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Showing posts from August, 2011

Books through my lens #2

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I've recently discovered how much I enjoy visiting the Victoria & Albert Museum! This picture was taken last year and shows the new V&A Bookshop, which opened in 2009 and is so much more than a place that sells books. It is an art installation in its own right and I highly recommend a visit!

Help! My wish list #32

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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. **

Fun Home
By Alison Bechdel

Amazon's product description: One of the most eagerly anticipated graphic memoirs of recent years, Fun Home is a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Alison Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings. Like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, it's a story exhilaratingly suited to graphic memoir form.


Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high-school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with his male students and the family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fier…

In conversation with... Jeremy Duns

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To celebrate the new release of Song of Treason - published this month by Simon & Schuster - author Jeremy Duns kindly agreed to answer a few questions on Book After Book.

Enjoy...

Hello Jeremy! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your latest release. After Free Agent, Song of Treason is the latest novel in your Paul Dark series. Can you tell us what it is about?

A: Yes, Song Of Treason (which was published in hardback last year as Free Country) is a spy novel set in Italy in 1969. It follows my protagonist, Paul Dark, a reluctant double agent, as he tries to uncover a conspiracy that threatens to alter the course of the Cold War. In the meantime, he has to avoid being killed by both the British and the Russians.

Where did your interest in the Cold War era stem from?

A: I’m not sure, really. I liked reading spy stories when I was young, and then enjoyed Len Deighton and John le Carré in my twenties – I even wrote one of my dissertations at university partly about le Carré…

Kimberly Menozzi and... The Bells Tell Me Where I Am

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It's still August, but already I find myself thinking ahead. Autumn is coming soon, bringing with it longer, cooler nights, brisk and breezy days, and skies of moody, mottled grey or the clearest blue one can imagine.

Unfortunately in Italy – at least in the part where I now live – autumn is quick to pass. I sometimes joke that no sooner have a few leaves turned color than they're being blown about by the wind or steeping in a rainwater brew on the sides of the road. Here and then gone in what feels like an instant.

Along with winter, this is my favorite season. One of the things I love most is how the sounds of everyday life change. With the crisp, fresher air everything resounds somehow sharper and more clearly than just a few weeks – or even days – before. What was once humid and distant is now close by. What was muffled and hazy has become familiar and vivid once more.

Darkness falls early and the church bells ring deeper and deeper in the night even though their appointed ho…

Help! My wish list #31

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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. **

Hold Tight
By Harlan Coben

Amazon's product description: Tia and Mike Baye never imagined they'd become the type of overprotective parents who spy on their kids. But their sixteen-year-old son Adam has been unusually distant lately, and after the suicide of his classmate Spencer, they can't help but worry. They install a sophisticated spy program on Adam's computer, and within days they are jolted by a message from an unknown correspondent addressed to their son: 'Just stay quiet and all safe.' Meanwhile, browsing through an online memorial for Spencer, Betsy Hill is struck by a photo that appears to have been taken on the night of her son's death and he wasn't alone. She thinks it is Adam Baye…

Books through my lens #1

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I can't remember which airport I took this picture at but it was a good three or four years ago and it was the first time that I had ever seen books and magazines sold in a vending machine.

My first thought was: "What a wonderful idea!"
My second thought was: "Will the books be damaged by the fall?"

Good idea in case of desperate need but I'm not in a rush to try it out!

LGBT reading challenge - August 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 August (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. Lucy read and reviewed Wilde's Last Stand by Philip Hoare.
02. Juliet read and reviewed Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay.

Don't forget, one August reviewer is in for a chance to win a copy of The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica, edited by Barbara Cardy and courtesy of Constable & Robinson!

Book review: Inkariy - La profezia del sole

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By Hernàn Huarache Mamani
Translated into Italian by Anna Montanari
Published by Edizioni Piemme

Atao is a curandero - a traditional folk healer or shaman in Latin America - invited to hold a seminar in Milan. Aurora, a young Italian doctor interested in alternative healing practices, is a member of his audience. As soon as their eyes meet, they feel a spark of recognition. It is not clear why or how they’re meant to be together but they know that they have to.

The passion that Atao awakens in her is so strong that, when the curandero returns to his home country, Aurora decides to leave everything behind her and follow him to Peru. What comes next, however, is not a love story in the strictest sense.

What they embark upon is a path of discovery. Atao, more experienced in the rituals and the symbolism used to thank and revere the land, the water and the other elements, is a great source of learning for Aurora. In turn, she soon finds a certain predisposition and affinity with the mysteries …

"Italy in Books" - August 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 August (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. Barbara read and reviewed Blood Sisters by Alessandro Perissinotto.
02. Lindy read and reviewed Beyond the Pasta by Mark Leslie.
03. Parrish read and reviewed Without Blood by Alessandro Baricco.
04. …

Tips for aspiring writers – part 6

Amanda Sington-Williams on: Dialogue.

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Dialogue plays an essential part in novel writing. Dialogue can move the story on and can be used as a tool for informing the reader about one character’s backstory. Dialogue also develops characterisation and can add tension to the narrative.

Your characters will all have different ways of speaking, have individual turns of phrase and use certain words more than others. When writing dialogue, make sure each character sounds different. Unless it is important to the narrative or characterisation, it is a good idea to cut out all the frills like greetings, enquiries about cups of tea/sugar/milk, the weather, traffic on the road, the inconsequential chit-chat that we spend time on in real life. Too much of this will slow down the narrative. When writing dialogue, use different ways of telling the reader what is the mood of a character. Rather than saying he/she said angrily/tearfully which describes the character’s emotions, you could show the emoti…

Help! My wish list #30

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After a short summer break, here's 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 Wilderness
By Samantha Harvey

Amazon's product description: It's Jake's birthday. He is sitting in a small plane, being flown over the landscape that has been the backdrop to his life - his childhood, his marriage, his work, his passions. Now he is in his early sixties, and he isn't quite the man he used to be. He has lost his wife, his son is in prison, and he is about to lose his past. Jake has Alzheimer's. As the disease takes hold of him, Jake struggles to hold on to his personal story, to his memories and identity, but they become increasingly elusive and unreliable. What happened to his daughter? Is she alive, or long dead? And why exactly is his son in pris…

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

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

This month, courtesy of Profile Books, two of you will have the chance to win a copy of Pompeii by Mary Beard.
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 - Link for August reviews and prize draw

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

This month, courtesy of Constable & Robinson, one of you will have the chance to win a copy of The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica, edited by Barbara Cardy.

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" - July winners

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13 reviews this 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 Inspector Cataldo's Criminal Summer by Luigi Guicciardi are:

Patricia, who read and reviewed The Lady in the Palazzo by Marlena di Blasi & Lara, who read and reviewed La curva del latte by Nico Orengo.

LGBT challenge - July winner

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Only 2 book reviews this month... must be summer, eh?!

Only 2 reviews but not to be missed! 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 reviewer who, courtesy of Serpent's Tail, will receive a copy of Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas is:

Juliet, who read and reviewed The Mammoth Book of New Gay Erotica edited by Lawrence Schimel.