Tag Archives: Sara Taylor

Should Have, Would Have, Could Have Read/s 2015

I thought I would sneak in a quick post before my final book review of the year and my posts on my top reads of the year go live over the next few days before a shiny new year opens before us. (I love a new year, have I mentioned this before, it is like the epic version of a night of new bed linen.) Anyway, I have been having a small sorting out of the shelves before the new year begins and discovered, to my slight horror, that I there have been lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of books that have come out this year that I have meant to read, haven’t and have that slight ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ feeling about them all. There were about 50 – just a small amount – but I whittled it down to 22 (I am rubbish at whittling down, very good at whittling on) and here they are in no particular order…

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I Saw a Man – Owen Sheers
Girl at War – Sara Novic
Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff
Delicious Foods – James Hannaham
The Year of the Runaways – Sunjeev Sahota
The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood
The Shore – Sara Taylor
The Fisherman – Chigozie Obioma
Devotion – Ros Barber
Daydreams of Angels – Heather O’Neill
Did You Ever Have a Family – Bill Clegg
Before the Feast – Sasa Stanisic
Beatlebone – Kevin Barry
Public Library – Ali Smith
Music for Wartime – Rebecca Makkai
Trans: A Memoir – Juliet Jacques
An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It – Jessie Greengrass
I’m Jack – Mark Blacklock
The Loney – Andrew Micheal Hurley
The Not Dead and The Saved – Kate Clanchy
Mislaid & The Wallcreeper – Nell Zink

I am not a believer in regrets or of ‘what if’s’ so I have simply decided to be excited about the fact that a) books don’t go anywhere unless you remove them from your life yourself b) these will all be out in paperback over the next year so I can talk to you about them all then. Plus I am 95% sure I am going to love these as people I know who read them really, really did.  Are these going to be my first reads of 2016? No. I have decided I am going right off on reading tangents next year, more on that in the next few days. I just thought I would share these ones with you in the interim. We all love a selection of books and a bookshelf to nosey at don’t we?

Have any of you read any of these and what did you make of them? Which are the books you should have, would have, could have read?

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Winner of Young Writer of the Year Award 2015

Just under two hours ago Sarah Howe was announced as the Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award 2015 with her collection of poetry, Loop of Jade. A huge, huge congrats to her and a huge, huge kick to myself who was going to try and fit this collection in before the announcement (not because I knew, as if, because it was the shortest and I wanted to have read at least one of them) but have sadly not found the time. Maybe this weekend. Anyway, huge congrats again to Sarah…

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…And indeed to all the shortlisted authors because (as I said at The Green Carnation Prize winner announcement and party earlier this week) being shortlisted and longlisted from lots and lots of books is a marvellous thing too! Speaking of shortlists though, you may also remember that I promised to give a signed set of the shortlisted books away. If you have forgotten what the titles were, let me remind you they were; Ben Fergusson with The Spring of Kasper Meier, the aforementioned Sarah Howe with Loop of Jade, Sunjeev Sahota with The Year of the Runaways and Sara Taylor with The Shore.

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Well I have used random.org and I can reveal that the winner of the signed shortlisted titles is… Zeudytigre! If you email me with your details I will get these sent out asap so they can be with you before Christmas, a lovely early present or four!  Commiserations to everyone else. Do let me know if you have read any of these though, I shamefully have not (yet) read one of them – but I want to read all four, so the intention is there, ha!

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Young Writer of the Year Award 2015 (Who Would Like To Win A Signed Set of the Shortlist?)

I have been feverishly lost in the world of sneezes and coughs for the last week and so missed the announcement of The Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award 2015 (wow that’s a mouthful)  shortlist earlier in the week for authors under 35. The four shortlisted authors and their works are…

  • Ben FergussonThe Spring of Kasper Meier, a critically acclaimed historical fiction debut
  • Sarah HoweLoop of Jade, a poetic exploration of heritage and identity
  • Sunjeev SahotaThe Year of the Runaways, his Man Booker shortlisted second novel
  • Sara TaylorThe Shore, a Baileys-nominated collection of interlinked short stories

Now I have to admit that I have all three of these on my shelves (well Sarah Howe popped through my letterbox yesterday which was nice of her) but have yet to get around to any of them because clearly I am a fool. I do like the sound of all four of them. I know Rob of Adventures with Words loved the Fergusson and Kate has raved about the Taylor, obviously Sahota was up for the Booker and the Howe was new to me but exciting (and slightly petrifying as its poetry which I always think I am rubbish at understanding yet really enjoy) because I hadn’t heard of it and wanted to know more.

Anyway, before I move on to giving away a signed set of all four of the books and how you can win them, I will just flag up the fact that if you happen to be in London the on Monday then there is a special free Foyles event happening with 3 of the shortlisted authors and 3 previous winners, who will be in conversation with Sunday Times Literary Editor Andrew Holgate more here http://www.foyles.co.uk/Public/Events/Detail.aspx?eventId=2689. I wish I could go, I’m quite jealous. The winner will then be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 10th December.

So, the question you now all want to know, how can you win a signed set of the four shortlisted titles? Well I thought I would make it simple… ish. I say ish because I was going to do a post around it and struggled, though this might have been because I was off my face on Lemsip. Anyway. What I would love you to do is tell me who your favourite author under 35 is and why, recommendations of their titles would be a delight too! Good luck, you have until midnight GMT on Friday the 27th of November!

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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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