Compulsive Reader

The Compulsive Reader News
Volume 18, Issue 12, 2 December 2017


New Reviews at Compulsive Reader
Literary News
Competition News
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Coming soon

Hello readers. Happy last month of the year. Here is the latest batch of reviews:

A review of Plane Tree Drive by Lynette Washington

Lynette Washington is s-o-o-o-o-o good at this. She first prepares you with just the necessary brush strokes and then really delivers. All so clever, so unexpected, so unique and the more I read, the more I want. This is addictive reading at its best. Read more:

A review of 81 Migrations by W.K. Buckley

Rich and sweeping, Coined words are coins, Everything has a glint to it—even sound is lush—I want to crawl in the poems, A review of them (the poems, the book) could only be a poem itself. Read more:

Spotlight on Faber & Sarah Menary

Menary’s road to this prominent role with the Academy has been a long one, the provenance of which can be traced right back to Menary’s childhood where, as a child of seven or eight she already possessed a burning passion for writing and one that she largely kept hidden. ‘It was a very covert pleasure, because I didn’t get much validation at home for that, it was all about academic, getting a secure career, that sort of thing.’ Read more:

A review of Fairly Equal: Lawyering the Feminist Revolution by Linda Silver Dranoff

As part of the “second wave” women’s movement, Ms Silver Dranoff has helped elevate Canadian women from second class citizenship to a position that is “fairly equal” to men – although there is still more to be done. Read more:

A review of The Diary of Esther Small 1886 edited and transcribed by Sarah Sousa

Sousa was not simply intrigued. She was invested. She deciphered the entries, sleuthed the cemetery records and censuses, and extensively researched nineteenth century women’s diaries, as evidenced in her luminous afterword on the subject. Surpassing the role of transcriber of Small’s logbook, Sousa became conservator and steward of the archive of her daily life. Read more:

A review of Kilted Yoga by Finlay Wilson

Because the text is minimal and the pictures large, it’s easy to follow along, especially if you’ve done yoga before. It might be a little trickier for absolute beginners, although none of the poses are particularly complex. The book can also be used as inspiration, as a way of adding to an existing practice with a few new poses, meditations or visualisations. All in all, Kilted Yoga is a bonny wee resource to help anyone get the most out of a regular yoga practice. Read more:

A review of And Then I Am Gone by Mathias B Freese

Not only do Freese and I concur on how a psychotherapist best engages with a client, but our approach to writing books also bisects. I too write to try to understand myself, indeed without outlines or a rigid plot structure. I daresay he would nod eagerly in understanding that your characters, given the chance, tell the story for you if you’ll listen to them, and in a more honest, exciting way. Read more:

A review of Missing Christina by Meredith Whitford

Whitford effortlessly interacts her characters along with their assorted baggage across many oceans and towards the inevitable discovery of their mother’s past. Along the way a realistic account is set within these families’ boundaries and excellently detailing every aspect of domestic interaction. But what about this secret? I’m not impatient, just tantalised and compelled to find out. Chapter 13 draws me into Whitford’s net and from now on my curiosity holds no limits as now the story darkens. Read more:

An interview with Lex Hirst

Hirst enjoys the liaison aspect of her role, assisting to demystify much of what can be an opaque industry for authors while also finding burgeoning talent. ‘I think that it’s helpful and part of the reason I do go to events and chat to people, is to try and help people get an idea of who the publishing houses are here and how the system works and try to make that a bit clearer.’ Read more:

A review of The Night The Penningtons Vanished by Marianna Huesler

Discourse between the characters is credible, believable and plausible as the girls wrangle among themselves, tussle with Aunt Tallulah and seemingly snag setups, circumstances and explanations out of the air to describe what is happening. Heusler’s capability for portrayal, scene setting and elucidation serves her well, The reader is drawn right into settings: we see the frightening, feel the cold, and taste the bitterness. The storyline is well plotted, moves along from first pages to final paragraphs without problem, and culminates with a satisfying conclusion. Read more:

All of the reviews listed above available at The Compulsive Reader on the front page. Older reviews are kept indefinitely in our extensive (and growing) categorized archives (currently at 2,178!), which can be browsed or searched from the front page of the site.



In the literary news this month, finalists have been named in 15 categories for the 12th annual Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, which were created to “celebrate the extraordinary quality of Irish writing, to help bring the best books to a wider readership annually, and to promote an industry under severe competitive pressures.” Winners will be announced November 28 at a gala ceremony in Dublin, where David Walliams will receive the 2017 Bord Gáis Energy International Recognition Award “in recognition of his significant contribution to children’s literature in the past decade.” Check out the complete Irish Book Awards shortlists for fiction and nonfiction here:

The winners of the 2017 Kirkus Prize, sponsored by Kirkus Reviews, are: Fiction: What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah (Riverhead), Nonfiction: The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis (Liveright/Norton), and Young Readers’ Literature: The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline (DCB). Each winner receives $50,000.

Éric Vuillard won the 2017 Prix Goncourt, the most prestigious French book award, for L’Ordre du Jour, “a historical work about shady business dealings behind the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938,” the New York Times reported. The book will be translated in the U.S. under the title The Order of the Day and published by Other Press in November of 2018. Publisher Judith Gurewich said she had acquired the rights because it “feels like a retroactive replay of how power gets stolen when blackmailers and thugs are in the running.”

Finalists have been named for the Waterstones Book of the Year award, the British bookstore chain’s “annual endeavor to… share with our customers the titles which most celebrate what books can do, in all their lasting pleasure.” The traditional six titles have been increased to seven this year because “no matter how we tried–we just couldn’t decide on fewer than seven. It’s been a stunner of a year.” A winner, chosen by a Waterstones panel headed by managing director James Daunt, will be announced November 30. The shortlisted titles are: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One by Philip Pullman, Mr. Lear by Jenny Uglow, Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis, A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge, and The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.

Nominees have been announced for the €100,000 (about $115,980) International Dublin Literary Award, which honors a work of fiction published in English. The 150 nominations for 2018 include 48 novels in translation and authors from 40 countries. Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad received the most nominations this year, chosen by 15 libraries, in Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Sweden and the U.S. The shortlist will be released in April, and a winner named June 13. Check out the complete longlist here:

Tony Birch has won the 2017 Patrick White Literary Award, honoring an author who has “has made an ongoing contribution to Australian literature, but who may not have received due recognition.” Established by Patrick White with the proceeds of his 1973 Nobel Prize for Literature, the award is worth A$20,000 (about US$15,170). Birch is the first indigenous writer to win the prize, the Sydney Morning Herald wrote, and is the author of four books of short stories, a book of poetry, and two novels, “the first of which, Blood, was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin award, and the second, Ghost River, last year won the Victorian Premier’s award for Indigenous writing.”

The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam has won the 2017 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. He received the $25,000 prize and award at the Dhaka Lit Fest in Bangladesh. (The book was published in the U.S. by Flatiron Books.) The organizers commented: “Told in meditative, nuanced and powerful prose, this shattering novel marks the arrival of an extraordinary new literary voice.” And speaking for the jury, Ritu Menon said, “The novel is impressive for its intensity and rich detail, and for exploring the tragic heart of war with such quiet eloquence. It is also a testament to the redemptive power of love, and to the human spirit’s capacity for hope.”

Michael Redhill was awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize and its attendant C$100,000 purse for his novel Bellevue Square (Doubleday Canada) on November 20. It is the 24th year the prize, which is one of Canada’s most prestigious literary honors, was awarded. The other five finalists received C$10,000 each. To read more about the prize, Bellevue Square and about the shortlisted authors, visit:

Shortlists for the 2017 Costa Book Awards have been released. Category winners, who each receive £5,000 (about $6,620), will be announced January 2, with the overall £30,000 (about $39,715) Costa Book of the Year winner named January 30. The nominees for fiction include Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor, Under a Pole Star by Stef Penney, Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie, and Tin Man by Sarah Winman. For the full list visit:

The winners of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards have been announced. They include, for fiction, Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill, for poetry, Headwaters by Anthony Lawrence, for nonfiction, Quicksilver by Nicolas Rothwell, for Australian history, Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story by Elizabeth Tynan, for young adult, Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley and for children’s, Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr and Home in the Rain by Bob Graham.

Have a great month!



Congratulations to Leonie Wellard, who won a copy of Come Rain or Shine by Tricia Stringer.

Our new site giveaway is for copy of Appalachian Fall by Jennifer Maiden. For more details on the book visit:

To enter the giveaway, send me an email at with the subject line “Appalachian Fall” and your postal address.

Good luck everybody!



How I Got to Yesterday a Fictionalized Memoir

By Paul Sedlock

A powerful and reflective fictional memoir detailing 40 years in the life of a functioning alcoholic. When does denial end and acceptance begin?

”Sedlock’s prose (especially when evoking childhood) is as sharp, glittering, and dead-on as the edges of a broken bottle”.


The Trilogy – The Other Book Of God

Do you know the only book of God?

My Books are not autobiographies. They are not memoir either. To be honest my life is not that interesting, but I have had a lot of interesting Experiences. “Word of Wisdom,” “Word of Knowledge” and “Discerning of Spirits” are my Gifts from God. From them I See Truth and Read People and Situations. I also See the Lessons in the Situations. “In Search Of My Soul Mate,” “Love Affair” and “Heart Of The Matter” came together for “The Trilogy.”

“In Search Of My Soul Mate” and “Love Affair” will always be Free Downloads at my Website:



We will shortly be featuring reviews of These Wild Houses by Omar Sakr, Lola Berry’s Beauty Food, 4321 by Paul Auster, Missing Christina by Meredith Whitford, Bleeding Hearts by Josh Aterovis, an interview with Heart of the Warrior’s C.R. Richards, and lots more reviews, news, interviews, and giveaways.

Don’t forget to drop by The Compulsive Reader talks (see widget on right hand side of the site) or at to listen to the latest interview with Jessica Townsend, who reads from and talks about her book Nevermoor. To listen, visit the show page or you can listen directly from the site widget (right hand side of the site).

You can also subscribe to the show via iTunes and get updates automatically. Just find us under podcasts by searching for Compulsive Reader. Then just click subscribe.


(c) 2017 Magdalena Ball. Nothing in this newsletter may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher, however reprint rights are readily available. Please feel free to forward this newsletter in its entirety.

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