Thursday, 28 June 2012

Philosophy Bites

In Defence of Wonder by Raymond Tallis

“How can we know for sure that this glass is the same in my eyes as it is in yours?"
An extraordinary collection of essays, exploring of the sense of mystery that we know coincidentally exists: the spellbinding nature of 'wonder'.
I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the subjects of philosophy & science and likes to think beyond the four cardboard walls, and broaden their school of thought.

Other works you may also find very interesting:


Friday, 22 June 2012

Something For The Weekend… Fell

And you thought house prices in
 your neighbourhood were bad?
Truth is stranger than fiction so they say, a fact Warren Ellis contests throughout the dark and ominous pages of Fell Volume 1: Feral City. There are no strange costumes or fantastic powers in Fell, no origin story or cross over event. This graphic novel is about a cop. A good cop (as far as we know) who finds himself on the wrong side of the bridge, in Snowtown. This is not a place where good things happen and Detective Richard Fell quickly realises he is going to need all his skills of observation simply to stay alive. It also helps he’s no slouch at fisticuffs.

Each story in Fell revels in the sick and the wrong, and somehow justifies it without ever excusing it. The gross out moments are laugh out loud funny, but there’s plenty that will draw a morbidly fascinated silence out even the most jaded reader. The moral spectrum here is as muddy and warped as the art itself, provided by Ben Templesmith (Wormwood Gentleman Corpse). The art style is perfectly singular, strange but always coherent, at times adopting the best hallucinatory, dream-like qualities of cinema.

And it’s not just the stories that skew from the traditional superhero fair (but you already knew that superheroes are only one genre in the medium, right?). Each episode is limited to just sixteen pages (American comics a regularly 22 page affairs). This makes the story-telling brief and snappy without ever feeling cluttered and condensed. The dialogue is paired down, almost beyond brevity, further adding to the vein of noir that bleeds through Fell.

Long term comics readers will also note the nine panel grid, used to create a steady and orderly pace in story-telling, only broken to establish scenes, capture the action or heighten the atmosphere. And there is atmosphere aplenty in Snowtown.

Note also (pun intended) that Ellis and Templesmith are not tied to such a prosaic thing as a caption box to display the exposition. Detective Fell’s yellow, hand-scrawled, post-it notes introduce us to each locale, often underpinned with gallows humour. It’s this humour that leavens the black as pitch tales of criminality in Snowtown. Adding further richness is the author’s great humanity -- Detective Richard Fell cares, and so does Warren Ellis.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Love Charing Cross Road

The 30th June sees the first of many events to celebrate Charing Cross Road’s literary and musical heritage. The brainchild of Blackwell’s and Foyles, two of the longest-standing booksellers on the street, the day will showcase the best of our community.

We love Charing Cross Road. We want to honour its history and celebrate its future. Come and talk to us, buy our books and music, support our street and its wealth of culture. In return you get to regain the joy of years of expertise while you shop and make a real difference to keeping independent and individual areas of London alive.

Check our website, Love Charing Cross Road, for more details. We’ll see you at the Fest.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Something for the weekend.. The Damned utd

The Damned Utd

by David Peace.

I was a child when Clough was King so my early memories are vague & clouded by Mike Yarwood & his ilks OTT impression. Over the years as I heard the oft repeated sound bites & learnt of his outstanding achievements  I realised he was a fascinating character, but this again was clouded by the sad spectacle of his last few years. The alcohol dependence & failure to quit while ahead meant his legend was forever tarnished. Until, that is, I read the 'The Damned Utd' by David Peace.

The book revolves around Clough's tumultuous 41 days at Leeds United in 1974, but also flashes back to his early career as a player for Middlesborough & his success as a young manager. Peace has always tried to stress this book is fiction not a work of biography. This didn't stop some of Clough's family expressing their extreme displeasure or indeed some of the ex-players suing him. But fiction it most certainly is. If you want biography watch the film, it's a good film but it is merely the script of this book. This book is unfilmable.

What Peace does is take us right inside 'old big ead's' head. His relentless prose steamrollers through Elland road with Clough as funny, opinionated & wise as he is boorish, blinkered & belligerent. What the detractors failed to see is that this is Clough 'the legend'. Peace may not show him at his best but he makes him such a compelling character that you cannot stop reading & that, at least, would have pleased Clough no end.

You do not need to be a fan of Football or indeed of sport to enjoy this book, you just need to know great writing when you see it. After this, try the 'Red Riding' quartet of novels, not for the squeamish they are however mesmerising & unique.

I wouldn't say David Peace was the best writer of his generation but..

Buy it here


Friday, 1 June 2012

Half term sale!!



Half Term Sale!

Yes visit Blackwell's Charing Cross Road & get £5 off when you spend £10 or more on children's books!

Seriously, this is an amazing offer & it's on until the 10th of June.

We'll see you in the kids section!

(Only 1 transaction per customer per day. Excludes books bought as part of the 3 for 2 offer. Offer available at participating Blackwell's & Heffers stores only and is not available online..)

Something for the weekend...

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

For those finding the future is dark and dystopian after reading the Hunger Games, The Knife of Never Letting Go is a great book to try next.

The first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy begins in Prentisstown, a small rural settlement in the New World where there are supposedly no women, and a virus contracted by the men means they can hear each other's thoughts all of the time. When the hero, Todd Hewitt, finds a spot of moving silence in the midst of the 'Noise', he is forced to run away from his home town and eventually finds the cause of the silence: a female. The first book in this trilogy is the story of their flight.

Exciting and original, this is a great book for teenagers and adults, and one you should read before the film comes out to get ahead of the hype!

Sarah D