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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.


How's about that then?

Metaliterature - what meaning to have is this for meaning?

Not a review this time, more of a curiosity. It seems I'm receiving lots of hits from Russia (Здравствуйте России!) from people searching for the definition of "metaliterature". As such, it is something of a bespoke word, created to fit a need and probably not yet recognized outside literary theory / criticism circles (Merriam-Webster Online certainly don't like it). I was wondering what they typed in to end up here, so, for fun (it's not fun, sorry) I thought I'd bung it in Google Translate and see what came out. As it turns out, one needs a little hyphen for the rather ponderous machine to understand it, and even then only does half the job (meta seems to be meta in any language). 
Incidentally, below is, ironically, a Google Chrome Thesaurus definition* of "meta":

met·a Adjective/ˈmetə/
(of a creative work) Referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referentialInterestingly (not interesting, sorry) it says this for the full term, t…

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…

Hereward: The Last Englishman by Peter Rex

By all accounts, Hereward was the guerrilla scourge of the invading Norman armies in eleventh century Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, famous for isolating and dismembering members of the Norman nobility who strayed too far from home, and also for trashing Peterborough and hiding on an island. Called variously (and often erroneously) The Wake, The Exile or The Outlaw, his infamy was such that families in search of noble English lineage have usurped his "heroism" for their own glory even until this very day. Rex delights in highlighting one author's particular folly, entitled Hereward, The Saxon Patriot, in which Lieutenant-General Harward attempts to run his antecedents right back to the loins of the eponymous gentleman-rogue. 

Having only read the introduction to Peter Rex's myth-busting (and often ill-edited) work, I was already struck by an initial thought which ran thus: if as Rex asserts Hereward was the son of Asketil Tokison, a descendant of a wealthy Danish family …

A Death In The Family: My Struggle Volume 1 by Karl Ove Knausgaard

I sit here, wearing my limited edition Knausgaard t-shirt, immensely grateful to the kind people at Vintage Books for their surprising gift of the first four novels (and aforementioned t-shirt) simply as a result of being able to post a comment on their YouTube Vlog. There may have been a hidden agenda, considering I'm a book blogger (What, interrobang, a book blogger, interrobang and so on...) but I prefer to believe they picked me at random. Because I'm ace. 
Nonetheless, I had no idea what to expect of these books. I did do a little reading, and found lots of very interesting articles about Karl Ove Knausgaard, including this entertaining one in the Wall Street Journal. But in all honesty, nothing prepared me for reading them, and I can see why they cause controversy and consternation wherever they are translated (which is pretty much everywhere).
First off, being intelligent and perspicacious readers as I trust you all to be, you will no doubt have spotted the whole Godwin&#…