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  • Zombies and Christmas

    Fri, 09 Dec 2011 10:21

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    Surely no one is more qualified to help than Book Wizard, Barry Cunningham - the original publisher of Harry Potter. He has worked with some of the greatest names in children's books past and present - from J.K. Rowling to Roald Dahl and Cornelia Funke. And now, as the highly successful publisher of Chicken House, he is busy finding outstanding new fiction.

    Every month he'll talk book magic: pick a favourite story - and link it to another lesser-known book that keen young readers will also enjoy!

    "Some of my favourite authors have loved scary stories - I remember Roald Dahl telling me even more terrifying versions of his Tales of the Unexpected stories in the back of his car while coming back late on tour for Penguin Books. There's something about snow and wintertime that makes cosying up with a terrifying but comforting story even more fun! So if you've got older children or younger teens who love the frighteners in movies and books, then they - and you - will adore Kirsty McKay's UNDEAD, where zombies really make a meal of the school trip. And if you find yourself hiding under the covers, why not check out Kirsty's top tips to help you survive the zombie apocalypse..."

    'Fast, furious, freaky, funny...' CHARLIE HIGSON, author of The Enemy

    'Twilighters will love it... hysterically funny, suspenseful and altogether superior fare.' Amanda Craig, The Times

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    Just a reminder that we have thousands of free eBooks to download. Check out this Christmas collection of perennial and forgotten classics first and then search the whole free eBook catalogue.

  • Mark Forsyth - Guest Blogger

    Wed, 09 Nov 2011 09:36

    Today we have a guest blog post from etymologist Mark Forsyth

    blog imageI find myself recommending the Book Depository a lot recently. It's the free shipping. Every time a friend of mine phones up from Hong Kong or Belize or New Caledonia asking where they can get hold of a copy of The Etymologicon I direct them straight here without once stopping to ask myself why the hell all my friends seem to prefer being on the other side of the world from me.

    Anyway, as the Book Depository is so good at delivering to these flung-far places, I think it only fair to point out that they deserve the free shipping, they've earned it. After all, they never demanded a penny for all the words that they gave to England for absolutely nothing. So here is a brief sample and selection of words from some of the more recondite states whither the Book Depository delivers.

    For example, I have never been to Samoa, but the Book Depository undertakes to deliver a copy of my book there, if requested. And I know, merely from having wasted my youth with dictionaries that we share a word with them. Captain Cook was sailing around the South Seas when he happened to ask the natives what their body art was called. They replied that it was a tattoo. On other subjects they were much less forthcoming. These subjects they called taboo.

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    Madagascar is home to one of my favourite creatures, etymologically speaking: the Indri. An eighteenth century French naturalist called Pierre Sonnerat was hiking through the Malagasay jungle discovering new species when his guide pointed at a funny little creature and shouted 'Indri'. Sonnerat whipped out his notebook, described the creature and noted that it was called the Indri. It still is. However, had he been familiar with the native tongue, he would have known that in Malagasay indri just means 'Look at that!'

    blog imageAnd finally, the Vatican. Did you know that the Vatican has the highest crime rate per capita of any country on earth? Well you do now. It's also the home of the original Devil's Advocate, who is more properly known as the Promotor Fidei, or promoter of the faith. The job of the Devil's Advocate was to find good reasons that somebody shouldn't be made a saint, and thus stop any awkward scandals when a newly beatified fellow turned out to be a scoundrel. The French for advocate is avocet, which is also the French word for avocado. I think this means that across the channel the Promotor Fidei would be popularly known as Satan's Avocado, an idea that amuses me more than I can say. They're unrelated, though, advocate and avocado. The latter, as I point out in The Etymologicon, comes from the Aztec word for testicle; and, as I'm incurably puerile, I find that even better.

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    Surely no one is more qualified to help than Book Wizard, Barry Cunningham - the original publisher of Harry Potter. He has worked with some of the greatest names in children's books past and present - from J.K. Rowling to Roald Dahl and Cornelia Funke. And now, as the highly successful publisher of Chicken House, he is busy finding outstanding new fiction.

    Every month he'll talk book magic: pick a favourite story - and link it to another lesser-known book that keen young readers will also enjoy!

    This month - Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

    I was very privileged to work with the estate of C.S. Lewis (in fact, he went to my old school) and see some of the manuscripts of the wonderful NARNIA series with his original notes. I also met Pauline Baynes, the original illustrator who drew the first maps of Narnia, visualising his extraordinary world. Travelling from the here and now to a land of wonder, where making new friends is as important as standing up to evil, required what C.S. Lewis called 'valour'. And that's what readers will need - and will love - as they travel literally through the pages of a book into Cornelia Funke's fantastic world of INKHEART. Here they will join an amazing cast of characters - deciding whose side you are on is just as exciting as in Narnia, even though things turn out not to be quite so black and white! For ages 9+

    '... a breathtakingly fast-moving tale.' INDEPENDENT

    '... one of the outstanding children's novels of the year.' THE TIMES

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  • Ball of Confusion

    Fri, 07 Oct 2011 15:33

    blog imageThe man who brought us Think of a Number back in the day (and played a big part in the young life of boys and girls of a certain age) has a new book out full of puzzles and amazing facts called Ball of Confusion. Here's a little video of Johnny introducing the book. Out now!

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