Tag Archives: Benjamin Markovits

The Readers Roadtrip Day 6; Petoskey Farewell, Ann Arbor, Detroit & Cleveland (And A Lot of Book Shops!)


Wednesday morning saw a final breakfast with the whole of the Booktopia Gang and then leave the wonders of Petoskey, which I realised I didn’t share any pictures of – so here is one of me in a Books on the Nightstand baseball hat on Lake Michigan!  

After a lovely breakfast and a lot of goodbyes (I was really sad to leave, frankly I need Booktopia every week) then we hit the road again, again. This time we were off to a book haven which every time we mentioned got a great response from all the book lovers we met… Ann Arbor, and it’s book stores of which we were told we would love. Well we both certainly fell in love with Literati, which will get its own post in due course… 

Where I spent a lot on one locally produced random book, which I am already a way through and love and will tell you more about as soon as I am back in the UK. Then  Thomas fell in love with Aunt Agatha’s mystery store, whilst I remainded a little more dubious.  

I did completely fall in love with Ann Arbor though and feel, with its chunky beareded men with glasses and its eleven (!?!?) bookshops is meant to by my hometown, at least in the USA anyway. All too soon we were back in the car and off to Detroit. 

Now here I should say I had a weird reason for wanting to see Detroit and that is that after hearing author Benjamin Markovits talk about the cities abandoned neighbourhood and history, which is all in his new book You Don’t Have To Live Like This, I was grimly intrigued. Turned out it also has one of the worlds to voted bookshops in an old warehouse so we had to go to John K Kings… 

This too will get its own post. It was quite a place. Detroit too was indeed a place and one that both saddens and haunts you as you drive through. One minute nice houses the next burnt out ones. One minute historic skyscrapers the next old empty smashed up ones with greets growing through them. Haunting. I now want to read lots and lots of books about it.

Finally we hit the road and headed to Cleveland where we were just in time to see one of its skyscrapers showing off terribly with a light display, not quite quick enough to catch it all though… 

We did stay in THE MOST AMAZING hotel though… 

It’s a former old shopping arcade where the shops have been turned into rooms, naturally I assumed/imagined mine was once a bookshop or book store room. Ha!

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Man Booker Prize 2015 Longlist Predictions…

Sorry I couldn’t come up with a more snazzy title than that this morning but having just spent a good hour or two going through my bookshelves, both of the books I have read this year and the ones I have yet to (which made me have a moment of weeping from the shame), so my brain is slightly frazzled. The reason I was doing this exercise was to see which books I thought would make it onto the Man Booker Longlist tomorrow, always a fun game which many people have joined in with already. I must say, before I reveal the list, there is no way on earth I think I am a) anywhere near right b) in a position where I feel I should be c) am not sure I want to be anywhere near right as I like the surprise of new to me books. How can any of us, unless we are one of the judges or the administration team, have a clue? I have just gone on books I have read and loved and books that I really want to read that I can see as being ‘Booker’ books, whatever that is – let’s not open up that can of worms! So here goes…

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A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
All Involved – Ryan Gattis
The Good Son – Paul McVeigh
Girl At War – Sara Novic
A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
TheWallcreeper – Nell Zink

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I Saw A Man – Owen Sheers
At Hawthorn Time – Melissa Harrison
The Wolf Border – Sarah Hall
The Well – Catherine Chanter
Tender – Belinda McKeon
Us Conductors – Sean Michaels

Note, I am missing one and that is because I don’t have it. I think The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma could also be on the list, it is one I am very eager to read at some point. Now you may be thinking ‘hang on a minute sunshine whatabout x, y or z’ well these lists are tricky and you can only go with your gut but I did have another 11 that I could have had on that list which at the moment I purged I thought could go either way…

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Yes, I know those are a pile of nine books but I cannot find my copy of The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan and Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins is on a very high shelf (yes those shelves in the picture above go on up very very very high) and I couldn’t reach it without getting chairs involved and all sorts. I loved A God in Ruins but I wonder if the clever sneaky very subtle twist will be a marmite effect as I know lots of people who (because clearly they have hearts made from coal surrounded by ice, ha) were left slightly unmoved by it. Anyway, any of the above and aforementioned, if not pictured, I would like to see on the list very much indeed. Though as I have mentioned part of the joy of it is the surprise that may await us.

Would I have a tantrum if any of these weren’t on the list? Possibly with A Little Life, which might be one of my books of a lifetime, and All Involved because I think Gattis has written a fascinating insight into gang culture which puts you on a roller-coaster from start to finish (unputdownable would be the cliche I would use if I could, oh… I have) and is crafted and characterised beautifully, and A God In Ruins will ruin you, if you have a normal person’s heart – hehehe. Annoyingly I have only reviewed the Atkinson as the other two will be on You Wrote The Book in due course so am holding off till then. Oh, I am rambling, let us wrap up. What I can say is that I am very excited about tomorrows list and will be awaiting it with much interest.

If you would like to see more guesses there are some at A Case For Books, A Life in Books, Farm Lane Books and over at Neil D. A. Stewart’s blog. Oh and if you want a whole different list you can vote on then check out the Not The Booker Longlist 2015 too. Now over to you, what do you think of the books I have chosen (have you read any?) and which books are you hoping will make the list and why? Let me know if you have had a go at predicting tomorrows list.

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