Saturday, 12 November 2011

Man Booker Prize 2011

Well this year it was as controversial as always. I have to say that once again none of the books really appealed to me. The only one I attempted prior to the result was this one.

It certainly was not challenging but was very odd. This is a violent and peculiar western. It is very strange I am not sure what was the point of the book, was it to tell us that all sons need and crave their mothers? If anyone can enlighten me please post.

On the announcement of the winning novel, I decided to read it. Again an easy read, and very short, almost a novella. It is beautifully if somewhat self consciously written. It is about a 60 something year old man returning to an event in his past. I can't say too much as it would then contain spoilers.

What I could not decide is whether this book is absolutely brilliant or dreadful. It is as I said very lyrical, but none of the characters appeal, there is really no point that I can perceive to the story. There is no real denouement. The revelation at the end you could see coming, and it really doesn't solve anything BUT that is real life. Other human beings frequently are a mystery to us and there is no 'closure' that can be had, and some people we meet in our lives are just unpleasant or weird.

I am glad I read it , it will be excellent for reading groups as I suspect it will divide the readers into two camps and lead to a lively discussion.

Friday, 4 November 2011

End Of The Line - ed Jonathan Oliver

So what can I say about this collection of horror short stories? They are all loosely based about underground railway systems. They are incredible! A stellar cast of authors have been collected by Jonathan Oliver, Christopher Fowler, Adan L G Neville, Gary McMahon, Pat Cadigan, Paul Maloy, Ramsay Campbell, John L Probert, Nicholas Royle, Simon Bestwick, Al Ewing, Conrad Williams, Mark Morris, Stephen Volk, Michael Marshall Smith, James Lovegrove,Natasha Rhodes, and Joel Lane.
I found I had to read this book very slowly reserving time to read one story a day. They are haunting, terrifying, and very clever, they also stay with you, hence the desire not to overload the synapses.
I should say that next time I take the tube in London I am going to pay very close attention to everything, and be very afraid. I found it absolutely fascinating but not surprising to see how different author's imaginations run when given such a suitable topic. Am I the only person that has always been slightly uneasy on a tube platform?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

October has been a busy month!

Phew, we have had a busy month here in Bournemouth. Firstly our reading groups have reached 52! We have been running a survey with them and they have feed back that they would over whelmingly like Readers Days, on Crime, General Fiction and Historical Fiction. So please keep your eyes open for advertising for future author events.

In October we had the excellent Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival. As part of this there was the interestingly named Horrorlitic events. Bournemouth has a wealth of literary connections,the author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley is buried here, as is the heart of her husband! Robert Louis Stevenson wrote The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde while living here, and the author of Dracula, Bram Stoker used to come here on holiday!

So we had the eminent horror writers Ramsay Campbell and Stephen Laws to the Bournemouth Library for tea with a specially commissioned horror cake. Over 40 people came to be chilled by readings of some of their latest short stories. Later they were grilled by the audience on how they wrote, where they got their inspriration from and whether they were normal! ( Their wives said yes!) Waterstones were there to sell books for a signing and I bought a particularly chilling collection of short stories. Review to follow!