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Jen Campbell grew up in the North East of England, and graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA in English Literature. She's a published poet and short story writer. She lives in North London where she works at Ripping Yarns bookshop.
Having mined her own memories and those of her colleagues, Jen Campbell opens her challenge for Weird things Customers say to fellow Booksellers worldwide. As a Bookseller of long standing, weird customer sayings and queries were like beacons in the desert, there was the thrill of the chase, could we really track down that book with a green cover by a woman that died and the wonderment of being asked for nasal sprays and spectacular temper tantrums to be marvelled at when we couldn’t identify a tune being hummed to us. A guilty pleasure then to read Jen Campbell’s collection of tales but guilty because without customers where would Bookshops be and indeed where would all these marvellous, eccentric, forgetful, mad, stupid, vain, silly and essential customers be without bookshops, The Internet won’t be listening, that’s for sure. Like for Like Reading Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, Jen Campbell Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, Anne Fadiman
April 2012 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Having been a bookseller, one of my weirdest moments was being asked for a pound of sausages. We tracked that down to the shop having been a butcher in a previous incarnation but really, looking round is a Bookshop likely to sell sausages? Another time a customer hummed a tune and got into a rage when I couldn’t identify it, pointing out that we were a book and not a music shop, his rage increased and a letter of complaint was duly sent to my Managing Director who dealt with him rather like the unfortunate youth who got caught peeing through our letter box. Something about bookshops seems to attract weirdness and it helps to alleviate a dull day for the long suffering bookseller. Reading through the collection put together by Jen Campbell makes me realise that a lot more weirdness could have come my way, some of it mind boggling bizarre. Think before you speak might be one way of addressing the problem but then half the fun would go out of life, nowt so weird as folk.... Normally in my Like for Like recommendations I list books in print but it just so happens that two of the best on weird books are out of print – never mind - plenty for sale on Amazon and for book lovers there is plenty to enjoy in these walks on the wilder shores of bibliography.Like for Like Reading:Scouts in Bondage & other Books from an Innocent Age, Michael Bell + various hardback 96 pages Aurum 23rd October 2006 9781845131968Bizarre Books, Russell Ash & Brian Lake + various paperback 196 pages Pavilion 17th September 1998 9780965887649
Every bookshop has a story We're not talking about rooms that are just full of books. We're talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I've-ever-been-to-bookshops. Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France; meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains; meet the bookshop in Canada that's invented the world's first antiquarian book vending machine. And that's just the beginning. From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we've yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole). The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world. 'A good bookshop is not just about selling books from shelves, but reaching out into the world and making a difference' David Almond (The Bookshop Book includes interviews and quotes from David Almond, Ian Rankin, Tracy Chevalier, Audrey Niffenegger, Jacqueline Wilson, Jeanette Winterson and many, many others.)
Jen Campbell's collection of terrifyingly gruesome tales lends a modern edge to fairy tale collections for young readers. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of fairy tale history, Campbell's stories undo the censoring, gender stereotyping and twee endings of more modern children's fairy tales, to return both classic and little-known stories to their grim versions, whilst celebrating a diverse range of characters. Featuring 14 short stories from around the globe, The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers is illustrated in a contemporary style by Canadian comic artist Adam de Souza. De Souza's brooding illustrations are a highly original blend of 19th-century Gothic engravings and moody film noir graphic novels. Beautifully produced in a hardback format with a rose gold ribbon marker, The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers is a truly thrilling gift. With 86 illustrations, 30 in colour
It's Franklin's birthday! Luna and all the villagers are planning a surprise party, and Franklin's family are visiting from the moon. While the party is being set up, Luna takes Franklin book shopping. They find a padlocked book of fairy tales, which the bookseller tells them is full of dangerous magic. Luna's tortoise, Neil, can't help picking the lock... but when he peers inside, the book swallows him whole. Franklin and Luna dive into the book to rescue Neil. They tumble into cobwebbed forests and meet dusty fairy-tale characters who have been trapped inside these pages for hundreds of years. After several encounters and some narrow escapes, they finally find Neil - who has won a gold medal after racing a hare - and, all together, they break out of the book and into the real world. Exhausted but victorious, all the fairy-tale characters, Franklin, Luna and Neil arrive at Franklin's birthday party. They're not sure it's a happily ever after, but they're certainly very full of cake... and that will more than do for now.
Jen Campbell's first collection The Girl Aquarium explores the realm of rotten fairy tales, the possession of body and the definition of beauty. Weaving between whispered science and circus, she turns a cracked mirror on society and asks who gets to control the twisted tales hiding in the wings. Semifinalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2019 (Best Poetry category) Shortlisted for the poetry category of the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2019
From the creators of the bestselling Franklin's Flying Bookshop, Jen Campbell and Katie Harnett, comes another charming tale about two book-lovers Franklin and Luna. Luna and her best friend, Franklin the dragon, love stories and want to visit all the places they've read about in books. But for all their reading they still don't know where dragons come from. And Franklin is now so old - 605 to be exact - he can't remember himself! They search high and low, but to no avail. Until one evening, Luna's tortoise, Neil Armstrong, notices something far away in the sky... The three friends set out on their biggest adventure yet - all the way to the moon - in the hope of reuniting Franklin with his long lost family.
'I LOVE it. It is so touching and original and delightful. Katie's illustrations are a perfect match for the text, too' Jacqueline Wilson Franklin the dragon loves stories and loves reading stories to people too, but everyone is too scared to even look at him. One day he meets a girl named Luna who, far from being scared, is fascinated to meet Franklin, having recently read all about dragons in one of her books. They instantly become friends and talk non-stop about what they've read: books about roller skating, King Arthur, spiders and how to do kung fu. Together, they hatch a plan to share their love of books with others by opening a bookshop - a flying bookshop, that is - right on Franklin's back!
Modern fairy tales of magic, outsiders and lost souls. 'A gem of a book ... deeply moving' Stylist 'A darkly clever, beautifully written and deliciously twisted collection of modern fairy tales' Red 'Campbell writes beautifully' Grazia 'These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button. That's why I bought her heart online.' Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows. A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island. A boy is worried his sister has two souls. A couple are rewriting the history of the world. And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium. The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls. 'What a book. It's so strange and magical and the writing is just beautiful. I loved it' Louise O'Neill 'Enchanting and illuminating' Carys Bray 'Like walking through a mirror' Rachel Joyce 'This book is full of character and magic, and I found myself mesmerised' Claire Fuller 'These stories are weaved together like silvery fishing nets. Like shimmering, jewel-bright worlds' Helen McClory 'Magical and sinister at the same time' Kirsty Logan From the author of Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops series and The Bookshop Book.
Un caballero pide el tocho mas pesado (literalmente) que aflija las estanterias, otro necesita adquirir cincuenta y dos metros de lomos mas o menos vistosos y un tercero quiere leer la edicion debil de cierta obra. Una dama sospecha que las novelas de Dickens fueron escritas por su hermana Charlene, otra busca libros de color verde y una tercera pregunta por relatos donde Robin Hood no robe a los ricos. Demencias como estas (e incluso mas dementes) ocurren a diario en las librerias, esos templos de la inteligencia. El lector hallara aqui una coleccion de anecdotas pintorescas o definitivamente estramboticas que le alegraran la tarde con unas cuantas carcajadas y tal vez socaven la poca fe que aun pudiese tener en la sensatez de la especie humana.
We're not talking about rooms that are just full of books. We're talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I've-ever-been-to-bookshops. Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France; meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains; meet the bookshop in Canada that's invented the world's first antiquarian book vending machine. And that's just the beginning. From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over two hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we've yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole). The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world. A good bookshop is not just about selling books from shelves, but reaching out into the world and making a difference. (David Almond). The Bookshop Book includes interviews and quotes from David Almond, Ian Rankin, Tracy Chevalier, Audrey Niffenegger, Jacqueline Wilson, Jeanette Winterson and many, many others.