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April’s Classic Bookclub Choice: The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

10 Mar

We wanted to do Lessing’s wonderful 1962 book earlier in the year but it had gone out of print! Following her death in November last year, it seems like the perfect time to get re-acquainted – or just acquainted – with the Nobel Prize winning author, who is thankfully now back in print.

So pick up a copy at Nomad, where you’ll find a few of her other works, and join us on the 28th of April at 7.30 pm to discuss The Golden Notebook over a glass of wine.


Happy Birthday Simone de Beauvoir!

9 Jan

The French philosopher and icon of 20th century feminism would have been 106 today!

By sheer coincidence, Simone de Beuavoir’s ground-breaking book, The Second Sex, is our current choice for the next Classic Bookclub in February. So pick up a copy from Nomad and join us for wine and a chat about one of the foundational texts of modern feminism on Monday 17th February, 7.30 pm.

Simone de Beauvoir

RIP Shulamith Firestone

31 Aug

It emerged today that the highly influential author of The Dialectic of Sex, Shulamith Firestone, died earlier this week. Her name may or may not be familiar to you. Either way, her book published in 1970 helped shape the way we think about feminism and feminists today, not to mention reproduction, the family, and of course gender itself. She was THE radical feminist thinker of her generation: unafraid to imagine a future vastly different from the post-war America she came of age in and she put her faith in (wo)mankind’s ability for technological and political enlightenment in a way few writers and activists would today. Hopefully her passing will spark a new interest and engagement with her work – currently out of print in the UK – and renewed recognition of the massive impact she had on a generation of women as well as men. Rest in Peace Sister!


27 Jun

Writer of When Harry Met Sally and a million other fine and funny things.

In Memory of Maurice Sendak

8 May

That very night in Max’s room a forest grew and grew…

The Poetry Stalker

28 Mar

Hilbert Trogue reads his 'Ode to my Trousers' in the 'modern style' in 1932I have a confession to make: I have never read anything by William Boyd. I know, I know; he’s awesome/so clever/such a good read. And I have genuinely been tempted by a few of his books. I haven’t even seen the TV adaptation of Any Human Heart, but I totally will, I promise. Yet this did not stop me from going to see him and a host of other talented types at  Book Slam. Last night the event returned to its southern location at the Clapham Grand (and my preferred venue, I must say: The Tabernacle is nice but stuffy and in a whitewashed no-man’s land of West London). Mr Boyd of course pulled in the crowds and I especially enjoyed his short story, The Sovereign Light Cafe, about a girl who runs away to the Sussex town of Bexhill-on-Sea.

But really, I was there for the poets. Primarily, for the fantastic Ross Sutherland, who I’ve previously seen at Homework and at the Edinburgh festival and on every occasion, has pretty much blown my mind. He succeeded once again last night, with a wonderful piece which marries his musings on death ,ideas about  the performative nature of grief and the TV show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. As the night’s compère, I don’t think anyone was expecting him to perform against the backdrop of the Fresh Prince’s opening credits and as a result, the audience seemed a tad taken by surprise. But awed and puzzled silence is very much expected when Sutherland is on the stage. His work often starts from a weird place and takes you to a brilliant one, and frequently provokes wide-eyed and open-mouthed wonder.

I was also delighted by the work of poet Martin Figura. I’d known about him for a while but had yet to see him perform until last night and was happy to discover that he is excellent. A warm and funny performer, I found his poems both  joyful and serious, grand and humble; exactly what poems ought to be, I’ve decided. As a beat fanatic, I was particularly tickled by ‘Ahem’, his version of Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’.  Instead of detailing the life of the crazy beat writers and the Lower East Side in the forties and fifties, ‘Ahem’ is the howl of Northern England, about winning the pools and listening to Elvis Presley. I’ve notions of getting him to read here at  Nomad Books, so watch this space.

I also enjoyed music by the lovely Jono McCleery, but was hindered by a group who instead of listening quietly chose to guffaw loudly. In the past, Book Slam audiences have stood out for their attentive silence, so I’ve decided the guffawers were a fluke and probably just William Boyd fans, who are renowned for their rowdiness. One final word of advice: while Book Slam is an ace night out, don’t go by yourself. The evening’s format of performances and frequent interludes for the buying of drinks, the smoking of cigarettes and chatting to friends is harder to enjoy when you only have solitaire on your phone for company. Its also makes it easier to feel like a stalker of poets, which is a label I’m only half comfortable with.  Despite all this, Book Slam delivered a tasty dose of wordy joy and left me feeling both fuzzy and inspired, as is the norm. If you’ve never been, I suggest you go and get your fill.

March – a good month for women at Nomad Books

8 Mar

Happy International Women’s Day!

March is turning out to be a great month for the ladies. Not only are we celebrating International Women’s Day this month, but a mere ten days later will be Mother’s Day (basically the old International Women’s Day). We’ve got some wonderful books in store that will especially please your ma, in particular, a selection chosen by our very own Nomad staff mums! Clarissa’s mum recommends Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, a past Classic Bookclub choice, and unsurprisingly, one of Clarissa’s favourites too. Kim’s mum is a fan of Daisy Goodwin’s historical novel, My Last Duchess and Katherine Stockett’s best-selling The Help. Pop in for more of our mummy’s faves, or check out our website for all our recommendations. And don’t forget our lovely selection of Mother’s Day cards – come in quick before they all disappear!

And finally, on Thursday the 22nd, we will be hosting an exciting event featuring the authors of Dangerous Women: The Guide to Modern Life, Clare Conville and Liz Hoggard. From 7pm, we’ll be discussing the book over a glass of wine and some light refreshments. Please do join us: contact the shop by phone (020 7736 4000) or email ( for more information.


See you there sisters! (and brothers!)

A Postcard from the Edinburgh Festival

29 Aug

Despite being a student in Edinburgh for four whole years, my experience of the festival was pretty much non-existent. Until now! In previous years, the sheer volume of things to see and do simply put me off. I would look at the Fringe guide and my head would spin. ‘What should I go see?’ I cried. ‘And who will go with me?’ But now I am a grown up and I do grown up things like going to the cinema by myself as well as arty-farty talks and lectures. So I returned to Edinburgh, and it’s festival, resolute that I would SEE STUFF. And see stuff I did.

One of my first ports of call was the Aisle 16 show, Aisle 16 R Kool! Being somewhat of a fan, I was already convinced that this group of poets was  cool, but I very much enjoyed being further swayed. The wonderful John Osborne, Tim Clare and Luke Wright battled it out to win the audience vote for coolness, although Clare actually attempted to disprove his cool credentials with his brilliant tirade against The Hipster. Wright’s story about a Supermodel (and one very evil spot) was equally vehement, but he made up for it with his quite touching poem ‘Weekday Dad.’

My personal favourite however, was John Osborne, a man whom The Scotsman quite accurately referred to as a bit of  ‘a soft-boiled sweet heart.’ I enjoyed his warm and amusing poems about failed surprise parties and lottery losers so much and was lucky enough to get a ticket to his sold out solo-show, John Peel’s Shed. Part memoir, part cultural history, Osborne traced the story of his relationship to radio which revolved around John Peel and a collection of his records that Osborne won in a competition. Alternately moving and funny, the show inevitably made me want to read his book Radio Head: Up and Down the Dial of British Radio as well as switch back to FM and explore the radio waves for myself.

Man Booker Prize Longlist Announced!

28 Jul

The latest Man Booker Prize longlist has been wittled down from 138 to these 13:

The Sense of an Ending  by Julian Barnes (Jonathan Cape – Random House)

On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry  (Faber)

Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch (Canongate Books)

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (Granta)

Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan  (Serpent’s Tail)

A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards  (Oneworld)

The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst  (Picador – Pan Macmillan)

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman (Bloomsbury)

The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness  (Seren Books)

Snowdrops by A.D. Miller  (Atlantic)

Far to Go by Alison Pick (Headline Review)

The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers (Sandstone Press)

Derby Day by D.J. Taylor (Chatto & Windus – Random House)

Wild Abandon!

7 Jul

Just received a proof copy in the post of Joe Dunthorne’s new book! I was excited to get my little mitts on it, as I hadn’t even realised he had written a new one. I haven’t been this thrilled by the arrival of a new book in a long time, and it is especially delicious to have gotten it ahead of its publication. I started reading immediately, even though I’m still ploughing through my Ginsberg book and so far, I’m loving it. The characters are likeable and very real;  I think my favourite is the 11 year-old Albert, with his water pistol glock and excellent telephone manner. The setting, an eco-community in Wales, provides the perfect backdrop for the book’s unconventional inhabitants, from middle-aged stoners to lithe, young wwoofers. Up to this point, much of the comedy has been provided by the communards’ interactions with the outside world, like Albert’s sister Kate’s experiences at a local college after years of home-schooling. Somehow, Dunthorne does childish imagination, teenage awkwardness and middle-aged anxiety all extremely well.

After the success of Submarine and his overall rising fame, I have a feeling that this book could be the big one. Making it all the more pleasing that I’m reading it now! And how great is the title?

Wild Abandon by Joe Dunthorne is published on the 4th of August. Pre-order your copy at Nomad Books! 0207736 4000 or