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One part of the show, the first hour, is devoted to discussing the 'book of the week', to which end I am reading 'The Collected Works of AJ Fikry' by Gabrielle Zevin. Apparently an earlier incarnation was titled The Storied Life of AJ Fikry and went out as an ARC, so marketing has obviously been playing about with this one right up to the wire. It's a book about a book shop owner and a sales rep and I have to confess I approached the whole exercise thinking it a highly cynical gambit to get into the good book into reps' good books. But then that probably speaks more to my cynicism than Gabrielle's. How it turned out in the end is something you'll have to tune in to find out.
Having done lots of book clubby talky things, as well as having had a number of reviews one way or another, I know how it can feel to meet readers' and reviewers' opinions head on. It doesn't particularly bother me, I'm not one of those sensitive artistic souls who quiver as if struck by hammer-blows at every word that isn't fulsome praise. Once you put a work out there for review, you're gonna get it - informed, uninformed, insightful, drive-by - the whole gamut. And so it is with reviewing books for TOB - I feel the best thing to do is just get on with it and be honest about what I felt as a reviewer. That is, funnily enough, somewhat different to what you felt about it as a reader, because you don't normally read books with having to talk about them on radio for an hour in mind, so you end up looking for things you may not have been quite so cognisant of when you're reading purely for pleasure.
Or something like that.
We're also going to be talking poetry, specifically Lebanese poetess Zeina Hashem Beck being discussed with Frank Dullaghan. It's no secret I am much enamoured of the city Beirut and Zeina's poetry brings it to vibrant, visceral life.
Other than that, life's quiet on the book front and right now that's just how I want it...