July 9, 2014, Posted by Tom in Books

Trevor Williams: ‘Why shouldn’t men write chick lit?’

Something a bit different today, as we hear from a male author doing something that is probably seen as quite unusual: writing chicklit. Here’s why Trevor Williams has chosen this writing path…

I’ve been writing for years. I write all sorts, from historical novels to thrillers and, more recently, romantic comedies. Romcoms, aka Women’s Fiction, aka Chicklit, are titles aimed principally at women. But I’m a man. Should I be doing this? We writers have to draw upon our imagination as far as plot and characters are concerned, so why not use this same imagination to think ourselves into the heads of our readers?

My second book, The Room on the Second Floor, was reviewed by Chick Lit Reviews and News. They gave it a very good rating. As far as they were concerned, they had no problem accepting me as a writer of Chicklit. So, it’s official. Man writes Chicklit.

So just what is Chicklit? When I first came upon the word, it sounded like something poultry farmers use to make cages more comfortable for their young birds. I have since learnt the true meaning. Wikipedia defines it as, ‘…genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly.’ It seems to me there is a potential conflict here. That word issues all too often has nothing to do with humour. We all have issues and few of them make us laugh. Issues can involve work, relationships, health…. You name it, there are issues connected with it. So, as an author setting out to write about issues in a lighthearted way, I knew I would have to tread lightly.

trevor williams

The next problem I had to face was to what extent women readers react differently in the face of  issues, as compared to men. My own experience tells me that when it comes to the big stuff, our reactions are strikingly similar. I cried when my mum died. I cried when I had to take the old Labrador to the vet to be put down. When my business hit a bad financial patch, my wife and I were equally worried for the future. When our daughter got a place on a round the world sailing voyage, we were both concerned for her wellbeing. So, I would suggest, we all react the same way as far as the big stuff is concerned. We maybe show it in different ways, but that is as much to do with upbringing and conditioning as gender. The days of the Victorian father who hurrumphs quietly and returns to his newspaper after receiving the news of his son being eaten by cannibals are long gone. Emotions are closer to the surface nowadays for men as well as women.

The small stuff is a different matter. I acknowledge that. Shoes to me are things I put on my feet to help me walk. They are not objects of desire to be hoarded and cherished. And we all know boys like toys. I freely admit it. Take a look in my shed. I still have wetsuits from thirty years ago and enough pieces of bikes to build a new one. But even there, that’s as much down to personality as gender.

That leaves the prickly subject of emotions. Women are moody. Women are touchy and neurotic. Men are feelingless, football-obsessed morons. Need I go on? We’ve all heard it before. But I don’t buy it. Stereotypes abound, but that doesn’t mean they are generic. I know some miserable, emotionless women and some soft-hearted men. We shouldn’t assume each sex always reacts as the stereotype dictates.

So where does that leave me? My latest book, When Alice met Danny is written from the perspective of the main, female character. She’s a high-flying businesswoman, a property developer and shoulder to cry on for lots of the other characters. When her whole world feels as if it’s falling apart, she takes a deep breath and gets on with it. I would like to think that her reaction is the same as mine would have been. Does that make her more masculine or me more feminine? I don’t think so. I think it makes us human. That’s what we all are, after all.

Any other male chicklit authors out there? Make yourselves known gentlemen. Give us a tweet @StareAtBooks and tell us about your books.

Trevor Williams writes under the name, TA Williams, for Carina UK. Find out more about his books at: www.tawilliamsbooks.com 

when alice met danny

His latest book When Alice Met Danny is out now.

And if you do happen to fancy giving some women’s fiction a go, visit In My Handbag. You never know, you might like it.

July 3, 2014, Posted by Tom in Books

Shovel Ready: read an exclusive extract

SHOVEL READY is the savagely compulsive debut from New York Times Magazine culture editor Adam Sternbergh and is out NOW in paperback. Here’s a little bit more about this awesome read…

Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, before New York became a burnt-out shell. Now the wealthy spend their days tapped into virtual reality; the rest have to fend for themselves in the streets. Now there’s nothing but garbage.

So he became a hit man.  He doesn’t ask questions, he works quickly, and he’s handy with a box-cutter.

When he’s hired to kill the daughter of a high-profile evangelist, Spademan’s life is upended. He will have to navigate two worlds – both the slick fantasy and the wasteland reality – to finish the job, clear his conscience, and make sure he’s not the one who winds up in the ground.

Intrigued? Well then sink your teeth into the first chapter of SHOVEL READY:


My name is Spademan. I’m a garbageman.

—this fucker.
I don’t care.
Don’t you want—
Just a name.
I have his address.
See this fucker—
I said don’t.
The less I know, etcetera.
How much?
What I said. To the account I mentioned.
And how will I—
You won’t hear from me again.
But how do I—
The dead guy. That’s how.

I don’t want to know your reasons. If he owes you or he beat you or she swindled you or he got the promotion you wanted or you want to fuck his wife or she fucked your man or you bumped into each other on the subway and he didn’t say sorry. I don’t care. I’m not your Father Confessor.
Think of me more like a bullet.
Just point.

—best friends. At least that’s what I thought. Then it turns out she’s fucking him.
Please, ma’am. I will disconnect. And this number doesn’t work twice.
Wait. Is this safe?
Which part?
Aren’t they listening?
Of course.
Doesn’t matter.
Why not?
Picture America.
Now picture all the phone calls in all the cities in America.
Now picture all the people in all the world who are calling each other right now trying to plot ways to blow America up.
So who the fuck do you think is going to care about you and your former best friend?
I see. Will you tell her—
Will you tell her when you see her that it was me who sent you. It was me.
I’m not FedEx. I don’t deliver messages. Understand?
Good. Now the name. Just the name.

I kill men. I kill women because I don’t discriminate. I don’t kill children because that’s a different kind of psycho.

I do it for money. Sometimes for other forms of payment. But always for the same reason. Because someone asked me to.

And that’s it.

A reporter buddy once told me that in newspapers, when you leave out some important piece of information at the be­ginning of a story, they call it burying the lede.

So I just want to make sure I don’t bury the lede.

Though it wouldn’t be the first thing I’ve buried.

It might sound hard but it’s all too easy now. This isn’t the same city anymore. Half-asleep and half-emptied-out, espe­cially this time of morning. Light up over the Hudson. The cobblestones. At least I have it mostly to myself.

These buildings used to be warehouses. Now they’re cas­tles. Tribeca, a made‑up name for a made‑up kingdom. Full of sleeping princes and princesses, holed up on the high­est floors. Arms full of tubes. Heads full of who knows. And they’re not about to come down here, not at this hour, on the streets, with the carcasses, with the last of the hoi polloi.

Yes, I know the word hoi polloi. Read it on a cereal box.

I never liked Manhattan, even back when everyone still liked it, when people still flocked from all over the world to visit and smile and snap photos. But I do like the look of Tribeca. Old industrial neighborhood, a remnant from when this city used to actually make things. So I come across the river in the early morning to walk around here before dawn. Last quiet moment before people wake up. Those who still bother waking up.

Used to be you’d see men with dogs. This was the hour for that. But there are no dogs anymore, of course, not in this city, and even if you had one, you’d never walk it, not in public, because it would be worth a million dollars and you’d be gutted once you got around the corner and out of sight of your trusty doorman and your own front door.

I did see a man once walking a million-dollar dog. On a treadmill, in a lobby, behind bullet-proof glass.

Feed-bag delivery boy on a scooter zips past me, up Frank­lin, tires bouncing over the cobblestones. Engine whines like he’s driving a rider-mower, killing the morning quiet. Cooler on the scooter carries someone’s liquid breakfast. Lunch and dinner too, in IV bags.

Now it’s just nurses and doormen and feed-bag deliv­ery boys out at this hour. Tireless members of the service economy.
Like me.
Phone rings.

—and how old is she?
You sure about that?
Does it matter?
Yes. Quite a bit.
Well, she’s eighteen.
Got a name?
Grace Chastity Harrow. But she goes by a new name now. Persephone. That’s what her friends call her, so I hear. If she has any friends.
Where is she?
New York by now. I assume.
That’s not much to go on.
She’s a dirty slut junkie—
Calm down or I hang up.
So you’re just a hunting dog? Is that it?
Something like that.
Just a bloodhound in a world of foxes?
Look, you need a therapist, that’s a different number.
She’s somewhere in New York, so far as I know. She ran away.
I have to ask. Any relation?
I thought this was no questions.
This matters.
To whom?
To me.
No, I meant any relation to whom?
T. K. Harrow. The evangelist.
Now why should that matter?
Famous people draw attention. It’s a different business. Different rates.
As I said, I’ll pay double. Half now, half later.
All now, and as I said, I need to know.
Yes. She betrayed his—
I don’t care.
But you’ll do it?
A fake name in a big city. Not exactly a treasure map. More like a mile of beach and a plastic shovel.
She said she was headed to New York. To the camps. They call her Persephone. That’s a start, right?
I guess we’ll find out.
May I ask you another question?
Go ahead.
You can kill a girl, just like that?
Yes I can.
Before you transfer that money, you better make sure you ask yourself the same thing.

I hang up and write a single word on a scrap of paper.
Pocket it.

Then take the SIM card out of the phone, snap it, and drop the phone down a sewer grate, hidden beneath the cobble­stone curb.

No motives, no details, no backstory. I don’t know and I don’t want to know. I have a number and if you’ve found it, I know you’re serious. If you match my price, even more so. Once the money arrives, it starts. Then it ends.

Waste disposal. Like I said.
It’s an old joke, but I like it.
Truth is, I never spend the money.


SHOVEL READY is out now in paperback. Here’s what the world have been saying about it…

Follow Adam on Twitter: @sternbergh

Frank Turner

June 18, 2014, Posted by Richard in Books, Music

Frank Turner to write touring memoir

Frank Turner has played over 1,584 shows across the globe, so the man knows a thing or two about life on the road. Well then, you lucky people, it’s a good thing he has decided to write a book chronicling his journey from another nambucca show to ruddy Wembley arena.

The book is set to be published next Spring by Headline. The man himself said:

“It took some persuading for me to think about writing a book of any kind, but in the end I realised that I have spent a pretty unusual amount of time touring hard in the last few years, and I have a fair few stories to tell, and maybe even a tiny smidgen of wisdom to impart to people starting out on the same path. Plus I come from a family of yarn-spinners, and I can run my mouth, so it makes sense.”

Headline will publish the as yet untitled memoir in hardback and e-book in Sring 2015. Read more here on NME.com

To mark this pretty spectacular news, here are a few of our favourite Frank Turner videos…


June 13, 2014, Posted by Ben Willis in Books

New Simon Scarrow game out in 2014

A mobile game based on Sunday Times bestselling historical fiction author Simon Scarrow’s Macro & Cato Roman novel series is hitting app stores this Autumn. ‘Are you not entertained?!’ etc…

Simon Scarrow is working alongside Headline and games developer Amuzo to create the as-yet-untitled game, which will allow players to fight alongside Macro and Cato across the battlefields of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Simon Scarrow is well known for his MACRO & CATO series of novels that follows the fortunes of two Roman soldiers as they battle their way across the Roman Empire. He has also written several standalone novels, and more recently co-created the innovative serialised e-novella series, ARENA, with T.J. Andrews. Now, with over 3 million book sales behind him, Simon is again challenging convention with the development of a mobile game based upon his books.

‘I’m delighted to be closely involved in the development of the Macro and Cato game,’ said Mr Scarrow. ‘For the first time readers and game-players are going to have the chance to take on the role of the two best-selling characters and make tactical decisions that decide the fate of Rome!’

The main aim of the game is to unlock and collect story extracts from existing novels as well as the new Macro and Cato novel Brothers in Blood (published 23rd October 2014). Some of the extracts will be exclusive to the game, offering bonus material to delight both existing fans and newcomers alike. Additionally, the game will include a leaderboard-based competition to give players the opportunity to win signed book and merchandise.

The game will be a unique opportunity for Scarrow fans to relive the experiences of the novels they love, while newcomers can discover the world of Cato & Macro for the first time in an exciting, fast-paced adventure. It will be easy to understand and quick to master for a wide audience, while providing a progressive level of difficulty. A quick, snack-type play pattern is the goal, to enable players to come back frequently.

The game will be available to download on all major mobile and tablet platforms (Web, iOS, Google Play, Windows 8 – Metro) and free to download, with an option to pay in order to skip time and download additional content that extends the gameplay.

Amuzo is a multi-award winning team of game developers, with experience spanning mobile, web and console production. Their titles have accounted for over 500 million online play sessions and have been #1 on iOS in 120 countries.

Mike Hawkyard, CEO at Amuzo, said ‘we’re really excited about the prospect of being able to bring Macro and Cato to life.’

Well, Mike – so are we. So are we.

Simon Scarrow Game is out on mobiles and tablets in autumn 2014

June 11, 2014, Posted by Beau Merchant in Books, Food

Whisky gifts for Dad this Father’s Day

Father’s Day is just a few days away, so what better to get the old man than a delicious bottle of the golden liquid to warm his heart?

Ian Buxton, author of the best-selling 101 WHISKIES TO TRY BEFORE YOU DIE and the follow-up 101 WORLD WHISKIES TO TRY BEFORE YOU DIE has chosen 3 top tipples that are guaranteed to make your father’s day. (Or just buy him the books so he can choose his own).
The below whiskies are taken from Ian’s 101 LEGENDARY WHISKIES YOU’RE DYING TO TRY BUT (POSSIBLY) NEVER WILL, which is published in August.

green spot

Green Spot (Ireland)

This is a living legend – a coelacanth of whisky. Let’s salute Mitchell’s of Dublin, a traditional wine merchant of the old school who, when all others had abandoned the pot still legacy of Irish whiskey, kept the flame burning. A flickering flame, it’s true, because at the nadir of its fortunes a mere 500 cases a year were being produced and there remained a constant threat that Irish Distillers would decide that such tiny volumes were not worth the effort, especially considering the scale of their Midleton distillery operations.

Fortunately a small but well-informed group of enthusiasts continued to buy this wonderful whiskey from Mitchell’s, despite packaging that until its recent revamp was decidedly downbeat (pay attention marketing types: this suggests that some people do at least care more about what’s in the bottle than how it looks on the shelf). This was the last of an all-but-forgotten style – the merchant’s bottling. At one time, most independent wine and spirit merchants would have had their own whiskey – with the slow demise of Irish whiskey that continued until very recently, almost all of these had been lost. Even Mitchell’s had trimmed the range from Blue, Red and Yellow Spot to just the Green.

And then its fortunes changed. Irish Distillers (IDL), sensing the success of their Redbreast brand and seeing the interest and growing sales of single malt Scotch, determined that Irish pot still whiskey was overdue a revival. So, to the acclaim of whiskey lovers, they worked with Mitchell’s to re-launch Yellow Spot in May 2012 as a 12-year-old and gave both styles a packaging makeover. I’ll grudgingly admit that it looks rather smart.

Along with this, IDL have launched their own revivalist pot still whiskies such as the Power’s John’s Lane Edition and added a 21-year-old to Redbreast. Irish distilling is generally storming back into life and once again representing real competition in global whisky markets. And a good thing it is, too.

If you visit Dublin, you should try and visit Mitchell’s and buy your bottle there. It’s more widely available than ever and growing in popularity, but it is only fitting that – if you can – you go to the source and reward their patience and persistence.
Just to whet your appetite a little, I’d describe this as a very distinctive whiskey with a lovely waxy, oily, mouth-coating impact. The nose suggests greengage jam and the taste gives honey, mint, cloves, wood notes and lots of spice.


Highland Park (Scotland)

I have a very great fondness for Orkney and for Highland Park. It’s one of my favourite distilleries and a whisky that I love for its apparent ability to fit appropriately into almost any occasion.

All the range is good but if you feel like splashing some serious cash then there are two 50-year-old expressions available to you. The first was distilled in 1902 (imagine that!) and was bottled by Berry Bros. & Rudd in 1952. The second was released by the distillery itself in 2010.

Technically, the BB&R bottling is not legally whisky, as bottles were tested by Oxford University and shown to be very slightly under-strength at 39.8% abv*. I wouldn’t turn it down on those grounds, though. The 2010 release comes in at 44.8%, so that’s all right then.
Comparing the two bottles (the bottles, not the contents) tells you something about how whisky has changed in the last 60 years. The 1952 bottling is in, well, a standard tall round bottle with a paper label. And that’s it.

The latest release, however, comes in a special bottle, itself encased in a filigree of silver created by Scottish artist Maeve Gillies, designed to remind you of strands of seaweed. It is then placed in a custom-made oak box with a porthole through which you glimpse the bottle. If you drink enough of the whisky (and what’s stopping you tearing right into it?) you will glimpse a rose window design on the rear of the sandstone Highland Park logo.

All this comes at a cost, though. While you can still find the last few of the Berry Bros.’ bottles in specialists at around £7,500, the ‘new’ 50 Years Old was launched at £10,000 and has appreciated since.
If you can’t find a bottle, you’ll have to wait until 2014 for the next release.

All this is wonderful stuff and Highland Park is truly a very special and wonderful place. I do have one slight concern, however, and that is the number and pace of recent ‘collectable’ releases. It would be easy to overestimate the demand for this type of thing and – it may just be me – the latest editions based on Norse Gods seem a trifle contrived. Probably is me; they seem to sell we’ll enough.

They aren’t Gods but, back in 1883, the King of Denmark and his pal the Russian Emperor determined Highland Park’s whisky ‘the finest they had ever tasted’. Who am I to disagree?

Yamazaki (Japan)

Yamazaki 12 Years Old was the first Japanese single malt of any international significance. Based on its success, the company has gone on to release a considerable range of single malts and blends (notably the multi-award-winning Hibiki).

But should Shinjiro Torii or Masataka Taketsuru be considered as the father of Japanese whisky? Both have their claims, though Taketsuru is probably the stronger candidate. There had been earlier attempts to manufacture whisky in Japan but Taketsuru travelled to Scotland in 1918, studied briefly in Glasgow and obtained practical experience at Longmorn, Bo’ness and Hazelburn distilleries before returning home. It had been intended that he would start a Scotch-whisky-style distillery in Japan but these plans failed to materialise and he joined Shinjiro Torii in 1922.

Torii had prospered during WW1 and was equally determined to produce a high-quality whisky, so hired Taketsuru on generous terms with the aim of establishing a distillery on the Scottish model. This was opened at Yamazaki in November 1924 and is generally considered the first Japanese whisky distillery – perhaps predictably, Suntory tend to credit Torii with the choice of the site, while other commentators give the more experienced Taketsuru the credit. Today it is probably the best-known of the Japanese distilleries here in the West and its whiskies can be found in most specialists and even some supermarkets.

Together they launched the first recognised Japanese whisky, Shirofuda (White Label), but they parted company in 1934 when Taketsuru resigned to start his own operation at what became the Yoichi distillery. Today the two firms they created, Suntory and Nikka, are the dominant players in Japanese whisky.

Understandably, the firm’s website tends to play down Masataka Taketsuru’s role in the creation of Yamazaki and the birth of Japanese whisky, in favour of their own man Shinjiro Torii, but my feeling is that they deserve joint billing as whisky legends. Their creation, after a faltering start, has gone on to well-deserved international renown. Indeed Suntory have a powerful presence in Scotch whisky through their ownership of Morrison Bowmore (several of whose whiskies appear here) and they are a global force in whisky today.*

I think we can salute Yamazaki 12 Years Old as a legend in its own right and a symbol of Japanese whisky’s new-found confidence.





June 6, 2014, Posted by Tom in Books

Nathan Penlington’s top cultural picks

Nathan Penlington, author of THE BOY IN THE BOOK and one of the masterminds behind the Choose Your Own Documentary show, picks some of his cultural highlights…

Band: I’m obsessed by the music of Jonathan Richman – his funny, melancholic, observational, wry and musically diverse songs are something I can’t get enough of.

Artist: I love the almost anonymous work of early circus and sideshow poster and banner artists. Their pre-photographic re-imagination of reality is glorious and close to my heart.

Film: Harold & Maude – a love story between two people fifty-nine years apart, full of heart, humour and hearses. Brothers of the Head is also a stunning film, which recounts how conjoined twin brothers become figureheads for the burgeoning punk scene.

Book: Obviously my favourite Choose Your Own Adventure – #21 Hyperspace by Edward Packard. I also collect anything that experiments with form and format, of which the very much underrated Woman’s World by Graham Rawle is clever in so many ways. Memoirs of a Sword Swallower by Daniel P. Mannix is an exceptional peak through the gap in the back of a sideshow tent, and Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay proves human folly is a constant throughout the ages.

Writer: I’m a huge fan of J G Ballard, Richard Brautigan, Rikki Ducornet, Edward Packard and Kurt Vonnegut.

Drink: I drink too much tea. Nothing fancy, straight, with milk. I should have kept a tally while writing The Boy in the Book, but I’ve learnt not to indulge all my obsessive tendencies. I also drink a lot of ginger beer, the best of which is definitely Bundaberg.

Place/holiday destination: I love London, and I have since I was a kid – I love the flow and change, the diversity and the constant surprise. My last enforced holiday was at Prendergast Caravan Park in south west Wales – a stunning coastline designed for imaginary adventures.

Team and sport: I have an intense disinterest in nearly all sports, apart from one, the greatest sport of all – darts. Every January I hold a nine-day World Darts Championship in miniature called Mini-Lakeside, it is an epic celebration of all that is great about darts – the food, the fancy dress, the drink and the maths. My favourite real life player without question is Tony ‘Silverback’ O’Shea, a lovable ambassador for the sport.

Food: I have an admission to make here. I eat Yorkshire Pudding at least four or five times a week. Something I eat much less often, but no less amazing, are battered chips. Ok, you can judge me now.

Read Nathan’s blog on taking CYOD to the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.



June 5, 2014, Posted by Tom in Books

Treat Old Bear this Father’s Day

It’s that time of year again, when we scramble desperately to find a suitable gift for Dad. Socks are so Christmas, and we can’t afford World Cup tickets, so what are we supposed to do? Well, fear not friends, as we have some lifesaving ideas for you…


spy who

THE SPY WHO CHANGED THE WORLD – Mike Rossiter: This is the true story of arguably the most successful spy in modern history, Klaus Fuchs. Packed full of details about Fuchs’ sharing of America’s atom bomb secrets with the Soviet Russians, he will go down as one of the most influential figures of the Cold War. Brrrrr.


BEND IT LIKE BULLARD – Jimmy Bullard: The former Wigan, Hull and Fulham midfielder lifts the lid on his somewhat unconventional football career. This isn’t your standard football autobiography, as for a start Bullard has more charisma in his little finger than the average top flight football squad put together. A hilarious read from one of the beautiful game’s true characters. See Jimmy read an extract

oceanTHE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE – Neil Gaiman: A novel of memory, magic and survival from the legendary author of AMERICAN GODS, STARDUST, NEVERWHERE, the list goes on. This was named the Specsavers Nationak Book Awards ‘Book of the Year’ for 2013. So it’s not just us who absolutely loved it.

blood crows THE BLOOD CROWS – Simon Scarrow: The latest Cato and Macro adventure from the bestselling author. It’s an action-packed story, as our heroes find themselves back in Britannia to face some unruly locals. Expect blood, guts and glory.

Boy in the Book TPB
THE BOY IN THE BOOK – Nathan Penlington
: Nathan Penlington’s story of obsession, childhood nostalgia and adventure is one of our favourite books this spring. Nathan’s live show based on events in the book has been critically acclaimed, including a run at this year’s Tribecca Film Festival.

forbidden tomb
: Action-packed tomb-raiding at it’s very best – the return of The Hunters is certainly a welcome one. Out now in paperback, you can pick this one up for a bargain from any good bookshop.

murray PB
: Murray Mint! Was just one of the lame puns we banded around after Muzza’s extraordinary win at Wimbledon last summer. Now out in paperback, SEVENTY-SEVEN is the behind-the-scenes tale of Andy becoming the first British man since Fred Perry to win Tennis’s ultimate prize.


SMASHING PHYSICS – Jon Butterworth: For all those popular science nuts out there, this is the first ever insider account of the work at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the discovery of the Higgs particle – and what it all means for our understanding of the laws of nature. Is your dad a science nerd? Then this is the perfect gift for Father’s Day.

tasy cover

TASTY – Tony Singh: As you may recall from our second BAKING BAD extravaganza, we’ve had a bash at a few of Tony Singh’s recipes with pretty thrilling results. With summer nearly upon us, there are some excellent-looking barbecue treats for your old man to try out here too.


inside llewyn davis

Inside Llewyn Davis: The latest offering from the Coen brothers, which received rave reviews on its cinematic release and is now available on DVD. Starring Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan, it looks at one week in the life of a singer in 60s New York. It’s a stunning film with a great soundtrack. Highly recommended.

True DetectiveTrue Detective: The must-see TV series of 2014, True Detective blew everyone away with its stunning cinematography, script, soundtrack and, of course, incredible performances from leading men Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. So pick up the DVD, close the curtains and crack a crate of Lone Star. Great times.


war on drugs lost in the dream‘Lost in the Dream’ – The War on Drugs: The third album from Philadelphia’s indie heroes, ‘Lost in the Dream’ is a cracker and will appeal to fans of everyone from Bob Dylan to Talking Heads. Get a taste of what’s in store with this video for ‘Red Eyes’.

black keys turn blue‘Turn Blue’ – The Black Keys: Now on their eighth album, The Black Keys have slowly risen from indie darlings to festival headliners. ‘Turn Blue’ isn’t much of a deviation from their last few albums, but delivers more classic heavy riffs and plenty of tunes that are perfect to sing along to in the car.

Other ideas…


Beer? It’s a universally accepted fact that pretty much all Dads like beer, so why not treat him to a few bottles of good stuff? Most of the best breweries have online shops, such as Brew Dog, so get online and order something to suit his taste.


Subbuteo? World Cup fever is upon us, and rather than watch England crash out early on you can encourage the old man to reconnect with his childhood and play this classic game again. What’s not to love? You can buy the individual teams and everything.

June 2, 2014, Posted by Tom in Books

Neil Gaiman LIVE – preview

Neil Gaiman reading his award-winning novelette aloud?
With illustrations by Eddie Campbell?
AND music from FourPlay String Quartet?

Who could say no to that?

We’re huge Neil Gaiman fans here at MWSAB (although try and find someone who didn’t love THE OCEAN AT THE END OF LANE, we challenge you), and there’s an event coming up that might just blow our tiny minds. On the 4th and 5th of July, Neil is bringing his latest book, THE TRUTH IS A CAVE IN THE BLACK MOUNTAINS, to the Barbican in London.

THE TRUTH IS A CAVE… is a haunting story of family, the otherworld, and a search for hidden treasure, and is fully-illustrated by the legendary artist Eddie Campbell. It’s a beautiful thing indeed. Even better, once you’ve read the book you can see it performed live. In a revolutionary new concept of synchronised multimedia storytelling, Neil will read his story aloud, alongside Eddie’s illustrations, and the whole performance will be soundtracked by the FourPlay String Quartet, who have created a brand new underscore to the story.

truth is a cave
This promises to be an absolutely incredible event. If you’re a fan of any of Neil’s previous work, whether that’s one of amazing novels, such as AMERICAN GODS or NEVERWHERE, his TV writing for Doctor Who, or the film adaptations of his work, such as Coraline or Stardust, then you don’t want to miss these shows. The performance kicks off at 7.30pm on both the Friday and Saturday night, and you can bag yourself a ticket here.

If you can’t make it, don’t forget that Headline will be publishing the four-colour, enhanced edition of THE TRUTH IS A CAVE…, beautifully illustrated by Eddie Campbell, on the 17th June.


And, if you don’t already, you can always follow Neil on Twitter: @neilhimself

(Author photo © Kimberly Butler)