Sunday, March 9, 2014

Books and and bookish things making the news this month



Apart from the Bailey's longlist announced the other night and which I mentioned in my last post here is a quick round up of interesting books and bookish things which have made the news, some of which are also currently piling up by my bedside.
Liz Nugent's Unravelling Oliver is winning praise from the critics and the book buying public alike. I hope to review this exciting debut psychological thriller very soon my friend and fellow blogger Mags of http://bleachhouselibrary.blogspot.ie/has raved about it here.
The intern who discovered the manuscript of Donal Ryan's award winning The Spinning Heart in the slush pile at Lilliput Press; Sarah Davis-Goff has founded a brand new publishing house with Lisa Coen who has also previously worked at Lilliput. Sarah obviously has a knack for spotting talent and the pair will publish new Irish fiction but they also aim to publish rediscovered gems from Irish writers who have not enjoyed the lasting success of some our famous exports; no doubt many of those re-issued titles will be by female authors (just guessing.)Their website is gorgeous and they have some of the most honest submission advice I've ever seen check it out here http://tramp.ie/about/.
Some lovely literary biographies and memoirs have appeared recently The Road to Middlemarch;My Life with George Eliot by Rebecca Mead looks very interesting as does How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis and out now in paperback is Jane Dunn's Daphne Du Maurier and her Sisters, I want to devour them all. An unusual choice for me is the autobiography of Alan Johnson which I have picked up. No doubt as an ardent fan of Call the Midwife I was drawn in by the idea of reading more about working class life in 1950s London, This Boy is Waterstones Non-Fiction book of the month for March.
The Irish Book of the Month at Waterstones has also drawn my attention. Daragh McKeon is a debut novelist and his All that is Solid Melts into Air has won praise from two of the biggest names in Irish writing the two Colms (Tóibín and McCann) Set around the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 and the fall of the Soviet Union this is an ambitious novel blending love story, social commentary and historical fiction.
Vikings are also big news at the moment the exhibition at the British Museum will draw huge crowds and the History Channel's lavish drama is finally being aired in Ireland (where it was filmed.) Giles Kristian has returned to the Vikings for his latest novel out in April and Icelandic author Snorri Kristjansson's debut Swords of Good Men is out now in hardback with a paperback release date of June this year. Joanne Harris has drawn inspiration from Norse Myth for her latest novel The Gospel of Loki and that's out in hardback now just in time for the DVD release of  Thor: The Dark World.
Page to screen adaptations abound at the moment and make for some uneven viewing Quirke a TV series based on Benjamin Black's series of crime novels had three movie length episodes that were hit and miss at best. Beautifully filmed the depiction of 1950s Dublin was flawless but the acting less so and the plotting was tired and clunky. Call the Midwife based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth has just finished it's third series and it remains as popular as ever. I love it the acting is top notch and the plotting superb I admit I've yet to read any of the books but I feel that the story is so well rendered I don't need to. Next week sees a return to our screens of Jimmy Perez the detective in Ann Cleeves "Shetland" series. I've only read one of this series and I enjoyed it but while Cleeves can certainly write I have to admit that Peter May's Lewis trilogy are my lonely and windswept Scottish Island books of choice and I would love to see that series filmed.
A book series that has been just this week been commisioned for TV is Claire McGowan's Paula Maguire series. I reviewed the first in the series The Lost last year read my review here and I will be reviewing Claire's newest book The Dead Ground next month when I take part in her book tour.
Finally I often feel guilty about the many unread books that sit on my shelves; I read a lot but I couldn't possibly read every book that comes into the house, so I take some comfort from this article in the Telegraph.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10680926/Theres-no-jot-of-shame-in-leaving-the-books-on-your-shelf-unread.html





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