EventsOur forthcoming events are listed below. We would love to see you here, but seating is very limited so please book early to avoid disappointment. To book, please visit our online shop You can also call or email the bookshop on 020 7229 1010, firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your tickets. Join our mailing list to be the first to hear about new events.
FORTHCOMING EVENTSTuesday 17th January, 7pm (£10) SAMANTHA ELLIS and LUCY HUGHES HALLETT discuss ANNE BRONTE More Information and Booking Saturday 28th January, 3pm (£10) A Pirate Art Workshop with SALLY KINDBERG More Information and Booking
FORTHCOMING BOOK CLUBSSaturdays at 10.30am - STORYTIME Half an hour of reading for the under-five set, just turn up! Monday 19th December 2016, 1pm - DAYLIGHT BOOK CLUB: WOMEN IN BLACK To join this book club, please email email@example.com Wednesday 11th January, 1pm - LUNCHTIME CLASSICS BOOK CLUB: VANITY FAIR (Chapter 36 onwards) To join this book club, please email firstname.lastname@example.org Wednesday 18th January 2016, 10.15am - JUKE BOOKS To take part in Juke Books, please email email@example.com
PREVIOUS EVENTSSaturday 26th November 2016 POPPY CHANCELLOR: Cut it Out, a Christmas Papercutting workshop Tuesday 22nd November 2016 ARTEMIS COOPER discussed ELIZABETH JANE HOWARD with SELINA HASTINGS Tuesday 25th October 2016 RORY STEWART discussed The Marches Tuesday 4th October 2016 BEN MACINTYRE discussed SAS: Rogue Heroes Tuesday 20th September TED SANDLING discussed London In Fragments Tuesday 28th June HISHAM MATAR discussed The Return with WILLIAM FIENNES Tuesday 21st June ANITA BROOKNER: A panel discussion Chaired by Juliet Annan, with Carmen Callil, Rachel Cooke and Tessa Hadley Thursday 9th June 2016 EMMA CLINE discussed The Girls with Alexandra Heminsley Tuesday 24th May 2016 PHILIPPE SANDS discussed East West Street with KATE FIGES Tuesday 17th May 2016 JOHN PRESTON discussed A Very English Scandal with ROLAND PHILLIPS Tuesday 19th April 2016 LISA OWENS & ANNA RAVERAT in Conversation with FRANCESCA MAIN Tuesday 16th February 2016 ELIZABETH STROUT discussed My Name is Lucy Barton with CRESSIDA CONNOLLY Tuesday 8th December 2015 ADAM PHILLIPS discussed Unforbidden Pleasures Wednesday 28th October 2015 GARTH RISK HALLBERG discussed City on Fire with Tom Sutcliffe Wednesday 30th September2015 Grief... and Happiness: MAX PORTER and JACK UNDERWOOD were in Conversation Tuesday 29th September 2015 SEBASTIAN FAULKS discussed Where My Heart Used to Beat Wednesday 9th September 2015 An Evening of Debut Novelists with: COLIN MACINTYRE, LAURA BARNETT, ANTONIA HONEYWELL & CATRIONA WARD Wednesday 2nd September 2015 BILL CLEGG was in Conversation with ROLAND PHILIPPS Tuesday 1st September 2015 ELENA FERRANTE: A PANEL DISCUSSION With CATHY RENTZENBRINK, JONATHAN GIBBS, SUSANNA GROSS and TESSA HADLEY Thursday 13th August 2015 DAVID GATES and STUART EVERS were in Conversation Tuesday 14th July 2015 HARPER LEE: A PANEL DISCUSSION with HADLEY FREEMAN, PHILIPPE SANDS, LOUISA YOUNG & ISABEL ADOMAKOH YOUNG Tuesday 23rd June 2015 WOMEN IN CLOTHES Conversation & Clothes Swap with LEANNE SHAPTON Tuesday 16th June 2015 JAMES WOOD discussed The Nearest Thing to Life Tuesday 2nd June 2015 HADLEY FREEMAN discussed Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies. Wednesday 27th May 2015 GERBRAND BAKKER & PER PETTERSON were in Conversation Tuesday 19th May 2015 Doctors Dissected MARTIN SCURR & JANE HAYNES were in Conversation Tuesday 12th May 2015 Germany & Britain GILES WATERFIELD and NEIL MACGREGOR were in Conversation with GINA THOMAS Tuesday 5th May 2015 On The Wilder Shores of Love GEORGIA DE CHAMBERET discussed the life and works of Lesley Blanch with ELISA SEGRAVE Wednesday 29th April 2015 Love, Sex & Other Foreign Policy Goals JESSE ARMSTRONG in Conversation with NED BEAUMAN Tuesday 21st April 2015 Who Governs Britain & Get it Together ANTHONY KING and ZOE WILLIAMS in Conversation Tuesday, 3rd March 2015 ALEXANDRA FULLER discussed Leaving Before the Rains Come Thursday 26th February 2015 DANA THOMAS discussed Gods & Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano Tuesday 25th November 2014 WILL SELF and IAIN SINCLAIR discussed JG Ballard Tuesday 28th October 2014 EMMANUEL CARRERE discussed Limonov with ROBERT MCCRUM Wednesday 15th October 2014 TIMOTHY DONNELLY was in conversation with ADAM PHILLIPS Tuesday 1st July ADAM PHILLIPS on Becoming Freud Thursday 29th May 2014 JOANNA RAKOFF discussed My Salinger Year with RACHEL COOKE Wednesday 28th May 2014 KATHRYN SIMMONDS in conversation with ADAM PHILLIPS Wednesday 21st May 2014 KARL OVE KNAUSGAARD in conversation with STEPHEN GROSZ Tuesday 13th May 2014 PATRICK NESS discussed More than This with VIV GROSKOP Tuesday 6th May 2014 NED BEAUMAN and ZOE PILGER were in CONVERSATION Thursday 24th April 2014 ALICE GREENWAY and REBECCA HUNT were in conversation Tuesday 25th March 2014, 7pm (£8) BEN MACINTYRE on A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal Tuesday 18th March 2014 REBECCA MEAD was in conversation with FERNANDA EBERSTADT on The Road to Middlemarch Tuesday 4th March 2014 BEN WATT was in conversation with JOHN NIVEN Thursday 6th February 2014 JAMES LASDUN was in conversation with ADAM PHILLIPS Monday 2nd December 2013 Nina Stibbe was in conversation with Nick Hornby Wednesday 27th November 2013 Adam Phillips was in Conversation with Lisa Appignanesi Wednesday 30th October 2013 Emily Berry was in conversation with Adam Phillips Thursday 5th September 2013 THE RUM READINGS Wednesday 28th August 2013, 7pm SUNDAY NIGHT MOVIES Leanne Shapton in conversation with Craig Taylor Thursday 15th August 2013 The Interestings and Clever Girl Meg Wolitzer and Tessa Hadley in conversation. Tuesday 16th July 2013 Philipp Meyer discussed The Son with Chris Cleave Thursday 11th July 2013 Holland House A Talk by Linda Kelly Tuesday 2nd July 2013 The Woman Upstairs Claire Messud talked to Kate Figes Monday 1st July 2013 Ruth Ozeki and Matt Haig were in conversation with Jamie Byng Thursday, 6th June 2013 Curtis Sittenfeld Discussed Sisterland with Viv Groskop Wednesday 1st May 2013 Ron Rash discussed Nothing Gold Can Stay Tuesday April 30th 2013 William Sutcliffe and John McCarthy were in conversation with William Sieghart Wednesday 27th March 2013 Oli Hazzard was in conversation with Adam Phillips Wednesday 13th February 2013 Stephen Grosz and Andrew Solomon were in conversation with Cressida Connolly Wednesday, 6th February 2013 Lucy Hughes-Hallett discussed The Pike Monday, 21st January 2013 Don Paterson was in conversation with Adam Phillips Wednesday, November 28th 2012 Connie Bensley was in conversation with Adam Phillips Wednesday, September 12th 2012 Jane Draycott was in conversation with Adam Phillips Monday, September 10th 2012 Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi discussed Jerusalem with Giles Fraser Wednesday, August 1st 2012 Leanne Shapton discussed Swimming Studies with Craig Taylor Tuesday, July 3rd 2012 Ned Beauman and Nick Harkaway discussed The Teleportation Accident and Angelmaker with Roland Philipps Thursday, 21st June 2012 Kate Summerscale discussed Mrs Robinson's Disgrace with India Knight Tuesday, 12th June 2012 Adam Phillips discussed Missing Out with Giles Fraser Monday, 28th May 2012 Chad Harbach on The Art of Fielding Monday, 23rd April 2012 Ben Macintyre discussed Double Cross Thursday, 19th April 2012 Peter Stamm discussed Seven Years with Adam Thirlwell Wednesday, 21st March 2012 Philip Gross was in conversation with Adam Phillips Wednesday, 14th March 2012 Sadakat Kadri was in conversation with Barnaby Rogerson Wednesday, 22nd February 2012 John Fuller was in conversation with Adam Phillips Thursday, 9th February 2012 Lavinia Greenlaw was in conversation with Ted Hodgkinson of Granta Magazine Tuesday, 31st January 2012 Laura Del-Rivo and Michael Horovitz were in Conversation with Julian Mash Tuesday, 22nd November 2011 Cressida Connolly and Vendela Vida were in Conversation Thursday, 17th November 2011 Adam O' Riordan was in Conversation with Adam Phillips Wednesday, 28th September 2011 Bernard O'Donoghue was in Conversation with Adam Phillips Thursday, 23rd June 2011 Hisham Matar was in Conversation with Philippe Sands Tuesday, 31st May 2011 Evelyn Juers discussed The House of Exile Wednesday, 25th May 2011 John Burnside was in conversation with Adam Phillips Monday, 23rd May 2011 Nicola Shulman discussed Graven With Diamonds with Alan Jenkins Thursday, 19th May 2011 Wilson Stephens Jones Decorative Arts Sale Wednesday, 11th May 2011 David Miller and David Flusfeder discussed Today and A Film By Spencer Ludwig Wednesday, 20th April 2011 Christopher Reid was in conversation with Adam Phillips Sunday, 10th April 2011 James Frey discussed The Final Testament of the Holy Bible with Kate Muir Sunday, 23rd March 2011 Jennifer Egan discussed A Visit From the Goon Squad Thursday, 17th March 2011 Jesse Norman discussed The Big Society with Anthony Fry Wednesday, 16th March 2011 Jo Shapcott was in conversation with Adam Phillips Wednesday, 26th January 2011 Emma Forrest discussed Your Voice in My Head with Jon Ronson Wednesday, 24th November 2010 Geoff Dyer discussed Working The Room Wednesday, 17th November 2010 Adam Phillips discussed On Balance Wednesday, 3rd November 2010 Justine Picardie discussed Coco Chanel: A Life Wednesday, 15th September 2010 Rebecca Hunt and Ned Beauman discussed Mr Chartwell and Boxer Beetle
December 4, 2016
Amaryllis Plays SantaSadly, for my avid followers, this will be my last missive until next year. Frankly, from now on my life is just too taken up with seasonal celebrations to write a shopping list let alone something as thoughtful and erudite as this column… However, I have been thinking of my colleagues who just don’t live the party lifestyle: they will have time to read this Christmas and I have been thinking what I would give them were I so inclined; I’m not but, as they say, it’s the thought that counts. So, here are my recommendations for my professional nearest and dearest… For S, who I know loves nothing better than to snuggle down under the duvet with a thrilling crime novel, I would suggest Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner which I am currently reading. It is well written and plotted but also has believable and sympathetic characters and doesn’t drown the reader with endless back stories. It is also surprisingly, for a crime novel, rather witty and I had to get off the train just as I have reached the denouement and cannot wait to get back on again. For F, I would suggest The Snow Ball by the wonderful Brigid Brophy. Unfortunately it is not easily available but I know she would love it if she could get hold of it. Firstly, it is very short which is F’s preference, secondly it is about Mozart, sex and death… It all takes place over one evening – that of a New Year’s Costume Ball and is just wonderful. For D – I have experienced Christmas with toddlers and any chance to read usually means a chance to sleep. So I would suggest one of the wonderful picture books to bring pleasure to both D and Young M. One of my current favourites is Three Little Monkeys by Quentin Blake with lively and funny pictures by Emma Chichester Clark. But I would also like to ‘give’ D The Abundance by Annie Dillard which was my favourite non-fiction book of the year with her stunning view of life and the natural world. For JF, I would suggest The Poisoned Chocolates Case. JF is the world’s biggest Agatha Christie fan but she has read all those and it is unlikely there will be any new ones. The PCC comes from the golden age of crime but I have chosen this one particularly because as the title suggests, it involves a death from eating chocolates. Poor JF is currently forbidden chocolate and I am hoping this story will serve as a sort of moral and help her to feel superior as the rest of us greedily devour the sweets that usually accompany this time of year. For JAM, who is whizzing through Vanity Fair and who doesn’t really get out much I considered Clarissa by Samuel Richardson… But, my previous suggestion of this novel for our Classics Book group met with such abuse that I don’t think it will go down very well, so I am going to propose a children’s book. It is one I have enjoyed very much myself and only yesterday bemoaned to T the fact that it had been well over a month since the last one was published. Anyway, the book is The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud and there are four in the series so she should be well compensated for her Cinderella lifestyle. For FD, who is a reader after my own heart (ie the bleaker the better), I have chosen Tin Toys, a trilogy detailing the childhood and school lives of three sisters. But this is definitely not a children’s book as their lives are really quite awful and the opening chapters deal with the events of one of the most devastating Christmas’ I have ever read. It is a harrowing read but I think FD will really appreciate it. For T, I was going to suggest the How to Crochet Star Wars set as she is a crocheter extraordinaire. However, then I learned about all the work she has to do over Christmas feeding and entertaining a great many people, so I thought the best present would be some time alone with Benedict so I am suggesting an audio book of Casanova read by Benedict Cumberbatch. If she doesn’t feel like listening, she can just enjoy the cover picture… For C, I was trying to find a new shark infested book or gruesome horror story as is her partiality. I failed so have gone the way of sweetness and light and would suggest Rock Crystal by Adalbert Stifter in one of the lovely Pushkin classic range. It is a beautiful Christmas fable of two children who travel over the crystal ice to visit their grandfather and is a perfect antidote to this miserable year. I would also recommend that everyone watch The Bishops’ Wife which is currently my favourite Christmas film with Cary Grant as an angel who comes down to help David Niven and Loretta Young. It is full of magical moments but especially when he and Loretta and Sylvester, the cab driver go skating on the ice. Anyway, I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas and that we can look forward to a much happier 2017.
November 27, 2016
Amaryllis is Away[T writes] Our beloved Amaryllis is taking a week off from her journal, but never fear she will return next week, and in fine fettle. This week, she has been particularly taken up with personally selecting, delivering and organising the books for an extremely discerning customer's home reading room. This task, though satisfying, was not an easy one, and our raven-haired correspondent has earned her break. Choosing books is one of Amaryllis' great talents, and if you are in need of her skill, there are a number of ways you can make use of it: Year in Books - Amaryllis carefully picks books for all of our Year in Books recipients, based on a questionnaire that has been honed over the last seven years. Personal Bookshopping & Elf Appointments - purchase a book token for over £100 and make an appointment with Amaryllis for a personal bookshopping experience, where she will recommend the perfect selection of books for you (or the lucky recipient); or if you have a lengthy Christmas list, call us and make an Elf appointment and we'll help you work your way through it. Library Set Up and Support - if you are lucky enough to be in need of a large number of books, pleae call us on 020 7229 1010 to enquire about our bespoke options. And of course, anyone is welcome to pop in and ask for Amaryllis without an appointment!
November 20, 2016
Amaryllis All At SeaBoris Johnson sees the election of Donald Trump as one of opportunity and has told people to stop wingeing about the result... Well as one of those members of the human race, ie, a white male who wasn't subjected to threatening, insulting, vilifying and degrading vitriol during the presidential campaign, easy for him to say. But actually as one of the men who lied and manipulated the country towards Brexit, he has even more in common with Mr Trump than just his sex and colour of his skin [T writes - Mr J's skin is at least a more human shade of caucasian]. In fact I thought Messrs Trump and Johnson manifested the same sort of reaction as the news of victory finally sank in: a realisation that the game had become a reality and that reality meant having to do some work and people were expecting the more and more outrageous promises to happen. Also, after what he has done, I don't want to see or hear anything of Mr Johnson other than that he is in sackcloth and ashes practicing the penance of silence and abstinence from public life. I am at home today (Thursday) due to a cold. I don't actually feel too bad but my colds always come with a very debilitating cough and I don't think customers care much being helped by someone coughing and spluttering all over them. Anyway I think there is too much emphasis laid on struggling through illness these days, nobly carrying on all the while liberally spreading germs to fellow workers and travellers for far longer than would occur after a few days in bed. Whatever happened to a week at the seaside recuperating? Same with childbirth: no more days spent marvelling at and bonding with the gorgeous baby after several hours of Olympic effort that you'd think would merit days in bed with lashings of tea and biscuits. No, it's back to the gym and into your size 6 jeans and your iPhone has never left your hand... Luckily, as I may have mentioned, I live by the sea so I bundled myself up and stepped out for some health restoring sea air. It was a glorious day, cold, bright sunshine and white tipped waves crashing on the shore. There is a café that hangs over the sea when the tide is in and so it is like being in a boat without the seasickness. Actually, being a child of the seashore I don't suffer from seasickness but a this café is the nearest I get to being on the sea these days. So I felt quite invigorated by my little constitutional and able to return home to ponder the book we are due to discuss in tomorrow's meeting, The Other Side Of You. There is a lot to think about: love, art, psychotherapy, living but I had problems with each of these as the story progressed. R, who chose it says that it is one of his favourite books so it should be lively tomorrow... [A day passes] Well, we have had the meeting and lively and opinionated it certainly was. I don't think anyone really disliked it but neither did anyone apart from R and perhaps E love it. The trouble with putting a book up for discussion that you love is that there will inevitably be criticism but as one of the characters remarks 'it's a fine quality, minding. I haven't minded enough'.
November 12, 2016
Amaryllis’ ArtsAnother day, more sad news, albeit melancholy sad rather than earth-shatteringly awful sad… Leonard Cohen has died. Just when we need these ‘unacknowledged legislators of the world’ more than ever, this terrible year has seen the death of three of the best. These three were also the soundtrack to my university days: days which now seem increasingly halcyon with student grants, a certain surety of job opportunities and some kind of independent living to look forward to leaving time and enthusiasm to engage with issues of the day and a positivity that it could be possible to make a change. All to a background of glorious, exciting music which was so much more than a catchy tune and a handsome face… In fact, if anything can save us, it is the Arts, whether books, films, music, theatre, radio, photography, painting, box sets etc. During the dark hours of Wednesday, we were saved by the fact that our Classics bookclub fell upon that day. We were discussing Vanity Fair, the first half, which seems pretty timely in today’s concurrent obsession with ostentation and frivolity. However, I was able to forget the present for that hour as we were all completely absorbed in the narrative sweep, humour, pathos and unforgettable characters. All governments should have a monthly discussion of a good book and they would be better politicians for it as it would help them to understand and empathise and hopefully show some humility and compassion – well, I say hopefully… Anyway, I can only say that we all felt a lot better for our time with Thackeray even if I did force JAM and FD to read an extra chapter as they were woefully behind in their reading… Fortuitously, it has been a very good week for reading: I read Linda Grant’s The Dark Circle, which I loved, set in a TB hospital in Kent just after the first world war and just as Nye Bevan is seeing his wonderful vision of a National Health Service being born. I also re-read a couple of Edith Wharton novels, The Custom of the Country and Ethan Frome. She writes brilliantly about the position and fate of women in turn of the century New York. I am now reading the new Zadie Smith, Swing Time, which is great especially for a Fred and Ginger fan! But it has also been a great week for film. My son and I went to see Nocturnal Animals, based on the great Austin Wright novel, Tony and Susan. It was so good in every way: the acting of all the characters: the cinematography: the Hitchcockian music: the slow, graceful development of the story. And also a great week for box sets, as I settled down to the third series of Peaky Blinders which is just so exciting and inventive: a story set in the 1920s counterpointed with fabulously loud and dissonant modern music and the man with the bluest eyes since Paul Newman! Just even thinking about the above, I don’t feel quite as bad…
November 8, 2016
Amaryllis Rolls OnIt has not been a good week. Even such a serene and sunny disposition as is mine has been sorely tried and tested in the last few days and I’m not even going to mention the ongoing daily torture that is Brexit and the ghastly possibility of the White House hosting parties for the Ku Klux Klan… It began when a customer brazenly used his mobile phone to take photographs of pages in a design book. I heard the click and whirled round to give him my hardest stare which he ignored by engaging in a loud conversation on said phone whilst wandering nonchalantly around the shop. Unfortunately I was unable to give him the full force of my wrath so was in no mood to go home and switch on the news and learn about the scandalous sums of money being paid by the taxpayer to convert the Olympic Stadium into a home for a football team £323 MILLION and rising. It will cost £8 MILLION a year just to manually move some bloody chairs around!! In times of food banks, refugees, underfunded NHS, housing crises and MILLIONs of other lives, causes and public services at crisis point due to dire privatisation and grim austerity measures of the last government, it is obscene that such sums are being poured into an already overwealthy, corrupt, unnecessary enterprise. We are living in an increasingly mad world but meanwhile Christmas must go on and we will be doing our bit as soon as Bonfire Night has passed. The Amaryllis elves have already been at work creating a cosy little nook downstairs for gifts for the person who has every(book)thing, the tragic person who doesn’t read or just that extra something. I already have my eye on BookWorm, ‘a game for all the family’, just to make sure I win one game this Christmas… Also, the Tintin mugs. Another amulet against the dark is the exciting news that one of our dear companions, JF, having gone through an entire grocery store, is now carrying a red cabbage… Of course, I mean a baby but that is what it looks like at the moment apparently. JAM and I are competing to familiarise the baby with our (my dulcet) tones but it is totally unfair because she sits next to JF and is always muttering to herself… Anyway, I have just read the enthralling but unbearably harrowing, The Underground Railway, by Colson Whitehead. Also, the very good but unsettling last novel by Margaret Forster, How to Measure a Cow and have just started the new Linda Grant, The Dark Circle so I am on a roll!