Looking for Good Reads

Ann attends Inkwell Arts’ Readers Group and whilst not here, she reads and reviews novels on Amazon which is linked to her Goodreads accounts. The phenomenon of the literary blogger is a recent trend that has increased the diversity and coverage of books from lesser-known authors. Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday is a novel that arrived garlanded with substantial amounts of praise in the mainstream press. This led Ann to reflect on our present literary culture.

I access advanced review copies (ARCs) through NetGalley. It’s a process I enjoy, especially when it comes to devoting time to reviews of new authors because this is essentially what enables them to get their books out and into the world since many of the writers I read are self-published. The emergence of Ebooks supports this process of publication. I do understand the reticence toward reading via this medium, but it’s undoubtedly an excellent vehicle for people who write and would perhaps not ordinarily have the opportunity of being published in the ‘traditional’ manner.

Ultimately, I’m an advocate of new writing and fresh voices and I couldn’t help thinking about this when I was reading Lisa Halliday’s debut novel. The book’s jacket is adorned with endorsements from large print outlets and notable writers (Zadie Smith no less)– also including shortlisting for the Man Booker Prize – but one cannot avoid the sense of burden this generates when reading this novel for somebody who reads non-traditionally published books. Certainly, I’m interested in her trajectory as a writer after reading Asymmetry, but despite the clever twists and their provocations, I could not help but feel there was a lack of ‘depth’ to this book.

Summer Line-up for Inkwell’s Readers Group

June 15th – Small Island by Andrea Levy

July 20th – Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

August 17th – Milkman by Anna Burns