OOPS! Applicants must be over 18 years, smart, reliable and enjoy
delaying with the public. - WETHERBY NEWS
TOO MANY books, too many authors, too many awards – the world is awash with words. And with confused readers seeking a good book. This week, however, there comes the Longlist for an award that has always presented outstanding women authors.
Previously known as the Orange Prize, after a phone-service company, the event now has new sponsors as the Baileys Prize for women’s fiction.
It is reliably judged and will never disappoint. Even if you don’t like the winner of the $55,000, every reader should find a novel to delight among the nominations. The Longlist for 2014 has twenty authors.
Who or what is Baileys? Think of Baileys Cream, a great sherry! The liquor company has agreed to sponsor the event for three years, after private donations kept it going last year. The winner will be announced in June if judging follows past patterns.
But why wait? The judges say their Longlist has great books for all tastes, and I’ll drink to that!
Everyone can survive the global word tsunami by means of sampling. Most of the nominations for the Baileys Prize can be sampled from the links below.
Happy reading! from Cathy, week ending 14 March 2014.
Longlist for the 2014 Baileys Prize for women’s fiction:.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (Fourth Estate)
Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam (Bloomsbury)
Suzanne Berne, The Dogs of Littlefield (Fig Tree)
Claire Cameron, The Bear (Harvill Secker)
Lea Carpenter, Eleven Days (Two Roads)
M.J. Carter, The Strangler Vine (Fig Tree)
Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries (Granta)
Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things (Bloomsbury)
Hannah Kent, Burial Rites (Picador)
Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers (Harvill Secker)
Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland (Bloomsbury)
Audrey Magee, The Undertaking (Atlantic Books)
Eimear McBride, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing (Gallery Beggar Press)
Charlotte Mendelson, Almost English (Mantle)
Anna Quindlen, Still Life with Bread Crumbs (Hutchinson)
Elizabeth Strout, The Burgess Boys (Simon and Schuster)
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch (Little, Brown)
Evie Wyld, All The Birds, Singing (Jonathan Cape).
Great titles FREE for Read An Ebook Week
GET busy until March 8. Booktaste readers can download free titles right now. The annual Read An Ebook Week is March 2-8. It’s a favourite event worldwide because it gives readers a chance to acquire quality titles at no cost.
For the 2014 event, as in past years, the Darling Newspaper Press will allow free downloads of selected books and short stories. These include crime fiction (a popular whodunit novel) and an unusual memoir that is both entertaining and inspirational. Also short stories by John Ivor, Bryce McBryce and Ann Morven (details below).
The Right Royal Bastard, by Ann Morven. Chills and chuckles as bumbling sleuth Sheil B. Wright dares challenge Buckingham Palace. She resolves to investigate the murder of a black Australian singer who had claimed to be legitimate heir to the British throne. If not shown free automatically at checkout, quote this coupon JZ95F.
Gone To Bed, by Charles Bryce. An extraordinary book describing the birth, battles and bliss of a smalltown newspaper in Western Australia. Over 21 years, many an odd event, world scoop or zany character filled its columns. Occupying a derelict haunted hotel, the weekly discovered that any community is a trove of wonder when you get to its heart. If not shown free automatically at checkout, quote this coupon DF72U.
Nanny And The Jabberwock, by Bryce McBryce. A short story set in the 1930s British colony of Ceylon (now independent Sri Lanka). A brat falls foul of his father’s Colonel, yet amazingly rescues Nanny’s forbidden romance. Lots of laughs in this take on the twilight of the British Raj. If not shown free automatically at checkout, quote this coupon TE62U.
The Wizard of Woe, by Charles Bryce. A read aloud short story for children aged 4-8. Small yet smart, the fabled Mousedeer of Asian forests challenges an evil wizard. If not shown free automatically at checkout, quote this coupon RW100.
Invade America, by John Ivor. Short story. Fact dressed as fiction. A British sea captain describes destroying American coastal forts and landing a British army that captured the White House.
Reverend Rapist, by John Ivor. Short story. Sentenced to hang in 1828 Scotland, Maggie, 9, discovers there are things worse than death.
Kill, by John Ivor. Short story. Brilliant swordsman and heroic in stature, young Jeremy has only one weakness as he faces his greatest challenge. He is a coward.
The Prize Bride, by John Ivor. Short story. Moneyless captain seeks heiress bride, but she’s daughter of The Wangler and a prospect to fear.
Happy reading! from Cathy, week ending 7 March 2014.
Favourites old as the Ark
ANIMALS, not fairies, giants, witches or aliens, remain the most popular characters in books for young children. This can be confirmed in the 2014 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for titles
published last year. Now celebrating its 10th birthday, the prize is worth $8,300 to the overall winner and $5000 to the winner of each category. And it is heartening that Britain’s biggest book chain can afford these generous prizes after a year of financial plummet. The company was saved by a foreigner, Russian billionaire Alexander Mato. He bought it despite an operating loss of $20.3 million.
Shortlisted for prizes to be announced in April are weasels planning world domination, a Parisian parrot, a kidnapped penguin, a crocodile afraid of water, a vengeful dragon, a bossy cockroach, a friendly stag . . . quite a menagerie!
Of course, it’s no surprise to mums, especially those who read aloud to their littlies. The appeal of animals has been around since forever. One animal not in the shortlist (which is confined to 2013 releases) is the classic Mousedeer, a children’s favourite for 2000 years or more. These traditional forest tales from Southeast Asia teach good behaviour as well as being darn good stories. Probably the best collection in English is by author Charles Bryce. He gathered the tales orally in Borneo and Malaysia from jungle dwellers and gives them a professional touch. Interested mums might care to find a sample in either digital or paperback.
For exploring mums, here are the Waterstones shortlisted titles for 2014 (in alphabetical order by author):
Best Picture Book:
Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley and Nicola O’Byrne (Nosy Crow)
Harold Finds a Voice by Courtney Dicmas (Child’s Play International)
Weasels by Elys Dolan (Nosy Crow)
Penguin in Peril by Helen Hancocks (Templar)
Time for Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail (Bloomsbury)
The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Best Fiction for 5-12s:
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill (Random House Children’s Books)
Shiverton Hall by Emerald Fennell (Bloomsbury)
The Skull in the Wood by Sandra Greaves (Chicken House)
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (Faber and Faber)
The Last Wild by Piers Torday (Quercus)
Best Book for Teens:
The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale (Faber and Faber)
Butter by Erin Lange (Faber and Faber)
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch (Orion)
Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter (Hot Key Books)
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (Penguin)
Geek Girl by Holly Smale (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Happy reading! from Cathy, week ending 21 February 2014.
British Raj soldiers on
IN India, as in Britain, the Raj never goes out of fashion. It was the formative period of the nation we know today, comprising more than 300 years under colonial rule and the development of roads, railways and trading ports. Also much strife. Inspired authors have found rich material in all this human endeavour, and their work is much in evidence at the current Kolkata Book Fair, the world’s biggest after Frankfurt and London. In terms of non-trade attendance it actually attracts more people than all the other annual book fests.
Before drawing to an end on February 9, the gathering will have attracted two million book lovers from around the world. Note: they were mostly readers, unlike the European trade fairs that attract publishers and booksellers.
Held in the former capital of British India (Calcutta, now renamed), the Kolkata event this year had ‘Peru’ as its central theme. This did not overshadow the immense availability of Raj titles, including the popular humour of Bryce McBryce. His fictional tales are contained in the paperback original titled simply Brat. This is a brilliant take on the twilight of empire on the eve of World War 2. A British ‘brat’ – the official term for children of military personnel – provokes alarm and despondency in a British garrison fort in charge of ‘the natives’. The troubles result from this young innocent’s striving to understand the weird world of adults. Get a free sample. Or select an extract as a complete short story.
Among more serious Raj authors, traditional adventure favourites like Katharine Gordon, M.M. Kaye, John Masters and Paul Scott are still being republished, as is the great Rudyard Kipling. And of course there is a whole new world of Indian authors. Along with fellow writers from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, these have for many years been the lifeblood of the Kolkata Book Fair
450 years a brandname author!
EVEN as I write this, the Shakespeare lovers and the inevitable doubters are at it again. No other writer has stirred such interest (most of it after his death). Now, 450 years since he died, the world is abuzz with comments and questions about his work, using a magic the Bard of Avon could never have imagined.
A panel of authors in Berlin has been discussing Shakespeare and taking queries live from around the world, via Twitter. Enthusiasts were being invited to submit questions using the hashtag #Shakespeare2014.
The panel comprised Naomi Alderman, AS Byatt, Howard Jacobson, Alice Oswald, Mark Ravenhill, and Polly Stenham. Their stated purpose before the event was to reflect on Shakespeare’s legacy and examine what his work means to novelists, poets and playwrights of today. In recent times the controversy over who actually wrote the plays has flared anew.
Considering all the books about Shakespeare, fact and fiction, I jump in without false modesty to highlight one of our own at Darling Newspaper Press. It is the much praised whodunit by Ann Morven, The Killing of Hamlet. Her plot links Shakespeare with modern murders in an English village. It also ventures the answer to Shakespeare’s real identity, and is perhaps more credible than many theories argued by academics. It’s a good read, with chills and chuckles in the inimitable Morven style.
Happy reading! from Cathy, week ending 7 February 2014
Tartan sarongs, sweet-n-sour haggis and whisky galore
I WAKE to the world news and I sigh, and I groan and I wonder. Why the hatred, why this mayhem? As the great poet noted, “Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn”. Yet this shrewd observer of humanity, Robert Burns, also wrote of love and goodwill. These desirable emotions can still be found everywhere.
Dedicated people were gathering on January 25 for the poet’s birthday, perhaps small balance to the world rage, but celebrating immortal ideals.
I read this week of tartan sarongs worn in Sri Lanka for Burns Night, and sweet-n-sour haggis served in Singapore. In Tokyo, Japanese whisky would accompany the Immortal Toast to the “great chieftain of puddings” (Again the haggis). Thus it is the world over as each nation adapts the traditional Scottish rituals to local tastes.
Scots everywhere and their friends, and folk who just admire Robert Burns, have been marking the event for well over 200 years. Many books have been written about Scotland’s national bard, but I have come across only one novel that deals with his work. It is a whodunit, well written, intelligent in concept and a chuckling good read. I love the Burns content in this book, Murder Piping Hot, a mystery by Ann Morven that links the poet’s work to modern passions, Australian Aboriginal myth and a bumbling amateur sleuth in pursuit of a killer. “Family secrets can be fatal” says the sub-title. They also deliver gripping entertainment.
Happy reading! from Cathy, week ending 31 January 2014.
Booktaste.com is owned and operated by The Darling Newspaper Press, a small independent publisher in Western Australia. Its principal is Charles Bryce (email@example.com), lifelong journalist, Scottish born, formerly of The Sunday Post, The Straits Times, Reuters, The Sunday Times (Australia) and creator of The Darling Advertiser newspaper.
Blogger Cathy Macleod (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an independent literary critic who monitors the Internet for good reads, bookworld views and news.
For Darling Newspaper Press email email@example.com or post to PO box 176, Kalamunda, Western Australia 6926.
Back to top