Posted by: billpurdue | April 23, 2010

96 Awards and bargain books

Book Awards

The shortlist for the Orange Prize has just been announced. This is the UK’s  annual book award for fiction written exclusively by women and this year it celebrates its 15th anniversary. Included in the shortlist of six books is The Very Thought of You [Alma Books £7.99 978-1846881008] by Rosie Alison, a story of eight-year-old Anna Sands who is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate run by a childless couple.  Click here for the Guardian review. (Presumably the title is from the song recorded by Nat King Cole, Billie Holliday and others). Also on the list is the first novel in nine years by US author Barbara Kingsolver, called The Lacuna [Faber and Faber £18.99 978-0571252633]. Click here for the review in the Independent. This is a novel told through the diaries and memoirs of a fictional character, Harrison Shepherd, who meets Frida Kahlo and  Leon Trotsky.

Surprise Orange contender

I’m quite intrigued by the special one-off “Lost Man Booker Prize” which was announced in February. In 1971, the Booker Prize ,as it was then, ceased to be awarded retrospectively and was subsequently awarded to the best novel published in the past 12 months. Also the date of the award was moved from April to November and so a whole host of titles published in 1970 missed out on being nominated.

The new longlist of titles published in 1970 totals 22 books which are still available today. It includes many well known authors such as H E Bates, Len Deighton, Melvyn Bragg, David Lodge, Iris Murdoch (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature recently), Ruth Rendell and Brian Aldiss. The shortlist of six has now been announced and they are:

Troubles by J G Farrell (Phoenix)
The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard (Virago)
Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault (Arrow)
The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark (Penguin)
The Vivisector by Patrick White (Vintage)

I have to say I’m not familiar with any of these titles, so the winner might be a sort of forgotten gem being given the recognition it never got when it first came out. I’ll be keen to know which of the above is the winner – this will be announced on May 19th.

Bargain books

Do you know of an online bookstore where all titles are priced at £3.75 including postage?  If you do, then the chances are that you have already visited Green Metropolis which aims to recycle books (slogan “Where books grow trees”), not by pulping them, but by finding someone else who would like to read them.  To sell your books, or buy books advertised on the site ,you first need to register which costs nothing. You can then buy books or you can offer some of your own for sale, simply by entering the ISBN, which is the number next to the bar code on the back of the book cover.

You get £3.00 for every book sold. Five pence is donated to the Woodland Trust to plant more trees, so it’s even more environmentally friendly. It’s your responsibility to send the book to the purchaser: Green Metropolis emails you to tell you who to post it to. For each standard paperback sold, you get  £3, but if you are selling a larger book, you can add an additional sum to cover your  postage costs.

Green Metropolis even has a three for two offer which sellers can choose to participate in. They also have a “meet the author” section on their website where each week you can watch and listen to a different  author talking about one of their books.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I might just give it a go.


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