Short Books Club :: Short Books

We’re back!

All has been rather quiet on the blog front for quite some time, but luckily this means time is passing and summer must be creeping towards us; although, for any Londoners checking in, you may have a hard time believing it. What better way to delude ourselves that warm days will eventually be here to stay than by escaping to the streets of Barcelona in Jordi Puntí’s Lost Luggage? This remarkable and at times downright hilarious novel, recounts the story of four brothers -sons of one enigmatic father and four very different mothers- who grow up separately. When the brothers meet for the first time, they determine to piece together the intriguingly elusive life of their father, Gabriel Delacruz, whom Puntí aptly describes as a ‘passive Don Juan’.


As a welcome back to the Short Books Club, we’re thrilled to be giving out up to five free copies of Lost Luggage to the first five book clubs to get in touch. We hope you’ll enjoy this thrilling read! Write to us at to claim your free copy and don’t forget to cite the name of your book club and your mailing address.



Congratulations – 5000 followers!

The JM Barrie Ladies Swimming Society hits 5000 followers on Facebook! To celebrate this and the 4th of July – we are giving away copies of The JM Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society book, notepads, bookmarks and some fabulous vintage bathing caps! ‘Share’ this photo on The JM Barrie Ladies Facebook page and tell us who you would recommend the book to and why… we will be giving prizes away to the best answers. And just in case you need reminding how gorgeous those bathing caps are here’s a brilliant picture…



The J.M. Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Club has been gathering much deserved attention in the press in that past couple of weeks, not least due to the remarkable story behind the writing of the novel. Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest places as Barbara recounted in this week’s Sunday Times Style magazine.





Launching into the cold!

Adverse weather conditions never stopped the members of the J.M. Ladies’ Swimming Society from taking a dip and so it was at the fantastic launch of Barbara J. Zitwer’s novel at the Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond today. Wind, rain, freezing temperatures? They were simply mild irritants to the wonderful collection of friends, fans, journalists and the members of the Kenwood Ladies Pond Association, who met at the pond this morning to toast the publication of Barbara’s novel and to take a dip themselves. It was a great celebration of the restorative, invigorating and rather chilly pursuit of wild swimming and a very fitting launch for The J.M. Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society


They took to it like ducks to water…

Will she, won’t she. Barbara tests the water…

And she is in! A unique way to celebrate the publication of your novel…


Hot tea and cakes await the swimmers. many thanks to the brilliant High Tea of Highgate for the fantastic cakes and sandwiches – truly delicious!

Barbara (left) warms up with a well-deserved cup of tea.



Writer’s Retreat

I am very pleased to let you all know about this exciting event for any budding writers out there:



Writers’ Retreats

Find your inspiration.  Exercise your creativity.

Writing workshops at Lower Coxbridge House near Glastonbury.

One day course: Saturday 25th February 2012 10.00am – 4.00pm

Weekend residential course: Friday 27th April to Sunday 29th April 2012

Short Books author Emma Craigie (Chocolate Cake with Hitler) will lead writing workshops to help you create powerful stories.  At the weekend workshop Rebecca Nicolson, founder of Short Books, will lead a sessions on what publishers look for in potential authors.

There will also be opportunities to walk in the beautiful countryside surrounding Lower Coxbridge House,  and optional yoga sessions, led by Sarah Orme, to keep you focussed and refreshed.

Delicious meals and refreshments cooked by Nicole Leathley.

Maximum 12 places.  For more information:

Love Your Indie

All has been rather quiet here on the blog front for a couple of weeks, what with the new website going live, things have been rather busy. I do hope you are enjoying the new home of Short Books – do take a moment to have a look around and if you find something you like,  just let me know and we will see if we can add it to a monthly free offer. Speaking of offers, there will be a free book offer at the end of next week, so get ready, steady.

In further exciting news, Short Books is participating in the Love Your Indie loyalty card campaign. You just need to pick up a loyalty card at your participating indie bookshop and for every ten pounds you spend you get a stamp. Ten stamps and you get a free book from one of the participating Independent Alliance publishers. We cannot encourage you enough to support your local bookshops whenever possible. In these current financial times they need our help! For more information on this you can click here.

Sneak preview…Spring Catalogue

Not that we like to get ahead of ourselves and be the ones to say ‘It’ll be Christmas next’ but here is our Spring Catalogue – just to whet your appetites for the New Year! We have some REALLY great new fiction coming in – some of which we are going to offer up in proof copies – and some you will just have to wait to get your mitts on! Don’t miss Jordi Punti’s Lost Luggage, which has had RAVE reviews in Spain and the brilliant JM Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society – it is the most perfect story of friendship, discovery and skinny-dipping!

You can download the catalogue here.

And the winners are…

This was the quickest uptake we have had for a novel so far – The White Lie has clearly struck a chord. Please do let us know what you think of it – whether as a group or an individual. We want to hear your thoughts! The best way to stay up to date with the club is to subscribe, which you can do over there >>>>

Please can those listed below that haven’t sent their mailing addresses do so. Congratulations to all you nimble fingered winners…

Jill Craven at the Barnsley Library

Susanna Thomas at Cardiff Libraries

Get Into Reading

Harrogate Hustling Ladies

Lady Book Worms

Meg from Ealing’s Book Group

Southway Readers Group

Red Deer Readers

Chinnor and Henton Book Group

Nikki Malam’s Book Group

The White Lie by Andrea Gillies – on offer NOW

It’s that time of the month again and this afternoon will see another free book offer.

This month we are particularly excited to be offering up proof copies of our latest new novel, The White Lie, from the author of Keeper, which won the Wellcome Trust Book Prize and the Orwell Prize. This, however, is Andrea Gillies’ first novel and – though we say it ourselves – it is something of a ripper. Set in the highlands of Scotland on a remote family estate, it follows the unraveling of an extended family when the truth about certain events in the past, finally comes out. I highly recommend it and, as it is only in the proof copy stage, we would particularly like to hear back from you as to what you thought of the book. This is a chance to put your stamp on the final novel that will be published in January, so don’t miss out. We have 70 copies to giveaway so this week it will be the first 7 book groups to get in touch that will win copies. The offer will go live today at 4pm AND NOT BEFORE!.

In the meantime, here is a sneak preview of the beautiful jacket.

Some midweek inspiration…

Even though Steve: Unwanted wasn’t published until today we have already had some brilliant feedback from people who were sent advance copies – many of them working in rehabilitation programmes or with addicts. Steve Walker seems to touch all those that come in contact with him and none more so than Huseyin, who wrote the following moving blog at

Dear all,

I was sent a copy of a book recently by a publishing company. The book is called Steve:Unwanted, and I know the author. I say I know him, what I mean is I’ve met him a few times.

He’s a nice guy, wise owl, programme director at the Ley Community in Oxfordshire. I visited The Ley a while back, when a friend was working there, and I was introduced to Steve Walker (the author) and to the CEO Wendy Dawson. Excellent, very, very nice people.

Regarding the book, a friend explained that I’m supposed to read it and provide some feedback, talk or blog about it and generally provide some thoughts etc.

This actually made me quite nervous. What if I didn’t like it? What if it wasn’t a good read? What if it brought up bad memories and I had to put it down? The pressure!

I bought myself some time by tweeting about it, and for a few days I was genuinely busy so only read the back of the book, the acknowledgements, a word from the author and Steve: interviewed.

This whetted my appetite for the book and I found myself reading more and more; a bit every night. I’m sort of rationing it now because I’m really enjoying it and I dont want it to end too quickly

I used to be all about instant gratification, wanting it all now, yesterday. But I’m forcing myself to go slow, like a good holiday read only more rewarding. I’m seeing bits of my own journey in the life of this other man that journeyed a generation before me.

The ultimate pleasure in reading this book, is that I’ve met the man and know it must be a relatively happy ending. I ended on page 132 tonight and have been reflecting on my day….

I’ve been in meetings all day and have presented on five prison needs assessments for substance misuse services in them (pre-draft, drafts which go out for consultation soon) and I was thinking, as I reflected, the detail of what we do, in the drugs field.

The non-human mechanics can sometimes be soul destroying. Dealing with the DAATs, the various people and groups – with their agendas, their points of view, their cherished beliefs about what works (and one or two of them adamant that rehab doesn’t and that its too expensive), etc etc.

Then I read a bit of Steve’s book, and while I know he’s in a pretty dark place on page 132, I know its gonna get better. I doubt if there is a piece later on describing when we met but knowing that he makes it and knowing that he is doing a fantastic job at the Ley, it lifts me up, it gives me hope. It reminds me that the needs assessments and the boring meetings are important

It reminds me that the people I met with today, despite our differences, are actually in the business of helping the Steve’s of today, stuck in a dark place, in a prison, on page 132 of their lives and they are fighting to help that person get to a better place, as we all are

Some of us are that person and are living our own page 132. Take some encouragement, there are loads of us on that journey with you, bobbing back and forth as we take one step back and two steps forward

Roll on tomorrow night and the next thrilling instalment!

All the best



Justin Webb reads from Notes on Them and Us

Very happily, Justin Webb found a moment to pop into Short Books yesterday and record an extract from his new book, Notes on Them and Us.

It will be featured on The Sunday Times Magazine website this weekend alongside an interview in the actual magazine but if you would like a sneaky preview you can listen to it here.

Notes on Them and Us is published on September 1, 2011

Justin Webb on the ‘Essential Relationship’

Fresh in from the printer and looking really striking is Justin Webb’s latest offering on the transatlantic relationship. A presenter on Radio 4’s Today programme, Justin was previously the BBC’s North America correspondent – so he know his stuff! In Notes on Them and Us, Justin re-examines the history of our great alliance with America and gives a wry account of the way it actually exists today beyond the emotive adjectives of newspaper headlines. It is amusing, myth-breaking and unflinchingly honest, this is a book for anyone with an eye on global politics.

Justin has kindly agreed to do a Q&A for the Short Books Club and I will be posting it at some point next week. So keep your eyes peeled as it’s bound to be fascinating. Oh, and don’t miss Justin talking to Ryan Tubridy on BBC Radio 2 between 12 and 1pm.

And the winners are…

Many thanks to all those of you who entered this month’s free books draw. Demand was particularly high this time but the lucky few are:

The Prince Philip Hospital Library Book Club

Flowers in the Window

Barbara from the Fairhaven Book Club

Bonkers About Books

Michelle from Bicester

The Red Indians Book Group

The Waverley Book Group

The Fairwarp WI Book Group

The Bristol Book Group

Ladies Who Love Books

Congratulations to you all. I will be sending your copies out tomorrow.


July offer open…

Free copies of Seven Days One Summer are now available for the first ten groups to get in touch.

Now this really is the ultimate summer read. For those of you jetting off to warmer climes (or just going to brave the rain on some freezing British beach) this is definitely one to pop in your bag. Tatler have called it ‘the ultimate summer beach read’ and it has been flying off the shelves since it published at the beginning of the month.  Kate Morris writes a brilliantly funny and honest marriage column for The Times and has captured the tensions, laughs and tears that undoubtedly arise on any villa holiday.

Here’s a little more on the book:

Eight old friends reunite for a week in the sun… What could possibly go wrong?
When her old flame Sam rings up one day and invites her on a villa holiday in Italy, Jen is completely thrown off balance. Sam, as she cannot help but recall, was the best kiss of her life.
With her husband Marcus constantly travelling the world for work, and seven-year-old Alfie still in the marital bed, the joys of marriage and motherhood are thin on the ground for Jen these days… What could be more appealing than being with old friends and recapturing a little bit of their youth?
Two months later, Jen and Marcus arrive at the stunning Villa La Silerchie. There to greet them are Jen’s best friend Tara and her new husband Dave, a struggling writer; there’s also vain, neurotic Miranda and her fiancé Toby; Jack, a handsome and successful actor, recently separated; and Sam – funny, laid-back, sexy Sam…
Everything’s set for the holiday of a lifetime; but as the week progresses, and tensions rise in the August heat, relationships unravel, old rivalries re-emerge, and uncomfortable truths have to be faced.
Who knew what seven days in the sun could lead to…

So do let me know if you would like copies of your book group and I will post them to  you asap: @shortbooksuk/ or leave a comment on the Book Club blog

For those of you not lucky enough to win a copy this time you can buy a copy here.

The July Free Books Offer tomorrow

Just a little warning that the July free books offer is going live tomorrow at midday. This month’s book is Seven Day One Summer by Kate Morris. The perfect holiday read.

Free copies to the first ten book groups to leave a comment on the blog.

Betsy Tobin live webchat tonight

Hi all,

Just to let you know that Betsy Tobin, author of Crimson China, will be talking via a live webchat on Mumsnet tonight between 8-9pm. Crimson China has been a really popular Book of the Month for their monthly bookclub and for those of you that read it and commented here, you may find it interesting. Betsy is all ready and prepared to get down to the nitty gritty of the book and it should be fascinating. Don’t miss it! Just go to to find out more.

Ophelia in Pieces is on the road

For any of you Ophelia fans in the area, Clare Jacob will being doing an author talk and signing at Dulwich Books on July 14th.

Do pop along. Clare was a barrister herself before turning her hand to writing and she has plenty of fascinating stories to tell…

If you would like to book tickets you can do so here.

And the winners are…

Wow, lots of interest in Ophelia in Pieces and all the copies have now gone. The winning book clubs are (drum roll)…

The Bristol Book Group

The Naked Book Group

The Bridgend Centre Reading Group

The Walpole Book Group

Leyland Reading Group

The Minster Readers

Broken Spines Book Group

The Saddos Book Group

The Good Book Reading Group

The Southside Book Group

If you haven’t already done so, please send me your addresses and the number of copies you need



Clare Jacob event in London

For those of you based in London or nearby who might be interested, Clare Jacob, author of Ophelia in Pieces – our book of the month next week – will be doing a reading and signing at The Review Bookshop in South London next week. Clare went to Oxford and then was called to the Bar. She will be chatting about what it is really like to be a mother, barrister and author, and how on earth she has juggled all those balls! You can find out more info here.

The real life of a female barrister.

Reader’s Guide to The Trouble with Alice

So here you are –  a brilliant insight into the writing of The Trouble with Alice from Olivia Glazebrook. Do be warned though, there are spoilers from the outset, so I would save it until after you have read it.

Do let us know your thoughts.

alice readers guide

Ophelia in Pieces review

Many thanks to the lovely folk at Bookbag for taking the time to read and review Ophelia in Pieces.

Heads up…

Tomorrow will see the next offer of free copies to book groups at 5pm.

Something a little different this time…

A great review for Graven with Diamonds


Out next week, Graven with Diamonds by Nicola Shulman is the story of Thomas Wyatt: Courtier, Poet, Assassin, Spy in the court of Henry VIII. It has garnered a lot of attention in the press so far and Nicola will be talking on Radio Four’s Start the Week with Andrew Marr at 9am on April 11th. She is a real expert and not to be missed if you are a Tudor fan. Hilary Mantel said of the book; ‘A fluid, poised quick-witted dance through the poetic and political career of one of the most elusive, glittering figures of Tudor England’ – and, let’s be honest, she should know!

Inspiring, intriguing and funny.

David Brooks recently gave a talk at the wonderful

David Brooks talks to

Renee Zellweger has impeccable taste!


Reader’s Guide for We All Ran into the Sunlight

WAR guide and interview – Morning all. Here is the Reader’s Guide for We All Ran into the Sunlight. If you want to post comments/reviews, please do so on the post from the 2nd March. Thanks and hope you are all enjoying it!

Copies of We all Ran into the Sunlight have gone out…

Postmen across the country are going to be groaning in next couple of days as some really lovely big parcels full of We All Ran into the Sunlight have now gone out. The reader’s guide and author interview will go up on the blog early next week and you will be able to download it from there.

In the meantime, enjoy and have a lovely weekend!

Welcome to the Short Books Club!

Hello and welcome to the first post of the new Short Books Club. The aim of this club is to create a new online community of book groups across the UK and friendly and welcoming forum for discussion of the books you are reading.

Each month, Short Books offers up free copies of their latest titles to the first ten book groups that get in touch and, as we love to hear what you think, we invite you and the members of your book group to come onto the blog and let us know! We hope to create a giant book club that will do away with geographical limitations and allow groups across the country to share their thoughts. Each book will come with a Book Group Guide from the author and an author interview. We will post these up on the blog for you to download.

If you would like to receive our monthly Free Books 4 Book Groups email and get in with a chance of winning copies for the members of your group, then just drop us an email at Easy!

A little bit about us…

I thought I would fill you in on Short Books as a way of introduction…

We were founded in 2001 by former journalists Rebecca Nicolson and Aurea Carpenter, and in the past ten years we have established ourselves as a publisher of first-class, entertaining non-fiction. Notable successes have included bestselling Amo, amas, amat… And all that by Harry Mount, How to be a bad Birdwatcher by Simon Barnes, The Good Granny Guide by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall and Change the World for a Fiver.

In 2008, we launched our fiction list, which is growing year on year. Spring 2011 sees more exciting debut novels from fresh new talent and we will be sending some of it to the lucky book groups that get in touch!

Do please introduce yourselves and your groups to us. The best way to do this is to leave your message in Comments. We look forward to meeting you all and seeing what you think of the books you are reading…