Books I read in April

May 14, 2022 · 12:50 p.m

How Words Become Good: The Making of Rebecca Lee’s Book offers a fascinating insight into the journey of creating a book from the initial idea in the author’s head to the finished copies on the bookshelf. It celebrates the vast number of people involved in book creation, including authors who choose to remain anonymous, ghostwriters, literary agents, proofreaders and editors, as well as processes such as typesetting, translation, indexing, footnotes, cover design, printing and more what else. It has not only some elements of the publishing industry, but also a lot of trivia. For example, Donald Trump asked his ghostwriter Mark Schwartz to cover half the cost of the launch event for “The Art of the Deal” on the basis that Schwartz received half the advance and royalties (p. 47) while the Japanese. James Joyce’s version of Finnegans Wake “required three separate translators after the first disappeared and the second went mad” (p. 216). Lee has served as Editor-in-Chief of Penguin Press for over 20 years, and her wealth of experience is reflected in her amusing anecdotes and encyclopedic knowledge. Equal parts entertaining and insightful, it’s highly recommended for bibliophiles everywhere, especially those who enjoy quirky trivia.

The unusual suspect, Ben MachelUncommon Suspect Author Ben Machel is the story of Stephen Jackley’s bank robberies in Exeter and Worcester as a modern-day Robin Hood, which he saw as an attempt to fight poverty and injustice by stealing money from the rich to give to the poor. A 21-year-old geography student at the University of Worcester with Asperger’s syndrome, Jackley did not fit the typical profile of a bank robber, and police missed several opportunities to identify him after ten robberies in six months. in the south west of England in 2007 before he was finally arrested in the United States. Jackley agreed to be interviewed for the book, but had no editorial control over Machel’s account, which details his family background and the path that led him to the heist. As the title suggests, this is a highly unusual story filled with unanswered questions and contradictions, both of which are vital elements of an engaging true crime story.

Careless Kirsty CapesI hadn’t heard Careless Kirsty Capes until it was shortlisted for the Women’s Fiction Prize this year. In 1999, fifteen-year-old Bess lives in foster care and discovers she’s pregnant during the summer when she’s doing her GCSEs and doesn’t know what to do. Her best friend Eshal is her only confidant and she struggles with the prospect of a proper marriage. Capes herself grew up in the care system, and her authentic voice shines through in a compassionate novel that is both compelling and measured in its balancing of complex issues. This is an excellent debut novel and I would have liked to have seen it shortlisted for the Women’s Fiction Awards (but I’m pleased that Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss and Maggie Shipsted’s Great Circle are there too). I’m looking forward to Capes’ second novel, Love Me Don’t Love Me , which will be published later this summer.

We need to talk about money Otega UvagbaWe need to talk about money by Otega Uvagba is a memoir that explores the author’s relationship with money in her life as a black British millennial living in London. The subject matter is confrontational and may spark a new trend in confessional memoirs. Uvagba moved to the UK with his family from Nigeria at the age of five and won a scholarship to a private school in London before studying politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University. She reflects on her experiences in the world of work – temperament, salary negotiation, office culture, sexism, racism and becoming self-employed, as well as the realities of the London rental market and her journey to home ownership during the pandemic. Uvagba writes very perceptively about the orientation to privilege and social class, as well as the opportunities and obstacles that can arise in different circumstances. Engaging and passionate.

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