Newest Anthologies Reviews

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Review of

Somebody Give This Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur

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Sophia Thakur's debut anthology is a collection of poems that are all unique, whether in relation to their style, length or theme. The collection is split into four sections, titled 'grow', 'wait','break' and 'grow again', guiding you through a process which is one of the foundations that the anthology is built on. Each section begins with a foregrounded title page containing various small pieces of writing, ranging from a quote by a Nigerian playwright, to African proverbs. This provides a nice introduction to the section before you are immersed in the beautifully written and eloquent poems that Thakur has clearly put her heart and soul into. Full Review

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Review of

You're the Froth On My Soy Cappuccino: Poems for the Present by Don Behrend

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You're the Froth On My Soy Cappuccino begins with A Modern Love Story:

You’re the froth on my soy cappuccino
You’re the spread on my paleo toast
You’re the nose of my GM-free Pinot
You’re organic, my love. You’re the most!

Ha! How can you not laugh at this gently mocking take on love in the hipster world? Full Review

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Review of

Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry by Pop Up Projects

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This collection brings together five emerging voices in poetry. And despite what the publisher says, I wouldn't personally impose an age restriction on the writing here. Each poet uses words that will appeal to many readers. I found this particularly so with Jay Hulme's poetry. Full Review

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Review of

A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson was a very versatile writer; he delved deep into the human psyche when he wrote The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde but he did not restrict himself to representations of the gothic and the persecuted. He also wrote brilliant children's adventure stories such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped, but, again, he did not restrict himself to prose writing because here he demonstrates his ability to write poetry. Full Review

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Review of

A Poem for Every Day of the Year by Allie Esiri

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For those who do not read much poetry, for those who do not know where to start, this is a fun and easy commitment to take on. Reading a poem a day does not take long, mere minutes, and with over three-hundred poems in here there's bound to be a poem that speaks to each reader directly. Full Review

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Review of

William and Dorothy Wordsworth: A Miscellany by Gavin Herbertson

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William Wordsworth was a defining member of the romantic literary era. He was part of the first wave, and his poetry helped to shape a large part of it. Nature was the key: existing in nature, finding one's own true nature and becoming natural in the process were the driving forces behind it. Full Review

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Review of

The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write by Sabrina Mahfouz

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What does it mean to be British and Muslim? This is a question these writers tackle with stunning clarity. Modern-day British society has a varied sense of cultural heritage; it is a society that is changing and moving forward as it adds more and more voices to the population, but it is also one that has an undercurrent of anxiety and fear towards those who are minorities. So this collection displays how all that fear is received; it comes in the form of stereotypical labels and racial prejudice, which are themes eloquently reproduced here. Full Review

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Review of

View from the Cheap Seats by Barry Holland

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A little bit about Barry Holland: he was born in Newport, South Wales, to working-class parents. He loves rugby and his son - his son is his favourite rugby player, which is just as it should be. He is a qualified engineer but is unable to work because of mental ill-health. All of these things feed into View from the Cheap Seats, which is a collection of poems and imaginings as vivid and immediate and striking as you could hope for. Barry sounds like a thoroughly nice bloke and his book was a pleasure to read. Full Review

link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/Marshall EFT/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21

Review of

The Book of English Folk Tales by Sybil Marshall and John Lawrence

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From ghosts to witches, to giants and fairies, The Book of English Folk Tales is a fascinating collection of stories retold by social historian and folklorist Sybil Marshall. Out of print for over three decades, this beautiful new clothbound edition is complete with wood-engraved illustrations by John Lawrence and is sure to capture the attention of a new generation of lovers of folklore. Full Review

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Review of

Winter: A Book for the Season by Felicity Trotman (editor)

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This seasonal anthology contains a nice mixture of poetry, nature and travel pieces, and excerpts from longer works of fiction. Felicity Trotman, a freelance editor and member of the English Civil War Society, has arranged the material into three sections: 'The Old Year', 'Christmas, Sacred and Secular', and 'The New Year'. This creates an appropriate sense of chronological progression and also serves to make Christmas the heart of the book. Black-and-white illustrations – maps, photographs and engravings – are interspersed throughout, and each author gets a short paragraph of biography and background. Full Review

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Review of

Winter Magic by Abi Elphinstone (Editor)

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With everything from dragons to mysterious crimes, voice-stealing witches to time travel, and magical worlds to first performances of world-famous ballets, this is a collection of short stories that delights from start to finish. Anthologies of short stories can sometimes fall flat, with one or two good ones and then a bunch of mediocre fillers, but this collection has no weak links...all the stories are good, and most of them are brilliant. I felt entirely caught up in each individual world as I read, loving the varied and extremely likeable heroines throughout. Full Review

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Review of

The Virgin Mary's Got Nits by Gervase Phinn

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Christmas in our house is the time we tend to get on a plane and head to either sun or snow, anywhere that is far, far away from the madness at home, last-minute dashes to the shops on Christmas Eve and food cupboard stockpiles that would imply supermarkets are shutting for a month, nor a mere 36 hours. But I do remember the feeling of Christmas when I was younger, back when it was magical, and back when you knew exactly what the season would bring with carol concerts and school nativities and Christmas parties. This book is an anthology of those moments, and it took me right back to the wonder of Christmas as a child. Full Review

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Review of

No Pasaran: Writings from the Spanish Civil War by Pete Ayrton (editor)

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In ¡No Pasarán!: Writings from the Spanish Civil War, Pete Ayrton has chosen a majority of texts by Spanish writers, arguing that the conflict has long been written about from the point of view of the international brigades. Full Review

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Review of

Murder at the Manor: Country House Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics) by Martin Edwards (editor)

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I'm not big on short stories, but two factors nudged me towards this book. Firstly, it's broadly golden age crime, one of my weaknesses and secondly, the editor is Martin Edwards, a man whose knowledge of golden age crime is probably unsurpassed and he's done us proud, not only with his selection but with the half-page biographies of the writers, which precede each story. There's just enough there to allow you to place the author and to direct you to other works if you're tempted. It's an elegant selection, from the well known and the less well known, all set in and around the country house. Full Review

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Review of

Once Upon a Place by Eoin Colfer (editor)

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You know the bit of the blurb on every Artemis Fowl book, where Eoin Colfer had it said about how you pronounce his name? That wasn't the intention of an up-and-coming author to be recognisable; rather, it was pride. Pride in the difference of it, of the Irishness of it. Ireland, it seems to me, is more full than usual of people, things and ideas, and places that are different by dint of their singular nationality – and so many deserve to have pride attached to them. The places might not be the famous ones, but they can be the source of pride, and of stories, which is where this compilation of short works for the young comes in, with the authors invited to select their chosen place and write about it. Full Review

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Review of

The Starlings and Other Stories by Ann Cleeves (editor)

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Six authors, known collectively as 'Murder Squad', and their six accomplices were each given photographs of the remote landscape of Pembrokeshire by acclaimed photographer David Wilson and asked to come up with a short story inspired by what they saw. Some of the stories will be more to your taste than others, as is only to be expected in such a varied anthology, but none are weak and if you enjoy crime short stories then this book could be a real treat. Full Review

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Review of

Love From Pooh (Winnie the Pooh) by A A Milne

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For a small book, a small review – this is a quite delightful little thing, about which not a lot can be said. It is a gift book pure and simple, much in the way that Pooh Bear was a little simple at times (Pooh… thought how wonderful it would be to have a Real Brain which could tell you things). With it comes a simple blurb, and almost instructions that it is for giving, and there is a space for a loving dedication at the beginning, which is again only apt, as it is all about love. Love of honey, love in friendship, love of all various kinds, but just love. It can't help but make you most warm-hearted. Full Review

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Review of

What Makes This Book So Great: Re-Reading The Classics Of Science Fiction And Fantasy by Jo Walton

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Jo Walton has published over ten books, several of which have been award-winning. On top of that, she has a voracious appetite for books - both as a well-respected writer of original fiction, but as a well-respected reviewer too. Not only does she have time to do all that, but she also writes a regular column for Tor.com, on Science Fiction and Fantasy books, and it is these columns that a selection of which are collected here. Full Review

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Review of

Did We Meet on Grub Street? by Emma Tennant, Hilary Bailey and David Elliott

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Essentially, the three authors (all of whom have long careers in the book industry) revel in the idea of being whining old curmudgeons who miss the good old days of publishing. This unashamed nostalgia provides the focus of the book and allows the writers to recount numerous anecdotes from their days in the publishing business. Whilst the primary audience for this book may well be students of creative writing and media studies, it also serves as an interesting exploration of an aspect of modern history: how a once-burgeoning industry is now a shell of its former self, much like a lot of manufacturing. Because of this, I was disappointed that no space was given to a consideration of how the rise of the e-book and Kindle has directly damaged both the sale of books and the potential for new books to be written (fewer real books sold = fewer financial advances paid to writers = fewer books written). Also, given the clear love of books as treasured artefacts, the dismissal of the Harry Potter phenomenon seems truculent, given the impetus the series gave to reading amongst both the young and adults. Full Review

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Review of

The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries by Otto Penzler (editor)

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Nostalgia is a big part of the Christmas experience, and that's provided in sack-loads by this hefty tome of short stories. Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Brother Cadfael jostle Morse, Rumpole and Vic Warshawski for space on these tightly packed pages, while lesser-known and long since forgotten writers furnish new and unexpected pleasures for even the most well-read of book worms. Full Review

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