The To-Read Pile

There's an ever growing pile of books I want to read…

Happy Birthday, Dear Blog & Happy Birthday, Dear Hot Key!

I started this blog a year ago today and I half expected that it wouldn’t last very long. I thought that maybe I’d get bored of blogging or that I’d forget to update.

I strongly suspected that no-one would want to read what I had to say.

But here we are, 1 year, 43 posts, 2213 views later. Still blogging. And I guess people are still reading or you wouldn’t be here!

Happy Birthday, Dear Reader. Happy Birthday, Dear Blog.

Have some cake!

Birthday Cake Image

My blog isn’t the only thing celebrating a birthday. Hot Key Books, my favourite publisher (even though I know that I shouldn’t play favourites), also had its first birthday recently.

Hot Key were nice enough to invite children’s booksellers to a birthday celebration evening and they let me come along, even though I’m not technically a children’s bookseller any more.

I stupidly forgot to take any pictures and I didn’t find out what the (really good) wine we were drinking was either. I did bring home books and a fab new tote bag, though. So I guess things even out.

Hot Key Tote Bag

I have such a Hot Key Books problem, you guys.

My favourite book from this year of blogging is unequivocally Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve. If you’ve not seen my rambly awkward video review for it, you can check it out here. If you plan to hang out here, you’re going to hear about this book again. It hasn’t been published yet and I intend to blog about its launch party and also hopefully try and rope Laure Eve into writing some kind of guest content for me.

But Fearsome Dreamer isn’t the only Hot Key book that I’ve enjoyed. I also reviewed Paper Aeroplanes. And right now I’m reading The Elites, which I plan to blog about in its own post.

This is my Hot Key shelf:

The Hot Key Shelf

I don’t have everything they’ve published, but I’m working on it. It’ll probably be a little easier from January when I’ll be buying books again!

I enjoy Hot Key’s aesthetic, I enjoy their blog and I love the ‘Hot Key Ring’, which is how they tell you about the content of their books. Rather than slapping a generic age rating on the back of their books, they give you a pie-chart like breakdown of what’s inside. The Key Ring for ‘The Savages’ by Matt Whyman, for instance, lists black comedy, peril and family. Vivian Versus the Apocalypse lists Apocalypse, Friendship, Road Trip and Frisson. Isn’t that brilliant?

I’ve read a few and I’ve yet to encounter one that I didn’t enjoy. I guess that it’s probably inevitably going to happen some time but not so far.

They also number their proofs which satisfies and frustrates the collector in me. (Being a bookseller (and prior to that, a volunteer librarian), people expect me to have all my books arranged alphabetically. I don’t. I have an excellent memory and I generally remember where I’ve shelved things. Plus, I get enough of alphabetical order at work.

They also do some really exciting and creative things with their marketing – The Savages had edible prints with meat illustrations on them! They recently send out batches of proofs in Pizza boxes. If you’re looking to talk to people who are genuinely excited about their work, these are the people to talk to.

I think the thing that I like best about Hot Key Books, though, is what nice people they are. I’m sure that there are a lot of business theories along the lines of niceness finishing last and I say boo to that. If you have to give your money to someone, maybe you should try giving it to someone nice for a change.

In the interest of full disclosure, no one from Hot Key asked me to write this post and they are not paying me to endorse them or anything like that. If they wanted to send me more books, that would be awesome, but I am prepared to talk to you at length about how much I love them with no ulterior motive apart from wanting you to read their books. You don’t even have to buy them if you don’t want to, that’s why humanity invented the library – use your local library if you want it to survive!

I just think that Hot Key’s books are sadly underrepresented in mainstream book shops and deserve a boost.


(By the way, the birthday cake image that I used above is by Ardfern (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons and I am using it under Creative Commons.)

5 comments on “Happy Birthday, Dear Blog & Happy Birthday, Dear Hot Key!

  1. Suzanne Furness
    September 3, 2013

    Happy blog birthday!

  2. Kai Savage
    September 3, 2013

    Awesome publisher. Happy Birthday x

  3. saraathotkey
    September 3, 2013

    Wowee! Thanks so much for all your lovely words. I, too, say boo to niceness finishing last. A very loud BOO!

  4. Pingback: Guest Post! Laure Eve loves this author: Stephen King | The To-Read Pile

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This entry was posted on September 2, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
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