A Nobel Double Two by Svetlana

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I have in the last few days received two books from last years Nobel winner. This the first book that arrived Second hand time is a selection of interviews she has taken to form a piece on the post soviet world and how it has formed a new world and in her use of many voice to individual monologues see how the post soviet society is affecting the every man and woman on the street. This is the first new work from her since the Nobel win to reach us in English and is out from Fitzcarraldo editions. Penguin are also releasing new editions of her previous books I have reviewed this one in its earlier release as Voices of Chernobyl I had reviewed this last year as it was the only book I could get before the Nobel prize was announced .So as with Patrick Modiano the year before we now have a number of books from this wonderful Non fiction writer whose ability to work the people she talks to into a chorus of voice on the soviet and post soviet world she grew up in .

Have you read any books by her ?

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From Brazil to Egypt recent buys

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I’m not in mood to review a book so will go through a few recent buys from Oxfam first is the third book by Joao Ubaldo Ribero I have brought so I think a review of one of his books is over due this is set during the police state years of Brazils history.

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Next up is a Cuban classic Explosion in a Cathedral a classic I have been trying to read for a while so this old Penguin was a great find . The story of Hughes who becomes a revolutionary.

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Another writer I have read a Breyten Breytenbach before
Intimate stranger which Archipelago published they also have a copy of this book. A story of one man’s time in prison and how it can effect ones vision of time.

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I grew up reading Hunter like many men in my generation this collection of his later journalist pieces is one I hadn’t read. It captured the best of the late years of his work .

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A month in the country is a classic gem and I have his other book how steeple Sinderby won the FA cup on my tbr pile which given Leicester dream season I may just read if they win the league this year. I also Brough this as it shares it’s title with the arthur Ransome Biography I read a  few years ago.

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And in the end to Egypt in the 1930 and 40s with a modern classic of Arabic fiction.

Sunday score and some open letters

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Well I have spent the last seven year not scoring my books but I feel I need to change this as I have enough reviews I feel to go back and  over time show my taste and books I really like over those I simply like. I am aim to use a similar scale to Michael from complete review with A through to C with plus and minus so we go from
A+ as an essential read a true ground break book
A a book that should make end of year lists
A- a good strong book
B+ worth trying
B borrow or loan
B- OK
C+ just not for me
C I struggled to finish
C-don’t touch with a barge pole
Most of what I read will be in the a- to b zone a few a and maybe four or five a+ a year.I feel this may help make clear what I like really I tend be nicer about books than I should be at times. But I do really know the ones that fit my idea of cannon works.

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I was lucky to get two more titles from the American publisher Open letter The first is Loquela by Carlos Lane. He was in the Granta best Spanish writers collection 8s from Chile and this is a Latin American novel that is part Paul auster and Borges it seems. Then another comic novel from Bulgaria as the comic books from Bulgaria I have read have.all been fun this is another darkly funny look at the madness of the Soviet era as the country tries to throw of the shackles of this regime.

The Republic of Consciousness Prize for small Presses announcement

I Have published the announcement of a new prize on the UK for small presses. I am really happy to see this prize as many of the Publishers I review books from are from small publishers. I feel the passionate people I know Like Susan from Istros Stefan from And other stories and Jacques from Fitzcarraldo editions need to be acknowledged for the hard work they do in opening the eyes of readers to challenging literature .

Judges Announced for The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses

http://www.republicofconsciousness.com/prize/

Submission Deadline: 31st October 2016

Longlist Announcement: 30th November 2016

Shortlist Announcement: 2 January 2017

Winner Announcement: 16 February 2017

Prize: min of £3000: £2000 to the press, and £1000 to the writer, plus a bottle of Amarone each.

The Republic of Consciousness is delighted to announce the selection of judges for the first Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses.

Launched earlier this year, by award-winning novelist Neil Griffiths, the prize seeks to celebrate “small presses producing brilliant and brave literary fiction”.

The judges of the award are made up of a selection of independent booksellers and bookshop owners from across the UK and reflect the award’s aim to highlight the important role that booksellers play in helping to bring quality literature to the attention of readers. It’s often those hand-sold copies or bookseller recommendations that will be a reader’s first introduction to the world of independent publishing, and the relationship between the booksellers and independent publishers cannot be overstated.

“We wanted the judging panel to comprise independent booksellers because the spirit behind the prize is to support the more vulnerable sections of the publishing community, and given the prize is for independent presses, it made sense to approach booksellers who share a similar ethos. This we did, and we are thrilled with the response. Across the 9 judges we have a strong regional spread, with a good a mix of urban and rural locations. Each judge brings something different to the prize, but they all share experience, dynamism and a willingness to take risks, perfectly mirroring the kind of presses the prize aims to support.’” Neil Griffiths, founder of The Republic of Consciousness & co-chair

Submissions for the prize are now officially open – to UK and Irish publishers with a maximum of five full-time people working for them – and will close at the end of October. Each publisher is allowed to submit one novel or single author collection of short stories for this year, with one wild card call-in allowed per judge.

A shortlist of eight novels will be announced in January 2017, followed by the winner announcement in February 2017.

Neil Griffiths is also putting out an appeal to fellow authors and readers alike to help support the prize with donations which will go towards the final prize money. Already a great financial boost to most small presses, an increase in the amount will make an immense difference to the winners.

Judging Panel:

Neil Griffiths (President of The Republic of Consciousness & co-chair)

Awarding-winning novelist of Betrayal in Naples (Penguin), winner of the Writers’ Club First Novel Award and Saving Caravaggio (Penguin), short-listed for the Costa Best Novel Award 2007. His new novel Family of Love will be published in 2017.

Marcus Wright (co-chair)

Tax inspector, bibliophile, and sometime writer on jazz.

Sam Fisher – Burley Fisher Books (London)

Sam Fisher has worked at Camden Lock Books for the last three years and together with Jason Burley opened Burley Fisher Books – specialists in new titles by independent presses – in Kingsland Road this February.

Gary Perry – Foyles (Charing Cross Road, London)

Assistant Head of the Fiction Department at the Foyles flagship store on Charing Cross Road, Gary has been with Foyles for six years and works hard to promote fiction in translation and independent publishing.

Anna Dreda – Wenlock Books (Shropshire)

Owner of Wenlock Books and founder of the Wenlock Poetry Festival, Anna Dreda was also one of the judges for the 2014 Costa Poetry Awards.

Helen Stanton – Forum Books (Northumberland)

Owner Helen Stanton previously worked for Waterstones, Headline and Canongate before taking over Forum Books nearly 5 years ago.

Lyndsy Kirkman – Chapter One Books (Manchester)

Former NHS stem cell scientist, Lyndsy Kirkman, is one half of the dynamic sibling duo (along with Christine Cafun) who opened Chapter One, a bookstore, café and performance space, in Manchester last summer.

Emma Corfield – Book-ish (Crickhowell, Powys, Wales)

Owner of the independent family run bookshop based in the rural market town in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Book-ish is one of the regional winners of the British Book Industry Awards’ Independent Bookshop of the Year. Praised for being a “small shop that punches well above its weight” they were also awarded a James Patterson Bookseller Grant of £5000 for their book bus project.

Gillian Robertson – Looking Glass Books (Fife, Scotland)

Founder of independent bookshop Looking Glass Books, Gillian is committed to using the shelves in her shop to shine a light on the gems offered by the many brilliant small independent presses in the UK & beyond.

Man booker international prize prediction post 2016

Well today is the day before the Man booker announce the first Man booker international prize longlist, the new name for the Indpendent foreign fiction prize. I don’t see much change in the books being picked this year Boyd is still the chair and so I feel the list may have a similar feel to other years. Last year i was miles of the mark with my predictions so lets see how I do this year with my 13 choices .

1.

The great swindle by Pierre Lemaitre

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This won the French Prix Goncourt slow burning book but very much an homage to french writing of the time the book is set ww1 and just after . My review 

2

The Meursault investigation

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I said this when I reviewed it every few years a book in translation seems to break free and become a  favourite of every one and this book is one such example. A retelling of Camus outsider from the Arab point of view .My review

3

Exiles by Ciler Ilhan

This was my favourite short story collection from last year and Ciler bravely touch many taboo subjects in Turkish society such as Honour killings . My review  

4

Submission by Michel Houellebecq

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A dystopia france where a Arab led coalition has taken charge seen from a laid back lectures point of view who doesn’t see whats happening to it is too late. This is the one that was on the cover of Charlie Hebdo the week the magazine was attack My review

5

The vegetarian by Han Kang

A triptych of stories around a womans choice to become vegetarian and also her sexual awakening in a way. I like this book although was a tad over hyped by some. My review 

6

She is not me by Golnaz Hashemzadeh

 

She Is Not MeI think one World edition title should be pn the longlist they took uk by storm publishing 21 titles last year most of those in translation I loved this tale of trying to fit in as a teen in Sweden.My review 

7

Wilful disregard by Lena Andersson

 

A love story a woman falls for an artist and it is down hil from there . I loved the beauty of the writing in this one .My review 

8

What became of the white savage by Francois Garde

 

A man become shipwrecked in the 1840 and goes native in the Australi of the time . This is the story of that time ansd what happened when he returned to france a Priz Goncourt first novel winner .My review 

9

Signs preceeding the end of the world by Yuri Herrea

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A sister takes two messages to her brother in the US a mythic like trip as Yuri has removed any sense of place or time to the story. My review 

10

My documents by Alejandro Zambra

Another short story collection this time by the Chilean Aljandro Zambra, I loved these I said when I reviewed his novellas he would be a great short story-teller . My favourite was one about a disgraced footballer that fake an injury during a world cup match . My review 

11

Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila

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A high octanne look at  life in Congo as there is no law and people trying to make money steal money and some just to get by the best they can in this mad world . My review

12

The boy who stole Attila’s  horse by Ivan Repila

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Two boys fell down a well this is the tale of what happened after that .Well written .My review

13

Well I decide to name a trio of Spanish books that just on the edge in my opinion two I reviewed on I am part way in .

Out in the open by Jesus Carrasco

The Ilogic of Kassel by Enrique Vila-Matas

In the night of time by Antonio Munoz Molina

 

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