Somebody tell him that the uncle-in-the-schoolyard jokes are going to be ugly

Although Martin Amis told Helen Brown at the launch party for Madonna’s The English Roses that he would write a children’s book “only if [he] had suffered a severe head injury,” he admitted at his own book launch two days later that he and his wife are, in fact, working on a children’s book. “‘But nothing with a moral,’ he assured [Brown], passing a cigarette lighter to his son. ‘It’s about the things that children say.'”

Brown gives Damon Galgut’s novel (a Booker shortlist pick) a mixed review, while Tom Payne says Astonishing Splashes of Colour, by Clare Morrall, “is an easy read,” “full of surprises,” and “winningly executed.”

I don’t have much use for book lists unless they’re composed by people I admire, so I generally ignore even the Guardian’s “best of” lists. For those of you who are interested, here are links to the most recent ones:

Marianne Elliott’s top 10 Irish history books

Joyce Hackett’s top 10 musical novels

Tibor Fischer’s top 10 eastern European novels

Many, many more lists are available.

Kitabkhana is off to celebrate Durga Puja, but leaves his readership with this “prime example (third item on the page) of how not to respond to your critics, starting with Golden Rule No 1: never refer to yourself in the third person.”

The Moorish Girl explains why she’s displeased that “Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said is considered one of the front-runners” for the Nobel Prize in Literature, to be announced tomorrow.

Internet video trailers for books are becoming a hot new promotion device. (Via The Literary Saloon.)

Some Jane Austen fans claim that a line of “Jane Austen teas and coffees” amounts to an offensive exploitation of the author’s name.

If you’re looking for a gig at a newspaper or magazine and are flexible on the location, you might want to check in at Prints the Chaff every couple of days for anything you may be missing. Here are Tom’s latest listings.


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