February was a good month as I had my three children home from university for varying lengths of time. They were all here together for less than a day but we still managed a family meal out – good fun. I also kept up my local walks and gym visits which slows down my reading but keeps my mind in a more settled place.
I posted reviews for 13 books. These included 11 fiction (3 translated) and 2 nonfiction. I had no poetry to review, something I hope to rectify soon.
Of note this month was a feature I ran on the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses. It included a number of fascinating guest posts provided by publishers on the prize longlist alongside reviews of the books that made the cut and which I had not yet read. As with last year, the titles considered for the RofC prize are amongst the best literary fiction published in the past year. It has been a pleasure to discover books that too often fly beneath the radar of most readers. I will be watching with interest to see which of these titles make the shortlist, the announcement of which, unfortunately, I am unable to attend. The logistics of travelling to Norwich proved too much of a challenge for me at this time.
You may click on the link below to read my post and on the book cover to find out more about each title.
Guest post by independent publisher, Henningham Family Press
Dedalus by Chris McCabe
Q&A with Istros Books
Doppelgängerby Daša Drndić (translated by S.D. Curtis and Celia Hawkesworth)
Guest post by independent publisher, Splice
Hang Him When He Is Not Thereby Nicholas John Turner
Guest post from independent publisher, Fairlight Books
Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn
As I had a guest post from Charco Press from last year but they still kindly sent me their longlisted book I wrote my own update on them before posting my review.
Spotlight on independent publisher, Charco Press
Resistance by Julián Fuks (translated by Daniel Hahn)
Guest post by independent publisher, Peepal Tree Press
The Republic of Consciousness Prize organisers have created a podcast, not a medium I was previously interested in. I wrote about this here – Random Musings: Literary Podcasts
Not all longlisted publishers that I approached got back to me, and some who responded have yet to provide me with their book or other content. There may therefore be more of these posts to come next month.
I have now read 8 of the 13 books – those I already had on my shelves and those kindly provided by publishers. I am currently reading my ninth from the list which I received this week.
Alongside my RofC feature I posted book reviews for other titles read, with an even greater than usual emphasis on small press output.
Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li, published by Pushkin Press
Children of the Cave by Virve Sammalkorpi (translated by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah), published by Peirene Press
Now Legwarmers by Pascal O’Loughlin, published by Henningham Family Press
A Place of Safety by Martin Nathan, published by Salt
My Oxford by Catherine Haines, published by New Welsh Rarebytes
The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey, published by Atlantic Books
I also posted two reviews that were originally written for Bookmunch.
Godsend by John Wray, published by Canongate
Cure by Jo Marchant, published by Canongate
Next month includes my husband’s birthday so there may be a short hiatus on the blog as we plan to travel to Brighton to celebrate. My determination to seek balance in my pursuits this year rather than become a slave to schedules is going well.
As ever I wish to thank the publishers who send me their titles to review – the arrival of a book parcel makes my day.
My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your support is always appreciated.