Life in the bookshop is always filled with mind-blowing new books, gems of literature that you never knew you needed and a community of wit, knowledge and talent. It is only until you have a week like this, at the end of a grey and rather cold February, that you realise how truly incredible the people are behind the books and how much more wit, knowledge and, especially, talent there is in the literary world. We had the privilege of being joined by two men who need no introduction and their reputation alone got us all excited about their visit to the shop. Chris Riddell, award winning author and illustrator, political cartoonist for The Observer, illustrator of works by Neil Gaiman, cover artist for The Literary Review… the list goes on, arrived one perfectly ordinary Wednesday lunchtime, but from the moment he entered the shop there was something magical that happened. His pure and natural, rather astounding, talent as an illustrator was so much more than inspiring; it was infectious and quite simply left us all speechless… for once! Drawing our favourite characters from his series Goth Girl, and portraits from Ottoline, we felt as if he had brought our friends to play for the day. We were not the only ones to enjoy his company. Regular customers and young fans were able to meet the creator of such fond children stories. At 4pm he read, he drew, he made us laugh, and his scribbled his beautiful signature in our books. If you didn’t make it to the event please do come and buy a Chris Riddell book, signed and sealed, by the man himself.
From one genius to another, as we waved off Chris Riddell Matt Parker, the Stand-Up mathematician, joined us for a Friday night bookshop event. I know many of you will roll your eyes when you say that there are people out there who make mathematics a subject that is genuinely interesting, but please keep those eyes still and believe us when we say that Matt Parker has a gift at keeping you gripped when talking about maths. His adrenalin may be slightly off the wall but when you start understanding the patterns and algorithms that he sees in the everyday you soon are equally infected by such excitement. Even the most basic of things like tying your shoes laces was enhanced by a technique that still baffles Leanne and Patrick. And his style? How many people know of such an intelligent man with such unique clothing? A scarf, made by his mother, knitted with the binary code of ‘Maths is fun’. Now that alone makes you inquisitive. For those of you who are still not convinced, and even after hearing maths sceptics like Leanne talking about the joy of this event, I challenge you to watch Matt Parker online or in person, and we cannot recommend his book enough. Signed copies of Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension are available now.
What a week.
Bring on March.