Our South London Indie Bookshop Crawl

Last Thursday afternoon, we left our desks in Clerkenwell and boarded a train from Farringdon station. Laden with cookies, book proofs and some other goodies, we headed out on our South London Indie Bookshop Crawl.images

On the agenda were Dulwich Books, Herne Hill Books and Review in Peckham.

dulwichWe chatted to some lovely booksellers, mainly about our new fiction paperback imprint Buried River Press, but also about what they look for when selecting titles for the store.
review
It was great to be out ‘in the field’ and to connect with booksellers, and we took away some useful insights. We asked what the most important criteria was for them as booksellers. The answer was quality, and recommendation by word of mouth! Social media was mentioned as a key tool too.

 

herne hill frontAbove all it reinforced the fact that independent bookshops are owned by people passionate about what they do, and committed to putting the best (and often relatively unknown) books out there for their eager audiences.

Hope you enjoyed the cookies!

What We’re Reading in… March

psycho film psycho

Back in 1959, Robert Hale published Bloch’s psychological thriller Psycho, which was quickly snapped up by Alfred Hitchcock and made into a film the following year.


What are our favourite book-to-film stories at Robert Hale? 

 

Sarah, Marketing and Publicity Manager:
My favourite is Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Trumabreakfast at tiffanys filmn Capote (Penguin Classics). The first half of the film follows the book very closely, albeit set in a different decade, and much of the early dialogue is almost word-for-word, but of course the film was given an ending much better suited to Hollywood audiences than that in the book.
TRUMAN_CAPOTE_Breakfast_at_Tiffanys_2009
The film certainly deserves its spot among the classics, but it’s a shame that the book is often overlooked. Truman Capote’s writing is so captivating, and the story is the ideal anti-fairytale for twentieth-century American life. And who doesn’t identify just a little with Holly Golightly’s desire for self-reinvention?

 

 

 

Esther, Editorial Controller:
They always say the book is better than the film, and in this case it is true. Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin (Serpent’s Tail) somehow seems far more shocking in print; Eva’s narrative in the form of letters to her estrangkevin filmed husband, post Kevin’s organised mass-shooting at his school, shows how she’s suffering as a consequence of his actions. The fact that she jumps back in time through her letters, chronicling Kevin’s sixteen year existence, suggests she’s been suffering the entire time. Straight from the letters, there are unknown truths, long-hidden secrets and twists.kevin book

The film itself, compared to the book, seemed quite tame. With books, we imagine how the action plays out but when it comes to the film, it’s often very different. While the adaptation stays relatively faithful to the book, the pace was slow, it had an eerie quietness to it and the most brutal scenes felt a bit anti-climactic. Lynne Ramsay (director) probably was right to censor most of it; after all, it is horrendous to talk about.

 

 

Gill, Managing Director:
I suppose like all avid readers, film adaptations of much loved books are often a disappointment. The adaptations of Jane Austen’s books are for the most part no exception, but one film in particular is very well done. 

Persuasion (Vintage Classics) waspersuasion-1995 produced for television in the first instance by the BBC and then put on general release. Although it differs from the book in subtle respects, the performance of Amanda Root as Anne Elliot has never been bettered, and she inhabits the character completely. I fell out with the casting of Ciaran Hinds as Wentworth but then, every Janeite has their own vision of what their heroes should look like, but he has, over time, also persuaded me of his claim to the role.

The book is my favourite Austen and read every year or so in the original edition my aunt gave me as a girl. Pride and Prejudice had me hooked from the age of nine (again as persuasiona result of a gift from my prescient aunt) but Persuasion is the ‘adult’ Austen to which I turn when in need of comfort in both book and on film.

Hale’s series on Jane Austen continues her wonderful legacy. Adding to great contributions by Maggie Lane and Hazel Jones on ageing and travel in Austen’s books, Hale are publishing a new book by Stephen Mahoney in the autumn on wealth and poverty.

 


Isobel, Marketing and Publicity Assistant:
Ifight club book think Fight Club (Vintage) is a good example Fight-ClubMovie-Still2CRof a
book-to-film success story. Both book and film hold their own, but also complement one another. While it’s a lot to do with great script and actors, I think the subject matter – of crazy insomniacs and manic addictions – helps out too.
 The story is a fragmented, schizophrenic narrative which moves all over the place and works really well in book or film setting.

half yellow sunOn the other hand, one of my favourite books, Half of a Yellow Sun by  (4th Estate), was recently adapted until a film. Even though the two leads – Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton – are very good actors and the author has endorsed the project, I’ve resisted going to see it just in case it disappoints. I think there are some books for each person where its better to preserve the characters as you imagined them when reading the story.


What We’re Reading in… February

recent article in The Bookseller told us what we already know: reading is good for us.

So, what are we at Robert Hale currently reading?

Esther, Editorial Controller:

9536900_Zola_LadiesParadise.indd“I tend to read a couple of books at the same time but for the last few months, my main read has been Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise (Oxford World’s Classics). This French classic captures Victorian Paris very well; fashionable ladies, ambitious members of staff of the Ladies’ Paradise shop, and a desire to love and be loved are all prominent features, not to mention the rise of commercialism that was sweeping through Europe at this time. It’s a good read so far. The reason I read 19th century literature is because these books have the power to pull us back to an earlier period in history to let us experience what we don’t know – entertainment, politics, and industry – and imagine what life could have been like had we been there at the time.”

 

catherine - pile of booksCatherine, Design and Production Manager:

“I’ve had to promise myself not to buy any more books until I’ve got through the pile on my bedside table (see photo). I’ve been a fiend for buying books but not having enough time to read them!

cathering - broadchurchI’m currently enjoying Erin Kelly’s Broadchurch (Little Brown: Sphere) which gives extra background on the characters in the TV series. She’s written the book based on the first series with its creator Chris Chibnall. The stories are only available as eBooks at present but it’s a genius marketing tool. I’m a big fan of Erin Kelly’s books – her latest, The Ties That Bind (Hodder & Stoughton), being among my book pile. In addition, I’m about two thirds of the way through Jo Nesbo’s The Bat (Vintage). It’s the first Harry Hole case but issued in translation somewhat after his other books in the series. I have found previous Jo Nesbo books take a while to get into but worth persevering with!”


Sarah, Marketing and Publicity Manager:

“I’m reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (Bloomsbury).Sarah - signature of all things
It tells the story of a fictional female botanist, born in 1800, who has dedicated her life to her science, but finds this life turned upside down when she falls in love with a man whose beliefs run contrary to her own.

The book fuses together the Victorian concerns of science, divinity, magic and exploration. It’s very engaging and beautifully written for a story laced with science, and I’m enjoying learning about botany and related historical events, such as the foundation of Kew Gardens.”

 

Isobel, Marketing and Publicity Assistant:

“I’m reading Picked Up Patched Up and Sent Home: Why I Love the NHS by Carl Walker (Robert Hale). It’s a nice way to look at a subject that is veryIso - NHS topical, but can be a little morbid/ overwhelming. Carl’s tales of his many encounters with the public health service reminds me how fragile our bodies are, but somehow this isn’t done in a depressing way. Carl humanises the people who work for and use the NHS, and makes fun of sensationalist headlines that have turned the acronym into a political buzzword of horror. His style of writing is silly and clever at the same time, and makes me laugh loudly while I sit in Pret on my lunch break.”