It’s the second episode of Bibliophile! Thanks so much for all your feedback and questions so far. This time we welcome our first guest, Edinburgh writer and musician Jim Taylor, to discuss the recent surge in book-to-TV adaptations. We also have lots of book recommendations for you for July.
Things (mostly books) we mentioned…
…in the Book-to-TV segment…
- We spoke in as un-spoilery a way about the Hulu/Channel 4 TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- The TV adaptation of The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman
- His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
- Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – especially the idea of TV adaptation outpacing the rate of novel-writing
- I Love Dick by Chris Kraus
- The TV ‘novel’: The Sopranos; Mad Men; Breaking Bad
- Comic book adaptations: The Walking Dead; Preacher
- TV adaptation of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – Anne with an E – and over-dramatising things for television
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – ‘sexing up’ of a classic novel
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (at which Annie gets cross)
- Crime series: one book per episode (Agatha Christie; Arthur Conan Doyle; Montalbano)
- Upcoming book-to-TV series we’re intrigued by: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber; The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante; The City and the City by China Mieville; Watchmen by Alan Moore & David Simmons; The Power by Naomi Alderman; His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
- Dream book-to-TV series: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel; Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky; Electric Dreams by Philip K. Dick; short stories of Jorge Luis Borges or Shirley Jackson; The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead; Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
…in the poetry for beginners recommendation segment…
- Rapture and The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy
- Door into the Dark; North; Station Island; Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney (especially ‘Blackberry-Picking)
- Penguin Modern Poets series (there are currently four volumes)
- Staying Alive Trilogy by Bloodaxe Books
- The Zoo of the New
- The Rattle Bag edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes
- Crow by Ted Hughes
- Spoken Word Nights
- Kate Tempest on Spotify (read Let Them Eat Chaos while listening – it’s ace!)
…in the new and notable segment…
- The Zoo by Christopher Wilson
- A State of Freedom by Neel Mukherjee
- Don’t Cry by Mary Gaitskill
- Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight by Naoki Higoshida
- The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higoshida
- A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women by Siri Hustvedt
- Blind Spot by Teju Cole
- Open City by Teju Cole
- Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole
- The Griffin’s Feather by Cornelia Funke
- William Morris ABC and William Morris 123
- The Only Lonely Panda by Jonny Lambert
…and in the ‘what we’re reading and recommending’ segment…
We are so delighted to announce amazing news for our Writer-in-Residence Claire Askew: she has just signed a two-book deal with Hodder & Staughton in a four-way auction for her debut novel All the Hidden Truths and a sequel! The Bookseller Magazine revealed the following exciting details…
The first in the deal is All the Hidden Truths, the story of a tragic shooting at an Edinburgh college and its aftermath. It is narrated by three women at the heart of the story – the mother of a victim and the mother of the shooter, and DI Helen Birch who is tasked in solving the case. According to Hodder’s Crime and Thriller publisher Ruth Tross, who acquired British and Commonwealth rights, including Canada, from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown, the book is both a “knotty crime novel” and a story of grief “trying to make sense of something that defies reason”.
All the Hidden Truths is one of the most remarkable debuts I’ve read – a powerful, clever, knotty crime novel that takes a shocking moment and follows its impact on the families, police, and society,” said Tross. “It’s about how grief plays out amidst social media speculation and tabloid conspiracy theories; about trying to make sense of something that defies reason; and people at their best and worst. Everyone at Hodder shared my enthusiasm; I’m not sure I’d have been forgiven if we’d lost the auction. Readers of Kate Atkinson, Denise Mina and Susie Steiner will love it – along with anyone who wants their fiction both moving and gripping. It marks the start of a fantastic writing career and I can’t wait to share it with the world.”
Summerhayes said: “I knew Claire was a special writer from page one. I didn’t anticipate that she’d ruin the next 48 hours of my life because I couldn’t put my Kindle down, but I’m glad she did. Claire has an amazing writing career ahead of her and I know Ruth and the team at Hodder will maximise this opportunity with their passion for this novel and many more.”
We’ve already heard a sample of Claire reading from her novel and can’t wait to read it! Since Claire joined the Golden Hare as Writer-in-Residence early this year, she has been an incredible force of good. She has supported Golden Hare Books by setting up and mentoring a fortnightly writing group, Golden Hare Writers, helped us apply for funding to put on special events and been an all-round advocate for everything we do as independent booksellers.
Claire’s own writing career has always been inspiring. Winner of the Lucy Cavendish Prize for Fiction, a Jessie Kesson fellow and nominee for the Saltire First Book Award and many other prestigious awards, and with her debut poetry collection This changes things she was already impressive enough! She is not only a fantastic writer, teacher and friend of the shop but a real asset to the burgeoning literary scene here in Edinburgh. We feel so lucky and excited to have Claire connected to our shop.
All the Hidden Truths will be hitting the bookshelves – and this bookshop! – in July 2018. We can’t wait! In the meantime, you can buy her fantastic debut poetry collection This Changes Things from Golden Hare Books in-store and online.
"I'm obviously absolutely thrilled to be working with Hodder, and to know that my novel is soon to go out into the world! Over the past few days I've been thinking a lot about the as-yet-unpublished writers I know and work with, and want to say to anyone still striving at their laptop -- keep going! Look what can happen!" -- Claire
In the first episode of Bibliophile, Annie and Julie discuss whether you should judge a book by its cover, answer a question from a listener and discuss the new releases for June we’re excited about. Also plenty of recommendations abound!
Books we mentioned…
…in the ‘should you judge a book by the cover’ segment…
- To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
- News from Nowhere by William Morris
- The Twilight series (we found this article about how Twilight sparked a trend in YA fiction really interesting)
- German editions of Ali Smith novels (that enraged Annie so…)
- Elena Ferrante Neopolitan novels (this interview with the cover artist is interesting, but we’re not quite buying it…)
- Blind by Sophie Calle
- Penguin Pocket Classics
- The Chimes
- Ulysses by James Joyce
- Fitzcarraldo Editions
- Carcanet Press
- Bloodaxe Books
- Pushkin Press
- Tilted Axis Press
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara
…in the ‘how do you choose books for the shop’ segment…
- How to be Both by Ali Smith
- Graphic novels
- Kid Gloves
- The Return by Hisham Matar
- 50 Years of Rolling Stone : The Music, Politics and People That Shaped Our Culture by Jann S. Wenner
- The Curry Guy by Dan Toombs
- Hand Drawn Maps by Helen Cann
- October by China Mieville
- Risotto Risotto by Valentina Harris
…in the ‘new & notable’ segmcent…
- The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
- Capitalism: A Ghost Story by Arundhati Royc
- The Early Stories of Truman Capote by Truman Capote
- The Idiot by Elif Batuman
- Bluets by Maggie Nelson
- The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- The Genius of Jane Austen by Paula Byrne
- Rapunzel by Bethan Woolvin
- Little Red by Bethan Woolvin
- Short Books ‘Great Victorians Series’: The Story of Ada Lovelace; The Story of David Livingstone; The Story of Queen Victoria; The Story of Charles Dickens; The Story of Florence Nightingale; The Story of Isambard Kingdom Brunel
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 20th Anniversary House editions
…and in the ‘what we’re reading and recommending’ segment…
Earlier this week the Golden Hare Book Group met to discuss Garth Greenwell’s highly acclaimed debut novel What Belongs To You. Here’s what we made of it…
The novel is told from the perspective of an unnamed narrator, an American teacher based in Sofia, Bulgaria, by what seemed to the group as a self-imposed exile. He meets Mitko in the restrooms at a museum: our group found the way that Greenwell wrote about cruising to be particularly effective, with no hints of seediness – an entirely human exchange. You can read more about Greenwell’s thoughts on cruising here. From this point our narrator begins a years-long infatuation with Mitko, sex-worker and waif who takes advantage of others’ obsession with him. But the using is definitely not one-sided. Most of us found the characters deeply flawed but sympathetic, and trapped in very different ways.
Most of us thought this novel was accomplished and moving, though there were a couple of doubters, who felt it lacked plot and the characters weren’t compelling enough. It’s a dense novel for under 200 pages, and we all found that the title, What Belongs To You, was entirely forgettable and struggled to remember it.
The majority of the group really enjoyed this novel, which is often the sign of a very good book as we can often disagree! There were a couple of scenes that didn’t work as well for us (such as the scene on the train) but the first and the final scenes of the book were very effective and beautifully written.
We discussed the fact that Garth Greenwell is a poet, which comes across in his lyrical language, and the structure of the novel is very much in three distinct parts, the middle of which (a flashback to a difficult childhood) has no paragraph breaks. We also discussed how it might fit into the queer literature canon – we spoke about Alan Hollinghurst, James Baldwin and others, whose relationships seem destined for doom.
Do you agree with what we made of What Belongs To You? Let us know in the comments!
What Belongs To You by Garth Greenwell is published in the UK by Picador and is available now in paperback at Golden Hare Books.
Bibliophile is a new podcast by bibliophiles for bibliophiles, coming soon to ears near you (hopefully your own)!
Okay, okay, we admit it…we’ve been keeping this one under our hats for a while now. But with good intentions – we wanted to get all our plans ready and the first episode well underway before letting on about anything!
From June onwards, you can look forward to a monthly dose of Golden Hare goodness tickling your earbuds in the first week of every month. Our booksellers Julie and Annie will not only be telling you all about the new releases we’re most excited about and the books we’re reading ourselves; they’ll also discuss news, debates and the hot topics of the book world today. Better yet, we’ll be answering your questions in every episode and are asking you to submit your questions for us in a comment below, via social media using the hashtag #bibliophilepodcast, our Facebook poll or via this online form. So what are you waiting for? Let us know what you’ve always wanted to ask a bookseller…
See you on the airwaves very soon!