What I Says: It feels like an age since I last read a book by Andy Carrington, so much has gone on in life and that has made the last few years feel like a blur. Carrington has spent that time working on this collection, taking influence from the scenes of COVID chaos, illegal parties, bog roll hoarding, the destruction of the NHS and everything else by the incompetent Boris and the treatment of the workers right at the bottom of the ladder.
My favourite aspect of Carrington’s work has always been the punk in his writing, all you need to do is look at one poem and you can see the rage and utter contempt, the words have literally been spat onto the page and they ain’t happy being there. Before starting each poem I would check out the layout and be smiling as I started reading. He can always capture my mood too, what he writes here is what I am thinking when I read the news reports or reading the craziness on Twitter. There are 29 poems here, they are all very good and the following are a few of my favourites.
“Tourists F**k Off” is one of the first poems to hit you and make you smile when you realised what Carrington is actually writing about is not what you expected, I actually gave this one a little clap.
“Help Are Own” felt like a recap of the last couple of years, it will make you sick with how low England can go and in Help Are Own Carrington show’s just how shallow we can be.
“Blast off” I hate fireworks, my family hate fireworks, the dog hates fireworks and Carrington gives a great suggestion of where those fireworks can be shoved. Fantastic poem!
If you’ve never read anything by Carrington then go check him out HERE, plenty of work there for you to check out.
Ey up! New format this year, gonna do my top eleven (everybody does 10 but I’m that much more awesome than them) instead of the usual award ceremony, nobody ever turned up to collect the awards and handsome cheque so I’ve decided to do what others do and pick my favourite 11 books I’ve read this year and laugh maniacally at those that didn’t make the cut. I managed to read 71 books this year…pretty sure I had double that number arrive in the post 🙂 overall most of them were spectacular, with a couple of lame books I managed to find. So here it is the top 11……..
11: Marram by Leonie Charlton
I loved this journey up the Hebrides on a Highland pony, Ross was a lovely pony and I still keep an eye out for Leonie’s tweets for more photos.
10: OOF by Strobe Witherspoon
Such a clever book, using different styles of writing to weave an absurd plot that seems to be getting closer to reality every day. Laughed loads at this one.
9: Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession
A wonderful feel good story with some fabulous characters, the last book of the year and one I left way too long to get around to reading.
8: Your Dark Meaning, Mouse by Stephen Moles
Pure madness was this one, I really enjoyed the journey this book took me on and it is still affecting me today, I find myself getting confused over the title of a certain Beatles song.
7: Transit of Venus by Julian Evans
I read 4 books that were published by Eland and this was the pick of them, I enjoyed reading as Evans explored an area I knew so little about.
6: The Hierarchies by Ros Anderson
One of the books I’ve recommended the most this year, brilliant story, ya really need to check it out.
Things are getting tough now. Some books I loved aren’t gonna make the cut. Gonna make a cup of tea whilst I think….
5: The Lip by Charlie Carroll
I’ve been a fan of Charlie Carroll’s books for a few years now and his first fiction novel was a huge success in my opinion.
4: Out Front the Following Sea by Leah Angstman
Biggest surprise of the year for me, I don’t tend to give this sort of book a chance but am so please I did. Great fun to read with some impeccable research carried out to make it authentic…and if like me you are a fan of maps in books then check this one out for some beautiful additions.
Here we go, the top 3!!!
3: The Heeding by Rob Cowen, Nick Hayes (Illustrator)
This was the book we all needed after a crazy couple of years, wonderful poetry blended with some stunning illustrations. Some heart-breaking moments followed by a poem that truly lifts you up. A book that shall be read again and again.
2: In the Shadow of Time by Kevin Ansbro
If you’ve read this book then you’ll understand why this rates so high. A time travel book full of the nicest people ever, it is so uplifting that you are left with a smile on your face until the next time you watch the news.
1: Queen of the Cicadas by V. Castro
I don’t read many books in the horror genre because it feels very samey these days, not easy to shock me or keep me interested, but Queen of the Cicadas was a HUGE success. It was like going back in time to when I first fell in love with reading, I got a real buzz from the tense scenes as they gradually built up to that moment of horror. A wonderful book and my top read of 2021.
Thats it, sorry to those I couldn’t add, next year I’m only going to read 11 books to make this much easier to do.
Elliot & Thompson
Sagging Meniscus Press
Dead Ink Books
Alternating Current Press
Galley Beggar Press
Flame Tree Press
Horror Sleaze Trash
Anne Cater @ Random Things Tours
And all the other authors that sent me copies of their books to read and review, I’ll always find it amazing that an author can be happy with my random babbling. Here’s to the books of 2022
Aaaah! 2020 the year of dressing like a bank robber, the year where we all realised our political leaders were a bunch of muppets and we wished we could clone Jacinda Ardern and let her rule the world….it was also the year that Twitter moved into reality and everybody showed just what arseholes they could be. I am reviewing my year from my throne of toilet paper, who’d have guessed that when I grabbed 700 rolls back in March that I’d still have enough left over to make my own furniture, in 2021 I vow to only panic buy 600 rolls. Each year I’ve tried to get somebody famous to hand out the awards to my favourite books of the year and for 2020 I had President Trump lined up, all was going to plan until he dropped out to play his 320th game of golf this year, so you’ve got me instead.
This year I managed to read 85 books, 41 fiction, 38 non-fiction and 6 poetry books. I have been impressed with what I’ve read, publishers like Bluemoose Books, Eland Publishing,Little Toller, Storgy and Elliot & Thompson have produced some amazing books. I do find it quite incredible that small indie publishers can publish so many fantastic books and yet the big publishers can throw out all kinds of garbage and expect everybody to love it. Of course those Indie publishers producing so many good books makes it harder to pick my favourites….gah! they are sooooo evil! There is no winner this year for The Lighthouse Award (Worst book of the year), whilst I may have read a few weak books they are too good to deserve this award. Well here goes!
The Nominations this year are.
East Coast Road by Anna Chilvers. One of the books published by Bluemoose books, a real gem of a book, an amazing journey and a book that almost made me cry….ALMOST!
Shallow Creek edited by Tomek Dzido. A unique book which is the end result of a competition, the stories in this collection are based around a single town and it’s inhabitants, the writers were given give a person, place and totem to focus their stories on. This book is the end result and a million times better than you’d expect. Everybody involved should be classed as geniuses.
This Ragged, Wastrel Thing by Tomas Marcantonio. The first full length novel released by Storgy and it doesn’t disappoint. Tomas has created a fantastic world here that leaves you wanting more, seriously hoping there will be a sequel one day soon.
WINNER: EAST COAST ROAD
The Nominations this year are.
Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty. Dara is a legend, so young to create one of my favourite books of the year, he reminds me of the writing of Roger Deakin and it has been great to see this win so many awards.
Under the Stars: A Journey Into Light by Matt Gaw. Elliot & Thompson have released a lot of good books this year and for me this was fantastic, reading this brought back so many memories of time spent as a scout, camping under the stars and getting freaked out by noises in the night. This book left me craving a sight of millions of stars…not the 8 I usually see in Basingstoke.
I only buy a few albums each year as I spend most of my time listening to music from the past, this year the kids and me have been obsessed with Flight of the Conchords and their amazing songs, but in between that always being played I’ve managed to find some awesome music, the best of which is Kitchen Sink by Nadine Shah. My favourite track is Buckfast, well worth checking out, love her voice and those instruments are creating some great sounds.
That’s it, no more awards and no more 2020. As usual the winners can meet me at any Asda carpark at midnight and fight me for a prize….at the correct social distance of course….this years battles will be in the style of that classic TV show Gladiators.
Thanks to everybody who write books and thanks to everybody who has sent me some incredible stuff to review. Here’s to 2021 being mildly better.
Well that’s another year over, another year closer to retirement. 2019 was a bit shit….if you have a soul that is….no soul? then yay the Tories won and we are all fucked. With regards book it has been an epic year, I’ve discovered so many amazing books, new authors and I’ve managed to increase my penguin clothbound collection to 22…a fine collection to read as the apocalypse kicks off. Usually I try and get a celebrity to hand out awards, but my track record of killing off their careers means I’ve been blacklisted from A to Z, I can’t even get somebody from Geordie Shores, whatever that is. So I’ll be handing them out as well as picking the winners, an almost impossible task.
The Nominations this year are.
The Hierophant’s Daughter by M. F. Sullivan. Book one of probably the greatest trilogy I’ve ever read, I am not a fan of series of books but this was so good I read all three books in one year AND got the t-shirt.
The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas by Daniel James. Difficult one to categorise as it potentially spans fiction and non-fiction depending on whether you believe the many conspiracy theories out there. I am 100% certain that I’ve never read anything quite like this and loved how it is sparking reader’s imaginations.
The Fish That Climbed a Tree by Kevin Ansbro. Kevin is one of the stars of the year for me, a new author and I’ve already consumed 3 of his books, each one has entertained, made me laugh and left me on the edge of my seat at times. He is the master at creating characters that you care for and like a cat he likes to toy with their lives. This book gets the nomination though as it was the first one I picked up and started my Ansbro addiction.
WINNER: THE UNAUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY OF EZRA MAAS
The nominations are:
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. Top notch writing about homelessness and walking the South West Coastal Path. Opening scenes made me incredibly angry, which only made me care more for Raynor and her husband. I ended up having to research them after the end of the book to see how they are doing. I have recommended this book to so many people.
Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell. Yes I know it isn’t a new book but this year was the first time reading it for me. I’ve no idea why I’ve waited so long because I loved it. The otter is a wonderful creature and reading about Gavin’s relationship with one was lovely.
Curlew Moon by Mary Colwell. Another one about animals makes the list, this time the Curlew, an animal I knew very little about. This book is crammed full of information and Mary’s obsession with the Curlew is contagious.
WINNER: THE SALT PATH
I read 22 books of poetry this year, I think I might be getting addicted. After looking through all those books the poem that has stuck with me is:
WINNER: Yet again the worst book of 2019 that I read was an “award winner”, the only 1 star book luckily for me. May we be forgiven by A. M. Holmes is 480 pages of nothing, an opening tragedy, 400 pages of a dark void of words and then an interesting ending, maybe it was interesting because the end was in sight? This book had nothing going for it, I truly have no idea how it got the award, I always try and find a positive when doing a review of a book but for this one I came up empty handed.
And that’s yer lot, out of the 104 books I read in 2019 those were the cream of the crop…except for the last one of course. Many thanks to all the lovely people who sent me books this year, it does feel great to come home from work to book post. Here’s to another fantastic year of reading in 2020.
One of my favourite writers, easily top 3450….just joking, top 3…Kevin Ansbro has a new book out, released today:
“Once the evening’s entertainment was over the Minotaur, as naked as Nature intended, clumped into Pablo Zapata’s bar…”
A baby with a passion for theoretical physics…
A winged nymph who exacts terrible revenge…
A stolen coin that releases a wish-granting genie…
And where else would you see Ginger Rogers learning the Ali shuffle, or a humble fisherman making friends with Poseidon?
Charlatans and shapeshifters, lovers and leprechauns, ghosts and office creeps are just some of the characters that Kevin Ansbro brings to life in this volume of short stories. His tales span the globe and range from the wickedly funny to the sad and deeply unnerving. With his perceptive take on human failings, his vivid imagination and his glorious grasp of language, Ansbro’s thought-provoking stories will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
I have read two of his books so far and both easily earn the 5 stars I gave them,
My new novella Sea of Glass is out! Smoke fills the city air, choking the street, curling up and around the tower. Kattar Bassis hits the ground and crawls blindly through the chaos. A light shines out in the black, leading him to the entranceway of his building. So begins his ascent and search for […]
My new novel about inequality in present day, miserable Tory Britain is now available here. Here’s the lowdown: After years of austerity, life for many people in the UK has been reduced to a treadmill of zero-hour contracts, mounting debts and a crippling anxiety as to where the money is going to come from to […]
Happy Black Friday. We’re pleased to announce that within its first 48 hours on NetGalley, The Hierophant’s Daughter has received 48 requests from potential reviewers, educators, media pros and other NG readers. If you want to see what the fuss is about, click the smaller version of the cover at the bottom of this post. […]