Just in time to help with any festive gift-giving, here’s a bumper Unsung Letter, highlighting the contributors of this year, and letting you know what they’ve been up to since their letters were published. The spirit of the letter itself is to highlight living writers with books you can read, so in the showcase you’ll find handy links to works and stories, along with plenty of seasonal gifs to make you feel cosy (even if outside it’s dismal. Or sunny)
Read the whole thing here (bring a warm beverage, it’s a long one)
Or sign up here for The Unsung Letter, a weekly missive on an underpraised book by a living author, written by a writer/book lover each time.
(the finished cover!)
(it’s all scuffy-looking in real life, which I love)
My debut novel Flesh of the Peach is now available to access on Netgalley, an online service that allows publishers to grant early access to their titles to the people who might read it and promote it to others. That means if you’r a reviewer, bookseller, librarian or journalist, you can request a title before it makes it to the shops. Here’s the link to Flesh of the Peach. Review copies have started going out, so I have thrown myself into my work in order not to think about that much at all (I still do). If you’re a bookseller and think you might like to have me read, please get in touch (hlmcclory at gmail). I’m fond of it, and I can go wherever there’s a cheap flight or bus and a friendly face at the other end waiting for me.
It’s March and still cold and grim here, so I don’t have many pictures to show you. I hope I will go outside for longer stretches, and then have something green to share. I dream of flowers. One way to fulfil the need for blooms is to follow writer Alyssa Harad’s #FlowerReport every Sunday on her Twitter feed. Flowers from all over the world, showing it’s always Spring and Summer somewhere, even if that somewhere is a vase on an indoor shelf.
As soon as I see something more than a sorrowful bent-over daffodil I’ll share it with her.
As a reminder, the book launches in Blackwell’s Edinburgh on the 25th of April. Tickets are free and available here.
Flesh of the Peach‘s pub day is the 20th of April, and you can pre-order now from Freight, which is a good way to support the press directly.
An excerpt from Flesh of the Peach appeared in 3AM Press (back before the character’s name changed) and Sundog Lit.
I know that lots of literary sites and blogs are putting up their Best Of 2012 lists about now but I am in resistance! The year is not over til those bells chime on Hogmanay. With that resolution in heart, Endless Reads 2012 continues into December. So far I have read Somewhere (which I will review shortly) and I’m closing in on 1Q84. After that, the titles above, so thoughtfully complimentary coloured:
The Missing Shade of Blue by Jennie Erdal, a philosophical mystery published by Abacus – the title comes from a philosophical problem posed by David Hume regarding the conception of a colour you have never seen (it’s a bit complicated to explain so here’s the wiki). It’s set in Edinburgh, which makes it I think the only first-read of the year set in my own city (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was a welcome re-read).
The Light and The Dark by Mikhail Shishkin (Quercus) is a book that has not yet been released and that I have acquired through the generosity of Blackwell’s on South Bridge’s Christmas Book Quiz. D and I inadvertently showed up when the quiz was starting, and decided to join in, though D was there do some preparatory work for an interview and is not overly interested in contemporary fiction. Our team, Book Shaped Heart, came 8th out of 11, which was not too shabby considering the difficulty level. Because it was Christmas, everyone who participated had the chance to choose a book from a few boxes set up in the back and this was my choice – from the blurb on the back it seems to be a kind of Russian literary version of the film The Lakehouse. Which I haven’t seen because Romantic films aren’t really my thing. But! The book might be anything, really.
The Last title is Another Country by Anjali Joseph (Fourth Estate). This was sent to me by a friend, and the author is a friend of his. It’s about a woman in her twenties living in Paris, London and Bombay. I have high hopes – it was savaged in The Telegraph for being (shock horror) more about character than plot, and seems to focus on un-belonging and rootlessness which I think I will enjoy.
Whether I will get through all of these titles before the bells remains to be seen, but I’m going to have a good time trying. They’re all newly published (or in the case of the second, unpublished) so I’m still keeping to my promise of reading new, vibrant things. What will Endless Reads 2013 bring? I haven’t decided yet. Should I have a theme? Would that be too artificial? What would you like to see?