July In Reading

This month's books are mostly from the same publisher: Granta Books

Here is what has been read this month:

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss (Review Copy)

I have heard a lot about this book through some of the YouTube book vloggers I follow. The Tidal Zone is the story of Adam - A stay at home Dad who receives a call from his fifteen year old daughter's school to inform him that for no apparent reason Miriam has collapsed and stopped breathing. In that moment his life is plunged into darkness and the story of his life and his family are rewritten and re-told around this event from Adam's perspective.

The book explores parental love, overwhelming fear, illness and recovery. The book has a lot of dark humour and engages gender roles, politics, academia and the NHS it's well written and has a good literary style that I am starting to enjoy more.

The Fireman by Joe Hill 

Audiobook via Audible

This has been my first audiobook experience in a very long time. The books by Hill that I have read I enjoyed so decided to use Audible after hearing positive things from the Book Riot podcast. The first thing I noticed that it's over 24 hours long - when did audiobooks become so long ?? but it comes in handy when are preparing blog posts :) also it's narrated by Kate Mulgrew and works so well.

A terrifying plague sweeps through America. No-one knows it's origin point but it's striking cities one by one, medical professionals are calling it Draco Incendia Trychophyton but to everyone else it's Dragonscale - a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks it victims with black & gold marks across their bodies before well before they just burt into flames.

Humour mixed with terror and some great book references.

The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami (Review Copy)

I have been eagerly awaiting this as Kawakami's debut Strange Weather in Tokyo was my favourite book of 2015.

Hitomi takes a cash register job in a quirky thrift shop which she is strangely attached to as are the local villagers who are fascinated by the items that are bought and sold which all contain their own surprising story.  The shop is owned by ladies man Mr Nakano and includes his sister Masayo and a young man Takeo who starts a relationship with Hitomi.

Once again Kawakami's words just flow through each page of this novel exploring treasure hoarders and secret seekers bargain hunters and would be lovers. I did enjoy it but I have been spoilt with so many other great books this year that at the moment I don't have the fondness for it like I have with Strange Weather.

Human Acts by Han Kang (Review Copy)

I have made no secret of how much I loved The Vegetarian and although I received both books at the same time as I decided to hold off as I don't like reading the same authors work back to back unless it's a series or collection. Like with Kawakami, Kang's work past or future will always have a place on my bookshelves.

Human Acts is set around the Gwangju massacre, South Korea 1980 and is divided into 6 acts each act is from the perspective from people affected by the massacre & Kang wonderfully immerses herself in these stories and events trying to make a sense of & peace with something so horrific in her own birth place.

Delicate and harrowing all at the same time and once again have reenforced my love for Kang's writing.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thein  (Review Copy)

I started reading this just before the longlist of the The Man Booker Prize was announced so I was very happy to see it appear amongst the chosen books. I would highly recommend reading  The Four Books before this as for me this added to my enjoyment of Thein's work.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing is a story of an extended family in China showing the lives of two generations - parents who have lived through General Mao's Cultural Revolution and the children who became student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Thien has crafted something grandly political, deep rooted in the daily details of daily life inside China, yet it's still humorous and highly detailed.

Have you read or want to read any of these titles ?

Are you fan of audiobooks ?

Comments, suggestions and of course book recommendations always welcome

This Week In Books 14th August 2016

This week's post is being composed with Jessie Burton's The Muse in the background. I usually listen to book related podcasts or audiobooks whilst I blog.

The Hay Festival is seeking new sponsorship after The Telegraph Media Group have decided not renew their £250,000 a year backing after supporting the festival for the last 5 years.

Next year sees the 30th anniversary of the festival and an announcement regarding the future of the festival is expected in September.

Tuesday was National Book Lovers Day - My initial thought was, only one day?

 The Booksellers Association will be holding it's first Bookshop Day in the UK & Ireland on Saturday 8th October whilst continuing the Books Are My Bag campaign which in now in it's third year.

This years limited edition tote bag designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith and will celebrate the 90th year anniversary of AA Milne's beloved creation Winnie-the-pooh.

Penguin Random House have launched #ByBook which will take readers to new places at the same time championing books simultaneously. 

The campaign features 22 books and every book has been paired with a destination on it's Website

What's great is that it's for all ages which isn't a number only a chapter.

Do you want to take part in #ByBook ?

This Week In Books 7th August 2016

This week's edition of the blog is being posted a day early. Mainly because I have been a bit more organised this week :).

Of course Harry Potter and the Cursed Child gets another mention. Myself & Mel both finished this very quickly after getting a copy and at one point it had two bookmarks in it as we both wanted to read it.

First day sales have been incredible according to both Waterstones & Foyles. pre sales of the book had reached well over 100,000 copies at Waterstones alone.

The author Patrick Ness is to have another one of his books turned into a movie. Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never letting Go will be directed by Doug Liman, produced by Doug Davison & star Daisy Ridley

Another adaption of Ness's work - A Monster Calls will be released in cinemas later this year.

Author Amy Liprot has won The Wainwright Golden Beer Prize for her debut novel The Outrun. The Wainwright Prize celebrates UK nature and travel writing.

 Granta Books has acquired two books by Milan based author Lisa Halliday. One of them being her debut Asymmetry which Granta plan to publish early 2018.

According a new study books may help you live longer. The study in the Elsevier journal Social Science and Medicine found that people who read live on average two years longer than non readers regardless of gender, health or education.

Who needs an excuse to read ? 

Back next week with some more bite size bookish news

This Week In Books 31st July 2016

Not a lot to report this week but still some big things have happened.

My favourite book award The Man Booker Prize announced it's longlist. I was literally poised in front of our Mac in anticipation for the announcement.  You can read more about it on my post here
and I have actually placed a bet on who I think the winner will be.

Author Phillip Pullman is to be the first patron of Literature Wales.  Pullman was appointed to the role as part of Literature Wales ethos to encourage children to create and enjoy literature.

Finally this week saw the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We were away for the midnight release but this was taken by Mel this morning, she hadn't even left the bookshop before snapping this picture. No doubt this will end up on respective blogs once it's been read

Mine is here  and Mel's can be found here

Top 5 UK Books

1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
2. After You by Jojo Moyes
3. Murder House by James Patterson
4. Coffin Road by Peter May
5. The Guilty by David Baldacci

Back next week for more bitesize book news

Have you got The Cursed Child ? Have you finished it yet ? :)

The Man Booker Prize Longlist 2016

The Man Booker Prize Longlist for 2016 has just been announced. This year the Judging panel Chaired by Dr. Amanda Foreman will consist of Abdulrazak GurnahDavid HarsnetJon Day Olivia Williams.

The books in this years list are:

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thein - I am currently reading this
All That Man Is by David Szalay
My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout 
Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
The Many by Wyl Menmuir
Hystopia by David Means
The North Water by Ian McGuire
His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Hot Milk by Deborah Levy
Serious Sweet by A.L.Kennedy
The Schooldays of Jesus by J.M.Coetzee
The Sellout by Paul Beatty

The Shortlist will be announced on the 13th September with the eventual winner being crowned on the 25th October.

This also means that the Man Booker Podcast will soon be making a very welcome return.

Which of these books have you either read or are excited to read ?

Have you picked what you think the winner will be ?

This Weeks in Books 24th July 2016

After some positive feedback the weekly post is back.

Update from last's week post. Browser the Cat is not being evicted. After a public outcry and loads of signatures Browser will now stay at the library.

Thomas Morris has won the English Language Wales Book of the Year for his short story collection We Don't Know What We're Doing. Caryl Lewis won the Welsh Language award for her novel Y Bwthyn. Other awards included The Roland Mathias Poetry Award which went to Philip Close for his collection Songs of Carbon & Jasmine Donahaye's Losing Israel won the creative non fiction award.

The ceremony took place in Merthyr Tydfil.

Former Police Officer now author Claire Makintosh has won the Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival  Novel of the Year award for her debut novel I let you go.

Co Founder of the festival Val Mcdermid was also honoured with a outstanding contribution award which took place in Harrogate.

Goldsboro Books owner David Headley has launched Bookman & Black. A new venture that will have strong book values, support publishers & authors with promotions and marketing giving the feel of an independent book shop all in a online presence.

The lovely Rosie Garland will have her next book cover designed by Aitch! an illustrator from Bucharest after entering this years Bridgeman Studio Award.

Books bring people together. When I first met Mel we were both reading the same book. This particular story started of with a tweet to the Oxford Road branch of Waterstones and then later became a wedding.

Congratulations to Victoria & Jonathan O'Brien 

Books of my Childhood

It's no secret that I loved books from a very early age. I nearly always had a book with me & on the odd occasion I was really naughty as a child and everything was taken out of my room I used to hide a few books underneath the Mattress.

I wanted to post a few titles that I was really fond of & some that have just always stayed in my mind good or bad.

Roger Red-hat by Shelia McCullagh 

I don't mistreat books now but back in my very early school days this book was my nemesis. I don't think it was the books & stories themselves although I flat out refused to read the Billy Blue Hat ones for reasons that now escape me.  I think maybe it was down to the fact that I could read well before I started school (Thanks Mum xx) and I was expected to read at the class level & not allowed to advance when I wanted.

Dogger by Shirley Hughes 

This is first book that I remember actually getting really emotional about & shedding actual boy tears too even though at the time we had cats called Mork & Mindy - the whole story just swept me up on huge emotional roller coaster - a boy looses his toy dog at a fair, it's sold to someone else for 5p will he get his favourite possession back ? it's just too much.

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy 

Long before Harry Potter came the story of life at a magical boarding school. I had a book crush on Mildred Hubble - I briefly saw the TV show and I think this was the first example of the book being better than what was presented on screen.

Fat & Skinny  

I really don't have fond memories of this book and I can't find and author or cover for it. From memory it was a cartoon cover with people racing. This book got me first detention for refusing to sit in class whilst this was being read.  I used to get bullied because of my cerebral palsy so I didn't really find the humour, stories or rhymes funny as I saw it lead to others getting bullied. I was pretty stubborn even back then & it was finally agreed that whilst that book was read I could go a sit in the library

He-Man Meets the Beast

This was my first read along with cassette book - The Beast used to scare me in the audio. I ended up getting other classics such as Skeletor's Ice Attack & The Iron Master but this was my favourite.

The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien

There is always that one book that will stay with you forever & this is it. I remember where I was thie first time I saw it. I loved this so much that I never returned the school copy I think my mum may even have it still in the loft of nostalgia. I have owned many copies over the years. It took me a while to finish it back then but I have recently purchased the hobbit & lord of the rings books in really nice editions (pictured above) & I'm quite interested how quickly I get through them all

Hope you enjoyed this post.

Are there any books you were and are still fond of ?

Can you guess the childhood secret ?

As ever comments, thoughts and book recommendations always welcome