Thursday 28 October 2010

Top Ten Bestsellers - October 2010

1) Insurrection by Robyn Young
1262 A.D. In the dusty heat of French fields, knights battle for supremacy in a fierce tournament. At its violent heart is Edward of England, who leads his men under the banner of the dragon, a potent reference to the legendary King Arthur. As heir to the throne, Edward has a vision for his future kingdom -- a vision sprung from the words of an ancient prophecy written in the time of Arthur himself -- that will change the face of Britain forever. More

2) Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
A huge novel that follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for votes for women.
It is 1911. The Coronation Day of King George V. The Williams, a Welsh coal-mining family, is linked by romance and enmity to the Fitzherberts, aristocratic coal-mine owners. Lady Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German Embassy in London. Their destiny is entangled with that of an ambitious young aide to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and to two orphaned Russian brothers, whose plans to emigrate to America fall foul of war, conscription and revolution. More

3) The Fort by Bernard Cornwell
n the summer of 1779 a British force of fewer than a thousand Scottish infantry backed by three sloops-of-war , was sent to what is now Castine in the State of Maine. The War of Independence was in its third year and the Scots were the only British troops between Canada and New York. Their orders were to make a garrison that could serve as a safe haven and a naval base. The State of Massachusetts was determined to expel the British and sent a fleet of forty vessels and some one thousand infantrymen to ' captivate , kill and destroy ' the invaders. But what followed was a classic example of impetuosity and irresolution on one side , and calm professionalism on the other. More

4) Mr Chartwell by Robecca Hunt
It's July, 1964. In bed at home in Kent, Winston Churchill is waking up. There's a visitor in the room, someone he hasn't seen for a while, a dark, mute bulk, watching him with tortured concentration. It's Mr. Chartwell. In her terraced house in Battersea, Esther Hammerhans, young, vulnerable and alone, goes to answer the door to her new lodger. Through the glass she sees a vast silhouette the size of a mattress. It's Mr. Chartwell. More

 5) Worth Dying For by Lee Child
Has Jack Reacher finally met his match? 61 Hours ended with Reacher trapped in a desperate situation from which escape seemed impossible. Even for him. Was that really the end of the road for the maverick loner? More

6) Spook's Bestiary by Joseph Delaney
A companion title to the phenomenally successful Spook’s series. Discover how to bind a boggart and deal with a dead witch in this fascinating and lavishly illustrated Spook’s own “notebook”. A must for die-hard fans of the series and an irresistible introduction to the dark and the dangerous for new recruits. More

7) Oscar Wilde and the Nest of Vipers by Gyles Brandreth
The fourth of Gyles Brandreth’s acclaimed series of Victorian murder mysteries, Oscar Wilde and the Nest of Vipers opens in the spring of 1890 at a glamorous reception hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Albemarle. All London’s haut monde is there, including the Prince of Wales, who counts the Albemarles as close friends.  Although it is the first time Oscar and Bertie have met, Oscar seems far more interested in Rex LaSalle, a young actor, who disarmingly claims to be a vampire... More

8) Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy - from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to steal their thoughts, to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of the Moving Cities of Mars. Except that Jean made one mistake. Now he is condemned to play endless variations of a game-theoretic riddle in the vast virtual jail of the Axelrod Archons - the Dilemma Prison - against countless copies of himself. More

9) Harbour by John Ajvide Lindqvist
It was a beautiful winter's day. Anders, his wife and their feisty six-year-old, Maja, set out across the ice of the Swedish archipelago to visit the lighthouse on Gavasten. There was no one around, so they let her go on ahead. And she disappeared, seemingly into thin air, and was never found. Two years later, Anders is a broken alcoholic, his life ruined. He returns to the archipelago, the home of his childhood and his family. But all he finds are Maja's toys and through the haze of memory, loss and alcohol, he realizes that someone or something is trying to communicate with him. Soon enough, his return sets in motion a series of horrifying events which exposes a mysterious and troubling relationship between the inhabitants of the remote island and the sea. More

10) Fool's Crusade by Pip Vaughan-Hughes
ing Louis of France is about to invade Egypt on his vainglorious Seventh Crusade. The Pope and the Emperor are at each other's throats. And where greed and ambition cross, blood soon follows. Caught in the middle of this is Petroc of Auneford, or Patch to his friends. After years aboard the Cormoran, a ship of relic-traders and adventurers, Patch has finally returned to living on dry land. Now a rich man, running a bank in Venice, life should be easy. But money and liberty are not the same thing - and all too soon, Patch is being called on by all sides to do their bidding in this deadly game of power and glory. More

Friday 22 October 2010

Tainted Love

A few weeks ago we had a book come in that caused quite a stir here at Goldsboro Books. With its completely unanticipated popularity we had sold out of our special edition in the first week and, with the film trailer now being released (awesome), I was curious to see what all the hype was about. The book was I Am Number Four and having found myself a copy I read it in no more than two hours, which should give you some clue as to what I thought about it. When I was reading it I was engrossed and when I put it down all I wanted to be doing was reading it. This book, with it's vivid imagery and fantastic plot practically begged to be put into film.

But no matter how much I liked it, it did get me thinking about something that has bugged me since reading Twilight, obsessive love in young adult fiction. In I Am Number Four the lead character - John/Number Four finds a love interest in Sarah Hart and from that point on they are almost inseperable, combined with how young the two characters are this concerns me a little, are we teaching teenagers that this is a love they should aspire to at such a young age? Thankfully I Am Number Four does a lot to waylay my concerns on this point because it addresses the problem of letting your partner become your whole life (in the explanation of why Sarah broke up with her ex) and presents a picture of something that could be seen as quite healthy (no jealousy etc.) but I still can't help worrying about it. I also can't help worrying about my mental state; Am I just getting old? Can't I remember what having a first love was like at that age? Why am I even so angry about this? Well, I thought I'd analyse it for your benefit.

I was visiting my family a few weeks ago and to my absolute horror my fourteen-year-old cousin announced that she was looking for a love like Bella and Edward's in Twilight, what? I think my jaw actually dropped to the floor. To have my intelligent, independent doesn't-follow-the-crowd cousin say this to me was like being punched in the stomach, it disturbs me. Let's just think about this a moment, Bella has no real friends to speak of, no life outside of Edward and her only ambition is to become a vampire so she might live an eternal life with him - I wouldn't really want anyone thinking that this was OK, let alone something to aspire to. This isn't just seen in young adults either, I read an article where women had broken up with their partners purely because their love wasn't like the love in Twilight. Call me a cynic but this is real life, not Stephanie Meyer's dream! In real life you don't fall in love with someone without any justification and they certainly don't fall in love with you because your blood smells tasty. What's really disturbing though is that if these grown women can abandon reason for fiction then what chance to teenagers have?

If I'm honest with myself this lunacy isn't entirely what's worrying me, it's more that in my mind obessive love is dangerous - if you're willing to let your partner treat you in any way they want for the all-consuming love you aspire to - how far will you go? And where would you turn once you've abandoned all your friends and family for this love? It bothers me that we are showing teenagers that this is OK, that such an intense love is a good thing.

This whole thing annoys me to the point of distraction but I'm not saying ban the books, I'm not a Nazi, what I would like to do though is find out what other people think, so come on - give us a comment, do you agree? What would you do about it if anything? Did you enjoy I Am Number Four? Are you here to tell me that you have, in fact, fallen in love with someone because their blood smelt good? Either way let me know and let's see where this goes... Nicola.

Friday 1 October 2010

This week at Goldsboro...

Hello All!

With the weekend just around the corner I thought I'd give you all a little update on how the week has panned out for us all here at Goldsboro Books.

On Tuesday Dave and I went to sell books at Tara Palmer-Tomkinson's launch party in Asprey's for her debut novel Inheritance. Having arrived at the venue far too early without anything to do (as the incredibly helpful Asprey's staff set everything up for us), we began the evening by...wait for it...trying to solve a crossword; that's right, living the high life baby! Nevertheless, having been able to contribute more than my customary single answer to the page, I felt the evening got off to a good start, and it got even better when people started trickling in. We made our way downstairs and hovered for a bit as a few of Tara's family arrived, along with the publishers Pan Macmillan, but it was when the telltale flash of bulbs started outside we knew the evening had really begun. I was collared to sell a book within the first fifteen minutes as people got straight down to business and spent the rest of the night behind the desk doing much the same really; along with literally running out of the way of photo's when people wanted pictures of the books that is. For those of you that want the lowdown on the celebrity guests I have to admit to being slighty obtuse with recognising famous people so the only person I really spotted was Rupert Everett, one thing I will say though was everyone was very kind and very patient, especially when the credit card machine broke and I had to keep a whole queue of people waiting for some time, oh dear.

Besides that the evening went smoothly, Tara gave a lovely speech in a stunning floor-length metallic silver dress, preceeded by her editor Jeremy Trevathan and then went on to sign copies of her book for her guests. She also had several photograph's with the novel, which I unfortunately got in the back of some of as I tried to retreat hastily, only to find I had moved straight into the line of some of the many photographer's clamouring for a shot.

With David having given me a free copy of the book I thought I'd stir myself from my usual prejudices regarding chick-lit and give reading it a go, and I was quite pleasantly surprised. Whilst it's not the best novel I have ever read there are several things that make it quite endearing. The first is that it maintains a persistently self-deprecating tone that is funny and light-hearted, the fact that the book doesn't take itself too seriously is definitey a bonus and it seems like she had good fun writing it, which in turn makes it more fun to read. Along with this there is some great characterisation; I particularly enjoyed the mean-spirited Uncle Quentin, who was such a vividly despicable character that I couldn't help but wonder if he was based on anyone. The plot is a good one, it makes the book chick-lit with a twist, as it contains elements of (entirely preditable but quite fun) mystery. Also, whilst openly admitting that I will never understand the world of the super-rich, Inheritance still provides some access to it and I liked those unbelievable 'would that really happen?' moments, but as Tara herself said at the party, it is a book of things you would never normally do, most of which she has done. I find that an utterly fantastic, unashamed attitude to have and it is something which probably helps to make the book. So, whilst I do admit to having to fight my way past the first few chapters, having to deal with the fact that I will never be able to empathise with the characters, and getting past the constant repetiton of the phrase 'thick, honey-coloured hair' I nevertheless found the book really quite enjoyable. Reccommended for those that fancy a light-hearted read and for chick-lit lovers everywhere.

We also had a launch last night for Death on the Marais, the second launch this month for Adrian Magson. I haven't read Death on the Marais yet but I am part-way through Red Station and I can safely say if it is half as good as that it will be an awesome read, I'm looking forward to it! It was also the 11th birthday party of Goldsboro Books last night so we had a few extra people added into the mix and I had a great time meeting some lovely new people and catching up with old ones. Extra special thanks to Hazel, Gemima and Jess though, you were a massive, massive help and guaranteed that I didn't have to do much washing up, I will be eternally grateful for that.

Also yesterday we had copies of Harbour by bestselling author John Ajvide Lindqvist signed, for those of you that don't know he also wrote Let The Right One In. Harbour is therefore now available from the website, signed and numbered! And just to add to the very busy day we had yesterday Andrea Levy came in and signed copies of the beautifully produced and booker short-listed Long Song, which are also available to buy on the website.

Anyway, off to do some real work now, stay tuned, next week the Ken Follett launch for Fall of Giants!!