Thursday, 1 December 2011

Lists, presents, that time of year

In the Observer last Sunday Daljit Nagra wrote that J. O. Morgan’s Long Cuts ‘would be an ideal gift as I loved his first collection, Natural Mechanical, and reviews suggest this one is even better’. Anyone wanting to take the hint and send him a copy for Christmas, order a copy here. (If you decide not to keep to keep it for yourself, address it to Daljit Nagra, c/o Faber, London WC1B 3DA, and it will get to him.)

In this week’s TLS Books of the Year, Beverley Bie Brahic finds Morgan’s Long Cuts ‘every bit as startling in its originality as Natural Mechanical’, and Andrew Motion chooses, as one of ‘the two most impressive books of poetry I’ve read this year', D. Nurkse’s Voices over Water – ‘an ambitious saga (broken into fragments) of emigration and re-settling’.

In the Glasgow Herald, Todd McEwan promises that ‘Nancy Gaffield’s Tokaido Road, based on a series of prints by Ando Hiroshige, by turns antique and modern, elegiac and dazzlingly clear, will surprise you at every turn.’ (For an online review by Mike Loveday from last week go here.)

For a bargain offer of all three 2011 CBe poetry titles – J. O. Morgan’s Long Cuts, Nancy Gaffield’s Tokaido Road (winner of the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize) and D. Nurkse’s Forward-shortlisted Voices over Water – for £20, go to Special Offer 2 at the foot of the Books page of the website. Free postage within UK.

On the same page, Special Offer 1 has Fergus Allen’s Before Troy and Marjorie Ann Watts’s Are they funny, are they dead? for £13.50. Fergus Allen is 90; Marjorie Ann Watts is 80-something. This is the Prolong Active Life offer. These books may be for yourself, your parents, your grandparents, your great-grandparents; they’re a lot more inspiriting than chocolates or socks.

The above offers are only available until Christmas. Or thereabouts.

Something for someone younger? Nicky Singer’s Knight Crew, which updates the King Arthur legend to contemporary gangland. Staged at Glyndebourne last year. Benjamin Zephaniah: ‘A story for this generation . . . written with love, passion and intelligence’. Perhaps her best book, this is still woefully undersold by me. Put ‘2 copies please’ or similar in the ‘instructions to merchant’ box as you check through when ordering a single copy and I’ll send exactly that. (And if anyone thinks that writing for ‘young adults’, or whatever they may now be termed, is a soft option, read Nicky Singer’s account of prison-visiting during her writing of this book here. I’ve linked there before, but it’s worth it again. The prison service is not charged with Christmas spirit.)

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