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Showing posts from November, 2011

Christmas competition - 1st bundle

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To celebrate Christmas, this year I’m offering you the chance to win a bundle of gorgeous and exciting gifts! Knowing me, this mostly means lots of wonderful books (!!) but I’m sure that you’ll be delighted by the little extras. Literary and not!

Before scrolling down to check out the pictures and the list of prizes, please join me in thanking the generous sponsors that agreed to donate all these goodies… In no particular order, a massive THANK YOU to:

teNeuesPuffinThames & HudsonBloomsbury PublishingFourth Estate
PicadorBarefoot BooksBookishBrighton Peach

And now, without further ado, this is what you could win!

teNeues Art Nouveau 2012 Deluxe Diary

Postcards from Puffin
An irresistible set of 100 postcards, each with a different iconic Puffin cover, in a beautifully designed box.

Stone: Andy Goldsworthy
In Stone, Andy Goldsworthy presents a remarkable collection of photographs of his work and reveals through his own words his uniquely personal relationship with nature.

Pigeon English by …

In conversation with... Araminta Hall

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Hello Araminta! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of your first novel, Everything and Nothing. Can you tell us what it is about?

A: It is the story of a couple run ragged by work and children – one of whom doesn’t eat and one who doesn’t sleep. Into the chaos comes Aggie, a seemingly perfect but very flawed nanny. My initial idea was to write a story about modern marriage and parenthood, but after a while I wondered if it would be engaging enough and so I introduced the character of Aggie. She was meant to shine a light on to Ruth and Christian, but ended up becoming a main character herself. I tried to explore themes of madness and responsibility and your past catching up with you. It is basically about a family imploding and trying to understand what they want out of life.

How does it feel to be a published author? And not just a published author: you were also selected for Richard and Judy's Autumn Reads 2011!

A: It feels really great and Richard an…

LGBT reading challenge - November reviews

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Thanks again for joining the LGBT reading challenge 2011!

Below is a list of all the book reviews that have been submitted in November (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 Zami by Audre Lorde.

Don't forget, one November reviewer is in for a chance to win a copy of Nights Beneath the Nation by Denis Kehoe, courtesy of Serpent's Tail!

Reading challenge 2012: first prize draw!

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To encourage you to join my new reading challenge for 2012, all those who will sign up by the 31st December 2011 will be entered into a prize draw to win a

GBP 30 gift voucher to redeem on Amazon.co.uk

(or the equivalent sum to redeem on any of the other Amazon sites, depending on the location of the winner).

Wait no longer: click here, scroll down the page and submit your details.

Good luck!

Kimberly Menozzi and... Day Trip

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Yesterday, my husband, Alle, and I accompanied his sister and her family and another friend for lunch in le colline di Canossa, the foothills of the Apennine mountains which surround the Canossa castles in the Reggio Emilia province.

We left home around 11:30, under grey and gloomy skies, with a mist drifting around the tops of the palazzi of our neighborhood. As we drove out toward the hills, Alle and I chatted about the scenery, how nice it was that the colors of the trees had turned and not fallen immediately, and how I am strangely appreciative of the grey, cold weather. As we approached Puianello, the fog began to break and allow the first hints of sun to shine through.

We drove on through the outskirts of the town where a small market was open for the coming holidays. It seemed that everyone for miles around was coming to sample the wares on offer, but we continued on our way, following his brother-in-law's car as it bypassed the town, continuing for the hills.

Soon enough, we…

Books through my lens #8

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With its narrow alleys, imposing castle and beautiful architecture, it's no wonder that Český Krumlov, in the Czech Republic, has been elected UNESCO World Heritage Site. This picture was taken in the summer of 2011 to capture the ubiquity of the Bard! The sign leads to Shakespeare and Sons. I must admit, to my utter shame, that I did not go and investigate. If any of you have comments on this bookshop, please feel free to share them below.

Book review: The Empty Nesters

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By Nina Bell
Published by Sphere, an imprint of Little, Brown

Big family drama is what Nina Bell is famous for writing about and rightly so. At first I was attracted by the beautiful cover of The Empty Nesters. My interest was piqued by the blurb. The book then proceeded to conquer me. What a cleverly-plotted novel!

To make it really simple: Clover and Laura became friends when their children started school and have spent years sharing school runs, sleepovers, holidays etc. Alice is their friend too but – as a single mother trying to build a successful business – she’s mostly been receiving the two women’s help while unable to give much support in return. But helping each other out is what friends are for, right?

Now that the kids have all grown up and are leaving their parents’ homes to go onto university, Laura and, especially, Clover are looking forward to a more equal relationship with Alice. Now that she has found success and her daughter is away at Oxford, though, she doesn’t seem c…

"Italy in Books" - November reviews

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Thanks again for joining the "Italy in Books” reading challenge 2011!

Below you can find a list of all the book reviews submitted in November (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. Gretchen read and reviewed The Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson.
02. Juliet read and reviewed Roma by Steven Saylor.
03. Gretchen read and reviewed Italian Neighbors by Tim Parks.
04. Barbara read and reviewed The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato.
05. Pete read and reviewed A Death in Tuscany by Michele Gi…

In conversation with... S.G. Browne

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Hello Scott! First of all, thank you for agreeing to join us on Book After Book! You have two published novels so far, Breathers and Fated. What does it mean to you to be a published writer?

A: It means I get the opportunity to share my sense of humour and stories with others and hopefully make them laugh. It also means I’ve been able to be my own boss for the past three years, which is nice. Though I’m thinking I need a raise.

Breathers follows Andy while he adjusts to his new existence as a zombie. Where did your interest in the undead stem from?

A: I saw Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead on TV when I was 12-years-old. This was before cable and videos, so they edited out the eating of human flesh and the naked zombie. But it was still a highlight of my limited horror film exposure at the time. The film had this mystery and intrigue built up around it and from that point on I was a zombie fan. Though I’m not obsessed with them. I have other interests, too.

Our screens have recen…

Book review: Out of Sight

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By Isabelle Grey
Published by Quercus

The book opens with the daily life of the Hinde household: Patrick, his wife Belinda and their little boy, Daniel. Their routine is somewhat disturbed by a visit of Patrick’s parents: anxious and fretful, they have the ability of pushing their son to the edge. They work him up in such a state that, after he says goodbye, Patrick is not quite himself as he drives to drop off Daniel at the childminder’s en route to his homeopathic clinic. In retrospect, Patrick won’t be able to say what happened. Except that it shouldn’t have happened.

Five years later, an Englishwoman working in a small French village comes across a fascinating man. He’s a homeopath from England but he goes under the name of Patrice. Taciturn and introvert, he leads a fairly solitary life. Leonie is instantly attracted to him and, guessing that his reticence must derive from a traumatic past, she is not put off by his unwillingness to talk about himself. Likewise, fascinated by her op…

Books through my lens #7

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Strolling around Bexhill-on-Sea on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I walked past a shop whose autumnal window display caught my attention. It included books, yes! I’m afraid to say that, apart from knowing that it’s located on Sea Road, I don’t know what this shop sells. Vintage furniture and accessories, perhaps? No idea. It was closed and I was too busy trying to take a picture of this beautiful, rustic arrangement to investigate!

Write What You Wonder - by Laura Lee

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Write what you know. As aspiring writers we had this drummed into our heads. Write what you know.

I took this advice literally when I sat down to write my thankfully unpublished first novel. It was the story of a person like me (an introverted, slightly intellectual, average looking suburbanite), in a situation like mine, whining about the things that were bugging a person just like me and arguing that the reader should take her side. It was dreadful stuff and I thank God every day that I could not find a publisher for it and that print-on-demand and Kindle did not yet exist. I would never have lived it down.

Plumbing my own life for interesting narratives never yielded much. That is not to say I did not try. Oh I tried. I tried. I tried to make a novel out of a painful, but in retrospect silly, one-sided love affair. I started one on my dabblings with Eastern religion. I tried to turn my professional radio experience into a humorous novel. I tried to write about what it felt like to be…

NEW! Reading challenge 2012

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2011 marked my debut as reading challenge host and it couldn’t have been better! I discovered new book blogs, new authors, new titles and, generally, felt enriched by the whole experience. Reading books is a pleasure, sharing your thoughts on them is an even greater one!

Now that the new year is approaching at the speed of light, I don’t want to be caught unprepared. It is therefore without further ado that I invite you to join the…



Having chosen a specific subject for my previous reading challenges, all the books already waiting on my shelves have been kept waiting some longer. That’s why I decided not to set a theme for the new reading challenge: you can read what you want and as much as you want.

The rules:

1. The challenge will run from January, 1st 2012 to December, 31st 2012. You can join at any time from today but only reviews of books read in 2012 will be counted.

2. Read as many books as you like! You don’t necessarily have to set a goal but you can if you want to. In this case, p…

Book review: One Day

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By David Nicholls
Published by Hodder & Stoughton

One Day. The number of prizes that it was shortlisted for or which it won is countless. One Day is one of those novels that, over the past year, everyone seemed to be reading and talking about at one point or another. It might make not much sense but, for this very reason, I was slightly put off.

How wrong I was. I am so grateful to all the friends that nagged me until I read it and I hope that this review will help any of you sceptics out there to pick up this novel.

Made even more famous by its film adaptation, One Day narrates the rollercoaster relationship between Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew. Intellectual and idealistic the former, fun-loving and commitment-phobic the latter. We meet them as they spend their first night together on 15th July 1988 - the night before their graduation - and we follow them as, year after year, they become best friends, fight their mutual attraction, fall out, make up again and, basically, do all tho…

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

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

This month, courtesy of Fourth Estate, one of you will have the chance to win a copy of Made in Sicily by Giorgio Locatelli.



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. 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 November reviews and prize draw

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

This month, courtesy of Serpent's Tail, one of you will have the chance to win a copy of Nights Beneath the Nation by Denis Kehoe.

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. 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" - October winner

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7 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.

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

The lucky reviewer who, courtesy of Diane Saarinen, will receive a copy of Solitaria by Genni Gunn is:

Barbara, who read and reviewed The House in Amalfi by Elizabeth Adler.

LGBT challenge - October winner

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And again... only 2 book reviews this month. This reading challenge had started out so well!

Anyway, 2 reviews are still something! 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.

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

The lucky reviewer who, courtesy of Serpent's Tail, will receive a copy of Quicksand & Passing by Nella Larsen is:

Lucy, who read and reviewed Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult.

In conversation with.. Ali Harris

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Hello Ali! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of your first novel, Miracle on Regent Street. Can you tell us what it is about?

A: Thank you so much! I still can’t believe it’s actually happening and that people might (hopefully) buy it! Miracle on Regent Street is a story about a sweet, unassuming stockroom girl called Evie Taylor who works in the basement of Hardy's, a faded, forgotten old department store that has seen better days. For the past two years she's lived an invisible life in London, sorting endless boxes of archaic stock by day and looking after her sister’s two young children at night. Her neighbours think she's the hired help, her self-obsessed shop floor colleagues mistake her for her stockroom predecessor and even her manager doesn't know her actual name. But despite all this she loves working at the store. So when she overhears that Hardy's is at risk of being sold unless it seriously increases its profits she hatche…