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Book Award Long Lists

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

I thought I was pretty much done with my reading from the 2010 Booker Prize longlist, and on the whole I have to say it was a pretty positive experience, with only one of those I read falling short of expectations. One that I really didn’t fancy reading was The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. Something about it just didn’t appeal, and some of the reviews I’d read didn’t inspire confidence either. But being a bit of a cheapskate, when the Kindle version came up on offer at a very good price I thought what the heck, let’s give it a go.

So how did I get on with it? Were my initial suspicions correct or was it one that I was lucky not to let pass me by?

Read on for a full review…


Old Filth by Jane Gardam

Old Filth by Jane GardamA member of an on-line book club I use highly recommended The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam, a novel which I had not previously come across. When I asked for some further info about it she suggested I read Old Filth first. Although The Man in the Wooden Hat is not strictly a sequel, Old Filth does provide a lot of background story and shares some characters.

I’m not quite sure how I have managed to completely miss Old Filth as it has been out since 2004 and appears to be well regarded (shortlisted for the 2005 Orange Prize for example) but it somehow managed to slip under my radar. Anyway, it turned out to be an excellent recommendation and I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

Read on for a full review…


Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey

Parrot and Olivier in AmericaBefore you read my review of Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America, I might as well hold up my hands and admit that I am probably not the most impartial reviewer. I’ve loved Carey’s writing for years, to the extent that he is probably my favourite living author.

Some of his novels have certainly fallen short of the very high standards he set himself with Illywhacker, Oscar and Lucinda and The True History of the Kelly Gang, but there is something about his style that always keeps me coming back for more even after some of his less than brilliant work.

Parrot and Olivier in America, I had high hopes for as it achieved a place on the 2010 Man Booker Shortlist, and it finally came to the top of my reading list last month. So did it live up to my expectations?

Read on for a full review…


Emerging Authors Featured at Amazon

Amazon Rising Stars Interested in checking out some of the emerging talent in the world of fiction? Amazon have just released the first batch of this year’s Amazon Rising Stars. Over the course of the year, twelve debut novels by up and coming authors will be featured, and judging by the initial batch of four, they look like being a fascinating and diverse mix.

Although I have yet to read any of the featured titles myself, I’ve provided links to both and in the table below so you can check them out for yourself. Link Link
Elizabeth Haynes Into the Darkest Corner Into the Darkest Corner
Urban Waite The Terror of Living The Terror of Living
Robin Oliveira My Name is Mary Sutter My Name is Mary Sutter
Andrew Miller Snowdrops Snowdrops

There appears to be a reasonable mixture of genres and subject matter in these choices, but for the remaining books to be featured this year I would like to see Amazon getting a bit more ethnically diverse. In this respect, I think Waterstone’s 2011 debut novel list may be more interesting, but we will have to see what Amazon comes up with for the eight remaining titles.

From the initial four, I think I find myself most drawn towards Andrew Miller’s novel Snowdrops, so I may add that one to my reading list. Any of the Amazon Rising Stars take your fancy? Please let us know in a comment below.