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Free Stuff!

We all love free things.

Sadly I have none to give away. Hey, I'm just your average, lowly, poorly paid reader-type, easily bought off with shiny goodies or the promise of a job where I don't have to use tools like the toe-jam brush or come home smelling like rotting beef carcasses. 


Washing and stamping beef carcasses (3718635976)
It's quitting time!
However, if you should ever find yourself with a stack of brand-new proofs, or books you've just released, you know, super-lead titles, future prize-winning fiction, classic sci-fi novels and so forth, then, rather than wasting them on booksellers and wholesalers (cos they'll just use them to prop open fire doors) you should consider giving them a home they will love. Failing that, send them to me. 

You can get in touch through the comments below, via Twitter or by sending me a polite and fawning email. I'll do the rest. Except of course for mailing the book, which you'll still have to do.

Now, the disclaimer thingamabobs.

  • Any books sent to me to read and review will be done so at the sender's cost
  • I cannot possibly promise to read and review every book I receive, but I will try to provide a credit to every book and sender somewhere on these pages.
  • I cannot possibly promise to give your book a good or positive review. I haven't read it yet. I will try to look at the good points, and constructively criticise the bad bits, within my abilities so to do. If you are afraid I won't like it, and will post a scathing review, take heart - I'm much too soft to do that. Please refer to the Kurt Vonnegut quote about suits of armour etc. - it's at the end of the review.
  • If you have a time-frame for a review, please let me know from the outset, as otherwise I might be too distracted by biscuits or football to notice things like publishing dates, mass media advertising campaigns and so forth.


I'm just a sucker for a good story. So send me yours.


Comments

How's about that then?

Selected Holiday Reading - The In-Betweeners Abroad

I always try to travel light, a goal, something with which those among you with bookish leanings will empathise, that is challenging for someone intending to do as much reading as they can whilst ignoring as much culture and scenery as is possible. So huzzah and indeed hurrah for the generic e-book reader and its market competitors. Ten years ago I would likely have suffered a paroxysm of disgust for any apologist of the hated technology. Now, it seems, I must take one everywhere I go for more than one night.



The trip to which I am coming, an August sojourn by ferry to Santander and then by VW through Calabria, the Basque country, and north through Aquitaine, Poitou-Charente, Pays de la Loire and Bretagne, was a chance to get some serious reading under the belt. Twelve days of driving, drinking, books and beaches. The only 'real' books that made the trip were The Vagabond's Breakfast, of which more anon, and All The Days And Nights which, as I was on a deadline, I quickly …

Under The Dust by Jordi Coca

So, wheel of fortune, count to 29, pin the tail, freebies off of peeps on Twitter etc. etc. Whatever the methods sometimes employed to pick the next book in my intertextual experience, the one that brought me to Jordi Coca brought me to a whopping great slice of nostalgia. Before I'd even opened it, it brought to mind Richard Gwyn, himself a published poet, author, biographer, translator and course director of the MA Creative Writing course at Cardiff University, who I recall for some odd reason gently encouraging me to read this novel, and by whose own work I was quietly impressed at the time. He was also an advocate of Roberto Bolaño, another writer in whose work I can immerse myself but from which I emerge drained, as mentioned previously. Before that, though, there is this sticker on the front, declaring 'Signed by the Author at Waterstone's'. It is indeed signed by Jordi Coca, not adding any particular intrinsic value to the book, not for me anyway, but more impor…

The One from the Other by Philip Kerr

Philip Kerr is an author I have been reluctant to attempt to review for some time. His Berlin Noir trilogy cost me some hours of sleeplessness and in the end I decided to skip a review and just be happy to have read it and therefore move it from the pile of unread novels, via the edge of my desk where the “to review” pile occasionally falls over on to the typewriter and spills my pen pot across the floor and thus causes significant risks when stumbling blindly about the room at night too drunk to remember where my bed is or having just been jolted awake by the boy shrieking from the next room and running asleep into walls and doors, to the back half of my giant Ikea bookcase where novels that have been read and have caused my self-esteem to shatter on the diamond-hard edges of someone else’s talent currently reside, gathering dust and moisture until hitting the mildew tipping point and becoming physically dangerous in their own right. This awesome crew consists mainly of Will Self, Jo…

Hannah Green And Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence by Michael Marshall Smith

I was sold this book by Simon at the Big Green Bookshop in return for the money it cost plus a small donation towards operating costs and postage. 

In truth, I'd forgotten it was on its way, and it was a fucking lovely surprise when it arrived at my desk in work, my letterbox at the time being a tad short on width and breadth and unlikely to admit a hardback plus packaging. I recall very much enjoying reading Michael Marshall Smith, and I also enjoyed re-reading him, recently, and I documented this here, here and here. This was a book for which I hadn't realised I'd been waiting for a long time. 

However, had I not the history and warm, cosy feelings safely tucked up in the nostalgia bank, I would probably not have picked this up, going solely on the cover. There's a clock, the silhouette of a small girl, and leaves, along with a colour contrast and meandering font which brought to mind something cringe-worthily reminiscent of Alexander McCall-Smith*, or the covers of Sc…