Archive for January, 2012

  • Patrick Gale talks about his new novel 'A Perfectly Good Man'

    Perfectly Good Man

    A Perfectly Good Man is the new novel from Patrick Gale and the companion volume to his bestselling ‘Notes From An Exhibition’

    The new novel from Patrick Gale, author of Richard & Judy-bestseller ‘Notes from an Exhibition’, returning readers to his beloved Cornish coastline.

    “Do you need me to pray for you now for a specific reason?”
    “I’m going to die.”
    “We’re all going to die. Does dying frighten you?”
    “I mean I’m going to kill myself.”

    When 20-year-old Lenny Barnes, paralysed in a rugby accident, commits suicide in the presence of Barnaby Johnson, the much-loved priest of a West Cornwall parish, the tragedy’s reverberations open up the fault-lines between Barnaby and his nearest and dearest. The personal stories of his wife, children and lover illuminate Barnaby’s ostensibly happy life, and the gulfs of unspoken sadness that separate them all. Across this web of relations scuttles Barnaby’s repellent nemesis – a man as wicked as his prey is virtuous.

    Returning us to the rugged Cornish landscape of Notes from an Exhibition, Patrick Gale lays bare the lives and the thoughts of a whole community and asks us: what does it mean to be good?

  • Egyptian activist and author of 'Revolution 2.0', Wael Ghonim, on BBC Newsnight

    BBC Newsnight Wael Ghonim

    Last night (Monday 30th January), Jeremy Paxman was joined by Egyptian internet activist Wael Ghonim, author of Revolution 2.0.

    Asking Wael what he thought the catalyst for revolution in Egypt one year ago was, Wael spoke about the role of the internet in exposing the lies told to the people by dictators.

    You can no longer use state media, propaganda and abuse to force people to believe this is the best they can achieve. Access to the truth is becoming easier and easier for new generations of citizens.

    To watch the interview in full go to BBC iPlayer. Wael is Jeremy’s last guest at 41m 20sec.

  • Revolution 2.0 is Apple's Book of the Week

    • Jan 24, 2012 • Tags:

    Apple have chosen Revolution 2.0 as their book of the week on the iBookstore.

    Revolution 2.0 is a unique insider’s story from the heart of the Egyptian Spring. Wael Ghonim gives unparalleled insight into why the Egyptian people finally rejected 30 years of oppression and found a voice.

    To buy the book on an Apple device, click here

    The ebook is currently priced at £6.99 (correct as of 24th January 2012, subject to change)

    Read about Wael’s experiences and the book on the Guardian 

  • Southbank Centre Announces 'The Rest Is Noise' Festival for 2013


    Southbank Centre stages groundbreaking year-long cross-art form festival of concerts, talks, films and performances inspired by Alex Ross’ The Rest is Noise (19 January–December 2013)

    In one of the most ambitious music projects in recent years, Southbank Centre will chart the history of 20th century classical music in a year-long festival of concerts, talks, films, performances and participation events throughout 2013 inspired by Alex Ross’ seminal book The Rest Is Noise:  Listening to the Twentieth Century.

    Winner of a Guardian First Book Award and America’s National Book Critics Circle Award, The Rest Is Noise has been translated into 15 languages and sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide since publication in 2007.

    Led by Artistic Director Jude Kelly, Southbank Centre’s The Rest Is Noise Festival, in partnership with BBC Four, will provide audiences with an enriched listening experience by bringing to the fore the cultural and political stories behind the most important musical works of the 20th century.

    The London Philharmonic Orchestra provides the core symphonic repertoire in a bold artistic partnership with Southbank Centre and kicks off the Festival on 19 January 2013 with an all-Richard Strauss programme conducted by Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Vladimir Jurowski featuring baritone Thomas Hampson and soprano Karita Mattila who sings the final scene from Salome.

    BBC Four will support the Festival by broadcasting a landmark television series about 20th century classical music alongside other activities to be announced later in the year.

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rhys Ifans to join the cast of 'The Corrections'?

    • Jan 23, 2012 • Tags: , ,

    It was being reported on a  number of celebrity and TV blogs that the stars would be joining Diane Wiest and Ewan McGreggor in the HBO adaptation of Franzen’s 2001 novel.

    Gyllenhaal – star of ‘Donnie Darko’ and ‘Dark Knight’  has been linked to the role of the Lambert’s daughter, Denise, while Notting Hill star Ifans has been attached to the role of the Lithuanian gangster who briefly employs Chip.

    It’s being reported that the show will take the format of four ten-part series, so quite a commitment from some very big stars!

  • The Emperor of all Maladies shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize 2011

    Siddhartha Mukherjee, Emperor of all Maladies, Caner

    Great news!  The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee has been shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize 2011.

    The shortlist is as follows:

    The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Fourth Estate)

    Becoming Dickens by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst (Belknap Harvard)

    Nikolaus Pevsner by Susie Harries (Chatto & Windus)

    Leningrad by Anna Reid (Bloomsbury)

    Bismarck by Jonathan Steinberg (OUP)

    The winner will be announced at the French Embassy on Wednesday, 29 February.

  • Joanna Blythman's Blog: Daylight Robbery

    • Jan 18, 2012 • Tags: ,

    When it comes to fruit and vegetable consumption, Britain comes near the bottom of the league, ranking 14th out of 19 countries in a review of eating habits.

    According to the not-for-profit European Food Information Council, we typically eat about 258 grams of fruit and vegetables a day, that’s about two-thirds of the EU average.

    I know it’s popular to paint Brits as vegetable averse, and not that interested in fruit either, a state of affairs often attributed to our a colder climate (less urge to eat healthily), and the observation that our fresh produce isn’t that appealing because we have a less good climate than sun-kissed southern European fruit and vegetable paradises.

    But I think the biggest factor inhibiting our consumption is staring us in the face: the shocking, and unjustifiably high cost of fruit and vegetables in UK supermarkets where most people shop.

    As anyone who watches their food spend can testify, you are penalised in British supermarkets for eating your greens. Get carried away in the produce department, popping into your basket all that gear that contributes to your 5-A-Day, you can spend a small fortune. And for what? You will be buying meagre quantities of produce with a price tag that bears absolutely no relationship to the market price.

    To be blunt, our large food retailers are using fruit and vegetable sales as a licence to print money. We are asked to pay ludicrously greedy mark-ups on prissy amounts of over-packaged stuff that would cost a fraction down the market or at a local greengrocer. Is it any wonder that we think of fruit and vegetables as the minority part of our diets?

    I often shop in Leeds Kirkgate Market, one of Britain’s great old traditional markets. The minute I walk in I feel like a millionaire because I can afford to buy amounts of fruit and vegetables that would be prohibitive in the supermarket. I come away with bags brimming at a fraction of the cost. The latest delight is statuesque stems of Yorkshire rhubarb, precisely half the cost of the nearest supermarket and in much better nick too, because the stems haven’t been snapped in two to fit into their cellophane wrappers.

    Earlier this month I strolled through the outdoor market in Boston, Lincolnshire. The produce was fantastic. Being the market town for a renowned horticultural area, it was a stimulating showcase for what Britain can produce even in the depths of winter. Stunning January King cabbages or a hard-headed cauliflowers  were on offer for 50 pence a time. Looking at them made me hungry. Fabulous beetroot, vibrant kale, fresh horseradish, curly watercress- it stimulated the urge to cook, not least because it didn’t come with a price tag that simultaneously killed it.

    The imported fruits were noticeably cheaper than in supermarkets. Cartons of perfectly firm blueberries for a £1, three pomegranates for £1, I could afford to eat them until they are coming out my ears.

    My local greengrocer, Arshad, can’t quite match these prices- he has rent and rates to pay- but his prices are also keen compared to their mysteriously inflated supermarket equivalents. Buying his herbs always gives me a thrill: fistfuls of leafy flat parsley, mint and coriander for the cost of a puny stalk or two in the supermarket.

    At my weekly Farmers’ Market, I can buy salad leaves, potatoes and basic vegetables like carrots for less than in the supermarket, and that’s choosing the organic ones.

    It’s high time that the government set up an inquiry into the high cost of fruit and vegetables in Britain. It might expose how supposedly responsible supermarkets are artificially inflating the cost of fruit and vegetables to fill their coffers.

    Sadly, I suppose that’s a lost cause. Instead, I expect we’ll have to go on swallowing sanctimonious little lectures on how we should be upping our 5-A-Day as though price had nothing to do with it.

    First published on Monday 16th Jan

    For information on Joanna’s forthcoming book ‘What to Eat’ click here

  • The Martin Beck Series – get hooked for 99p!

    Martin Beck
    • Jan 12, 2012 • Tags: , ,

    This month we have re-issued the last four books in the Martin Beck Series, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. The new editions have great introductions from the likes of Henning Mankell, Lee Child and Nikki French.

    All the titles are also now available as e-books and to get you started with ‘the godparents of Scandinavian crime’ (Jo Nesbo) we have priced the first e-book, ‘Roseanna’ at an amazing 99p.

    Really we should say sorry for tempting you in this way. You will get hooked.

    The Martin Beck Series:

    1. Roseanna
    2. The Man Who Went Up in Smoke
    3. The Man on the Balcony
    4. The Laughing Policeman
    5. The Fire Engine That Disappeared
    6. Murder at the Savoy
    7. The Abominable Man
    8. The Locked Room
    9. Cop Killer
    10. The Terrorists