Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the secrets of the World's Happiest people

Author: Helen Russell

Tags: #Denmark #lego #Jutland

Discovered: The Book House, Thame

Where read: (in part) TAP Flight to Portugal

What's the story?: 

London based journalist Helen Russell is on a mission. Following the decision to relocate to Denmark, with her husband's work (for LEGO of course,)Helen challenges herself to embrace the experience and sets out to uncover the secret to the Danish happiness formula. 

The Word's Shortlist view:

This is a really clever cultural study packaged as a whimsical diary of one woman's attempts to settle in rural Jutland - or 'sticksville-on-Sea' as the little coastal town is referred to. From social humiliation and lonely winter afternoons to summer parties and LEGOLAND Helen's friendly and personal style is revealing but never indiscreet. 

Through personal anecdotes and interviews we quickly build a first-hand portrait of the happiest country in the World. What makes's the Dane's tick? Well its more than LEGO bricks and pastry and this brilliant book has the answer.

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Friday, 24 April 2015

A bookish photo tour of Lisbon...

Sunday morning bookstore pop up at Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara

Grafitti at Elevador da Gloria

Flea market find at Campo de Santa Clara

Holiday reading 

Book wall at Museu Coleccao Berardo 


Sunday, 12 April 2015

A sensational slice of Shinjuku nightlife

Title: After Dark

Author: Haruki Murakami

Tags: #shinjuku #tokyo #lovehotel

Discovered: Working through the Murakami back catalogue

Where read: (in part) drinking tea in Canterbury town centre

The Word's Shortlist view:

So where to go after Murakami's classic A Wild Sheep Chase? Regular readers of this humble blog will recognise my Murakami obsession which this month is being sated by his 2004 novella (yes this one is a mere 200 pages long!) After Dark.

After Dark is a slight departure for Murakami in so much that the story is written in the third person and is more a destination piece that a character driven story. Some might be put off by the lack of a clear plot here but the real star of the story is Shinjuku -  Tokyo's most idiosyncratic district of neon, hostess bars, pachinko and karaoke.

The story takes place during one single night in Shinjuku with a range of nocturnal characters, including Mari and her sister Eri, whose lives criss cross with others like the Tokyo Metro. Much of the story is centred around the Alphaville love hotel - anyone intrigued about what makes a hotel in Japan a 'love hotel' should read this book simply to find out! 

The third person narrative, and use of screen-play style camera direction, is voyeuristic. As reader you are transported to this evocative setting and allowed to dip in and out of various scenarios without immersing yourself completely. The story effortlessly captures the atmosphere of staying awake all night, perhaps in any city, but especially in the neon fuzz of Tokyo.

Why read After Dark? A great introduction to Murakami (indeed to Japanese fiction) and a sensational slice of Shinjuku nightlife. Feeling inspired? Try Ryu Murakami's In the Miso Soup. Next for me more Murakami with South of the Border, West of the Sun.  

Follow this link for an amazing animated short Shinjuku Nights from Twistory Studios

Twitter: @wordsshortlist
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Friday, 10 April 2015

Discover your next read with The Word's Shortlist bookshelf...

What to read right now:

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro: Reviewed here

* The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell: Reviewed here

* Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan: Reviewed here

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: Reviewed here

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin: Reviewed here

Sunday, 5 April 2015

#amreading this month..

After Dark - Haruki Murakami

Your Father Sends his Love - Stuart Evers

The Folding Star - Alan Hollinghurst


Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Easter Penguin has visited, #littleblackclassics

Title: Little Black Classics

Author: Hans Christian Andersen, Robert Louis Stevenson and Leo Tolstoy

Tags: #classics #penguin #easterreads

Discovered: Brilliant poster campaign on the Underground

Where read: In-between easter eggs and hot cross buns this Easter

The Word's Shortlist view:

There can be no finer way to spend Easter than rediscovering the classics with Penguin's brilliant Little Black Classics series.

"There sat the dog with eyes as big as mill wheels" Hans Christian Anderson The Tinder Box

"If I stopped now, after coming all this way - well, they'd call me an idiot" Leo Tolstoy How Much does a Man Need

"Is it me you love, friend? Or the race that made me? Robert Louis Stevenson Olalla 

Discover more here

Happy Easter reading 

Twitter: @wordsshortlist
Instagram: your_next_read