left a place of work and been quite sad to do so. I'll miss the customers, my colleagues - who, like almost everybody else in the book industry, are really nice - and a whole bunch of other things. How do you quantify what's really special about one bookshop and not another?
This blog was much much longer ( I wrote it last night more than a little tipsy) but the gist is I will really miss the shop. I've had a happy four years here. I'm off to Bath in a few days. If you're ever down, do look me up.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Jeffery Archer & Frank Moloney will be talking about their new book The Gospel According to Judas, a fictional account of the story of Jesus as retold by Judas' son Benjamin. While I suspect that much, if not most of the publicity has focused on Jeffrey Archer's part in this, it's really worth bearing in mind that this is a joint collobaration between him and Frank Moloney - one of the world's leading Biblical scholars. I suppose (the book is embargoed until the publication date of 20th March) this book is that rare combination of biblical scholarship mixed with storytelling.
If anyone is interested in going to this, and seeing the Pan Bookshop selling books at Westminster Cathedral this Wednesday, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, March 17, 2007
It really is just a few DVD's that I like and hope will sell but will nudge customers into realizing that we can order most films for them for collection next day.
Two main reasons for finally getting around to it are firstly the arrival of 'An Inconvenient truth' at a decent price at our suppliers- we've done well with the book and it seems an obvious idea to sell the film too.
The second reason is maybe more important- the arrival of 'Shoah' on DVD. It has come out more than once in discussions with customers that I don't generally approve of most of the holocaust industry but I do think that everybody should read 'If this is a Man' by Primo Levi and if you have the stomach and curiosity for more you should watch Shoah. Nine and a half hours of testimony hewn from eyewitnesses by Claude Lanzman. Everyman is here as these are the stories of the victims, the perpetrators and the bystanders. Everyone of us could have been any one of them- these are not special people, they could have come from anywhere and their stories are a part of who and what we are.
I can't really convey the power of this film but I used to collect folk stories: after seeing Shoah I stopped, there just didn't seem to be anything more to say
Friday, March 16, 2007
I take new customer to children's, her eyebrows raise- I show her 'and now we are six' they positively arch. she has just seen a film- in it was a poem but an adult poem, old customer now wants to try a different spelling of Scottish word- I have to go back, calling saber over to help with the film/poem enquiry I once again open the Chambers dictionary.
[I'm temporarily taking over the story here - saber]
About 5 minutes later, I work out that it's a poem by e.e. cummings called- "i carry your heart with me(i carry it in" -by googling various permutations. I'm feeling really quite pleased with myself. We have several editions of e.e. cumming's poetry. I show them to the customer. My favourite edition is the Complete Poems, 1904-1962 which is over a thousand pages. The customer likes the look of it as well and thinks that it would be a great Valentine's present. I'm thinking fantastic, we've sold a £35 poetry book to someone who will really appreciate it. I look up the poem in the index, go to page 766.
It's not there.
Some numpty has ripped out that page.
It doesn't take that much effort to google anything nowadays and to print it out. It's just plain vandalism.
Anyway, the customer bought a paperback edition of cummings' poetry.
[back to Julian]
so there you go- they could have asked us, we probably would have printed one poem from google for them- but no.
Anyway on the off chance anyone reading this feels similarly inclined and just because it provides a good excuse to print some e.e. cummings here's the poem
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
(re copyright- I guess google could not complain and I hope Faber realise that this whole blog is just a thinly veiled advert to demonstrate that we are the type of bookshop that stocks £35 hardback poetry books)
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
My view of humanity last week was one of a jaded, cynical middle aged man who thought the world was out to get him.
At the end of the week I remembered I'd won a bid on e-bay for a copy of 'The Wild' - a Disney animation that, possibly uniquely, my son thinks is the best film in the world. I hastily apologize for not paying and explain that although my joint card (Royal bank of Scotland take a bow 24hr service) has been replaced, after 4 days my own card (Barclay's take a step backward) hadn't arrived but I'd rather not set up a new paypal account with the joint card. I did say that I was sorry for the delay and so was my son as he was looking forward to seeing the film again.
the reply from the seller was that this was no problem, if I sent them my address they would send the film straight away and I could settle up whenever the card arrived. Wow!
So let's big it up for e-bay seller 'lazybones' as this week I see the world as one full of happy people who all want to help eachother and that anything is possible.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Saber and I have been doing this post for about two weeks now- I've yet to pursuade anyone else to join in but I'm sure they will- and from the traffic thingy we get from Yahoo more people are visiting the blog everyday. hurrah. (but still not very many- hence the lower case and no exclaimation mark my rather simple prose style would normally dictate.)
Anyway, I'd thought I'd just quickly recap as some of the most important items we did in terms of communication were on the first blog which has now fallen over the parapet.
Firstly, We are interested if anyone would like to be our owl for Harry Potter night. I have to admit that thus far we've had no takers although I thought it would be so popular in my minds eye I'd pictured a charity auction for the privlidge. Oh well- if anyone hankers after being Hedwig for a day let us know.
Secondly; we were asking about chidrens reading groups in the shop, especially a possible link with a radio station, well, we've had a few schools and a couple of authors get back to us on that so I'll keep you posted and hopefully something will be running very soon.
Also I've wondered aloud what books our politicians could usefully read, my suggestions so far being Suite Francaise for Tony Blair (great book on the civilian cost of war) and The Great Game for anyone in our defence dept.
And finally, the great Saber's leaving CD appeal was launched- suggestions required for his book related (with one or two exceptions)- compilation. So far the running order is:
New career in a New town- David Bowie (speaks for itself)
The Book Song- Fairport Convention (ditto)
Wuthering heights- Kate Bush
White rabbit- Jefferson Aeroplane
Neon Bible - Arcade Fire (actually I haven't heard this yet as my copy of the album hasn't turned up! althogh sabers' did!!)
Charlote Sometimes- The Cure
Maybe This Time - From Cabaret
Catweazle- Boo Radleys (I'd never heard of , let alone heard, this but the concepts good)
Break on Through - The Doors
Suicide Underground - Air (more or less the entire plot of The Virgin Suicides in one song- sort of)
It's the end of the world as we know it (but I feel fine)- REM
ps if you haven't read The Little Prince, you're missing out.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
To my shame I've just finished Suite Francaise (If you've not heard of it, it is the first two parts of an unfinished sequence of novels by Irene Nemirovsky: a Russian Jew who had to move to France and became a successful writer. It is about the occupation of France written during the occupation of France. The manuscript was found in notebook form years after it was written. The fact that the author died in Auschwitz has only added to it's allure)
Due to family history I avoid anything that tends to sell itself via the holocaust (While being perfectly happy that he's written it-I probably won't read the new Norman Mailer, for example) but I came down off this particular high horse as, credit to Chatto, they did not push the tragic author aspect too much, mostly selling the book on its artistic merit.
They were right to do so; it is fantastic, especially the first section dealing with the evacuation of Paris. This is a book about war but about the civilian experience of it. And it should be compulsory reading for anyone in charge of armed forces. It is, in a quiet way, a brutal book . The consequences of invasion are spelt out with absolute clarity, the casual destruction of families, the stupid and unforeseen tragedies that rip the meaning out of countless peoples lives. You see the news and wish this book had been around a few years ago and thrown onto the laps of our lords and masters.
Mind you when you have defence secretaries claiming that they are 'surprised' by the level of resistance in Afghanistan (something I've now heard twice) it beggars belief. Could they not employ some kind of book doctor to recommend certain titles to stop making total arses of themselves- in this case I would prescribe 'The Great Game' by Peter Hopkirk
p.s. I don't care how hard hearted you are- you've got to feel a bit sorry for West Ham and Carlos Tevez
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Friday, March 02, 2007
I've actually taken 3 days off to build something in my back garden- guess what, eldest child throws up everywhere and can't go to nursery- my day is spend lying on sofa watching kids TV, way too much kids TV. How do you know when you have watched too much kids TV? when you start worrying about the background characters in The Fimbles- are they jealous of Roly Mole having a successful breakout spin off series of his own, are they nice to him hoping to get a coveted guest spot on his show etc etc
Fleeing from the tv I picked up a book to surreptitiously read and realised I'd probably be going to Iceland in the next year or two. The link, well my last few holidays have been to Southwold, Venice, Ystad, Edingburgh (well Glasgow but we went to Edinburgh for the day so why spoil a perfectly good train of thought) , Dartmoor and I'm hoping to go to Sciliy soon. The book I picked up 'Silence of the Grave' by Arnaldur Indridason a crime novel set in Reykjavik that I'd been meaning to read for a while. The pitifully few pages I was allowed to read seem pretty good and I'm looking forward to the second chapter!
The sun is shining and Arran has just gone to nursery- the garden awaits