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Don’t Miss the Return of Harper Lee

After a brief fifty-five year hiatus, Harper Lee is returning with a sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird. Set twenty years after the events of her first novel, Go Set a Watchman is the highly anticipated follow-up to one of the most successful and important literary debuts of all time.

On Tuesday 14th June, the shop will open at 8 am for the release – come along to make sure you get a copy!

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Not Everything Is Black & White

Black and WhiteLife would be pretty dull if it was all black and white. Even on a dreary day, which England is very much prone to, a book can bring splashes of colour back into your everyday life. As part of our celebration of Penguin’s Little Black Classics we have taken a step into a world without colour in our display. At glance you may merely see black and white but here’s your challenge: pick from an 80p Penguin Classic or choose from a selection of our recommended books to experience the vibrancy of colour and depth in reading.

Find out more about the 80th Anniversary of Penguin Books here

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A Week of Inspiration


Chris Riddell Feb 2015 021
Chris Riddell bringing our window to life.

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.

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What a cool mathematician!

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.

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Epic Journeys Through Words and Pictures

With our most recent new member to the Jaffé & Neale team, Peter Jones, taking a wide interest in Graphic Novels we have all been recommending our favourite GNs in the shop. Typically associated with Comic Book series the genre of Graphic Novels has moved from superheroes to the adventures of everyday life in all of its beauty, bleakness and bold relationships that we, as humans, have experienced throughout time. Here are some of our recommendations:

MausThe Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman £16.99

Tanya Recommends

The first graphic novel I have ever read and I loved it. Telling the story of what happened to his father in World War II, Art Spiegelman recounts the holocaust like never before.


watchmenWatchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons £14.99

Peter Recommends

Moore has created an incredible story, exploring the political, ethical and psychological consequences of life as a vigilante. The sheer scope of issues Moore tackles is breath-taking, and its magnificent details is matched only by its beautiful illustration. The Watchmen sets the benchmark for modern superhero storytelling.


Take a step out of your comfort zone and try a new graphic novel or come and ask us for our recommendations. These books are like nothing you will have experienced before. Look out for authors such as Chris Ware, Joe Sacco and Bryan Lee O’Malley.

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We’re having a Party!

For the second year running we are having a very Bookish, Autumnal, Magical, Bookshop party here at the shop on Saturday 11th October as part of the Books Are My Bag (BAMB) campaign. We want to celebrate the wonders of bookshops; all that they stand for and all that they can bring to a community. The party will be going on all day with storytelling at 10.30-11am, 12-12.30pm and 2.30-3pm. There will be a special appearance of children’s author Sue Heap in the morning to read some of her much loved stories. We will also have a prize-draw for the limited edition BAMB bag by Tracey Emin, and a flurry of local authors joining us throughout the day. We would love to have you come and join us in the national love of bookshops.

For more information on the BAMB campaign take a look here

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A view from behind the bookshelf

A bookshop can only sell books as long as there are authors to write them. We are delighted to have a guest post for you today from author Claire Dyer, about her love of browsing bookshops. If you’d like to write a guest post for our blog, please do get in touch.

To have time to browse a bookshop’s shelves is like eating a bar of chocolate very slowly, very deliberately, each mouthful a burst of flavour and comfort; a reminder of childhood and watching the afternoon film on TV with someone you love.

So when I can and instead of eating chocolate or watching the afternoon film I go to a book shop and browse.  I always start with the fiction displays and look for people I know and admire but, being perverse, I start with the Z’s and work my way back to the A’s. I let the covers beguile me and the shout lines tempt me into worlds I know have been hewn from a profound love of place and time and which are packed with characters who are bright and shining people and who have amazing stories to tell.

I pick up books at random and read the first paragraph, imagining the careful crafting and re-crafting of that vital first sentence.  I flick to the back to read the Acknowledgements to where the author thanks those who have given them the love and support they’ve needed to write the book. Finally, I trace my fingers over the author’s name, imagine the journey they’ve been on from writing that first sentence to having me holding a copy of their book in my hands and find myself thanking the owners and staff of whichever bookshop I’m in for giving me the chance to be there.

However, now and for me at least, there’s also the view from behind the bookshelf …

Recently I was lucky enough to be asked to run a workshop at Chipping Norton Literary Festival with fellow author and poet, Kate Rhodes. Before the session I visited the lovely, coffee-and-cake-filled Jaffe & Neale Bookshop and there on the shelf were my novels The Moment and The Perfect Affair next to Joanna Trollope’s latest release, Balancing Act. It was both awesome and strange seeing them there; almost like seeing your children alone out there in the big wide world for the first time!

Photographs were taken which were tweeted and put on Facebook and, as I picked up the copies of my books, re-read the first sentences, flicked through to the Acknowledgements and traced my fingers over my own name on the cover, I remembered those moments of searing joy when my characters told me exactly what to write next, the sentences in each novel of which I am especially proud, the careful editing and worrying over punctuation and syntax, the texture and colour of the scenes I saw in my head and the music, how my books seem to have a musical score to them. I also remembered the ideas that seemed to come to me in my sleep; the highs and lows in my characters’ lives, the day I let myself know how each book was going to end and the awful awful moment when I had to let tragedy in …

So, for this I’d like to thank Jaffe & Neale Bookshop and hope that whenever and wherever a book is picked off a shelf, whoever is looking at it knows that the author is also there, looking on, feeling grateful and immensely lucky.


The Perfect Affair, by Claire Dyer, is out now, and available at Jaffé & Neale! To buy a copy, just drop us a line, pop in, or call us on 01608 641033. 

The perfect affair

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Reluctant readers, or just ‘not yet fluent’?

At Jaffé & Neale we’re passionate about encouraging children to read, and we have a colourful and exciting children’s section in the book shop. Much is written about ‘reluctant readers’, and specifically about the approach to reading from boys, who are often (but not always!) less enthusiastic than girls about picking up a book. Our guest post today is from ‘Cid and Mo’, patrons of reading at Concord Junior School, in Sheffield. Both former teachers, Cid and Mo have combined their academic experience with a passion for books, and created a series of books (The Jangsters) specifically aimed at reluctant readers – or as they call them, readers who are simply ‘not yet fluent’.


a-or-a2As teachers, the first question we asked ourselves was – why do children learn to write the letter ‘a’ but are then asked to read the same letter presented in a totally different style. Why is this? Children are effectively being taught one set of rules for the alphabet code but are then provided with a completely different version – and usually without anyone explaining the difference! Similarly the letter ‘g’ can be presented in unusual styles. We have since pointed this out to a number of teachers who, although never considering the question, were quick to agree that this indeed was a barrier to reading, especially for reluctant readers. And, as we were to discover, one of many!

It is often boys who fall into the ‘reluctant reader’ trap at the beginning of Key Stage 2. We would argue that these boys are not always reluctant. All too often they have enjoyed being read to at home and school, have secured the necessary phonic skills to decode texts and have developed a level of fluency that enables them to read picture books and scheme books. However, if, by the end of Key Stage 1, they have not developed the reading skills required to advance to the A5 standard novel, there is very little reading material available to them. Unfortunately many simply switch off.

There are a few books aimed at reluctant readers – maybe NYF (Not Yet Fluent) is a better description.

Hi Lo books (High interest Lo reading age), Special Needs material and Reading Scheme books are options that are given to NYF readers, however these are often dry and formulaic – not the sort of material that will inspire these boys to develop a love of reading!

Boys need books that are real and exciting – but not overwhelming.

Boys like to read:

• books that reflect their image of themselves – what they aspire to be and to do;
• books that make them laugh and that appeal to their sense of mischief;
• fiction, but preferably fiction that focuses on action more than on emotions;
• books in series, such as the Harry Potter series, which seem to provide boys with a sense of comfort and familiarity;
• science fiction or fantasy (many boys are passionate about these genres);
• newspapers, magazines, comic books, baseball cards, and instruction manuals – materials that are often not available in the classroom.

First of all, NYF readers should want to read and the choice of reading material is of paramount importance! Books need to appeal to children’s hobbies and interests whilst having a text that is age-appropriate.

Removing the barriers to reading helps these readers see texts as appealing and achievable rather than daunting and difficult. Careful selection of aspects such as font (easy to read), vocabulary (95% achievable 5% challenge) and layout are vital if NYF readers are to access texts. Writing should be organised into short, manageable chunks.

Finally, the intended outcome of reading education must surely be that reading is seen as something that is enjoyable and worthwhile and not, as is often the case with NYF readers, a chore to be avoided. Reading is fun!

We wrote The Janksters series as a direct response to our research. We are not rich, we are not famous but we are making a difference and that is what counts. Our belief is that if we visit a school and sell one book to a boy who wouldn’t normally chose to read, we have been successful!

You can find out more about Cid and Mo on their website.