In this confrontational, self-aware cut at the age old love story, Cathal Gunning has taken the tropes, honed them to pointed jibes, and dug deep into how we view romance in ourselves and in others. However, under the saccharine sweetness is a bitter core which drives the characters toward the unexpected. Gunning has done well to achieve this feat in a first novel where so many may lose the thread of self-consciousness which holds this novel together so well.
It was this sense that you could only ever feel in Dublin, and anywhere else where you could get any half-decent pills.
Featured Reader: A devilishly handsome man hiding behind a book. AKA Moz but I prefer the mystery man title.
Currently Reading: Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie.
Favourite Part/Line: While trying to recruit a spy, a character pitches the mission in the least appealing way possible, and yet it works: “I’m suggesting another method. Rather a sporting method really. There’s some excitement in it too. I’ll be fair with you. There’s just a hundred to one chance you mightn’t die. But I don’t believe under the circumstances, that you’d really object by that time.” It’s that bleak humour that makes me love Christie, a blasé flaunting of the ridiculous that somehow seems plausible as we read it.
As with last time, if you would like to take part in this ‘What’s London Reading’ feature here on TheCrackedSpineBlog 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.
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.
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!
1843, it’s snowy in London. The ruts from the cart wheels have made a muddy slush of the fresh white snowfall. Charles Dickens has just published the tale of hope and morals that is A Christmas Carol, a book so well received by the general public that Dickens was not only credited (incorrectly so) with the introduction of Christmas as we know it, but also (more correctly) with the improved working conditions in the workhouses. To this day, we still tell and re-tell the story whether it be in the Muppets, Jim Carey’s dubious adaption, or indeed you could go and see it in the run up to Christmas this year in the Charles Dickens Museum where Equapoise Theatre have again taken up the mantle of performing it for your seasonal sprinkle of Dickens.
It wasn’t your typical Dickensian December day when I set out to the Charles Dickens Museum where I was lucky enough to nab an EXCLUSIVE interview with the directors of the company and the show, Laura Donnelly and Eleri Jones, rather it was warm enough for me to unbutton my jacket and take my hat off altogether. Tiny Tim would have been jealous. Both Laura and Eleri were in high spirits on a break from rehearsing and we sat down with a cup of coffee in the boardroom and got right to it.
Moz: This is your second year in the Charles Dickens House isn’t it? I’m just wondering how was it that Equapoise came to be involved last year?
Eleri: My old lecturer from Drama Centre was in touch with the education manager of the museum and she got in touch with him and said did you know anybody, any sort of young theatre companies or anybody who’s looking for an opportunity to work over Christmas. As he had just been to see our debut production in the September and this was sort of October time we were fresh in his mind, so he recommended us to her. And we just set up a meeting and went from there. And they’ve asked us back this year which was very nice as well.
Moz: That’s really excellent to be called back, but do you feel, with this being such a treasured Christmas story that there’s a pressure from the museum, or the people coming to see it that they want to see a particular Christmas Carol?
Laura: I think, the museum have always been great about it they know how many interpretations there are out there and they’re happy for us to go ahead and do what we want to do with it. I think last year it wasn’t so much that there was pressure from the audience, I think we put a pressure on ourselves because it was our first time working with something so treasured. We wanted to give everyone what they were expecting from it but with a new experience. Coming into it this year we’re happy to shock people a little more. [Here Laura looks to Eleri who, without missing a beat, takes up right where Laura left off].
Eleri: Yeah I think when you’re working with an original text there’s a faithfulness to it that you have to keep, and that comes from your own love of the work and your personal investment in the story “When did you first read it; when did you hear it!” and all that stuff as well. I totally agree with what we’ve been saying, it’s striking that balance between giving people what they expect on some level and familiar characters, things that they can relate to and recognise because it’s that nostalgia that’s in the text as well. But also giving them something new, trying to have a fresh look at it, trying to bring it into relevance in 2016.
Laura: Yes, approaching the story with a relevance to something different and framing it with the themes of our modern poverty and our modern relationship with Christmas.