Interesting that a couple of the Booker longlisters are from small Independent publishers and not wishing to lay any claims to having discovered them, both have found their way onto dgr scribbles in recent months.
What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn was spotted by the C&P (Crockatt & Powell, not Crime & Punishment) boys eons ago, they raved about it and made Susan Hill read it. Susan Hill loved it and blogged accordingly.
Had she not I may never have heard about it, the power of the blog speaks for itself. I was smitten enough to make it my BAFAB prize back in April and after a few hiccups it arrived with the winner who has also loved it.
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng came to me as a proof copy from the unknown of the unknowns, Myrmidon Books and this one slapped me gently right between the eyes.Sometimes along comes a read that removes the blinkers and reveals world events from an entirely new and different perspective; suddenly something you thought you knew enough about becomes a subject you actually knew very little about. In this case Malaya during WWII. It's a book that moved me and gripped in equal measure.
I think between you and me we might have been among the first to feature The Gift of Rain and Tan Twan Eng kindly did a dgr asks interview for me which you can read here.
It's difficult enough out here in the back of beyond to know which books deserve attention and to see beyond the hype and the hollering to find the brilliant reads that, for small publishers working with limited funds, may carry a very modest budget of zilch in the publicity department.That was one of the many and diverse reasons for starting this blog.I could either carry on whingeing or start scribbling.
If I want to find and read them then plenty of others must want to do likewise, we don't all live at the hub of literary universes and here are some of the very best reads yet they never feature in the literary review pages or the magazines, so word of indie bookshop and word of blog is becoming a great route for spreading the news.
I still can't believe that The Needle in the Blood by Sarah Bower hasn't had a major review, or have I missed it?
Perhaps the literary editors think it's rubbish, but I have yet to meet anyone who hasn't been bowled over by the breathtaking scope and scale of that book.
Even worse I discover that it's just as difficult to get these books onto the mainstream bookshop shelves. Perhaps the broadsheets should allocate a weekly centre-page spread to Indie publications?
Suddenly I'm thinking the Indies should just band together and set up their own review magazine, no big guns allowed.
Now I've probably shot myself right in the foot because...
quite very excited to have been invited to speak at the Publisher's Publicity Circle lunch at Foyle's soon (me...speak...Foyles...same sentence...amazing!) about book blogging and without giving away the entire content of my allotted ten minutes this will be a very salient point to make to this gathering of publisher's PR and marketing people.
In the year and a bit since I started dgr scribbles I am discovering that the value of the ordinary reader's honest and trusted opinion is frequently sought and increasingly respected.
That aside there are two other things I'm really looking forward to on that day.
Firstly, meeting all the lovely people I know via e mail who very kindly send me books to review.Please come and say hello, can't imagine PR people are backwards in coming forward.
Secondly, it will be a nice change to do a talk that differs slightly in content from my usual fare, Negotiating with a Terrorist of Your Own, How to Potty Train the Reluctant Toddler.