Thursday, February 24, 2011

The nameless blogger and other literary matters

Book News:

What a week, eh. I think we've all come through it slightly dusty and wide-eyed but relatively unbowed, so well done us! In case you're wondering if I've finally slipped over the edge into madness (ah, a long long time ago,  my dears ...), on Monday I was mentioned though not by name (until I outed myself in the comments section, that is!) in this article by author Chris Cleave in The Guardian who was a little upset about a review I wrote about one of his books for Vulpes Libris. Yes, I am indeed the cold-hearted and spidery blogger who dare not show her face. Well, if you had a nose like mine, would you?... Joking apart though, I have to say it's a dang good article and (if I may be so bold), if he'd used even half that passion, poetry and precision, not to mention ease of expression, throughout the novel itself, all might have been rather better.

Anyway, the very lovely Book Foxes (thank you, all) were inspired to come up with a response to the Guardian article which, we hope, sets out our aims for our review site in terms of fair, honest and very committed reviewing. Enough said. And actually, when all's said and done, it's the books that count, so I hope Chris Cleave and I can give each other a virtual handshake and a wry smile (because everything passes ...), and then we can all move on.

As for my own far less significant book world, it's been quite a busy week too so far, so here's what's been going on since Monday:

1. The Delaneys and Me came in, briefly, at No 91 in the Amazon UK Kindle charts so someone must have bought a copy - thank you.

2. Entertaining the Delaneys gained two 4-star reviews at Goodreads, one here and one here. It also gained a 3-star review at Goodreads with some lovely comments, so thank you to all three readers for sharing their thoughts on the story.

3. A Woman Like the Sea gained another 5-star review at Amazon so thank you, Victor, for that - I really appreciate it.

4. Finally, in this section, Brady's Choice gained a B+ review at Brief Encounters, and a 5-star review at Jessewave Reviews - a big thank you to both reviewers for that.

On a slightly different tack, I'm sneaking in a quick reminder that all my Untreed Reads books are at discount prices in February and one of them is free! That includes A Woman like The Sea so, bearing in mind the reviews it's gained recently, it might well be worth a punt ...

And, astonishingly, I'm struggling back into writing my meditation poems again. Feel a bit shaky about it as I'm not really very sure about God at the moment and there's nothing like prayer remotely on the horizon at all right now, but for what it's worth here they are:

Meditation 491
There’s a cleansing note
about sackcloth and grief

but letting them go
must be a relief.

Meditation 492
In all the long bible
there’s nothing that moves me so much
as King Hezekiah’s simple taking of the letter
containing his enemy’s
bitter and bloodthirsty threat,

laying it out in front
of the throne of God
and praying in despair
and a kind of trust:
see my agony, help me.

Life News:

I slipped into the bible study group this week and tried to keep relatively quiet (ho ho). I was rather jazzed up about it but in the end it was okay. Nothing too demanding, and actually the history behind the story of Joseph and his brothers is interesting. I had no idea it was made up of three different literary approaches cobbled together later by an editor which explains the little anomalies such as Joseph's status which changes throughout, and the different ways of referring to God, and what that means. Fascinating. I do always find that the more I see the very human mistakes and oddities in the bible, the more I actually believe in what it's trying to convey. It's only when you think a book is the unalterable word of God (whatever that may mean!) that it becomes so much less likely. There speaks the inveterate reviewer, eh ... Give me the mistakes and I'll ferret out the truth for myself.

Meanwhile I've been having fun with TV. I did rather enjoy South Riding on Sunday night, but I could have done with more jokes. I'm told by friends who've read the book (I haven't - ah, the shame of it) that it gets grimmer so I'm preparing myself with boxes of tissues and a whippet. Hey, I can be rude about the north - my mother's a Geordie ... though God knows what the whippet will do. I am also strangely gripped and guffawing in amazed laughter at the false crocodile tears produced by The Model Agency. Lordy! I was more than relieved that the rather sweet India managed to escape from the profit-crazed hands of her band of agents in order to live a normal life at school. Isn't there some kind of charity to free these poor gals? There should be questions in Parliament, I feel - particularly about the very odd father who included the opportunity to make more money for the family as a reason for encouraging his daughter to join the slave - ahem - I mean model trade. Run, my dear, run! I foresee several nail-biting evenings ahead in front of the TV over the next few weeks ...

Anyway, today, I have had two removal firms round to give a quote for getting us to our next home - please God let us have an exchange date soon! - they were both very lovely and seemed happy to cope with our oddities, so we'll have to wait and see what figures they come up with. They both include the option to have everything packed for you, which we are so definitely taking up - having always moved ourselves with great trauma and angst in the past. I'm really not going through that again. Ever.

This afternoon, I've had the last session of my physiotherapy for the frozen shoulder and all looks good, hurrah. I'm managing to remember not to carry heavy things, eg shopping or golf clubs, so I think that's definitely helping. And if I forget, I certainly know soon enough! Tonight, K and I are off to Woking to indulge ourselves in the joys of the National Theatre tour of Hamlet, so I am preparing myself for an evening of misplaced love and family angst. Just like a normal night out in Essex really, hey ho.

Anne Brooke


Jason Shaw said...

Gosh how wonderful, I love this continuing saga of the bitter writer v the talented blogger. It's a masterpiece of an idea, and I'll see it in print or on the screen soon.

I read the review, I read his article, I read the reply and after all that, I can honestly say that Chris is a big and rather none to pretty baby!

If that was the worst review he's ever had in his life, then he's a lucky lucky boy - obviously many other reviewers have not bothered to write and preferred to stay silent! Such a fragile ego - wasn't the event his idea in the first place.....I rather think it was.

Anyway, well done you.

Anne Brooke said...

Tee hee, you're too kind, my dear! :)) I was thinking of asking if I could review his next book, but perhaps I wouldn't like the answer ...

Hugs galore!