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This category contains 27 posts

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

XX or XY? Do readers care about gender of author?

This piece started out as a review of A M (Amy) Homes’ novel May We Be Forgiven, winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013.  I’m a fan of her writing and rushed to read the book back in the autumn when it was released in the UK.  It’s tremendously enjoyable and memorable, but I soon realised … Continue reading

Book Launches & Black Vodka

‘You go to a lot of book launches,’ people say to me. It’s true. It’s one of the many wonderful things, all the more so for being totally unexpected, which have come about since I started the Literary Sofa blog. The timing was just right too because my sons were old enough to be left … Continue reading

Keeping Up with the Literary Joneses (or The Tyranny of the TBR)

Before I joined Twitter and started blogging (both less than two years ago) I had never even come across the term TBR (To Be Read).  Once I’d finished reading the novel for my monthly book group, I’d take a casual look on my shelves (always well stocked because the book stall at the school jumble … Continue reading

Warning – You are about to enter The Cliché Zone

Enough of the serious stuff – it’s silly season.  The Literary Sofa is usually all about good fiction and good writing – you’ve heard about my Best Books of 2012, you’ve seen my Fiction Hot Picks for 2013, but my final blogpost of the year is dedicated to a subject which doesn’t normally get a … Continue reading

What Makes a Sexy Fictional Hero?

This post is a bit of fun.  Do not even think about taking it seriously. When I first had the idea of writing about sexy fictional heroes, I was concerned that it might appear frivolous.  So I took one of my regular soundings on Twitter and got a response that was, well, enthusiastic to say … Continue reading

Write What You Know?

There are many sayings about writing and almost as many clichés, the number one surely being ‘There’s a novel in everyone.’ I’m not getting into that. This is about that other old chestnut ‘Write What You Know’ (WWYK), usually attributed to Mark Twain (although I’m happy to hear he didn’t particularly follow it).  I’ve always instinctively … Continue reading

Literary Taste – Who’s to Judge?

Last week, while the Chair of the 2012 Man Booker Prize judges Peter Stothard was claiming that book bloggers are ‘harming literature’, I was busy sifting through the incredibly diverse and original ‘Best Book I’ve Read This Year’ entries in the competition to celebrate my first year doing just that. Blogging about books, that is. … Continue reading

Online Book Reviews – The Good, the Bad and the Downright Nasty

I’m writing this piece from a slightly uncomfortable position on the fence that separates readers and writers.  I am most definitely a reader, of 32 novels in the first half of this year to be precise, so if I keep it up I’ll easily smash last year’s record.   I also think of myself as a … Continue reading