translation blog award

I ve set another blog to run a blog prize focusing on books in translation and reviews from different places best blog ,interview so pop over to translation award blog .Let me know what you think .

All my friends are superheros by Andrew Kaufman

Now this is Andrew Kaufman’s Debut a short Novel just over a hundred pages ,it follows a flight from Toronto to Vancouver ,the main characters are Tom and his superhero wife ” the perfectionist” ,the problem is that tom’s wife is unable to see tom after being hypnotized by her ex another superhero by the name of Hypno so since they were married see hasn’t seen tom ,thing he has run off she has decide to move towns to make her life perfect again as she is the perfectionist ,during the flight we find out via flash back how the pair meet and ,all about the bizarre collection of superheros from true superheros to slight faults like the girl who is always falling or the chip with a chip on her shoulder .

But the chip on chip’s shoulder weighs so much that only her super-strength could remove it ,but she can’t use until she gets rid of the chip and she she can’t get rid of the chip without using her super strength .she appears no stronger than any regular .


Tom sets out to find out how to become visible again ,first off meeting another couple of people who are truly invisible the blue outcast that is paint blue so he can be seen ,but gets no help there all his superhero friends are no real help so this flight is the be all and end all of the marriage .It took an afternoon to read this book ,it’s a wonderfully quick read ,the writing is crisp and very ,very funny it is such a long time since i have laugh so much whilst reading a book ,Kaufmann has a quirky humour it reminded  me of the early 90’s Canadian comedy series” kids in the hall .The question is what makes a superhero in this book is it special powers ? or are we all superheros and don’t know it and are just awaiting our superhero name ?


Well racoon seems best for this book ,crafty ,funny looking and very mischievous

I got this book via twitter from telegrams P.R also andrews new book “the waterproof bible ” thats due out next month

uk book blogger conference ?

bloggers ? maybe?

A conversation earlier inspired by Amy reads visit to the US book blogger conference ,lead to some laments that us uk blogger appear not to have such a wonderful event with panels and chance to flesh out so to speak who we are ,now I m not volunteering myself to organise this but would help if people are interested ,If some one has experience in organizing events for people or companies would be great ,any ideas welcome also borrowing post for your blog get people interested in it also where and time of year ,this is post get interest up and hopefully start a ball rolling to lead to bigger things ,all the best stu . 

  • i know some publishers have blogger meet ups ,so why can’t us bloggers

Behind the scenes – serpentstail pr Rebecca Gray

I meet rebecca via twitter she works for serpents tail ,who publish some wonderful books including a lot of world fiction .I asked Rebecca for a interview via e-mail she agreed ,I want to do a series of interviews with people working behind the scenes at piblishing house to get the books we all love published .any way here are rebeccas answers .

Many thanks for doing this Rebecca ,want to do some behind scenes of people in publishing for blog to show hard work you do .

black water rising

  1. introduce yourself and what is it you do at Serpents tail Rebecca ?  I split my time between editorial and publicity. My job has changed quite a bit over the last few years, because as I’ve done more editorial work for Serpent’s Tail, my publicity work has become more focused on Profile, which is brilliant. I’ve discovered that as well as the fiction I’ve always loved, I’m also a huge fan of popular science writing (Michael Brooks’ 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense especially) and all sorts of things I would never have read on my own. That’s one of the great joys of publishing I think, you’re always pushed to have an open mind.
  2. what is the P.R process that goes into publishing a book ? It very much depends on the book, but extends from announcements when the book is bought to working with the author all through publication and beyond. Publicity has always had the potential to just go on and on, but with the growth of the web there are now so many possibilities that publicists need help from authors more than ever. So while we approach the press, TV, radio, blogs, festivals and so on, what we can’t do is the kind of networking that authors can do online – that has to be authentic. The most obvious example is Stephanie Meyer, but Kate Pullinger and Michael Brooks have a really positive online presence too. The other thing is that it’s invaluable when authors contribute their own ideas and, when relevant, are willing to talk about how real life influenced their writing.
  3. what has been you biggest success with serpents tail ? We Need to Talk about Kevin is definitely our biggest seller of all time, and the book that has had the most attention. It’s the kind of book that lingers with you long after you’ve finished it and definitely made me think differently about parenthood. But there are masses of books that we’re deeply proud of or that have garnered a lot of attention, or both. We’re just putting out our first four classics, with more to follow, which I hope is a big statement about those books we’ve published over the years which really stand the test of time (which, by the way, is really a test of what readers love – obviously we think all our books are classics in the making). One of those is …Kevin and the other three are The Book of Disquiet, Shoedog and Devil in a Blue Dress. I could carry on like this all day, mentioning David Peace’s Red Riding quartet, Attica Locke’s Black Water Rising on this year’s Orange shortlist, Jonathan Trigell’s Boy A…

    We need to talk about kevin

  4. Is there a book that got away so to speak ? Depends whether you mean one that someone else bought or one I wish we’d got more attention for. The former would be Jasper Jones, which Windmill are publishing now-ish I think, and which I really loved and offered on. They offered more money and in that situation you have to be philosophical – so few writers get big advances that you can’t grudge it when they take the money, although I would have loved to be publishing it.
  5. what is your favourite book you’ve been involved with ? There are too many, without even thinking about those writers I worked with before I came to Serpent’s Tail, but Amanda Smyth’s Black Rock will always have a deservedly special place in my heart, primarily because it’s beautiful and sad and really a perfect novel, and partly because it was the first book I edited.

    black rock amanda smyth

  6. what is your favourite book /writer ? I know it’s utterly pathetic, but I’m not really a list person. My mind just goes blank.  Without my shelves to prompt me, I’ll tell you about some old favourites, with the conscious exclusion of work-related titles: The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen is heartbreaking and skewers the agony of not fitting in; The Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins made me cry until my face and neck were greasy with tears; Jilly Cooper is a genius – especially Rivals; Cold Comfort Farm and I Capture the Castle are essential to any shelf; Dorothy L Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey rocks; The Woman in Black made me nauseous with fear (A Good Thing); Lisa St Aubin de Teran’s The Hacienda is an extraordinary memoir by a woman far braver than me; and a token man – Tim Guest’s memoir My Life in Orange makes a tragic childhood immediate and an amazing source of insight. Plus every child should read Carbonel the Witch’s Cat – a more perfectly arch and wry cat never lived.

Want the Serpent’s Tail ones now too?

  1. what impact will digital publishing have on serpents tail do you think ? Oh, save the easy ones for last. I honestly have no idea – hopefully it’ll mean greater diversity, with people reading print and/or online, every book ever published being available to buy electronically, narratives that don’t even look like novels with music and pictures and links, greater word of mouth, people being able to self-publish if they can’t find a publisher but also a longer-term consolidation of the importance of publishers, whether of writing or music or journalism. I have this idea that the self-starting (this is a word I would never normally use but it seems to fit here) can co-exist happily with the professional (deliberately not saying corporate), and that when we all get used to the ‘brave new world’, there’ll still be an appetite for people who devote their careers (in publishing, often their lives!) to finding great books and giving them the best treatment, from editorial to marketing. If anything, the wealth of material to choose from will make this even more necessary. I feel that this is already happening now – there’s a good feeling about the fact that people who love reading can now be in touch with authors and people in the industry via social networks. However, I feel I’m on shaky, too-Utopian ground, so if you want to talk more about this, you could request an interview with our digital publisher…

many thanks Rebecca .

book podcasts

When i got my i pod classic last year one of thrills was being able to download some more podcast there are some great ones out there here are a few of my favourites –

books on the nightstand is an american podcast by michael kindness and Ann Kingman two people who both work in publishing and do this weekly podcast which is usually in three section .The first two sections usually deal with a set topic whether it e readers or graphic novel the last section is a book recommendation from Ann and Micheal ,the chat is free-flowing ,with michael love of graphic novels ,non fiction and fiction and Anns love of lit fiction and female writers they just about have all bases covered they are also both on twitter @annkingman @mkindness.

The new yorker fiction podcast this is a monthly podcast where a writer is given the chance to raid new yorkers vast back catalogue of short stories to read ,this gives you an insight in to the writer as there is a short interview before and after the story it also helps understand the writing process as the second part of the interview they dissect the story to discuss style ,influence and relevance of the story a essential for all budding writers and avid readers recent guests have been Joshua Ferris and Junnot Diaz .

the A.B.C Book show this is a four times weekly show on australian radio hosted by Romana Koval .The format varies from sections to complete show on various topics book related ,great interviews ,discussion on australian classics and modern books fiction and non fiction .Romana is a great host so enthusiastic about books .I discovered Xaiver Herbert and many other australian writers via this podcast .

there are many other podcast out there but these three are a great place to start if you ve not listen to these please give them a go .

Do you have a favourite podcast ?

D0 you wish some podcasts could be made in to tv shows ?


the passport by herta muller

the fourth on the around the world is this book from Romania .I first came across Herta Muller about a week before last years nobel prizes were announced when @milestyle Stewart from world lit forum mentioned her as a possible winner .Being the sort person that loves to find out about new writers i google her and looked on amazon for her books to find little or none in print ,then she went on to win this years nobel prize for literature ,and both granta and the lovely serpents tail choose to reissue books from her .

  the book its self is a mere 90 pages long  set in the small german speaking enclave in Romania and follows a small village miller as he struggles for a passport ,but by no means a simple read as there is no real start to end narrative ,other than a thin thread about Windisch the main characters quest for a passport .In parts the book verges in to the surreal with dreams of dry frogs and an owl that settles on roofs as a harpenge of death .In other places you sense the corruption of the Ceausescu regime with Windsche having to bribe officials with corn and flour .also there are deep sexual and religious undercurrents with a tree being burnt for being possessed by the devil .Muller has a wonderful way of describe the surrounding weather it badly painted walls or the smell of the apples exploding in the fire .for the most part this novel is obviously autobiographical as Hertha herself had to wait to travel to west germany ,grew up in a small village in the same area as the novel is based .Windisch and his wife spooky echo millers own parents as her father was a solider and her own mother had spent time in a soviet work camp .

The priest had stood behind the apple tree ,praying loudly .the church choir stood alongside the boxwood hedge, singing the long songs .it was colds and the breath of the songs was drawn in to the sky .the women ad children prayed quietly.

a scene just before they burn a devilish apple tree .

the cover is a green photo of a cyclist the passport is the english title the translation of the german title is “man is a great pheasant in the world ” which is maybe more intriguing .this was published late last year by serpents tail

the week in twitter

This is where i put down bits of book news over the past week that has caught my eye

@archipelagobk’s where telling us about Unai Elorriga novel tour in america the Basque writer who’s novel plants don t drink coffee they publish any one who knows me well knows what a fan i am of archipelago there a small non-profit publisher who make beautiful books .

@windmillbooks told us about pocket notebook by mike Thomas a dark comedy about the police ,the book also has a great take on the famous clockwork orange cover from the seventies

@vintagebooks told us about a new edition of  worst journey in the world the book about the ill-fated scott expedition which their classic imprint are bring out soon

@radompr the wonderful Bethan told us about how to live by Sarah Bakewell  a book about de Montaigne the writer

This week i tweeted about –

the patience stone  by Atiq Rahimi -reviewed

white ravens  by   Owen Sheers -review over weekend

fado by Andrzej Stasiuk -review early next week

a pile of archipelago books

a week in twitter the books

Thought i d write about the things from the people i follow that have caught my eye .there are so many great people and publishers on twitter its a real wealth of information .

there was a great insight in to the pr’s mind this week by @joethepublicist joe Pickering at penguin discussing an idea about perfume and books .Where perfumes are marketed on the quality of the ingredients and design of the packaging ,this means that the best product as a whole is the one people desire whereas in books this isn’ t always the case ,it would be great if people choose a David Vann or say the new Joshua ferris when it comes out as a opposed to a Dan Brown . a real interesting argument and idea

   Bethan Jones @randompr was giving away proofs of the upcoming jo Nebo book the snowman the latest in his Harry Hole

series the fifth book in this series ,she also posted a link to jo’s great website well worth a peek .A must read for fans of nordic crime

   Rob from @thefictiondesk has a copy of  Roberto Bolano’s new novel in english nazi literature in america to win there is also a review of the book which he read over christmas ,his latest e-mail newsletter is also out a great guide to whats new and current in books you can sign up at the fiction desk for it .

 Macmillan told us all about the new paper back of the incendiary’s trail by James McCreet one of the new writing writers a book about a Victorian detective on the trail of a mastermind in london

Vintage books ,Alison told us about the new wallander tv tie in to go along with the new series from the bbc .

Me myself I tweeted about

wonder- Hugo Claus reviewed here

brutal telling Louise Penny review here over weekend

the patience stones -Atiq Rahimi review early next week

Next Newer Entries

July 2020


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