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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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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

Channel Shore by Tom Fort

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The English Channel is the busiest waterway in the world. Ferries steam back and forth, trains thunder through the tunnel. The narrow sea has been crucial to our development and prosperity.It helps define our notion of Englishness, as an island people, a nation of seafarers. It is also our nearest, dearest playground where people have sought sun, sin and bracing breezes. Tom Fort takes us on a fascinating, discursive journey from east to west, to find out what this stretch of water means to us and what is so special about the English seaside, that edge between land and seawater.He dips his toe into Sandgate's waters, takes the air in Hastings and Bexhill, chews whelks in Brighton, builds a sandcastle in Sandbanks, sunbathes in sunny Sidmouth, catches prawns off the slipway at Salcombe and hunts a shark off Looe. Stories of smugglers and shipwreck robbers, of beachcombers and samphire gatherers, gold diggers and fossil hunters abound.


Book at Bedtime

The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall

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For almost a decade Rachel Caine has turned her back on home, kept distant by family disputes and her work monitoring wolves on an Idaho reservation. But now, summoned by the eccentric Earl of Annerdale and his controversial scheme to reintroduce the Grey Wolf to the English countryside, she is back in the peat and wet light of the Lake District. The earl's project harks back to an ancient idyll of untamed British wilderness - though Rachel must contend with modern-day concessions to health and safety, public outrage and political gain - and the return of the Grey after hundreds of years coincides with her own regeneration: impending motherhood, and reconciliation with her estranged family.The Wolf Border investigates the fundamental nature of wilderness and wildness, both animal and human. It seeks to understand the most obsessive aspects of humanity: sex, love, and conflict; the desire to find answers to the question of our existence; those complex systems that govern the most superior creature on earth.

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. BBC Proms 2015

3. Us by David Nicholls

4. Tom Gates: Yes! No (Maybe...) by Liz Pichon

5. The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

6. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

7. Ruby Redfort: Catch your Death by Lauren Child

8. The Jolley-Rogers and the Cave of Doom by Jonny Duddle

9. Britain's Greatest Generation by Sue Elliott and Steve Humphries

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

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.

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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'I shall do one thing in this life - one thing for certain - that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die.' Gabriel Oak is only one of three suitors for the hand of the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene. He must compete with the dashing young soldier Sergeant Troy and respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. And while their fates depend upon the choice Bathsheba makes, she discovers the terrible consequences of an inconstant heart. Far from the Madding Crowd was the first of Hardy's novels to give the name of Wessex to the landscape of south-west England, and the first to gain him widespread popularity as a novelist. Set against the backdrop of the unchanging natural cycle of the year, the story both upholds and questions rural values with a startlingly modern sensibility.

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Coming up

  • Watch this Space!
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We have more events in the pipeline for 2015 so keep an eye on this page for details. Also, if there are particular events which you would be keen to see us running, then do let us know.

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