31 March 2008

Bill Bryson's Shakespeare

Karen Robinson had good things to say about Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare which she recently reviewed as The Sunday Times Audio Book of the Week. She said:

“Do we really need another book about Shakespeare? Well, probably not, but Bryson's cheerfully light touch with the results of his research (such as the notion that, had Shakespeare's father not relocated to Stratford upon Avon, he might have been known as the Bard of Snooterfield) makes this a joy to listen to. Scrupulous about finding the verifiable facts of Shakespeare's life, he spends a lot of time politely having fun with centuries of unlikely theory and baseless supposition, and truly comes alive on his subject's amazing contributions to the language we still speak. Did you know he coined, inter alia, the expression “to back a horse”? In an interview at the end of this production, Bryson is almost breathless in his enthusiasm - listen to it first if you need inspiration.”

Bill Bryson is perennially popular at Audible so we were thrilled to add a new audio programme from him to the store this month. Journeys in English is Bryson’s highly entertaining BBC Radio 4 series which is based on his best-selling book Mother Tongue. In it, he romps through the history of Britain to reveal how English became such an infuriatingly complex - but ultimately world-beating - language.

13 March 2008

Nibbies shortlists announced

The shortlists for the 2008 Galaxy British Book Awards have just been announced. The awards are also known as the Nibbies and the category winners will be revealed by Richard and Judy on April 9th at a ceremony at Grosvenor House in London.

It's a wide and varied list this year and we’re thrilled to see so many of the shortlisted books are available as audio downloads. The shortlisted titles and authors are:

Reader’s Digest Author of the Year

Tesco Biography of the Year Award

Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year Award

Waterstone’s Newcomer of the Year Award

Sainsbury’s Popular Fiction Award

Richard and Judy’s Best Read of the Year

WH Smith Children’s Book of the Year

Julie Murphy, Online Editor

12 March 2008

See The Welsh Girl on Richard & Judy today

The final episode of Richard & Judy’s book club airs today and as expected all 10 books featured this year have gone on to become instant bestsellers.

Viewers will now have the chance to vote for their favourite book from the list with the winner receiving the coveted Richard & Judy's Best Read Award at The British Book Awards on 9th April.

If, like me, you are at work on Wednesdays at 5pm and missed the Book Club programmes, you can catch the Richard & Judy interviews on the British Book Awards website.

The final book to feature on this year’s show is The Welsh Girl, the booker longlisted first novel by Peter Ho Davies. The novel is set in Wales in 1944. A German Jewish refugee is sent to interview Rudolf Hess; in Snowdonia a 17 year-old girl, the daughter of a fiercely nationalistic shepherd, dreams of the bright lights of an English city; and in a nearby POW camp, a German soldier struggles to reconcile his surrender with his sense of honour. As their lives intersect, all three will come to question where they belong and where their loyalties lie.

For a list of all the Richard & Judy Book Club choices available as downloads go here.

6 March 2008

Man Booker Prize celebrates 40 years

This year the Man Booker Prize celebrates its 40th anniversary and there will be a special one-off award which will see the public choosing which has been the most outstanding of all the Booker Prize winners. Panel judges, chaired by Victoria Glendinning will select six books for the shortlist which will then be made open to the public to make the final decision.

Victoria Glendinning said: “The Best of the Booker is a wonderful opportunity to read, or reread, some of the best literature in English of the past four decades. We are having a very good time revisiting the now-classic novels which won the Booker long ago, as well as the celebrated ones from recent years. All readers will enjoy this, and we look forward to hearing what the voters think - and which one, from our shortlist, they will judge the Best of the Booker.”

Canadian writer Yann Martel took the Man Booker Prize home in 2002 with his novel Life of Pi and is favourite to win the Best of the Booker at William Hill bookmakers with odds of 4/1.
Yann Martel said: “When I was describing to people what Pi was about they'd roll their eyes, finding it incredibly implausible.”
Previous Booker winners available as downloads at Audible are:

Shin Suzuma, Audible Work Experience