Category Archives: books

Booker shortlist

Renowned literary expert Howard Davies and his panel of Booker judges have revealed the short list for this year’s Booker prize.  The shortlist comprises Darkmans by Nicola Barker (Fourth Estate) The Gathering by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape) The Reluctant Fundamentalist … Continue reading

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Book festival

This lunchtime I saw Andrey Kurkov and Ronan Bennett at the Book festival.  Bennett read from Zugzwang (serialised in The Observer last year and my introduction to his work but we’re assured with a different second half), Kurkov from his new … Continue reading

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reading meme

Via lonemagpie # What are you reading right now? The Mayor of Casterbridge by Hardy; Face of the Enemy by lonemagpie  (ironically enough); Gold by Dan Rhodes; Day by AL Kennedy; An old pub near the angel by Jim Kelman # … Continue reading

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How bad would they be if he just handed them over to his editor?

It has been a while since Lord Pooter updated his blog, but today we are given the reason why. Lord Pooter has been working on a new novel, Prisoner of Birth, or the Count of Weston Super Mare, about  “a … Continue reading

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Zeitgeist books

Robert McCrum has an article today on zeitgeist books.  Perhaps unsurprisingly (it is a former London publishing editor after all) there is a dearth of Scottish fiction on his list as he asserts at one point that British writers only write … Continue reading

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Peace to arrive in September

Ping  blue_condition  : just speaking to a bookshop owner in Edinburgh who is arranging the Scottish launch of David Peace’e next novel.  Looks like it will be September and the first in his Japanese trilogy.  

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Pulitzer Prize meme

via nhw The usual: bold the ones you’ve read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put an asterisk beside the ones you loved. These are the Pulitzer Prize winners for the Fiction (since … Continue reading

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Booker prize meme

Inspired by nhw  and the Pulitzer Prize meme a similar endeavour for the Booker Prize (the links are all via the Booker Prize website   and give a little more information on each year’s nominees. The rules (from the Pulitzer meme) bold … Continue reading

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East Ayrshire provides the sick with a bibliotherapist (video file)Tom Leonard reads “This is the six o’clock news” (audio file)The Scottish election results will be counted electronically and experts predict disaster.Oh, and via dizzy news that her Majesty’s Customs and … Continue reading

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Man Booker International Prize – the nominees

The ManBooker International Prize nominees have been announced.Chinua AchebeMargaret AtwoodJohn BanvillePeter CareyDon DeLilloCarlos FuentesDoris LessingIan McEwanHarry Mulisch Alice MunroMichael OndaatjeAmos OzPhilip RothSalman RushdieMichel Tournier The last longlist of nominees included Saul Bellow, Muriel Spark, Naguib Mahfouz, and Stanislaw Lem, all of … Continue reading

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From The Curtain by Milan Kundera

I’m currently reading Kundera’s most recent meditation on the novel, The Curtain (which shares a number of ideas and themes with his previous meditation on the topic, Testaments Betrayed).  There is a wonderful chapter about world literature, and how those … Continue reading

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So, Ian Rankin is one of the best plotters in the crime writing business: multi-layered the various threads come together in a manner reminiscent of Ellroy at his best.  So, you’d think that in adapting his novels they might consider … Continue reading

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Desert Island Fiction

It’s World Book Day on Thursday.  In anticipation I invite you to choose your desert island fiction.  As a self-imposed restraint one book per writer. My eight (as of today): Love and Garbage by Ivan Klima – dissident life in … Continue reading

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For crime fans

There’s a small publisher, Bitter Lemon Press, publishing crime fiction and thrillers in translation.  As with Harvill (which has cornered the nordic crime market) and Serpent’s Tail (with the early David Peace, Walter Mosley, Vicki Hendricks et al), my experience … Continue reading

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The Damned Utd featured in The Observer

Happy New Year FAO blue_condition  The Observer had a lengthy feature article yesterday on The Damned Utd, available here.

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Books of the year

At thsi time of year newspapers and magazines are full of pithy comments recommending various books of the year.  This is not pithy but here are a few that I’ve particularly enjoyed this year. My favourite new British fiction was The … Continue reading

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What is a classic? –

For my commonplace blog Some extracts from Calvino’s essay, Why read the classics (trs McLaughlin, 1999) 1.  The classics are those books about which you usually hear people saying: “I’m rereading…”, never “I’m reading…” 2.  The classics are those boooks … Continue reading

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Orhan Pamuk wins Nobel Prize for literature

So having successfully negotiated the Turkish judicial system Pamuk is the Nobel laureate.

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Book stuff

The other day I posted about the Observer article on the best of British, Irish and Commonwealth fiction.  The Observer has been running a comments section on this with various contributions from readers. To note: (a) how many Observer … Continue reading

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Best British or Irish or Commonwealth fiction since 1980

IN today’s Observer there is a fascinating article by Robert McCrum on the above topic.  Apparently in the US they recently had a poll ( for the best American novel of the past twenty five years) and Beloved by Toni … Continue reading

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