About Jonathan O'Brien

Jonathan is better known on @WstonesOxfordSt as the only Book Whisperer in Central London. When he's not soothing books and saving lives, he can be found writing lots of other stuff and wondering what it would be like to have a day off.
Films you didn't know were books Featured image

Films you didn’t know were based on books

It’s no secret that Hollywood constantly takes ideas from the book industry (as our Oxford Street store pointed out during the Oscars) but there are plenty of adaptations that are nowhere near as high-profile as their award-nominated brethren. Did you know that Shrek and Who Framed Roger Rabbit were originally books? And about Alfred Hitchcock’s predilection for putting words to the screen? If you didn’t, and anyone who said they did is lying, here are some film adaptations that began started off as the finer medium in life. Read more

Mother’s Day

It's Mother's Day! So it's time to get some flowers! Or chocolates! Or perfume! Or all the other things that every mum in the world likes! Because women like flowers and men like football and there's no room for anybody in between. But, on the million to one chance that your mother, or any other woman in your life, has an interest in history or politics or music or all those other topics that everybody knows only interest men, we've put together a selection of possible presents for your mum. N.B. The above statement may contain irony. Read more

The Bookshelf Order

Jonathan O'Brien writes about how best to organise your personal bookshelves and finds himself getting confused and scared by people who think colour is an acceptable system... Read more
Justin Bieber

Books for Bieber

Oh, Justin. We just want you to calm down a little. Stop it with the parties, the speeding, the drink, the drugs. Why not take a bit of time out? Sit down next to one of the many open fires in your no doubt gigantic house and relax. You can live out your angry teenage years through books and in the comfort of your own home! It’s certainly one sure fire way to make sure that the police leave you alone. Sounds good? Brilliant. We’ve got a few suggestions for you, Justin. Read more
Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

What to do now that Sherlock’s over for another fifteen years

Well, it’s over. Again. For what will probably feel like another eighteen years. Why do they keep on doing this to us? Three episodes and then nothing. We need more. More. We can never be satisfied. If only there were some sort of books about Sherlock which could keep you busy until the series returns? Or, if there aren’t any books about Sherlock Holmes, maybe there are similar books which can act as a brief fix to help us through these dark times? Ah, yes, hold on, found some… Read more
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

16 #BuzzfeedBooks You Have To Read Before You Die

The correct way to market books is an ongoing debate. TV adverts? Book trailers? Posters at railway stations? Book clubs and word of mouth? It's a puzzler. But it seems to us that the most obvious and successful way is to do what everyone else is doing and copy Buzzfeed. We asked Twitter for books as written by Buzzfeed headline writers and now we've solved every marketing problem for the entire publishing industry. So here you are, 16 #BuzzfeedBooks you have to read before you die. Read more

Six musicians who have written novels

With Morrissey announcing that he’s working on a novel (that’s definitely not going to have a central character that’s suspiciously similar to Morrissey himself) we thought it’d be a good idea to share with you some other musicians who’ve turned their hands to fiction. Musicians, eh? They’re not happy enough standing on stage to thousands of adoring fans, now they’ve got to muscle on our world as well… Read more
Chocolate muffin

New Year’s resolutions 2014 – You’re fine as you are

Every year as the calendar starts again the world falls into a blind panic. People who were otherwise happy in their habits, minds, bodies and routines decide to change in the name of self-improvement. ‘It’s a new year, it’s time for a new me,’ they think, sometimes forgetting that, actually, they quite like themselves as they are. Read more
Follow Friday

Twauthors – The best authors on Twitter

It’s no surprise that authors have taken to Twitter, an almost entirely text-based medium. With Stephen King joining Twitter the other day and taking all the attention, we thought it only fair to take a moment to highlight some of our favourite authors who have been tweeting long before King decided it was time to further enrage Jonathan Franzen. And, it should go without saying, #ff. Read more
Books about You

Books About You – Novels Written in the Second-Person Narrative

You finish yet another book where a first-person narrator has told you all about their adventures or a nameless god has just finished a story about characters you suspect don’t really exist. ‘I think, therefore I am,’ you think (therefore you are). You want a book about a character you know is real. Let’s face it, you want a book about you. You don’t want to be sitting on the bus to work reading about other people, you want to be reading about nobody but yourself. So, here you are, six books about you. You raging ego-maniac. Read more
First lines crop

A further fourteen fantastic first lines

Jonathan O'Brien recently ran a short post about some of his favourite first lines on the Waterstones Oxford Street tumblr (you can see that list here)- and he definitely didn’t get too excited and phone his mother when it hit the front page of Reddit (She had no idea what Reddit was and just seemed confused, but pleased, at his happiness). Fourteen didn’t seem enough in the original piece so, to maintain the satisfyingly alliterative titles (and to appease the Redditors who got angry about the books we missed off), here’s fourteen more fantastic first lines. Read more