Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Visit to Sky Arts

I enjoy watching The Book Show on the British satellite channel Sky Arts, hosted by writer and presenter Mariella Frostrup. Frostrup is a real bibliophile who also presents BBC Radio 4’s weekly Open Book which can be accessed online via the listen again facility on the BBC’s I-Player.

I was flattered to be asked to contribute to the new Sky Arts Literature Blog’s End of the World Reading List:
Inspired by The Book Show’s competition to win a bookshelf full of books ArtsWom decided that we should help spread the good word about good books and invite people from across the ‘net to share their recommendations for the last book to read before the end of the world.

Admittedly, this is something of a morbid topic, but when the end comes and this fragile orb finally cracks, it may be too late to panic buy, too inappropriate to copulate, and just too ironic to pray -- so what else is there to do other than settle down and read a quality novel.

Industrial chemist, freelance journalist, book reviewer, soon-to-be author, and The Book Show fan, Ali Karim has already enlightened us with his decision. Selecting the yet-to-be-released Child 44, the debut novel by
Tom Rob Smith.

Follow the link to discover why I chose the yet to be released Child 44 to read, if the four horseman of apocalypse came to town.

Blogger Crimeficreader selects Black Out by John Lawton and writes why this novel would be her apocalyptic read:
It’s an exceedingly rare occurrence for me to re-read a book/novel. So, with the end of the world imminent, I’d grab the one book I can admit to reading twice and dipping into on another two occasions. For me, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining novel, first published in 1995 and that novel is Black Out by John Lawton.

The setting is London during WWII and the star of the show is one Freddie Troy, the younger son in a wealthy Russian immigrant family. However, Freddie does not want to enter the family’s newspaper business. He becomes a copper. The novel opens with a group of boys finding a hand in the rubble of the Blitz-torn East End. Where it might be all too easy to assume that this is a victim of the bombing, Freddie’s sharp eye and intellect lead him to suggest otherwise. Forensic pathologist Kolankiewicz, Freddie’s partner in investigations and sometimes off the record personal doctor, backs him up. And so begins an investigation that is satisfyingly complex, going to places you’d never have imagined

While Helen of No Such Thing as Too Many Books Blog chose Reunion by Fred Uhlman:
Although a part of me thinks I ought to read a book I’d never read -- one of the many I’ve been ‘meaning to’ read for years but never got round to (such as Anna Karenina or Crime and Punishment), I would probably go for this one, Reunion by Fred Uhlman, which I’ve read several times already. Barely the length of a novella, it’s the book that has probably affected me more profoundly than any other.
You can read her selection here.

The artsWOM blog sponsored by Sky is an interesting addition to the blogosphere. If you live out of Sky’s satellite reach, the Web site has archived material such as features on writers as diverse as Mark Billingham, William Boyd, John Banville (aka Benjamin Black), Melvin Burgess and many others.

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