Win a sleepover at Waterstones Piccadilly

Have you ever wanted to stay overnight in a bookstore? Dream no more!

Waterstones in Piccadilly, London

‘Waterstones bookshop, Piccadilly’ by Ben Sutherland / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Waterstones is organising a sleepover in Piccadilly store (London) on 24th of October 2014. This event is inspired by an incident where a tourist got locked in Trafalgar Square store last Thursday. He was rescued only after tweeting about his situation (see below).

The incident became a hot topic online. Many people wrote that they would love to spend a night surrounded by their favourite books. This caught the attention of Airbnb UK, who later presented the idea to Waterstones.

It’s amazing that ‘Night at Waterstones’ was formed within a week of discussion!

‘Night at Waterstones’ is only open to ten lucky guests and their friends (each guest can bring one friend along). It will kick off at 9 pm on Friday and end at 9 am on Saturday. Guests will be welcomed with a tour of the store (did you know that there are 150,000 titles in store?). They will also have access to free WiFi, entertainment, bedding and most important of all, food!

To enter the competition, visit Airbnb, create an account and answer this question “What book you would read if you were to spend the night in a bookshop, and why?”. Submit your entry before UK midday on Wednesday 22nd October.

Some of us aren’t able to participate due to our geographical limitations. Despite that, I would like to know your thoughts on the sleepover. If you were to spend the night in a bookshop, what book would you read and why?

The Man Booker Prize 2014: The Winner

The Man Booker Prize award for this year goes to Richard Flanagan for his wartime novel, ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’.

Dorrigo Evans is an Australian doctor haunted by a love affair with his uncle’s wife. He journeys from the caves of Tasmanian trappers in the early twentieth century to a crumbling pre-war beachside hotel, from a Thai jungle prison to a Japanese snow festival, from the Changi gallows to a chance meeting of lovers on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Taking its title from 17th-century haiku poet Basho’s travel journal, The Narrow Road To The Deep North is about the impossibility of love. At its heart is one day in a Japanese slave labour camp in August 1943. As the day builds to its horrific climax, Dorrigo Evans battles and fails in his quest to save the lives of his fellow POWs, a man is killed for no reason, and a love story unfolds.

‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’ by Richard Flanagan

Mr Flanagan was announced the winner on Tuesday at London’s Guildhall. He was presented with a trophy from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and a £50,000 cheque from Emmanuel Roman, Chief Executive of Man Group. Furthermore, he also received a designer bound edition of his book, and a further £2,500 for being shortlisted.

Click here to read more about his win. You could also watch this video of him talking about the book.

The Man Booker Prize 2014: The shortlist

This morning in the United Kingdom, The Man Booker Prize revealed books that have been the shortlisted for the 2014 Prize for Fiction. Six books were chosen from a longlist of 13 books (see below):

Author Nationality Title
Joshua Ferris US To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Richard Flanagan Australia The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Karen Joy Flower US We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Howard Jacobson British J
Neel Mukherjee British The Lives of Others
Ali Smith British How to be Both

The shortlist for this year’s The Man Booker Prize for Fiction

A tweet from Man Booker Prize on the announcement:

The shortlisted authors will participate in several public events a week prior to the winner announcement:

  • Wednesday 8th of October – an event for members of the public and UK library staff at the Library of Birmingham
  • Saturday 11th of October – a talk and signing at The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival
  • Monday 13th of October – an audience with the authors at the Southbank Centre
  • Thursday 16th of October – an audience with the winner at Apple’s Regent Street branch

The winner will be revealed on Tuesday 14th of October 2014 at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall. This event will be shown live via the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

For more updates, visit the official website, Facebook page and/or Twitter.

Vote for your favourite Penguin special ‘Drop Caps’ cover design!

Twenty-six Penguin Classics books have been selected for a makeover! Penguin Drop Caps features 26 books that have “a specially commissioned illustrated letter of the alphabet” on the cover (refer below). These designs are the work of typographer Jessica Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley.

Most of the ‘Penguin Drop Caps’ covers

Here is a list of Title and Author chosen for ‘Penguin Drop Caps’ collectibles:

Alphabet Title Author
A Pride & Prejudice Jane Austen
B Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë
C My Anthonia Willa Cather
D Great Expectations Charles Dickens
E Middlemarch George Eliot
F Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
G Lord of the Flies William Golding
H Siddharta Hermann Hesse
I An Artist of the Floating World Kazuo Ishiguro
J A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce
K The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd
L Native Speaker Chang-rae Lee
M Moby-Dick Herman Melville
N Five Children and It E. Nesbit
O BUtterfield 8 John O’Hara
P Swann’s Way Marcel Proust
Q The Greek Coffin Mystery Ellery Queen
R Haroun and the Sea of Stories Salman Rushdie
S Cannery Row John Steinbeck
T The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan
U Kristin Lavransdatter: The Wreath Sigrid Undset
V Candide Voltaire
W Leaves of Grass and Selected Poems and Prose Walt Whitman
X Sky Burial Xinran
Y When You are Old William Butler Yeats
Z The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Out of the 26 covers, which one is your favourite design? Vote at this link by 12th of September. Three most voted covers will be selected for a giveaway. For updates, visit Penguin Books (Paperbacks) USA’s Facebook page.

Subang Jaya Book Exchange Programme celebrates 1st anniversary of their cabin

The Subang Jaya Book Exchange Programme is a volunteer-driven community project to promote reading habit. Book exchange event is held on the first and third Sunday of the month from 3 pm to 5 pm in a cabin in Jalan USJ12/2F, Subang Jaya, Selangor. The event is open to the public – anyone can exchange their own unwanted books with available books at the cabin. Only fiction, non-fiction, children’s literature and/or certain magazines that are in good condition will be accepted for the book exchange.

The BEP cabin has become the programme’s headquarters since 25th of August 2013. To celebrate its first anniversary, the committee is organising a special event:

Date: 23rd of August 2014
Time: 9:30 am11:30 am  
 The BEP Cabin (map)
What to expect? book exchange, barter market, storytelling, light refreshments & lucky draw

Poster for the BEP cabin’s first anniversary celebration

You can find the latest details and confirm your attendance at the event page. Please spread the word to your book-loving friends.

ps: In case you couldn’t make it to the event, there is a book exchange scheduled for this Saturday from 10 am to 12 pm. Head to the BEP cabin if you would like to donate books.

Robin Covington celebrates ‘Temptation’ release with a Facebook slumber party

Robin Covington will release her first new adult novel in e-book and paperback formats on 5th of August 2014. To celebrate the release of ‘Temptation‘, she is organising a Facebook slumber party:

What? A Virtual Slumber Party
Where? Facebook event page
When? 5th of August 2014 (8:00 pm10:30 pm USA Eastern Daylight Time) / 
6th of August 2014 (8:00 am – 10:30 am Malaysia time)
What to expect? Laughs, man candy and giveaways

Robin Covington’s ‘Temptation’ out on 5th of August 2014

There will be other authors joining the virtual party so here’s a chance to virtually hang out with them!

8:00 – 8:15: Kimberly Kincaid
8:15 – 8:30: Katee Robert-Hird
8:30 – 8:45: Sara Humphreys
8:45 – 9:00: Jessica Scott
9:00 – 9:15: Avery Flynn
9:15 – 9:30: Selena Laurence
9:30 – 9:45: Liliana Hart
9:45 – 10:00: TBD
10:00 – 10:15: Laura Kaye
10:15 – 10:30: TBD

Visit Robin Covington on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for the latest news, inspiration, and yummy man candy!

The Man Booker prize 2014: The longlist

Every year, the best written-in-English fiction novel will be awarded The Man Booker prize by a group of literary experts. Notable past winners include Salman Rushdie‘s Midnight Children (1981), Yann Martel‘s Life of Pi (2002) and Kiran Desai‘s The Inheritance of Loss (2006).

The longlist of 2014’s Man Booker prize

There are several stages involved in choosing a prize winner: (1) the longlist, (2) the shortlist, and (3) the winner. On 23rd of July 2014, the judging committee announced 13 books for the longlist (refer to table below). A shortlist of six titles will be announced on Tuesday 9th of September. A winner will be revealed on live television on 14th of October. In addition to the bragging rights, the winner will take home £50,000.

The Longlist

Title Author
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour Joshua Ferris
The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
The Blazing World Siri Hustvedt
J Howard Jacobson
The Wake Paul Kingsnorth
The Bone Clocks David Mitchell
The Lives of Others Neel Mukherjee
Us David Nicholls
The Dog Joseph O’Neill
Orfeo Richard Powers
How to Be Both Ali Smith
History of the Rain Niall Williams

In previous years, only authors from the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland were eligible to run for the prize. However the rule has changed – there is no more nationality restriction. This year’s longlist include 4 authors from the United States of America: Joshua Ferris, Karen Joy Fowler, Siri Hustvedt and Richard Powers.

Some of the longlisted novels have yet to be published e.g. Howard Jacobson’s J (UK publication date: 25th of September 2014) and David Nicholls’s Us (UK publication date: 30th of September 2014). Both are established writers: Jacobson’s The Finkler Question won the 2010 Man Booker Prize while Nicholls’s work for TV has earned him two British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nominations. As pointed out by one visitor at the longlist announcement (scroll down to the ‘comments’ section),

“How is the literary reading public meant to engage with the choices in any kind of informed way if no one, beyond select Booker judges, has any chance of reading them? This was not always the case … Seems very elitist and self indulgent to me.”

What do you think of this year’s longlist? Have you read any of the novels? Any book that you think got snubbed by the judging committee?

Author-readers interaction: #4 Instagram

Instagram is another visual social medium that is rapidly gaining popularity. Since its launch in 2010, Instagram currently has an astounding 200 million active users worldwide and stores approximately 20 billion photos. For those who have never heard of Instagram, it is a fun photo-sharing mobile application. Users (also known as ‘Instagrammers’) can choose to edit the photos using filters and share them via other social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. They could also like other people’s photos by clicking ❤ , comment on the photos and/or follow other Instagrammers.

Similar to Twitter, one can find other book lovers by typing hashtags such as #bookstagram, #bookworm, #amreading. Bookstagram stands for the book community on Instagram. A lot of book-loving Instagrammers post photos of their book collection e.g. bookshelves, To-Be-Read lists. One photo catches my attention: an excited fan getting ready for a book signing session in her hometown in the Philippines (see below).

With so many social media available out there, how can authors benefit from Instagram? Here are some strategies that can be done via Instagram:

1. Market new books. One of the ways to do this is to reveal the cover of a yet-to-be-published book. In early July, Colleen Hoover revealed the cover of her latest book ‘Ugly Love’. The book, which is scheduled to be released on 5th of August 2014, is already generating buzz via Instagram, Twitter and Goodreads.

2. Organise a contest. To celebrate the release of Hoda Kotb‘s book, Simon & Schuster organised a photo contest titled ‘Ten Years Later’. To enter the contest, keen individuals were asked to upload original photos from ten years ago to Instagram, type the hashtag #TenYearsLater and tag @HodaKotb in the caption. Participants submitted wonderful now-and-then photos.

3. Give a visual glimpse of their personal lives. Amy Tan (author of ‘The Joy Luck Club’) shares pictures of her dog, travels, people she meets and fans posting with her newest book ‘The Valley of Amazement’. My favourite is a photo of her and Matt Groening.

4. Share behind-the-scenes of an author’s work. Jarrett Krosoczka, who is an author, illustrator and TED speaker, shares some of his sketches on Instagram (refer below).

So authors, why not create an Instagram account now? If you would like to read more on its benefits, visit these links: Maximize Social Business and Combined Book. If you are keen to find out more about book-related hashtags on Instagram, check out this brief guide and video.

Do you follow your favourite author(s) via Instagram? If ‘yes’, then ‘Like’ this post.

ps: This is a serial of blog posts about communication methods between author and readers. Check out previous posts – #1 (Twitter), #2 (Facebook) and #3 (Pinterest).

Win ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ movie premiums

‘The Fault in Our Stars’ will be out in Malaysian cinemas this Thursday 17th of July 2014. To celebrate its release, Penguin Books Malaysia is giving away movie premiums, which include a tote, a notebook, a t-shirt and wristbands.

'The Fault in Our Stars' contest details spotted in Kinokuniya

‘The Fault in Our Stars’ contest spotted in Kinokuniya

All you have to do is:

1) Buy a movie tie-in copy of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ at any of these bookstores: Kinokuniya, Borders Bookstore, Popular Bookstore, MPH Bookstore or Times Bookstore
2) Click on this link
3) Read the terms and conditions, complete the form and click ‘Submit’ button

There are 10 movie premiums to be won. Contest ends on 15th of August 2014. Good luck!

ps: If you want to know what the Malaysian fans are saying about the book/movie, search for hashtag #TFIOSMY in your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

Author-readers Interaction: #3 Pinterest

“A picture is worth a thousand words”.

I totally agree with that saying because I am a visual learner. That’s why I love using Pinterest, a social networking website that is slowly gaining popularity worldwide. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where users can search for images and videos on the internet and curate them based on a theme. I manage a wide collection of pins ranging from social media and e-Learning to music, books and Michael Fassbender (yes, I have a board devoted to him).

Booklovers are amongst active Pinterest users. A perfect example is a board that appreciates Stephen Chbosky‘s ‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’ (refer below) . The board is decorated with images inspired by the book, as well as stills taken from the film. What I love about this board is ‘Charlie’s First Mixtape’ pin (I love the music featured in the book).

I believe that authors could use Pinterest to their advantages. They could:

  1. list all their books. To do so, pin book covers from own websites and write a brief description of each book. If visitors are curious about the book(s) and would like to get more information, they could click on ‘Visit Site’ button.
  2. use visuals to make their stories come alive. For example, Jo Beverley has a Pinterest board on her novel ‘A Shocking Delight’. She uses pictures of London and Devon in the early 1800 to illustrate the setting of the story.
  3. create a contest. Roost Books recently held a Pinterest contest to celebrate the release of ‘Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Investors’ by Rachelle Doorley. The winner uses the most colourful and creative images that encapsulate ‘Tinkering Inspiration’ theme.
  4. have a fun interaction with fans. In the ‘Who would be a good hero in …?’ board, Susan Elizabeth Phillips shares fans’ pick of actors for her “imaginary” book-to-movie adaptations.

Even though majority of Pinterest users (80%) are female, male authors/fans should not be discouraged. I must admit that it was hard to find a male author that uses Pinterest… until I discovered James Patterson’s Pinterest account (cue a fist pump!). I reckon his Pinterest appeals to many fans especially young fans (there are six boards dedicated to young readers).

I hope I have presented a convincing case for authors to sign up for Pinterest. If you would like to get detailed Pinterest guides for authors, visit The Book DesignerWriter’s Digest and DIYThemes .

Do you manage or follow a book-themed Pinterest board? Click on the ‘Like’ button below if your answer is ‘Yes’.

ps: This is a serial of blog posts about communication methods between author and readers. Post #1 is about Twitter, post #2 is about Facebook and post#4 is about Instagram.