Between the Covers 27/10/2013
Your weekly guide to what's really going on in the world of books
Sunday 27 October 2013
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 nanowrimo.org for details.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If I were Prime Minister: I'd give tax cuts to the rich, keep Trident, and get my football team wrong
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show