RIP Iain (M) Banks

I didn’t think it right for me to write an obituary as I did with James Herbert as I have only read one of his books (with one more in my “to read” pile). I did meet him at a book signing about twenty years ago. Having only heard his name before, I didn’t have any questions to ask him. Instead he asked me whose name to put in the book and I told him. That was it so I’m afraid I have no anecdotes to prove what a lovely bloke he was (I don’t doubt for one minute that he was!)

Somebody who did know him though was Neil Gaiman so I’ll leave it to his heartfelt words to mark the passing of this writer with such a darky and quirky writing style.

Read it here.

Unbound Live! – Winchester


Tonight I went to my first ever literature event at the Winchester Discovery Centre (event details here)

Though two of the attendees were missing (Tamasin Day-Lewis and Paul Kingsnorth – a shame because I’m intrigued at the sound of his book), it was a fun evening listening to the interesting and wacky offerings from some semi-famous and some not so famous names (the biggest name attendee was Katy Brand) Continue reading

Book Review: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

20th Century Fox Film Corporation.

20th Century Fox Film Corporation.

With the recent release of the film, I thought I probably ought to read and review it sometime soon. This is the story of Piscine Molitor Patel, also known as Pi. He is a zoologist, originally from Pondicherry where his parents owned a zoo but he graduated from Toronto University. This novel is the account of the remarkable events of his life. It is a Man Booker winner and has sold over 7 million copies. Continue reading

National Buy a book Day – 7th September

I know this is an American thing and we have no equivalent over here, but but I believe that together we can start a trend.

National Buy a Book Day is this coming Friday in the USA. It has a very simple premise. On Friday 7th September, go to a book shop and buy a book.

The National Buy a Book Day Foundation’s primary activity is educating the American people on the importance of books to our culture and community by encouraging citizens to go to any bookstore on September 7th of each year, which we hope to establish as National Buy a Book Day, and buy a book. By buying a book, as a community, every year on the same day, we come together in support of books, booksellers, authors, and publishers alike. This is the exclusive goal of the organization, and it is funded entirely from public and corporate donations.

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Nerd overdrive – Baxter and Pratchett talk “The Long Earth”

I rarely take interest in The Guardian podcastsbut this one caught my eye. It is an interview between Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett on their collaboration The Long Earth

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter talk to Alison Flood about their new collaborative science fiction work, The Long Earth. Prachett and Baxter hold court on the writing process, the nature of collaboration, the beauty of hard science-fiction literature and creating the start of a trilogy

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Good Reads reading challenge 2012

I have never planned to read a certain quantity of books in a year but I have for the last few years been incredibly conscience of my ever growing pile of “to read” books. When I discovered quite by accident that the Good Reads website has a yearly challenge where you set yourself a target of how many books you wish to read, I decided to go for it.

Goals are good, goals help you to focus your life and targets and deadlines normally make you work harder to achieve those goals. I came up with a completely arbitrary figure of 40 books to read in 2012 (guessed based on an average year plus between five to ten – this increase is because I write book reviews for this blog and will read more with more incentive).
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My first guest post!

This is just a quick note to let you all know that I have published my first guest post on another blog. After Nila E. White kindly contributed a guest site of the week for iphone/ipad apps, she graciously asked if I would like to contribute a guest post to her secondary blog The Atheist’s Quill. After bouncing a few ideas around, we agreed that I would pen an extended book review/discussion piece of the James Blish novel A Case of Conscience. Because I usually only like to discuss the merits of a book I have just read within my own books reviews, and that it wasn’t really appropriate content for my science blog 2012 and all that, I felt that I would like to really expand on the theme and content of the book, to really discuss the ideas that Blish explored in the 1958 Hugo Award winner.

So without further waffle, here is the book review. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sex scenes quiz – guess the gender

I did a feature on bad sex scenes (centring around the Bad Sex Awards) last year and when I eventually get around to writing one I intend to discuss the subject in greater detail. But for now, The Guardian has a fun quiz here where it provides a list of sex scenes and asks you to guess the gender of each writer.

Let’s have a little fun with this one, I’m inviting my subscribers to take the test and post their results!

The Guardian’s interactive literary map (UK)

The Guardian has launched an interactive literary map of the UK and they need your help to make it work. Do you know of a particularly good bookshop in your area, have a noteworthy literary location that deserves a bit more publicity? Or perhaps you know a really good literary event and you want to tell the country about it. Well, now you can. There are already a number of events, shops and places submitted. Take a look, you might discover something in your area. Unfortunately this is UK only.
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