Friday Blog Feb 24 – the Oscars

Where would Hollywood be without a good book?

It’s another bumper year for literary adaptations, with six of the nine nominations for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars based on books. This follows the trend of the last few years – four out of the last five Best Picture Oscars went to films based on books: The King’s Speech (2011), Slumdog Millionaire (2009) and No Country for Old Men (2008).

This year’s crop is:

War Horse, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (filmed as Hugo), Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Moneyball, The Descendants and The Help.

Find out on Sunday if there’s a winner among them. Two of the books are by women – Kathryn Stockett and Kaul Hart Hemmings. Here’s a teaser: when was the last time two films adapted from books by women were up for Best Picture? Here at the blog we think it was 1940 (Gone with the Wind and Wuthering Heights) but will send a prize to the first person who proves us wrong!


Friday Blog Feb 17 – My Oxfam Bookshop’s 1st Birthday

My Oxfam Bookshop’s 1st Birthday – by Gillian

I remember the knot in my stomach last February the first time I stood alone, shop keys in hand, a blank volunteer rota in the other, looking at the shell of a shop round about me, with a mountain of books in the middle of the floor awaiting the imposition of some structure.

After a few frantic days of activity, the bookshelves and the volunteer rota were (sort of) full and we were ready to throw the doors open to the people ofGlasgow. I was nervous about how people would respond to an Oxfam Bookshop in such a city-centre location, especially one which doesn’t look like a typical (or stereotypical, at least) charity shop. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and, despite a few painfully quiet shifts, I’m really pleased that the shop is already profitable despite the worrying retail climate, the dawn of e-books and the considerable costs of setting up a new business.

It’s been an eventful year. After the children’s author Julia Donaldson helped us officially open the shop, there followed a few months of training volunteers and getting the shop up and running smoothly. In the summer, we began a book group in the shop which is now firmly established and we had a Glasgowphotography competition which resulted in our popular range of Glasgowpostcards. In September, we were really excited to have the Scottish crime writer Chris Brookmyre visit and give us a tantalising sneak preview of his upcoming novel, When the Devil Drives. In October, we launched our music section and December was full of Christmas craziness. We used the January retail lull to appeal for much-needed donations of books and our gloomy February was brightened by an unexpected anonymous donation of £1429 to help Oxfam repair a classroom and improve the lives and education of children in poverty.

On Monday night, we had our 1st birthday party complete with cake (far, far too much cake), candles, singing and balloons and it was great to see so many of my volunteers there, celebrating our first year together. It’s hard to believe a year has passed already and I’m looking forward to the future with several exciting things already on the horizon. In the shop this Saturday, there will be recitals of love-themed poetry and on the 22nd I’m off toGlasgowCaledonianUniversity where marketing students are having a huge fundraising gala for Oxfam. Next month, the lovely people from Divine, producers of delicious Fairtrade chocolate, will be visiting, we hope to celebrate International Women’s Day with a women’s history evening and our book group will have its first outing to the Scottish Poetry Slam Championships as part of the Aye Write festival.

I feel so at home in the shop now and I’m proud of the contribution we are making to Oxfam’s anti-poverty work. It really wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and support of my volunteers, as well as my Oxfam colleagues and our neighbours on the Square.

For the Love of Word!

 A message from the Oxfam Book Shop in Royal Exchange Square:

Valentine’s Day marks our beautiful shop’s 1st birthday and to celebrate

the occasion, we are having a drop-in poetry reading session on the

theme of love on Saturday 18th February. Join us and help us fundraise

for Oxfam Unwrapped chocolate which supports cocoa farmers set up.

in business: romantic and delicious.


Saturday 18th February 2012, 2pm – 4pm

Oxfam Bookshop, Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow

Scotsman Literary dinner – discount offer

Scotsman Literary dinner April 2012We’ve received this from our friends at The Scotsman.

“We are delighted to announce the next event in our series of literary dinners.

The Scotsman Literary Dinners bring together renowned authors with excellent food and conversation for a unique literary experience. Each event is developed and chaired by the Scotland on Sunday literary editor, Stuart Kelly.

Join A L Kennedy, Costa Award winning author & stand up comedian & Will Self, novelist, broadcaster and commentator, for what is set to be a fantastic literary evening.

Following on from successful recent events our literary dinner with A L Kennedy & Will Self will take place at the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel, Edinburgh on 5th April. Doors open 6.30pm. The event will end no later than 11.00pm to accommodate those catching trains

Guests can look forward to a glass of bubbly on arrival, a four course meal with wine and the opportunity to meet two thoroughly entertaining authors.

Places for this event are limited.

Regular Tickets: £65.00. Premium Tickets: £90.00. Premium tickets include a private audience with the authors before the meal and a signed book. Tables of 6 are also available from £295.00

Mention ‘Glasgow Life’ when booking and receive a 10% discount on your ticket purchase.

To book please call: 0131 620 8656 or alternatively email:

Bookings can also be made online at

  Scotsman Literary dinner April 2012

Lurve is in the air

It’s Valentine’s Day and the Mitchell Poetry Group took lurve as our theme this month. We asked everyone to bring along a favourite love poem to share and here are some of the choices:

Cloths of Heaven by W.B. Yeats

The Innocence of Any Flesh Sleeping by Brian Patten

Ode to the Onion by Pablo Neruda

At First Sight by Alasdair Reid

One Perfect Rose by Dorothy Parker

Love Charm by Anonymous.

What’s your favourite love poem?

Friday Blog Feb 10 – Scotland’s Bookshelf

Today’s blog comes from Susan.

Scotland’s Bookshelf is a look back at Scottish writing of the last 100 years, inspired by the Mitchell Library’s iconic North Street building celebrating its centenary in 2011.

We have chosen 20 books, two books per decade, which we think deserve a place on every Scottish bookshelf.  But we want to know what you think.  The full list of titles is available on the Aye Write! website.

Do you agree with our choices?  Come and join the debate at a panel discussion with authors T. C. Smout, William McIlvanney, Allan Massie, Janice Galloway and chair of the judges, Rosemary Goring, on the evening of Saturday 10th March at the Aye Write! Book Festival.  The festival features a number of related events – look out for the Scotland’s Bookshelf logo in the programme.

Multiple copies of all 20 titles are available now.  We hope that Glasgow book groups will participate in the Scotland’s Bookshelf campaign, by reading or rereading the 20 titles and letting us know what they think of them.  By the way, we are in the process of planning our own local event in celebration of the second National Reading Group Day 2012 which will take place on Saturday 30th June.  Please save this date in your diary.  It would be terrific to have Scotland’s Bookshelf as a major topic for discussion on the day.

“Fog everywhere. Fog up the river…fog down the river…”

Of course you all know these lines are from Bleak House. And you also know that 2012 is the 200th anniversary of Dickens birth.

But do you know that tomorrow, 7th February, is the actual date? So how appropriate to be writing this in a Dickensian peasouper. Nice to see that the weather is preparing to mark the day in an appropriate fashion.

You can find out more about Dickens at Aye Write: Becoming Dickens is on March 10th – and by following the Mitchell Classics Book Group’s adventures as Dickens Champions.