News: Authors line up to celebrate World Book Night
Writers have a weird life. Ninety per cent of the time we are alone, in our attics, loafing around in our dressing gowns and trying not to punch our computers. And the rest of the time we are doing the exact opposite of this. You know, getting washed and going out into the world and performing in front of and then meeting fellow members of our species.
It is all very strange. I mean, the reason we write is because we were the shy kids and yet now we are expected to get out there and put on a show, as if we were Lady Gaga. I, for one, am terrible at performing live. To choose to see me live is like choosing to have root canal work while watching an awkward silence competition. (I jest. I'm amazing live. That's what my mum says.) Some writers though, such as those below, are as brilliant off the page as they are on.Continue reading...
An extract from an unpublished manuscript by Gabriel García Márquez, in which the late Nobel laureate writes about a married woman having an affair on a tropical island, has been published in a Spanish newspaper.Continue reading...
Jerry White's name on a title page is a guarantee of a lively, compassionate book full of striking incidents and memorable images. He is the social historian whose three volumes on 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century London won plaudits for their fresh approach to familiar subjects. His new volume on this capital city in 1914-18 does not disappoint. It is written with a painterly eye, so that time and again his descriptions conjure people and places as if one were in a gallery of portraits and townscapes. There is a bracing honesty about his approach that wins his readers' affections.
As White's title indicates, his book hinges on Londoners' experiences of bombing raids by German airships. The first of these, in May 1915, caused seven fatalities, mainly children, in Stoke Newington, Balls Pond Road and Stepney, where two youngsters were killed sheltering in a doorway as they returned from the cinema. The scenes of carnage continued for years, and permanently destroyed Londoners' sense of inviolability. The accumulation of incidents changed the capital's psyche as profoundly as 9/11 in New York.Continue reading...
In Rachel Kushner's second novel The Flamethrowers, a woman comes off a motorbike at 140mph and is not killed. She does not break a single bone. She has also as though by accident set the record for the fastest woman on the planet. Reno is the opposite of a tragic heroine; undamaged, not just by machinery, but by the machinery of fate. She is unburdened by the smallness of her life or the difficulties of her own psychology. Sex is not a problem, shame is an irrelevance. This last is in part due to her willingness to become the girl in the picture, to be relaxed in the face of her own fetishisation. Reno sees no limitations, she is uninterested in her own pain and hugely, endlessly, interested in everything else.
To be a reader at the centre of this interest is to feel more alive with every sentence. Kushner's prose in The Flamethrowers is all speed, energy and verve you begin, almost, to want a little dullness. But there is no doubting that Kushner knows what she is doing with the slightly empty characterisation of Reno a writer this brilliant and this self-aware does not leave an accidental blank.Continue reading...
The Workhouse Encyclopedia is a pictorial history of a notorious British institution. Author Peter Higginbotham talks us through some of the most striking imagesContinue reading...
Are you involved in World Book Night? Or are you in one of the countries that celebrate World Book Day today? We want to see and read how you're experiencing it and what book you would share with your loved ones
Not only is April 23 Shakespeare's birthday his 450th this year but it's a day when books are the centre of festivals and events around the world.
In the UK and Ireland, today marks the celebration of World Book Night. This year, for the first time, individual readers are are being encouraged to register as community book givers and give a book away be it to a friend or loved one, a member of their community or a complete stranger to spread the love for literature.
She would smile and show no surprise, convinced as she was, the same as I, that casual meetings are apt to be just the opposite, and that people who make dates are the same kind who need lines on their writing paper, or who always squeeze up from the bottom on a tube of toothpaste. [ Julio Cortázar - Hopscotch ]
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23 April 2014, 9:53
My boyfriend and I are currently in a long distance situation. To keep close we've decided to read a book together. It was a tough one deciding which book and also limited to availability on different continents but we decided on a Haruki Murakami. :)
As my motherland tradition dictates, every year I give my (British) boyfriend a book on Sant Jordis Day. I usually try and choose a work of Catalan or Hispanic Literature. This year it was clear it had to be a book by the late Gabo - so I gave him The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor (Relato de un náufrago). Although this is one of Garcia Marquez's least known works, its a very interesting book, that I really wanted him to read.
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23 April 2014, 14:39
Following the Catalan tradition, I have just bought my English boyfriend the book "Stone in a Landslide" by Maria Barbal, great Catalan literature! I just hope he will think about the rose :)
My Nigerian husband and I have recently shared, very much enjoyed and discussed together over meals Adichie's AMERICANAH. What better way to enhance our love?
The Big Sleep for its dark humor as my husband is Swiss and methinks he doesn't understand. How mistaken I was. A few years back Stendhals, 'The Red and the Black' and 'The Way of all flesh'.
Not easy to think of something suitably Sonnet-y for her. So let's Frankenstein some generic loved one out of the air, out of the thin air and then oh, I don't know.
Wise Children, by Angela Carter
Boy's Life, by Robert McCammon
The Cunning Man, by Robertson Davies
One of our librarians is giving away free books on campus at Newcastle University before heading back over to the library to join in our Rainy Day Reads book club
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23 April 2014, 10:15
The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis: This is a beautiful, heart-searching book on the nature love. By reading it yourself and giving it to someone you love, not only would you would both find out precisely where you stood (!) but you could enjoy the greater depth of love in all its nuances opened up before you!
Lights Out In Wonderland: Zara, mother of my gorgeous girlfriend, gave me Lights Out In Wonderland by DCC Pierre. Amazing woman, amazing novel, amazingly eye-opening, disturbing, hilarious portrait of the time we live in.
I was a WBN Giver last year. A lovely experience. As for a book to give a loved one, I gave my hub the complete Shakespeare's plays when we started dating. He was an actor, and loved it. Last Christmas I gave my best friend CS Lewis' Til We Have Faces. She'd never heard of it and loves it as well.Continue reading...
Its first leader was a don at a fashionable London University, its current leader went to public school and made his money in the City. His immediate predecessor was an Etonian who hadn't read his own party's manifesto. Its elected officials have called women sluts, been jailed for benefit fraud, and blamed the floods on gay marriage. Its only consistent political success is in elections to a body its supporters want no part of under a system its leader despises.
So why has this party without a single seat in parliament managed to change government and opposition policy on what many voters think to be the most important issue of the day? How did its leader persuade the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, into a suicide mission on prime time television? Why next month is it threatening to be the first third party to win a nationwide election since the end of the first world war?Continue reading...
Blog: Which book would you give?
Philip Pullman will read from Kurt Vonnegut's letter to the school head who burned copies of Slaughterhouse-Five in which the late American novelist writes of how "books are sacred to free men for very good reasons" in an event marking World Book Night this evening.
Pullman is set to appear alongside authors including Andrew Motion, David Nicholls and Caitlin Moran at a celebration of the "enduring power of correspondence" at London's Southbank Centre tonight. Inspired by the letter collections To the Letter by Simon Garfield and Letters of Note by Shaun Usher, the Letters Live event will see a series of well-known names reading extracts from letters from throughout history. It is the culmination of World Book Night, the now annual event at which 250,000 copies of 20 specially chosen books this year ranging from The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne to Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin are given away by volunteers and institutions to help spread the love of reading.Continue reading...