Thursday, 17 June 2010

Ever decreasing (and increasing) piles

I’m making headway into my giant to read piles.

Some of them I put aside for holiday and that instantly lessened the guilt I was feeling. A lot of them I have now read, and a few I’ve skimmed the first few chapters and decided that they weren’t for me. And of course in the meantime newer books have come in and I’ve read them instead of the tottering stack!

It is probably the advance copies of books that have been the most exciting, although a lot of the library books I’ve been reading are worthy of blog posts all on their own. There is just something special about reading advance copies of books, and even after all these year the thrill of a proof hasn’t worn off.

I’m pleased to say that my friend’s book really didn’t disappoint. I now know that it has changed a lot from the draft I read but I still thought that it was excellent. Less Philip Reeve and more Gemma Malley by the end but that just made it better for me. Enough of the story had been wrapped up that I felt satisfied but I do hope that volume two is forthcoming (hint! hint!)

I was also reading Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. Sadly for me this one didn’t get any better. I really had guessed the twist from the beginning and in the end I was just bored by it. I can see that it might appeal to the Jacob fans of the Twilight series but for me it just didn’t have the punch or story to make this an author I will read again.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma is a hard one to talk about. I think it is a brave book but I’m not sure about it at all. I think that The Bookwitch sums it up best on her blog.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson was a good read. Not that original perhaps but it handled a lot of issues in a fairly believable way. While it didn’t move me as much as other books with a similar theme I enjoyed it and will look out for more by this author.

The highlight of recent days has been Matched by Ally Condie. This isn’t out until the end of the year but it blew me away. A teen romance that didn’t include vampires or werewolves was always going to good, but the dystopian, sci-fi feel was a real surprise. I like books that are different from the current trend and this one really is. It is also well written, tense, romantic, sad, funny… Can you tell I loved it? The best thing was that again although there is scope for a sequel (and I really hope that there is) it is a complete book and you aren’t left hanging. This one is a real contender for book of the year…certainly the best teen novel I’ve read so far this year.

I’ve a few more treats lined up, the sequel to Sarwat Chadda’s Devil's Kiss and an early draft of another favourite author’s book. In addition to this I am involved in the wonderful Writers’ Centre Norwich Summer Read and next week I’ll have the chance to meet and listen to some wonderful authors at the launch event. It is a good thing that the days are so long at the moment – I might event have time to read all of these books!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Exciting Times

I've been looking forward to today for ages. I am venturing out of Norwich and down to London for the afternoon and evening and it is going to be a very bookish day.

This afternoon a colleague and I are going to Penguin HQ. I've been a couple of times before, doing some consultancy work, back when I worked for Waterstone's. This time E and I are going in our library capacity, to talk about how libraries work, how we buy books, how we monitor popular titles and how we can work more closely with publishers.

After this we are meeting some friends for drinks before going on to the Puffin 70th Birthday Party.

At the library we've been celebrating Puffin books for a while - getting people to vote for their favourite Puffin titles of all time, we also held a book club birthday party where we played lots of games based on Puffin books. Unsurprisingly our games based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factor are the most popular.

I loved Puffin books as a child, but sadly I was never a member of the Puffin Club, Mr Bookworm was and thanks to eBay we now have a nearly complete collection of the early magazines. I am about to become Auntie Bookworm and I am very excited to see that the Puffin Club has been restarted. You're never too young for books after all...

As for picking my favourite Puffin title? Not possible I'm afraid. Who could chose between Arthur Ransome, Roald Dahl, Charlie Higson, Rick Riordan, CS Lewis, Raymond Briggs...

I have to catch a train now but in the mean time I leave you with this:


and of course the Puffin Blog.

No Puffins, Penguins or Pelicans were harmed in the making of this blog post!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Books, books everywhere but not a title to read

Well the title is slightly misleading, but once more I am in a reading dilemma.

Through many and varied (and gratefully received) sources I have recently acquired a lot of proof and review copies of books. All of them look good and even if they aren't normally my 'thing' all of them certainly look appealing enough to at least try.

The problem is that I feel a bit overwhelmed, I don't know where to start.

Well that isn't quite true either as I've started several of them. One in the bedroom, one in the living room, one at work, and so on. I don't know which to continue first. And then there are the ones that I haven't event started yet. They are sitting in a pile sending out 'read me' vibes and making me feel guilty that they don't have my attention.

Sitting next to this pile however there are another two stacks. One of recent purchases and another of library books that I've reserved after reading reviews elsewhere. Sam I feel you and your Summer Read and the coverage of the Hay Festival being shown on Sky Arts are predominantly to blame for this, however there are some cracking books being reviewed all over the blogosphere at present.

I am currently reading two books:
One is Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. I have a review copy of this and it is just a plain red book, no hints as to content at all. I've got about half way through it so far and I think I've worked out the plot twist. If I have I am a bit disappointed that a book with so much more to offer than a lot of books from genre is so easy to guess, if I'm wrong I will be astounded at the talent of the author.

I'm avoiding reading too much about the book as I don't want it to be spoiled but the author is on a blog tour this week and started over at Chicklish where you can find out more.

The other is a manuscript from a friend, it is very well written and very different from much of the teen literature out there. Definitely more Philip Reeve than Stephenie Meyer. I'm getting towards the end of this one now and there are a lot of loose ends to tie up - I'm just hoping that it does end properly and not with those dreadful words 'to be continued'. I don't think Abbie would do that to me but you can never be certain!

Enough procrastinating.
I shall take both of these books, a glass of something cold and a comfortable chair into the garden as I try to avoid my usual reading habit when I am overwhelmed by choice - rereading comfort books!