Bookgroupers were out in force on Monday 24th January in the Central Reference Library, to listen to a panel of ‘Edinburgh Reads’ authors (Sue Peebles, Laura Marney and Alan Bisset, with Stuart Kelly as Chair) discuss their ‘fantasy bookgroup’.
See more photos from the event on flickr
Each member of the panel got to choose a living auhor, an author from any time in history and a book to disuss at their fantasy book group. For those of you who couldn’t make it along or couldn’t quite manage to write down all their suggestions, please see the list below, of all the authors, titles, personalities alive and dead mentioned in the course of the discussion. Happy reading!
Janet Frame (d.2004): one of New Zealand’s greatest writers. Recommended autobiography -‘An Angel at my table’
Christopher Hitchens, author of ‘Hitch 22’
‘Birds of America’ by Lorrie Moore –an ‘exquisite’ collection of 12 short stories which includes ‘People Like that are the Only People Here’ comparable to Raymond Carver’s ‘A Small, Good Thing’, a masterpiece of parental empathy and grief. Pablo Neruda’s ‘Twenty love poems and a song of despair’ was also mentioned.
Lady Caroline Lamb (d.1828) ‘the first celebrity stalker’, coiner of the phrase ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ about her erstwhile lover Lord Byron. Her many letters are now available in the National Library’s ‘John Murray Archive’.
Martin Amis, author of ‘The Information’, and ‘The War Against Cliche: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000’- heavily recommended.
‘American Psycho’ by Bret Easton Ellis. A controversial black satire on the bankrupt, money-driven world of the 1980s.
Muriel Spark (d.2006) Famous Edinburgh waspish author of ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’
Marilynne Robinson, underrated author of ‘Gilead’ and ‘Home’, gracefully measured family stories.
‘The Cone Gatherers’ by Robin Jenkins. A novel that deserves to be more widely read, and more widely spread.
Other recommendations- ‘The Handmaid’s Tale‘ by Margaret Atwood; ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess; ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck; ‘Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka; ‘On Chesil beach’ by Ian McEwan and ‘Number9dream’ by David Mitchell.
G.K. Chesterton (d.1936) witty, prolific, diverse English writer, often called ‘The Prince of paradox’.
Zadie Smith – award winning writer of ‘On Beauty’.
‘We have always lived in the Castle’ by Shirley Jackson. A mystery tale told by Merricat, an unreliable narrator. Also wrote ‘The Lottery’.