Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Derelict London book

The Lighthouse Building - Alastair FyfeI’ve posted a couple of times about my love of derelict London, and I’m happy to hear that the fantastic Derelict London website is releasing a book on 24 April. You can preorder it now from the publisher and get a 35% discount if you quote the promotional code “derelict” before that date.

If you’ve ever peeped curiously through a gap in a boarded-up window or wondered why the building you pass every day is looking distinctly the worse for wear, this is very definitely the book for you.


LL Cool P (Lahore loves cool Potter)

Bloggers at our sister site in Lahore, Pakistan did a much better job wrapping up British Potter-mania than we did, quoting the BBC, the Telegraph, the Sun, and the Guardian — check out their post here.

Could Harry Potter be not only the saviour of children’s literacy and publishing, but also the bridge of peace between all the peoples of the world? Oh yes.

London Book Fair

Hey’s it’s London Book Fair week when a whole bunch of publishing types get together to buy and sell books to other publishing types. This is particularly exciting for me as I’ve got my first and my forthcoming book up for translation rights. Plus I get to put on my skimpy dress and high heels for my publisher’s annual party. Last year I had a grand old time putting my foot in my mouth when I asked a famous athlete why he was there. He said he had written a book about rowing across the Atlantic to which my considered response was, ‘Cool.’ Then I mentioned something about wanting to go on a date with Linford Christie to a guy who turned out to be his former agent and informed me he was married. Oops!

Festival of Foyles – Tomorrow


At the big Charing Cross one –

10% discount. Special offers, prize draws and author signings, and… wait for it…

A chocolate fountain! YAY! Enormous rivers of sticky chocolate in the middle of a bookstore! Sticky-fingered hyperactive children for everyone, and unremovable brown thumbprints for all!

Bloody Foreigners

While you’re planning next week, here’s another good one:

Six of the most exciting crime writers in translation read from their work and discuss with their translators the challenges and highlights of the translator’s art. Leonardo Padura (Cuba), Matti Joensuu (Finland), Dominique Manotti (France), Gianrico Carofiglio (Italy), Didier Daeninckx (France) & Louis Sanders (France).

I’ll be there…

Monday, 3rd April
Tickets: £5 / £4 including refreshments
The Gallery at Foyles

On this day in 1854…

…The Crimean War began.

Tennyson’s message about the glamorous futility of warfare is still (and probably always will be) suitable for these lively modern times:

Half a league half a league
  Half a league onward
All in the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred:
‘Forward, the Light Brigade
Charge for the guns’ he said
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldiers knew
  Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.

You can hear a recording of Tennyson reading the poem on the internet, thanks to the British Library. Curiously, Tennyson wrote a second poem entitled The Charge of the Heavy Brigade in 1882, commemorating their more successful attack – it never caught on.

Haruki Murakami

From an otherwise bland AP article on Murakami – I love the idea of a Murakami translator convention…

Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has been translated into three dozen languages, had cafes across continents named after his novels and even inspired a cocktail spiked with cannabis at a Moscow bar….

In an attempt to understand the sensation, translators of his work from 13 countries — although not the hermetic novelist himself — gathered in Tokyo this weekend, proof that Murakami transcends national cultures.

My favourite piece of praise for Murakami was from William Gibson. He was doing a Q&A in London for Pattern Recognition, and someone asked him who he was reading right now. Gibson, smilingly, responded that he was becoming obsessed with Haruki Murakami, who was actually doing a reading in London that night. He further pointed out that, if he weren’t contracted into his own reading, he’d be there right now.

London Review Bookshop: Discount Evening

From the kind people at the LRB:

There is still time to sign up for our next 10%-off shopping evening on Tuesday March 28th (simply e-mail the shop). You are invited to join us for wine and to buy books with a 10% discount. By all means bring a guest, but because of the popularity of these events please RSVP as early as possible so that we can manage the evenings as efficiently as possible ( or 0207 269 9030). Quote ‘LRB 10%’ when placing your order on this date.


V for Vendetta


The latest comic book adaptation to hit the theatres, V for Vendetta, is kicking some serious ass.

For those that find themselves liking it, perhaps against their will (just as a new generation of ‘serious’ comic book readers was created by the success of ‘Sin City’, earlier), it’s well worth checking out the original series. It’s a great read, if a slightly difficult one, and goes a long way towards proving the point that comic books aren’t just men in tights (TIGHT tights) breaking brick walls with their thumbs…

Duh nuh. Duh nuf. Duhnuh duhNUH DUHDUH…


Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws (as well as a handful of other aquatic-themed horror novels), just died. A legend in the (since cheapened) thriller genre, and, apparently, a very nice guy. Benchley, very sweetly, used to sketch sharks on everything he signed (see photo).

A few ways to pay tribute in London:

– The London Aquarium. Always has sharks around. And, possibly more interestingly, ROBOT FISH! I find this fascinating. Go go gadget fish!

– Conveniently, the Sale Sharks face off against the London Irish on 26 Feb, in the Guinness Premiership.

– Brush up on the story of Damien Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (aka ‘the big dead shark’).

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