There is a wonderful phrase in business which we learned in the early days of striking out on our own – ‘if you see a band-wagon, it’s too late’ – in other words, don’t copy what others do, for you will be too slow, the opportunity will have come and gone. Better to have the strength of your own convictions to set out and follow your own path. Sure, sometimes the toast gets dropped, and you might need to revise and re-work the idea, sometimes you might need to get a wriggle on to deal with the opportunity which comes out of the blue, but being small and nimble at times like these is a blessing. Treat every day like a school day, set out to learn something new, ask questions, experience something different, share those experiences with those around you who are equally curious. The cool kids always sat at the back of the bus, but the best view was always at the front.
The 18th c. artist and poet William Blake would have been sat at the front of the bus, his view was quite different to those of his peers, here was an artist who struck out on his own – his view of the world, and in particular his view on religion, resulted in some extraordinary imagery. His poetry too was asking questions, and perhaps his best known, ‘The Tyger’ was bold in its curiosity – could the same hands which created beauty, also create something quite ferocious?
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
Our Coles Signed Editions are ahead of the curve this week, we have some wonderful titles coming shortly – for music fans there are the memoirs from Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and Judas Priest front-man Rob Halford; the comedian and actor Alan Davies offers his forthcoming autobiography – it will be a tender and funny story; those who follow Formula 1 may be interested in our forthcoming ‘Lights Out, Full Throttle’ from two motor racing legends, Damon Hill & Johnny Herbert – this Coles Exclusive Edition will come with two art prints, one each of Damon and Johnny, produced specifically for this Coles Signed Edition by accomplished motorsport artist David Johnson. Our fiction this week comes from Santa Montefiore, Peter James and Alexander McCall Smith. The latest Simon Stålenhag illustrated novel ‘Things from the Flood’ has started shipping and Ollie Ollerton’s call to action ‘Battle Ready’ is also now available.
Again, we’ve added a few un-signed titles this week – a couple of favourites from the shop, a thriller for reading in the garden, and a title which will be all over the news in the coming week.
As always, thank you for opening and reading this email and thank you for supporting ‘Independent Bookselling’ at Coles Books.
Stay curious and join us at the front of the bus.
Very best wishes from us all,
Nigel, Caroline and the team at Coles Books