Eleanor is a woman who has elevated living alone to an art form. Her days follow the same pattern week in week out – a dull office job, the Telegraph cryptic crossword, the Archers, a regular chat with ‘Mummy’, no friends…and two bottles of Tesco vodka to get through the weekend. She is clearly not fine at all, and the novel is an investigation into why she is not fine, and what happens when she deals with her terrible past and finally allows herself to thaw.
I have to confess. Shakespeare scares the hell out of me. Plain and simple. I sit through Shakespeare plays with my British-educated friends watching them nod and smile, while I struggle to understand even half of what’s being said. But hasn’t she studied English Literature, you might be thinking? Indeed, I have, but only in my later degrees at which point I could choose other kinds of courses. Which I happily did. The only piece of Shakespeare I’ve ever read (parts of) was King Lear as an undergraduate student in America.
Time to fix that.
Today the Man Booker Prize announced their always much anticipated long-list for 2017. A win or a short-listing normally makes a huge difference to sales so publishers get quite excited about this prize. Readers should also pay attention, although I don’t think they always get it right.
Bookstoker Young Readers
We’ve all got it by now, the email from school asking you to make sure your children ‘keep up the reading over the summer’. But which books to buy? Despair not! Here are some of our best children’s books selected by our in-house expert, children’s bookseller Kirstin.
Here’s our selection of books for the summer. Some light beach reads, some a bit more challenging, all excellent books. Click on the book titles for our full review. Happy summer from all of us at Bookstoker!
Meet English teacher James Darke, a 60-year old grumpy, selfish, snob, as cynical, judgemental and politically incorrect as they come. Darke has decided to close the world out – literally – starting by drawing the curtains in his house, filling in the mail slot in his door and cancelling his email account. There are no limits to what Darke will do in his quest to be left alone, and that includes pretending to be deaf so he won’t need to talk to people. There is, of course, a reason for Darke’s dark behaviour, which, as it’s slowly revealed, turns out to be far from funny. If you, like me, enjoy dark humour, the occasional unpleasant character and many-layered stories, this book is for you.
At the top of our list of recommended summer reading is Morten Strøksnes’ non-fiction book Shark Drunk: The Art of Catching a Large Shark from a Tiny Rubber Dinghy in a Big Ocean. Here Strøksnes talks about his book, whale hunting and the shark of his dreams.
Imagine you’re out in a small dinghy fishing with your best friend. While you bob around, watch the stars and wait for the big catch, you swap stories about fishing, extreme weather, stunning nature, anecdotes about island life, fascinating facts about life in the oceans, art, poetry and much more. That’s what Shark Drunk is like. I loved this meditative gem of a book which will teach you things I’m willing to bet you didn’t know and leave you pining for a life in the slow lane. I’ve been fortunate enough to interview Morten Strøksnes, see what the author says about his book here.