Monday, 28 July 2014

Author Visit: Nik Perring

Good morning, guys! Today, Nik Perring is here to have a quick chat about his new book, Beautiful Words. A flash-fiction picturebook for adults, Beautiful Words is the first in the trilogy that explores three characters' lives through the words they love. 

As an aside, some of my favourite words are onomatopoeia, circus and skeleton. 

Hi Nik! Welcome! Pull up a seat.

Thanks for having me here, Jen. It is a fine place! 

What was your favourite word when you were a child?

Favourite word as a child? There must have been loads. Aquamarine's the first that comes to mind. It kind of sings. Actually, thinking about it, I think I came across it first in a song. (Possibly one from Alice in Wonderland. I'll have to check...)

What's your favourite word now?

Now I'm old and tired and work pretty much all the time, I'm going to go with sleep. Or happy. You've got to love happy.

What's the most powerful word you can think of?

That's a really tough question because I guess a lot of it depends on context. There are obvious ones like love and freedom and hope. I also chose to put this word in the book, too. (Click to see the entry, as it's a tad naughty ;))

What's a word you'd like to shout from the top of a mountain?


And what's a word you'd like to whisper quietly in somebody's ear?


Make up a word for us, and tell us its meaning.

Blunderful - a happy accident.

Tell us how 'Beautiful Words' came about, and what the rest of the series promises.

It started, by happy accident, a few years ago when I started collecting beautiful words. If I found one I liked, because it was interesting, or fun to say, or because I liked its meaning, I'd pop it into a small orange notebook. And then I thought that maybe it could make an interesting book - the sort of thing I'd love to be given as a gift. 

But a book listing the words some bloke you've probably never heard of thought were beautiful was never going to be that interesting so I decided to make it into a weird mix of fact told through a story. 

In the first book it's the story of Lucy, Lily, and Alexander, their relationship(s) told through beautiful words (with gorgeous illustrations by the wonderful Miranda Sofroniou).

The next in the series is Beautiful Trees, which continues their story, this time told through trees.

The third will be Beautiful Shapes...

Nik Perring is a short story writer and author from the UK. His stories have been published in many fine places both in the UK and abroad, in print and online. They’ve been used on High School distance learning courses in the US, printed on fliers, and recorded for radio. Nik is the author of the children’s book, I Met a Roman Last Night, What Did You Do? (EPS, 2006); the short story collection, Not So Perfect (Roastbooks 2010); and he’s the co-author of Freaks! (The Friday Project/HarperCollins, 2012). His online home is and he’s on Twitter as @nikperring Beautiful Trees is out now.

Friday, 25 July 2014

'Weird Things...' Book Club August 2014

The first 'Weird Things...' Read Along Book Club is live! Hurrah!  If you'd like to take part, all the details are over here.

This month we're reading The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey.

If you'd like to sign up to the Book Club mailing list, just drop me an email.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The 'Weird Things...' Read-Along Book Club

As we're all book-lovers here, I suggested the idea of a 'Weird Things...' Read-Along Book Club over on the 'Weird Things...' Facebook page. I suggested that once a month I could nominate a book and those who want to join in can read it with me, and we can chat about it.

I was pretty overwhelmed with the response - over 300 of you want to join in!

So, I thought I'd post about it here, on my blog, in case you want to get involved:

1. At the beginning of the month I will post a photo of the book we will be reading on the Facebook page, and we can discuss the book in the comments WITHOUT spoilers.

2. I will also set up a Note on the page for the book, where people can comment once they have finished the book, where there can be spoilers etc freely.

Those who want to take part can do so whenever they like (you don't have to read every book!). It's going to be a very laid back affair. (If the Book Club turns out to be rather large, we can think about setting up a separate Facebook group for it, but let's see how we get on first. :))

So, if you'd like to come and join in, please do!

If you'd like to receive an email once a month letting you know what book we're going to be reading, please drop me an email: The first email will go out at the beginning of next week. I'm excited. 

Hurray for books!

Alice in Wonderland collection

Those of you who have been here a while know that my favourite book is Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Quite a few people on the 'Weird Things...' Facebook page were asking to see photos of my Alice collection. So here are some of them, below.

Through the Looking Glass - illustrated by John Tenniel. A Puffin Story Book. 1954

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass - illustrated by John Tenniel. Puffin 1968. 

A couple of later Penguin editions

Alice's Adventures Underground, a facsimile of the 1864 manuscript with illustrations by Carroll himself. 

The Yayoi Kusama illustrated edition from 2012

The Tove Jansson illustrated edition. 

An Arthur Rackham

A 1949 1st of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

A 1921 John Tenniel edition published by Macmillan.

& I have a few others, which are back up north (I really should move all my books out of my mum's attic...) including the Ralph Steadman edition, a Mervyn Peake and the lovely Helen Oxenbury edition of Alice. 

Which are your favourites? Do you collect different editions of certain books yourself? xx

Thursday, 17 July 2014

red pens at the ready

This beast just landed on my desk.

Let the proofreading begin!


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Calling Booksellers and Bookshop-Lovers Everywhere!

Hello lovely booksellers, and bookshop-loving folk.

It's now twelve weeks until the release of The Bookshop Book! (Twelve weeks!) And to celebrate all things bookshop-wise, I'm calling out to booksellers AND bookshop-lovers about these two things below:

1. I'm going to be doing 'A Bookshop a Day' blog posts all through September and the beginning of October. Each day I'll write about a different bookshop somewhere in the world (a bit like the Bookshop Spotlights I did a while back). So, if you are a bookseller who'd like your bookshop featured (or you're a bookshop-lover who wants to chat about your favourite bookshop), please drop me an email, saying 'Me, please!' :)

2. I'm going to be doing lots of events for The Bookshop Book throughout October, November and December here, there and everywhere. If you would like me to come and do an event at your bookshop, please drop me a line: I'm all yours :)

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

“A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.”

For those of you wondering what our bookshop, Ripping Yarns, home of 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops' looks like...

(click images to see full-size)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops... AN UPDATE

Folks! It's been two years (two years!!) since the release of 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops' and a year since the release of its sequel 'More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops.' Time flies, and all that jazz.

Y'all have been messaging me, asking if people still stay crazy things in our bookshop. Well, yes. Yes, they do...

Man (walks through the door): Hi, where's the nearest secondhand bookshop?
Me: You're in it.
Man: No - I'm looking for a different one.

Creepy customer: I've always had this fantasy about having sex with a bookseller... Would you shelve that under fact or fiction?

Customer: I'm looking for that book, you know, the one that sounds like it should be a dinosaur.
Me: .... A Thesaurus?
Customer: That's the one!

Customer: You know how they say reading's good for you?
Me: Yeah.
Customer: I'm not sure that's true, you know.
Me: Oh?
Customer: Yeah. I read an article on it somewhere. It was interesting. I should probably read more about it.

Customer (to her friend): I think I might get this book, it looks rather good. (She begins flicking through it and reading random passages to herself.)
*a few minutes later*
Customer: Oh no! A character dies, here, look, on page 212. I don't think I want to read it now that I know that. (She turns to me.) You should put a warning on the cover or something to tell people not to look at certain pages. Y'know for spoilers and stuff.

Overheard five year old twins having a chat:
Girl: What's the difference between Coke and Pepsi?
Boy: Well, DUH. One is red and one is blue.

Male Customer: I don't really understand why women write novels... Do you? What are they trying to achieve? I don't read them. I mean, I understand why women write cookery books, but other than that it all seems a bit silly, right?

Customer (looking around our bookshop): You know, clutter is bad feng shui. This is a lot of books. It'll mess with your qi.
Me: ...

Man: I need a copy of that famous book: 'The Pigeon's Progress.'
Me: ...'The Pilgrim's Progress'?
Man: Oh. Is it not about birds, then?

Customer: I'm looking a book set after Breaking Dawn. I want to know what happens to Bella and Edward.
Me: I'm afraid Stephenie Meyer hasn't written any more Twilight books - apart from the Bree Tanner one.
Customer (looking at me like I'm stupid): Yeah, I know that. I thought someone else might have written it instead.
Me: ...Perhaps you should look at fanfiction online?
Customer (exasperated): No, duh. I WANT A BOOK. 


image image
'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops' / 'More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops.'

The Bookshop Book is out autumn 2014.