Brian Bilston has decided to write a poem every day for a year while he tries to repair his ever-desperate life. His ex-wife has taken up with a new man, a marketing guru and motivational speaker who seems to be disturbingly influencing his son, Dylan. Meanwhile Dylan’s football team keeps being beaten 0–11, as he stands disconsolately on the wing waiting vainly to receive the ball. At work Brian is drowning in a sea of spreadsheets and is becoming increasingly confused by the complexities of modern communication and management jargon. So poetry will be his salvation. But can Brian’s poetry save him from Toby Salt, his arch nemesis in the Poetry Group and potential rival suitor to Brian’s new poetic inspiration, Liz? Worst of all Toby has announced that boutique artisan publishing house Shooting from the Hip will be publishing his first collection, titled This Bridge No Hands Shall Cleft, in the autumn. And when he goes missing Brian is inevitably the number one suspect.
Part tender love story, part murder mystery, part coruscating description of a wasted life, and interspersed with some of the funniest poems about the mundane and the profound, Diary of a Somebody is the most original novel you will read this year.
PUBLISHED BY PICADOR
They often say you need to find the right book at the right time, and this is exactly how I felt whilst listening to this book on audio. I was in need of light relief and a book that would make me laugh and smile, and this did exactly that and I loved every minute of it!
Following the trials and tribulations of the character ‘Brian’ on a daily basis, you get a glimpse inside the life of a man who is struggling with work, struggling with family issues and struggling to focus on his writing career! He is easily distracted by the going on in the world, the world of Twitter, the inability of leaving a bookshop with just one book, and will find comfort in eating a custard cream or 6!! I know that feeling well!
He’s dealing with his ex wife and how she’s moving on with her life in the arms of a new man, whilst also trying to be the best part time dad he can to his son Dylan. Throw into the mix the trauma of work related issues, and the rivalry at poetry club with Toby, and I just found this full of great cultural references and so quirky and engaging that it was just delightful to listen to! It was brilliantly read to and all the characters brought to life so well by the narrator which really helped.
As Toby goes missing the spotlight falls on Brian as to whether he might have been involved and he’d share his daily thoughts in a poem or two and this mix of poetry and story telling was an exciting way to tell the story, and he even starts playing detective to get to the bottom of the missing Toby!
This was so much fun and I really connected with the sense of humour and was a real treat of a listen so if you’re looking for a fun and quirky story, then look no further!
In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .
Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?
I’ve loved discovering translated Japanese fiction this year so had high hopes for this to be another quirky reading experience, but for some reason it just didn’t feel as magical to me as I hoped it would! It has all the elements of a mysterious cafe and time travelling experiences but it just fell a little flat for me and I didn’t feel connected with it as I’d hoped.
Set in a basement cafe set off the beaten track, it’s a story that follows a few characters as they find themselves there for whatever reason as they’ve heard of this ‘legend’ that if you sit in a certain seat in the cafe, you can be transported back in time to meet someone from your past. There are a number of very important rules that need to be followed for it to work but that doesn’t put off these characters as they are desperate to go back to have one more moment in a certain point in their life – but the present cannot change. Call it the butterfly effect if you will.
There are some very emotional and poignant reasons for wanting to go back – from a woman who let a love walk out of her life, to a woman losing her husband to alzheimers – and reading their stories makes you understand why they wanted to go back. And what it shows is that going back alters their mindset – maybe things happened for a reason and you are left thinking that sometimes things are just meant to be and to happen in the way they did.
I did enjoy this story and it was quite enlightening but I did find at times it felt more like I was reading a play script as the flow just wasn’t there throughout. A sweet read.
My thanks to Picador and Netgalley for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.
When George Hills was pulled from the wreck of the steamship Admella, he carried with him memories of a disaster that claimed the lives of almost every other soul on board. Almost every other soul.
Because as he clung onto the wreck, George wasn’t alone: someone else – or something else – kept George warm and bound him to life. Why didn’t he die, as so many others did, half-submerged in the freezing Southern Ocean? And what happened to his fellow survivor, the woman who seemed to vanish into thin air?
George will live out the rest of his life obsessed with finding the answers to these questions. He will marry, father children, but never quite let go of the feeling that something else came out of the ocean that day, something that has been watching him ever since. The question of what this creature might want from him – his life? His first-born? To simply return home? – will pursue him, and call him back to the ocean again.
Blending genres, perspectives and worlds, Jane Rawson’s From the Wreck – winner of the Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel- is a chilling and tender story about how fiercely we cling to life, and how no-one can survive on their own.
Bonkers but enthralling!! My kind of book!! It’s one of those books that you are never really sure where the story is going to take you, but you’ll have fun figuring it all out and making sense of it all while you’re in the heads of these wonderful characters, and just enjoying the pure escapism and emotion of it all – enjoy the ride!
The main character is George and he is reliving his extraordinary encounter with a woman who kept him alive on a shipwreck – and who promptly disappeared afterwards and he can’t shake her from his mind. It affects his day to day life as he tries to track her down as he is convinced there is more to her than meets the eye! It charts his marriage and time as a father and we also get the story from one of his son’s point of view – Henry – who has a rather strange birthmark , and a very strange relationship with it!!
It’s a curious mix of historical fiction and science fiction, but works so well as the Author has great fun and freedom with taking a real life event and adding a totally unique spin on things and playing with the emotions of a man who had survived a traumatic event but was left with so many unanswered questions and just couldn’t settle or appreciate his life until he got the answers he was looking for. The struggles he had with coming to terms with what happened to him was clear to see and the fact that he couldn’t really explain his experience what he went through really added to his trauma and showed just how much he needed to make sense of it all.