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Book review: East of Innocence, by David Thorn

Everyone has a picture of an Essex crime novel. But David Thorne’s “East of Innocence” is a fresh take on this famous county. Forget Ross Kemp’s gangs and uncover the real middle class crime of this redbrick, tennis playing London suburb.  “East of Innocence” is the story of a failed lawyer clinging to the crusts of family and friends while battling to do good in a dark place. David Thorne takes you places you may have been to before. But you will never view them in the same way again.

East of Innocence, by David Thorne is published by Corvus, £12.99. To order a copy, call us on 01608 641033 or email

east of innocence

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Book review: On the Trail of Genghis Khan, by Tim Cope

on the trail of Genghis KhanPart historian, part adventurer, Tim Cope has crafted an extraordinary book; in it, the author describes his epic journey from Mongolia to Hungary on horseback, retracing the steps of Genghis khan’s Mongols. 
Along the way, Cope provides a brilliant cross-section of the history behind these wild, boundless places and their inhabitants: people whose nomadic way of life – thousands of years old – was nearly destroyed forever by the Soviets.
With accessible and vivid prose backed up by beautiful photography, On the Trail of Genghis Khan is a personal, relevant and spellbinding book.

Review by Gabriel Smith, Jaffé & Neale.

On the Trail of Genghis Khan is published by Bloomsbury, £20.To order a copy, email us us or call 01608 641033.

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What kind of reader are you?


Readers might share a passion for the wonderful world of books, but everyone has their own reading habit. Here are just a few of our favourites:



The Plodder

Takes a year or more to read a book, getting through a couple of pages at each sitting. Only ever reads in bed.

The Speed Reader

Easily reads a book a day. Skims the boring bits and turns pages so fast, fingers are a blur. Frequently loses track of what’s going on.

The Addict

Reads everything from the Booker prize winner to the back of a cereal packet. Reads whilst walking. Goes to the loo purely for an opportunity to get through another few pages.

The Fickle Reader

Gives up on more books than are finished. Often has three or more books on the go. Reads all genres.

The Loyalist

Finds a favourite author and doggedly works through their entire backlist.

What kind of reader are you?

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Choosing your next read

So you’ve come to the end of a great book, and you’re looking for something to read next. How do you choose? There are so many titles being released every month, it’s hard to know where to start. Here is our advice on where to start:

1. Read more by the same author.

There’s nothing better than discovering a great book by an author you’ve not heard of before, and discovering a huge back catalogue of titles! Even if the book you’ve read isn’t part of a series, most authors stick to the same style of writing, so you know what to expect.

2. Look for something else in the same genre.

Labels can be restrictive, but they’re a useful starting point when you’re looking for something new. Think about the books you already like: are they procedural crime? Thriller? Romance? Biography? Then browse the bookshelves in that section and see what jumps out.

3. Swap with a friend.

Take a gamble and pass your favourite book to a friend, asking for a pot luck read in return. It’s always interesting to see the books others recommend for us, and even if the cover doesn’t take your fancy, you might enjoy it!

4. Ask the internet.

Whether you chat on Twitter or Facebook, or like to read the book reviews in the newspapers, there are thousands of readers on the internet. Ask for suggestions, or lurk in the shadows and see what other people are talking about.

5. Check out the shortlists. And the long ones.

Lists in general are a great place to start when you’re looking for new reads. Check out the Costa Book Awards website, where you can see all previous winners, or the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction.  Alternatively, World Book Night titles are chosen with the specific purpose of getting people reading, so they tend to be accessible and exciting.

6. Ask your independent bookseller

A good bookseller isn’t just there to work the till – if that were the case you may as well shop online. The great thing about independent booksellers is that we’ve actually read the books we sell, and we each have our favourites! You can mooch into Jaffé & Neale and waffle to us about the books you’ve liked in the past, the ones that left you cold, and what your reading habits are. As if by magic, we’ll recommend a book we think you’ll love.

We post regular book reviews on our blog, so bookmark the page or subscribe to receive updates via email, and maybe our next recommendation will be right up your street.

How do you choose your books?

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Meet the author: Graeme Simsion – The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project by Graeme SimsionOn Monday 3 February we will be welcoming Graeme Simsion to Jaffé & Neale, to celebrate the paperback publication of his novel The Rosie Project, which was critically acclaimed following its launch in 2013.

Professor DonTillman is a Melbourne Professor. Although it is never acknowledged by Don himself, it is clear to his friends – and indeed to the reader – that he is on the Autistic Spectrum, and his literal interpretation of human behaviour is both uncomfortable and brilliantly funny. Don sets out to find a girlfriend, devising ‘The Wife Project’ and putting prospective partners through a detailed screening questionnaire. It is a touching read which examines the way in which we make decisions and form relationships.

A former IT specialist, Graeme Simsion is a screenwriter and novelist, and a father-of-two. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming him to Chipping Norton.

Monday 3 February, 6.30pm, at Jaffé & Neale. 

If you can’t join us but would like a signed copy of The Rosie Project, contact us to reserve your copy. 

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Patrick recommends: November 2013

Signed copy of the Goldfinch, by Donna TarttThe Goldfinch, Donna Tartt   (Little, Brown, £20.00)

Theo Decker is going to become a great Character in twenty first century literature. Donna Tartt’s eagerly anticipated third book in three decades does not disappoint. It’s a thumping good read. It tells the story of a boy who loses a mother but gains a priceless painting when he is witness to a terrotist bombing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. All 700 pages scream “read me”.   This without doubt should knock Dan Brown aside as the best seller of 2013

To the Letter, a Journey Through a Vanishing World, Simon Garfield  (Canongate, £17.99)

Simon Garfield’s books are always hard to categorise, which is frustrating for big chains and his publisher. But they are always riveting, entertaining and a joy to possess. “To the Letter” is no exception. Garfield takes us on a wonderful historical tour of letters and letter writing. He captures the essence of what is about to disappear from the noise a letter makes as it comes through our letter box to some of the most powerful and poignant letter ever written.

Three Brothers, Peter Ackroyd (Vintage, £12.99)

Peter Ackroyd has written a riveting tale set in 1960s London. On the surface this is an ordinary story of three very different brothers making their way in in the world’s most fascinating city. But there’s a shroud of the supernatural hanging over these boys which makes Peter Ackroyd’s novels so distinctive and unique


Can’t make it to Chipping Norton? We offer free delivery on most orders. 


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Socks, gifts, and oh dear deer…

Christmas is coming, and at Jaffé & Neale we are already excited. The shop is positively laden with goodies, from tree decorations and stocking fillers, to that tricky present for Uncle Gerald. If you’ve never ventured further than the counter, you’re missing out, because our shelves at the back are full of fabulous presents.

We are particularly keen on our felt reindeer head: the perfect present for the person who has everything.

Gifts at Jaffe & Neale

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Jeremy Clarkson at Jaffé & Neale

The queue stretched out of the shop and around the corner, but despite the chilly weather, there was a cheery atmosphere among the crowds who turned up to meet Jeremy Clarkson last week. Staff handed out chocolates, and there was much speculation about what car Jeremy would be driving when he showed up (a Landrover).

As soon as Jeremy was settled at the signing table we began letting people through to see him. He took time to talk to everyone, especially the surprising number of young people who were excited to meet one of their TV heroes.

‘You once said I could have your job,’ said a teenage boy, as he presented his copy of Is It Really Too Much To Ask? for a signature.

‘It’s yours,’ Jeremy said. ‘It’s mostly writing, you know that, don’t you? And a bit of filming.’

‘That’s fine by me,’ the lad said. And the deal was done.

Dedications were written to dads, granddads, boyfriends and the occasional sister, and the stack of books at Jeremy’s side grew gradually smaller as he worked his way through the dozens of copies which had been reserved in advance. It was a wonderful evening, and we would like to thank Jeremy, and all the people who turned out to meet him.

If you weren’t able to join us, but would like a signed copy of Jeremy’s latest book, Is It Really Too Much To Ask? we still have a few copies in stock, so get in touch to reserve yours. 

Jeremy Clarkson at Jaffe & Neale

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Book signing: Jeremy Clarkson

Journalist and Chipping Norton resident Jeremy Clarkson will be signing copies of his latest book Is It Really Too Much To Ask? at Jaffe and Neale, at 5.30pm on Friday 15 November.

This will be the only UK signing, so don’t miss out!

‘In a world where the blind insist on leading the blind, we’re lucky to have Jeremy Clarkson doing the driving on a laugh-out-loud tour of what’s brilliant and what’s plain stupid- as only he can see it.

Pithy and provocative, belly laughs are guaranteed as Jeremy fearlessly lays out everything we’ve all been thinking but never spoken up on. For too long we have accepted daftness instead of embracing the best, and our national treasure demands an answer to a simple question: is it really too much to ask?’

‘Brilliant… laugh-out-loud’ Daily Telegraph

‘Outrageously funny… will have you in stitches’ Time Out



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Patrick recommends: October 2013

Under a Mackerel Sky, Rick Stein.

Rick Stein has had no ordinary life. More importantly he writes beautifully.  I expect this book to sell more copies than Nigel Slater’s “Toast” (285,000 copies). He copes with the death of his Bipolar father by escaping to Australia and returns to open a Padstow  night club where his plans for  sophistication  are drowned by the well paid and well oiled fishermen. This is not a celebrity memoir . It’s the lyrical and poignant  story of a man who has trawled the depths and reached beyond.

Under a Mackerel Sky, Rick Stein. Ebury, £20.00


Expo 58, Jonathan Coe.

Jonathan Coe Never disappoints and “Expo 58” is another brilliant  beautiful literary romp.  A naïve and ambitious civil servant ,Thomas Foley, is plucked to oversee the British offering at The Belgium World Expo. His only qualification is his father was a publican. He certainly is not ready or equipped to deal with coming together of Russians , Americans and so many beautiful woman so soon after the Second World War. This is a fabulous farce that captures a forgotten moment in history when the modern and Europe’s memories collide.

Expo 58, Jonathan Coe. Viking Press, £16.99


The Broken Road, from the Iron Gates to Mount Athos

This is one of the most eagerly anticipated books in publishing. It is the third volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s  amazing  journey across Europe on foot. If that wasn’t enough it has been edited by Artemis Cooper , Fermor’s  brilliant biographer, and Colin Thubron , the master travel writer.

The Broken Road, from the Iron Gates to Mount Athos, Patrick Leigh Fermor. John Murray, £25.00

Broken Road