Ask the book buyer about Super Thursday
It was Super Thursday last week, the day more important new titles are published in the UK than any other day of the year. Here three of my favourite new books – which could make your Christmas shopping list if you’re being particularly organised this year, says Jarrold book buyer Chris Rushby.
Thursday happens to be the day of the week most new books get published in the UK. That’s been the case for longer than I or any of my colleagues have been in the book trade and I don’t know anyone who knows why it’s Thursday – it just is. Almost as mystifying, in the US the day in question is Tuesday, not Thursday. And similarly inexplicably, it’s the first and third Thursdays of the month, rather than the second and the fourth, when the majority of new books land. If anyone can offer a particularly plausible explanation of why Thursday is publication day in the UK I might be tempted to offer a bottle of passable Jarrold claret to the first person to do so.
Why am I telling you about the Thursday publication convention? Because last Thursday, 4th October, was what the UK book industry likes to call ‘Super Thursday’. Of all the autumn publication Thursdays it was the one where the largest number of high-profile new books by famous authors, celebrities and the like came to market. That milestone means we’re officially now into the autumn season, the busiest three months of the bookselling year when all those big books are going to get bought and given as Christmas presents to your families, or loved ones. Let me pick a curated handful of those endless brand new books and suggest they’re prime candidates to go onto your present-buying shopping list…
For the discerning reader of quality fiction in your life – and maybe that’s you – here’s a book I make no apology for mentioning again in one of these emails: destined, I don’t doubt, to be one of the year’s top-selling novels and, I’m pretty sure, a work of true genius. On one level this is a modern ghost story (and ghost stories are having a marked resurgence in popularity this year) but it’s much more than that. Let me quote Alex Preston in The Guardian, who sums it up thus: “Perry’s masterly piece of postmodern gothic is one of the great literary achievements of our young century and deserves all the prizes and praise that will be heaped upon it.” He’s spot-on in that judgement, I’d say. We’re hoping that, by the time you read this, the author will have signed some of our stock so you’ll be able to buy an autographed copy.
Churchill: Walking With Destiny
For the discerning reader of quality non-fiction in your life here’s a new study of one of the great prime ministers by an acclaimed biographer and historian. The author has had access to over forty collections of papers not available to Churchill's previous major biographer Roy Jenkins (hmm yes, Boris Johnson did write a book on the subject too) and he’s the very first Churchill biographer to be granted access by the Queen to the private diaries of King George VI – who, it turns out, had lunch with Churchill every week and immediately committed the details of their conversations to his diary. This is one of those books you can almost guarantee will be on those December Sunday newspaper lists of people’s favourite books of the year.
Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin
It's been a long time since the book of love
I can't count the tears of a life with no love
… as Robert Plant may have sung once or twice. For the discerning old rocker in your life, this particular book of love is the first and, allegedly, the only official illustrated title ever to be produced in collaboration with members of the band. Celebrating 50 years since its formation, the book covers the group’s unparalleled musical career and features photographs of Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham on and offstage, in candid moments and in the recording studio. This doorstop of a book includes unseen photographs and artwork from the band’s archives and contributions from photographers around the world.
Discover more instore, lower ground floor
Ask the book buyer
Chris can help you find your next big read, introduce you to a new author or can advise on what books will suit all ages and tastes - perfect if you want to start your Christmas gift shopping earlier this year. Pop in to see him and his team on the book department, lower ground, or email Chris at email@example.com