News and reviews round-up

January 21st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

So many reviews of Cultured Llama books in December and January … here are just a few.

Zygote Poems by Richard Thomas is reviewed in Stride magazine by Steve Spence:

This is book fuelled by love and it examines the intense experience of fatherhood in a manner which is both exploratory and entertaining. It’s a serious achievement and  I’m wondering where Thomas is going to go next.

… and in Literature Works (reviewer not named)

In my humble opinion, the sign of a good poem is that it should make you weep. That is quite a big ask I know but many of the poems in this collection do just that, by documenting the minutiae, by being at once knowing and unknowing, by pulling you in with the sheer honesty of the words – the phonetics that Thomas deploys are an added bonus, a mark of that honesty. They make you stop and really read the words.

The Hungry Writer by Lynne Rees is reviewed by the ExPat Writer, DL Nelson:

9780993211935-Cover190915 ALT1.inddThis is a perfect book to settle down with on a rainy afternoon, a cup of tea and perhaps with the smell of welsh cakes (recipe page 61) hot from the oven.

Lynne Rees blogs on Women Writers, Women’s Books: How I Turned My Blog Into A Book 

While I was lecturing on the creative writing programme at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, a couple of students asked me if I realised I couldn’t get through a seminar without mentioning food or drink. Really? I mean, really??!! But they were right. And I began to notice how I might describe a bruise as being the colour of cooked liver, or identify hope in the scent of bread from a corner bakery.

Sally Evans reviews Les Animots: A Human Bestiary by Gordon Meade and Douglas Robertson, on Keep Poems Alive:

animot Jacket front BC EDIT 220915Robertson’s style here, which look as if it is pencilled, suits the stark understatement of the poems very well. There is a chill in some of the poems, like the Dingo, which ends:

just the other day

a family was, thirty years too late
for them, found innocent of the murder
of their daughter in the bush.

The illustrator responds to this with humour, sometimes a black humour like the dead moles strung on barbed wire a page or two later in the book.

It is fair to say that Les Animots: A Human Bestiary did not get an easy ride in its final stages – deliveries of the books to Gordon Meade, in Fife, were delayed by the closure of the Forth Road Bridge, and Douglas Robertson was not able to get to a talk on collaboration that both poet and illustrator were supposed to deliver at the Scottish Writers’ Centre, due to the floods. A report of Gordon’s solo appearance appears here.

The Lost of Syros is reviewed in the December 2015 issue of Takahe, a magazine based in Emma Timpany’s native New Zealand:

Katherine Mansfield is a strong presence in this collection, with several stories re-imagining events from her biography, including time spent in Cornwall (where Timpany now lives). Mansfield’s ghost manifests in present-day Dunedin, as “best friends” Fiona and Laura cycle towards the Taiaroa Head albatross colony on the Peninsula. As an albatross hangs in the air “on wide white wings…eyeing them”, Laura marvels. Fiona squints at it, and remarks, “You know Katherine used to call Ida “albatross”. But Mansfield infuses all the stories, even those in which she is not explicitly named, as Timpany takes Mansfield’s themes of location and dislocation and reworks them with a contemporary eye. The Lost of Syros contains images and stories which remain with me days after finishing the book. It’s a fine collection, to which I’ll return, knowing that it will reveal layers I’ve yet to discover.

Phew, what a lot of reviews! Last of all, Kim Moore features Rose Cook’s ‘A Poem for someone who is juggling her life’ as her Sunday Poem. The poem appears in Notes From a Bright Field.

A big thank you to all the reviewers and bloggers, the unsung heroes who do so much to promote the work of authors and independent publishers.

All books mentioned above can be ordered by clicking on the book’s titles and going to their pages. Regrettably, we are raising our prices in February due to rising print and distribution costs. Cultured Llama does not receive any external funding; our only income is from book sales.

Beat the price rises by ordering before 31 January 2016.

David Bowie Remembered

January 21st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

9780993211911-front-cover-SMALLCultured Llama authors have responded to the death of David Bowie this month, just two days after his 69th birthday and the release of a new album, Blackstar. In fact, Peter Cook, author of The Music of Business and Punk Rock People Management, was invited to talk on CNN on the day Bowie’s death was announced. Here are some quotes from ‘Changes: Reinvention lessons from David Bowie’, from the section of Leadership in The Music of Business :

Lesson # 5. Perpetual change

In 1983, he released ‘Let’s Dance’. Bowie recruited Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers to produce the album, giving the record a sleek, funky foundation, and hired the unknown Stevie Ray Vaughan as lead guitarist. Let’s Dance became his most successful record. HR talk about change management at length. Bowie just gets on with it.

Lesson # 6. Learn from Failure

Bowie’s next project was less successful. He formed a guitar rock band called Tin Machine. They released an album to poor reviews […] a second album, “Tin Machine II”, was largely ignored […] perhaps too far ahead for some people to latch on to. When change does not work it is time to change again.

Stephen H. Morris, author of Do It Yourself: A History of Music in Medway, blogged on Bowie on his site Reviewage:

It was in an ‘A’ Level music class. In these lessons the four of us would often be asked to listen to some piece of music and analyse it to death: a Mozart symphany, a Beethoven sonata, a Monteverdi vesper – or ‘Changes’ by David Bowie.

The fact that the people who set the ‘A’ Level syllabus saw fit to put Bowie’s music alongside Mozart and Beethoven is the biggest compliment a schools examining board can probably make.

And it’s one that we should all make.

I listened to ‘Changes’ transfixed. The rising piano introduction, the horns, that voice. It was pure perfection. Whether or not I was able to identify any parallel fifths or notate the bass line by ear, I have no idea.I was probably just too bowled over.

Maria C. McCarthy, author of As Long as it Takes and strange fruits, posted ‘Oh no love, you’re not alone’ on her website; memories of Bowie from her schooldays in the ’70s:

David Bowie was exotic, alien, strange, yet an ordinary boy from Bromley. We thought, in those days, that he wore a coloured contact lens to make one eye look different. I learned only this week that his unusually large pupil, diminished iris, was the result of a playground accident. But then there were, and remain, so many secrets, so much misinformation about this enigmatic singer, performer, composer, actor.

What I can say is, in 1973, he was the most exciting thing on my horizon. If I could get away with watching Top of the Pops(my mum said it was ‘pure rubbish’), he might appear singing ‘Life on Mars’, strangely contorted and with bad dentistry, and absolutely mesmerising to my 13-year-old self.

There was a cabinet at the top of one the staircases at school, which was given over to different classes to make displays, and our theme was Life on Mars. We hadn’t quite got the meaning of the song, so took the title literally, and created a planet surface populated by little rubber aliens that you could buy from sweet shops, with holes in the bottom to balance them on fingers or use as pencil tops.

You can buy The Music of BusinessDo It Yourself: A History of MusicAs Long as it Takes and strange fruits direct from Cultured Llama.

All book prices are rising soon, due to increases in print and distribution costs. We receive no external funding at Cultured Llama, so we hope you appreciate the need to increase revenue to keep our rather wonderful micro-publishing house in business.

Beat the price rises by ordering before 31st January. Postage and packaging is free when you buy two or more books.

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