Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ceci n'est pas un livre

This is a post about a book that is not yet a book; something I have just read that I can't really tell you anything about. But it is set in Iceland.



In an earlier post, I mentioned that I have swapped the bookshop for the publishing house, and that I wasn't sure if, or how, this would change my blog. Well yesterday I finished reading a truly amazing manuscript. It has only belonged to the company I work for since Thursday. It happens to have been at the centre of the most hotly contested bidding war seen in publishing for many months, and it started in a office on the other side of the lift bank from my desk.

I feel especially lucky to have come onboard at a time when I was able to see the excruciating anticipation, followed by champagne-y elation that marked the bidding war to acquire Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. I get all shivery and goosebumpy when I think about it, especially after having read the manuscript which was so incredible and assured and moving in a wonderfully human, un-schmaltzy way. If this book were food it would probably be fennel fried in black pepper and sugar, served with soft goats cheese and pine nuts.

What I want to do is talk about my emotional journey with the book, but I think that would give away too many details of the story's structure. Damn! I also want to quote some heartbreakingly beautiful sentences from it, but I am sure that is utterly verboten at this stage. Double damn! As you can see, I am utterly bursting with the knowledge of this work and I have to keep mum for months to come.


As a bookseller, I am used to seeing reading copies of books that have the publishers gushing for a page or two about the wonderousness that is the book within. To be honest, that gets a little tired after a while, and you tend to ignore it. This will be a book beyond all that, and I desperately hope that the people who will love it and be enriched for having read it will allow themselves the privilege of letting it into their lives. The more I think about it, the more excited I am that Kent will be writing more books in the future that I will be able to read. In a mere three days, I have become a huge fan. And I can't wait until others have the chance to become fans too.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Nighty Night

I won't lie: I feel disappointed by the diet book I've been reading. It is called The Sleep Diet (Dr Carmel Harrington), and I was seriously hoping that it meant that if I wanted to lose weight then all I would need to do would be to go and have a nice lie down. Sadly, this is far from the case. You actually have to do shit as well, like, exercise and eat healthily and stuff. What a drag!

This is really a good thing, however, because it means that the book actually makes sense. From what I've seen of most diet books, this is nothing short of a miracle. In a nutshell, the book's basic thesis is that if you are trying to lose weight by eating less and exercising more, this will only work if you are also getting adequate sleep. I could go into the reasons why this is the case but I won't becasue someone else has already done that, and published the book. It's called The Sleep Diet!

It isn't really a conventional diet book at all. It is more of a general study about sleep and how our bodies are affected by lack of it, with a particular focus on weight loss and weight gain. There is also interesting stuff about sleep disorders and a whole chapter on 'Good Sleep Practices'. Zzzzzzzz.