Bookshop news and events

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

mackintosh

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).

donation

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

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 Highlights

What a weekend! With over 1000 delegates from all over the world descending on Oxford for the 2014 World Humanist Congress, and a series of ten world-famous humanists giving free talks in the Norrington Room, the bookshop was absolutely buzzing.

The range of subjects discussed was huge, from religion to the nature of the universe, from morality to medicine. Some serious debate was had during Richard Dawkins’ Q&A session, while Jim Al-Khalili had the whole room chuckling with the clever analogies he used to explain paradoxes. Another highlight was Simon Singh playing ‘Stairway to Heaven’ backwards to prove that the human mind can be tricked into seeing or hearing something that it expects!

The atmosphere all weekend was fantastic, and we’re thrilled to have seen so many of you getting involved asking questions or just taking in the talks. The whole Norrington Room came alive with eager audiences:

singh audience

Simon Singh explores alternative medicine.

photo 2 (1)

Jim Al-Khalili reads from ‘Paradox’.

photo 1 (5)

Kenan Malik running through the history of morality.

audeince 1

A huge crowd waiting for Richard Dawkins’ talk.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Blackwell’s event without a great selection of books, and we created individual displays for each speaker’s titles:

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

Each speaker very kindly spent some time signing books – perhaps one of the most exciting was this first edition of Richard Dawkins’ ‘The Selfish Gene':

dawkins signing

Steve Smith with his newly signed first edition.

photo

Nick Cohen signing ‘You Can’t Read This Book’.

But don’t worry if you missed out! Our World Humanist Congress section in the Norrington Room is sticking around for two weeks, so you can still pick up some great titles by these and other authors from the Congress.

(Picture from @humanism2014 Twitter)

Were you here for any of the talks? What was your highlight of the weekend? Don’t forget, you can tweet us any pictures or comments at @blackwelloxford!

World Humanist Congress 2014 – Sunday’s Speakers

It’s the final day of our fabulous free World Humanist Congress talks here in the bookshop, in our world-famous Norrington Room! If you haven’t made it down to one yet, now is your chance to be part of #WHC2014, and have your thoughts thoroughly provoked.

At 2pm, we have Kenan Malik, asking ‘What can the history of morality tell us about the nature of morality?’.

Kenan-Malik2

Then at 3pmStephen Law will be discussing ‘Why I’m An Atheist’.

1-stephen-law

 

This afternoon should be a great finish to our series of humanist talks, and we hope that you come down and enjoy them with us. Both speakers will be signing copies of their books after their talks, and we have a wide range of their titles and other relevant titles in stock in our dedicated World Humanist Congress section, down in the Norrington Room.

And in the meantime, check out our fab World Humanist Congress page here, where you can see books by all our Congress speakers, and other relevant titles.

Don’t forget to follow along on Twitter, using the #WHC2014 hashtag – we’re at @blackwelloxford.

World Humanist Congress 2014 – Saturday’s Speakers

The World Humanist Congress is in full swing today, and we have another four great talks from some remarkable speakers laid on in the bookshop today – just pop down to the Norrington Room for any or all of these free 20 minute talks! Yesterday’s talks were very well-attended, so please arrive early to be sure to get some space.

At 12pm, we’ll be kicking things off with Peter Tatchell, who’ll be giving a talk entitled ‘Organised Religion Is The Greatest Global Threat To Human Rights’.

petertatchell

Then at 2pm, we’ll host Nick Cohen – no confirmed subject as yet, but it’s sure to be fascinating.

Nick CohenNext up, at 3pm, Simon Singh will be asking ‘Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial’.

Image of Simon Singh

 And finally for today, at 4pm Martin Rowson will discuss ‘Laughing with Disbelief’. 

martinrowson200As you can see, today’s line up is another four fantastic speakers, and a unique opportunity to hear a wide range of free short talks by some of the world’s most renowned thinkers. We have a great selection of their titles available to buy from our dedicated World Humanist Congress Section in the Norrington Room. Even better, after each talk, there’ll be a chance to have your books signed.

And in the meantime, check out our fab World Humanist Congress page here, where you can see books by all our Congress speakers, and other relevant titles.

Don’t forget to follow along on Twitter, using the #WHC2014 hashtag – we’re at @blackwelloxford.

 

 

World Humanist Congress 2014 – Today’s Speakers

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time to kick off our programme of free 20 minute talks from some fantastic speakers from the World Humanist Congress!

First up, at 12 noon Richard Dawkins will give a talk entitled ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. 

dawkins

Then at 2pm,A.C. Grayling will be discussing ‘How Does Humanism Relate to Ethics?’ Grayling2

At 3pm, we’ll have Jim Al-Khalili, the president of the British Humanist Association, speaking on ‘A Rationalist’s View of the Greatest Paradoxes in Science’.jim-al-khalili-large

And finally for today, at 4pm Peter Atkins will speak on ‘The Limits of Science’. Prof Peter Atkins

All four of these speakers are widely renowned, and we have a great selection of their titles available to buy from our dedicated World Humanist Congress Section in the Norrington Room. Even better, after each talk, there’ll be a chance to have your books signed.

So come and join us in the Norrington Room this afternoon – it’s sure to be an amazing time! And in the meantime, check out our fab World Humanist Congress page here, where you can see books by all our Congress speakers, and other relevant titles.

Don’t forget to follow along on Twitter, using the #WHC2014 hashtag – we’re at @blackwelloxford.

World Humanist Congress 2014

WHC2014HeaderLogo411

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.

WHCFridaytitleswhcsaturdaytitlewhcsundaytitles

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