March 30, 2015

The Reading Book Post, March 30th

The Reading Book Post with all the literary news of the previous week

The end of March is here. Finally, the sunny days have arrived and I hope that they will continue! But with that it's getting really hard to stay inside and work. Oh well. But let's take a look at all those things that happened the past week in the literary world.  


  • As usual, this week's Reading Book Post will begin with some award news. On one side, The Orwell Prize announced its longlist, which includes four first-time authors and other well established political writers. On the other side, The Man Booker Prize announced the shortlist and the winner is due to be made public on May 19th. Lastly, the winners of the 2015 Bancroft Prize were publicized, an award focusing in the field of history.



  • Go Set a Watchman is approaching its day of publication and this week it officially has a cover! Which one do you prefer? I like the colours in the US cover, but I like better the UK one. 

  • In a similar story, this week the cover for the Illustrated Harry Potter edition was revealed and it's amazing! What do you think? Do you like it? The book will be published on October 6th.

  • But this week there were some really sad news too. The Swedish and Nobel-winning poet, Tomas Transtormer, died at the age of 83. He was awarded the Nobel Prize of literature in 2011. Check out his poems, they were wonderful! But his was not the only loss of the literary world. Martyn Goff, literary administrator, author and bookseller died at the age of 91. He contributed to the organisation and popularity of the Booker Prize and he was also known for his efforts to increase literacy in children.
  • Clean Reader app, brought some strong protests among the authors. This app applies a filter to the ebooks purchased by its store and changes the profanities, for example, "hell" becomes "heck" and "shit" becomes "crap". But after the protests all the titles of the authors were removed by the application's catalogue. Author Joanne Harris, know for her novel Chocolat, declared that this is "a small victory for the world of dirt". What do you think about that? Do the profanities bother you in a book?

  • Although I didn't read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid as a child, I know that elementary and middle-school kids love the series (my nephews and nieces included). If you happen to know such a kid you can make them really happy, because the tenth book of the series will be published on November 3rd. 

  • Which Stephen King Character Are You? This fun quiz lets you know which character from the master of horror you are. Take it and let me know which one you got. I got Christine.

March 27, 2015

10 Book to Celebrate World Theatre Day

Happy World Theatre Day everyone!

Theatre is a form of expression, unique and demanding. In order to watch a play, you have to live in it, to imagine the surroundings, to feel like the protagonists. So, the work of the playwright is a challenging one and this day it's the opportunity to honour all those who offered their effort into this art form. Here is a list of some popular and classic theatrical plays to check out today.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

theatrical play Hamlet cover

Who can deny the power of Shakespeare's plays? Hamlet, the story of the young prince of Denmark who sees the ghost of his father, was written between 1599 and 1602. Today it's one of the most popular and most performed plays in the world.

The Misanthrope by Moliere

thetrical play The Misanthrope cover

In contrast to the previous play, The Misanthrope is a comedy. It was first performed in 1666 and it satirizes the hypocrisy of the french aristocracy. This play was adapted several times in the modern theatre. 

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

Theatrical Play A Doll's House cover

Ibsen, the Norwegian playwright, with important works such as Peer Gynt, Hedda Gabler and The Wild Duck, is often called the father of realism and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre. A Doll's House was first performed in 1879 and tries to criticize the norms of marriage at the time. It was even considered controversial since its inspiration was the belief that a woman cannot be herself in that society.

Miss Julie by August Strindberg

Theatrical Play Miss Julie cover

Miss Julie premiered in 1889 and it's a story about the love between Miss Julie, an heir of an old aristocratic family, and Jean, the valet. It is one of the most performed plays in history.

The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov

Theatrical Play The Cherry Orchard cover

The Cherry Orchard is the last play written by Chekhov. It was first performed in 1904 and that production was directed by Constantin Stanislavski. Chekhov intended this play to be a comedy, but Stanislavski directed it as a tragedy and up to this day those who wish to perform it has to decide which approach they like best.

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Theatrical Play Death of a Salesman cover

Death of a Salesman is one of the finest American plays in the 20th century. It premiered on Broadway in 1949 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. It's a satirical play about reality and illusion, as well as the American Dream. 

The Caretaker by Harold Pinter

Theatrical Play The Caretaker cover

The Caretaker is the first commercial success by Harold Pinter. It was first performed in London in 1960. The play is a psychological study of the confluence of power among two brothers and a tramp. It mixes both tragic and comic elements and that's the reason why it's also described as a tragicomedy.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee

Theatrical Play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? cover

First performed in 1962 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a play that explores the breakdown of the marriage of a middle-aged couple. The title of the play in a pun of the song Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? from Disney's Three Little Pigs (1933) and the couple sings it several times throughout the play. The dialogue in the first act of the play is often claimed to be the greatest in all American theatre.

Sleuth by Anthony Shaffer

Theatrical Play Sleuth cover

Sleuth premiered in 1970. A mystery writer, Wykes, calls to his house the lover of his wife and convinces him to stage the robbery of his wife's jewellery. This proposal has a chain of events that makes the audience question what is real and what is Wykes' fantasy. It was awarded  the Tony Award for Best Play and it was adapted for the cinema several times.

Amadeus by Peter Shaffer

Theatrical Play Amadeus cover

Amadeus is a play by Peter Shaffer, the twin brother of Anthony Shaffer and premiered in 1979. It's a fictionalized account of the lives of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. It was inspired by a 1830 short play  Mozart and Salieri by Alexander Pushkin. Shaffer himself adapted the script into a screenplay for the 1984 Academy Award Winning movie by the same title.


So, these are some of my favourite plays. Have you watched/read any of them? Which ones would you add to this list?


March 25, 2015

Info on Battle Royale

Information on the novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami




Title: Battle Royale

Author: Koushun Takami

Publisher: Viz, LLC

Date of Publication: 2003

Number of Pages: 617






Summary:

Battle Royale, a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence, is one of Japan's best-selling and most controversial novels. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television.




Character from the manga adaptation of Battle Royale

March 24, 2015

Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Review of the novel The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Buried Giant placed in a post-Arthurian era is filled with dragons, ogres, pixies and fiends. No, they are not the main theme of the novel, but they are part of the scenery. Moreover, every dragon has its knight, whose mission is to kill him. The she-dragon of this book is not an exception, there is a knight, a warrior and even villagers and small kids who wish her dead. Up to this point, this book isn't anything different from the typical fantasy novel. There is though an interesting twist to it. The protagonists, Axl and Beatrice, the knight, Sir Gawain and even the she-dragon herself, are all advanced in age. This fact adds more obstacles in their ways and different kind of worries. 

Although the age is a major factor in this novel, the most important thing is what the elderly couple call the mist. There is something in the land that steals everyone's memories, both the good ones and the bad. People wander the land without remembering the purpose for it and they forget even their once beloved ones, like their children. Through this mist one morning Axl remembers his son and so he begins a journey with Beatrice to go and find him in the village he lives, which is a few days away. On their way, while they take shelter of a sudden storm they meet a boatman. He informs them that there is an island, in which a lot of couples wish to go together, but only those who can prove the strength of their love can do it. The proof seems quite simple, they have to share with the boatman their most happy memory they possess with their partner and the boatman judges the strength of their bond. Beatrice becomes troubled with the news since the mist prevents them from remembering almost anything from their past.

Later on their journey they meet a Saxon warrior named Winstan, who takes a curious interest in Axl. He declares that he remembers him from when he was a little child, being a man of authority among the Britons, but Axl doesn't remember being anything else other than a farmer. Their party is complete with a 12-year-old Saxon boy, Edwin, who is rescued from his villagers after been bitten by some ogres. Although they form a strange party, they travel together until they reach a monastery. On their way, they meet Sir Gawain, an old knight and cousin of King Arthur, who was charged with the duty to slay the she-dragon, Querig, and has failed to do for many years. The party eventually breaks and everyone goes on his way, but they meet again before the dragon's lair, where everyone has a different reason to see Querig dead.

When Arthur was alive he tried to make the war between the Britons and the Saxons end, without much success. Then Merlin cast a spell on Querig, so that her breath would steal the memories of the people. That way the hatred that was cultivated would cease and peace would come to the land. But with her gone the people would remember and Saxons would seek vengeance once more. As Winstan says "The giant once buried, now stirs. When soon he rises, as surely he will, the friendly bonds between us will prove as knots young girls make with the stems of small flowers". The main question of this book is whether it is best not to remember sometimes the past and let the buried be undisturbed. Even a couple who appears happy is threatened by the past. The end of this book left me numb.

The characters in The Buried Giant weren't the most loveable I've encountered in literature. Axl's devotion to Beatrice was touching and his way to approach such different people was astonishing. But Beatrice seemed at times unnatural, although it was she that suggested the questions of this book, in order to get answered by Axl much later. Edwin really got on my nerves, most of the times his motives were obscure and his actions careless. Winstan was one of the most likeable characters, caught between his feelings and his duty. Sir Gawain although at first seemed like a coward his role in the story is an important one and I won't spoil it. 

The main problem of the book is that I never really connected with the protagonists. When finally I started to feel something about them, it was near the end of the book and as I've already said this left me numb. I would also like to learn more about each one's past. We learn some fragments of the long forgotten past of Axl and Beatrice, but when the mist is finally lifted and we hope to know some more we are disappointed.  

To sum things up, The Buried Giant is an interesting read. Its ideas and questions are sure to trouble you for quite some time and the writing is good. At times, it even has the feel of a myth. The characters are mostly unrelatable and that spoiled it for me. So my advice is...

Turn the pages with caution!  


March 23, 2015

The Reading Book Post, March 23rd

The Reading Book Post with all the literary news of the previous week

I can't believe how quickly the weeks pass! It's almost the end of March, but it's still rainy here. While waiting for the spring to finally come, let's see what happened in the literary world the past days.

  • Let's start with some award news, as usual. The National Book Critics Circle announced the winners of the Awards in 9 categories. Moreover, the shortlist for the Kate Greenaway Medal were made public, a unique award since it deals with illustrated books. The illustrations in some of those books look absolutely amazing!

  • A new book by Stephen King! I know you're not surprised, but this one is a collection of short stories. Before each story, the author will write an introduction, in which he will explain how and why he wrote it. It will be a great way to get insight on the writing process that King follows. The book is called The Bazaar of Bad Dreams and it'll be published November 3rd.

  • Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire rejoice! There is strong hope that the sixth book of the series Winds of Winter will be soon completed. George R. R. Martin admitted on his personal blog that he will not attend any conventions unless he completes and delivers the long-awaited novel.

  • Harry Potter fans now get the chance to see the Hogwarts Express in the Warner Brothers Studios. It's a 78-years-old train, who was rescued in 1997 and was repainted to be the train we watched in the movies.


  • Two final works of Terry Pratchett will be published later this year. A Discworld novel named The Shepherd's Crown, although there is not yet a fixed date of publication. The second novel will be published in June and it's called The Long Utopia.



  • The Doctor Who script City of Death by Douglas Adams will be turned into a novel by James Goss. The author has already written two other Doctor Who novels. The book will be published by BBC Books on May 21st.
  • Nick Cave has a new book. To be precise, an epic poem called The Sick Bag Song, in which he describes his travels with his band across the United States. The book can be found only on the official website, http://thesickbagsong.com/

  • It's the time for the last and fun post of the week: Which Kind of Reader Are You? To find out take out this quiz. I got Altruistic Reader.  

March 21, 2015

10 Poetry Books to Celebrate the World Poetry Day

It's World Poetry Day today! That being a great opportunity to honour all those poets, who through their work taught us how to feel. A poem can be very powerful whether it's a few lines long, a haiku or pages long. Dreamlike or realistic, symbolic or satiric, a poem can take all these forms and even more. 

So, in this list you can find some amazing poetry to read today, in order to celebrate this genre.

Shakespeare's Sonnets by William Shakespeare

shakespeare's sonnets cover

This is a collection of the 154 sonnets by William Shakespeare. They had a great influence to the future generations of poets all over the world and are considered as some of the finest examples of love poetry.


Paradise Lost by John Milton



Poetry Paradise Lost cover

Paradise Lost in an epic poem concerning the Biblical story of the Fall of Man. It was first published in 1667 and it's considered the greatest work of John Milton.

Ariel by Sylvia Plath

Poetry Ariel cover

Ariel was published in 1965, just two years after the suicide of Sylvia Plath. The poems in Ariel are more personal to the poet and are considered as some of the best poems on the freedom of expression of the artist.

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

Poetry Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair cover

The second book by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda was published in 1924. It is a collection of romantic poetry and the eroticism of the Twenty Love Poems caused controversy at the time.

Battered Guitars: Poems and Prose by Kostas Karyotakis

Poetry Battered Guitars cover

Kostas Karyotakis is a greek poet of the 1920s. His poems embrace expressionism and sometimes surrealism. 

100 Selected Poems by E. E. Cummings

Poetry 100 Selected poems by E.E. Cummings cover

Most of E. E. Cummings work is traditional, bringing modernity to the classic sonnet. They deal mostly with nature and love and are often satirical.

Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie by Maya Angelou

Poetry Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie cover

This is the first collection of poems of Maya Angelou, it was published in 1971 and was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. 

Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen

Poetry The Book of Longing cover

The Book of Longing was first published in 2006 and is a collection of poems and drawings of songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen. It was mostly written at a Zen Monastery on Mount Baldy in California and many of the poems deal with love as a spiritual process.  

The Complete Poetry by Edgar Allan Poe

The Complete Poetry by Edgar Allan Poe cover

What can I say about Edgar Allan Poe that you don't already know? He is considered part of the American Romantic Movement and his works contain mystery and science fiction elements. The Raven is one of the most celebrated poems in history.

The Crescent Moon by Rabindranath Tagore

Poetry The crescent moon cover

Tagore was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1913. He is one of those that introduced the Indian culture to the west and his poetry is considered highly spiritual.
     

March 20, 2015

I Mustache You Some Questions Tag


Thanks to Killian @ Leaf On The Breeze for tagging me! Check out his blog, it's amazing.

Four Names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name
  • Aeriko, this is actually a greek word and it means a fairy of the wind in greek folklore.
  • Konna, my real name is Konstantina and this is a shorter version of it.
  • Dina, this too is a shorter version of my name but I don't particularly like it. 
  • It's actually these three :)

Four Jobs I've Had
  • Secretary in an International Conference
  • Assistant at a sports betting shop
  • Lawyer Assistant
  • Various voluntary works

Four Movies I've Watched More Than Once

Four Books I'd Recommend


  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
  • Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence 
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
All of those books have influenced me in a way. For individuals though my recommendations would be different.

Four Places I Have Lived
  • A small town in the north of Greece
  • Small periods of time in Athens
  • Corfu, where I studied and I still spend almost all of my time there

Four Places I Have Been
  • London, which I love and I always try to find an excuse to visit
  • Paris
  • Istanbul and other places in Turkey
  • All over Greece 

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now
  • Shakespeare & Co. in Paris. It's such an amazing bookshop!
  • A certain coffee shop in Corfu
  • In a park, a day much warmer than today
  • Edinburgh

Four Things I Don't Eat
  • Prosciutto
  • Blood Sausages
  • Oysters
  • Jalapenos

Four of My Favourite Foods
  • Pasta & Pizza. I have a thing for italian cuisine.
  • Chicken Pie
  • Scones
  • Cheesecake

Four TV Shows That I Watch
  • Sherlock
  • Firefly
  • Community
  • The Office
It would actually be much easier if I could include anime in those four, but I can't really consider them as TV shows.

Four Things That I'm Looking Forward to This Year
  • Star Wars, Episode VII
  • The new Sufjan Stevens album (a few more days to wait actually)
  • The new Muse album
  • Comicdom Con in Athens

Four Things I'm Always Saying

  • "I'm reading this..."
  • Talk about the music and movies I like
  • Gaming/Sci-fi/Fantasy/Anime references
  • I need coffee

People I tag:

March 17, 2015

The Reading Book Post, March 16th



Another week has begun, but let's take a moment and see what happened in the literary world the previous days. 

  • This is the time of the season when a lot of prizes annonce their longlists, and some even their shortlists. As we have seen, in the previous weeks the Romantic Novelist's Association announced the shortlists for the six categories and this week other organizations announced their lists. First, the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction announced the longlist, consisting 20 novels. The judges will have to choose 6 of those and the final winner will be announced on 3rd June 2015. Moreover, the Wellcome Book Prize made this video announcement of the shortlist and the winner will be revealed on 29th April 2015. The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist was announced this week and the shortlist is due next month. Finally, George R. R. Martin nominated Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel for the Hugo Awards, a book well received by the science fiction community.

  • Umberto Eco, the italian author of The Name of the Rose, will be releasing a new satirical novel on 3rd November 2015, named Numero Zero. The book is already published in Italy and is well-received, while its foreign rights are already sold to 34 countries.

  • Are there any Mr. Darcy fans? I have some disturbing news for you (well, myself included). Author Joanna Trollope has argued that the much admired gentleman of the romantic literature has probably made his 10,000 pounds per year from exploitation, slavery included. Shocking right?

  • The new Star Wars novel, Lords of the Sith, will include a lesbian character. The author of the novel Paul. S. Kemp has comfirmed that there will be indeed such a character. Lord of the Sith will be available on 28th April. Another book already added to my TBR list. 

  • Kazuo Ishiguro has written lyrics for the jazz singer Stacey Kent. I wasn't aware of the fact and this interesting interview revealed other sides of the well known author, such as his experience as a lyricist and his family. 
  • This week it was a really sad one. The much beloved author Sir Terry Pratchett died at the age of 66. The whole literary world is shaken by the news and a lot of novelists payed tribute to him sharing their memories and how his work affected theirs. Neil Gaiman, which was a friend of Terry Pratchett the last 30 years, talked about him and remembered him at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco Thursday night.


  • To change the mood, I will end this post with this gallery of Premier League's footballers holding their favourite books. It's so interesting to see the different tastes of each one of them.    

March 14, 2015

Info on The Buried Giant




Title: The Buried Giant

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Publisher: Knopf

Date of Publication: March 3rd 2015

Number of Pages: 336



Summary:

The Romans have long since departed and Britain is steadily declining into ruins. But at least, the wars the once ravaged the country have ceased. Axl and Beatrice, a couple of elderly Britons, decide that now is the time, finally, for them to set off across this troubled land of mist and rain to find the son the have not seen for years, the son they can scarcely remember. They know they will face many hazards - some strangw and otherwordly - but they cannot foresee how their journey will reveal to them the dark and forgotten corners of their love for each other. Nor can they forsee that they will be joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and a knight - each of them, like Axl and Beatrice, lost in some way to his own past, inexorably toward the comfort, and the burden, of the fullness of a life's memories.


Listen to Kazuo Ishiguro discuss his new novel:


And hear an extract of The Buried Giant:










March 13, 2015

Review: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Have you ever wondered what would be like to be immortal in a world, like ours, where mortals live? To be Atemporal in a world so temporal, to watch all those bone clocks age and die, while your body doesn't age and you see the centuries go by. But it's still not that simple. What if you were an atemporal that aged and died but your soul kept returning to other children bodies and you were caught up in a neverending life cycle? The Bone Clocks is a book about life and death, love, vanity and loneliness.

Holly Sykes is a teenage girl growing up in a small town in Britain. Since she was a little girl she heard voices, the Radio People as she calls them. When she runs away from home she meets a strange old lady that asks her for asylum. The circumstances come in a way that she has to accept. Years later and when she has almost forgot about it, this becomes the reason she gets involved in a war between natural atemporals and artificially made ones. This is also the point where she questions what is real and what is not, what does her psychic powers really mean and whether she can trust these people. Once she is convinced that the anchorites, the artificial atemporals, are the ones that kidnapped and killed her brother she is ready to take part and finally help the horologists.

But Holly doesn't have a metalife or any particular powers apart from getting glimpses of the very near future some periods of her life. As the years pass she grows old, she has a daughter and eventually becomes a grandmother. When life on earth becomes difficult again due to oil shortage she strives to make a comfortable enough life for her grandchild, although she is no longer young and suffers from several pains. In that stage of her life even her experiences with the horologists seem like a dream.

The Bone Clocks at first reminded me of Ghostwritten since each part is narrated by a different person and up to some point the parts are episodic. This at first made me worried especially when the first part ended and I didn't know what happened to Holly's brother and I really wanted to know more and all of a sudden we transfer to six years later, in a different place, through the eyes of a guy that didn't have anything to do with the story up to that point. But luckily all of the narrators meet and interact with Holly in some way or another so there are neither plot holes nor unaswered questions.

Not everyone in this book is a stranger to us though. To be precise, three chatacters from previous David Mitchell's novels appear in this one and two of them are quiet important for the story. First appears Hugo Lamb, the slightly older cousin of Jason's in Black Swan Green that was acting too cool. Well, his character hasn't changed at all and the role he has in The Bone Clocks suits him perfectly. From very early on the book we meet a certain Dr. Marinus, but only until he becomes the narrator we learn that he is Dr. Marinus from The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. I loved this character from the previous book and this didn't change for this one. He has grown to be one of my all time favourite characters. Lastly, scientist Mo Muntervary from Ghostwritten appears to be Holly's neighbour, both in advanced age trying to protect themselves from outlaws and other difficulties when the times get tough.

The Bone Clocks is a thrilling novel and at some points I just couldn't stop reading it because I was so worried about the characters. Holly is a lovable character and there are plenty of chances to grow strong bonds with her and being concerned about her well-being. As in real life unpleasant things happen to Holly and the people around her. These times the book gets heavy, but feels surprisingly real. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interesting in a realistic novel with strong fantasy elements. So, my advice is...

Get lost in this amazing story!    
    

March 12, 2015

Play(list) by the Book: The Bone Clocks



In The Bone Clocks there are so many songs mentioned that I couldn't resist the temptation to create a playlist to share with you! But I had to (at least) try to limit it to a sensible number of tracks. That's why I only included one song per artist, I didn't include any classical music pieces and in case an album was mentioned I picked the song I liked the most. So, plug in your headsets and enjoy!




But this post wouldn't really be complete without a list of the albums mentioned throught the book or the classical music pieces.

 Albums mentioned:

  • Talking Heads - Fear of Music
  • Bob Dylan John Wesley Harding
  • Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon
  • Nirvana - Nevermind
  • George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice
  • Joni Mitchell - Song to a Seagull
  • Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage
  • Miles Davis - In a Silent Way

Pieces of Classical Music:

  • John Dowland - Weep You No More Sad Fountains
  • Benjamin Britten - Hymn to the Virgin
  • Peter Grimes - Interludes
  • Bruckner - Sumphony no. 9 
  • W. A. Mozart - Don Giovanni, Act 2
  • Bach - Partitas
  • Stradivarius played by Yehudi Menuhin
  • John Cage - In a Landscape
  • Keith Jarrett - My Wild Irish Rose
  • Maria Callas - Casta Diva
  • Toru Takemitsu - From Me Flows What You Call Time
  • Jean Sibelius - The Swan of Tuenola
  • Shostakovich - Preludes and Fugues
  • William Byrd - Hughe Ashton's Ground
  • Jan Johansson - Jazz pa svenska
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor

March 9, 2015

The Reading Book Post, March 9th


Another week has gone by so quickly, we are now heading towards the middle of March! Here are the most interesting literary news to be found the past week.

  • Author Elizabeth McCracken has won the Annual Award of Chisholm Foundation Story Prize for short fiction for her book Thunderstruck and Other Stories, a collection of nine stories. Also, the Australian Council announced that the author Thomas Keneally will be awarded for his lifetime achievement in literature. Keneally will receive his award in a ceremony in Sydney on 19 March.

  • George R.R. Martin, author of the series A Song of Fire and Ice, has donated a rare copy of the first edition of The Hobbit to the University of Texas. It's worth mentioning that in the same library there is a vast collection of fantasy and science fiction archives, which includes the manuscripts of George R.R. Martin.

  • World Book Day was this week. But a little boy in Manchester was banned from the photos of the event of his school due to his costume. He was dressed as the protagonist of The Fifty Shades of Grey, Christian Grey and he was carrying bondage cable ties and an eye mask as props. Do you believe he should be banned from the photos? 

  • David Nicholls, author of One Day and Us, has said that romantic comedies are changing, a sign of "huge cultural change". He has even nicknamed his own novel a divorce comedy, having to deal with a middle-aged man fighting to save his relationship. He also claims that the trend will be novels with older couples. I have to admit that I am really curious to find out if he's indeed right.


  • An investigative reported in Alabama was trying for some time now to reach Harper Lee in order to ask her about her forthcoming novel Go Set a Watchman, but he received a note from the novelist saying "Go Away!". I know we all wait to read the long lost sequel to To Kill a Mokingbird, but do you agree with Harper Lee's behaviour? 
  • Crime novelists in Britain aren't as free as you'd expect. Sophie Hannah, author of numerous crime novels, has said that she created a fantasy country because people in Britain were loyal to stereotypes concerning certain regions. But this has also been proven liberating for the characters and the novelist herself because she doesn't have to think about accuracy in the descriptions. Well, isn't that cool? 

  • This week Neil Gaiman gave (yet another) amazing speech at the Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture 2015. The speech was called Immortality and Douglas Adams and Neil Gaiman explained why the work of Douglas Adams is timeless and how it affected storytelling as a whole. 

  • This week was also published the new and very anticipated novel by Kazuo Ishiguro The Buried Giant. Enjoy an audio extract of the novel, which is set in the distant past of post-Arthurian Britain. 

March 3, 2015

The Reading Book Post, March 2nd


Hello eveyone! This post is a part of a new column where each Monday I will post the most interesting literary news and articles I've found all week.


  • First of all, is anyone else also a big fan of romance? Then, you will be glad to learn the shortlist of The Romantic Novelists' Association Awards which were announced earlier in February. This gallery has all the nominees and the covers of their books. Interestingly there are 3 men among the 36 nominees in 6 different categories. Which is your favourite romance sub-genre? Have you read any of the books that were shortlisted? Personally I prefer the historical romance. 
  • Although it's against the rules, let's talk about The Fight Club. To be precise, The Fight Club 2 which the author Chuck Palahniuk gave the six first pages to the Playboy. The novel will be published in 10 issues and the first one will be available to public on May 27th.
  • The most interesting news of the week though are those concerning Catwoman. The DC superhero in the latest issue Catwoman #39 is revealed as bisexual. Genevieve Valentine, who is currently scripting the issues, wrote about it on her blog stating that "She's (Catwoman) flirted around it - often quite literally - for years now; for me, this wasn't a revelation so much as a confirmation".
  • Any Harry Potter fans here? This week J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013 was published by Bloomsbury. The book contains a lot of behind-the-scenes stories as well insights in the process of writting and editing the Harry Potter series. Interesting, right? 
  • Last but not least, a recent study at The Guardian has shown that JRR Tolkien books have dropped from the popular list of the teenagers in the UK. I am one of those that as a child grew up with The Lord of the Rings and I've always considered it to be one of the most suitable books for every child. That doesn't mean though that the popular books right now aren't that suitable, it will be a lie if I said that I didn't enjoy them too. Anyway, it's an interesting study to see how the tastes are evolving.
  • And a very fun quiz to make your day! Can you guess to which classics refer those 1-star Amazon reviews? I have to admit that some those took me by surprise.         

A Death by Stephen King

I'm so thrilled because The New Yorker has given us another surprise! Yesterday they published a new short story by the master of horror, none other than Stephen King. It's called A Death and it will appear this fall in a new collection of short stories under the name The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

So, you can read the short story here, at The New Yorker

Check it out and let me know what you think! 

Plus, an interview of the author talking about this short story. 
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