I’ve set myself the challenge to read and video review as many of the Richard & Judy Book Club Autumn 2017 picks as possible. Today I’m reviewing: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. Have you read it? What do you think about the subject matter? And what do you think of the ONE BIG PROBLEM with this video?
Posts Tagged ‘books’
The Girl on the Tram
The Girl on the Penny Farthing
The Girl on her Period
The Girl with the Dragon Dictation Software
The Girl With the Military Tattoo
The Girl Who Played with Fire Retardant Sofas
The Girl Who Kicked the Door (by accident)
The Girl Who Swore
The Girl on the Pain-killers
The Girl Off Her Tits
The Girl Who Was on Deadline
The Girl Who Ate all the Chocolate Covered Teacakes
The Girl On The Train – You Know, the One Who Had the Batshit Tights On?
With apologies to Paula Hawkins, Stieg Larsson, Gillian Flynn et al.
I am freakin’ excited that Follow Me is at number 39 in the UK Kindle Chart. You can grab it for ONLY 99p here.
‘[Clarke] really gets to what modern life is on the internet.’
‘An original idea’
‘Freddie is a magnificently monstrous character’
~ Saturday Review, BBC Radio 4
‘Written in the sharpest style, the story races along, leaving the reader almost as breathless as the heroine – but there is a verve to it that is impossible to resist. A playwright and a screenwriter, Clarke is certainly someone to watch.’
‘Slick and clever’
~ The Sun
‘Cunningly plotted but should be gulped down as frothy fun with great zeitgeisty gags’
~ The Sunday Express
‘Set in a London of East End hipsters, Tinder hook-ups, and internships, this tongue-in-cheek tale explores murder in the age of social media’
~ The Sunday Mirror
‘A very contemporary nightmare, delivered with panache’
~ The Independent
‘Clarke has made an appealing flawed female lead who’ll make immediate sense to readers who enjoyed Rachel in The Girl On The Train. An invigorating cat-and-mouse game, with a dark and filthy wit that deliciously spikes the regular drenchings of gore’
~ Crime Scene Magazine
‘A chilling debut’
~ Hello! Magazine
‘Follow Me is compelling, a proper page-turner’
~ Emerald Street
‘Gripping, darkly funny and feminist, I loved Follow Me’
~ Caroline Criado-Perez
‘Follow Me is a well written, taut, absolutely fascinating and scarily good crime novel that is too true to life…It will certainly make you look at social media and Twitter in particular with the utmost scepticism and horror. Outstanding! Clearly the start of a wonderful series, superbly written. I definitely want more.’
~ Shots Magazine
I’m delighted to share with you guys the exclusive cover reveal for my new crime thriller Follow Me. The first of the Social Media Murder Series Follow Me is out this December, and available for preorder now. AND the Kindle version is currently priced at a bargain 99 pence.
Below is a brief taste of what to expect – I hope you like it!
LIKE. SHARE. FOLLOW . . . DIE
The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.
But this is no virtual threat.
As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.
Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?
Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?
ONLINE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM …
This book was recommended too me by Isabel Costello following a hibiscus margarita and a conversation about female satirists.
Eat My Heart Out is a satire of our narcissistic, hedonistic, post-post-feminist world. It centres upon Ann-Marie an anti-heroine in her early twenties who, after suffering a mental breakdown and walking out of her finals at Cambridge, is trying to find her way in the world in London.
Ann-Marie’s voice is startling and unique. Her journey allows Pilger to lampoon a whole host of targets, including burlesque dancing, reality TV, contemporary art, academic feminism, hipsters, class, wealth, privilege and the baby boomers. Ann-Marie is misunderstood, abused, and taken advantage of by all around her. She resolutely refuses to take control of her own life, and instead favours the naive optimism of a quick fix in the form of ‘sweet love!’ Surely a hangover from popular culture’s happy ever after? The reader is left with the feeling that everyone, including themselves, want to make Ann-Marie into something else. To be the sculptor of her life. Too control her. Ann-Marie rebels kicking and screaming against all, even when she herself doesn’t know what it is that she wants.
Eat My Heart Out is a bleak, shocking, and, in places, repulsive tale, it is also very, very funny. The detached and grotesquely comic sex scenes remind me of those in Lena Dunham’s Girls. Despite occasionally reading like a lurid fantastical novel, the familiarity of the characters and situations in Eat My Heart Out leave it routed, unnervingly, in reality. A dark comedy for the cynical.
Eat My Heart Out, Zoe Pilger: A raw and meaty 4/5
I love books. And I love bookshops. When I’m stressed, when I’m sad, when I’ve got writers’ block, I head to a bookshop and I breathe. Then I buy as many tomes as I can carry. But it seems I’m a dying breed. Books, and the shops selling them, are under threat. Hence I found myself at the star-studded launch of the nationwide movement to champion bookstores – Books Are My Bag – masterminded by Maurice Saatchi.
Showing their support were, among others, Rachel Johnson, Sebastian Faulks and Kathy Lette – who I threw myself at in a wine fuelled fangirl move. It was a perfect meet your heros moment: Lette was warm and friendly, her razor sharp wit matched only by her razor sharp style. Megaswoons.
Then things got serious with the speeches. Stepping up to the podium to speak in favour of the written word were Patrick Neale, President of The Booksellers Association and bookshop owner, Gail Rebuck, Chair of Penguin Random House, and Lord Maurice Saatchi, of the M&C Saatchi.
Neale opened by telling the audience that, in the last ten years bookshops have been closing in the UK at the rate of one a week. Rebuck asserted bookshops are of great social importance and the lifeblood of our culture. Saatchi explained the iconic Books Are My Bag bags are to be human shields against the destruction of the bookshops. A bag carrying army of 100,000 book lovers will become walking adverts to the joy of books. I hope, down to my bones, it works.
Much as this was a joyous and entertaining event to attend, it had an important message at its heart. Saatchi put it best when he quoted his late wife, author Josephine Hart, “Reading was a route map through life.” We all need a little guidance now and then. Books offer us so much more than simply paper and ink. Let’s not let them disappear from our nation’s landscape. Get yourself down a bookshop – it’ll change your life (and theirs).
Further details about the Books Are My Bag campaign, including how you can get involved, can be found here.
In the brazen pursuit of trying to launch my book-writing career, here is my argument for why Confessions of a Fashionista makes the perfect Mothers’ Day gift. Confessions of a Fashionista is a mum-loving book. It features a real life mum (mine), who is always ignored and always proved right. It is even dedicated to my mum, ‘who didn’t want me to write about [her] but let me do it anyway.’ How mumtastic is that? It is also, allegedly, funny. Here are three mum bits in my book for you to enjoy.
Mum picks clothes off the floor and drops them neatly folded onto my legs. They say genius skips a generation, but in this family it’s tidiness. Mum cleans instinctively, obsessively, like a Stepford Wife on speed. She has declared jihad on dust. Our house is free from books, ornaments, excessive soft furnishings and, often, people. She’s a pioneer of OCD. The say minimalism began in 1960s America, but I have a strong suspicion it was born in 1950s north Hertfordshire.
‘That’s a nice top, where’s it from?’ Mum appears with more newspapers.
‘Specialist shop. Only a hundred and fifty pounds in the sale.’
Mum grips the sideboard to steady herself. ‘You spent a hundred and fifty pounds on a cardigan?’
I forgot I’m not talking to fashionistas. ‘It’s cashmere.’
[On discovering my mum trying to throw away the one of a kind Elizabethan costume I bought from the English National Opera].
Mum is shoving the ENO dress into her rubbish bag.
‘Mum! That’s Tosca’s costume.’
‘Well, she can either have it back or we chuck it. It’s covered in white powder.’ She rubs her fingers together and wrinkles her nose.
‘It’s plaster of Paris. It glows under UV light.’ I make a snatch for the bottom of the dress but she’s too quick.
‘Why on earth would you want a dress that glowed in the dark?’
‘I use it for fancy dress.’
‘What’s this?’ She holds up a hot-pink leather skirt. ‘Fancy dress too?’
‘No, that’s Harrods’ own brand.’
Don’t forget to write your own mum loving dedication in the front of the book – your mum will be thrilled. Tell her I said hi. Happy Mother’s Day.
You can see the full page, should you be so inclined, here:
Then we enjoyed Taiye Selasi’s beautiful kimono, some delicious stories about Toni Morrison, and a reading from her novel, Ghana Must Go (named after the plastic red and white striped bags Ghanaians often use at airports, and what was shouted at the Ghanaians as they were hounded from Nigeria).
Next up was Thomas Keneally, launching his new book, The Daughters of Mars (which tells the stories of Australian sisters who become frontline nurses during World War I). You know Thomas Keneally? Australian, won the booker in 1982 for Schindler’s Ark… THAT Thomas Keneally. 77 years old, with a robust sense of humour, Keneally read heartrending extracts and revealed he’d been inspired to write in a female voice by the final guest, A.M. Homes.
Homes premiered her new novel, May We Be Forgiven. Her reading was dark and humorous, and punctuated with her own stand up comedy routine tangents. Though she was keen to impress the book is a hefty 203,000 words, I shouldn’t let it put you off.
I love the Shoreditch Literary Salon. It’s a free event, where you can get a free cocktail, and a slice of pizza (if you’re lucky, have sharp elbows and nerves of steel. That pizza is good). You only need to be a member to attend – of the Facebook group, not the club. I know, how cool is that?!
The erudite Damian Barr conducts proceedings with a Manhattan and a healthy dollop of wit. Tuesday night he and the rest of us celebrated the salon’s 4th anniversary. There was cake. It was marvellous. As per usual the room was packed to the rafters, a heady mix of body heat and books. You can’t beat it.
Many authors, including Thomas Keneally, comment on the audience. They use words such as: young, hip, fashionable, and beautiful. And whilst all of those things are true of the crowd (does L’Oreal style hair flick) what they’re really commenting on is how unusual that is. Your traditional book-loving crowd are like the Tamara Drew stereotypes: earnest, older and wearing some form of knitted brown clothing. I don’t wish to be rude or disparaging, but if you’ve attended a number of literary events up and down the country, as I have, you will recognise the ‘type’. Huzzah to the cardigan brigade who embraces the written word and salivates over a beautiful sentence: I salute you. BUT it’s refreshing to know enjoying books is not the preserve of a particular generation, or the elite intelligentsia. Books are trendy, stylish, fabulous and sexy, and all those other words usually reserved for the fashion and lifestyle pages of magazines. Reading is hot. And if that doesn’t deserve a huge chocolate cake of celebration, I don’t know what does.
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