A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – Foyles Bookshop Event

A Little Life Hanya YanagiharaLonglisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize, ‘A Little Life’ by Hanya Yanagihara has been talked about as one of the novels of the year, if not the decade. On Wednesday night, Yanagihara appeared at Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road in London in conversation with Cathy Rentzenbrink, the Associate Editor of The Bookseller, to talk about her astonishing second novel.
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Four More Books I’ve Read This Summer

ISo You've Been Publicly Shamed Jon Ronson blogged about Jon Ronson’s talk at the Hay Festival earlier this year which was about his latest book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. I read it a couple of weeks after attending the Festival and it is by far the most terrifying book I’ve read this year. Shame is one of the most powerful yet least talked-about human emotions and Ronson examines the dark consequences of shaming people on social media, usually after they have said or done something politically incorrect. Having already heard Ronson talk about the main content of the book such as the Justine Sacco and Jonah Lehrer cases, there were fewer elements of surprise for me when reading it as some of the material was already familiar. However, Ronson’s observations on the subject are very astute and he has chosen an interesting range of examples for the book. Although ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ doesn’t provide any real “answers” as to why people shame others, it is a thought-provoking look at the very modern phenomenon of online mob justice. Continue reading

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Should Libraries Stop Buying Books?

It was reported last week that some libraries in Birmingham have “stopped buying books and newspapers” and are requesting donations from the public. The following message has appeared in some of the 38 libraries in the city:

Birmingham libraries stop buying books

Yet just two years earlier, the city had been celebrating the opening of the very shiny state-of-the-art Library of Birmingham which was built at a cost of £188 million. It is the largest civic library in Europe and also features a gallery, theatre, recording studio and extensive archives. However, it is the smaller libraries in the city where the requests have appeared, as the Library of Birmingham itself does not accept donations. Continue reading

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The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante

‘TThe Story of a New Name Elena Ferrantehe Story of a New Name’ is the second in the series of Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante and translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein. The book opens with Lila asking Elena to hide a box of notebooks from her husband. Instead, Elena dumps them in the river but not without reading them first and the story continues where the first book ‘My Brilliant Friend‘ left off with Lila leaving school and getting married to Stefano Carracci, a well-off local grocer. Unsurprisingly, their marriage is tempestuous from the very beginning while Elena is planning to continue her education and go to university.  Continue reading

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Book Blogs, Hatchet Jobs and One-Star Book Reviews

Even though I don’t give ratings in my own blog reviews, I always look at the one-star reviews of books I want to read on Amazon or Goodreads and sometimes wonder what compels people to write them. The number or proportion of these one-star reviews and the amount of venom contained within them – justified or otherwise – can often determine whether or not I am likely to buy the book. As with the purchase of any product, it seems natural to seek out what the worst case scenario might be in order to evaluate the risk of potential disappointment.

Found on pinterest.com via Tumblr: Creative Writers, Writers Stuff, Snoopy Writing, Brown Snoopy And Gang, Writers Life, Peanut Snoopy, Charli Brown Snoopy And, Peanut Gang, Books Review

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The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards

The Golden Age of Murder‘The Golden Age of Murder: The Mystery of the Writers Who Invented the Modern Detective Story’ by Martin Edwards investigates the mysterious Detection Club of famous crime writers including Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Anthony Berkeley, Margery Allingham amongst others. While many of the works by these authors have been dismissed by some as “cosy” crime stories compared to the more graphically violent offerings today, Edwards reveals that this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth as he investigates the stories behind the authors, their books and the curious social network that linked them together.

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Peirene Press: The Blue Room by Hanne Ørstavik and Mr Darwin’s Gardener by Kristina Carlson

Having read and enjoyed ‘The Mussel Feast‘ by Birgit Vanderbeke and ‘The Dead Lake‘ by Hamid Ismailov, I have been seeking out more titles published by Peirene Press, a small independent publishing house who specialise in contemporary European novellas translated into English, which the Times Literary Supplement describes as “literary cinema for those fatigued by film”. So far, I’ve found six more in charity shops and Hay-on-Wye bookshops:

Peirene Press

As August is Women in Translation Month hosted by Biblibio, I’ve been reading ‘Mr Darwin’s Gardener’ by Kristina Carlson translated from the Finnish by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah (Title No. 11 from the Turning Point: Revolutionary Moments series) and ‘The Blue Room’ by Hanne Ørstavik translated from the Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin (Title No. 14 from the Coming-of-Age: Towards Identity series). It’s a happy coincidence that the books I have chosen have both been written and translated by women. Continue reading

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