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This category contains 25 posts

Guest Post – Ben Blackman on Taking nine months to read one novel

Enter my competition she said, you could win a lunch with me she said. Yet somehow it comes to the fact I (that’s italics too but it’s difficult to tell if you can see) have ended up in charge of the Literary Sofa this week while Isabel pretends to be hard at work on her … Continue reading

Book Hype (for want of a better word)

Sometimes I commit to writing something and then think Oh shit.  I did briefly wonder if it’s possible to talk about book hype and the like without it generating cynicism and negativity, which is not the intention. I want to look at an interesting question. How do the various ways we discover books affect our … Continue reading

What the French taught me about sex (and writing it)

It’s nearly a week since my debut novel Paris Mon Amour came out and I’ll be writing about that incredible experience very soon… But in the meantime – and because I was way too busy to post this week – here are some of the pieces I’ve written elsewhere to coincide with the release.  Given the longevity and popularity … Continue reading

Author Events – with a guest appearance from Francis Plug

Apologies to anyone wanting to read a serious article about author events.  This isn’t one. But it is a historic event, or if you want to get all literary, an historic event.  It was supposed to be a guest author post but that went wrong from the start when South London New Zealander Paul Ewen, … Continue reading

The Literary Guilt and Inferiority Quiz

Many of you book-lovers will have seen this very interesting, possibly funnier than intended article by the supremely erudite Will Self in The Guardian, lamenting the death of the serious literary novel (again). Now, serious and literary are two of my favourite words but this piece contained one or two (dozen) others which challenged my … Continue reading

The Story behind Stories for Homes – an anthology in aid of Shelter

You could say this post is a promoblog, or a literad. Whatever it is, featuring a title with the express aim of encouraging people to buy it is not something I’ve done before on the Literary Sofa, but I hope you’ll soon see why I’m making an exception. This week saw the publication of the … Continue reading

The Joy and (mostly) Horror of Houseguests

Last week we had a family of French friends staying with us, which led me to reflect on the subject of houseguests.  This time we were exchanging bisous by the hundred with my oldest friend, her husband and their three children, the youngest of whom is my gorgeous eight-year-old goddaughter.  Although we usually meet in … Continue reading

How To Run a Successful Book Blog – Guest Post on For Books’ Sake

This week I am delighted to be appearing as a guest on the fabulous and dynamic webzine For Books’ Sake.  The editors invited me to contribute some thoughts and tips on running a book blog, and for the benefit of my own blog followers who aren’t on Twitter, here’s a link to the post.  If … Continue reading

What’s Your Kind of Book?

Once again thanks to Ben Blackman and Sanjida O’Connell for contributing such stimulating guest posts and for keeping the Literary Sofa in business whilst I was, I hope, career-advancingly occupied.  Ben and Sanjida proved to be extremely popular guests sending the stats soaring and I’m hoping they’ll both make return visits to coincide with their new … Continue reading

Sex Scenes in Fiction

This is the 100th post on the Literary Sofa and the subject of sex hasn’t come up much beyond the occasional mention in a review. Last week’s piece on gender issues in the book world attracted a lot of interest and leads neatly onto a brief look at sex in (mainstream literary and commercial) fiction. By sheer … Continue reading