Before we had the small bookshop I felt a bit disconnected with Hackney’s community of writers, I just new that it had to exist. I can now confirm that there are some brilliant young, and not so young, writers in the area, and we are doing our best to stock as much local work as possible. We currently have books by Jeremy Worman, Travis Elborough, Daniel Kramb, Will Conway, Rico Coombs and Ned Beauman.
Please continue to check the ‘basement calendar’ section of this website because we often have readings and events organised by some of these writers.
When a Billion Chinese Jump By Jonathan Watts
The title of the book is based on a rumour that if the population of China all jumped at the same time, the impact would cause the earth to fall of its axis and we would all die. My initial though was that such a great co-ordination of jumping would be virtually impossible. But thinking about it, all you would have to do is get everyone across the nation to sync their watches, or perhaps a whole village could share one watch or clock, and it could done with a little careful planning.
The title isn’t literally what the book is about, but it is on a connotative level. Watts explores how the rapidly growing Chinese economy is having a negative effect on the environment, and general state of the world.
Why not support your local book shop and buy Christmas presents from Railroad. The selection is small, but, forgive the cliche, there is something for everyone. To prove this, i will outline staff recommendations for each family member below:
The Eleventh Hour – For the small child
Every Australian will remember this from their childhood, and every English child should have a copy. It is by far the most visually exciting children’s book I have ever read.
Sunset Park – For the bigger child, adolescent perhaps, or older, actually everyone should read this.
The brand new book from Paul Auster which arrived today! From my experience of reading Paul Auster, he rarely disappoints. This means that I can recommend it without reading it… right? Anyway, I’m sure it will be good Christmas reading. I plan to receive it as a present for Christmas.It may not be possible for me to plan what I will get for Christmas, but writing this will surely help me get it.
The Granta Book of Irish Stories - For dad
Short stories don’t last very long, so if your dad is a bit pissed on Christmas day, he won’t have to concentrate for very long. It is a beautiful book.
At this point I’m struggling a little because books for mum and dad are obviously inter-changable, and the idea of recommending one book for dad and one for mum is kind of impossible because I don’t know any of your mums or dads. Anyway, for the history enthusiast I recommend Engines of War, heavy reading, but only possible to do when you have time on your hands, i.e. Christmas. For the culinary enthusiast I recommend two books. The first, Stevie Parle’s My Kitchen: Food from Near and Far. You may know that Stevie is my partner Lizzie’s brother. This is obviously part of the reason why I am recommending this book. The main reason however is because it is an amazing book, beautifully illustated, and has some great recipes for the festive season (and also for the start of the new year). The second is the Whoopie Pie Book by Hackney local Claire Ptak. You will surely be the centre of attention at Christmas if you can reproduce something similar to what Claire is doing over at Violet Cakes on Wilton Way.
One final recommendation, Independent London. This book is the most definitive guide to independent London shops I have come across. Forget guides to London made by big name publications, this book is produced by local Hackney residents who have taken a do it yourself approach and made something unique and amazing, which is what this book is about really. Independent London will give you an insight from people who are genuinely passionate about independent shops.
Jonathan Franzen’s new book. Everyone is talking about it.
“Franzen pits his excavation of the cracks in the nuclear family’s facade against a backdrop of all-American faults and fissures, but where the book stands apart is that, no longer content merely to record the breakdown, Franzen tries to account for his often stridently unlikable characters and find where they (and we) went wrong, arriving at—incredibly—genuine hope.” - Publisher’s weekly.
Salman Rusdie’s follow up book to Haroun and the Sea of Stories. I haven’t had time to read this one, but in a life previous to opening a cafe/bar/bookshop, I did have time to read Haroun’s first adventure. I’m sure this one will be equally as magical, from such a versatile writer who’s books have made him one of the most important contemporary writers.
“A book that can reach out to meet and move and touch a reader at any time of the reader’s life, from childhood to middle age and beyond, is a rare and magical book, and Salman Rushdie is a rare and magical writer.”—Michael Chabon