I have been wracking my brain to work out if I have ever done a post mid-year about the books I have loved so far that year? I think it is only something that I have done since Booktube, but I could be wrong. I know I have done books that I am excited in the second half of the year, but I don’t think that I have done favourite books so far. Anyway, I could debate that for hours it seems and you don’t need that in your life.
What you might need, or maybe like, in your life is (as part of us catching up) is to know what my books are so far this year and, possibly even better, win some of them. How can this magic happen? Well, I shall insert the video of my favourites books of 2018 so far below and you can watch and then comment as instructed to potentially win a package of some of them.
A brief post I know, but thought it would be a good chance for a catch up AND a chance for you to win some lovely books. Hurray. You have until the end of July. Good luck!
I have been meaning to mention this sooner but as everything is still a little bonkers post move, and me having a week being a bit of a poorly sausage, I am still catching up with everything. However, one of the things that has delighted me of late was being asked to be one of the bloggers/vloggers for Books Are My Bag and their Readers Awards 2016. A few weeks ago I was sent a box brimming with book treats in the form of the shortlist, which you can see in the video below…
In case you need a list of books (and seriously who doesn’t like a list of books, then you can see all the titles which you can vote for here http://www.nationalbooktokens.com/vote below. There are some stonkingly good books and there is some tough competition.
- The Green Road by Anne Enright
- Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
- The Loney by Andrew Hurley
- The Muse by Jessie Burton
- This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell
- The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
- Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
- SPQR by Mary Beard
- Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane
- The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthi
- It’s All in Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan
Biography & Autobiography Award
- Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham
- The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink
- The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
- At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell
- The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf
- Alive Alive Oh! by Diana Athill
- One by Sarah Crossan
- The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
- Beetle Boy by MG Leonard
- The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt
- The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
- The Detective Dog by Julia Donaldson
Breakthrough Author Award
- Abi Elphinstone (The Shadow Keeper)
- Amy Liptrot (The Outrun)
- Andrew Michael Hurley (The Loney)
- Han Kang (The Vegetarian)
- Joanna Cannon (The Trouble with Goats and Sheep)
- Kit de Waal (My Name is Leon)
- Lisa McInerney (The Glorious Heresies)
- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Harmless Like You)
I was given the Biography and Autobiography to talk about on my channel. Initially I was a bit puzzled because those aren’t the sort of books that I would rush to read. However after having a dabble with trying a chapter of the five I had not read I am now eager to read them all. And over the next few months I will be. You can see a video of me trying them all out below.
Now one category that I am most familiar with is fiction. I bloody love contemporary fiction. So familiar am I that I have already got all of the fiction shortlist. So I thought in my second and final giveaway this week, to mark my full return to blogging (you can see the first here) I thought I would giveaway the entire fiction shortlist, in a books are my bag bag, to one lucky winner. Oh and this is open internationally. Here are the books looking all resplendent.
So what do you have to do to win? Well two things. Firstly you have to tell me what your favourite fiction AND non ficton books of the year have been and why. You also need to tell me the name of my cat which makes a guest appearance in my Try A Chapter video above. You have until the 14th of November when voting closes, don’t forget you can vote here http://www.nationalbooktokens.com/vote That is it, good luck.
As it is unusual that anyone buys me books as Christmas presents, because understandably they think that I have probably read it or have it within reach, and so to make up for this I treat myself to a book or
four two to compensate. Well imagine my surprise when after I ordered myself the treat of Anthony Marra’s collection of short stories The Tsar of Love and Techno (which has been out in the US for a few months but isn’t out until August 2016 and I couldn’t wait after loving A Constellation of Vital Phenomena so much) and then a parcel from America turned up in the post, which I had no idea was coming, and I opened it to discover… A signed copy of that very book, which then was followed by the one I ordered on Tuesday!
So I thought as a lovely person has done such a lovely thing and I like to think I am a lovely person (most of the time) I would give one of you a copy as a thank you for being lovely folk who pop by, leave comments, have a chat on Twitter etc. Then I thought why not go one step further. You see after the shelve sorting I not only discovered all the books I meant to read this year, I also discovered all the books that I had doubled up copies of, so I thought I would give those away too. So joining a copy of Anthony’s The Tsar of Love and Techno are the following…
- Nora Webster – Colm Toibin
- Stammered Songbook – Erwin Mortier
- The Well – Catherine Chanter
- How To Be Both – Ali Smith
- The Room – Jonas Karlsson
Yes, I think that is a decent thank you for popping by, commenting or lurking and lingering, ha! Oh and it is open worldwide as you lovely lot visit from all over the place! So what do you have to do to win these treats? Well as The Tsar of Love and Techno is a book that was out in 2015 and will be out in 2016 (which sounds bonkers doesn’t it?) I would like to know which book was your favourite read of 2015 AND which book you are most looking forward to in 2016? You have until the clock strikes midnight in the UK and 2016 officially begins, then I will announce the winner in this post (which will be updated, so keep your eyes peeled) sometime on the 1st of January 2016! Good luck, and thank you again for being a lovely bookish bunch.
Update: Very belatedly, because of being a bit busy, I have finally pulled a draw for the winner from the 47 eligable responses and the winner is…
Who is Frances Evangelista (@nonsuchbook), congratulations! I have dropped you an email and will be winging that pile of books out to you next week, hoorah! Commiserations to everyone else, though there will be many more giveaways in 2016 I am sure.
My second give away of the day is doubly delightful. You can win not one but two signed copies of Margaret Atwood’s ‘nine wicked tales’ that make up Stone Mattress thanks to the lovely people at Virago and Little Brown. So that is one for you and a friend or family member. (Good Christmas present alert!) If you have yet to read any Atwood (are you mad?) then this would be an ideal introduction, if you are a fan of Atwood then this will just be a treat. Here is a teaser from the tale Dark Lady which is so my cup of tea…
Every morning at breakfast Jorrie reads the obituaries in all three of the papers. Some of the write-ups make her laugh, but to the best of Tin’s knowledge none of them has ever made her cry. She’s not much of a sniveller, Jorrie.
She marks the noteworthy dead people with an X – two Xs if she plans to attend the funeral or the memorial service – and hands the papers across the table to Tin. She gets the real paper papers, delivered right to their townhouse doorstep, because according to her they skimp on the obituaries in the digital versions.
“Here’s another,” she’ll say. “‘Deeply missed by all who knew her,’ I think not! I worked with her on the Splendida campaign. She was a sick bitch.” Or else: “‘Peacefully, at home, of natural causes.’ I doubt that very much! I bet it was an overdose.” Or: “Finally! Creepy Fingers! He groped me at a company dinner in the ’80s with his wife sitting right beside him. He was such a lush they won’t even have to embalm him.”
So what do you have to do? Well firstly you have to be from the UK, apologies international readers, and secondly you have to leave a comment telling me what your favourite short story collection AND fairy tale is. Two book recommendations which could win you two signed copies of a wonderful book (which I am now popping in my case for a weekend at Ilkley Book Festival!) You have until midnight GMT on Monday the 5th of October 2015 – this is a day extension as Monday is a busy day on the blog. Good luck!
This weekend sees the launch of the UK’s Pride season (which seems all the more apt after the news in America today, well done United States you should be very proud) where the cities, towns and all sorts of places celebrate everything LGBT up and down the country over the (hopefully sunny) summer months. To coincide with this, the lovely folk at Vintage have decided to proudly (see what I have done here) celebrate some of their classic novels both by LGBT authors and with LGBT themes. The books they have chosen are Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming Pool Library and Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle. None of which I have read yet, shame on me. They look gorgeous and I happen to have a spare set…
I couldn’t even line them up straight, ha!
So I thought I would do a giveaway of a set to some lucky person. All I want to know is which book with an LGBT theme you have most loved and why, without spoilers? That simple. Now because postage of books across oceans is so expensive, as I have discovered trying to get some books I want from America, I’m afraid I can only send these to a lucky winner in the UK or Europe*, sorry but the Hall is huge so it’s a bulky set to post – *unless you are coming to Booktopia Petoskey and can wait until September in which case I can pack them in my luggage. Right, get recommending. and good luck. You have until end of play Sunday the 28th of June.
Oh and in case you’re wondering mine would be a tie between Catherine Hall’s The Proof of Love or Bethan Roberts’ My Policeman. If you’ve not read either or both of those then you really must!
I am very excited about the next few days, as I have the pleasure of spending a few nights with Patrick Gale as he continues his A Place Called Winter book tour. I shared my thoughts with you on A Place Called Winter the other day, and while I was all cool and ‘don’t read this review, just by the book’ actually do read the review because I really do want you to read the book (and reviews take blooming ages to write you know) as it really is quite something. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, going on a mini tour with Sir Patrick of Gale…
I have to say I love interviewing authors be it at live events or on podcasts, I love getting more insight into the book, it’s origings, themes and the person who write it. I particularly love doing live events with authors when they are lovely, charming, up for a laugh and open to the audience (and myself) asking them pretty much anything, well within reason. I have done an event with Patrick before, along with Catherine Hall, for Manchester Literature Festival back in 2012 and look how enraptured we all were…
So what I am really saying is if you are in or near Liverpool on the night of the 27th of April (so tomorrow) or in or near Manchester on the 28th of April do come to Waterstones Liverpool 1 or Waterstones Deansgate and join us for what I promise will be a lovely evening with some lovely bookish banter and possibly some lumberjack attire – let me know if you are coming so we make sure we say hello! If you can’t make it, do please read the book, and if you have any questions you would like me to ask Patrick for you let me know.
In fact because I so want you to read the book (and be there if you can, yet not miss out if you can’t) if you pop to the review and leave a question for Patrick in the comments there, I will then draw one of you out of a hat, or get Patrick too, and get you a specially signed copy and send it anywhere in the world. How’s that? You have until 1800hrs GMT tomorrow the 27th of April and don’t forget the Ali Smith give away too! Lovely stuff, look forward to your questions and will hopefully see some of you there!
I thought I would combine announcing the winners of all of the Classically Challenged titles in my giveaways last weekend, which I find can be slightly boring in terms of blog posts, with some pictures of the cats as I haven’t updated you on them for a while (much to the relief of all you feline haters out there, ha).
You see I asked Millie if she would pick any of the winners out of a hat and alas she was far too busy frankly…
Then I asked Oscar and I am afraid it was the same for him as he was otherwise engaged…
So in the end I used an online random number generator and the winners of the books are as follows! The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton goes to Rhonda Reads, Lisa Jacobs and Jenny Snell. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy goes to Joan Wilson, The Bronte Sister and Tracey Chick. And finally, Middlemarch by George Eliot goes to Joan Wilson (twice lucky), Elizabeth and June Seghni – you three brave souls. Could winners please email me their addresses to email@example.com with the title of the book you have won in the subject of the email, or I may never find it. If you haven’t won then do not fear as I believe AJ is giving these books away over the next few hours/days on his blog so pop and have a lucky dip there too. Good luck.
I’m off to do more reading with the cats…