Saturday, March 28, 2009

Waverton Good Read Award

The Waverton Good Read Award is one of the more interesting book prizes in the callender. It is quite different from the big, better known prizes as it is voted for by local people who have no connection to the world of the London literarti.

In their own words they:

... set out to find fifty or more debut novels - first adult novels written by British citizens and published in the previous twelve months. The aim was not only to stimulate reading in the village but also to provide encouragement to British writers. It took some persistence to identify and then gather several copies of each book, although publishers became more and more helpful as they realised what was going on. Even more remarkably, more than 50 people from in and around the village were recruited to read and review the novels.

Waverton incidentally is a village in Cheshire with a population of just 2000.

This years short list has just been announced:

A girl made of dust - Nathalie Abi-Ezi

The Outcast - Sadie Jones

Spider – Michael Morley

Child 44 – Tom Rob Smith

For those interested in other good debut novels this year the long list also included:

Adams, Poppy - The Behaviour of Moths

Bird, Geoffrey - One Man's Empire

Campbell, Duncan - The Paradise Trail

Campbell, Ellie - How to Survive Your Sisters

Day, Sallie - The Palace of Strange Girls

Douglas, Louise - The Love of My Life

Fiorato, Marina - The Glassblower of Murano

Hawkins, Alis - Testament

Hinchcliffe, Sally - Out of a Clear Sky

Kehoe, Denis - Nights Beneath the Nation

Sidebottom, Harry - Warrior of Rome 1: Fire in the East

Somerville, Rowan - The End of Sleep

Starling, Belinda - The Journal of Dora Damage

Topolski, Carol - Monster Love

Upson, Nicola - An Expert in Murder

Whitehouse, Lucie - The House at Midnight

I have read just two of the above, Testament by Alis Hawkins and An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson, and thoroughly enjoyed them both.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Congratulations to Ibooknet member Vanessa Robertson of Robertson Books who juggles selling collectible children's books with running the independent publisher Fidra Books and The Children's Bookshop in Edinburgh. The Children's Bookshop has been reached the Scottish shortlist for Independent Bookshop of the Year Award .

Vanessa notes on her blog, "It’s wonderful news and has really invigorated us at a time of year when trade is always slow."

For any small business trading in difficult times such a pat on the back must be very welcome, and in Vanessa's case very well deserved. We wish The Children's Bookshop well as they move onto the the next stage of the award.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What's in your literary hall of shame?

Just listening on Radio 4's PM to the top ten list of books people claim they have read which they actually haven't. My main claim to fame in the not reading stakes is doing Homer's Iliad and Odyssey as one of my special subjects for my degree and never actually reading The Iliad in its entirety. Still haven't. And they were read in translation, I should say, lest anyone think I have a brain brimming with linguistic zip and ping.

This is the list, in order of most lied about:

  • 1984- George Orwell
  • War and Peace - Tolstoy
  • Ulysses - James Joyce
  • The Bible
  • Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  • A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking
  • Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
  • In Remembrance of Things Past - Marcel Proust
  • Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama
  • The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins

I really, genuinely, absolutely have, read three of them, though perhaps not every word.

So, what are your literary no-go areas?

And in case anyone is wondering, I did get my degree (Ancient History and Classical Civilisation), and quite respectably too. I maintained then, and would probably still now if pushed, that if you were doing Homeric Society as revealed (or not) in the epics, then you could skip the bits in which they were fighting. Sadly, when it comes to Homeric descriptions of war and Bernard Cornwell's, I do prefer Bernard Cornwell's.

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