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“So never mind the darkness, We still can find a way
Because nothing lasts forever, Even cold November rain”
– W Axl Rose

Hello OB newsletter subscribers new and not so new,
Welcome to November! The month of gunpowder plots, Diwali and of course Black Friday where we wholeheartedly welcome you to support your favourite local independent bookshop 🙂 Here is the news…November opening hours
Subject to covid19 restrictions, we’re sticking to our current hours (outlined below). Don’t forget our early close on Wednesdays. And if there is any government u-turn please do check the website for when our doors will be open!


Mon: 9.30-5.30

Tues: 9.30-5.30

Wed 9.30-1.30 (please note early closing)

Thurs: 9.30-5.30

Fri: 9.30-5.30

Sat: 9.30-5.30

If you’re self isolating, cautious, or perhaps just prefer to order online, do get in touch – we can’t wait to take your call or online order.

Happy Jólabókaflóð!
It’s happening. It’s round the corner. The unstoppable force. But we realise Xmas is going to be different for many people this year, and for many reasons. So for November we’re going to call it Jólabókaflóð!
Jólabókaflóð (pronounced yo-la-bok-a-flot) is Icelandic for “Xmas book flood”. Did you know that Icelanders have a tradition of gifting each other books – and only books! – on Xmas Eve? They then spend the rest of the evening snuggled up indoors reading them. That sounds worth celebrating to us!
So if whether you’re spreading the cost, getting organised, feeling the festive vibes already or perhaps saving Xmas for 2021… this Icelandic tradition kicks off in November with every household receiving a catalogue of books – so as your virtual catalogue please let us know if you’d like a recommendation! Why not order something nice for someone you love this Jólabókaflóð 🙂

OMG we’re famous!
Did you see? We feature in the excellent book Bookshop Tours Of Britain by Louise Boland that came out at the end of October. Louise travelled up and down the country as a publisher and mapped her trip from bookshop to bookshop, stopping in at literary places of note along the way! It’s a gorgeous slow travel guide full of bookshops galore and stories of meaningful connections with people and places. Which you can order today!

Do you Zoom?
As winter approaches and we are still in the grips of Covid19 we would like to encourage and support groups and individuals to connect virtually using the online tool called Zoom. This can be used by all ages for getting in touch with friends, holding events and hosting celebrations.
We have the opportunity to offer two levels of training, hosted by an international business coach, and aimed at individuals or community groups who would like to learn more.

  • Level One – for complete beginners with no experience of using Zoom at all
  • Level Two – for people who have some experience but would like to develop their skills and use the technology to engage a wider audience.

The cost of either session will be £25/person plus a donation to October Books and each session will be for a maximum of 10 people, so places will be limited. Sessions will take place on a Friday in the next month or so. If you are interested please fill in the short form link here and leave your details – we’ll be in touch!

Have you entered the “Mush”Room? If you want to connect with your local community and share resources and conversation, this is very much the group for you! The first edition of this brand new community project happened in October and the follow-up is December 1st.
Here’s a review from those who attended last month…

Our first “Mush”Room event went really well and was an amazing evening of sharing ideas and creating new connections in our local community. Rosie and Clare hosted the online space we co-created this Wordcloud in response to the question ‘What has been good about lockdown?’. We then shared ‘What has been the toughest thing about lockdown?’ and I think all felt moved and touched by the emotions attached to the responses. We then co-created a resources Jamboard filled with existing projects and new ideas for ways to stay healthy of mind and body this winter. Music, mutual aid, Christmas and culture were all discussed. City wide carols singing before Christmas anyone?

If you would like to know more and/or want to come to the next one then do drop Clare a line or head over to the Facebook Group to see the infographics and resources.
If you have ideas or projects you want to follow up from the evening remember that SO:Linked, a partner on this project, can support local people/groups with any ideas they might have to make their local community even better? Get in touch with Iane They are also collating festive support and activities on their website so that people can find out what is happening in their local area. So if you are providing support or putting on an event please do add to the resrouce by clicking ‘add a service’ here.

All of our online events are still proving to be popular – so get your eyes round November’s line up! As always, you’ll need to register your interest if you’d like to attend, and the full details are below.

We’re almost at the end of 2020(!), and here we also reach the end of our November newsletter… thanks for reading!
Love from the OB Team xx

NOVEMBER EVENTSWhich will you attend?
Don’t forget to register via Eventbrite for instructions to join your Zoom event!

Heat Wave by Julian Stannard

Thursday 5th November at 7pm

Join Julian Stannard via ZOOM to hear from his new collection of poetry – Heat Wave.

Heat Wave is a form of poetic cabaret, ‘What good is sitting, alone in your room?/ come hear the music play!’ If a cabaret is full of high jinks it can also land punches – truth can be masked by the burlesque and the grotesque: ‘Tell all the truth but tell it slant’. Heat Wave seeks to unsettle and wrong-foot; it refuses to adopt a sententious or holier than thou attitude regarding the many crises which confront us. The poems subvert as well as entertain. The reader might weep and laugh on the same page. The lyrical and the demotic might walk hand in hand.

Julian Stannard teaches English and Creative Writing at the University of Winchester. His work has appeared in TLS, Spectator, Guardian, Poetry Review, Poetry London, Poetry (USA) and Manhattan Review. Awarded the International Troubadour Prize for Poetry and nominated on several occasions for the Forward Prize, he has read at literary festivals across the UK, Europe and the US.

Unofficial Britain by Gareth E Rees

Thursday 19th November at 7pm

Join Gareth E. Rees via ZOOM and journey through unexpected places to discover Unofficial Britain.

Here is a Britain that exists outside of the official histories and guidebooks. A Britain in the cracks of the urban facade where unexpected life can flourish. This is a land where modern life speeds past but where people and stories nevertheless collect. Places where human dramas play out: stories of love, violence, fear, boredom and artistic expression. Places of ghost sightings, first kisses, experiments with drugs, refuges for the homeless, hangouts for the outcasts. Struck by the power of these stories and experiences, Gareth E. Rees set out to explore these spaces and the essential part they have played in the history and geography of our isles. This is Unofficial Britain, a personal journey along the edges of a landscape brimming with mystery, folklore and myth.

Gareth E. Rees is founder of and author of Marshland (2013), The Stone Tide (2018) and Car Park Life (2019). The modern myths and folklore of place have always driven his writing, which includes horror and weird fiction tales for numerous anthologies, including This Dreaming Isle (2018) and The Best of British Fantasy 2019

Online Get Together #8 – Bring Your Own Book!

Tuesday 24th November at 7pm

We have a regular social evening and you’re all welcome!

This is a book group with a difference! We are asking you to BYOB (Bring Your Own Book… and a bottle if you like!) so we can share inspiration we have found between the pages of our favourite books and raise a glass together.

You do not need to have attended previous Bring Your Own Book events, newbies are very welcome. What are you reading at the moment, and what has it meant to you?

The session will run for 1hr max and we do look forward to seeing you there.

Are We Home Yet? by Katy Massey

Thursday 26th November at 7pm

Join Katy Massey via ZOOM as she explores shame, immigration and class in her memoir Are We Home Yet?

Spanning the years from 1935 to 2010, Are We Home Yet? is the moving and funny story of a girl and her mother. As a girl, Katy accidentally discovers her mother is earning money as a sex worker at the family home, rupturing their bond. As an adult, Katy contends with grief and mental health challenges before she and her mother attempt to heal their relationship. By revealing their truths, can these two strong women call a truce on their hostilities and overcome the oppressive ghosts of the past?

Katy Massey was a journalist for fifteen years before returning to university. Her PhD findings formed the inspiration for Tangled Roots, a long-term project aiming to equip everyone with the skills to author their own lives. She is a skilled workshop leader, editor and writer. Her writing has been shortlisted for several prizes including Leeds Literature Prize and Crocus Books/Commonword First Chapter competition. Are We Home Yet? is one of Jacaranda Books’ #Twentyin2020 titles.



The “Mush”Room #2

Tuesday 1st December at 7pm

Join us in The “Mush”Room! A collaborative community project, the MushRoom is a pop-up space where we re-imagine our place.

This event will ask “What are you doing to support, grow and create community business this winter?”

This year has seen change like we have never experienced before, in our personal lives, on our high streets and in the work that we do. In this landscape, community businesses (such as October Books) have proved to be resilient and adaptable to the changes and are set to become the seeds of a more local economy and way of living. So, for our second MushRoom we would like to focus on local community business, whether you want to start one, are in one or want to know how you can support one, come along and share your stories. We’ll also be feeding back on projects and ideas from the first event.

Upon Reflection by Sarah Misselbrook

Thursday 3rd December at 7pm

Join conceptual artist Sarah Misselbrook via ZOOM to hear about and see 20 years of her work

A reflective process looking back over 20 years of the artist’s multidisciplinary practice. Her book presents observational sketches, photography of processes and performances to camera, gallery-based exhibitions, site-specific sculptural installations and the written word. From clinical spaces to burnt forest environment, the visual journey through the publication shows a migration from on to off-grid existence and a closeness to the cycle of life and death.

Southampton-born Misselbrook’s multi-media practice has spanned 20 years, addressing issues surrounding the body as canvas and consumer in response to societal expectations placed upon it. Her art includes large-scale wall-based work in rural Catalunya entitled ‘Protection’, inspired by the protection of the Catalan language by women; a large scale installation in NLCS Jeju, South Korea taking inspiration from the volcanic island and traditional calligraphy and incorporating community performances and body printing; and a sculptural installation and performance in the Maials forest, which was devastated by forest fire.

Register via Eventbrite for instructions to join your ZOOM event. All events are free entry, but if you’d like to give October Books a donation, please do.

We are an independent community bookshop based in the Portswood area of Southampton. We are a co-operative and any money we make is ploughed back into the business.

October Books,

189 Portswood Road, Southampton, SO17 2NF

We are open: Mon-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm
(on Wednesdays we close at 1.30pm)

Order via the website here
Tel: 023 8058 1030

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