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The Guardian’s Game Editor Keith Stuart is the latest author of a Bristol Novel to make it onto the Richard and Judy Book Club’s list. A Boy Made of Blocks is a story inspired by the journalist’s own attempt to connect with his son who was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum in 2012, by playing Minecraft. Stuart is from Frome but the story is set in Bristol. As well as being on the Spring 2017 Richard and Judy list, it was also chosen by Mumsnet as their book of the month. Published August 9, 2016Read More →

I chose this book because of the cover, which is stunning. The blocks of colours are reminiscent of a golden time, especially in terms of classic old books and detective novels. Instead, I found a completely different world to what I expected. I hadn’t realised this was a story written in 1930, and didn’t realise it until after I’d given up reading. It makes a bit of sense that I struggled with the dialect, not realising it was Scottish at all. I thought it was perhaps some type of olden colonial American. There was a cast of characters at the start, which these days isRead More →

James Attlee’s book Station to Station, about the London to Bristol route, is on the shortlist for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year. Station to Station is a tale of journeys unlike those of the commuters who “lifting their eyes momentarily from an e-reader or pausing in their perusal of a newspaper to stir a cup of coffee, they may notice a town flashing past that they will never visit and wonder what happens there.” Attlee visited and wrote and travelled and observed as the GWR’s writer in residence. He was given a free travel pass and used it. I first wrote aboutRead More →

Bristol-born Clare Mackinstosh’s debut novel I Let You Go has been a runaway success and even beat  fellow Bristol-(Yate)-novelist, JK Rowling. n the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2016. What I Let You Go is about (from the website) In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world is shattered. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape her past, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of the cruel November night that changed her lifeRead More →

Novel Writers Spike Island hosts debut authors each month at their Novel Writers event.  In January there are two authors. On Wednesday, January 25, Yaa Gyasi reads from and discusses her debut novel Homegoing at Waterstones, Galleries. Wednesday 25 January, 7–8pm Waterstones, 11A Union Galleries, Broadmead Bristol BS1 3XD Homegoing begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Book your place (please note: this event is taking place at Waterstones, Bristol Galleries) On  Thursday 26 January, 6.30–8pm, Wyl Menmuir reads from and discusses The Many. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016, TheRead More →

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto starts off a little slowly as the narrator gets themself established. Considering that the narrator is music itself, this isn’t an easy task but it does make for a little of a slow burn. If anyone can pull it off, it’s Albom whose previous successes give him some leeway. It’s like when JK Rowling spent pages and pages describing all the departments in the Ministry of Magic describing everything. It didn’t progress the storyline but by that point, no one was censoring her. Frankie Presto is a much shorter story than any Harry Potter could be, however. Music, ourRead More →

Andrea Darby worked at the Bristol Evening Post in the early nineties as a sub-editor and played in the City of Bristol brass band in the early 2000s. She has never lived in Bristol and The Husband Who Refused To Die, her first novel, is set in the fictional town of Tetford but she does have some relevant links to make her Bristol-newsworthy. After all, Terry Pratchett used to be a Bristol journalist too – on the Western Daily News. If Darby makes it big, we’ll happily accept her as a local novelist.   What the book is about: Her husband’s died … Though heRead More →

My original reading challenge for this year (2016) was to finish 250 books and I think I read 21 or maybe 22. I’m quite happy with 22. I still love that number, though. The hugeness of 250 – the five-books-a-week of it – pleases me inordinately. However, the loveliness of reading 250 books is only fun in theory. At no point has it inspired me to actually read more than I do. It’s a far-off adventurous challenge that I can dismiss as I knit and crochet and watch Four in a Bed on All4 as I dye yarn all night. So this morning I hadRead More →

The next meeting for Bristol Book Group Social Time: 8pm, Thursday 19th of January 2017 Place: King William Pub. 20 King St, Bristol, Avon BS1 4EF ‎(upstairs part) Books: The Night Manager by John le Carré, Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes and Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. Reading all of the books is not required, pick whichever one interests you the most. Future plans We’ll be meeting again in February, when we’ll be discussing Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene, His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet and The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller. You canRead More →