All posts filed under: Other

Becoming a Published Author (The Self-fulfilling Prophecy)

No, I’m not getting published. I couldn’t be further away from being published if I tried. What I want to talk about is dreaming of becoming a real author. I’m sure this is a dream many of my readers have and one I certainly share, but the trouble is, I’m struggling. When I was 20 years old I wrote a prologue and the first 5 chapters of a book titled Doors That Lead to Nowhere. I posted it on the website Wattpad and it was read over 10.000 times! I was so happy, I thought my dream was coming true. People were actually reading my work and giving me the most fantastic praise. However, after the fifth chapter of the book I stopped. I was going through some emotional problems at the time and I became very low, self-destructive even. A wise lady once told me that I suffer, like so many of us do, with the problem of self-fulfilling prophecy. Whats that? Well, we start to believe that what we are doing, what we have created …

Is My Hometown ACTUALLY Mordor?

I have a feeling that my hometown of Colchester,or perhaps the wider county of Essex was represented by Mordor in Tolkien’s Middle-earth. This might sound slightly random, that I’m making some sort of joke at the expense of the citizens of Colchester, but I promise my belief is genuine. This theory begins with Tolkien’s inspiration for The Two Towers, the second book in the trilogy. The first thing we need to decide is what are the two towers Tolkien refers to in his title? There are five towers in the book which could make a claim as being one of the two, these are: Cirith Ungol, Orthanc, Minas Tirith, Barad-dur, and Minas Morgul. By doing some research I have found that Tolkien wasn’t happy with the title of this book and was unsure which towers his own title even referred, claiming the title could be misleading. However in a letter to Rayner Unwin he expressed his decision on which two towers he had chosen. “I am not at all happy about the title ‘The Two Towers’. …

Walking to Narnia (A Pilgrimage to the Home and Resting Place of C. S. Lewis)

For those of you who have been following my blog since the beginning of this year, you would have noticed that I haven’t been posting as regularly as I once did. The truth is I’ve just stepped into the adult world and I’m finding myself overwhelmed by the distinct lack of time that I now have. Growing up I witnessed my mum juggle her life between working, looking after us kids, house work and finding moments to just relax take a pause and escape the mayhem. I’m sure most of you have heard a parent or carer utter ‘There’s not enough hours in the day’, or perhaps you’ve said these words yourself, well, I finally understand! I went straight from studying into full-time work at the bookshop, which is an absolute privilege, but more than ever I’m finding myself too tired or just not having the time to do all the things I want to be doing with my life right at this moment. Over the last few weeks the stress has been building and the pressure …

Meeting Chris Riddell (Children’s Laureate) TWICE!

In the last year I’ve had the absolute pleasure of meeting our current Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell twice! For those who aren’t familiar with the Children’s Laureate it is a position which is awarded every two years in the United Kingdom. The position is awarded to a “writer or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.” A few of the past recipients include Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Anne Fine and Quentin Blake, who was the first to be awarded the position in 1999. For those who are not familiar with Chris Riddell, SHAME ON YOU! He is my favourite illustrator and one of the most significant figures in the world of children’s books. Over the course of his career so far Chris Riddell has won two Kate Greenaway Medals and  three Nestlé Smarties Book Prizes! He is the co-author and sole  illustrator of The Edge Chronicles, which I believe is one of the greatest fantasy series for children out there. He has illustrated books written by some of our very best authors such as Neil …

Building a Bookshop – Day 2 and Opening

In ‘Building a Bookshop – Day 1‘ we made a lot of progress and ended the day feeling proud with how far we had come. However, there was still a fair amount to do before opening our doors to the public. First of all we needed books, lots of books, ALL the books we could cram in there. Secondly, we needed somewhere for the customers to sit, read and watch some of the events which were going to be hosted in the marquee. Finally we needed  a place to sell refreshments because browsing books is thirsty work. So, we began…. It was a fine day on Broad Street…. There were plenty more boxes of books to unpack. So many boxes. We needed a place to sell tickets for all the events, thus the box office was born. Drinks and snacks. A place to sit, dubbed the Shakespeare Lounge. Now the important bit. BOOKS! Books. More books. Even more books. Guess what… … … … …. We filled the place with books, because it wouldn’t be a very …

Building a Bookshop – Day 1

On Saturday, 2nd April 2016, the 20th Oxford Literary Festival will begin! The festival is a rather big deal for the bookshop I work in, as we are responsible for supporting the 500 guest speakers by selling their books. This year the festival will host several well known names, including Sir Ian Mckellen, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Lauren Child, Chris Riddell, A. C. Grayling, Richard Dawkins, and Mary Beard. Many of the events will be hosted in the grand Sheldonian Theatre which lies directly across the street from Blackwell’s. Throughout the festival my fellow booksellers will operate several tables within the Sheldonian, unpacking, displaying, repacking and then repeating from event to event for a whole 9 days! It’s going to be a busy time for the staff of Blackwell’s Broad Street and the fleet of volunteers who will help keep everything running smoothly through the course of the festival (fingers-crossed). However, as well as selling books on a few tables within the Sheldonian we also create a temporary bookshop directly beside the theatre, where along side …

My Favourite First Sentences

Hi! Instead of doing a book review today I  wanted to try something different, so I have. I watched a great video by a booktuber who goes by the name booksandquills where she reads some of her favourite first sentences from books. I thought I’d give this a go, so here’s my list of some of my favourite sentences. I’ll post the video by  booksandquills at the end of this post.   A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd ‘The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.’   The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole ages 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend ‘These are my New Year’s resolutions:  I will help the blind across the road. I will hang my trousers up. I will put the sleeves back on my records. I will not start smoking. I will stop squeezing my spots. I will be kind to the dog. I will help the poor and ignorant. After hearing the disgusting noises from down-stairs last night, I have also vowed never to drink alcohol. …

The Liebster Award – Byford’s Books

Hi! I would like to begin by thanking A Young Writer’s Notebook for nominating for this award. I truly believe that the Liebster Award is a brilliant initiative which allows all of us involved in this community to showcase work which we enjoy and which inspires us. I only began blogging fairly recently and I’m extremely grateful to have this opportunity to share a bit of myself with you all.   There’s a few rules: Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you Nominate 11 bloggers that you think are deserving of the award Let the bloggers know you nominated them Give them 11 questions of your own   My Questions from A Young Writer’s Notebook:   If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what genre would you choose? I always find myself in two minds whenever ‘genre’ comes up in conversation. I can see the positives and the negatives of placing work into genres. Yes, genre allows us to discover books, films, music and other …