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Showing posts from April, 2011

Help! My wish list #21

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One more title from my ever-expanding reading wish list.

** The cover image is for illustrative purposes only. If you are a publisher and would kindly like to offer me a copy of this book for review, I will change the cover so as to reflect the edition received. **

Man Made Language
By Dale Spender

Amazon's product description: This edition of this feminist study of language offers clear analysis of the ways in which our language is "man-made", of all the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which the masculine is asserted as the norm, while feminine experience is muted and pushed to the margins of life and language.

Why I want to read this book: I am extremely fascinated by the feminist view on language and the way it shaped society.

Kimberly Menozzi and... Thoughts on Italy While Riding A Bike

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I love bicycles. I've had them all my life, and I have one now - a Legnano city bike, a simple one-speed with handbrakes, which I ride to work when I have to teach in the mornings. My hubby bought it for me in 2004, shortly after I arrived in Italy and we married. I remember walking that bike home with my hubby (it wouldn't be fair to ride it when he didn't have one with him), feeling anxious and excited in a way I hadn't felt in years. I love my bike, and I love my hubby's Masi racing bike which he's had since a long time before we met.

I love the zing-zing of the bell when someone needs to pass, and the soft hum of the tires on the pavement. I love the jostling clatter of the frame when a bike hits a bump in the road, and the slowing whirr as the brakes are applied.

I love Italy's understanding of the needs of cyclists. I love the well-maintained cycling paths which were added when the city upgraded the phone and internet lines through the town. I love the …

Book review: Unbearable Lightness

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By Portia De Rossi
Published by Simon & Schuster

Sometimes I choose what to read for reasons that go beyond the content of the book. In fact, when I decided that I wanted to read Portia De Rossi’s Unbearable Lightness, I didn’t even know what it was about. I had watched no interviews and read no reviews. I figured that whatever one half of the world’s most famous lesbian couple had to say, I wanted to know!

Despite not knowing anything about the book, I did have preconceptions. I was definitely not expecting the amazing book that this turned out to be.

In Unbearable Lightness, whose subtitle is A story of loss and gain, Portia De Rossi gives an acutely honest account of her struggle with eating disorders. Brought on by factors such as the need to feel above average when she was only in her teens and the perceived necessity to hide her sexual orientation when she was beginning her acting career, her difficult relationship with food and the hatred towards her body and herself are descri…

Book review: Living on a prayer

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By Sheila Quigley
Reviewed by Natazzz

I'm a fan of crime novels, but picking the right one can sometimes be tricky. A good story combined with a nice paperback cover is sure to get my attention, but it's not until you actually start reading that you notice if it's any good. At that point things can go either way. A crime novel that looked very promising can disappoint, while a novel that you did not really expect too much of can surprise you. Living on a prayer (2006) by Sheila Quigley falls into the latter category.

This novel is set in a small town in the UK, where just before Christmas a teenager commits suicide. His mother is convinced he couldn't have killed himself and the local police also find the circumstances of his death suspicious. Once they start looking into the boys' life they find out he and his friends were involved in all kinds of stuff, including a weird, creepy, religious cult. Whenever a religious cult shows up in a crime novel you know that the…

Help! My wish list #20

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One more title from my ever-expanding reading wish list.

** The cover image is for illustrative purposes only. If you are a publisher and would kindly like to offer me a copy of this book for review, I will change the cover so as to reflect the edition received. **

The Zookeeper's Wife
By Diane Ackerman

Amazon's product description: When Germany invaded Poland, Warsaw zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began fighting their own war against the Nazis. With most of their animals killed by bombs, the couple rescued Jews from the ghetto and gave them sanctuary in the empty animal enclosures. Drawing on Antonina's diary, Diane Ackerman recreates this extraordinary wartime story in a dazzling tale of subterfuge, courage and endurance. Written with passion and energy, The Zookeeper's Wife is a testament to the courage and heroism that illuminated some of the darkest days of the twentieth century.

Why I want to read this book: Stories about wartime heroes are always inspiring and …

Go on… Ask Me! by Kimberly Menozzi

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It's inevitable. There are certain questions every writer is asked throughout their career, and this is one of the most persistent: "Is the book autobiographical?"

Since Ask Me if I'm Happy's release, I've already been asked that question more times than I'd ever dreamed would be possible. The answer is always a kindly-delivered but emphatic "No," and most folks are satisfied with that. However, some aren't, and they persist, delivering a variation on that theme:

"How much of you is in the book, then?"

This is where it gets tricky for me, because the answer is "None," and the answer is also "All of me."

Many writers will say the same, or something similar, so I know I'm not alone. Every character in every book I write has some part of me in them. I don't mean this in a completely literal sense, of course – it's not that I've assigned some of my own traits to every character that crosses the page.…

Book review: Ask Me If I'm Happy

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By Kimberly Menozzi

While organising the “Italy in Books” reading challenge, someone on Twitter suggested that I read Ask Me If I’m Happy, debut novel of American-born Kimberly Menozzi. Curious, I started reading her blog and I was instantly hooked on her fresh and witty writing style. So much, in fact, that I just had to invite her to be a guest blogger on Book After Book!

It was with trepidation that this month I picked up my copy of Ask Me If I’m Happy and started reading. Having developed great expectations, I was concerned that I might end up being disappointed. I’m glad to report that I needn’t have worried!

Ask Me If I’m Happy opens on the last day that Emily Miller ever intends to spend in Italy. Following a whirlwind romance and an excruciatingly difficult marriage with Italian playboy Jacopo, she is looking forward to leaving her adoptive country behind and starting afresh in America. Italian train strikes, however, are unforgiving and Emily finds herself stranded in Bologna …

LGBT reading challenge - April reviews

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Thanks again for joining the LGBT reading challenge 2011! If you haven't joined yet, don't worry: there is still time.

Below is a list of all the book reviews that have been submitted in April (via this link). Hopefully you will all find new and interesting titles to explore - I, for one, am sure to gather another few books to add to my TBR list!

Whether you already know the books that are being discussed or not, I strongly encourage you to leave comments below and on the other blogs. I want to hear your voices! Despite its name, the reading challenge is not simply a competition, more of an opportunity to share ideas and bond over our common interests!

Let's begin!

01. Juliet read and reviewed Strong for Potatoes by Cynthia Thayer.
02. Lucy read and reviewed Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life by Claire Tomalin.
03. Saranga read and reviewed Wavewalker by Stella Duffy.
04. Saranga read and reviewed Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.
05. Dorla read and reviewed Squirrel Seeks Chipmu…

Tips for aspiring writers – part 3

Amanda Sington-Williams on: Third person narrators.

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There are three main types of third person narrator. Within each , however, there are many variants, some of which I’ll talk about in other writing tip instalments.

An omniscient narrator is ‘god-like’ and has knowledge of all the characters and events. An omniscient narrator often has opinions about characters. The reader is often given information about the weather, location, or characters’ moods in a way which could appear as subjective. This is the narrators’ view of the world. In addition, the omniscient narrator is able to see inside the characters’ minds, has full knowledge of their feelings and intentions and understands their emotions. The omniscient narrator is always written in the past tense and this kind of narration is the traditional way of telling a story. It was used by classical writers such as Dickens and the Brontës, and perhaps less in contemporary fiction.

A non-omniscient third person past narrator is a narrat…

"Italy in Books" - April reviews

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Thanks again for joining the "Italy in Books” reading challenge 2011! What? You haven't joined yet? No worries, there is time to sign up until the very last day of the year...

Below you can find a list of all the book reviews submitted in April (via this link). I am sure that everyone will find it useful to learn about new and interesting reading ideas - in fact, I suspect that as a result of this challenge my TBR list will expand dangerously!

Whether you know the books that are being discussed or have never heard of them, I strongly encourage you to leave comments below and on the blogs themselves. I want to hear your voices! Despite its name, the reading challenge is not a mere competition, rather an opportunity to share ideas and bond over common interests!

Let's begin!

01. BJ read and reviewed An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser.
02. Barbara read and reviewed The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie.
03. Dorla read and reviewed Postscript to the Name of the Rose by Umber…

Help! My wish list #19

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One more title from my ever-expanding reading wish list.

** The cover image is for illustrative purposes only. If you are a publisher and would kindly like to offer me a copy of this book for review, I will change the cover so as to reflect the edition received. **

Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England
By Sharon Marcus

Amazon's product description: Women in Victorian England wore jewelry made from each other's hair and wrote poems celebrating decades of friendship. They pored over magazines that described the dangerous pleasures of corporal punishment. A few had sexual relationships with each other, exchanged rings and vows, willed each other property, and lived together in long-term partnerships described as marriages. But, as Sharon Marcus shows, these women were not seen as gender outlaws. Their desires were fanned by consumer culture, and their friendships and unions were accepted and even encouraged by family, society and church. Far from being …

"Italy in Books" - March winners

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15 reviews: a few books that I had heard of but mostly books that I wasn't familiar with. Another good month!

Did you miss the reviews? Fear not, follow this link and catch up with all the bookish goodness! And if you’ve just come across the Italy in Books reading challenge 2011, you can find all the information you need by clicking here. Joining couldn’t be easier!
And now, the long-awaited moment of the prize draw! The lucky reviewers who, courtesy of Hersilia Press, will receive a copy of Blood Sisters by Alessandro Perissinotto are:
Barbara, who reviewed God's Spy by Juan Gomez Jurado and Gretchen, who reviewed The Dark Heart of Italy by Tobias Jones

LGBT challenge - Link for April reviews and prize draw

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It’s April and the LGBT reading challenge 2011 continues!

This month, courtesy of Duckworth Publishers, one of you will have the chance to win a copy of Wilde's Last Stand by Philip Hoare.

To participate in the prize draw, all you have to do is:

•Read a book - fiction or non-fiction - whose author is LBGT, whose topic is LGBT and/or whose characters (even minor ones) are LGBT
•Share your review (or opinion, if it sounds less intimidating!) by clicking here

Easy, isn't it?

IMPORTANT! Please note that you need to have signed up for the challenge to be eligible for the prize draw. If you haven't signed up yet, you can do it here (full instructions here). If you can't remember whether you have or haven't signed up, you can check whether your name is listed here.

Happy reading!

"Italy in Books" - Link for April reviews and prize draw

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It’s April and the “Italy in Books” reading challenge 2011 continues!

This month, courtesy of Duckworth Publishers, one of you will have the chance to win a copy of Young Michelangelo: The Path to the Sistine by John T Spike. To participate in the prize draw, all you have to do is:

•Read a book set in Italy or about Italian culture & language
•Share your review (or opinion, if it sounds less intimidating!) by clicking here

Easy, isn't it?

IMPORTANT! Please note that you need to have signed up for the challenge to be eligible for the prize draw. If you haven't signed up yet, you can do it here (full instructions here). If you can't remember whether you have or haven't signed up, you can check whether your name is listed here.

Buona lettura!

LGBT challenge - March winners

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8 reviews and lots of books added to my wish list!

Did you miss the reviews? Don't worry, follow this link and catch up with all the bookish goodness!

And if you’ve just come across the LGBT reading challenge 2011, you can find all the information you need by clicking here. Joining couldn’t be easier!

And now, the long-awaited moment of the prize draw!

The lucky reviewers who, courtesy of Constable & Robinson, will receive a copy of The Mammoth Book of New Gay Erotica edited by Lawrence Schimel are:

Dorla, who read and reviewed Strapped for Cash by Mack Friedmanand Juliet, who read and reviewed Secrets of the Sands by Sara Sheridan.

Film review: Howl

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Film review, that's correct!

Juliet Wilson, fellow blogger and poetry expert here at Book After Book, had the great idea of writing a review of this recently released film in occasion of the LGBT reading challenge.

This is how it begins...

Howl, the film, centres on Allen Ginsberg's famous poem of the same name. It juxtaposes an animated interpretation of the poem alongside clips from re-enacted interviews with Ginsberg (played brilliantly by James Franco), scenes from the first reading of Howl in San Francisco in 1955 and scenes form the 1957 obscenity trial against the publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

more...

Book review: The Romantic Dogs

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By Roberto Bolaño
Translated by Laura Healy
Reviewed by Juliet Wilson
Published by Picador

Roberto Bolaño was a Chilean novelist and poet, who travelled and lived in Mexico, El Salvador, France and Spain. He saw himself primarily as a poet, setting up infrarrealista an anarchic school of poetry. He later turned to writing novels as a way of supporting his family.

The Romantic Dogs, a collection of his poetry written between 1980 and 1999, was published in 2006 and this bilingual edition, with translations by Laura Healy came out in 2008. The poetry is varied in style and content, some of the poems are long narratives, while others are fragments, some are clearly inspired by political events, while others seem to be based on personal experiences. The poet’s obsessions quickly become clear, particularly in a sequence of five poems about detectives.

‘I dreamt of frozen detectives in the great
refrigerator of Los Angeles.’

from Dirty Poorly Dressed

‘Detectives who stare at
Their open palms,