Easter was super at Love That Book, both stores looked very festive with lots of eggs and bunnies. Of course, as most of our staff are serious chocolate eaters, there were quite a few chocolate bunnies floating around too (though they did not last for long).
We had story time at Helensvale as the centre was promoting The Lorax movie. That was fun and reminded me how much fun and how tricky it is to read Dr Suess aloud. The movie looks great.
Next up.......Mother's Day. I know it seems like weeks away but Dads it WILL sneak up on you.
As a mum myself i have plenty of adorable handmade gifts from my own adorable children. Blinged up hairbrushes, hand painted tiles, paper mosaic cards.....all of which i loved. If however, you would like to add a little something to the handmade treasures or if your children are now to old for craft, we have soooooo many great idea's
These four are just a beginning.
Poets Cottage by Josephine Pennicott, I loved this book. Fantastic story, great characters, beautifully set in Tasmania. I wont give the plot away too much but this book is perfect for lots of mums. For fans of Shifting Fog by Kate Morton or Wildfower Hill by Kimberly Freeman. (ps:they are also good choices for mum).
The Tea Rose is the first in a trilogy, again a bit of a historical fiction with great characters. This is a book that all of us a Love That Book recommend and we have sold hundreds of it over the years. Good thing is you can also back up with Book 2 for a brthday and book 3 for Christmas (if mum can hold out that long).
The French Dog, companion to the French Cat that came out last year. These books are sooooooo lovely. Whether your mum is a cat lover, a dog lover, a Francophile or just a lover of beautiful photos, these books are a gorgeous gift. You really need to flick through to see how lovely they are.
Finally for today, The Hunger Games. I'm sure lots of you have heard of this trilogy by now. The movie was released a few weeks ago. Already a great seller, this set of books has now gone crazy. Hunger Games is the first book, followed by Catching Fire and finally Mockingjay. I read Hunger Games a few years ago and it really is fantastic, well written, a story line that sucks you in and wont let you go and a main character that is a strong and passionate heroine. This is a book for everyone, give it to mum then borrow it back to read yourself, hehe.
We also have a lot of prewrapped gifts (to make it even easier to get mum something fabulous).
Last thing for today, we are putting the final touches to our new Recommened Reads. As soon as the list is complete I will put it up on the webpage for you all to check out. Welcome back to Paris from the Helensvale store, she has been on holidays for the last 6 weeks. Nice to have her back and welcome aboard to Jo who has taken up a position at the Southport Store. Jo is bright, bubbly and loves books. She will be a great addition to the already super team there.
Well, thats all for now,
We are well and truly into the new year and I have been absent for quite a few weeks now. Sorry about that. We are now back however and in full swing.
First up let me tell you about four great events we have happening so far.
We love doing events with Gold Coast Author, Kerry Brown. Her two books Poppy Wash and Can I Cuddle The Moon? are both delightful.
We also love doing events with the Gold Coast Arts Centre. So we are thrilled to be a part of an event with both Kerry and the GCAC. This year is GCAC's 25th anniversary and they are celebrating with a fantastic programme of events. Check it out here http://www.theartscentregc.com.au/
In particular, come along on Wednesday the 25th of Jan at 9:30am for children's story time. Kerry will be reading from her books. I beliefd bv0-,.ve she will even be bringing along her little friend Owl from Can I Cuddle the Moon? The kids will love this event and what parent doesn't love free entertainment? Hope to see you there.
Next up is another home grown writing sensation, Katherine Howell. Katherine's fifth Ella Marconi crime novel is out at the beginning of Feb. Katherine is an author to watch. She is the only author to win two Davitt award for best novel, several of her novels have been bestsellers and this book has already been picked up by Get Reading and will feature on The Circle. We are very proud to be hosting a Meet The Author event with her on Friday 2nd March. Check our events page
for more detail. If you are reading this and are not from the Gold Coast, check out www.katherinehowell.com
for events all around the country.
We are incredibly excited about hosting Cathy Kelly on the Gold Coast. Cathy's books include Lesson In Heartbreak, Homecoming, Once In A Lifetime and her new book is The House on Willow Street. Cathy is an international bestseller and will be touring Australia in March. We have been lucky enough to be able to host a morning tea with Cathy on Friday, the 9th of March at the Elanora Library. Again, have a look at our events page
for more information. It is rare to have such an amazing overseas author on the Gold Coast so don't miss out.
Our last bit of good news today was that I received a copy of the programme for this years Literati. This is the fifth year that this event has been run on the Gold Coast and this is an event we love love love. This year there will have events across two days with 22 authors. There is a terrific programme for aspiring authors, a day of workshops and author talks and a dinner with a difference. As soon as the programme has been finalised we will put a link up here but in the meantime put this on your calendar as a not-to-miss event. It really is a lot of fun, can't wait to see you there.
Just a few days left until Christmas and here in the shops we are flat out. It's a real delight to be helping so many customers choose the perfect gift, and so the exhaustion is well worthwhile. It does mean however that this blogpost will be short, and then I'll be taking a few days off between Christmas and new year for a little rest. So this is really to thank you, our wonderful customers, for a great year, and to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a fantastic new year. We look forward to seeing you in 2012!
This week was crazy busy in the bookshop. We can't keep enough books on the shelves and we are having a lot of fun helping people finish off their chrissy lists.
We were lucky enough to host an author talk with Ray Martin on Wednesday night and then to have him in store on Thursday morning. Ray has a new book out called Ray's Favourites which is an account of some of his favourite interview's. Ray was an absolute delight. He told the best stories and took the time to chat to everyone. What a super way to finish up our year's author events.
We have all had to rearrange our staff picks shelves several times this week too. This is what we are recommending today. It's great fun having people buy something off our shelf, then we get to choose a new favourite book to replace what has gone.
The pics below are some other fun things I love for christmas. The zebra print bookseat, so cute. Comes in leopard print and heaps of other colours too. The usb's, love these. There are panda bears, ninja's, cats, dinosaurs. I have one of these on my list. If you buy a Penguin classic, you can buy a mug and notebook for only $15, what a super present for a Classic lover. 100 Unforgettable Dresses, I just love the cover on this book, beautiful. The Slim Dusty book "I've Been There", this one isn't my style but my dad would have just loved this book. He was a huge Slim Dusty fan. Maybe your Dad would love this one too. Last pic is some of the kids' christmas books, the last of the cute chrissy baubles and our beautiful christmas cards.
Well, that is just about it for this week. I hope your christmas list is almost complete, your christmas parties have been fun and you're enjoying our funny December weather.
What a funny week we have had. It has been a super week to be selling books, contrary to what our local paper says. This week an article in the Gold Coast Bulletin kindly informed me (via industry experts, not sure who they are and names weren't mentioned) that bookshops were doomed and libraries closing. On the Gold Coast there are three independent bookstores, one Collins franchise at Tweed Heads and quite a few QBD's and I would think that a representative from any one of those would have been happy to make comment on the apparent dire state of books. Not only was there no comment from actual bookstore owners, there didn't seem to be comment from Gold Coast Libraries either. We work quite closely with GC Libraries to try and get as many authors here to the Coast as often as we can, and we also support Literati, the literary festival run every year by GC Libraries. The Helensvale Library is about to be rebuilt to increase its size, and libraries are constantly offering great services and huge ranges of not only books but other sources of information. Although the statements made by the Bulletin regarding bookshops and libraries closing are quite broad, they were apparantly related to a local school that has closed their library, and as I have no relationship with that school I won't make comment on that, except to say even if my children could get every book under the sun on their computer, I wouldn't want them too. Are we working towards a society that only communicates via facebook and never leaves the house as you can get everything online? Ick, not for me. So, back to bookshops, quite frankly I don't believe that we are in any way worse off than anyone else in retail. And we are still having fun so that's got to count for something.
That kind of leads to something else that happened in the bookshop this week.
We get heaps of resumes every week, some people just looking for a job, any job, and some who guenuinely just would love to work in a bookshop. So due to the fact that nothing ever seems to stay the same , when a lovely girl came in this week, I pretty much interviewed her on the spot, checked her background with her previous employer and then gave her a job filling in on the weekends. She came in the next day for training and she was terrific, like she had worked in a bookshop forever. The day after that, she came in and said she would work out the day but then wouldn't be back. It wasn't for her. Now I truly love my job, and all of my staff actually love their jobs too, so it had never occurred to me that this wasn't the job for everyone. My daughter who is at uni and works in the bookshop part time, kept saying "but why wouldn't you love it, it's the holy grail of part time jobs". To which we all agreed, I have to say though it made me start thinking about how lucky I am to have a job that is so much fun and to work with people that are as passionate as I am. Good on the new girl for not settling for just a job. I wish her well and hope she finds something that really makes her happy.
Ok, so now that I have rambled on with a whole lot of other stuff, I want to just finish off by telling you about a couple of books. I recently just finished Gold Earrings by Belinda Alexander, which I really loved. I did find it a little hard to get into at the beginning but it was worth it. I really loved Belinda's last book Tuscan Rose and this one was just as good. I love that she brings the past and the present together and the interlinking of characters is really well done. Great book, give it a go.
I am now reading a proof copy of a book called The Cartographer, competely different and really good. This description is from the Harper website and pretty much sums it up. "Set in Melbourne in the 1950s, a 11-year-old boy witnesses a murder when he is spying through a window of a strange house. In the following weeks he comes to map out all the significant adventures he has in the labyrinthine city, trying to make sure he doesn′t cross the path of the murderer, who he believes wishes to silence and dispose of him. Comics and superheroes inform his strategies for avoiding the bogeyman, as does the memory of his twin brother, Tom, who recently died in a tragic accident. THE CARTOGRAPHER is a touching novel for readers captivated by the stories of Jonathan Safran Foer, Mark Haddon, Craig Silvey and Markus Zusak." I haven't read any of those authors but I am really enjoying this book. I love the writing and there have been quite a few lines I have had to read out loud to my partner Katherine, as they are so good. Not out till Feb, but one to watch out for.
Last thing, we have done a little rearranging at Helensvale this week. We have removed our Top 50 and replaced it with Staff Picks. So each of us have a shelf and we got to choose our fave books of the moment. If you are in the area, check it out.
Have a super Sunday,
PS: I have been on to my Random House rep this week about our promised tour from Darren Lockyer....no response yet but will keep hassling.
I cant believe it's Saturday already. Seriously, where did that week go? Last time I was here it was Monday and now here I am, Saturday night, thinking jeez it's nearly Monday again. So what was fun this week.
For any of you with children of Wimpy Kid age, I'm sure you have heard that the new Diary of A Wimpy Kid book is on the shelves, or in our case sold out within days and I thought we had ordered way tooooooo many. It will be back in on Monday or Tuesday. I would really, really like to go to New York and if you do to.....Penguin books is running a comptition for a family of four to win a trip to New York, check out their facebook page, www.facebook/penguinbooksaustralia
and look for the Wimpy Kid link to enter. These books are so much fun, so if your son, daughter, neice, nephew, grandchild, friend's child, kid down the road, hasn't tried them they would make a super chrissy pressy.
We also got to hang out with Isabella and Sofia Bliss. These two little superstars are the twins from last seasons Junior Masterchef. Isabel and Sofia were cooking with Santa at the Pines Shopping Centre on Thursday night and we were their booksellers. These two girls are just lovely, as is their mum Sylvana who wrote the cookbook, "Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That" with the girls. You have to try the cupcake recipe in this book....yummmmm. We had so much fun at this event I am hoping to get the girls to come to Westfield so we can do it all again. Check out the pics below especially, the one of our Penguin Rep Jenny and the pelican. Not sure what the pelican has to do with Christmas but Jenny looks like she is having fun.
We have also had lots of fun making the store very christmas-y, which isn't hard, cause I LOVE christmas. We have some really fun ideas for Secret Santa, prewrapped gift ideas for those in a bit of a hurry and so many lovely, lovely books.
Finally, in keeping with the Christmas theme, we are having our staff christmas party tomorrow. I am really looking forward to having everyone from both stores in one place. I have the most terrific people working with me. They are passionate, fun, knowledgeable and just super to work with. It will be nice to say thanks to them all with a little chrissy cheer.
It has just started raining here and my daughter has just put on Love Actually(my favourite movie). Time for me to go.
Do you have those days? You know, the Monday that really does feel like it should be Friday. Today was just one of those tough days when it felt like no one was really appreciating their local bookseller, ie me. If i heard another person tell me that Target has that book for half the price, seriously. I know that but I only have books to sell. No underwear from China with 500% mark up for me. Just books and mark up on books is seriously low. That's just how it is.
My daughter said to me this evening "ideally you should have a job that you would do for free" and books are that, most days, for me. I do truly love selling books, i love readers in my store, I love talking about books, maybe today I'm just tired. Maybe tomorrow willl be a happy bookselling day.
Ok so now I have had a bit of a vent, I do have a book to tell you about. Last week we went to see Midnight In Paris which was fun and light and totally reminded me of the book The Paris Wife. The Paris Wife is a fictionalised story about Ernest Hemingway and from the veiwpoint of his first wife, Hadley. Both the book and the movie are set in Paris in the 20's and are filled with great authors, artists and well know names. Totally enjoyed both.
Yesterday I promised you a list of my five favourite books, but wandering the shelves this morning I found it impossible to get the number down so low! So here are just five of my favourites for now, and the rest will follow in later posts :)
The Provence Cure for The Broken-Hearted by Bridget Asher.
Oh. My. God. I adore the story, the characters, the descriptions, everything. Made me laugh and cry. This book tells the story of widowed Heidi who travels with Abbott, her troubled eight-year-old son, and Charlotte, her jaded sixteen-year-old niece, to spend the summer repairing their family home in a small village in the south of France. The rundown stone house in Provence has been in the family for generations and the family tells and retells stories of the magical properties entwined around the old stones. But soon Charlotte makes a shocking confession and Heidi learns the truth about her mother's 'lost summer' -- a time Heidi and her sister had learned not to ask about many years ago. And as three generations collide with one another, with the neighbour next door who seems to know all their family secrets, and with an enigmatic Frenchman, they'll journey through love, loss, and healing amid the lavender fields, warm winds, and the delicious pistou soup of Provence. Who could resist? A delightful, heart-warming read.
Angel of Ruin by Kim Wilkins.
This book has also been published in the UK under the title 'Fallen Angel', and both are now hard to find, but I'm telling you to track it down wherever you can! A wonderfully thrilling and lush story about journalist Sophie who sets out to research an article in modern-day London and soon discovers herself being drawn into a story of three sisters in 17th-century London, whose love for each other was torn apart by an angel. Not plague, nor Paradise Lost, nor the Great Fire of London can prevent the youngest from trying to save her sisters as they sink deeper and deeper into the angel′s seductions. And Sophie herself passes the point of no return... Wow. Just - wow.
A Discover of Witches by Deborah Harkness.
This is a glorious story about history, wicthes, and alchemy. When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it's an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she's kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana's discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels... and what happens next? You won't be able to put this book down until you find out.
Let Me Sing You Gentle Songs, by Linda Olsson.
Gentle, lovely, beautiful beautiful writing. This is a story about Veronika, a writer in her early thirties, who rents a house in the Swedish countryside to finish her novel and hide from her past. She befriends Astrid, a reclusive older woman who's lived in the village all her life. We see the flowering of their unusual and tender friendship, while the powerful presence of the Swedish landscape measures the progress of the relationship - as the icy winter and bare trees give way to spring and then summer, the women's friendship deepens. As they share the tragedies of their past and hope for the future, they grow closer, and find peace within themselves. Gorgeous.
Valley of Grace by Marion Halligan.
Another gorgeous lovely book (that seems to be a theme for today!). Set in Paris, it's the story of a group of characters, some who know each other, some who don't, yet they all end up intertwined in the most touching way. I adore this book and was thrilled to meet Marion Halligan a couple of years ago, soon after I'd read it. I don't mind admitting that I went a bit fan-girly and speechless trying to tell her what this book means to me! She's the most charming lovely lady, and talking to her was an honour I think of every time I see my signed copy on the shelf at home.
That's it for today in the favourite book department, but before I go I want to show you this - photos of our new shopfront at Helensvale!
Talk about bright and shiny! And no more A&R green anywhere. We just love it, the glowing heart at the top especially. Big thanks to Kane and his team at Open Projects
Finally, we're expecting more glowing hearts tomorrow when the one and only Jamie Durie stops by the Helensvale shop at 4 pm. Would you like to meet him? Come on by, grab a copy of his new book '100 Gardens' and have him sign it!
Last night we had the pleasure of hosting an event with Sue Pieters-Hawke who is currently on tour promoting her new book 'Hazel - My Mother's Story.' I've been looking forward to this since the lovely publisher at Pan Macmillan first asked me to arrange it, and I was not disappointed. Sue is a wonderful speaker, full of passion and drive about the causes she believes in, intelligent and warm and down-to-earth. She had the audience of seventy people alternately spell-bound and laughing. Her stories about her mother's life were fascinating, and the insight into a family that we've all known just a little through the media was intriguing. She spoke movingly of her mother's Alzheimer's diagnosis and the changes in their lives since. This was by no means a depressing story, however, because Sue has such a sense of humour and it's clear from some of the stories she told that her mother does too. There's no doubt that Hazel is a truly compassionate woman strongly driven to help those less fortunate than us, and I can't wait to read the book.
Tomorrow I'll be posting pictures of our nearly-finished shopfront! Our new sign is up and has the cutest LED hearts, so to celebrate feeling the love I'll be writing about the five books I most often recommend with the phrase, "I love that book!"
It was Paris's birthday on Friday. Paris is the creative genius at Love That Book Helensvale. She is a whizz with a poster and our new A3 printer. Happy happy birthday Paris. Hope your party last night was super.
Yesterday morning it was announced that the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be held on here on the Coast. There are quite a few happy people about that and already some who are saying....oh boy, don't we have enough traffic problems, lol.... guess you can't keep all of the people happy all of the time.
I, however, am very happy. Yesterday was lunch with a whole stack of wonderful women, great food, great company and super summer cocktails, in particular the White Sangria from this book, Homemade by Anna Gare.
Then we headed up to my mum's place for my side family christmas dinner. Now I know I have been going on about Christmas a bit and yes, it really is a few weeks away yet, but this is the in-laws year (you know, we all get together one year and then go to our respective in-laws the following year or something like that). So this weekend was the only weekend that we could get the whole family in one place before Christmas. Only one missing was my son Kirby who has just moved to Rockhampton. My two brothers and their families, my sister, my mum, stepfather, my partner Katherine and my daughter Paige were all there though and it was fantastic. I have the most awesome family and every time we get together there is lots of loud, lots of laugh and lots of food and drink. Oh Merry Christmas. My sister and mum made the icecream pudding from Jamie's new book.....delicious!
Hope you are all having a super weekend filled with all the good things.