The true university these days is a collection of books.
-Thomas Carlyle

Monday, 6 May 2013

April Roundup

As this year speeds ahead, so does the literary world, especially here where the Liverpool Literary Festival is in full swing. It has been a great month for books generally.

Here is my personal account of what went on in April...

Read - 2 books
Completed -
Eve Green by Susan Fletcher
First and Only by Peter Flannery
Currently Reading -
The Gathering by Anne Enright
Literary Genius edited by Joseph Epstein
Adventures of a Waterboy by Mike Scott
The Natural Navigator by Tristan Gooley
The Last Elf by Silvana De Mari
TBR Pile - currently at 126 (according to goodreads) with one book added this month courtesy of World Book Night - Damage by Josephine Hart.
Challenges -
Read First and Only by Peter Flannery, a mystery about a serial killer with a twist for #4 of my challenges, to read a detective mystery, although it doesn't quite fit this because there is detection but not a detective per se.
Reading The Gathering by Anne Enright, winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize, which fits with #8 of my challenges to read a prizewinner (Eve Green already fits this challenge so I have ended up reading 2 for this category, but no worries)
Wishlist Additions -
100 Must Read American Novels by Nick Rennison and Ed Wood
Palisades Park by Alan Brennert
A Nearly Perfect Copy by Allison Amend
Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley
Plainsong by Kent Haruf
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell
Discoveries -
Lots going on online...
Independent Booksellers fight back against Amazon with a petition to No10, supported by Stephen Fry, Margaret Hodge and Charlie Higson, to pay their taxes, in The Guardian.

Some literary award announcements with...
- The Women's Prize for Fiction longlist
- International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award shortlist

The new list of Granta's Best of the Young British Novelists is announced, and The Guardian looks back at the first Granta list from 1993, which included Will Self, Jeanette Winterson, Ben Okri, Iain Banks, Louis de Bernieres, Kazuo Ishiguro, Esther Freud and Alan Hollinghurst amongst others, to see how things have changed and become more complicated for our new generation of writers.

There is a celebration of the work of novelist Iain Banks following the sad announcement that he has been diagnosed with gall bladder cancer.

The Book Doctor at The Guardian asked Do classic childrens books give us too rosy a view of childhood? which I am sure will prompt some strong views and good debate.

On a lighter note...
-Reading Nooks inspires us on fascinating places that people make space to read.
-Are cats the top dogs in literature? You decide.
-For Penguin Books enthusiasts, you can now buy Penguin Library Wallpaper from the Literary Gift Company, to furnish your reading nook.

Events -
Like I said it has been literary central up here in Liverpool, with the Literary Festival kicking off on World Book Night at St Georges Hall, where I met the lovely Simon from Savidge Reads, book giveaways all over the city, a City Wide Read of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini in anticipation of the stage adaptation coming to the Liverpool Playhouse, and a variety of talks and events all over the city.
Simon has been involved with a lot of sessions for the festival, and was hosting a talk that I went to yesterday at the Bluecoat Chambers, called Celebrating The Bookshop, with Jessica Fox who left a career with NASA to open a bookshop in Wigtown in Scotland, Sarah Henshaw who runs a bookshop on a barge, and Mandy Vere from our own radical bookshop News From Nowhere in Liverpool. Jen Campbell, the author of Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops, was meant to be there but was unable to make it. It was a good talk, with about 45 people attending, encompassing the passion of booksellers, the decline in independent bookstores, the monopoly of Amazon and it's effects, how booksellers and libraries fit together, and strange and curious tales from the shop floor. It was a very enjoyable and worthwhile talk.

My posts will be a little more sporadic during May and June bacause I am away, but I will still be here, with a host of things to talk about on my return I am sure.

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