Author: euanhirst

I am the Academic Manager of Blackwell's world famous bookshop on Broad Street in Oxford. I contribute frequently to our shop blog, Twitter and Facebook pages. Books are my life...

The Glasgow School of Art Fire – Blackwell’s Rare Books Makes a Donation

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This from Derek Walker, Manager of Blackwell’s Rare and Antiquarian dept

In May this year the Glasgow School of Art suffered a terrible tragedy when an accidental fire threatened the entirety of their famous Charles Rennie Mackintosh building. The fire services made a heroic effort and saved the majority of the building and its contents, but sadly the Mackintosh Library, with its splendid interior and important contents, was lost.

Like many others, we followed the shocking developments as they happened, through Twitter and news stories. Fire is the very first enemy listed in William Blades’ classic treatise on ‘The Enemies of Books’ and just the thought of a burning library must send shivers down the spine of any bibliophile.

mackintoshfireThe idea of replacing a library like this from scratch seemed impossibly daunting, but, like the firefighters, the librarians there have been working heroically and were soon able to issue a list of donations sought to start the rebuilding of the collection. The least we could do was read and publicise their wants list in case there was any way we might be able to help.

As the library’s statement said, they were first seeking ‘to replace those volumes that complemented our Archives and Collections, including the many treatises and illustrated books written, designed and made by our past Directors, tutors, and alumni’. The obvious possibility for us was Agnes Miller Parker (1895-1980), a former student and briefly on the staff of the GSA, who went on to become one of the most remarkable British wood engravers of the 20th century. The books she illustrated for the Gregynog Press and the Limited Editions Club are wonderful pieces of book art that we try to have in stock whenever we can.

Gypsy folk tales

Gregynog Press XXI Welsh Gypsy Folk Tales

One of Miller Parker's engravings

One of Miller Parker’s engravings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily, it just so happened that we had a copy of the Gregynog Press XXI Welsh Gypsy Folk Tales of 1933 , which we were in a position to donate immediately. After contacting Duncan Chappell at the GSA to offer it, we arranged for the book to be sent up to Blackwell’s in Edinburgh before being hand-delivered over to Glasgow. Last week our colleague Jane Douglas, Blackwell’s field sales manager for Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the North East of England, handed the book over to Duncan’s colleagues, Delphine Dallison and David Buri (thanks also to Darrell, our shop manager in Edinburgh, for assissting the delivery).

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One book is just a drop in the bucket, though, and much work remains to be done. The wants list is still online and the librarians at the GSA will be updating it weekly, so it’s easy to tell what’s still needed. The GSA Library website has the list in PDF format , along with a link to donate to the fund to rebuild the library interior. Please share both widely, and help if you can.

Keep in touch with developments at the Glasgow School of Art Library on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, and Pinterest

Blenheim Palace Literary Festival September 25-28

blenheim_palace_north_face__970The literary festival at Blenheim Palace is, once again, upon us. From Thursday 25th September through to Sunday 28th a host of interesting writers and public figures will illuminate, entertain and provoke your thoughts.

Visit the Festival website for full information and to buy tickets and visit our Festival page to buy the books before you go

Books Are My Bag II – a date for your diary

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Last year was the inaugural ‘Books Are My Bag’ campaign – a day organised by The Booksellers Association for everyone to have the chance to celebrate bookshops. It was wildly successful with thousands upon thousands of book lovers making a trip to their local bookshop up and down the country. The Saatchi-designed orange bag flooded the streets and sales across the country rose by 18% on the Saturday launch day

It certainly made an impression on Richard Ovenden, Bodley Librarian, with one of my favourite ever tweets about the shop

Richard Ovenden BAMB tweet

So, book lovers, let’s do it all again!

On Saturday October 11th BAMB II is happening.

Fiendish plans are underway to make sure that we play our fullest part here in the shop. The plan is to put on an amazing carnival of bookish loveliness that puts a smile on your face and a book in your bag.

Follow Books Are My Bag on Twitter or their website to keep abreast of news and developments

 

Congratulations

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Great news if you got the grades you required and you are off to Uni – exciting times ahead! If you didn’t get the grades you required don’t panic – there is sensible advice here. Good things can still happen.

We’ve been a University bookseller for over 135 years so we know a thing or two about the student experience. Our ‘student essentials’ page is a great place to start for all your bookish needs, from reading lists to study skills, wise words for young minds to great value textbooks.

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New Murakami, Early Opening, Signed Copy to be won!

murakami coverWe are booksellers so we love Haruki Murakami (it seems to be a law of bookselling). Ever since this new novel was published in Japan 18 months agao to scenes reminiscent of The Beatles our bookish senses have been tingling with anticipation.

The wait is virtually over. Tomorrow, Tuesday August 11th, we open the shop at 7.30am to let you (us, really) get your copy early. But wait. Thanks to the largesse of the lovely people at Random House you can have the chance to win a signed 1st edition. All you have to do is visit the shop between 7.30am and 9.00am to be entered into the draw.

If I was you I would heed the timeless advice of Matt Bianco!

See you in the morning Murakami-lovers!

 

World Humanist Congress 2014

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From August 8th – 10th the World Humanist Congress will take place in Oxford. Held every three years the theme of the meeting this year is freedom of thought and expression and the line up of speakers is stellar.

Tickets sold out almost immediately but we are very pleased to be putting on a series of free 20 minute talks in the bookshop over the three days.

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We have put together a page for books by the speakers and other relevant titles

You can keep up to date by following #WHC2014 on Twitter or their Facebook page

“The thing about football…

32countriescropped…the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football.” So said Terry Pratchett

Whether you love football or hate it with a passion we have a World Cup promotion aimed fairly and squarely at book lovers.

Ray Mattinson and David Kelly from our Fiction Department have selected an author from each country (or where that hasn’t been possible, a novel set in that country) so every World Cup contender is represented. The titles that feature in each day’s fixtures are then pulled out and displayed every morning.

Ray is shocked to learn that Spain is out!

Ray is shocked to learn that Spain is out!

Ray says “It had been a dream of mine to install a translated fiction section separate from general contemporary fiction here on the ground floor for some time. Having achieved this earlier in the year, it was a natural step to create a ‘World Cup’ fiction display which included fiction from each county involved in the footballing action. We felt that this was the perfect way to join in the spirit of things in a lighthearted and enjoyable way!”

So who is your money on? Will a South American triumph on home soil? Is it time for an Africa winner? Will England disappoint again?

You can see the full listing of titles here