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  • Welcome to Pitshanger Books

    A warm welcome to our new website. Please feel free to explore the site and let us know what you think of it.
  • Your local independent bookshop

    Located on lovely, leafy Pitshanger Lane. We stock over 3000 titles. As well as books, we sell cards, wrapping paper, stationery and games.
  • Serving our community

    Everybody that works here lives locally. We all love the area and we all love books so please feel free to ask if there's anything you need.
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What's new

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  • At the Cinema

The Folio Prize

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The Folio Prize is the first major English language book prize open to writers from around the world. Its aim is simple: to celebrate the best fiction of our time, regardless of form or genre, and to bring it to the attention of as many readers as possible.

This year's winner, announced on 23rd March, is Family Life by Akhil Sharma, due to be published in paperback on April 2nd.

For eight-year-old Ajay Mishra and his older brother Birju, family life in Delhi in the late 1970s follows a comfortable, predictable routine: bathing on the roof, queuing for milk, playing day-long games of cricket in the street. Everything changes when their father finds a job in America - a land of carpets and elevators, swimsuits and hot water - and the Mishras, envy of their neighbourhood back home, become the latest unknowns in the vast expanse of New York. Life in America is extraordinary, and as snows and summers come and go the brothers adjust to their exciting new world of prosperity, girls and 24-hour TV. But then comes the hot, sultry day when everything falls apart: tragedy turns the Mishras' American dream into a living nightmare and young Ajay finds himself lost and virtually orphaned in a land that is not his own.

Book of the Week

Skyfaring: a Journey with a Pilot by Mark Vanhoenaker

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"One of the most constantly fascinating, but consistently under-appreciated aspects of modern life is the business of flying. Mark Vanhoenacker has written the ideal book on the subject: a description of what it's like to fly by a commercial pilot who is also a master prose stylist and a deeply sensitive human being.This is a man who is at once a technical expert - he flies 747s across continents - and a poet of the skies. This couldn't be more highly recommended." (Alain de Botton). Think back to when you first flew.When you first left the Earth, and travelled high and fast above its turning arc. When you looked down on a new world, captured simply and perfectly through a window fringed with ice. When you descended towards a city, and arrived from the sky as effortlessly as daybreak.In Skyfaring, airline pilot and flight romantic Mark Vanhoenacker shares his irrepressible love of flying, on a journey from day to night, from new ways of mapmaking and the poetry of physics to the names of winds and the nature of clouds. Here, anew, is the simple wonder that remains at the heart of an experience which modern travellers, armchair and otherwise, all too easily take for granted: the transcendent joy of motion, and the remarkable new perspectives that height and distance bestow on everything we love.


Book at Bedtime

Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy

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London dances to the tune of Gorsky's billions.The most enigmatic of oligarchs, Gorsky has been led to the city by his love for Natalia, whom he first knew in Russia. That she is now married to an Englishman is an inconvenient detail. Gorsky desires and gets the best of everything.His mansion by the Thames is set to make Buckingham Palace look like an ungainly box by a roundabout. At its heart will be a grand library, denoting taste and breeding. Now he just needs the books.When Gorsky's armour-plated car halts in front of a down-at-heel bookshop, the startled young man behind the till receives the commission of a lifetime. The bookseller suddenly gains privileged access to the wealthy and the beautiful; a world filled with delectable books but fraught with danger...

Afghanistan

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If you are interested in Afghanistan, look out for this definitive book on the war there by award-winning journalist Christina Lamb, which will be published on January 1st 2015. How did the war in Afghanistan go so terribly wrong? This shocking account provides answers that will surprise even the experts. An unmissable account of the conflict that has dominated foreign affairs since 9/11. Crouched in a ditch in Helmand, with Taliban gunfire exploding around her, Christina Lamb found herself wondering what the British troops at her side were achieving.Twenty years earlier, she had cowered in a ditch in nearby Kandahar, only that time under Russian fire, and alongside Afghans who later became Taliban. Today, the war in Afghanistan - at one point hailed by the US as 'a breathtaking success' - has sucked in 140,000 troops. Meanwhile, 70 per cent of terror plots are believed to originate in neighbouring Pakistan.How did this happen? Lamb travels both countries seeking answers. She visits Hamid Karzai's palace in Kabul, where she finds him pacing a walled garden with snipers on the roof and two baby deer for company. In Herat, she meets a group of women writers who risked their lives under the Taliban, and are once again living in fear.In Peshawar, she discovers mosques openly raising money to fight Americans, while in Quetta she encounters Taliban ministers openly recruiting fighters. In Karachi, she spends days with Benazir Bhutto, whose dream of saving Pakistan would end in tragedy. Lamb's riveting account reveals a textbook case of how not to run a war. It is a tale of international confusion, competing military operations, civilian casualties and payoffs. But the real problem is Pakistan, whose dictator takes billions of dollars of US aid even as the country's intelligence agencies help to train enemies of the West. With unparalleled access to key players, from top officials in Washington, London, Islamabad and Kabul, to Taliban and Pakistani spies, Christina Lamb traces the Afghan conflict back to the 1980s, when the CIA decided to use Islam as a rallying cry against the Soviet invaders.Unflinching and insightful, this account of the West's involvement in Afghanistan is vital reading for anyone who wants to understand the mistakes and misjudgements that cost so many lives.

These are the books that were most popular with our customers last week......

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1. The Children Act by Ian McEwan

2. Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

3. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

4. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

5. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

6. Eat Nourish. Glow. by Amelia Freer

7. Nora Webster by Colm Toibin

8. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

9. Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

10.The Establishment and How they Get Away with it by Owen Jones

If you would like to read any of these books, please send us a message from our contacts page, and we will reserve a copy for you.

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

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In 1941, Irene Nemirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France. Nemirovsky's death in Auschwitz in 1942 prevented her from seeing the day, sixty-five years later, that the existing two sections of her planned novel sequence, Suite Francaise, would be rediscovered and hailed as a masterpiece. Set during the year that France fell to the Nazis, Suite Francaise falls into two parts. The first is a brilliant depiction of a group of Parisians as they flee the Nazi invasion; the second follows the inhabitants of a small rural community under occupation. Suite Francaise is a novel that teems with wonderful characters struggling with the new regime. However, amidst the mess of defeat, and all the hypocrisy and compromise, there is hope. True nobility and love exist, but often in surprising places.

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Forthcoming events

  • Britain's Greatest Generation
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This wonderful book co-authored by Sue Elliott will be published in April and ties in with a major BBC 2 series.

It tells the story of a truly remarkable generation. Born into a world still reeling from the earth-shattering events of the Great War, they grew up during the Great Depression, witnessed the globe tear itself apart all over again during the Second World War, and emerged from post-war austerity determined to create a new society for their children. This is the story of the men and women who raised their families during the immense social upheaval of the Sixties and Seventies, as the battle for civil liberties raged on and old industrial communities were rent asunder by unprecedented technological advances. Britain's Greatest Generation follows both the ordinary men and women who lived through these extraordinary times, as well as a host of household names including Dame Vera Lynn, Sir David Attenborough, Brian Rix and Diana Athill, as they reflect upon these incredible experiences in their own words.

Join us on Thursday April 23rd to hear Sue read from the book and discuss some of the many fascinating themes. The evening starts at 7pm. Do let us know if you are interested in coming along as places are limited.