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'Book of the Month' selections for 2010

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Book of the Month December 2010

 

The A - Z of

Punishment and Torture

by Irene Thompson
Published by BeWriteBooks

“Punishment and Torture” – the perfect title for this book because it’s an area of knowledge I have absolutely no desire to pursue but the world being what it is, I often have to do so, when editing both fiction and non-fiction. 

 

It’s also a book that’s been released only as an e-book so I am finally cornered into investigating the format – as one who is never happier than when wandering the papery heaven of an old fashioned library, that’s the second reason the title’s appropriate, to my eye at least....

To find out why Kay emerged recommending this book so enthusiastically, go to the review forum...

 

 

 

Review by Kay Green

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Book of the Month November 2010

 

Quavaloche
By Adam Barrett
Published by Pretend Genius Press
ISBN 978-0-9778526-7-3

 

Review by Catherine Edmunds

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Quavaloche, suspended in the air,
it just hovers there that’s all


Confused? Okay. Here’s a clue.

if the fruits of enlightenment don’t fall from a tree
a nude Quavaloche will lurch into pantomime
and grease the air with misty dreams


So there you have it. The road to hell is littered with rubber bands but along the way, you’re going to have some fun if this elegant and witty slim volume by Adam Barrett is any guide......

 

 

 

Book of the Month October 2010

 

The Flavour of Parallel by Nigel Humphreys - cover pic

The Flavour of Parallel

Nigel Humphreys

 

paperback, pp. 71

Arbor Vitae Press

£7.99

 

Review by Sophie Shanahan

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Nigel Humphreys’ second poetry collection portrays those fleeting moments of consciousness which usually slip by without being enunciated, like the ‘bow bolt flash’ of a woodland fish. It presents reactions to art, music and places, as well as musings about the mystery of existence.

The poems are complex: as I read, two or three interpretations often revolved in my mind. Yet the strange, spiky precision of the images renders them instantly enjoyable – ‘fag packets leafing the beds’, ‘weighing each ingot of breath’, ‘a salmagundi of medieval roofs’, a dragonfly’s ‘hairgrip-picklock legs’.

The wide-ranging language creates a sense of sharp focus; in places, humour. The poems surprise by juxtaposing words from different cultures and contexts, from scientific terminology to contemporary slang. We encounter quarks and pheronomes, iridescence and opulence, samaras and schadenfreude, a flash git and shits who blanked Coleridge.

The tone is often empathic – ‘I chase his vision and track its hunger to the limits of scrub / -land and the chapel ruin’. Yet alongside soaring imagination is a recognition that transcendence has its limits.....

 

 

 

Book of the Month September 2010

 

Into the Yell cover pic

Into the Yell

poems by

Sarah James

 

£7.99 from Circaidy Gregory Press

www.circaidygregory.co.uk

Into the Yell is Worcestershire-based poet Sarah James’ debut collection. In the opening poem, ‘Welcome to the Zoo’, Sarah James compares the poet to a flea:

    I borrow other lives, try them for taste;
    sip, suck, guzzle – then move on as I like.

In poems packed with metaphors, Sarah James ‘borrows’ various characters, some afflicted, some surreal. Into the Yell addresses contemporary issues, from mothers ‘preening their perfection’ at the school gates to global catastrophe leaving a ‘scentless courtyard of echoes’.

The writing is wonderfully atmospheric. Sarah James leads us through a ‘farm’s loose-tiled kitchen, / where the air tasted of mildew’ and Poole’s Cavern, Buxton, where ‘melted bones / drip from the roof in spikes’. Settings include Rouen, Haiti, an igloo and the Randolph Hotel...

 

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Book of the Month August 2010

 

The Smugglers' Caves

The Smugglers' Caves by Fiona Skovronsky

by

Fiona Skovronsky

Kids who live in Hastings will just have to read this book, to make sure they're as much in the know as the kids in the book. Kids who are holidaying in Hastings will love it too, because they'll be able to see that as well as having the usual tourist attractions, Hastings has truly exciting things like alleyways, cellars and dogs that need rescuing. And it's not just a mystery about strange, foreign baddies - what the heck are the parents up to? That's what the characters in this story urgently need to work out!

'The Smugglers' Caves' is great fun, very informative - and more than likely true.

 

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Book of the Month July 2010

FAQs

from ambitious writers 

and the answers

by

John Jenkins

Published by 

JayJayEnterprises

Drawn from a million and one discussions about how to, and how not to, deal with style issues, FAQs could be a reference book, a work-through-in-order study book or even a relaxing read, packed as it is with jolly and fascinating examples and anecdotes. When John deals with the eternal 'show and tell' of course, he doesn't tell you, he shows you, with a whole series of 'before and after' paragraphs. Here's one....

Before

Drifter Hank Williams was a mean sonofabitch. He rode into Dodge City and was looking for trouble from the word go. He didn't worry that his face was looking down from a wanted poster on the wall. There was hush as he walked into the saloon...

After

Hank Williams rode into Dodge City, spat a stream of tobacco juice at a mongrel lying asleep on the saloon porch. A woman stumbled out of the way as he barged through the saloon doors, Colt 45 in his hand.

'Anybody looking for reward money can draw now,' he snarled. Not a man moved...

 

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Book of the Month June 2010

 

Too Blue for Logic

Too blue for logic - cover pic

by

Marianne Jones

Published by Cinnamon Press

£7.99

Having lived in different parts of the world, and with the linguistic sensitivity of someone living in Wales, Marianne Jones shows an awareness of how we interpret our surroundings through language. The poems focus particularly on the relationship between language and landscape: ‘the nouns of hills, / the verbs of moonrise and sunset, / the intonation of the sea.’

And the title? You might have thought it was about depression. In fact it refers to the beauty of cornflowers sweeping axioms away. The collection leaves the reader feeling anything but blue.

 

Review by Sophie Shanahan

 

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Book of the Month May 2010

 

 

Robin Hood and Friar Tuck:  Zombie Killers - cover pic


Robin Hood and Friar Tuck: 

Zombie Killers

by

Paul A Freeman

Published by Coscom Entertainment
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-926712-23-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-926712-24-6

This is cross-genre writing with a vengeance. I came to it as a Chaucer fan, who remembers liking Robin Hood as a child, but who has never had much to do with zombie tales. I found in this astonishing work the spirit of Chaucer living on: immaculate iambic pentameter rhyming couplets that never falter and therefore become invisible; great wit; great storytelling; vibrant characters; fabulous drama. I also relived my childhood enjoyment of the tales of Robin Hood. 

 

Review by Catherine Edmunds.

 

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Book of the Month April 2010

 

 

Crazy Bear by Mark Rickman - cover pic

Crazy Bear

by

Mark Rickman

£7.99

 Circaidy Gregory Press

 

This dark comedy/thriller/unique story in a genre of its own is so gripping and compelling that I literally couldn’t put it down. So much so, in fact, that I was almost late to pick up the children from school, except that as a novella of 128 pages, Crazy Bear packs all the plot and pace into just the right length to easily read in one go. There’s definitely nothing ‘crazy’ about picking up and enjoying this book – in fact, I’d be surprised if anyone could ‘bear’ to put it down again unread!  - Sarah James

This is a dark, gripping story, alleviated by raw touches of humour – a book you can’t put down, and Mark Rickman has perfectly caught the anguish and farce of a human being in the depths of despair, but throughout, has managed to keep alive that ray of hope that all will be well in the end. The characters are well-drawn and believable and the reader follows the evolving plot eagerly to a satisfying end.
- Pam Eaves

Certainly, this is a remarkable piece of work, for the standard of prose alone. And then, too, by the believability of the characters. Michael won the reader's sympathy even at ~ the height of his worst behaviour, simply for being human. 
- Linda. 

 

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Book of the Month March 2010

 

Hero in the Labyrinth

by

William Bishop

 

This is book is modern masterpiece. It is a wise and compassionate, as well as often ironic and very funny, delineation of the human condition, of the plight of ‘everyman’ at the very end of the twentieth century. The human being through whom we see revealed all the stark emptiness of urban life is a single man approaching his fiftieth birthday who is desperately seeking meaning in his life...

 

Review by vkhuri

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Book of the Month February 2010

Miganium by Ali Sparkes cover pic

Miganium by Ali Sparkes

ONLY available from  Ali's website.

This is one tremendous adventure story from Ali Sparkes, author of the famous Shapeshifter series published by OUP. Her regular followers won’t need to be told that ‘Miganium’ is a book to get hold of – they have been eagerly awaiting this title for some time – but in case you haven’t come across Ali’s stories, this is how it goes…

 

Review by Kay Green

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Book of the Month January 2010

Merkicide cover pic

From Kay Green's review:

'Merkicide' is as indie as you can get. This poetry pamphlet produced by the author, Humphrey Hardy, has been assembled with such obvious tongue-in-cheek enjoyment    ...I started having fun while still reading the copyright page at the front. Hardy makes several imaginative additions to the usual litany of ways his work may or may not be copied or reproduced...
 



As for the poem itself - There are many comic poetry pamphlets doing the rounds and many of these gigglers are actually education in disguise. 'Merkicide' is definitely one of those. The old saying 'many a true word is spoken in jest' is still very much the way of it. If you are an academic, a social worker or a historian, and you find yourself dealing with just about any social or political issue affecting the Liverpool area, there is lots to be gained by  putting 'Merkicide' on your reading list.

 

Review by Kay Green

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