A very enjoyable event last night with the charming Sunjeev Sahota. Having recently performed at the Edinburgh Festival, and a host of other well-renowned literary events, we were delighted that he came to our little town to talk to us about his first book, Ours are the Streets.
Sunjeev Sahota at Burton Library
Despite having never read a novel before he was 18, the guy can clearly write. Fascinating to hear how he creates characters, and the difficulty he had to overcome with how his ending would work – a very important part of the novel considering its subject is a would-be suicide bomber, And great to hear he’s a fan of libraries too.
After the event, he was very impressed with our library assistants’ creation of doilies out of copies of his book cover, and stayed to chat to everyone individually. It must be quite unusual for an author to come to an event where nearly everyone in the room has read his book – thanks to several reading groups choosing it recently, and the local Waterstones making it their book of the month – but it made for a brilliant discussion afterwards, and I’d like to think Sunjeev was pleasantly surprised at the very good questions he was asked. He even took a doily with him as a memento.
Today this is Andrew Kaufman’s The Tiny Wife, brought to my attention on the “This is not the six word novel” blog (search for it on Google).
In the author’s own words, the plot runs like this: “A thief robs a bank in the West end of Toronto, but instead of taking money he demands – and receives – the item of most emotional significance from everyone. Claiming he’s taking 51% of their souls with him, and it’s up to them to grow them back, the thief then exits. Everyone in the bank then begins to experience something unusual. One woman’s husband is a snowman when she wakes up. Another discovers that she’s made of candy. Our hero discovers that she has begun to shrink and she has to find out how to, and if, she can stop it before she shrinks away to nothing.”
He’s one of those authors who is fantastic at coming up with a great premise! His next novel is about a grandmother who gives each of her granchildren a special ability at their birth which completely ruins each of their lives. Intriguing stuff. One day I’ll sort out the front cover pictures on here.
…was the book which caused the biggest stir at this morning’s Cafe, changing hands from borrower to borrower in a matter of minutes. The author likes taking locations and telling their ‘story’ – New York’s is suitably epic, spanning the New Dawn of the 17th century to the Twin Towers. An epic achievement.
Other recommendations included Zola’s ‘Germinal’, Boling’s ‘Guernica’, ‘No and Me’ – a fantastic story worthy of reading again and again – and can you believe they’re still talking about ‘Zeitoun’ by Dave Eggers – a hurricane Katrina-inspired true story?
Plus the start of a deep discussion about the difference between Storytelling and Writing. Not all authors can do both. Fantastic stuff.
Welcome to The Reading Café blog. I have decided that this event – and mini-brand – has developed beyond the two hours per month frame it’s been sitting in for the last 18 months, and would be happier if it had a virtual presence too.
Our regular band of café visitors, being the loyal and stalwart bunch they are, now knows that TRC is the place to come for impartial, honest, fun recommendations of what to read next, and I wanted to see if it could exist online. I’ll also use the blog to report our other events and activities to do with books and reading in Burton Library.
But I should say at the outset, that the Reading Café itself is held on the last Tuesday in the month (except when the library is closed for bank holidays, in which case it’s the Tuesday before) from 10am – 12pm, and all are welcome to drop by.