Book an appointment: doctors to prescribe novels in new scheme

Doctors will be able to prescribe novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to teenagers with mental-health issues thanks to a new scheme, which launches today.

Fantastic idea, but getting teens reading may be a challenge. Still it is worth a go.

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JK Rowling posts letters of rejection on Twitter to help budding authors

The Harry Potter author JK Rowling has shared some withering rebuffs publishers sent to her alter ego Robert Galbraith, in an effort to comfort aspiring authors.

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Fifty Shades of Grey: the book you literally can’t give away

Fifty Shades of Grey: the book you literally can’t give away

A branch of Oxfam in Swansea has asked donors to bring ‘less Fifty Shades and more 60s vinyl’. Are Britain’s charity shops stuffed with more bestselling soft porn than they know what to do with?

Pines by Blake Crouch

pines-175How do you review this book without giving something away? This is the question that has plagued me since I completed it a few days ago.

I suppose I could tell you that Pines is a mystery/thriller/sci-fi novel which begins with a Secret Service agent, Ethan Hunt waking from a car accident and finding himself hospitalised in the town of Wayward Pines, Idaho. Ethan has been sent to Wayward Pines to find two other agents, who were sent to the town to investigate a man called David Pilcher.

Soon after waking Ethan begins to realise that all is not what it seems in the town of Wayward Pines, and to complicate matters, nobody believes he is a Secret Service agent, and all of his belongings have gone missing… And this is where the trouble begins for a reviewer. From this point on, it is pretty much impossible to give you any details without spoiling the novel.

I suppose I can tell you that Pines is the first in a trilogy. And I guess it would be safe to tell you that the town of Wayward Pines is the author Blake Crouch‘s homage to the David Lynch television series Twin Peaks… There is even a “damn good coffee” moment.

I also suppose it will be okay to tell you that Wayward Pines like Twin Peaks, takes a few trips down to Freaky-Town, and has a few twists and turns that you won’t expect, unless someone has told you in advance, or like me you are reading this after watching the television adaptation.

I also think it will be okay, if not essential for me to tell you that Pines, like the town of Wayward Pine’s coffee is a damn good read. It whips along at a steady pace, and takes you places you never expected to go. There is even some surprises for those of you who are coming here after watching the television series. In fact I can safely say that anyone who likes to travel to small towns to get their mystery, thriller or science fiction fix will probably find something to excite them in Wayward Pines.


Must Read If You Have a Pre-2012 Kindle

From The Huffington Post:

 Amazon has announced a ‘critical’ software for the Kindle which, unless downloaded by a certain date, will render your e-reader essentially unusable.

Customers will need to update the software on their Kindles by 22 March or risk losing access to all of Amazon’s Kindle services including the book store and being able to update wirelessly over WiFi.

According to Amazon these are the devices that will need the emergency software update:

Kindle 1st Generation (2007)
Kindle 2nd Generation (2009)
Kindle DX 2nd Generation (2009)
Kindle Keyboard 3rd Generation (2010)
Kindle 4th Generation (2011)
Kindle 5th Generation (2012)
Kindle Touch 4th Generation (2011)
Kindle Paperwhite 5th Generation (2012)

Amazon’s support page hasn’t revealed why the update is so essential but it will almost certainly be grounded in security.

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Lies by Michael Grant (Gone series, book #3)


If like me you have been reading Michael Grant‘s terribly entertaining, but not exactly original, Gone series of books then you already know, these books are part X-Men, part Under The Dome, part Lord of the Flies but with a dash of extra weirdness thrown in to keep you interested… If you haven’t been reading Michael Grant’s gone series then you may want to look away now, or at least read my earlier review of book one.

If you have read the adventures of the boys and girls in Perdido Beach but you haven’t made it to book three than I urge you to head out to your nearest bookshop, or point your internet browser in the direction of Amazon and get a copy… And grab book four as well, (you’ll understand in a minute why) because this series just keeps getting better, and more strange with each turn of the page.

In this third installment of the series, a new element of weirdness is thrown into the mix, a bit of The Walking Dead, and as if that isn’t enough we are also treated to visions (which may be true or may be lies) of existence outside the dome, or barrier or whatever it is that have the residents of Perdido trapped inside. We also discover that there are others, near Perdido Beach but not actually in the town who have also been trapped. In fact we are given lots of information, and weirdness to ponder over… And then it just ends. It stops without any real conclusion or climax. It almost feels like Grant’s publisher called him and said “times up, give us what you got”. Which would have been dreadfully disappointing if you had read these books when they were first published and had to wait months for the next book, but is something I can live with as I already have a copy of the fourth, fifth and sixth installments.

Of course if you haven’t read any of the book in the series and decided to read this review despite my earlier warnings, I cannot urge you enough to go and seek out the books in this series. So far the first three books haven’t been groundbreakingly original, but they have been extremely fun reads, and for me that is enough to get me to work after my commute with a smile on my face.



News Review 1.6

Maybe it is just my imagination, but JK Rowling seems to be commanding a lot of ink in the papers these days. Here are just some of the stories I have seen in the last few weeks featuring everybody’s favourite creator of Harry Potter.

From The Guardian

JK Rowling has some inspirational advice for graduating students – or for anyone in this universe, really. Her new book, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination, out on 14 April, is her 2008 commencement speech at Harvard University, published by Little, Brown. Proceeds from sales will be donated to Lumos, a charity for disadvantaged children founded by Rowling, and to a financial aid programme at Harvard.

JK Rowling’s life advice: ten quotes on the lessons of failure

From The Telegraph

They were arguably the most-anticipated children’s books of all time, with legions of young fans desperate to find out how it all ends.

Now, the extraordinary lengths JK Rowling and her publishers went to ensure the secrets of Harry Potter were not spilled have been revealed, in a tale of subterfuge nearly as remarkable as her plots.

A new book, a comprehensive bibliography of Rowling’s works, has shared the inner workings of her team, disclosing how they protected her ideas with a mixture of fake titles, an internet ban and a Sainsbury’s plastic bag.

How JK Rowling kept her Harry Potter secrets from the world (and how The Telegraph helped)

From The Huffington Post

J.K Rowling doesn’t write tweets all that often but when she does they tend to be absolute gems and her latest is no exception.

On Tuesday, the ‘Harry Potter’ author was responding to a fan who said she couldn’t picture Dumbledore the wizard as homosexual.

JK Rowling Responds To Harry Potter Fan Asking Why Dumbledore Is Gay In Incredible Tweet

From The Guardian

JK Rowling has offered hope to aspiring authors everywhere, after revealing that the first literary agent she sent the manuscript of Harry Potter to responded with just a slip of paper rejecting it.

To add insult to injury, the agent also held onto the folder she submitted her work in, Rowling wrote on Twitter, in response to a question from a fan who asked if she would “ever get nervous emailing agents” when she first started out.

JK Rowling says she received ‘loads’ of rejections before Harry Potter successs