Last night we were talking about Bryce Courtenay and how his main aim was to sell books, but he did it in such a lovely way. He believed in connecting with people, and from this, sales would flow. And it worked. About 15 years ago, Bryce came to Bookoccino, sat out the front at a desk with a pile of his new books, sold only 10 books, but talked to about 50 people, each with their pile of old, read, loved Bryce Courtenay books. And every one of those 50 people would remember that encounter, and buy the next book. Bryce walked away from that morning smiling, because he knew exactly what he had done. A kind, smart man, who wrote great stories.
It’s not far off, is it? I’ve been thinking back to some of the great books we’ve had this year. We werer talking about them in Bookclub and the favourite seems to have been Dog Stars by Peter Heller. What a book that was! And another of my personal favourites was Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, that brilliant story of 12 days before Hurricane Katrina hit and the effect on a black family living in the woods. Wonder by R J Palacio was another favourite, the story of a young boy with a gross facial deformity who at 10 is going to attend school for the first time. Top of the books was Favel Parrett’s Past the Shallows, that wonderful book set in Tasmania. Now if you haven’t read any or all of these, here’s a list to get the New Year off to a brilliant start.
Because of Random House’s continuing inability to supply us with stock of Sebastian Faulk’s A Possible Life, we have brought forward our Book of the Month for January. It’s A M Homes’ May We Be Forgiven, a satire on contemporary American life. There were parts in this book I laughed out loud – for a book to do this is pretty rare. Do have a look at this gem next time you are instore.