Jul 18, 2016

Seven days in the book world with Alan Bradley

Alan Bradley needs no introduction to the staff at King's English. "Have you read Sweetness at the bottom of the pie?" is a question we ask a lot. Known for bringing mystery lovers a wonderful cover and memorable titles; (Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag being one of my favourites.) the multi award winning Toronto native retired from a successful broadcasting career to write full time. He has also taught screen writing and written a few screenplays himself. Flavia's adventures could soon be gracing the small screen as they have been optioned by director Sam Mendes. Alan currently resides on the Isle of Man

Here is Alan's week in his own words.

Remember the Rolodex? That handy hedgehog which bristled on your desk with names, address, telephone numbers and the odd scribbled reminder?

My TBR pile is something like that: an ever-changing heap of books which, like a bedside Ferris wheel, stops regularly to take on new passengers or discharge old ones.

The past seven days have turned up:

(1)   Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. Why? Because I’m always reading Finnegan’s Wake, of which I own too many copies, one of which is never more than a few feet away when I need a fix. The Wake, which contains the complete history of everything, is oxygen for authors, and ought to be published in a steel pressurized canister edition.

(2)   O Sing Unto the Lord: A History of English Church Music, by Andrew Gant. I’ve always loved books that contain a great number of curiosities about some topic I know absolutely nothing about. Who knew, for instance, that a certain organist was said to have relieved himself from the organ loft onto the head of his passing Dean?

(3)   A Great Reckoning, by Louise Penny. Having just written an Appreciation for the forthcoming Scorpion Press limited edition, it’s a sheer delight to be back in the village of Three Pines, and in the company of Armand Gamache, former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec.

(4)   Blood & Beauty, by Sarah Dunant. One of the great disappointments of my life was arriving at a book fair just minutes after Sarah Dunant had departed. This new(ish) novel is about the Borgias. What more could a hungry heart, mind, or soul wish for?

(5)   Elizabeth’s London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London by Liza Picard. This is just one of the author’s superb books about London through the ages, written in breathtakingly beautiful prose. She truly makes the dead live again.

(6)   The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor. An historical thriller set during the Great Fire of 1666. Finger glue from this fine novelist – and, best of all, it’s the first of a new series featuring government informer, James Marwood. Highly recommended.

There have been other titles, of course, which I won’t bore you with. But as someone who has developed the habit of reading ten or a dozen books at the same time, anything less than that number seems wasteful.

Unfocused? Nonsense! Multi-tasking at its finest!

Alan's week in a nutshell

Finnegan's Wake (1939)
O Sing Unto the Lord: A History of English Church Music (2015)
A Great Reckoning (August 30th 2016)
Blood and Beauty (2014)
Elizabeth's London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London (2003)
Ashes of London (Out now in Canada, Out March 2017 in the US)

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust is out now in paperback 9780345539946
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd is out in hardcover in September 9780345539960 

Here's a sneak peek at the cover art.

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