Stuck at Home Book Tag (1)

As we head into the final quarter of the year, the Stuck at Home book tag seemed like a great opportunity to reflect upon the year.

I’ve actually been on furlough for most of the year, and whilst this hasn’t been ideal, I’m thankful for it. It gave me the opportunity to reflect upon what I value most, what makes me happy (or unhappy!), and the direction I want to head in as I approach my 30s.

It gave me the nudge to start this blog, which has been a revelation. It helped me find myself again. 

I can share my love of literature and philosophy, whilst meeting some truly wonderful people online – especially Twitter.

Anyhow, thank you to Nikki Swift Reads for tagging me in this Book Tag! Do go and check her blog out – it’s a vibrant website with some really great content! Also, full credit to Ellyn @Allonsythornraxx as the original creator of this book tag!

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Inside Story Review

Summary

His most intimate and epic work to date, Inside Story is the portrait of Martin Amis’ extraordinary life, as a man and a writer. This novel had its birth in a death – that of the author’s closest friend, Christopher Hitchens.

We also encounter the vibrant characters who have helped define Martin Amis, from his father Kingsley, to his hero Saul Bellow, from Philip Larkin to Iris Murdoch and Elizabeth Jane Howard, and to the person who captivated his twenties, the alluringly amoral Phoebe Phelps.

Author: Martin Amis
Format Reviewed: Kindle Edition (ARC kindly provided by the publisher*)
Print Length: 576 pages
Publisher: Vintage (2020)

Inside Story, Martin Amis’s latest autobiographical novel**, is brilliant at times.

It’s well written and a sombre ennui pervades his entries on late father-figure Saul Bellow and now-departed best friend Christopher Hitchens.

Other times, the novel** falters with frustratingly smug and self-indulgent meanderings.

Such is the nature of autofiction, I suppose.

*Disclaimer: I received a free advance reading copy from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Read the full review >

BBC2 is set to launch a Friday afternoon book club show, called Between the Covers.

Starting Friday 9th October, Sara Cox will present the 30-minute TV programme that is expected to run for 7 episodes. I’m presuming that this will be on during dinnertime, based on the people involved and the description. According to a BBC press release,

 

Between The Covers ‘will feature some of our best known personalities chatting about their favourite books in a funny and warm-hearted half hour – a book club just for BBC Two.’

 

When I first read this, my eyes rolled into the back of my head. I think my exact response in a now-deleted Tweet was simply ‘WTF’.

And whilst I am pretty disappointed by what I’ve heard so far, I’m not sure my initial response was entirely fair.

It was reductive at the very least.

Find out why >

Bloggers Publish a Negative Review Blog Header

“Should book bloggers ever publish negative reviews?”

This is probably one of the more polarising discussions I’ve observed in the writing community.

There does seem to be a notion amongst certain book bloggers that publishing less-than-favourable thoughts on a book in the public domain is something that should just not be done.

I disagree.

Find out why >

Summary

Reality is a story we tell ourselves. Change the story and you change reality.

In Absurdia charts the seeker’s journey. Intellectually and artistically provocative, it tries to capture ephemera, knowing life is a pastiche with fragile connections.

Author: Glenn Whalan
Format Reviewed: Kindle Edition (ARC kindly provided by the author*)
Print Length: 222 pages
Publisher: Karenza Press (2020)

In Absurdia is a curious novel. It’s also rather rather on-brand for this blog.

But how did I feel about it?

It’s a dizzying, disorientating piece of absurdist fiction that’s harder to pin down than an otter coated in vaseline. After finishing it, I needed a lie down. Conveniently, it was bed time.

At times it’s touching, sometimes hilarious, and other times, it’s really quite bizarre. I’m not entirely sure what just happened. And yet, I enjoyed the time I spent with Glenn Whalan’s debut novel.

*Disclaimer: I received a free advance reading copy from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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