Friday Feature: Man Booker Prize Time Again

I’m pretty sure that last year I decided that no one really cares about the Man Booker Prize, but I still can’t help being intrigued as to what’s made the list.

Following last year’s controversy when it was announced that the prize was being opened up to International authors (with UK Publisher) after 46 years, it seems the longlist is not quite as overrun by American authors as some feared, although they do make up a third of the entries.

The most interesting thing about the nominees this year though, I think, is that one of the novels was funded entirely by its readers. The Wake, by Paul Kingsnorth is the first crowdfunded novel to ever be nominated for such a prestigious literary prize. And I must say, it sounds like one of the more interesting reads on the list.

thewakeEveryone knows the date of the Battle of Hastings. Far fewer people know what happened next…Set in the three years after the Norman invasion, The Wake tells the story of a fractured band of guerilla fighters who take up arms against the invaders. Carefully hung on the known historical facts about the almost forgotten war of resistance that spread across England in the decade after 1066, it is a story of the brutal shattering of lives, a tale of lost gods and haunted visions, narrated by a man of the Lincolnshire fens bearing witness to the end of his world. Written in what the author describes as ‘a shadow tongue’ – a version of Old English updated so as to be understandable for the modern reader – The Wake renders the inner life of an Anglo-Saxon man with an accuracy and immediacy rare in historical fiction. To enter Buccmaster’s world is to feel powerfully the sheer strangeness of the past.

The Longlist in Full

Joshua Ferris (American) – To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)

Richard Flanagan (Australian) – The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)

Karen Joy Fowler (American) – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail)

Siri Hustvedt (American) – The Blazing World (Sceptre)

Howard Jacobson (British) – J (Jonathan Cape)

Paul Kingsnorth (British) – The Wake (Unbound)

David Mitchell (British) – The Bone Clocks (Sceptre)

Neel Mukherjee (British) – The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)

David Nicholls (British) – Us (Hodder & Stoughton)

Joseph O’Neill (Irish/American) – The Dog (Fourth Estate)

Richard Powers (American) – Orfeo (Atlantic Books)

Ali Smith (British) – How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)

Niall Williams (Irish) – History of the Rain (Bloomsbury)

The Shortlist will be announced 9th Sept

More info on the nominees and titles

Thoughts?

Friday Feature: Fairest Fangirling!

OK, so I know I’m a few days behind with this news but I didn’t have a feature lined up for today, (I should be doing the final part of the Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years – but I’ve ran out of blogging time) and I just need to do some delayed fangirling for a second.

Earlier in the week Marissa Meyer released details of Fairest, a spin-off novel to the Lunar Chronicles dedicated to our favourite villain Queen Levana.

Ahhhhhhhhh. Fangirls unite: How awesome does this look?

fair

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

The only bad thing is that we have to wait until January next year. Noooooooooooooo!

Expected publication: January 27th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends (Hardback/Kindle/Audio)

Goodreads

Friday Feature: 5 Great Father’s Day Gifts

I realise it’s a bit late as Father’s Day is this Sunday (UK), but if you’re anything like me and always leave everything to the last minute, then these gift ideas might come in handy.

Dad’s are SO hard to buy for.

Click on the images for more info

1. Voyager Classics

voyagerclassics
The HarperCollins Voyager imprint has some of the best Science Fiction and Fantasy books available, and selected titles are now also available in these beautiful clothbound covers. I think my dad would love these!

My favourites are Fahrenheit 451, The Once and Future King (which I can’t believe I haven’t read yet myself) and I, Robot.

You can see the full Voyager collection HERE and see below for 10% off offer.

Prices range from £8 – £15

2. 24K Gold Plated Playing Cards in Presentation Box

cards

I guess this is quite a kitsch gift, but I think some dads would love them. And good value at only £9.98. From Play.com.

3. The Gift of Food

If you’d prefer to do something more personal for your dad this father’s day, making a delicious father’s day feast is always a winner in my eyes. Here are two dishes that I’ve tried and tested and have gone down a treat. Click the images for more info.

Bacon Wrapped Monkfish
Bacon Wrapped Monkfish
recipecheese
Rhubarb Ripple & Gingerbread Cheesecake

I actually made the cheesecake last year as a contribution to our family Father’s Day BBQ. My mum isn’t a fan of ginger, but it was quite subtle and really light. It was a hit.

4. Cobb BBQ Cooking System

bbq And while we’re on the subject of food, if I was made of money, I would definitely buy one of these for my dad. All dads like to be the King of the BBQ, right?

Cobb looks set to change outdoor cooking forever. Let us introduce you to the ultimate barbecue system – which also roasts, smokes and cooks.”

£99.99 from Lakeland

5. For the Sci-Fi fans

omni180
I did a promo post for this book yesterday, and I really do think it would make a brilliant gift for any old-school Sci-fi-loving dads.

£42.50 from Waterstones

Please note that the only affiliate links in this post are the Waterstones ones.

10% Off at Waterstones Offer

You can get 10% off any orders* over £25 before midnight on 25th August 2014.

Simply click on the banner below (or on the associated links), make your selections and enter the code LE1025 at checkout.



*Print books and stationary. Excludes Kindle, downloads and the click & collect service. Online orders only. Full T&Cs at waterstones.com/terms

Friday Feature: The Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years? Part 2 (6 – 8 yrs)

Last week I came across this list from October last year, of the 100 Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years compiled by Booktrust.org.uk, so in honor of Children’s Book Week in the US I thought it would be a good excuse to talk about what I think of the choices, and maybe add a few of my own.

If you missed last week’s post you can read it here: (0 -5 yrs)

Click the heading to see the full list.

6 – 8 Years

The 6 – 8 year group is a weird one. Even though it’s only a three year span I’m pretty sure the books I was reading at age 6 were vastly different to the ones I did at 8, but I think they made some good choices in this list.

ff1

I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton, so The Enchanted Wood is a good choice for me, I really loved The Faraway Tree series too, but for some reason I never got on with the Fantastic Five.

Blyton isn’t the only one that appears on this list twice, Dick King-Smith’s The Sheep-Pig, and The Queen’s Nose both made it on the list. I don’t actually remember reading either of these even though I know they were popular at the time. I did however LOVE The Queen’s Nose TV programme. That theme tune just made me very nostalgic! I’d love to read those books now.

I’m surprised only one Dahl book made it onto the list (although there are more in the next category). I love The BFG but when I think back to my childhood, George’s Marvelous Medicine and The Twits stand out more than that one.

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I guess books like Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Pippi Longstockings and Charlotte’s Web are a rite of passage but they’ve never particularly excited me. It’s great to see The Arrival included in this list though, and The Worst Witch books were always a winner with me.

I’m also a big fan of Lauren Child’s Ruby Redfort series aimed at the slightly older market than her Clarice Bean books, which I haven’t read – so I’m sure she deserves her place here.

Favorite on the List:
Oooh it’s tough. If I channel my inner 6 year old – which isn’t very difficult believe me – I’d go for The Enchanted Wood, with The BFG coming in a close second. But The Worst Witch would have been my pick at 7/8 I reckon.

Missing from the List:
I know I’ve already mentioned Blyton but man, she was amazing. I’ve just remembered the Naughty Amelia Jane books which were definitely a favourite of mine. Seeing that cover again makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

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But the piéce de résistance is a book it took me ages to find. I could picture the red cover and knew that the main character had messy black hair and said ‘No’ a lot. I Don’t Want To! used to have me in stitches leaving my mum pretty bewildered (and probably quite concerned).

I Don’t Want To! by Bel Mooney
Kitty’s favourite word is No! She doesn’t want to clean her teeth, eat her vegetables or, worst of all, play with boring cousin Melisso. In fact, Kitty can’t seem to stop saying ‘no’ but when Dad tells her he doesn’t ever want to hear her say ‘yes’, she discovers that that’s exactly what she does want to say! When she breaks one of her favourite toys, she finds she does want to tidy her room. When Dad says he doesn’t want a goodnight kiss, Kitty decides she’d like to give one. When she’s bored because Mum and Dad are having a lie-in she does want to play with her big brother, Daniel.

Are you sensing a pattern with the books I loved when I was that age? Naughty female characters? Not much has changed.

Friday Feature: The Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years? Part 1 (0-5 Yrs)

As I mentioned in my Bookish Thoughts post yesterday, I’ve noticed in blogland that this week America is celebrating Children’s Book Week. It doesn’t look like it’s one that we celebrate over here in the UK (there are so many it’s hard to keep up)but it got me thinking about my favourite children’s books, (also so many!).

I came across this list from October last year, of the 100 Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years compiled by Booktrust.org.uk, so I thought it would be a good excuse for me talk about what I think of the choices, and maybe add a few of my own.

They have split the list into four year groups, 0-5, 6-8, 9-11, and 12-14 with 25 books in each. I’m going to look at a different category at a time. Click on the heading to go to the full list.

0-5 Years

It’s been a long time since I’ve read any books aimed at 0-5 year olds. A few of my friends have young kids, but there are none in my immediate family so I’m not exactly up-to-date where they are concerned. However, a lot of the books on this list are classics that most people will be aware of.

The notable classics that made the cut include The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Where’s Spot, Room on a Broom and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, but I don’t actually remember those from my childhood at all. Well, maybe Room on a Broom.

kidscoll1

I am pleased to see The Snowman on the list, although I don’t think I had the book, I just watched the animation at Christmas (and still do), Where the Wild Things Are is a book that I ADORE but I came to it later in life, and Dr Suess’ The Cat in The Hat will always be a favourite, along with many of his others.

kidscoll1

But the nostalgia really hit me when I got to Not Now, Bernard – I’d completely forgotten that even existed and did a proper gasp when I saw it!!! Meg and Mog (I was all over anything with witches – nothing has changed) and Dear Zoo. I definitely remember loving those books.

Favourite on the List:
It’s a tough one. I own versions of The Cat in the Hat, and Where the Wild Things Are and would happily read them over and over, but now I’ve remembered about Not Now Bernard I’m leaning towards that one. I think I’ll have to find a copy!

Missing from the List:
kidscoll1

I always preferred Green Eggs and Ham to TCITH so I think that should be in there. I also really vividly remember A Big Ball of String by Marion Holland. I loved that book so much!

ball

And lastly, there is one book that I’ve never been able to find. All I know is that it was about a unicorn who gets lost and ends up cold and wet and covered in leaves. I can picture it well, but haven’t been able to find it because I have no idea what it was called or who it was by. ONE DAY I WILL FIND IT. Any ideas??

What would make your list in the 0-5 years category? I’d love to know!

Next time I’ll look at the 6-8’s Category! (Blyton…Dahl…ahh so good!)

Friday Feature – Let’s Fangirl for a Second

I had a a proper post all planned out for today’s feature – with notes and everything – but then I saw that the cover reveal for Throne of Glass #3 came and went yesterday and it got me excited/distracted!

The ToG books, not to be confused with GoT which I kept calling it at first, is becoming one of my favourite series. I haven’t found them perfect reads by any means, but the protagonist Celaena Sardothien is so awesome I’d probably read about her painting her nails and still enjoy it! Not to mention how pretty they are…and you should all know by now that pretty book covers will eventually be my downfall.

So here are the two covers revealed on the Throne of Glass Fb page yesterday. They may be pretty similar but I still think we Brits get the better one! In your face America. Ahem.

tog

And while I’m in fangirl mode, guess what’s coming out in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS….

….THE ONE (The Selection #3), OBVS!

FINALLY!!!

Friday Feature: 5 Rabbit Books I Haven’t Read!

Happy Easter Everyone!

I’ve been pondering what to do for today’s Friday Feature all week. I wanted to do an Easter special, because y’know, four glorious days off work deserves at least that but I kept coming up blank where Easter-ish books are concerned.

It turns out, I’m not really big on rabbits – something you have to associate with Easter, right? So I thought I’d educate myself and post a top 5 of books featuring rabbits.

If you’ve read any of them, let me know if they’re worth a read.

5. When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

ff1 This is a book about a brother and a sister. It’s a book about secrets and starting over, friendship and family, triumph and tragedy, and everything in between. More than anything, it’s a book about love in all its forms.

In a remarkably honest and confident voice, Sarah Winman has written the story of a memorable young heroine, Elly, and her loss of innocence- a magical portrait of growing up and the pull and power of family ties. From Essex and Cornwall to the streets of New York, from 1968 to the events of 9/11, When God Was a Rabbit follows the evolving bond of love and secrets between Elly and her brother Joe, and her increasing concern for an unusual best friend, Jenny Penny, who has secrets of her own. With its wit and humor, engaging characters whose eccentricities are adroitly and sometimes darkly drawn, and its themes of memory and identity, When God Was a Rabbit is a love letter to true friendship and fraternal love.

Funny, utterly compelling, fully of sparkle, and poignant, too, When God Was a Rabbit heralds the start of a remarkable new literary career.

4. Masquerade by Kit Williams

ff2 Somewhere in Britain Jack Hare lost the Moon’s gift to the sun. Solve the riddles, unravel the puzzles, and see if you can figure out where.

3. Who Censored Roger Rabbit by Gary Wolf

ff3Gary K. Wolf creates a wonderfully skewed and totally believable world made up of equal parts Raymond Chandler, Lewis Carroll, and Walt Disney. A riotously surreal spoof of the hard-boiled detective novel. Packed with action and laughs. Wolf s cult classic, highly praised novel is the basis for the blockbuster Walt Disney/Steven Spielberg film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

2. Redwall by Brian Jacques

ff4Redwall Abbey, tranquil home to a community of peace-loving mice is threatened by Cluny the Scourge – the evil-one-eyed rat warlord – and his battle-hardened horde of predators. Cluny is certain that Redwall will fall easily to his fearsome army but he hasn’t bargained for the courage and strength of the combined forces of the Redwall mice and their loyal woodland friends. . . . .

1. Bunnicula by Deborah & James Howe

ff5BEWARE THE HARE!
Is he or isn’t he a vampire?

Before it’s too late, Harold the dog and Chester the cat must find out the truth about the newest pet in the Monroe household — a suspicious-looking bunny with unusual habits…and fangs!

 

And here is one that I have read, and recommend:

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits by Emma Donoghue

ff6Emma Donoghue vividly brings to life stories inspired by her discoveries of fascinating, hidden scraps of the past. Here an engraving of a woman giving birth to rabbits, a plague ballad, surgical case notes, theological pamphlets, and an articulated skeleton are ingeniously fleshed out into rollicking, full-bodied fictions.
Whether she’s spinning the tale of an English soldier tricked into marrying a dowdy spinster, a Victorian surgeon’s attempts to “improve” women, a seventeenth-century Irish countess who ran away to Italy disguised as a man, or an “undead” murderess returning for the maid she left behind to be executed in her place, Emma Donoghue brings to her tales a colorful, elegant prose filled with the sights and smells and sounds of the period. She summons the ghosts of those men and women who counted for nothing in their own day and brings them to unforgettable life in fiction.