Despite having thousands of books in the shop, every day customers will come in for a particular title that we don’t have on the shelves. Some titles are old friends we have stocked in the past and are delighted to see them reaching a new audience but occasionally we will be introduced to books and authors we haven’t met before. That happened to me recently when a customer put in a special order for Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. I vaguely remembered the title from the longlist for the UK’s Women’s Prize for fiction but it also won Arthur C.Clarke Award in 2015 and was a finalist for both the US National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner so when I saw someone else was reading it, I thought it might be worth a look. It is brilliant and is now the book I press onto customers when they ask me for a recommendation (and sometimes even when they don’t – that’s how enthusiastic I am about it).
One snowy night in Toronto a famous actor, Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America. The world will never be the same again.
Straddling literary fiction and science fiction, this book is partly dystopian, but more importantly an exploration of the ability of humanity and art to survive and thrive no matter what.
This is the type of book that you want to compulsively read and never finish at the same time. Perfect for bookclubs as there is so much you will want to talk about and share. So a big thank you to the lovely customer who ordered this book – I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
The Booker Prize, the premier English literary prize, turns fifty this year and a competition was held to find the ‘Best Booker’. A panel of judges divided up the past winners to come up with a shortlist that reflected the five decades that the Booker has been around. The shortlist was
V.S. Naipaul’s In a Free State
Penelope Lively‘s Moon Tiger
Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient
Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall
George Saunder’s Lincoln in the Bardo
More than 9000 votes came in from the public leading to the announcement overnight that Michael Ondaatje had won. Interestingly, twenty six years ago the Booker judges were not quite as confident of the book and it was actually tied with Barry Unsworth‘s novel The Sacred Hunger in 1992.
While trying to decide the Best Booker is bound to end in heated discussion, Ondaatje himself suggested modestly that he would have voted for Naipaul or Mantel, there is no denying that The English Patient is a gorgeous book that’s beautifully written. For Kamila Shamsie, the judge who nominated it for the shortlist, it was Ondaatje’s treatement of his female characters that put it head and shoulders over the others she read. ‘Hana to me is the centre of the novel, and it is done with such love, care, and understanding and complexity.’
It is also lovely to see that such a great author is still at the top of his game with his novel Warlight being recently released and currently on the long list for this year’s Man Booker.
Long ago, before Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton were famous for writing The Treehouse Series, they were still famous but for writing something different – The Just Series. It is a series that was loved by a generation of kids just a little older than the current Treehouse generation and is well worth checking out for those kids who love a good laugh. More of a traditional reading book than Treehouse (Terry’s illustrations are in the margins rather than centre stage) each of the books contain a series of hilarious short stories about Andy, who considers himself the world’s trickiest and most hilarious practical joker. That view not shared by his Mum, Dad, his older sister Jen or even his best mate Danny. There are eight in the series starting with the classic Just Tricking!, a book I have read aloud so many times I can almost quote it by heart. Well worth checking out especially for any reluctant primary readers out there.
Another children’s classic series – Judy Moody by Megan McDonald – has been given lovely new covers and a special half-price offer of $5 for the first book. Judy is grade three and is often in a mood, sometimes good and sometimes bad. Currently up to number 13 in the series, Judy is a fiesty believable third grader navigating school, adventures and friendships. This lovely series, suitable for junior primary, is easy to enjoy in its own right but it could also be useful as a springboard into talking about how your child experiences school and life. If this appeals check out the related website http://www.judymoody.com which has a comprehensive teacher’s/parent’s guide for each of the books.
We are so excited about this Saturday 11 August which is our annual Love Your Bookshop Day event (though we love our bookshop every other day as well). This one is shaping up to be the best one yet with 10 fabulous authors going to be in the store to chat about their great books. Find out about cats loving custard and dinosaurs crossed with dogs with writer/illustrator Lucinda Gifford or have a chat to award winning crime writers Emma Viskic and Cath Ferla. Lovely locals Fran Cusworth and Kylie Ladd can chat to you about page turning women’s fiction. Mick McCoy will take us into the world of international espionage, Mira Robertson explores Victoria’s past, and then for the kids there is the marvellous Matt Larkin, awesome Adrian Beck and we finish with the magical Michael Pryor (see times below). But wait there’s more – we will have raffles, giveaways, lucky dips, be recording everyone’s favourite book and having some food. So come on down to Station Street and join in the fun.
Lucinda Gifford 10.30-11.30
Mick McCoy 11.00-12.00
Kylie Ladd 11.00 – 12.00
Fran Cusworth 11.30-12.30
Matt Larkin 11.30 – 12.30
Mira Robertson 12.00 – 1.00
Emma Viskic 12.30 – 1.30
Adrian Beck 1.00 – 2.00
Cath Ferla 1.00 – 2.00
Michael Pryor 1.30 – 2.30
At Fairfield Books we love our bookshop every day of the year but Saturday 11 August will be extra special when we celebrate Love Your Bookshop Day with a range of special guests and local authors. Come to Station Street and tell us your favourite book – we’re putting them all up on our window. Any purchase on the day with go into the draw for a $50 gift voucher. Gorgeous and practical Love Your Bookshop tote bags are free with purchases over $30 and there will be lollipops and maybe even Heather’s special brownies!
For the kids, authors visiting included the super talented Lucinda Gifford, well known as an illustrator and children’s author, who will be kicking off the day at 10.30am. Her latest book is Dogasaurus and I think it is her best yet. At 11.30am we have Mat Larkin, author of fantastic The Underground Orchard, at 1-2pm Adrian Beck, author of The Champion Charlies soccer books, Alien Zoo among lots of other titles and we finish up with Michael Pryor who is the author of over twenty books including the popular Gap Year in Ghost Town.
And don’t worry adults you haven’t been forgotten. Local thriller writer Mick McCoy, author of What the Light Reveals will be here from 11am, Kylid Ladd, whose latest is The Way Back, followed by Fran Cusworth, author of The Spicefield Girls, and then crime writers Emma Viskic, who, in hot-off-the-press news, has just received a UK Dagger association shortlisting for her first book Resurrection Bay, and then Ned Kelly winner, Cath Ferla.
It’s going to be a brilliant day so make sure you drop in!
Normally our recommendations are book and reading focussed, but in honour of the school holidays I thought we would focus on some of the great craft and activity sets and activity and travel books that are in stock. Usborne have a fantastic range of stickerbooks, activity books and we always have lots in stock, but did you know they also have jigsaw puzzles? A great one for the younger members of the family are the Book & Jigsaw Puzzle set of Fairy Tales such as Little Red Riding Hood. Only 30 pieces it is the perfect starter set. Back into more traditional Usborne territory is the always popular 200 Paper Planes to fold and fly. Learn all about paper plane theory to fold the beautifully illustrated papers contained within. The book has 200 tear-out sheets and then you can choose to make it into a dart, coaster, bug, mantis, jet, shuttle or glider for hours of fun family competition. Another fun game for all the family are the various Bingo Games we have in store – dog, bird, monkey or cat. All are beautifully illustrated. The bird version has found a happy home at my house and we’ve had a great time learning about everything from a splendid fairywren to a puffin.
Lonely Planet are world famous for their travel books, but they also have a great range of kids activity books related to travel. My Holiday Scrapbook is a great one for your kids to collect and keep their own memories of the trips they go on and Boredom Buster – Games for the Road have plenty of activities to distract from the inevitable ‘Are We There Yet?’ from the backseat of the car.
And last one is for the budding artists out there – How To Draw Almost Everything For Kids – An Illustrated Sourcebook by wellknown Japanese illustrator Nao Sakamoto. Full of tips and gorgeous illustrations, this book has instructions to draw people, places, clothes, animals, borders and almost everything you can think of. A really lovely book.
Fairfield Books has been counting down the days for the arrival of Andy Griffith’s and Terry Denton’s 104-Storey Treehouse and tomorrow (Tuesday 10 July) it is released. This crazy, wonderful hilarious series has been delighting children (and their parents) since 2011 with the release of The 13-Storey Treehouse. Back then the Treehouse was a relatively simple affair with a man-eating shark tank, bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a giant catapult, a secret underground laboratory and a marshallow machine that follows you around and shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you’re hungry. It has grown exponentially since then, 13 storeys at a time, and has become famous all around the world. We stock all Treehouse books with the first at a special price of $4.99, as well as a range of Andy Griffith’s other titles. I can’t wait to see what madcap adventure Andy, Terry, Jill and her flying cats get up to in this new adventure. So in the words of Andy Griffiths – ‘What are you waiting for? Come on up!’