Monday, 29 November 2010

New books from some old favourites

Rather than highlighting any single book this week, I want to mention new releases from two of my favourites. The Legion is the latest book in the Cato and Macro series by Simon Scarrow. These are all well-written page turners, and the early books in the series and very collectible (as I have discussed previously). A limited edition of 100 copies is available directly from the author, and includes a signed postcard and an annotated page from the original manuscript. Profits go to charity, and this would make a very good Christmas present - highly recommended.

For those with rather more to spend, Colm Toibin has published a 50 copy limited edition of The Street, one of the short stories in his latest collection, The Empty Family. The book is handset, printed on hand made woven paper and all copies are signed, numbered and dated (30 September 2010) by the author. It is bound in bright blue leather and contained in a purple slipcase. It is a beautiful production, and this is reflected in the price of £250.00. Anyone who receives a copy would consider themselves very lucky indeed!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Book of the Week - Hand Me Down World, Lloyd Jones

I have been travelling extensively over the last few weeks, which has provided a good opportunity to read but less opportunity to think about new books. However, I hope to be around more over the next few months, so more regular posting can resume. A novel which has caught my eye due to a number of very positive reviews is Hand Me Down World by New Zealand author Lloyd Jones, who had considerable success with his last book Mr Pip, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2007. Subsequently, Jones spent a year on a writers' residency in Berlin, where he was inspired by a report he read about the hazardous sea crossings of illegal migrants. The African protagonist of this novel, who never reveals her true identity or country of origin but borrows the name "Ines", begins the novel as a hotel worker in Tunisia. The book follows her search for a lost child as she journeys through Europe as an illegal immigrant. Almost all reviewers have commented that this is a memorable and affecting book, and it will definitely be added to my reading list. Signed copies don’t seem to have hit the UK as yet, but are worth looking out for.

“This is a story about a woman. And the truck driver who mistook her for a prostitute. The old man she robbed and the hunters who smuggled her across the border. The woman whose name she stole, the wife who turned a blind eye. This is the story of a mother searching for her child. This is a novel you cannot stop thinking about.”

Monday, 8 November 2010

Book of the Week - Let the right one in, John Ajvide Lindqvist

None of this week’s releases particularly appeals to me, so for my book of the week I am going back three years to the first novel of Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist. “Let me in” is one of the films of the moment, and is based on the novel “Let the Right One In”, which was published in the UK as a hardcover by Quercus in 2007. This novel was previously filmed in Swedish and released under the same title in 2008, when it was the choice of many critics as film of the year (and also one of my favourite films of the year, though I don’t claim any great cinematic expertise!). I picked a copy up after seeing the Swedish film, and it has proved to be a good investment so far. By all accounts “Let me In” is true to the novel and similar to the Swedish version; it marks the return of Hammer Horror to the cinema and has also received positive reviews. I suspect that without the success of the film, the book would not have proved particularly collectible, but at present it would be difficult to find a fine copy for under £50, and signed copies are well into three figures. Any further increase in price will probably depend on greater success for the film, but vampire literature is an interesting sub-genre and this may prove to be a significant book in the field in the long term.

“It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last---revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door---a girl who has never seen a Rubik's Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night.”