Between social media, the public libraries movement,
book shops, big publishers and a sharp rise in the number of small, independent
niche publishers – books are everywhere, from posters of the latest must-read
bestsellers in tube stations, to telephone boxes in remote rural areas turned
into book exchanges. Publishers throw book launch parties to show off their
authors (sign up to your favourite publishers’ newsletters and follow them on
social media to hear about these events) and libraries are becoming hives of
activity, hosting anything from mini plays and author Q&As, book readings
to children’s story-time afternoons, and book discussion groups.
a lifelong book lover, in the midst of this groundswell I became one of the
hundreds, and maybe thousands of readers who stared a book blog. I started my
blog (Attic Window, Cellar Door), because posting to a blog is a nice
way to keep track of and give a bit more thought to the books I'm reading, and
blogs are a good way to recommend books to other people with similar bookish
tastes, and I get some great recommendations from other people’s blogs in
return. Social Media is also fabulous for competitions and giveaways of books –
follow bloggers, book shops, and publishers to spot these.
really good books I've read lately that have recently been released or are due
to be released very soon are:
by Iraqi author Ahmed Saadawi – ordinary people living in a war zone. It has
some arrestingly bitter-sweet moments among a backdrop of Gothic horror.
Surreal with a compelling story, this is magic realism in the heart of
contemporary war-torn Iraq.
Our Mad and Furious City will be out in early May this year. It's contemporary
fiction by debut author Guy Gunaratne, recounting 24 hours on a London housing
estate. It's very up close and personal, and the writing is edge-of-the-seat
tense from start to finish.
really brilliant ghost story if you like something a bit more cosy and
spine-tingling, is The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements, which is set
on the Yorkshire Moors and is very atmospheric.
book that's only just been released, and which is one of my favourites of the
moment is The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn – a slow-building murder
mystery thriller that evokes everything that is great about Hitchcock. It's
very dark and claustrophobic noir but also very cosy, and I really
recommend it to any murder mystery fans or black-and-white movie buffs.
Earlie King and the Kid in Yellow by Danny Denton, which is another of my
current favourites, is a perfect piece of Irish dystopian fiction set in a
near-future Ireland where an eerie rain never stops falling. It's a dark and
earthy tale, and written in the very best tradition of off-kilter Irish story
a book coming in May that I can't wait to get my hands on is a contemporary
retelling, in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, of MacBeth by Jo