Wednesday, 17 July 2013

August Big Comfy Book Club

It's book club time! Below are the 7 choices for our next book. Our first two books were 500 and 600 pages long so I've gone easy this time round as each book (more or less) is less than 200 pages. I've also decided to stretch the reading time til the end of August for whatever is chosen, as this way we can then read a book a month starting on the 1st and going through to 30th/31st. It will make it easier to keep track!

I've added a wee bit about each book too so you'll have more info on what you might like to read. Go on over to the Facebook group to vote. As always, if you're not on Facebook then please Tweet me or leave a comment on the end of this blog post with which book is your choice. You'll have until 4pm Sunday to make your choice and also, FINISH AMERICAN GODS! (I'm only on page 332! Half way, yikes!) I'll then post the winning book on this blog.

The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes

You may have noticed over the past 2 book choices I like to include a Man Booker book in the 7 choices. I like to read what others seem to say is the best. Half the time it isn't. Here's a bit of blurb on it

Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson

I gave away Jeanette Wintersons biography for World Book Night. She's a wonderful person. Here's some blurb

Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut

An absolute classic. I've read it already but would gladly again. Blurby bit

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I know little of this book but have always wanted to read Marquez. Plus Mariella 'Book-show vixen' Frostrups favourite. Can I get a blurb?

The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan

Dark, gritty, distasteful, downright uncomfortable. Monday, Tuesday, Blurbday 

The Stranger by Albut Camus

Something a little different for the club? Blurbnation

Eric by Terry Pratchett

I LOVE Pratchett. One of my favourite authors. Love fantasy and comedy? Final Blurb

So there you go. All (mostly) are under 200 pages. Make your mind up then head on over to the Group, comment below or tweet me. 


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami

Fun and happiness! Sorry, wrong book.
I seem to have acquired a few Murakami books over the years, yet I've only read one of them. I've read Norwegian Wood and thought it was excellent, although even that I had to restart as the first time I hated it and stopped after 20 pages. I picked this up when my band Barricades Rise did a photoshoot in local bookshop Astley Book Farm. This book can be seen in some of the promo pics we did with Redwood Photography. It's a slim book at only 187 pages.

Murakami seems to love heading straight for melancholy and staying in the middle lane throughout. He did with Norwegian Wood and he has with this. The story revolves around Hajime, a single child (rare in Japan in the 70's). Cast as an outsider due to his lack of siblings, he finds solace in Shimamoto the only other single child in his school. The pair connect on so many levels, winding up spending their entire childhood together. When Hajime goes off to college he realises swiftly he cannot adjust to life without Shimamoto, casting aside woman without thought. He marries and has kids but ultimately has a hole left in him. Until Shimamoto turns up once more.

I enjoyed the book, but can't really say it struck a chord like Norwegian Wood did. Like the jazz music that runs through the book, it seems to meander back and forth between complete hopelessness to overriding joy. Hajime and Shimamoto are a tragedy and it's clear from the start (and from the fact it's Murakami) what you are in for.

For those that like to shed a tear. A middle of the road 6.5 of the Comfometer.


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A manic few weeks for The Big Comfy Bookshop

Trying to open a shop is hard, but when it comes together it feels fantastic. I'm not jumping the gun just yet but the premises I have lined up is fantastic, flexible and in the ideal location. But let me say this. It is not in Nuneaton.
I've spent the best part of 9 months trying to start in Nuneaton to no avail. I've covered why in this blog here so I won't bore you with other reasons. I'm not announcing just yet where the shop will be until the lease is signed.

Last week though all the good vibes evaporated as I was burgled. I currently run The Big Comfy Bookshop from my house and so my day-to-day job involves cataloging books, writing blogs, doing social media stuff and generally spending 6-8 hours a day on my laptop. Last Monday though whilst I was out some ####ers smashed my kitchen window and stole my laptop and camera. A lot of the bookshop is backed up but some isn't, so this week will be damage limitations. The kick in the teeth though is that every photo of my 18 month old from the day he was born was on the laptop, and we have no back up. Couple this with the fact my wife Heidi who works at North Warwickshire and Hinckley college, had a week of rehearsals and performances of Miss Saigon at the local arts centre so she's been out for 12 hours a day, and then 3 gigs in my band Barricades Rise in 24 hours, it has been exhausting for both of us.
The college show was superb, see some great pics by Jonathan Coates at The band gigs went well too with a great review by Rob at Redwood photos here.

Miss Saigon performed by NW&H College. Fantastic

This week though is a new start and back on track. I'll be updating the blog more often and letting you all know my thoughts on the shop, books and more.

I've just finished Haruki Murakami's South of the Border, West of the Sun so I'll be doing a review soon. I'm currently reading Neil Gaiman's American Gods for our book club. Feel free to join either by Facebook or just let me know on this blog (comment below). I'm also dipping in and out of Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.