Archive for March, 2013

The Book People’s Debut Fiction Choices

We’re all very passionate about books and reading at the Book People and nothing excites us more than when we come across a brand new author with a compelling story to tell. Whenever we state a book is our Debut Fiction Choice, you know that you will never have read anything quite like it. Awarded to those authors whose work has astounded us in so many ways, we are delighted when we get the chance to showcase their work to our customers. From books that have gone on to claim numerous awards to magical and extraordinary reads you’re sure to go back to time and time again, you’re always likely to fall for a Book People Debut Fiction Choice.

Christie WatsonTiny Sunbirds Far Away
After recommending this poignant and warming read, it went on to become the winner of the 2011 Costa First Novel Award. It tells the story of Blessing and her brother Ezikiel as they go from a life of luxury to trying to survive in a peasant’s compound…

Benjamin WoodThe Bellwether Revivals
Following the fortunes of the bright and bookish Oscar Lowe as he falls in love with the enigmatic Iris Bellwether, and subsequently find himself immersed into a world of scholarship, privilege and disturbance, this title was nominated for the 2012 Costa First Novel Award.

Gavin ExtenceThe Universe Versus Alex Woods
The tale of an unlikely friendship and an incredible scenario, this book focuses on the life of bullied outcast Alex Woods, a teenager who has survived against incredible odds. When he strikes up a bond with elderly neighbour Mr Peterson, they both begin to learn something from each other…

Karen Thompson WalkerThe Age of Miracles
The Earth is in the middle of ‘The Slowing’, an extraordinary event which has seen the 24-hour day expand. While it is asserted that day-to-day life should continue, 11-year-old Julia is in the middle of adolescence. A coming-of-age novel set in a not-too-distant dystopian future.

Amity GaigeSchroder
Acclaimed by the likes of Adam Haslett and Jonathan Franzen, Schroder is an exquisitely written novel about an intriguing subject. Awaiting news of his kidnap trial, Erik Schroder starts to tell his wife about the seven-day road trip on which he took their daughter Meadow…

The Book People’s Fiction Choice author Amity Gaige talks about her inspirations behind Schroder

Amity Gaige, author of our stunning Fiction Choice book Schroder, shares with the Book People her inspirations behind this deeply moving and utterly dazzling novel.

“My inspirations for Schroder were many, some personal, some literary. I’d say the first inspiration was my own new parenthood. I’m the mother of a seven-year-old boy, who is a lot like Meadow in his ability to say terribly adult things. I began the book when he was about three. The transformation into parenthood was a wonderful but rocky one for me. Like a lot of parents, I was intimidated by my new responsibilities – was I saying or doing the ‘right thing’ for my son? I think many parents harbour doubts like these. So Schroder is my parenthood book. Eric is an exaggeration, in his actions, of the problems and choices facing many parents, especially those co-parenting children after divorce.

Before I started writing Schroder, I’d been at work for three years on another novel. It was to be my great Latvian-American novel. My mother is an immigrant from Latvia, and her tale of escape from Stalin’s invading forces at the end of World War II is an amazing one. But I couldn’t make that novel work. I was actually doing research in Latvia when a new plot – Schroder – inspired me to tell my mother’s immigrant story from a completely different angle. This one in the voice of a German man, a liar and imposter. Like Eric, my mother came to the U.S. when she was an adolescent. She’d come from a landowning family in Latvia, and the years spent as a poor immigrant were full of hardship and adolescent humiliations. The worst of it was probably being teased by other kids. So while my mother loves this country now, I think I borrowed her difficult assimilation for Eric. There is an element of truth to the American Dream – you can make good here, but you definitely start at the bottom. So Eric makes a fateful choice. Rather than start at the bottom, he pretends to be somebody else altogether. In the age of the internet, this kind of fraud is now easier than ever. But questions of identity and self-invention are age-old.

I loved writing Schroder as a letter, or at least a confession addressed to Eric’s ex-wife. I was inspired by many great novels, such as Nabokov’s Pale Fire, and Ford Maddox Ford’s The Good Soldier, as well as confessional poets such as Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. In some ways, the novel is one long unrequited love letter from a very troubled man.”

The best bunnies from books

With Easter just around the corner and the Easter Rabbit soon to visit us all here at the Book People HQ, we started discussing some of our favourite bunnies. With the likes of Bugs Bunny, Roger Rabbit and Donnie Darko’s Frank all being brought up in our discussions we soon moved on to some of the best rabbits to feature in literature. There have been a surprising amount of floppy-eared heroes in books, and here’s just a few of our favourites.

Peter Rabbit

The star of over 20 books, Beatrix Potter’s endearing Peter Rabbit is a true icon of children’s literature. Entirely mischievous but never less than lovable, he avoids a frightening fate when he ventures into Mr McGregor’s vegetable patch…

Hazel and Fiver – Watership Down
A classic read from Richard Adams, Hazel and her brother Fiver are unforgettable characters who have to avoid a number of threats from humans, dogs and foxes as they bravely venture into a strange world as they search for safety.

Little Rabbit Foo Foo
The star of a traditional children’s song, in Michael Rosen’s picture book the madcap Little Rabbit Foo Foo is as naughty as ever. After bopping too many unsuspecting animals on the head with his hammer, the Good Fairy is summoned to teach him that actions do have consequences.

Stunt Bunny
Harriet Houdini is a little rabbit who is outraged when she discovers her owners are thinking of calling her Flopsy, a name that really does not suit a bunny with dreams of a showbiz lifestyle. After being talent spotted, she’s all set for fame. What can possibly go wrong?

The White Rabbit – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Possibly the most stylish rabbit on our list with his waistcoat and pocket watch, it’s a shame the White Rabbit’s timekeeping skills aren’t quite up to scratch. Always late, he is indirectly responsible for all Alice’s adventures as she follows him down the rabbit hole into a weird and wonderful land.

The Velveteen Rabbit
The Velveteen Rabbit is a stuffed-toy rabbit who dreams of becoming real. All he has to do to achieve his goal is make his owner love him, but this is easier said than done. In a book that celebrates the importance of friendship and affection, he is a wonderfully memorable character.

Discover the great outdoors…

Not that we want to jinx it, but it does seem like the weather is starting to look up, and the Book People has a great range of outdoorsy books that will help you and your family embrace the Great British spring weather come rain or shine. So dig into our selection today!

If you’re a keen gardener then you’ll love our new Allotment Handbook from DK. Full of top tips and practical advice, you’ll be leaving the grocery aisle in the supermarket long behind you and growing your own fruit and veg pronto. This fantastic beginners’ handbook teaches essential techniques like sowing, mulching and weeding, features troubleshooting facts for dealing with pests and will have you enjoying the healthier taste of home-grown food in no time!

If you want to venture slightly further than your back garden than make sure you peruse Julia Bradbury’s Canal Walks and our ever-popular Escape Routes. Seasoned walker and TV presented Julia Bradbury guides you through four of the very best walks around the UK’s finest locks, aqueducts and more and the book is full of handy maps, explanations for what to look out for and stunning pictures that track some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery. If you’d rather hop on your bike to cover more ground, then Matt Carroll’s personal selection of 60 cycle rides will help you to explore the secrets and surprises of the English countryside and coasts. Don’t worry, for those of you who want to investigate even more of traditional Britain, this inspirational little book includes a Best for Pubs section, so you can make stopping for a break worth while too.

While you are out and about, why not try a new hobby? Our fantastic Landscape and Wildlife Photography Workshop books will help you capture the wonderful sights you encounter this spring. Compiled by experts in the respective fields, each guide with have you harnessing wonderful scenes and unique nature shots and putting them in print to wow your friends and family with this year. Not only will they ensure you pick up superb skills but these books also provide a great excuse to get out and spy some incredible wildlife and scenery!

We haven’t forgotten about the kids either. They’ll love to go out exploring with the RSPB’s Children’s Guide to Wildlife or the National Trust’s 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 ¾ in their backpacks. Encouraging some youngsters to step away from their TV or computer can sometimes be tricky, but these two exciting and engaging reads are bursting with so many fun ideas and incredible things to look out for, children will be charging into their gardens, local parks and far beyond as they discover what makes the great outdoors so great!

Tasty TV Favourites

We have a range of glorious cookbooks available at extremely competitive prices and all of them are sure to provide you with a hearty, delicious meal. With great recipes from both the general public and some of our famous celebrity chefs, there’s something for all tastes and you’re sure to enjoy this wonderful food as the nights later.

Presented by Carol Vorderman, Food Glorious Food is Simon Cowell’s new foray into the world of television cookery and the tie-in book features a range of delicious recipes created by ordinary households around the country. From traditional favourites like Lancashire Hot Pot, Cornish Pasties and Bakewell Tart to those with a contemporary twist, this cookbook has over 100 recipes for you to try your hand at. An extremely popular duo, The Fabulous Baker Brothers have also returned and Glorious British Grub is sure to delight their legion of fans. Celebrating the best in British food, the book offers a tasty new edge to traditional fare like pub grub, fish & chips and cream tea and the recipes are complemented by sumptuous photography.

After the success of his How to Bake book, The Great British Bake Off’s judge Paul Hollywood turns his attention to Bread. Throughout the six chapters in this baking book, he will not only reveal recipes that will enable you to make delicious bread but also show you how you can use the loaf as a basis for a fantastically tasty meal. From transforming a basic white bloomer into a picnic delight and using white chocolate and raspberry bread as a tempting summer pudding, the book will help you get to grips with making bread! The MasterChef Cookery Course will take you through the very basics of cooking and then encourage you to show off the skills you’ve learnt in over 120 classic recipes. This book is a must for anyone looking to start cooking!

Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course is another book suited to beginners. Going back to basics, the cookbook shows how chefs of all levels of experience can produce tempting and mouth-watering meals. All it needs is desire, confidence and a little inspiration. We also have Nigellissima in stock. In this book, Nigella Lawson celebrates the best of Italian food and provides you with over 100 recipes for fresh, tasty and unpretentious Italian food.

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