Not The TV Book Group… The List

So if you guessed that the short list of books for the Not The TV Book Group might include; a Vampire with amnesia, a girl turning into glass, an environmental data collector in post-war France and Virginia Woolf… then well done you! If you hadn’t guessed that intriguing combination then you will be as surprised as Kim, Kirsty, Lynne and myself were after a ‘meeting of minds’ that started at 12pm and finished at about 3pm.

Yes finally we have come up with what we hope will be eight unusual and interesting reads for us all to discuss over 8 Sundays in the next 18 weeks – we decided to take out bank holiday weekends – each one of us inviting you round to our blogs to have a good old chat, maybe some banter and possibly some heated debate. Enough of me waffling on, you just want to know what the books are so without further ado…

I hope you will agree it’s a rather eclectic mixture of genres, authors, stories and publishers and one that you will all want to join in with as we have all very much had you in mind whilst doing this. We have held of starting the first read too soon so you can get to your library, a book store (new or old) or any online places of note to get copies and we really hope you join in. In case you are wondering why I have put links to a certain site on, its just so you can see covers and blurbs etc not because we are affiliated with it, just so you know.

How did I choose from so many books? Well I read maybe the first 20 pages of almost any book that fitted the criteria (out in last five years, hadn’t already written about etc, etc) and then looked at what was a bit different, what would make for good discussion and what would also be readable to more than just me but might take you slightly off the beaten bookish tracks. I then whittled them down till I got four books that matched all that criteria and yet were all very different. I have to say I am really quite pleased as my two favorites were the ones that got chosen from my final four.

I have been hankering after Ali Shaw’s ‘The Girl with the Glass Feet’ ever since I heard the title, which sounds a bit random but it’s the truth. The fact that it has been described as a modern adult fairytale and frankly it was almost  job done. Then reading the synopsis I was sold 100%. It also helped that I won this very recently from the lovely Gaskella as it was a book I had been hankering after for ages, it isn’t physically in the building yet but is on its way!

A mysterious metamorphosis has taken hold of Ida MacLaird – she is slowly turning into glass. Fragile and determined to find a cure, she returns to the strange, enchanted island where she believes the transformation began, in search of reclusive Henry Fuwa, the one man who might just be able to help…Instead she meets Midas Crook, and another transformation begins: as Midas helps Ida come to terms with her condition, they fall in love. What they need most is time – and time is slipping away fast.

Neil Barlett is an author who has quite a cult following but I don’t personally think that he has had enough attention. ‘Skin Lane’ is his third book and is described as a “taut little psycho-shocker” by none other than Will Self an author I really enjoy. I also liked the idea of a thriller being thrown in the mix and it sounds like this will be thrilling and creepy.

At 47, Mr. F’s working life on London’s Skin Lane is one governed by calm, precision and routine. So, when he starts to have frightening, recurring nightmares, he does his best to ignore them. The images that appear in his dream are disturbing – Mr. F can’t for the life of him think where they have come from. After all, he’s a perfectly ordinary middle-aged man. As London’s crooked backstreets begin to swelter in the long, hot summer of 1967, Mr. F’s nightmare becomes an obsession. A chance encounter adds a face to the body that nightly haunts him, and the torments of his sweat-drenched nights lead him – and the reader – deeper into a terrifying labyrinth of rage, desire and shame.”

Do pop and see Dovegreyreader, Kimbofo and Other Stories to find out which were their choices and how they chose them – they will probably be more insightful than me as I feel utterly shattered! Book short listing is fun though tiring, who’d have known? What were the other two… I can’t say I might need them for series two if this one goes well!

I will be posting a new page tomorrow morning with the list, all their covers and their blurbs, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Oh, I have only just realized that both my final chosen books were Costa Award Nominee’s, I am hoping that is a good sign!?! I hope you will be joining in be it here or there or for the whole run. I am now off to have a bookish break; I am truly booked out and so will hand over to you, what do you make of my choices, and of course the list as a whole?

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35 Comments

Filed under Ali Shaw, Jennifer Johnston, Jon Canter, Mary Swan, Neil Bartlett, Not The TV Book Group, Octavia E. Butler, Philippe Claudel, Susan Sellers

35 responses to “Not The TV Book Group… The List

  1. What a great idea! A few of us have been organizing our shared reads for the rest of the year. Maybe we should become a little more organized like all of you. Will definitely join you for Vanessa and Virginia and hopefully more.

    • Thanks Frances it would be wonderful if you joined in for some (if not all) of these but we totally understand that its quite a big ask of people so if its one or even two you join in for we would love to see you.

  2. Excellent list. I’m only familiar with a couple but am looking forwarding to hearing more on the others. I just put The Girl with the Glass Feet on hold at the library – hopefully I’ll have it in time to join with everyone else for the discussion!

    • Hoorah, I am really excited about The Girl With The Glass Feet and actually can’t wait to get started on it, am just a little nervous at hosting it. Oh and good on you for getting it from the library, we are very pro the library at Not The TV Book Group.

  3. I will definitely join in on as many of these as I can (although maybe not Skin Lane because I have a weak nervous system).
    I will go put some library holds on now!

    • Oh Kristen.. I am both thrileld you are joining in and offended you might miss one of my choices, its a bit out there but thats the idea, we have a few uncomfortable/challanging books on the list!

  4. Of that list, I’ve only ever heard of The Girl with the Glass Feet, The Illusionist and Fledgling. I’ll be waiting for the full list of covers and blurbs tomorrow, so that I might know which ones I’ll be joining. =)

  5. mee

    I’d only heard Fledgling (and maybe The Girl with the Glass Feet). I read Kindred by Butler before and I’m interested to read Fledgling because people say it’s better. I look forward to more details about the books. I hope to join at least one! 🙂

  6. Hi, Simon! Wow, what a varied selection! I haven’t read any of these books yet, so there’s another reason to visit your blog more often.

    • Hey Peter am glad you think the selection is varied and hopefully it will be up to scratch. There could be some good ones or bad ones its part of the excitement and the journey!

  7. I only have one of those – guess which! Good thing I’m not on a book buying ban. Fledgling has been on my wishlist for a while since Teresa at Shelflove recommended it to me. I shall enjoy joining in when I can though!

    • Hmmm, I can’t think which it could be Annabel!? Ha, ha. The Converted One has kindly got around the book buying ban as knows how passionate I am about this venture… so early birthday presents have been ordered.

  8. caroline

    Interesting selection!

    I have ‘Girl with Glass Feet ‘ and ‘Skin Lane’ on my TBR pile, how spooky is that? This will get them bumped up to the top.

    Looking forward to joining in with this.

    • Oooh that is spooky and means that you have absolutely no excuse not for joining in on my two dates frankly hahaha. I hope will join on many more too! I am really looking forward to it too!

  9. Danica Rice

    Trying to look for Brodeck’s Report online, on Amazon.com and bn.com .. and could only find a book called “Brodeck”… is this the same??

  10. I don’t usually like books with a magical/magical realism slant, but I was quite taken with The Girl with the Glass Feet when I saw it on Gaskella’s blog last week. Quite fortuitously, like Claire, I have this on order at the library. I had ordered the only copy currently stocked my local library service just a few hours prior to the announcement of the “Not the TV bookclub” list. I like the sound of the Claudel book too. Like Kristen, I’m not so sure about whether I could stomach “Skin Lane”. I hope I am able to contribute something to the discussion on at least some of these books. Well done to all of you for getting this up and running. I loved the way you all went to great pains to point out that you were not wishing to denigrate the TV bookclub. You are such a thoroughly decent bunch. It is a privilege to “virtually” know you.

    • I was lucky enough to win the copy from Gaskella and thats how it ended up in the mix as it wasnt one I had bought. I am a fan of Atlantic books though!

      I am interested to see that Skin Lane is getting this reaction from people it intrigues me, I do hope some people tune into that one or will be me talking alone!

  11. novelinsights

    Ooh I so love the sound of The Girl with the Glass Feet and also Skin Lane – one a modern fairytale and one something a little bit disturbing by the sound of things. Great choices Simon, Kim, Kirsty and Lynne!

    • Well I hope you will be joining in for a fair few of these (especially now you have that all important library card) as would love your thoughts though know that you also like to have lots of other things to read between groups lol, as we all do!

  12. I’ve been lusting after The Girl With the Glass Feet since I first heard about it too, I’ll be interested to read what you think!

  13. Lovely eclectic list! I’ll definitely be in for Vanessa and Virginia and hopefully Fledgling but I don’t think I’ll be able to get a hold of and read The Girl with the Glass Feet in time. We’ll see … I’ve been wanting to read that ever since Verity first brought it to my attention (she used to work with the author).

    • Oh I never knew verity worked with Ali Shaw… well I never. Am really excited about The Girl with the Glass Feet and was thrilled when won it as would have been on my ‘dream list’ anyway! I just need The Converted One to get ordering.

  14. Haven’t heard of The Girl With The Glass Feet but it looks wonderful, and I’m so pleased to see one of my favourites from 2008 up there – Vanessa and Virginia. I’m off to find out who selected it…

  15. Just dropping by to say yay about this project and especially the inclusion of ‘the Girl with Glass Feet’. Got it for my birthday, longed for it for ages and now I can read it alongside other book enthusiasts 🙂

    • Hoorah you have no excuses for not joining in on that one then Jodie! I am hoping the reading along and discussion will add to the whole experience. I have a feeling I am either going to adore that book or be very disappointed nothing in the middle.

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