Compulsive Reader

The Compulsive Reader News
Volume 19, Issue 1, 1 January 2017

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Hello readers. Happy new year! Can you believe we’re in our 19th year! Here is the latest batch of reviews:

A review of Earthly Remains by Donna Leon

Ranging from downtrodden pensioners to wealthy villa owners to ineptly corrupt bureaucrats, Leon’s secondary characters lead Brunetti through complex situations imbued with Italian history and passion, but often tainted by modern Italy’s ineffectual political system. Read more:

Writing in Uncertain Times at The Wollongong Writers Festival

The Writing In Uncertain Times event at The Wollongong Writers Festival featured an amazing panel of commissioning editor for PRH, Lex Hirst, rapper and poet Omar Musa, author and screenwriter, Amal Awad and debut novelist, Daniel Findlay. The event concluded to this year’s festival and author, reviewer and interviewer Samuel Elliot was there to cover it. Read more:

A review of Wherever We Mean to Be by Robyn Sarah

What is most inspiring is how the poet appears to be in complete comfort with her own solace, how the poems span a whole private cosmos that is utterly in touch and at one with itself. The most solitary poems, the ones that take the speaker for a walk through a city or a dirt path, or a church yard or a garden, always remind one of how important it is to spend time alone, getting to know your own universe. Read more:

A review of I Don’t Want to Know Anyone Too Well by Norman Levine

Lives in these stories never turn out as expected, but they do have the accomplish, the finish, of a life that feels real; sometimes to the point of unbearable pain. Whether it be an old friend that the protagonist bumps into that he can’t connect with, or a father whom he wishes not to be similar to in anyway, for his lack of power, these characters resonate with the human flicker of reality; the chaos that lurks behind the ordinary lives of strangers. Read more:

The Sum of Our Parts: A review of It’s Not Yet Dark by Simon Fitzmaurice

Fitzmaurice wrote with the sensibility of a filmmaker. He blends past recollections, present conditions and future possibilities in a moving kaleidoscope of connectivity regarding one’s influences, hopes and realities that seems always to be present instead of distant and reflective. Read more:

A review of A Jarful of Moonlight by Nazanin Mirsadeghi

All poems are reflective of universal human experiences. The poems are short and uncomplicated. Mirsadeghi shares poems on self and eros love, friendship, sadness, longing, pain, heartbreak, and healing. Some of the poems are heart wrenching. I heard a desperate plea for love’s understanding and reciprocity. The reader is invited to share in this heartache and sadness. Read more:

Interview with Oranmore

Oranmore, also known as Dominick Mereworth, is a poet and playwright. He drops by to talk about his latest book Sparkling Fountain, his inspiration, his writing process, tips for aspiring poets, typical writing day and more. Read more:

Interview with C.R. Richards

The author of The Obsidian Gates talks about the latest book in the Heart of Warrior series and how it came to fruition, the biggest surprises in the book, her special research, what keeps her writing, her influences and mentors, her other works, what’s next and lots more. Read more:

A review of These Wild Houses by Omar Sakr

It’s hard to think of Sakr as an emerging voice – his work seems to have been everywhere over the past few years. The work in These Wild Houses has such a strong sense of assurance. This is an impressive and very moving collection that not only explores the important terrains of both everyday and institutional racism, the migrant experience, identity politics, trauma and grief, but that also presents a deeply personal and moving story that very deliberately draws the reader in and invites collusion and connection. Read more:

A review of Bleeding Hearts by Josh Aterovis

In the manner of Dorien Grey and his Dick Hardesty series, Aterovis has crafted a group of characters who are very credible. From the imperious homophobic father, the demoralized mother and on to the optimistic girlfriend, as well as each of the other actors in this work; the individuals are not always likeable. They are, however, plausible, well-fleshed and convincing. 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 2,189!), which can be browsed or searched from the front page of the site.



In the literary news this month, Australian independent booksellers, members of Leading Edge Books, have announced their longlist for the Indie Book Awards 2018. The Awards cover the best Australian books in six categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Debut Fiction, Children’s books (up to 12yo), Young Adult (12+) and Illustrated Non-Fiction (new for 2018). Announced early in the calendar year, The Indie Book Awards are now considered the forerunners of all major Australian book awards.The Longlist for the Indie Book Awards for fiction includes: A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey (Penguin Random House), The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser (Allen & Unwin), First Person by Richard Flanagan (Penguin Random House), Force of Nature by Jane Harper (Pan Macmillan Australia), The Choke by Sofie Laguna (Allen & Unwin), The Passage of Love by Alex Miller (Allen & Unwin), The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham (Hachette Australia), Taboo by Kim Scott (Pan Macmillan Australia), On the Java Ridge by Jock Serong (Text Publishing), and City of Crows by Chris Womersley (Pan Macmillan Australia). Full lists from all categories an be found here: The Shortlist will be announced on 15 January 2018, with the Category Winners and the Overall Book of the Year Winner being announced at the Leading Edge Books Annual Conference Awards Dinner to be held on Monday 26 March, 2018 in Hobart, TAS. 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Indie Book Awards.

American author Christopher Bollen won the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award for a passage in his novel The Destroyers that featured “an overenthusiastic attempt to ‘describe the familiar in new terms,’ which led to the male genitals being portrayed as an anatomically confusing ‘billiard rack,’ ” the Guardian reported. The award was announced during a lavish ceremony at the In & Out (Naval & Military) Club in St. James’s Square, London. “The judges felt that there are parts in the book where Bollen goes overboard in his attempts to describe the familiar in new terms, leading occasionally to confusion. In the line quoted… they were left unsure as to how many testicles the character in question has,” the Literary Review noted, adding: “In the week that Prince Harry announced his engagement to Meghan Markle, it seems only fitting that Britain’s most eligible literary prize has been snapped up by an American.”

La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One, Philip Pullman’s first installment in a new series, was crowned Waterstones Book of the Year. The shortlist was drawn from bookseller nominations, with the winner selected by a panel headed by Waterstones’ managing director James Daunt, who said books like La Belle Sauvage “excited” retailers: “Booksellers influence readers, and are guided in turn by the enthusiasms of their customers. It is the happy warp and weft of our profession, and very few books indeed excite this process quite like La Belle Sauvage. This is a winner that is going to bring a lot of pleasure to an ever-widening audience and we could not be more pleased to play our part in its success.”

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo has been named Blackwell’s 2017 Book of the Year, the Bookseller reported. The U.K. bookstore chain’s employees were asked to nominate and then vote for their winning title from a shortlist of four. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls was the children’s book category winner..”

Nominees have been selected for the second annual Albertine Prize, a readers’ choice award promoting French literature translated into English. The $10,000 prize is co-presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Van Cleef & Arpels. Readers can vote online here: through May 1. The nominees are: Compass by Mathias Énard, translated by Charlotte Mandell (New Directions), Incest by Christine Angot, translated by Tess Lewis (Archipelago), Not One Day by Anne Garréta, translated by Emma Ramadan (Deep Vellum), The End of Eddy by Édouard Louis, translated by Michael Lucey (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou, translated by Helen Stevenson (New Press).

Grady Chambers won the inaugural Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, for his manuscript, North American Stadiums. The prize “honors the legacy of one of the most original and accomplished poets to debut in recent years, and to reward outstanding emerging poets for years to come.” It was created by Milkweed Editions in partnership with Riva Ariella Ritvo-Slifka and the Alan B. Slifka Foundation. Chambers will receive $10,000 and publication by Milkweed in June 2018.

Irish writer Paul Muldoon will receive Her Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry next year for the “restless, playful brilliance” of his work. The Poetry Medal Committee recommended the Faber poet as this year’s recipient of the medal, which recognises excellence in poetry, on the basis of the body of his work overall which spans four decades. The poet’s recent titles include last year’s Selected Poems 1968-2014 published and poetry collection One Thousand Things Worth Knowing published the year before, both by Faber. British poet Gillian Allnutt won the medal last year. The award was instituted by King George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield. The front of the medal bears the crowned effigy of The Queen.

Have a great month!



Congratulations to Dael Allison, who won a copy of Appalachian Fall by Jennifer Maiden. For more details on the book visit:

We had a surprise holiday giveaway for an autographed set of both of C.R.Richard’s Heart of the Warrior books – The Obsidian Gates and The Lords of Valdeon (book 1 and 2), and the winner was Amy Greenwood – congratulations Amy! You can find out more about the books at

Our new site giveaway is for copy of Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake. To enter the giveaway, send me an email at with the subject line “Just Between Us” and your postal address.

Good luck everybody!



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 Appalachian Fall by Jennifer Maiden, This Far Isn’t Far Enough by Lynn Sloan, Lola Berry’s Beauty Food, 4321 by Paul Auster, an interview with About As Close as I Can’s Toni Stern, 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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