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.