Your one-stop shop for the week’s most interesting bookish news and reviews
Were you expecting anything else to take the top spot this week? The world is abuzz with the much anticipated release of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, the follow-up of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s not even been released yet and still, everyone is talking about it. You can read the first chapter, listen to Reese Witherspoon reading the first chapter, read reviews of the first chapter, and even share your thoughts on the first chapter. The novel, which Lee wrote back in the 1950s and was actually written before To Kill a Mockingbird, is set to beat even Harry Potter’s pre-sales in this unprecedented book promotion but the question now on everyone’s lips is: will it live up to all this hype? I understand the importance of building excitement but I can’t help wondering whether all this is just a build-up before a fall.
So the summer holidays are here, and along with it are the recommendations for holiday reads. My favourite, so far, has got to be the piece in the Daily Mail (I know, I know, the Mail is…er…well, let’s just say that this one feature, at least, is good!). Louis de Bernieres will always hold a special place in my heart – in fact, anyone who can get a paragraph about the smell of subversive farts into a serious novel (see Captain Corelli’s Mandolin) could win a place in my heart! This is a great article about his experiences of reading whilst travelling, some of his favourite books, and of course some great tips for holiday reads. For other authors’ holiday reading tips, there is a wonderful piece in The Guardian too or see Amazon’s list of new releases for something tasty to treat yourself to!
Shirley Hughes, illustrator extraordinaire, has won a Lifetime Achievement Award for her services to children’s literature. She has written more than 70 books, and illustrated more than 200: now that’s impressive! Even if you don’t know her name, you’ll definitely know her characters as her illustrations are ingrained into everything now (and that’s not surprising, given her track-record). She talks to Judith Woods at The Telegraph and explains how it is her job to slow children down.
Since 2009, The Guardian have been running this fantastic book prize that is decided by the right people: the reader. Forget about the stuffy panellists of the literati, The Guardian’s prestigious prize is decided entirely by the general public – all the way from the long list, through the short list, and eventually to the winner. There are rules of course (there always are, aren’t there?) but anyone can be a judge, and anyone can vote on any book that is theoretically eligible for this year’s Man Booker Prize – what better award to win? So c’mon folks, get your nominations in now!
And whilst we’re on the topic of bookish awards, it’s been announced thisweek that the Man Booker International Prize and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize are to merge into one award: the Man Book International Award. The new award will have a fantastic prize of £50,000 per year (roughly $77,000) to be split equally between author and translator, and the merger will be complete in preparation for the 2016 award.
And for the fun link of the week: Independence Day Quiz: Bleeding Red, White, and Blue
In celebration of Independence Day last week, The Reading Room published a quiz on American literature. It’s quick, it’s fun, and it’s full of all-American goodness. I scored 7 out of 10 – not too shabby. What did you score? Let us know in the comments below!