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Oxfam Bookshop, Petergate York

This is the blog for the Oxfam book shop, on Low Petergate in York

Jorvik Viking Festival

Yesterday the Jorvik Viking Festival Festival began in York, which means all things Viking and Anglo-Saxon are happening here! The Jorvik Viking Festival celebrates York’s Viking heritag, and this year will be focusing on the life of Eric Bloodaxe, featuring a fiery finale which will tell the story of the Battle of Stainmore and a huge Viking feast in the Merchant Adventurer’s Hall. The festival is always great fun and certainly a sight to see, particularly during half term! To find out more about the festival click here.

Here at Oxfam Petergate, we have lots for the Viking enthusiast. As you know, we have a large collection of comics, many featuring Marvel’s Thor, who of course is based on the Norse God of Thunder. We have lots of hidden gems and rare finds in our comic section, so it is worth looking around to find that one comic missing from your collection, or for those who just want to read some of the original comics. Perfect entertainment for half term. And for those truly dedicated fans, we have lots of prints from DC Comics and Marvel, including a spectacular one featuring Thor himself!

For those who prefer Viking history we have several books all about this period, such as Michael Wood’s In Search of the Dark Ages, the book accompaniment to his highly popular BBC TV series. An immensely popular book, Wood unravels various mysteries of this period to get to the heart of Dark Age Britain. We also have the 2014 and 2015 Antiquaries Journals from the Society of Antiquaries of London, which feature various discussions of interesting finds and an article on Hardown Hill, an Anglo-Saxon cemetery.

So whether you’ve a Marvel fan or the festival inspires you to find out more, we are ready for all you Vikings, and have a good festival!

Water For All Campaign

It’s all too easy to forget what a miracle water is. With a water supply on tap, food can grow, and people can thrive.

If you have been about on Petergate in York and seen our wonderful window display, or seen our Facebook page or Twitter account, then you probably already know that we are currently fundraising for Water For All. Why? Because water is pretty incredible, even if we don’t always like it here in rainy old York. Oxfam’s work to provide clean, safe water helps to reduce child mortality rates, create healthier communities and provide essential facilities in emergencies. But providing water isn’t just about the short term, and the benefits don’t end with the clean water. With access to safe water people can start to grow food to eat and to sell, creating jobs and businesses, which builds an economy, leading to resources like schools and healthcare becoming more viable, and allows the whole community to move forward and build better lives for themselves. All this, from one well! Stories like Ipaishe’s (click here) and Brian’s (click here) shows the wider effects that Oxfam’s provision of water has, even allowing Ipaishe to own land for the first time.

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There are loads of ways you can help! Come into the shop to buy an Oxfam Unwrapped gift, donate or, even better, help us fundraise. We have loads of information in store about how you can help fundraise, whether its by organising a bake sale, doing a sponsored swim or getting yourself soaked in exchange for donations. Feel free to come visit us for more information about what you can do to help provide the miracle of water!

Love is in the Air…

Here at Oxfam Petergate we are all swooning over our Valentine’s Blind Date with a Book event. What’s that I hear you say? Well for just £2 you can find that special one, that new literary friend, and fall in love with one of these mystery books:

We have wrapped up some of our books in plain paper, with a few little clues written on them. So whether you like the tall, dark and mysterious, or you’re more of a fan of a flirty little romance novel, there’s sure to be something amongst our blind date hopefuls who’s right for you. 

And if none of them catch your fancy, then don’t despair. We have delicious Divine chocolate hearts, Valentine’s cards and, the perfect Valentine’s gift, our unwrapped cards, which help to provide everything from bees to seeds to water to education! So come into the shop for all your Valentine’s needs (or if you just really fancy some fairtrade chocolate and a good book).

Our blind date with a book event will be running from the 11th to the 14th of February, but be quick! We only have a limited number of books (but if you do miss out or don’t see one that piques your interest then feel free to check out all the other wonderful books we have in store). See you soon!

Davos Conference 2017: Wealth Inequality in the Modern World

great-britain_image_1496_fullLast week the world’s entrepreneurs, banking executives and world leaders met in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. Important issues were discussed, from Brexit to climate change and wealth inequality. Now you’ve probably seen the headlines that just 8 men own half of the world’s wealth. Yes, that’s right. 8 people have the same amount of wealth as 3.6 billion people! 1% to the rest of the 99%.

This seems pretty difficult to comprehend, even in the strange times of 2017, so let’s discuss exactly what this signifies. It is not merely an inequality in the distribution of wealth, but the knock on effects that come from efforts to maintain this wealth. From tax dodging and hideaway havens, to paying unfair wages, to using economic and political influences, such as at the WEF, these billionaires contribute to an unfair and broken economic system that perpetuates this unfair and illogical distribution of wealth. This doesn’t just mean the rich and the poor, but the super rich and the cripplingly impoverished. Forget deciding whether to splash out on a £3 coffee or not, this is a system where people live on less than that a day! And this is wrong and completely nonsensical, especially now, and especially because it will not take much to create a better world that can provide a sustainable economic future for everyone. For the 99% who own the other half of the world’s wealth. For those who go to bed hungry whilst others have a wealth that will take several lifetimes to spend

What is required is common sense, responsible leadership and tax honesty, to help create a world which can serve the interests of everyone, allow people to flourish with their talents, earn a decent wage, gain a great education. Oxfam aims to help create this world by improving government co-operation in tackling tax dodging and tax havens, so that the super rich do pay a fair amount of tax, increase the rights of workers to benefit the wider society, and fight for women’s rights and education. It is not just about philanthropy and charitable giving, it is about creating a sustainable economic future by tackling this warped and broken economic model which allows for unfair economic practices like tax dodging and low wages. We can easily do this if those who perpetuate this broken system accept responsibility and work to fix it, using their power and political influence. Our role, as the not-super rich is to help make this happen through action.

That is why Oxfam is campaigning for an economy that works for everyone, by calling on business leaders to help create this economy through fair taxation, fair pay, ethical investment and the use of political power and influence to help everyone. If you would like more information it is available here. Oxfam has also set up a petition to the world’s richest 8 to mend this broken system, which can be found here.

A better, fairer world is possible. All it takes is common sense and a clear moral sense of equality.

In Store Book of the Week: The Business by Iain Banks

The trouble with writing fiction is that it has to make sense, whereas real life doesn’t. 

This week our glass cabinet has been restocked, and features railways books and a directory of York from 1957, full of cool adverts. It also had, until yesterday, two signed Iain Banks novels, The Business and Against a Dark Background. Against a Dark Background has now been sold, which is fantastic as it has helped to provide clean water for 120 people!! So a huge thank you to the proud new owner.

We do still have The Business which is also a signed first edition! Delve into the world of The Business, an ancient and powerful multinational corporation, and follow Kate Thelman as she investigates theft and oversees the acquisition of a country. A combined love story, contemporary science fiction masterpiece and tale of discovery, this novel travels the world and explores issues central to modern life, from technology to the relationship between business and politics (perhaps particularly relevant in the wake of the Davos Conference).

The Business is in the Petergate store and on sale for £70 (that’s equal to giving 70 people clean water).

Online Book of the Week: Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

The trouble is, you see, that if you do know Right from Wrong, you can’t choose Wrong. You just can’t do it and live.

To celebrate our growing sci-fi, fantasy and horror section in store (two whole bookcases now!) our online book this week is this gorgeous edition of Maskerade by the late and great Terry Pratchett! Pratchett is one of the most popular fantasy writers due to his wit, creativity and incredibly insightful writing which spans 41 Discworld novels, as well as other works. He has received a knighthood for his services to literature, has sold over 85 million books, was a public speaker on Alzheimers (a disease he suffered from until his death in 2015) and remains a bestseller in the UK.

We return to Discworld in this stunning hardback edition, complete with a colour map of Pratchett’s hilarious, satirical fantasy world for another tale of the Witches, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. Whilst the previous stories of the Witches has spoofed Shakespeare, Maskerade takes on The Phantom of the Opera, featuring everything from Nanny Ogg’s favourite recipes and scenes reminiscent of Scooby Doo. And if you want to get really meta, Maskerade was even adapted into a stage production (that’s a stage production of a book which satirises a musical which is all about the world of opera!)

Not only is this hardback edition beautifully bound, but it is in excellent condition and a steal for just £22! Get it here.

12th day of Oxmas: Africa by Michael Poliza

This post is part of the Twelve Days of Oxmas series which will run from the 1st to the 21st of December 2016. The series showcases some of the many Oxfam Unwrapped gifts, fair-trade products and books we have to offer in store and online. 

♪  ♫  

On the twelfth day of Oxmas my true love sent to me 

twelve photographs of Africa… 

♪  ♫   ♪

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On our last day of Oxmas, we want to show you another wonderful treasure that you can find on our Abebooks!

This gift is large format photograph book by German photographer Michael Poliza. It contains many gorgeous pictures taken by the artist in Africa, including landscapes, individual animal portraits, animals taking care of their young ones, birds in flight, huge herds in movement and other breathtaking, poetic and heartwarming  photographs that show how truly amazing nature can be.

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According to the editor:

These images embody the soul of Africa’s flora and fauna with a true artist’s eye for colour and composition.

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Africa is a source of amazing bio-diversity and home to some of the planet’s most spectacular landscapes. The sights of this awe-inspiring continent are captured with consummate skill and sensitivity by master photographer Michael Poliza. His viewpoint is shaped by his concern for the fragile eco-systems he chronicles.

The editor

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This is the perfect gift for photography enthusiasts or nature lovers. The pictures shown are only a few examples of how beautiful the pages of this book are.

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Poliza started as a child actor on German TV, then founded several highly successful IT ventures in the US and Germany and became a pioneer in the use of digital photography for illustrated books. His STARSHIP MILLENNIUM VOYAGE, around the world on a 75 ft yacht for three years was avidly followed by millions via internet. Poliza now focuses mainly on film and photography, including work for the Discovery Channel. He is now based in Cape Town.

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Michael Poliza. Source: Globetrotter magazin, September 2011

To buy this book just click here!

Or browse all of our online books: tinyurl.com/abeoxfampetergateuk

♪  ♫  

…Eleven bags of Beer Bread flour,
Safe water for ten people,
Nine copies of Playing for Pizza,
Eight Lands of Ice and Fire maps,
Seven Grow Your Own Trees,
Six copies of The Silkworm,
Five golden Piles of Poo!
Four Chalet School books,
Three pots of Swazi preserves,
Two Red Phone Box Books,
And a Winter Warming Kit for the refugees.

♪  ♫  

This was our last days of Oxmas blog post. We hope you’ve liked them and that they have helped you find Christmas presents or get an idea of what we sell at Oxfam Books Petergate!

Have a very merry Christmas and keep reading our blog for new exciting posts!

11th day of Oxmas: Beer Bread

This post is part of the Twelve Days of Oxmas series which will run from the 1st to the 21st of December 2016. The series showcases some of the many Oxfam Unwrapped gifts, fair-trade products and books we have to offer in store and online. 

♪  ♫  

On the eleventh day of Oxmas my true love sent to me 

Eleven bags of beer bread flour… 

♪  ♫   ♪

You have last minute Christmas presents to buy? Fear not, we have a wonderful gift idea for you!

On the eleventh day of Oxmas, we present you with yet another one of the amazing fair trade products we sell at Oxfam Books Petergate.

Our bags of delicious flavoured beer bread flours would make any bread lover happy.

We have three mouth-watering flavours:

  • Rosemary and olive
  • Chocolate
  • Chili and garlic.

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Why is it that all great recipes come from grandmothers? Barrett’s Ridge was born when our carb-loving founder, Tayrene Barrett decided to turn an old family lunch staple into a booming, proudly South African business. After all, they say you need to be passionate about what you do, right?

A few tweaks to grandma Barrett’s recipe and South Africa’s favourite beer bread was born.

Barretts Ridge website, December 2016

To enjoy this tasty recipe, you just need to add 330ml of beer to the mix and pop it in the oven!

And if you need any more convincing, a portion of Barrett’s Ridge’s profits are donated to the Ukama Community Foundation who provide daily meals to over 130 children living in the Vrygrond township.

Aren’t you looking forward to make your house smell of delicious freshly baked bread?

Just pop into our store to get this awesome gift.

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♪  ♫  

Safe water for ten people,
Nine copies of Playing for Pizza,
Eight Lands of Ice and Fire maps,
Seven Grow Your Own Trees,
Six copies of The Silkworm,
Five golden Piles of Poo!
Four Chalet School books,
Three pots of Swazi preserves,
Two Red Phone Box Books,
And a Winter Warming Kit for the refugees.

♪  ♫  

10th day of Oxmas: Safe Water for Ten People

This post is part of the Twelve Days of Oxmas series which will run from the 1st to the 21st of December 2016. The series showcases some of the many Oxfam Unwrapped gifts, fair-trade products and books we have to offer in store and online. 

♪  ♫  

On the tenth day of Oxmas my true love sent to me 

Safe water for ten people… 

♪  ♫   ♪

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Safe water for ten people is one of our many Oxfam Unwrapped presents. The way it works is simple: you buy it for someone who, like you, would like to make the world a better place, and your money goes where it is most needed. In this case, it goes to providing safe water in different communities in need.

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Find out more about Oxfam Unwrapped here and here.

This life-saving gift can bring clean water to 10 people! It could be for a family facing an emergency or for a community without a nearby supply. Oxfam’s water pipes, pumps and expertise help keep people healthy. They also cut the hours that women in particular have to spend fetching water – time better spent getting an education, earning a living or growing crops.

Here is an example of how your gift can make a difference:

Despite being the chief’s wife, life was never easy for Pumulo because her village lacked a supply of clean water. Pumulo Chikote and her family live in Koba in Zambia. It used to be her and the children’s job to fetch water three times a day. This gruelling task took almost five hours. And not only was the local pond miles away, but the water was dirty and regularly made the family ill with stomach pains and diarrhoea. It’s a different story today thanks to a water pump which has been installed in the village. Now that the community can access clean water, not only is everyone healthier but they have more time for earning a living, looking after the home or getting an education. “We consider ourselves lucky people, the water is clear and free from diseases. Since we’ve had it, no one has fallen sick, and for that we are happy. We no longer have to walk and the water is tasty.”

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To get this gift, just click here or simply pop into our shop!

♪  ♫  

…Nine copies of Playing for Pizza,
Eight Lands of Ice and Fire maps,
Seven Grow Your Own Trees,
Six copies of The Silkworm,
Five golden Piles of Poo!
Four Chalet School books,
Three pots of Swazi preserves,
Two Red Phone Box Books,
And a Winter Warming Kit for the refugees.

♪  ♫  

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