The Sea by John Banville (and appearing on Radio 4)

The Sea

Often one of the most interesting bits about meeting an author is reconciling yourself to the fact that the worlds and minds you have come to know and imagine so closely, so intimately, started out in another person’s imagination. It was with this in mind that I took in John Banville- a small bespectacled Irish man in a bow tie and tweeds, somewhat fussily sipping at a glass of red wine.

I was at Broadcasting house, attending a recording of BBC radio 4s BookClub. The book (and aforementioned world) was winner of 2004’s ManBooker prize: The Sea.

The novel had bobbed up to the surface of media consciousness ten years after winning, buoyed no doubt by a press junket related to a new motion picture based on the novel which comes out this month.

Regardless of the film- I’m so glad this book floated my way, and that I was obliged to read it for the occasion because it is beautiful and quite intimidating. The text is continuous and lyrical taking you seamlessly from soft eddies of humour to the realities of grief and back.

The Sea deals with memory, childhood demons, and loss- which can drive people to escape from reality and into a world they create for themselves. Detailing the protagonist’s return to the site of childhood holidays after his wife’s death from cancer, this is a book about innocence, judgement and an exploration of the dreams which tow us into the treacherous waters of adulthood.

Well worth the read.

Born in Wexford in 1945, John Banville won The Man Booker Prize in 2005 with his novel The Sea and was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize in 2007. Published by Virago.

BBC link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03zxw0g 

oh hey there I am at 4.55. Image

Book Life: A new lending library at LSE!

Hello all

The mightiest of the very lovely perks of working in publishing is books! Free books! Cheap books! Books everywhere! Need books? Got books.

We get wonderful deals on books through work and any money we pay tends to head towards some pretty excellent charities. I mentioned this to a friend studying a Masters at LSE this year and he had a great idea: helping to set up a lending library at The London School of Economics for students. I feel pretty strongly about everyone’s right to good storytelling and I’m the first to vouch for the joys of both taking home a good book and passing on a tattered copy of something you know others will love.

So, a few weeks (and some pretty heavy book-lifting) later, we managed to set this thing up. I even got him to pen a few words for me about it:

This year the LSESU Literature Society has been able to set up its very first lending library in the new LSE student union. The library is just a number of bookcases from which students are free to borrow the book they wish for any duration, and are also encouraged to donate any books of their own. Further study is a greater financial sacrifice than ever before, but The Literature Society knows that reading widely should be a student’s right and not a privilege.

We would like to really thank Vicky as without her our bookcases would only be half-full! Our budget did not look like it would stretch as far as we hoped until she was able to source lots of well-chosen books at amazing prices through her work. We now have a large and varied collection of both fiction and non-fiction, hopefully catering for the eclectic tastes of our student body. Thanks again Vicky, keep fighting the good fight!

                                                            – Richard Kirsch (LSESU Literature Society)

It was fun, and really got me in the mood for World Book Night!

UPDATE April 2014:

…and here’s a photo of the LSESU Literature Society scooping up a Bronze Award at the SU & STARS Awards this year for entrepreneurialism!

LSESU Literature Society scooping up a Bronze Award at the SU & STARS Awards 2014

LSESU Literature Society scooping up a Bronze Award at the SU & STARS Awards 2014