Signed Cards for Christmas

Christmas

 

If you’re thinking of buying a copy of Bitter Orange, Swimming Lessons, or Our Endless Numbered Days for someone for Christmas, let me know and I’ll send you a signed card for free, for you to include with the book.

I’m happy to post cards to anywhere in the world, just send me a message, telling me which book or books you’re buying, who I should write the card for, and what your address is.

Happy Christmas!

The Oddest Thing Found in a UK library book

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I’ve recently had the good fortune (or perhaps misfortune) to judge the winner of the oddest thing ever found in a library book for the Reading Agency, and it was an illuminating experience.

It seems readers are a mucky lot. Librarians found a lot of unmentionables, that I’m not of course, going to mention, as well as a great deal of food. Bacon rashers – cooked and raw – featured prominently, as did chocolate bars, or their wrappers, orange peel, a chicken bone (we hope!), and mummified pizza. One librarian even found a fried egg, while another came across a kipper (luckily still in its vacuum-packed plastic).

A few readers were more considerate of those wonderful people who look after our books, and inserted between the pages ‘A Note From Emily,’ saying why she’d enjoyed the book, and in another, a letter saying how much that borrower loved their library.

But people can be forgetful, clearly grabbing the closest thing to hand to use as a bookmark, including postcards, a ‘herbal’ cigarette, train tickets, receipts, hairclips, loo roll, ribbons, spooky tarot cards, and quite a bit of money. Some of the money was reunited with its owners, as was the baby scan photo found in a parenting book.

However, librarians aren’t completely blameless when it comes to forgetfulness. Staff at one library found a debit card in a book and just as a particular librarian started criticising the stupidity of the debit card owner, she looked at the card and it was hers. Another library found a red sock in a fiction book which was claimed by an ex member of staff. When she was asked about it, she said she couldn’t find anything else to use as a bookmark.

But after sifting through all the entries, I’m pleased to announce that the winner is the entry from Rachael Smart (@smartrachael) on Twitter, who runs the book club for The Motherload. She found the sinisterly beautiful and appropriate, pressed cabbage white butterfly, ‘fragile as lace, tucked inside the pages of The Silence of the Lambs’.

Thank you to everyone who entered. You have given me a great deal of entertainment, even if that did include quite a bit of squealing in disgust.

And to read about the oddest things that Americans found in library books click here.

Flash Fiction: White-out

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Petersen tensed, peering. The headlights showed snow coming down thick and two feet of white road. He felt the wheels skate, and he braked without thinking. Beside him, Julius slammed his hands against the dashboard and swore, while the car turned in a circle, graceful even in its gliding. And then a hard, heavy lurch forwards into a ditch.
‘Christ, oh Christ,’ Julius cried.
‘It’s alright,’ Petersen said. Calmness he’d feigned for so long he almost believed it.
‘We’ll be too late!’
‘We’ll walk.’ Petersen took his doctor’s bag from the back seat and clambered out into the storm.

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This is a 100-word flash fiction, inspired by the picture, provided by Dale Rogerson. Click here to join in and read others’ stories.

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This week my second novel, Swimming Lessons, was selected by YOU Magazine in the UK as their Reading Group book. Click here to buy it at a discount, to see some book club questions, and to read an exclusive piece by me about what’s true and what isn’t in the novel.

What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever found in a library book?

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Win a reading set of Swimming Lessons

Following on from the US competition about the oddest thing ever found in a library book, a UK version has now been launched. The Reading Agency and Penguin want librarians and UK book groups to tell them the oddest thing they’ve found in a book, for a chance to win a reading set of my latest novel, Swimming Lessons.

The book is partly about Ingrid, who writes letters to her husband and hides them in the books that he collects. And he collects books for their marginalia and the things that previous readers have left behind in them.

It’s always fascinated me – what gets left in a book. It makes me think about the person who read it before me and what they thought of it, or perhaps where they were when they were reading and what else they were doing, because I suspect that not everything left behind in library books should really be there, not even as bookmarks. The American competition turned up many instances of food and other things that people put between the pages for safe keeping and forgot.

To enter, either email your entry to kathleen.ktorides@readingagency.org.uk or tweet it using #SwimmingLessons and tagging @ReadingAgency. The competition closes on 8 March when I’ll judge the weirdest entry. The winner will receive 12 signed copies of Swimming Lessons for their reading group or UK public library.

If you’d like book group questions for either my first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, or for Swimming Lessons, drop me a line.

And if you’re in a book group, I’d recommend you joining the Reading Agency – it’s free and there’s lots of information on books that make good book group reads, as well as the occasional giveaway.

UK Paperback of Swimming Lessons Published Today

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Today the paperback version of Swimming Lessons is published in the UK by Penguin. If you’d like to win one of two copies head over to my Instagram account: @writerclairefuller to find out how to enter.

If you’re thinking about what book to read next, and you’re considering reading Swimming Lessons in your book group, get in touch if you would like some questions to help get the discussion started.

And if you’ve already read Swimming Lessons and enjoyed it, please do tell your friends, or leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Thank you!

Swimming Lessons Paperback Published in US

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The paperback of Swimming Lessons is published in the US today. My publisher, Tin House, has created a beautiful version of the hardback jacket using darker tones. And this version has book club questions in the back. If you do read it for your book club remember to take a picture of your group with the book and I’ll post the best to my Instagram account.

UK readers will have to wait a little longer for the paperback to be released.

The pictures above were taken and posted by some wonderful bookstagrammers, and if you’re on Instagram, I’d highly recommend following them all, not only for some wonderful bookish features, but lots of friendly bookish chat and reading suggestions.

Click to read more about Swimming Lessons.

Thanks to: @theloudlibrarylady @gracerajendran @bkInbooks @booksforyears @booksonherbrain @dlgillis20 @les_livres_ jennicapps15 @lblovesbooks for the pictures.

Personalised cards for Christmas

Picture by Malilauzie on Instagram - approved to use

I can’t start thinking about Christmas until two family birthdays are out of the way, which means it is all a bit of a rush during the second half of December. But if you’re a Christmas planner you might like to know about a little free gift I’m offering to people who buy one or more of my books for Christmas.

Emphemera 1If you buy a copy of Swimming Lessons, or Our Endless Numbered Days for someone this Christmas drop me a message, and I’ll post you a personalised and signed card for you to include with the book. And if you’re buying Swimming Lessons, since it’s about things that people leave behind in books, I’ll also send you a piece of ephemera to include as well.

This offer is available worldwide, and won’t cost you thing (apart from the cost of the book of course, which you will need to buy yourself either online or from your local book shop). I’m happy to include cards for each book you buy, and of course, you can buy it for yourself.

So if you’d like me to post you a signed card, contact me here with which book, or books you’re buying, the name of the recipient, and your postal address.

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Swimming Lessons Animation

This is a video that I produced for the US launch of Swimming Lessons, which I forgot to put up here when the book came out. My daughter helped with the animation, and my son wrote and performed the music. He is available for commissions for videos or short films, and also for bookings for launches, openings, private views and other events (he’s based in Oxford, but can travel). Henry’s website.

 

Watch another drawing video I created for Swimming Lessons.

Watch a drawing video I created for Our Endless Numbered Days.

Win a Book Club in a Box

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My US publisher, Tin House, and Literary Hub, a daily news source for all things literary, have got together to offer US book clubs the chance to win a Swimming Lessons Book Club in a Box.

The prize is some earl grey tea (my favourite), biscuits (or cookies to all you Americans), book club questions, signed book plates, and a Skype call with me when your group meets to discuss the book.

Enter here.

Find out more about Swimming Lessons, or contact me if your book club is already reading Swimming Lessons and you’d like some questions.