Thursday, 30 June 2011


It is with great regret that we announce that from the end of November 2011, Aardvark café will be leaving Blackwell's. Our café will then trade under new ownership.

The introduction of a new café will go a long way to ensuring the long-term future of the bookshop itself.

Blackwell's remains committed to bringing to the universities of Manchester a truly independent approach to bookselling, where almost all buying decisions are made by the people who serve you every day. A café will continue to provide a social heart to much of this activity.

We hope you enjoy many more coffees with us as we go through this time of change.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Monday sees an unusual partnership between two bookshops to mark Martin Amis' last few months in Manchester.

At Amis' final public event at Manchester University's centre for music and drama, the Oxfam shop on Oxford Road will run a joint bookstall with Blackwell Manchester. There will be plenty of discounts on the night.

Martin Amis will explore themes of American independence with special guests, author Will Self and Times literary editor Erica Wagner. You can find more about Monday's event here.

Booker-nominated Colm Tóibín will succeed Amis as professor of creative writing in September.

  • Oxfam, meanwhile, launch the Oxfam Bookfest at the weekend. One of the events will be the Bad Language reading night on July 17th, 7.30pm at Apotheca, Thomas Street. It will feature, among others, booksellers from Blackwell Manchester. We love it when a plan comes together.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


We recommend:

We say:
A wonderful curiosity of a novel about a townspeople besieged by February and his endless winter. Full of beautiful imagery and original, fresh writing.

They say:
"Reading Light Boxes made me feel like I was walking through a series of strange rooms that I'd never been in before." Chris Killen

To be read:
Sitting on a raincloud, next to the dying embers of a log-fire at a time that was vaguely the mid-19th Century. With a brandy. Call us on 0161 274 3331 or tweet us @BlackwellMcr and we'll reserve a copy for you.

Monday, 20 June 2011


As we all know, when choosing a book, the most important factor to consider is how good the author's name is. Authors with great names have to work harder to live up to them.

We present for your very serious consideration our favourite author names. We hope to compile a reader's chart, so please leave suggestions we have forgotten (and I am sure there are hundreds) in the comments section.

10. Willard Van Orman Quine

You know a philosopher isn't going to indulge you with aphorisms or pop culture references when they have a name so severe you feel admonished just reading it.

9. Didier Daeninckx

One of the perks of being French is that you can add a new letter to your surname at any time.

8. William Carlos Williams; Ford Madox Ford; Jerome K. Jerome

Ok, ok, we get it.

7. Orly Castel-Bloom

6. Umberto Eco

If you want your son to grow up to be a world-renowned medievalist, naming them "Umberto Eco" is a pretty good move.

5. Marcel Mauss

Everyone's favourite cartoon rodent anthropologist.

4. Rabindranath Tagore

Not content with a first name that sounds like the sort of thing you'd expect a dragon to be called, Tagore also cultivated a highly authoritative beard.

Pictured: Tagore, aged 14.

3. Shlomo Sand

His work on Jewish history might be highly controversial, but slowly reciting his name is without doubt one of the best ways to hone your James Stewart impression.

2. Rainer Maria Rilke

Ok, it's just a lovely name.

1. Miguel de Unamuno

The day that saying "Miguel de Unamuno" doesn't do it for me anymore is the day I ditch names entirely and assign everybody a reference number.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


We recommend:

We say:
Dark and very funny. Brilliant writing from the bus driver from Stockport.

They say:
"A very simple story which shouldn’t go unread." Richmond Review
"A cross between Auf Weidersehen Pet and The Brothers Grimm." Spike Magazine

To be read:
In a sloping field, preferably not near a fence. Call us on 0161 274 3331 or tweet us @BlackwellMcr and we'll reserve a copy for you.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Be careful what you wish for on Twitter.

Last week, we sarcastically tweeted: "Strange. With all the Take That fans in town, the expected surge in Dostoevsky sales seems not to have happened."

In response, tweeter Mister Cinnamon declared an interest in reading Dostoevsky *and* going to Take That. Our counterparts in Oxford then wondered if Mister Cinnamon had read Dostoevsky *at* a Take That concert.

This seemed to be a step too far for the cinnamonned one. And so, not to be outdone, your friendly independent bookseller Blackwell Manchester took up the challenge.

Blog chums, this is especially for you. Here is a picture taken on Saturday night by our artistically confused deputy manager.

Take That. Dostoevsky. Job done.

Small print: We realise this is not proof of the book being actually read at the concert, although about a third of Notes From The Underground was read, trust us!

Friday, 3 June 2011


We have an impressive range of cycling books in stock. Now summer has arrived, it's time to tell you about books you can read with the wind in your hair and an elastic band around your corduroys.

This list is a small selection of what we on display on our ground floor. If you want any of them reserved, give us a bell on 0161 274 3331.

Please do not read and cycle at the same time. You'll look silly.

Chris Sidwell's Bike Repair Manual

Keep your steed in peak condition. By 'steed', I obviously mean 'bicycle'. This is full of jargon-free advice that will help you maintain your bike. Includes new maintenance techniques for disc brakes and hints and tips for mountain-bike suspension. And it's pocket-sized.

Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman

A comic thriller regarding an unrequited love affair between a man and his bicycle. A true allegory of the absurd. Distinguished by endless comic invention and its delicate balancing of logic and fantasy.
Jerome K Jerome's Three Men On The Bummel

This is a journey as picaresque as Three Men In A Boat,  constrained only "by the necessity of getting back within a given time to the point from which one started". I'm not sure what a 'bummel' is. I didn't like to ask.
Eben Weiss' Bike Snob

Hipsters. You've seen them in the northern quarter, right? Blogger BikeSnobNYC looks at cycling's bizarre range of practitioners. The must-have bible to the mysterious world of cycling.

Michael Embacher's Cyclepedia

A celebration of the best bicycles designed over the past 90 years. Not just the Tour de France, but also high-tech machines, ice bikes, collectors' rarities, and bikes that only exist in the future. Maybe not that last one. A great gift.

Tommy Simpson's Cycling Is My Life

Tommy was the first Briton to pull on the fabled yellow jersey of the Tour de France. This is his autobiography, written the year before he died aged just 29. He was one of the first cyclists to admit to using banned drugs, y'know. Fascinating chappie.