Compulsive Reader

The Compulsive Reader News
Volume 18, Issue 11, 1 November 2017



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Hello readers. Here is the latest batch of reviews:

A review of Shriek: an absurd novel by Davide A Cottone

Perhaps the cover says it all? Yes, you can begin to judge this particular book by its cover because inside and throughout all those white pages a hurricane is at work endeavouring to yank everything of life’s rationalizations into shards of disbelief. Read more:

An interview with Jane Owen

The author of The Bitches of Suburbia talks about the real life suburb behind her book, her inspiration, her favourite humorous books, tips for aspiring writers, reveals a few secrets including her next book, and lots more. Read more :

A review of The Blackcoat’s Daughter

Now, we are witnessing perhaps the most substantial change to the horror formula to date and the rise of a new sub-genre. These modern films focus far less on gratuitous violence and concern themselves more with a journey that leads us to tragic ends. This new crop of horror is more cerebral, less conventional—films which have been called “art house horror”—even “post-horror.” Read more:

A review of Broken Branches by M Jonathan Lee

I love me a good psychological thriller and that’s what we get with Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee, with a little visual horror thrown in. When it opens up we are treated to several pages introducing us to the malignant presence of a towering sycamore tree with bony branches scratching the farmhouse’s roof, walls and windows like a demon’s fingers. Read more:

An interview with Monica Jephcott Thomas

The author of The Watcher talks about her new novel and its inspiration, about the relationships and contrasts between The Watcher and her previous book Fifteen Words, growing up in Germany after the war, her favourite WWII novel, and lots more. Read more:

A review of Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Morrigan is an empathetic character with just the right combination of pluck and humility, and her increasing awareness of the importance of friendship, and of her growing sense of self-discovery is a subplot that drives the narrative forward, along with the competition trials and Morrigan’s desperation to find her gift. Read more:

An interview with Daniel Findlay

The release of Daniel Findlay’s debut novel, Year Of The Orphan, suggests that we may now be on the cusp of a new era, one in which epic titles of this ilk receive the proper attention and accolades that they so richly deserve. Read more:

A review of Three Nations Anthology edited by Valerie Lawson

At the end of “Turtle Island Turtle Rattle”, author Sarah Xerar Murphy writes, “If we cannot find a way to welcome and treat fairly with the stranger, how will we ever find our own way home?”It would be a good thing if there were more books like Three Nations Anthology, to highlight things that human beings have in common. Read more:

An interview with Pip Harry

The author of Because of You talks about the origins of her latest young adult novel, the key themes she explored in the book, on the importance of diversity and inclusivity, her characters, and lots more. Read more:

A review of The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc by Ali Alizadeh

The facts are engaging enough as a history, but Alizadeh’s portrait of a young women in love, coupled with his exploration of the patriarchal, uncertain nature of both historical account and memory (“Or does she?”) takes this story to a new level. Alizadeh’s Jeanne allows for the contradictions in the varied voices that are both inside and outside of his subject and also calls attention to the fact that narrative is something that is constructed rather than something inherent. 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 2,166!), which can be browsed or searched from the front page of the site.



In the literary news this month, George Saunders has won the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Lincoln in the Bardo. Saunders, primarily known for short story collections including Tenth of December and Pastoralia, among other works, is the second American author to take home the £50,000 fiction award. Lincoln in the Bardo is his first novel and was published in the U.S. by Random House. Saunders was one of six authors shortlisted for the award, alongside the British authors Ali Smith and Fiona Mozley, British-Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, and fellow U.S. authors Paul Auster and Emily Fridlund.

British novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter Kazuo Ishiguro has won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature. In its citation, the Swedish Academy commended Ishiguro as an author “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.” Read my review of his latest novel, The Buried Giant, here:

The shortlist for the 2017 Richell Prize for emerging writers has been announced and includes Michelle Barraclough, As I Am, Sam Coley, State Highway One, Julie Keys, Triptych, Miranda Debeljakovich, Waiting for the Sun, and Karen Wyld, Where the Fruit Falls. The Prize, which is awarded annually, is in memory of Hachette Australia’s former CEO, Matt Richell, who died suddenly in July 2014.

The winners of the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, which seeks to celebrate books that “promote peace, social justice, and global understanding,” are The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel (Grove Atlantic) for fiction and What Have We Done by David Wood (Little, Brown & Company) for nonfiction. The runners-up are Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf), and City of Thorns, by Ben Rawlence (Picador), for fiction and nonfiction, respectively. The winners will each receive a $10,000 honorarium; the runners-up will each receive $2,500.

Thurber House has named Trevor Noah the winner of the 2017 Thurber Prize for American Humor for his memoir, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Spiegel & Grau). The annual award was presented on the evening of October 2 at Carolines on Broadway, and honors the best book of humor writing published in 2016. The host for the evening was John Kenney, the 2014 Thurber Prize for American Humor winner for his book, Truth in Advertising. Born a Crime is Noah’s first book. Runners-up were Ken Pisani for Amp’d (St. Martin’s Press) and Aaron Their for Mr. Eternity (Bloomsbury USA).

The Writers’ Trust of Canada has announced finalists for the C$60,000 (about US$48,140) Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, which honors works published in Canada that “demonstrate a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling command of tone, narrative, style, and technique.” The winner will be named November 14. This year’s shortlisted titles are: Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote, Birds Art Life by Kyo Maclear, Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine by James Maskalyk, All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others by Carol Off, and Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

Viet Thanh Nguyen and Jesmyn Ward, two novelists exploring how writers from minority communities must “claim the same rights” as the majority, have landed $625,000 (£470,000) MacArthur fellowships, popularly known as “genius grants”. The fellowships, which have previously gone to writers including Claudia Rankine and Ta-Nehisi Coates, are intended “to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations”.

Shortlists have been unveiled for the Wales Book of the Year. Category winners, who will be announced at an awards ceremony in Cardiff on November 13, receive £1,000 (about $1,320), while the overall winners in English and Welsh language are given an additional £3,000 (about $3,965). The English-language shortlisted titles are, for Poetry What Possessed Me by John Freeman, The Other City by Rhiannon Hooson, and Psalmody by Maria Apichella, For Fiction Pigeon by Alys Conran, Cove by Cynan Jones, and Ritual, 1969 by Jo Mazelis

Have a great month!



Congratulations to: Nadia Ghent, who won a copy of OMG Don Quixote & Candide Seek Truth, Justice and, El Dorado in the Digital Age LOL by Stefan Soto.

Our new site giveaway is for copy of Come Rain or Shine by Tricia Stringer. To win, send me an email at with the subject line “Rain or Shine” and your postal address.

Good luck everybody!



The Trilogy – The Other 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 The Night The Penningtons Isabella Ripa, an interview with Lex Hirst, 4321 by Paul Auster, Missing Christina by Meredith Whitford, and lots more reviews, news, interviews, and giveaways.

(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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