Monthly Archives: April 2014

Ghosts (1) – Jennie Erdal and Naim Attallah


Recently we read an excellent long essay by Andrew O’Hagan in The London Review of Books (Vol 36 no. 5) about his attempt to work with Julian Assange on his autobiography. This brought to mind another ghost who in 2004 after being hidden for almost 20 years made a very public revelation of her ghosting in a book of the same name.

Continue reading Ghosts (1) – Jennie Erdal and Naim Attallah

‘Writing is Easy’ on Goodkindles

good_kindle_books                 Writing-is-Easy

A blurb for Writing is Easy has appeared on Goodkindles (

Writing is Easy is for you if you love to laugh, love to read, love to write and love to eat. Marcus the egotistical best-seller author, Lester, his blackmailing secretary, Lilian, the Gertrude Stein lookalike performance poet and John, the fitness fanatic who doesn’t believe in drinking fluids or in sitting down, are just some of the members of a writing workshop at a gourmet country retreat . Will Marcus succeed in killing Lester before he divulges Marcus’ guilty secret? Will John convince stout, lazy Lilian to be the guinea pig for his book Superhuman Fitness in 26 days? Will the would-be crime writer Rex shake off his obsession with Raymond Chandler’s  dames? Will Andrew, the anal-retentive, chef, get through the seven days of the retreat without strangling someone?
I imagine the book is funny enough, wrote one reviewer, but anyone who has ever tried to write, or has ever taken any interest in the nuts and bolts of literature, will find it particularly delicious. Talking of delicious, I must just mention the food and drink again: I’m sure you could put on a few pounds just by reading this – you’ll see what I mean if you do.


Leacock Medal for Humor 2014

Humour-seekers may be interested in following up the nominees for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal, awarded annually for the most humorous book of the year by a Canadian (details at   They are:  Arthur Black, Jane Christmas, Bill Conall, Wayne Johnston and Steve Smith.  The Camino being the hot topic it is,  Jane Christmas may be familiar from a previous book  What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim: A Mid-Life Misadventure on Spain’s Camino de Santiago de Compostela (2007).

Let’s hope they’re even half as funny as the great Leacock. Does anyone read him any more?

Gert’s writing room, Knausgaard and Finnegans Wake in Mandarin

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A description of Gert’s writing room appears on The Next Best Book Blog

Our mate Karl Ove Knausgaard heads the shortlist for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize:

And the first print-run (8000 copies) of a Chinese translation of the first third of ‘Finnegans Wake’  has sold out within a month, propelled by a massive billboard campaign on buildings and freeways throughout China, The London Review of Books (April 3) reports. But it might be a while before avid Chinese readers get their hands on the rest. When asked when it would appear,  the translator, Dai Congrong, said, ‘May God give me the courage to finish it.’