Manorism

Yomi Ṣode. Penguin. (128p) ISBN 9780141998572

Manorism

Manorism

I was sent this out of the blue by some lovely marketer at Penguin Books and thank you whoever that marketer was as I loved this collection of poetry/works by Yomi Ṣodi.

As always I’m always in awe of poets and writers who bare all to the public in their work, but this is an especially personal journey through the life of a young black man in London and the death of an important matriarch and the emotions that erupt from both of these circumstances.

Initially I found this difficult due to some of writing being Yoruba, but after exploring the nuance of the words I didn’t know and getting a better idea of the contextual use of some of the phrases and how adaptable they were, I found the rhythm and heart of the writing stunning.

Entwining chapters about the violence that Caravaggio consistently displayed and got away with, and the violence expressed against black bodies that is constantly got away with, exploring different cultures and diasporas, different generations, white expectations of black bodies, behaviours men are meant to display and what men still feel under all the braggadocio.

Stunning writing full of passion and anger, an awe inspiring exploration of self and culture that shines the light on places we don’t always want to explore.


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The Smoke Thieves

Sally Green. Penguin. (512p) ISBN 9780141375397

The Smoke Thieves

The Smoke Thieves

The Smoke Thieves is the first in a new series by Sally Green, the tone is quite low-fantasy throughout, more an adventure but with demons and demon smoke permeating the story.

Demons aren’t really explained in this book, lots of allusion and ideas but nothing solid, as diaphanous as the smoke.

It is quite a traditional story of Kings at war, clashing nations, familial intrigue, despotism and love.

The characters are well written and there are some really despicable ones which make the heroes shine all the more.

Really looking forward to the next instalment of this series.


If you want to help and support this blog 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.

Books v. cigarettes

George Orwell. Penguin. (144p) ISBN 9780141036618

Books v. cigarettes

Books v. cigarettes

Totally bought this because of the multiple essays on books, bookselling and book reviewing – some of my main pleasures in life.

The title essay is still as apt now as it ever was, comparing the price of a book with another common leisure purchase which today we usually use a coffee as a comparison rather than cigarettes. Well written and structured and putting forward arguments I’ve used.

The other book related essays are great examples of Orwell’s writing and thought processes, and still seem as relevant today as when he wrote them in the early 20th century.

The other essays in Books v. cigarettes are about seemingly unrelated subjects, but are all linked with a view on society in his time that of class and the growing thoughts on socialism and how unjust uk society was if you had no money. The essays on boarding school, poverty, and patriotism are all well reasoned and explained.

A great little read, especially if you’ve read any other Orwell non-fiction and appreciate his thoughts and writing style.


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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.

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The Adversary

Emmanuel Carrer. Vintage. (208p) ISBN 9781784705800

The Adversary

The Adversary

The Adversary is an interpretation of the name Satan, and this is where the writer gets the title of the book from, as the acts and behaviour of Jean-Claude Romand could be interpreted as evil.

This is a hard read, but compelling, in the way that watching a car crash is compelling.

How Jean-Claude Romand was able to live such a life for so long is unimaginable, the lies he told and the lies others must have told themselves to compound his initial lies are beyond belief.

The translation gives the book an almost clinical tone, but it is suited to the subject matter.

This is a book that has to be read, if only to convince yourself that it is not a work of fiction.


If you want to help and support this blog 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.