Tag Archives: fiction

New Fiction Review: ‘Acorn’ by Yoko Ono

12 Aug

Frankie just finished reading ‘Acorn’, a book of instructional pieces by conceptual art extraordinaire Yoko Ono. S/he thought this:

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Yoko’s great. Really, she knows what she’s doing. Her ideas are interesting, she’s clearly quite well read and well informed, she’s an intense and acute observationist, and she’s as much a presence on paper as she is in person. She’s an extraordinary artist, and no one needs reminding. But she’s not my artist. She doesn’t speak to me, she doesn’t resonate, she barely inspires a ripple in my imagination.

And that’s not to say that I don’t have imagination; I make songs, I make collages, I have an investment in art-making and conceptual thinking. But I’m also a pretty standard young person: barely any money, still unsure what I’m willing to do as a real job, concerned about the way I look and how others perceive me, inspired by various Westernisms and very much an urbanite. I’ve been toughened by the city, toughened by a fairly working-class upbringing, toughened by having to deal with assholes on a near-daily basis, toughened by being an unsigned, unloved musician, toughened by club and drug culture, toughened toughened toughened, made bitter, twisted, cynical, unbearable, and pissed off to the max (and yes, that’s everyone else’s fault, actually). Continue reading

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New Fiction Review: ‘The Herbalist’ by Niamh Boyce

11 Jul

herby

Rating: ★★★☆☆

I won my copy of ‘The Herbalist’ through a Goodreads First Reads competition and was immediately struck by how much the cover looked like that of ‘Call the Midwife’. I don’t believe this choice was accidental. The texts share a common thread; both novels are historical fictions that pertain to women’s bodies, and both have a heavy religious presence.

‘The Herbalist’ is the story of a small group of women in 1930s Ireland. It details how the seemingly trivial appearance of a charming foreigner, who enters their market square one day to pedal his miraculous wares, changes their lives forever. It’s a novel about social convention, secrecy and seduction. Each woman is faces with her own choice to make and burden to bear, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Continue reading

Six Word Stories

1 Jul

Hello readers! I don’t know if I’m mentioned this before (I have), but I work in the coolest bookshop ever. As this week is Independent Booksellers Week, I thought it might be a good time to remind you all.

This was a customer testing our pens.

A couple of weeks ago, my colleague and I were discussing the concept of the six word story. For example, Ernest Hemingway is (incorrectly) believed to have once said that his best work was a story he wrote in just six words:

‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’

And yeah, it’s pretty spooky. But we thought we could do better, so we took to Twitter to rally some would-be writers. Here are my six favourite responses.

Continue reading

Ten Books that Should Have be Written

17 Jun

I’m always saying how authors should be writing less alienating female characters, or improving their inclusion of minorities, or just generally writing, say, better vampire fiction. For his 100 Days project, graphic designer Tyler Adam Smith has come up with his own concepts for books that should be, or should have been, written. I’ve put together my top ten – publishing houses, take note.

Continue reading

Why Do Vampires Suck Now?

21 Jun

I can’t be the only girl who spend her adolescence reading Anne Rice and Bram Stoker, equally lusting over Lestat and shuddering at Dracula. But the state of vampire fiction is a sad one indeed. I’ve read the first Twilight, and the eighth book from the Morganville Vampire Chronicles (it was for a review, I swear), but I don’t get it. I don’t see what’s happened. Vampires are supposed to be repulsive. They should smell like quicklime and soil and want your gross tampons. Failing that, they should be clever and handsome and look like Brad Pitt. They shouldn’t sparkle or eat tacos or take Math.

Here is what I think should be included in vampire fiction to make it engaging again:

  • A vampire who meets some avid Twilight fans (fanpires?) and cheerfully bites off their heads, because that’s what vampires do.
  • A vampire with OCD. In old myths, scattering small items like rice or salt into a vampire’s path caused him to spend hell of time counting the exact number before trying to eat you again. This is probably why Count von Count is so educational.
  • A vampire that can change into a mosquito or a leech THAT WAY YOU CAN SQUISH HIM.
  • A vampire that does not want to date a sixteen-year-old because frankly, you shouldn’t even date sixteen-year-olds outside of your teens so being 200-years-old it’s clearly out of the question.
  • A vampire that is corpulent. Why are they all so fit? They gorge on pints of blood every night.
  • A vampire who FIGHTS CRIME! Oh boy!
  • A vampire with an addiction to Italian food who cries every five pages because he can’t eat garlic bread.
  • A vampire who is thwarted by means of a sunbed. He is named Darque Tan, because children ran.

I am always in the market for a good vampire novel, so if you think I am being too harsh and that good contemporary vampy fic still exists, recommend me some in the comments! [If you’re just gonna recommend My Immortal, though, I’ve already read it and clearly Tara Gilesbie is an unrivaled genius of prose]