Tag Archives: Publishing

Books In The Time Of Coronavirus

Until recently, the closure of all libraries and bookshops until further notice in the UK and many other countries across the world was a scenario which would only be considered in the context of a dystopian novel, but this is now the new reality we live in as social distancing measures come into force to prevent the spread of coronavirus. I currently have one physical library book checked out (‘The Body’ by Bill Bryson – from what I’ve read so far, I can tell you that pages 33-36 on viruses have acquired a new significance since the book was first published just six months ago) and I have no idea when I’ll be able to return it. Fortunately, the library service I use has a very good ebook selection so I’ll be using that a lot over the next few months. Continue reading

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My Most Anticipated Books of 2020

Fake Law The Secret BarristerI have an ever-growing list of anticipated books due to be published in 2020. Here are the titles I am looking forward to reading the most. All publication dates where known are for the United Kingdom only.

In non-fiction, Notes from an Apocalypse by Mark O’Connell is the Wellcome Book Prize-winning author’s second book after To Be a Machine. Due in April, it will explore how we get to grips with the future and the possible end of the world in an age of anxiety. 

Also due in April, Fake Law: The Truth About Justice in an Age of Lies by The Secret Barrister promises to be an equally eye-opening account as his/her bestselling debut book of how the legal system really works, this time focusing on themes of ignorance, corruption and fake news. Continue reading

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Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill

Their Brilliant Careers Ryan O’NeillI have been reading a lot of non-fiction over the last few weeks, and even the most recent novel I have read masquerades as a series of biographical sketches. ‘Their Brilliant Careers’ by Ryan O’Neill is introduced as a collection of sixteen portraits of Australian literary figures from the 20th century. It is a shame that the blurb and my review are forced by necessity to reveal that everything from the dedication to the index is invented, but O’Neill’s highly amusing pastiche more than makes up for this. Continue reading

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My Most Anticipated Books of 2019

I have an ever-growing list of books I want to read which will be published in 2019, even though it is extremely unlikely I will get round to all of them in the next 12 months and more will inevitably distract me as the year goes on. Here is a selection of some I will be looking out for. All publication dates where known apply to the UK only and may be subject to change.

Spring Ali Smith

Among fiction titles, there are numerous sequels and instalments of series due in 2019. Spring by Ali Smith is the third book in the Scottish author’s seasons cycle following Autumn (2016) and Winter (2017) with Summer presumably following in 2020.

A part of me wonders if The Testaments by Margaret Atwood would ever have been written if the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale hadn’t been so successful. Set 15 years after the original book, the new volume won’t be based on the grim storylines of the second season broadcast last year, but it’s safe to assume that it won’t be a light and cheery read either. Continue reading

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A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

A Ladder to the Sky John BoyneI don’t normally read books by the same author within the space of a few weeks but after enjoying The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne so much in July, I was very keen to read his latest novel ‘A Ladder to the Sky’. It tells the story of Maurice Swift, an aspiring young writer who meets moderately successful novelist Erich Ackermann in Berlin in the late 1980s. Erich becomes infatuated with Maurice and reveals a long-held secret from his youth in Nazi Germany. Maurice later publishes a novel based on Erich’s secret to great critical acclaim but struggles to follow the success of his debut. He can write average prose but ideas, plots and characters don’t come naturally to him at all, so he goes in search of other people’s stories, resorting to extreme measures in order to pass them off as his own work. Continue reading

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Do Book Blog Reviews Have Real Influence?

Blog Influence Snoopy Cartoon

The book blogger versus traditional literary critic debate has been rumbling on for a while now, especially as it is noticeable that endorsements from bloggers are increasingly used alongside reviews by established journalists. However, I was recently surprised to find a quote from my review of Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien inside the UK paperback edition published by Granta. I hadn’t known my review was going to be used for this purpose (but I don’t object to it) and I also didn’t receive a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my comments. Continue reading

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On Anonymity, Identity and Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante Neapolitan Novels

There are many reasons why authors may choose to publish their work anonymously or pseudonymously. Historically, this has primarily been due to the threat of persecution or prosecution if the material produced was controversial and/or illegal. More recently, however, it has often stemmed from the author’s desire to simply let the words speak for themselves. Continue reading

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The Man Booker International Prize Longlist 2016

The longlist for the newly reconfigured Man Booker International Prize has been announced today. The thirteen books are:

  • A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa (Angola), translated by Daniel Hahn and published by Harvill Secker.
  • The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (Italy), translated by Ann Goldstein and published by Europa Editions
  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang (South Korea), translated by Deborah Smith and published by Portobello Books
  • Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal (France), translated by Jessica Moore and published by Maclehose Press
  • Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan (Indonesia), translated by Labodalih Sembiring and published by Verso Books
  • The Four Books by Yan Lianke (China), translated by Carlos Rojas and published by Chatto & Windus
  • Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo/Austria), translated by Roland Glasser and published by Jacaranda
  • A Cup of Rage by Raduan Nassar (Brazil), translated by Stefan Tobler and published by Penguin Modern Classics
  • Ladivine by Marie NDiaye (France), translated by Jordan Stump and published Maclehose Press
  • Death by Water by Kenzaburō Ōe (Japan), translated by Deborah Boliner Boem (Atlantic Books)
  • White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen (Finland), translated by Emily Jeremiah & Fleur Jeremiah and published by Peirene Press
  • A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk (Turkey), translated by Ekin Oklap and published by Faber & Faber
  • A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler (Austria), translated by Charlotte Collins and published by Picador

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New Books Coming Soon in 2016

As well as all the books I missed in 2015 and want to catch up on, there are lots of new books to look forward to in 2016. Here is a selection I will be keeping my eye out for this year:

FICTION

IThe Noise of Time Julian Barnes‘m looking forward to reading The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes, an author who can always be relied upon to write about something completely different every time he publishes a new book. His latest novel, his first since The Sense of an Ending which won the Man Booker Prize in 2011, is based on the life of Dmitri Shostakovich.

The Muse by Jessie Burton will be out in the summer. I thought The Miniaturist was an enjoyable piece of historical literary fiction but a bit on the light side whereas her second novel looks like it’s going to be more ambitious in terms of content. Set in 1930s Spain and 1960s London, it tells the story of a painting which connects a Caribbean migrant and a bohemian artist.

This Must Be The Place Maggie O'FarrellThis Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell will be published in May. I’ve enjoyed all of her novels, particularly The Hand That First Held Mine and I’m looking forward to her seventh novel about an American professor living in Ireland who has a secret which threatens to destroy his idyllic life in the countryside.

‘After Me Comes the Flood’ is a 50p charity shop bargain I haven’t read yet but I’m hoping to read both that as well as The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry this year. Her second novel is set in Victorian London and Essex and tells the story of a unique relationship between a widow and a vicar. Continue reading

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My Books of the Year 2015

In no particular order, here are some of my favourite books from those I’ve read in 2015:

Favourite fiction published in 2015

I loved Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith which is the third book in the Cormoran Strike series and I was lucky enough to attend a special launch event in October in which my team came first in a live escape game. Winning a signed copy was a particular highlight.

The relaunch of the Sunday Times / PFD Young Writer of the Year Award introduced me to some fantastic new authors including The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota which is my personal favourite from a very strong shortlist.

Career of Evil goody bagThe Year Of The Runaways Sunjeev SahotaA Little Life Hanya Yanagihara

I really enjoyed seeing Hanya Yanagihara talk about her second novel A Little Life at Foyles last summer. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, it’s been one of the most talked-about and controversial books of the year and, in my view, one of the most astonishingly original. Continue reading

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The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2015 Longlist

Samuel Johnson Prize longlist

The longlist for this year’s Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction was announced today. The twelve books are:

Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life by Jonathan Bate
Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance by Robert Gildea
Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane
The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World by Oliver Morton
Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia by Peter Pomerantsev
They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper by Bruce Robinson
The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World by Laurence Scott
Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently by Steve Silberman
The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq by Emma Sky
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Tim Snyder
This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War by Samanth Subramanian

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The Man Booker Prize 2015 Longlist

Man Booker Prize Longlist 2015

The longlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize was announced today. The thirteen titles are:

  • Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg (US)
  • The Green Road by Anne Enright (Ireland)
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Jamaica)
  • The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami (US)
  • Satin Island by Tom McCarthy (UK)
  • The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria)
  • The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan (UK)
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (US)
  • Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy (India)
  • The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota (UK)
  • The Chimes by Anna Smaill (New Zealand)
  • A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (US)
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (US)

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Go Set a Watchman: The Inevitable Disappointment of Literary Sequels?

Go Set a WatchmanUntil last week, the prospect of Harper Lee publishing a new book fifty-five years after ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ seemed about as likely as Donna Tartt churning out novels at the same pace as Stephen King or E. L. James winning the Man Booker Prize. But this is exactly what was announced by her publishers at HarperCollins last Tuesday.

Few details have been revealed so far other than that the book is about Scout Finch returning to Alabama as an adult twenty years after the events in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. ‘Go Set A Watchman’ was written before ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ but Lee was persuaded by her publishers to focus on Scout’s childhood instead. The original novel was subsequently lost before it was rediscovered last autumn.

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New Books Coming Soon in 2015

The Buried GiantA God in RuinsA Spool of Blue ThreadThe Girl on the Train

 

 

 

 

 

2014 was a fantastic year for new books by some of my favourite authors including ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage‘ by Haruki Murakami, ‘The Paying Guests‘ by Sarah Waters, ‘Us‘ by David Nicholls and ‘The Book of Strange New Things‘ by Michel Faber. 2015 is also shaping up to be a bumper year for long-awaited new novels from both established authors and debut novelists alike. Here are the ones to watch in 2015:

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Girl Online by Zoe Sugg: Is Ghostwriting Unethical?

Earlier this week, it was announced that ‘Girl Online’ by Zoe Sugg also known as YouTube vlogger Zoella, was the fastest selling debut novel of all time having shifted 78,109 copies in its first week of sales in the UK. However, in an article published in The Telegraph today, Penguin Random House confirmed to The Sunday Times that “to be factually accurate you would need to say Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own”.

Zoella's first book: YouTube blogger Zoe Sugg poses with Girl Online Continue reading

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Book Launch: Of Bodies Changed by Cliff James

20140920_165256

Last weekend, I went to a book launch in Cambridge for Cliff James’ debut novel ‘Of Bodies Changed’. The novel tells the story of Jackie, who travels to the South Downs in search of her childhood home. As she tries to find out what happened to her estranged brother, Chris, she uncovers a number of dark family secrets. Based on what Cliff describes as a “close encounter” with the Church as a teenager, the story follows Jackie as she is introduced to a world of heathens, priests and paganism. Continue reading

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Penguin defends “creepy” new cover of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryAlthough the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is supposed to be metaphorical, the controversy surrounding the new Penguin Modern Classics edition of Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ suggests that many readers care about actual book covers quite a lot. Variously described as postmodern, sexualised, creepy and downright terrifying, the new edition of Dahl’s best-loved book released next month ahead of its 50th anniversary has provoked some very strong reactions from readers and critics this week.

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eBooks in Libraries: Worth the Investment?

For the printed book purist, the mere suggestion of libraries lending eBooks conjures up images of empty shelves, redundant librarians and tumbleweeds drifting across abandoned buildings. However, leaving aside sentimental arguments about the superiority or inferiority of the different formats, the reality is that many libraries now offer a selection of eBooks available for download. Although eBook lending is growing, several questions need to be asked about the future development of this new technology. Most importantly, with so many libraries under significant financial pressure, are eBooks actually worth the investment?

eBooks and libraries

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The Folio Society Spring Titles Launch

Founded in 1947 by Charles Ede, the Folio Society is an independent publisher with a reputation for producing beautifully illustrated books.  This week, I was lucky enough to attend their spring titles launch event at the British Library in London.

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Eleanor Catton wins the Man Booker Prize

It has just been announced that Eleanor Catton has won this year’s Man Booker Prize for her novel ‘The Luminaries’.  Not only is she the youngest ever winner of the prestigious prize at the age of just 28, the book is also the longest ever to win at 832 pages.  Her productivity levels are simply incredible – I feel exhausted just thinking about it. Continue reading

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