Thursday, 27 June 2013

Guest Post: Jasper Gibson's Imaginary Bookshop

Recently I read and reviewed and loved Jasper Gibson’s A Bright Moon For Fools. You can read my review here

Jasper has kindly agreed to take part in the imaginary bookshop Q&A.


Hi Jasper, congratulations on the publication of your novel, A Bright Moon For Fools and thank you for popping over to Writer’s Little Helper. I thought I would give you some questions that you may not have already answered before.

What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
In every town. Branches of Chairface are all linked by book-lined tunnels. It’s really one massive, octopus-like underground emporium.

Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.
Free and excellent coffee

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
It would be a sci-fi/Borgesian bookshop run by Chairface, a Buddhist robot, with an infinite arrangement of mobile brass shelving units organised by Chairface’s quantum brain so that the sections rearrange themselves in line with your train of thought.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
All sections. Nothing ditched.

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
Chairface: A User’s Manual

If you could run only one author event who would you have? You can pick a living or dead writer. What sort of event would they run?
Dickens, giving a reading

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel, A Bright Moon For Fools and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
Buy one for the price of two and you’ll get the second one free

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
Pineapple Upsidedown

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Book Review: A Bright Moon For Fools

A Bright Moon For Fools
By Jasper Gibson
Published by Inside The Dog Press
Hardback / ebook

A Bright Moon For Fools is a hilarious debut by the founder of, Jasper Gibson. Harry Christmas, a con man, a drunk and still grieving for his wife and baby's death, is trying to escape his girlfriend's psycho stepson, escape 'the rot' of modern life and also escape from his inner demons. He sets off on an adventure across Venezuela.

Gibson successfully captures the culture, the people and their lives in Venezuela. A country on the verge of change is a great location for a man trying to resist change but at the same time he is looking for a fresh start.

Harry Christmas is not your usual sort of character. He is complicated. One side of him is a romantic, wanting to fall in love but is still grieving for his wife and their baby. He does not believe in being politically correct, will con people, will lie and is happy to create havoc. At times it is hard to be sympathetic to his cause but Gibson makes sure Harry Christmas is a lovable rouge, hilarious eccentric. We watch his life spiral out of control and at times he is verging on a mental breakdown but Christmas always picks himself back up and heads to the next incident. He always seems to evade death and even convince the police that his is innocent.

This book isn't just a comedy. Gibson also tackles the issues of grief and its effects on people, mental health problems, modern life and its trappings. Christmas's isolation in a foreign country also represents Christmas's isolation from other people - the only way he can connect is to make up lies rather than let people see the 'real' Christmas.

A Bright Moon For Fools is a funny, enjoyable read and is perfect for the summer months. I'm looking forward to reading Gibson's next book.

Stop by on the 27th June as Jasper is the next victim for my Q&A Imaginary bookshop series. 

You can buy A Bright Moon For Fools from your favourite book retailer.

I was sent a copy by the author.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Book Review: Miranda's Shadow

My review of Kitty Fitzgerald's debut short story collection is now up at The View From Here Magazine.

You can read the review here > Miranda's Shadow

Monday, 17 June 2013

Breaking News

The term 'breaking news' is overused on news channels. 'Breaking news - a cat has been rescued from a rose bush.' 'Breaking news - tissues can capture germs.' 'Breaking news - a giant tomato has won Britain's Got Veg.'

But I have found a genuine reason to use 'breaking news' - I have even put it in bold AND underlined it because this is serious.

I can't find this piece of information that I am about to give you anywhere else on the interwebs.

Please make sure you're sitting down before moving on to the next paragraph. It's probably best not to read this in public or even at your work desk.

I was under the impression that novels wrote themselves.
They appear on our computer hard drives needing only a slight edit. They arrive by stork or grow under the gooseberry bush.
It turns out that novels don't write themselves!
My dreams have been shattered.
This is probably the biggest conspiracy since area 51.

Don't worry - we can get through this.
We just need to take it chapter by chapter, scene by scene, sentence by sentence.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Book Review: Sixteen, Sixty One - Natalie Lucas

Sixteen Sixty One
Natalie Lucas
Published by Authonomy 
Paperback / ebook

Natalie Lucas' memoir, Sixteen Sixty One is one of those marmite books. You should definitely give this book a chance - the writing grips you and doesn't let you go even through the uncomfortable parts of this tale.

Natalie's story begins when she is fifteen and she becomes close to her sixty year old neighbour. The relationship starts off as a father-daughter relationship, spending hours talking and debating about literature, philsophy, art and music. But slowly their emotions start to change...

This honest and open memoir explores how Natalie's relationship with her neighbour spirals into an illicit affair and how it shapes her life. She becomes entangled by manipulation and threats until she is isolated from her peers and from her family.

She struggles to break away, fighting to fit into the world around her. This is more than a book with back-to-back sexual adventures but more about a personal growth and trying to find strength from within.

There are going to be people who are not going to like some of the graphic scenes or even that agree with the subject matter. But Natalie's experiences need to be told and she does this without glamourising or falling into the sentimentality trap.

You can buy a Sixteen Sixty One from your favourite online or offline book retailer. 

I was sent a copy by the publisher. 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Reading Habits

The other day Me and My Big Mouth wrote a blog post about his reading habits. I have decided to copy the idea.

Here are my reading habits:

  1. I don't tend to buy many hardbacks - they take up a lot of space in my handbag and it feels like I am carrying a brick, they take lots of space on my shelves, they make a thud on the floor if you fall asleep reading BUT I do buy hardbacks of my favourite authors. 
  2. I don't like to fold the corners of pages so I use bookmarks, postcards or receipts. 
  3. BUT I don't mind breaking the spine in a book. 
  4. There is always a to-be-reviewed pile (at the moment it takes up most of a shelf), which inflicts guilt on me. I tend to read review books in batches of four and then I take a break and read something that I want to read for pleasure. It also gives me time to catch up with writing the reviews.
  5. I can read mostly everywhere - in the bath, at lunchtime, in the gym's lounge area, bed, etc.
  6. I used to have a Kindle. Now I don't. I prefer paperbacks. This means I will need a bigger house within the next few years. 
  7. In the past I have binged on certain genres (horror and chic-lit) and now I'm not that keen to read books in that genre unless I have seen them recommended several times. 
  8. I get my recommendations from bloggers and twitter. 
  9. I don't tend to read over-hyped books. I HAD to read The Da Vinci code for university. I have not touched 50 Shades of grey. 
  10. I give books star-ratings on Goodreads. The ratings are organic and I will go back and change them up or down. The ratings are for me - nothing sinister - I like to keep a record of the books and how much I enjoyed reading it and how it compared with the author's previous book or with the other books I have read recently. 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Book Review: The Interrogator's Notebook

I'm still here! I am going to write a proper post soon....

In the meantime why don't you stop by Referential MagazineJessie Carty, the Editor at Referential Magazine has been asking previous contributors to review books published by other contributors. Jessie asked me to review Martin Ott's book, The Interrogator's Notebook. 

You can read my review of Martin Ott's 'The Interrogator's Notebook' by clicking on the title.