In October 1957 Marlon Brando married a young studio actress called Anna Kashfi. He was thirty-three and at the pinnacle of his fame having recently won an Oscar. The wedding was front-page news around the world. His new bride was twenty-three, claimed to be an Indian princess and was pregnant. The day after the wedding a factory worker living in Wales, William O'Callaghan, revealed that Brando's bride was in fact his daughter, Joan O'Callaghan and had been a butcher's assistant from Cardiff! This book sets out to discover who was telling the truth and who was lying and, perhaps more importantly, why? What a terrific story, Brando’s Bride (£10, pb, 978 1912681273) was the Book of the Week in the Daily Mail last Thursday and you can read that article here. They wrote: "There will not be a better written, more understanding and forensically researched biography published this year" and since then the Parthian phones have been ringing none stop since, with requests from many papers for interviews with its author Sarah Broughton including Fox News who want to fly her to New York. Sarah will be interviewed on Talk Radio Europe on Monday 26th August at 12.25pm and there will be others.
As the Ashes gets underway, please make sure you have copies of the handsome A Field of Tents and Waving Colours: Neville Cardus Writing on Cricket (hb, £14.99, 978 1916045309) on display – it had a brilliant review in the Daily Mail today. “Before him,” wrote John Arlott, “cricket was reported. With him it was for the first time appreciated, felt, and imaginatively described.” Neville Cardus was the greatest cricket writer of them all and this is a collection of his very best, which includes pieces on Don Bradman, Learie Constantine, Denis Compton and Richie Benaud; the arcadian cricket festival beneath Shakespeare Cliff, seeing the Australians defeated at Eastbourne, and of course at the home of cricket, Lord's. It is an essential possession for every cricket fan, and as well as the piece in today’s Mail, has also been reviewed in the Guardian and Country Life and was included in the Mail's 100 Sizzling Summer Books. It’s just been published by Safe Haven.
We have just three tremendous endorsements from Alexander Armstrong, Kathy Lette and Ben Schott for Patrick Kidd’s collection of his political sketches written for the Times, The Weak Are a Long Time in Politics: Sketches from the Brexit Neverendum (978 1785905339, £9.99, hb). Alexander Armstrong said “For some years, Patrick Kidd’s inventive and irresistible wit has been the only inspiring thing to come out of Westminster.” Kathy Lette wrote “Patrick Kidd’s witty wordplay is sharp enough to shave your legs. It really should be registered at police headquarters as a lethal weapon. I laughed till my lips fell off” and Ben Schott called it “a glorious companion to Parliament’s descent into utter lunacy. This fabulous collection of parliamentary sketches skewers one of the maddest chapters in our island story with humour, humanity, wit and wisdom.” This is much-needed antidote to the gloom of the Brexit years is published on 17 September by Biteback.
You may have seen the preview of this title in the Bookseller a couple of weeks ago, it looks utterly fascinating. Britain’s DNA Journey: Our Remarkable Genetic Story by Alistair Moffat (978 1780276298, £9.99, pb) In an epic narrative, sometimes moving, sometimes astonishing, always revealing, Moffat writes an entirely new history of Britain. Instead of the usual parade of kings, queens, saints, warriors and the notorious, this is a people's history, a narrative made from stories only DNA can tell, which offers insights into who we are and where we come from. Based on exciting new research involving the largest sampling of DNA ever made in Britain, Alistair Moffat shows the true origins of our island's inhabitants.
Palestine +100: Stories From a Century After the Nakba (£9.99,pb, 978 1910974445) which has just been published by Comma was reviewed in the Guardian here, where they interviewed editor Basma and contributors Saleem and Selma. It’s also been recently reviewed by Tor who said of the collection: “To say that this book evokes negative emotions is not a criticism, and nor should it be a reason to avoid it. On the contrary: it’s the very reason why this book should be read widely.” An interview its editor, Basma Ghalayini, was also recently published by the Chicago Review of Books and an extract of International Man Booker longlisted author Mazen Maarouf's story was published by Tank Magazine. This bold, brilliant and inspiring book poses a question to twelve Palestinian writers: what might your country look like in the year 2048 a century after the tragedies and trauma of what has come to be called the Nakba? Covering a range of approaches from SF noir, to nightmarish dystopia, to high-tech farce these stories use the blank canvas of the future to reimagine the Palestinian experience today.
More good publicity for Yorkshire Coast Path (£14.99, pb, 978 0993291180) by Andrew Vine, with a piece by the popular walking writer Christopher Somerville in the Times entitled A Good Walk, you can read that here. Further ahead, there will be a feature in Yorkshire Life magazine by the author on the book on October. And, in November, there will be four pages in Welcome to Yorkshire's 2020 Tourism Guide, in a print-run of 300,000 to be distributed to tourist establishments across the county and inserted into the Sunday Times.
Love, love, love this Pluto trailer for their new Outspoken series; books written by young people for young people, which address urgent questions about sex, masculinity, feminism and class and inequality. You can find out more at www.plutobooks.com/outspoken
Don’t forget to listen out for Jo Whiley's live interview with Ana Johns on her show on Radio 2 on Monday 19th August at 7-8pm when The Woman in the White Kimono (pb, £8.99, 978 1789550696) is the Radio 2 Book Club Pick. This lush and masterful exploration of the indomitability of the human spirit set against the backdrop of post-World War II Japan has been very well reviewed, and Jo’s show gets a LOT of listeners so this is superb publicity!
Exciting news that Carcanet have launched their new audiobook series of full-length poetry collections read by the poets themselves. They’re starting with Gilgamesh Retold, a versatile and inventive recreation which captures the powerful allure of the world’s oldest poem, by Jenny Lewis. Editorial director, Michael Schmidt, said, “We’re lucky to have poets who are also wonderful readers and who bring so much formal understanding to their work. The readings enhance and extend the print text. We are going to go to audio with books which are wholes and where the poet reader adds value and scale to the work. We are also very lucky to have a long history of working with Colin Still, whose Optic Nerve audio publications of poets reveal how brilliantly he can produce poets and help them bring their work alive on the ear.” You can read Jenny's account of recording the poem over on the Carcanet Blog. “I had no idea it was so difficult', she writes, but “Colin was the perfect coach, gently encouraging me and helping me to find the right tonal qualities for various passages.” Carcanet audiobooks are available on all major platforms, including Audible and you can find out more here and in the Bookseller here.
Today an edited version of the afterword from Refugee Tales III (£9.99, pb, 978 1912697113) was published in the TLS and you can read that here. You can also read one of the stories from the collection, The Son's Tale by Monica Ali, which was published by Berfrois this week. Northern Soul said recently of the collection "I would urge anyone with a social conscience to get a copy of Refugee Tales III, as quickly as possible." That’s here. In other news from Comma, we’ve just found out that they’ve been shortlisted for an Arab British Centre Award for Culture 2019 which is a prize established in 2008 for the purpose of raising awareness of contemporary Arab culture in the UK. Congrats guys, and fingers crossed for 26th September, when the awards are announced. And finally, Comma now have a new monthly column in The State of the Arts, where they’ll be reporting on goings on in The Northern Fiction Alliance. This month's column can be found here here.
Darcey Nicolle, author of The Secret Art of Lobbying: The Essential Business Guide to Winning in the Political Jungle (978 1785905056, £12.99, pb) which is out on 13 August from Biteback, was interviewed about her book on Sky News this week. If what happens in politics is obscure, the art of lobbying is firmly hidden in the shadows. The Secret Art of Lobbying raises the veil on the world of lobbying for the businesses of today, showing exactly how you can go out and win in the political jungle. Nicolle covers everything from the practicalities of planning campaigns, honing your skills so you are the most persuasive and influential person in the room, all the way to how to lobby your local parliamentarians and governments across Europe. An essential strategy for success in the modern business world, lobbying is all about persuading the right people at the right time. This indispensable book shows you how it's done.
Plenty of publicity for two titles in Amber’s Abandoned Places series. Lawrence Joffe was interviewed on the Robert Elms Show on BBC Radio London to talk about Abandoned Sacred Places (£19.99, hb, 978-1782747697 ) and you can listen to that here. Abandoned Sacred Places has also been featured on the Architectural Digest website here as has Michael Kerrigan’s Abandoned Plaaces (£19.99, hb, 978 1782743941) here.
I’m very much looking forward to the new ITV adaption of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, Sanditon which airs this autumn, and has been adapted by BAFTA-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies (War and Peace, Les Misérables and Pride and Prejudice). You can watch the trailer for it here. Make sure you’ve ordered up plenty of copies of the bumper Arcturus three-in-one paperback The Watsons, Lady Susan and Sanditon (978 1788884075, £6.99, pb) which includes two other short Austen works. You will not find a better value or a better-looking edition anywhere!
There are few politicians who could genuinely be described as a phenomenon but our new PM is undoubtedly one. With a shake of that foppish blond mop, a glimmer of his madcap smile and the voice of a demented public-school boy, he provides comedy gold every time he opens his erudite mouth. Biteback will publish The Big Book of Boris (£8.99, pb, 978 1785905483) by broadcaster Iain Dale and radio producer Jakob Szweda in September. He once said “My chances of being Prime Minister are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.” And also “My friends, as I have discovered myself, there are no disasters, only opportunities. And, indeed, opportunities for fresh disasters.” Containing a selection of the very finest Boris-isms from this blundering rapscallion and illustrated by specially commissioned cartoons, The Big Book of Boris is a highly entertaining read.
I think Never, Ever Take Anybody's Advice on Anything (£10, pb, 978 1912489220) which is coming from 404Ink in November could do rather well. A collection of advice on careers and life from successful Scots, it's curated and edited by Edinburgh Uni student Euan Lownie, 21. It includes guidance from a highly eclectic collection of people, from actor Alan Cumming, Lauren Mayberry of pop band Chvrches, Wimbledon champ Andy Murray to Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay, Nicola Sturgeon and many founders of organisations and businesses.
And in this week’s Hot Topics – here's Summer Girl, the new one from Haim, here are 27 silly tweets and here are the Jacob Rees-Mogg language rules, and what they say about him! That’s all folks, more next week!
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