“During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale. What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to? Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.”
Life After Life was featured as Waterstones Book Of The Month for April and for good reason, this is a fascinating story with characters that you are bound to love.
“I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name is Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’ There are books you can’t stop reading, which keep you up all night. There are books that let us into the hidden parts of life and make them vividly real. There are books that, because of the sheer skill with which every word is chosen, linger in your mind for days. The Shock of the Fall is all of these books. The Shock of the Fall is an extraordinary portrait of one man’s descent into mental illness. It is a brave and groundbreaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.”
The Shock Of The Fall compellingly addresses the issues of mental illness and draws upon the author’s own experiences in this field, it really is a very moving book.
“This is the story of Gabriele D’Annunzio, poet, daredevil – and Fascist. In September 1919 Gabriele D’Annunzio, successful poet and occasional politician, declared himself Commandante of the city of Fiume in modern day Croatia. His intention – to establish a utopia based on his fascist and artistic ideals. It was the dramatic pinnacle to an outrageous career. Lucy Hughes-Hallett charts the controversial life of D’Annunzio, the debauched artist who became a national hero. His evolution from idealist Romantic to radical right-wing revolutionary is a political parable. Through his ideological journey, culminating in the failure of the Fiume endeavour, we witness the political turbulence of early 20th century Europe and the emergence of fascism. In ‘The Pike’, Hughes-Hallett addresses the cult of nationalism and the origins of political extremism – and at the centre of the book stands the charismatic D’Annunzio: a figure as deplorable as he is fascinating.”
The Pike has been describes by the judges of the Samuel Johnson Prize as a book that “transcends the convention of biography” and it is easy to see why. This is a book that shines a light on the life and work of D’Annunzio in its own unique way.
“Michael Symmons Roberts’ sixth and most ambitious collection to date – takes its name from the ancient trade in powders, chemicals, salts and dyes, paints and cures. These poems offer a similarly potent and sensory multiplicity, unified through the formal constraint of 150 poems of 15 lines. Like the medieval psalters echoed in its title, this collection contains both the sacred and profane. Here are hymns of praise and lamentation, songs of wonder and despair, journeying effortlessly through physical and metaphysical landscapes, from financial markets and urban sprawl to deserts and dark nights of the soul.
From an encomium to a karaoke booth to a conjuration of an inverse Antarctica, this collection is a compelling, powerful search for meaning, truth and falsehood. But, as ever in Roberts’ work – notably the Whitbread Award-winning Corpus – this search is rooted in the tangible world, leavened by wit, contradiction, tenderness and sensuality. This is Roberts’ most expansive writing yet: mystical, philosophical, earthy and elegiac. “Drysalter” sings of the world’s unceasing ability to surprise, and the shock and dislocation of catching your own life unawares.”
If you like poetry then this is the book for you. Its poems are varied, containing wit, self-depreciation and even tenderness.
“Ada Goth is the only child of Lord Goth. The two live together in the enormous Ghastly-Gorm Hall. Lord Goth believes that children should be heard and not seen. So Ada has to wear large clumpy boots so that he can always hear her coming. This makes it hard for her to make friends and, if she’s honest, she’s rather lonely. Then one day William and Emily Cabbage come to stay at the house, and together with a ghostly mouse called Ishmael they and Ada begin to unravel a dastardly plot that Maltravers, the mysterious indoor gamekeeper, is hatching. Ada and her friends must work together to foil Maltravers before it’s too late!”
Goth Girl is a rocking tale that will entertain kids of all ages, especially with the references to Gothic literature and jokes for the adult reading aloud. The pages are edged in purple the end pages are decorated with silver skulls, this book really is well packaged.
Which book do you think should win the Costa book Of The Year Award?
Have a read and let us know.
© Help For Writers 2014
Written by Nikki Halliwell