Friday, 21 October 2011
Retribution Falls (2009) introduces the reader to the foolhardy, womanising and down-on-his luck Frey. The crew of the Ketty Jay are hardly a tight-knit bunch though. From the boozy Malvery to the mysterious Navvie, Jez, the ship really does serve as a portable rogues gallery. And their luck takes a turn for the worst when they are framed for destroying a ship during a heist gone wrong. Captain Frey has to draw on every resource to prove his innocence.
Each book can be read alone, but it really is worth taking the time to read them in order and see the crew bond together as Captain Frey denies his more self-destructive urges.
The Iron Jackal is out now.
The Black Lung Captain is part of Blackwell's 3 for 2 promotion.
Friday, 14 October 2011
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Are the increasingly cold and dark evenings making you feel like Winter is looming with nothing to brighten up the season except Christmas, still more than two months away? Settle in on the sofa this weekend with a book that will cheer the blackest of hearts.
I laugh out loud every time I re-read this book, which can have its drawbacks on the tube. But for a light read that will fill you with glee, immerse yourself in Sedaris' world and revel in his joy when he finally understands enough French to decipher his teacher as she tells him, 'Every day spent with you is like having a cesarean section'. She is utterly wrong.
Friday, 7 October 2011
Carol Birch - Jamrach's Menagerie
The first 'western' to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize is also a bleakly comic novel. Imagine Cormac McCarthy meets 'Bottom'. A bizarre cast of eccentric outcasts thrown into deconstructed western cliches. The most likely of the short list to be filmed.
Esi Edugyan - Half Blood Blues
Set in Paris and Berlin just before and during WWII, it tells the story of jazz musicians, German and American, black, white and mixed race, caught in up the mayhem. A novel full of historical detail and atmosphere but a bit predictable in plot, when they tell you on the cover that it's a story of betrayal you pretty much know where you're going.
Stephen Kelman - Pigeon English
How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran
If you're a fan of Caitlin Moran's writing (or more precisely, her wit) then How To Be A Woman is a winner.
Having read and studied many different books on feminism, I was excited to hear that Moran had decided to tackle the subject. A diptych of a book, Moran has infused snippets of her own life alongside her efforts to adopt feminism into said life story. As a fan of Moran’s writing and critiques, I hoped she would bring her usual panache and wit to How To Be A Woman – and she didn’t let me down. There are brilliant stories concerning Jordan, Lady Gaga, a Berlin sex club, bra fittings at Rigby and Peller, rising through the ranks at Melody Maker and a much needed discussion on why pants are getting smaller.
How To Be A Woman gives laugh out loud moments (as I did whilst reading it on the tube) and some more sobering thoughts on growing up, sibling rivalry, bullying, falling in love and a slightly comical, if excruciating, account of childbirth. Through it all, Moran's philosophy remains that she is a feminist without having to be the next Germaine Greer and if she can do it, so can every other woman.
Essentially, How To Be A Woman is a great introductory text to feminism and leaves the reader open-minded to their own ideas about what being a woman is for them. My favourite section, perhaps controversial, was the chapter about abortion, where Moran details not only her own experience of abortion, but also the stigma that is still attached to it. I think in the present age, it is high time a woman stepped forward and declared that ‘actually on this occasion, this is the right decision for me’. In no way is this advocating constant use of abortion, but it is refreshing to read a perspective such as Moran’s. Well worth the read.