About four months ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting a complete stranger who had as little a clue who I was as I did he. That stranger turned out to be the much (much, much, much) acclaimed Alan Hollinghurst. He also turned out to be leaving so our actual encounter was incredibly brief, details of which can be found here.
Having owned up to the shame of turning up to lauch of a book about an author knowing literally nothing about him, I resolved to educate myself on the work of the eponymous author. My partner ensured I made good on this by buying me a copy of The Line of Beauty for Christmas. As usual, I’m way behind the crowd on this one, but the political satire of this treatise in hedonism and conservatism certainly hasn’t expired in the interim.
Featured Reader: Tash, a fellow blogger, from The Bottom Step who very kindly agreed to be this week’s feature as she is aiming to complete 52 books in the 52 short weeks of 2017! We met in the in the beautiful Bloomsbury Coffee House where we grabbed a cup of surprisingly affordable and delicious coffee (well an Earl Grey Tea Latte for me). Currently Reading: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty. Favourite Thing About the Book So Far: I really like reading it because it’s set in London so I can easily walk around the streets and follow where the main character is at the part I’m reading. Or I can just look up and see I’m on a street and be like ‘Oh this is where that thing happened!’ And I love the way the story builds, giving lots of tantalising clues to the main plot and as the story evolves you have to connect the dots.
Last night saw the announcement of the Costa Book of the Year award, chosen from the five winners of the individual book prizes Costa sponsor under novel, first novel, children’s book, poetry and biography. The nominees were as varied as the categories themselves:
Novel:Days Without End bySebastian Barry (Winner)
First novel:Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
Children’s book:The Bombs that Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan
Poetry:Falling Awake by Alice Oswald
Biography:Dadland: A Journey into Uncharted Territory by Keggie Carew.
I’m not sure I can really comment on how deserving Barry is this year as I’ve still not read his offering (or any of the others for that matter). However, I will say that last night as I watched the awards I was intrigued by all of the books on the shortlist. Most of all Dadland: A Journey into Uncharted Territory by Keggie Carew.
A biography of her father as he develops dementia, which as it descends past the surface details of the man himself, becomes a chase down the rabbit hole to find out a convoluted personal history. As a terminally nosey person, the idea of digging into the enigma of Carew’s father just captured my imagination. I have added this book to both my Amazon wishlist, Goodreads to-be-read, and the booklist of a reading group that’s formed in my university class (mostly because speech therapy trainees tend to be interested in dementia).
As for the winner, Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, it’s no secret I’m a great lover of the man’s work and have raved about it to all and sundry. I’ve been excited to read this one since I saw it in the Faber and Faber catalogue last year and FINALLY purchased it just today from a lovely clerk in Waterstones Gower Street. I’m really looking forward to getting into it!
On the rest of the books, I can only paraphrase others whom I’ve seen on the Beeb during the awards show but must admit I am also intrigued by them. In particular, the poetry entry Falling Awake which was described as a book of nature poetry that isn’t quite the pastoral comments one might expect. Also going with another fellow countryman, Graham Norton (one of this year’s judges), Golden Hill is firmly next in line on my to be read pile… after everything else.
So, if you’re at a loss for what to read check out the shortlist, maybe you’ll find your next favourite book!
Featured Reader: Serena, a masters student at UCL ( and one of Moz’s friends kind enough to pose for this kind of awkward angle). Currently Reading: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Favourite Sentence/Passage: “Just because a man has made enough money to come to Gion and waste it however he chooses doesn’t mean he’s fun to be around. In fact, many of the men are accustomed to being treated with a great deal of respect. Sitting back with their hands on their knees and big frowns on their faces is about as much work as they plan to do in the way of being entertaining.”
I’m very excited to have finally gotten around to starting this feature on the blog as it’s been a long time in development and has taken me a while to actually ask anyone to be in a picture for it.
A huge thanks to the lovely Serena for volunteering and being a great model, even or this amateur photographer!
If you would like to take part in this ‘What’s London Reading’ feature and are free for a quick photo and chat please use the contact page of the blog, or you can message our Instagram or Facebook pages.
No, I’m not getting married, much to the disappointment of my mother. But this is better than a wedding: The London Bookshop Crawl organised by Ninja Book Box. It’s like a pub crawl but better, even if the pub crawl might be wetter.
Moz, cut the prosaic nonsense, tell us what it is. Ok, ok, The London Bookshop Crawl is exactly what it says on the tin: an afternoon of crawling through some of London’s best independent (and some non-indie) bookshops with other book lovers and potential new friends. What better way to spend a February Saturday?
Currently, the spaces on the guided tours are all taken but there are still FREE tickets available if you want to trail through the shops at your own leisure. Tickets are available through Eventbrite (click here to register for yours).
Unfortunately I was also late to the party, so I’ve missed out on one of the guided tours too but am on the waiting list should a space become available! You can also sign up to take part in the “Bookish” quiz taking place after the crawl which promises to be a great chance to meet some new people and maybe get to know those you bumped into along the way of the book crawl.
I for one am excited. Maybe you are too, check out the event’s Facebook Page for more details and updates!
Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that one of the phrases I say most often is “I’m a busy person. I don’t have time for that.” So for 2017, my challenge isn’t to read a mountain of books I barely notice and maybe yours shouldn’t be either.
January is finally here, and it’s a new year new you! This year you’re going to get back to the gym, eat healthy, and finally complete a Goodreads Reading Challenge of 50 books. It’s going to be you best year yet… But it’s not really is it? Chances are we’ll stick to the gym for a few weeks, eat a cereal bar and pretend it wasn’t a Coco Pops cereal bar, and then spend the rest of the year staring at the Goodreads Challenge as it let’s you know how you’re not meeting your target.
Now, I’ve done the Goodreads Challenge in the past, don’t get me wrong. I love the feeling of clocking up those public announcements of who’s on track and working hard to meet their goal. That’s the problem though, I’m working hard to meet the goal. I’m not reading for pleasure but to beat the others. It became a drudgery of books to read and how to offset those sluggish months where even finishing one and cracking a new spine seemed a huge task.
Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that one of the phrases I say most often is “I’m a busy person. I don’t have time for that.” So for 2017, my challenge isn’t to read a mountain of books I barely notice while I devour them. Instead I’m opting for “By the end of 2017 I will have read and enjoyed at least one part of the books I find time for” maybe such a goal will be more helpful to anyone struggling to get back into reading than a mammoth target!
New year, same blogger,
P.S to the lucky searcher who found this blog with the “small t!ts” Google Search, we apologise for the confusion.