What Writers Read

edited by Pandora Sykes. Bloomsbury Publishing. (208p) ISBN 9781526657480
What Writers Read

What Writers Read

As soon as I saw this I knew I was going to love it and I was right, a collection of essays from some of my favourite writers, talking about some of my favourite books.

Not only this all the profits go to the National Literary Trust who work toward ending literacy inequality, so if you want a good read that also help a good cause this is the book for you.

This year for me is a year of short stories, poetry, and essays so the format of this book is perfect, 35 short essays from writers on their favourite books, with the last essay by Fatima Bhutto being the one I agree with wholeheartedly! Who can choose just one book as a favourite, all the others would just get so jealous and each book I’ve read has helped develop me into who I am now equally.

Though saying this there are some excellent choices by the various authors especially when their reasoning is taken into account; Catch-22 from William Boyd, Caleb Azumah Nelson with NW, Kit de Waal choosing The Thing About December.

These insights into an authors life through their favourite books and how that developed their own personality and practice speaks to the strength of books as agents of change and development, especially when the book gives a voice that has never been heard before and explains that niggle that has just been sitting at the back of your head.

This was going to be a book I read one chapter a night but once I started I just had to finish.


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Circe

Madeline Miller. Bloomsbury. (352p) ISBN 9781408890042
Circe

Circe

I was very late to reading this and never understood why, I had it on my bookshelf from the moment it came out in paperback as I’d loved Song of Achilles so much and was looking forward to it but it sat there for ages.

In the end I listened to it on the library audiobook service and that was absolutely perfect and seemed entirely apt to listen to a mythology as part of an oral storytelling tradition.

We are taken into the world of Greek mythology once more by Madeline Miller, this time to explore the myth of Circe through her eyes and with her words, not through the eyes of a hyper-male society and modern patriarchal adaptations.

This was a stunning adaptation, closely following the myth, with Madeline Miller’s lyrical text mirroring a lot of forms of Greek myth narrative style. Writing HERstory is always difficult as it is a voice that we’re not used to and it centres parts of the story that are often brushed aside or glorified when they really need to be highlighted.

Madeline Miller does an excellent job of this, and I especially loved the swine story and how it was viewed from Circe’s point of view.

I think it was also enhanced by listening to it, Perdita Weeks was the perfect narrator/voice, I could imagine listening to this in a public space being performed to an audience.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Swashbucklers

Dan Hanks. Angry Robot. (400p) ISBN 9780857669384
Swashbucklers

Swashbucklers

Let’s start this off with the fact that I’m a great fan of Angry Robot, they always seem to release great books 🙂

Cisco is the only one that remembers Deadman’s Grin, this has not been great for his life and marriage as he also can’t let go.

And in Dark Peaks it’s all starting over again!

This was a great read, really pulled me through from start to finish. Some wonderfully described images still stick in my mind, especially the Christmas Market!

Dan plays with a lot of tropes from old children’s favourites and some newer film-based ones, but puts his own twist on them and serves them up fresh (love the use of old consoles) and without stumbling.

In places quite dark, but also very funny, a bit horror, a bit fantasy, a bit sci-fi but all a great story, looking forward to reading more from Dan.

I was given this on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

A Madness of Angels

Kate Griffin. Little Brown. (496p) ISBN 9781841497334
A Madness of Angels

A Madness of Angels

I have several books I reread if I get into a bit of a rut and find myself unable to read, A Madness of Angels is one of them.

Familiarity is one of the main reasons, but this is such a great example of urban fantasy with a great original premise that it still grabs me and excites me after all this time (2009).

We are introduced to a world where sorcerers and other magic users tap into the magic around them in the urban environment, a world of litterbugs, neon demons, personifications of an idea, and hunger…

Matthew Swift was killed two years ago and is out for vengeance, maybe even justice. And he has very powerful friends/symbiotes/angels to help him achieve this.

A fast-paced urban fantasy which has a great twist on the genre. This first book is a brilliant setup for the rest of the series but doesn’t feel like just pure world building and exposition.

It develops the magic of the world perfectly, showing various different factions, various powers, and hints at so much more.

Some brilliant set pieces including a pit fit, dragons, aluminium fairies, Jeremy the Troll, and so much more make this one of my favourite re-reads.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.