Between the Covers 27/10/2013

Your weekly guide to what's really going on in the world of books

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The Independent Culture

It has been a month since the social network Goodreads caused a scandal by deleting reviews which focused on the author instead of the book, and it turns out that the world does not implode when reviewers are required to read the work that they are criticising. Meanwhile, at the generally genial launch for Francesca Simon’s new novel The Lost Gods, there was disappointment that at the time of publication there was only one review of it on Amazon, written by someone who had not read the book but implored fellow readers not to buy it on account of its “blasphemous” themes. The Lost Gods begins where The Sleeping Army left off, and sees the gods come back to earth disguised as celebrities. “What authors like Francesca Simon fail to understand is that Wodenism is a living and growing religion in England,” complains the “review”, adding that “as London is no longer a city inhabited by a majority ethnically English population it would be the last place in England that the Gods would choose to ‘return’ to”. Ye gods, has this person ever read fiction? Subsequent reviews, by people who have read the novel, are considerably more positive.


Bookies at Ladbrokes are offering odds on Sir Alex Ferguson topping the Christmas book chart with My Autobiography (the “my”, presumably, to distinguish it from Morrissey’s equally imaginatively titled Autobiography). They have cut the odds from 8-1 to 4-1, which makes him joint favourite with Jamie Oliver and Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. Perhaps most tantalisingly, they also make him 1-4 to beat David Beckham’s My Side to become the best-selling football biography or autobiography of all time.


Surprising news: there is a novel waiting to get out of Between the Covers, and that novel has written us an email. “Dear aspiring novelist,” it writes. “I’ve been swirling around in the breathtaking labyrinths of your unconscious mind for a while now, and I’m itching to leap into the world. The only way I can come out, though, is if you commit to writing me in November...” The email is a reminder that National Novel Writing Month – where novels including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants began life – starts on Friday, and that anyone can join in. See for details.