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Mon, 04 Jul 2011 08:17
What is History because it tells you how to read history. You'll never read a history book in the same way again. The Braudel because it is one of the finest histories you'll read. The Freud because he was the most influential figure of the 20th century and fundamentally changed the way we see ourselves. The Marx biography because it's a brilliantly accessible introduction into his thinking without being weighed down by all the bogeyman nonsense. The Barthes because you'll never look at a toaster or a laptop or a tennis match or anything in the same way again. The Benjamin because it deals with what is authentic, in every respect. The Banham because for me, Los Angeles is the most complete city in the world. The Tufte because it is one of the most beautiful books ever produced as well as one of the most challenging in our visually literate age. The Riefenstahl because of the incongruity of reading one of the most extraordinary lives of the 20th century in all its glory and horror whilst on a palm fringed beach in the South Pacific. The Hopkins because it reminds be of being 16 again. But mostly, because all of these discoveries opened so many doors for me that I am forever in their debt.
Mon, 27 Jun 2011 08:32
It's week three of our Summer Festival and we're very pleased to welcome best-selling author Adele Parks to the Book Depository blog. Her new book, About Last Night is just out and already storming up the charts. We've also got ten copies to give away if you head over here.
But enough of my yakkin' here's Adele to tell you a bit about how she started and what writing means to her:
"I've wanted to write novels for as long as I can remember. As a child I read voraciously and wrote my own stories, making them into little books. As I grew up I always had notebooks which I jotted ideas into and when I got drunk I shamefacedly whispered about my secret dream. I was twenty-eight before I started to take myself and my ambition seriously. Once I did, I simply worked steadily until I had a novel I could present to anyone. I ruthlessly self edited, I accepted criticism and I researched my market which secured me an agent. My agent presented my book to 6 publishers and they all accepted it. I do realize this is a bit sickening to anyone who has had numerous knockbacks but on the other hand my story shows that dreams come true and novelists work in a world of dreams so I hope no-one resents it too much!
Over the past decade my career has taken me to USA, Italy, Sweden, Bosnia, Canada, and South Africa. I'm lucky enough to have my works translated into over 20 languages (although I have no idea what's said!). I've met a vast array of people from famous journalists and TV celebs to Prime ministers and people struggling to read their first novel through my work with The Reading Agency and literacy programmes. It's mind blowing really.
Since 2000, I've written eleven novels, About Last Night being my most recent. I'm scarily disciplined, very probably a workaholic but then it's not difficult to be obsessive about something you enjoy, ask anyone who has ever been in love. I write about those irrefutable, perennial issues that interest us all. I try to scrutinize our theories of love, parenthood, friendship and fidelity; I try to do so with honesty and humour. I think contemporary romance is incredibly popular and enduring because without love what have we got? It's defining, exhilarating, disappointing, infinite.
My novels are a mix of reality and escapism. The contemporary settings, descriptions and characters are all part of our world which allows the reader to easily and joyfully relate to the situations but the difference is that a contemporary romance novel invariably offers a happy or at least satisfactory resolution. We see characters improve and get just what they deserve; we often crave that in real life and appreciate it in our fiction - I think that might be part of the enduring appeal. This genre offers entertainment, solace and above all hope. However, even though my novels have a romantic element I think they also have an attitude that's modern and reflective of the women who read my work. Intelligent women who want to exam the thorny issues of the lives we lead today, women who appreciate an up-front, tell-it-as-it-is style.
I love receiving reader feedback. I've already had emails from fans who've finished About Last Night, even though it was only released 4 days ago (at the time of writing). They confide their stories of betraying best friends or husbands. There's a real sense that we're connected, which we are. My books are mine when I write them but they belong to the reader after that. We share the experience."
Mon, 27 Jun 2011 08:31
"I am sat here, in June, looking out of the window at the torrential rain! Something is not quite right there. I am sitting here dreaming of hotter climes, of sun, sand and sangria!! To get me in the mood for my summer holidays I decided to ask my friends about their favourite summer essential reads - lots of authors came up time and time again, Jilly Cooper, Adele Parks, Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes in particular. Here is a list of some of our favourite titles, some of which you will have read, others which we can highly recommend. Fingers crossed for a long hot summer so you can get lots of poolside reading done." - Sharon Smith
Fri, 24 Jun 2011 08:39
A fantastically funny, perfectly pink picture book about a little girl called Polly and her beloved pink pyjamas.
Polly loves her pink pyjamas - she wears them all day long! But she can't wear them to Fred's party, so her friends Poppy, Clara, Henry and Sally all lend her something of theirs. Finally Polly is ready to go - but she looks so funny in her borrowed outfit that she can't go after all! Things are looking bad - until her friends reveal that the party is, after all, a pyjama party!
Fri, 24 Jun 2011 08:39
All the animals love the baby - and so will you!
"I saw the baby! Did you see the baby?"
"Yes! I saw the baby, the teeny, weeny thing."
"I tickled the baby! Did you tickle the baby?"
"Yes! I tickled the baby, the wriggly, giggly thing!"
Join in the fun in this shout-out-loud picture book for the very youngest of children.
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