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Showing posts from May, 2011

Kimberly Menozzi and... Living on Italian Time

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There are many things to adjust to when you move abroad. Most of these things I was prepared for: different food, different clothing styles and of course, a different language.

There was, however, something I wasn't ready for at all in Italy: a different way of being "on time".

I don't mean the way we say the time - although, in some ways, that's different, too - no, I mean the idea of when to show up for something, such as when to arrive for a party, a meeting, a dinner with friends or a walk around town.

I'm an American, of course, and so I'm generally used to being on time for things. I can't stand being late (that's not because I'm American, that's just because I'm, well, me), and I always do my best to be on time or even early when possible.

But in Italy, somehow it never quite works out that way.

Here's an example: You tell a friend "Let's meet at my house at eight and we'll go to dinner," and they say "Okay…

Help! My wish list #24

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One more title from my ever-expanding reading wish list.

** The cover image is for illustrative purposes only. If you are a publisher and would kindly like to offer me a copy of this book for review, I will change the cover so as to reflect the edition received. **

Firmin
By Sam Savage

Amazon's product description: Firmin is the runt of a litter of rats born in the basement of Pembroke Books, a ramshackle old bookstore run by the equally shambolic owner Norman Shine. Forced to compete for food, Firmin ends up chewing on the books that surround him. Thanks to his unusual diet, he acquires the miraculous ability to read. He subsequently develops an insatiable hunger for literature and a very unratlike sense of the world and his place in it. He is a debonair soul trapped in a rat's body. But a literary rat is a lonely rat and, spurned by his own kind, he thinks he recognises a kindred soul in Norman. Firmin seeks solace in the Lovelies of the local burlesque cinema and in his own ima…

Book review: Nessuno si salva da solo

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By Margaret Mazzantini

At present, Margaret Mazzantini’s latest book, Nessuno si salva da solo, is not available in English but I am confident that the translation will follow soon.

Nessuno si salva da solo is the story of a great love that has run its course. Delia and Gaetano have recently separated and they meet for dinner to make arrangements for the summer holidays of their two children, Nico and Cosmo. While facing each other across the table of the restaurant, they can’t help but wonder when their passion has turned into resentment and they reminisce about good times, yes, but mostly disappointments and expectations not met.

The book opens with Delia and Gaetano sitting at the restaurant and closes with them having just parted ways. A few hours in which we get to dig deep inside them and uncover those raw feelings that the end of a relationship never fails to bring to the surface.

Mazzantini’s writing style is as raw as those feelings. Words are sharp, unkind. We glimpse some tende…

Book review: Howard’s End is on the Landing

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By Susan Hill
Published by Profile Books

One day, British novelist Susan Hill, went browsing her bookshelves in search of a specific book. She didn’t find it. What she found was a world of books that she had loved and wanted to re-read, books that she had yet to read and books that she had even forgotten she owned.

This discovery led to her decision to not buy or otherwise acquire any new books for a whole year, which she would spend reading or re-reading those that she already possessed. In her words: “A year of reading from home”.

I was first attracted to Howard’s End is on the Landing by the brightly-coloured book spines that grace its cover, designed by Peter Dyer. Having spent years unsuccessfully pledging to stop purchasing new books until I’ve read all the ones that are patiently waiting on my shelves, I was also curious to learn how it is done. That, I didn’t learn! On the contrary, I enjoyed Hill’s opinions and suggestions so much that I ended up adding lots of titles to my wish …

Help! My wish list #23

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One more title from my ever-expanding reading wish list.

** The cover image is for illustrative purposes only. If you are a publisher and would kindly like to offer me a copy of this book for review, I will change the cover so as to reflect the edition received. **


The Secret History
By Donna Tartt

Amazon's product description: A misfit at an exclusive New England college, Richard finds kindred spirits in the five eccentric students of his ancient Greek class. But his new friends have a horrific secret. When blackmail and violence threaten to blow their privileged lives apart, they drag Richard into the nightmare that engulfs them. And soon they enter a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return...

Why I want to read this book: Having appreciated Tartt's The Little Friend, I am interested in reading her other works. I also have a thing about horrific secrets!

Tips for aspiring writers – part 4

Amanda Sington-Williams on: Multiple viewpoints and second person narrator.

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Using multiple viewpoints

Many contemporary novelists use multiple viewpoints to narrate their novels. This gives an opportunity for the reader to understand how more than one character views the world that the author has created. Using more than one viewpoint can be a vehicle for creating great tension. However, unless handled carefully, switching between viewpoints can be frustrating for the reader as they are left hanging while the narrator is switching to another character’s viewpoint. The best way to avoid this is to ensure all of the characters are interesting enough for the reader to get fully involved with them.

Before embarking on using more than one viewpoint, it is necessary to understand what is meant by ‘viewpoint.’ For example, say you wish to write a novel about John, who is a father, and Mary, who is his daughter, and you wish to switch between their viewpoints. First of all you must, as the a…

LGBT reading challenge - May reviews

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Thanks again for joining the LGBT reading challenge 2011! If you haven't joined yet, don't worry: there is still time.

Below is a list of all the book reviews that have been submitted in May (via this link). Hopefully you will all find new and interesting titles to explore - I, for one, am sure to gather another few books to add to my TBR list!

Whether you already know the books that are being discussed or not, I strongly encourage you to leave comments below and on the other blogs. I want to hear your voices! Despite its name, the reading challenge is not simply a competition, more of an opportunity to share ideas and bond over our common interests!

Let's begin!

01. Natazzz read and reviewed Martin Misunderstood by Karin Slaughter.
02. Lucy read and reviewed The Love of Good Women by Isabel Miller.
03. Juliet read and reviewed To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life by Herve Guibert.
04. Orange Sorbet read and reviewed Hero by Perry Moore.
05. Irene read and reviewed All-night Par…

"Italy in Books" - May reviews

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Thanks again for joining the "Italy in Books” reading challenge 2011! What? You haven't joined yet? No worries, there is time to sign up until the very last day of the year...

Below you can find a list of all the book reviews submitted in May (via this link). I am sure that everyone will find it useful to learn about new and interesting reading ideas - in fact, I suspect that as a result of this challenge my TBR list will expand dangerously!

Whether you know the books that are being discussed or have never heard of them, I strongly encourage you to leave comments below and on the blogs themselves. I want to hear your voices! Despite its name, the reading challenge is not a mere competition, rather an opportunity to share ideas and bond over common interests!

Let's begin!

01. Jose read and reviewed The Goodbye Kiss by Massimo Carlotto.
02. Barbara read and reviewed Juliet by Anne Fortier.
03. Maggie read and reviewed Summer School by Domenica de Rosa.
04. Juliet read and reviewed…

Book review: The Silent Land

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By Graham Joyce
Published by Orion Books

During their holiday in the French Alps, one morning Zoe and Jake are hit by an avalanche while skiing. They are fortunate enough to survive and they slowly make their way back to their hotel, which, with its lit-up windows and promise of warmth, appears like a mirage to the traumatised couple.

They soon find out, however, that the hotel is deserted. Food is out on the kitchen counters, the logs in the fireplaces are ablaze but there is no-one around. They also realise that the phones are not working and that both the TV and the radio emit nothing but static. They come to the conclusion that everyone has been evacuated due to the risk of further avalanches and they feel even luckier to have survived. Being cut off from the world doesn’t seem too bad in comparison to what could have happened. In fact, despite still being shocked by their near-death experience and completely exhausted, the new situation is almost romantic.

It is when they recover fro…

LGBT challenge - Link for May reviews and prize draw

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It’s May and the LGBT reading challenge 2011 continues!

This month, courtesy of Serpent's Tail, one of you will have the chance to win a copy of Skin Lane by Neil Bartlett.

To participate in the prize draw, all you have to do is:

• Read a book - fiction or non-fiction - whose author is LBGT, whose topic is LGBT and/or whose characters (even minor ones) are LGBT
• Share your review (or opinion, if it sounds less intimidating!) by clicking here

Easy, isn't it?

IMPORTANT! Please note that you need to have signed up for the challenge to be eligible for the prize draw. If you haven't signed up yet, you can do it here (full instructions here). If you can't remember whether you have or haven't signed up, you can check whether your name is listed here.

Happy reading!

"Italy in Books" - Link for May reviews and prize draw

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It’s May and the “Italy in Books” reading challenge 2011 continues!

This month, courtesy of author Glen Grymes Husak, one of you will have the chance to win a copy of Passeggiata: Strolling Through Italy.

To participate in the prize draw, all you have to do is:

• Read a book set in Italy or about Italian culture & language
• Share your review (or opinion, if it sounds less intimidating!) by clicking here

Easy, isn't it?

IMPORTANT! Please note that you need to have signed up for the challenge to be eligible for the prize draw. If you haven't signed up yet, you can do it here (full instructions here). If you can't remember whether you have or haven't signed up, you can check whether your name is listed here.

Buona lettura!

"Italy in Books" - April winner

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16 reviews: a few books that I had heard of but mostly books that I wasn't familiar with. Another good month!

Did you miss the reviews? Fear not, follow this link and catch up with all the bookish goodness! And if you’ve just come across the Italy in Books reading challenge 2011, you can find all the information you need by clicking here. Joining couldn’t be easier!

And now, the long-awaited moment of the prize draw!

The lucky reviewer who, courtesy of Duckworth Publishers, will receive a copy of Young Michelangelo: The Path to the Sistine by John T Spike is:

Laura, who read and reviewed The Eternal City by Domenica de Rosa.

LGBT challenge - April winner

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5 interesting reviews this month!

Did you miss the reviews? Don't worry, follow this link and catch up with all the bookish goodness!

And if you’ve just come across the LGBT reading challenge 2011, you can find all the information you need by clicking here. Joining couldn’t be easier!

And now, the long-awaited moment of the prize draw!

The lucky reviewer who, courtesy of Duckworth Publishers, will receive a copy of Wilde's Last Stand by Philip Hoare is:

Lucy, who read and reviewed Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life by Claire Tomalin.

Help! My wish list #22

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One more title from my ever-expanding reading wish list.

** The cover image is for illustrative purposes only. If you are a publisher and would kindly like to offer me a copy of this book for review, I will change the cover so as to reflect the edition received. **

In Search of a Distant Voice
By Taichi Yamada

Amazon's product description: A woman is trying to contact Kasama Tsuneo at a crisis point in his life. But she won't reveal her identity. Kasama is an immigration officer in Tokyo, struggling to live a ‘normal’ life after an event that happened eight years previously, when he lived in the USA. His arranged marriage is looming, and he's seized by a strange emotional fit. And then the disembodied voice begins. All Tsuneo can do is desperately chase this woman, and the mystery behind what happened eight years earlier over the sea.

Why I want to read this book: I enjoy Japanese literature but haven't read anything by this author yet. This sounds like a good place to star…