Archive for August, 2012

August 11, 2012

Koushun Takami: Battle Royale

by Monika

Suzanne Collins is probably tired of repeating she has never heard of Battle Royale (published in 1999) before she wrote her – in many ways – version of it. It is not to say the Hunger Games is a rip off of Battle Royale, but it is hard to not compare them as the idea is very much alike: bunch of kids forced to murder each other in a Roman style competition. On the other hand Battle Royale is just so much better on so many levels. Maybe it is because The Hunger Games is after all a PG-13 rated ambiguous and soppy family story that we keep in our Children Section.  Battle Royal is when sh*t hits the fan. Dripping with blood, rebellious, relentless, surreal, shocking and creepy, but in many ways funny and very much self-aware, Battle Royale is a terrifying, existentially pessimistic cry of teenage protest against the adult world.

The film (released in 2000) based on the book is also worthy to look at. Tarantino once said: “If there’s any movie that’s been made since I’ve been making movies that I wish I had made, it’s that one.” Interestingly the film is PG-18 rated in the West but Japanese standards rate this bloody massacre as PG-15, so many countries, so many customs. Give it a go and tell all about it to your Hunger Games loving friends!

August 10, 2012

George R. R. Martin: A Game of Thrones series

by Monika

There are epic fantasy stories, and then there are EPIC fantasy stories, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin falls in the latter.  Set in the vastness of Westeros and Essos, we embark on a journey of brutal battles and political intrigue as the protagonists vie for survival, power and revenge.  We are introduced to a myriad of characters, who develop as we delve deeper into the story, we grow to love some and despise others.  In what has become a trademark for this series, death features prominently amongst the main characters, good and bad, so that we can never rest on our laurels thinking that the heroes shall vanquish the villains as convention demands.

The series is as yet unfinished, with two more novels to come before the conclusion is reached, but the five will leave you gripped and wanting more.

Valar Morghulis!

August 9, 2012

John Banville: Ancient Light

by Team Riverside

New hardback from the Man Booker Prize winner comes nicely signed, only at our little shop of horrors.

August 9, 2012

Juliet Nicholson: Abdication

by Team Riverside

We still have couple of signed copies in stock but that won’t last long so hurry up and pay us a visit!

August 9, 2012

José Pizarro: Spanish Flavours

by Team Riverside

£3 Special Discount

Something special from our favourite local culinary genius: book of delicious recipes comes with a delicious discount of £3, whilst stock lasts! For details about the restaurant visit: http://www.josepizarro.com/

August 5, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut: A Man Without A Country

by Monika

A bitter and poignant account of a wise old man who asks questions about human responsibility for the fate of the world but knows how hypocritical the answers would be so he doesn’t even want to wait to hear them. “Man without a country” is a mosaic of simple thoughts, perceptions and sharp reflections on human condition, a forthright, poetical and modest quasi-autobiographical ‘teeny-weeny’ form, Vonnegut’s last book. With his unmistakably searing and penetrating sense of humour, Vonnegut intersperses anecdotes from his life with bitter reflections of American post 9/11 politics, expressing for example his deep humanistic disappointment that cigarettes have failed to kill him (as promised on every package) so he is bound to live in a world where ‘the three most powerful people on the whole planet are named Bush, Dick and Colon’.  This is one of these books that even though very short, one needs to read slowly to thoroughly taste and enjoy every bite of it.

August 5, 2012

Artur Domosławski: Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life

by Monika

 There  are not many as disappointing things in life as finding out that someone whose work you’ve always admired was not an impeccable, godlike figure, but a deeply flawed human being. Suddenly it’s down to us to judge if we can overlook these flaws or if we find them utterly unforgivable. This is a decision that the reader of ‘Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life” by Artur Domosławski (translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones) will have to make for himself. Domoslawski hit hard with a brilliant and thoroughly fascinating biography that openly questions the veracity of Kapuściński’s writing as well as the nature of his political engagement in Communist Poland. It’s a book that caused a little civil war in reporter’s home country: Kapuściński’s wife tried to stop it from being published – fortunately, in vain. It is a beautifully written testimony, full of respect and understanding that is aimed at truth, before that truth would have been (surely) revealed by some other, (surely) far less kind source. A must read.