Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

A litblog dedicated to book reviews/recommendations, as well as literary and publishing news. Now enhanced with knitting designs.

Clare Clark at Booked!


If you’re in the Toronto area, here’s an literary event you shouldn’t miss. Award-winning English author Clare Clark will be reading at the inaugural Booked! Festival in Toronto on Sunday June 10th, 2007.

Visiting Canada for the first time as part of her North American tour, this exceptional historical novelist will be reading from her remarkable new book The Nature of Monsters.

Clare’s impeccable historical research also fuels her second novel The Nature of Monsters – a gloriously gothic portrait of sex, science and
superstition in the English capital. Set in the shadow of St. Paul’s
Cathedral in eighteenth century London, headstrong Eliza Tally – 16 years old and scandalously pregnant – struggles to keep her wits in the
nightmarish house of demented apothecary Grayson Black. Spine-chilling from beginning to end, The Nature of Monsters exposes a frighteningly modern metropolis bubbling with economic speculation, scientific discovery, madness and obsession.

Clare Clark will be reading at the Booked! Festival in Toronto at 12:00pm, Sunday June 10th, 2007 in the Spiegeltent, at the Harbourfront Centre.

Information courtesy of a Raincoast Books press release.

My review of The Nature of Monsters can be found here.

March is Small Press Month


March is the month to celebrate all things small press. From the organization’s website: “Now in its 11th year, this is a nationwide promotion highlighting the valuable work produced by independent publishers. An annual celebration of the independent spirit of small publishers, Small Press Month is an effort to showcase the diverse, unique, and often most significant voices being published today. This year’s slogan is Celebrate Great Writing.”

Even though this is an American organization, I’ve decided to call March Small Press Month here at Eclectic Closet. I have a number of small press books on my shelves awaiting review and I will highlight as many of these as I can over the next few weeks, beginning with The Exquisite by Laird Hunt (Coffee House Press, September 1, 2006). I also plan to highlight the spring/summer releases of some Small Press publishers. So check back and discover some great writing!

To get you in the mood, here is some small press trivia:

Did You Know?

1. Almost 80% of all books published in 2005 were by “small’ independent presses?

2. Frazier’s Cold Mountain, originally published by Grove Atlantic, was at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List for 61 weeks, and was the recipient of multiple awards before becoming a blockbuster hit movie.

3. Edward St. Aubyn’s Mother’s Milk, published by Open City Books, was nominated for the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

4. In January 2007, Kitty Burns Florey’s Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences , from Melville House Press, made the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List.

5. Kurt Vonnegut, who was the face for National Small Press Month in 2006, hit number 5 on the bestseller lists with A Man Without a Country, published by Seven Stories Press, an independent publisher who has had more than a few titles in the New York Times Bestseller List over the last few years.

6. Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary was its own small publisher.

7. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass–were self-reviewed!

8. James Joyce’s Ulysses was published by a small bookstore-owned company, Shakespeare & Company.

9. Virgina Woolf’s husband Leonard ran a press, Hogarth Press, that published Virginia’s great work, and others’.

10. Anais Nin’s first novels were self-published.

11. Call It Sleep by Henry Roth, considered a classic novel of immigrants in America was financed by believers in the author originally in the 1930s and then supported and financed by a very small press at the start of its revival in 1960.

12. Harper & Brothers’ first book was a small printing of Seneca.

13. Simon & Schuster started by publishing the new newspaper craze of the 1920s—crossword puzzles—echoed today by independent publisher Overlook, which published the first book in America on the new newspaper craze of the new century—Sudoku.

“As water to flowers…Independent Publishing to Democracy.” – Alice Walker

Happy 10th Anniversary World Book Day!


To all the Closet’s friends from the UK and Ireland – Happy World Book Day!

For those wanting to celebrate along with them, Kimbofo has some great suggestions at Reading Matters. The #1 encouraged activity is: “To celebrate World Book Day’s 10th Birthday we are looking for the Ten Books You Can’t Live Without. Click here and list your essential ten books to help us compile the ultimate list for World Book Day.”

posted under book events | 1 Comment »

Buy a Friend a Book Week – October 1 – 6, 2006


What a brilliant idea! Why have I never heard about this? From the Buy a Friend a Book Website:

Just get yourself to a real-life or virtual book store during Buy a Friend a Book Week (the first weeks of January, April, July, and October) and, well, buy a friend a book (or e-book)! But here’s the fun part: you can’t buy your friend a book because it’s their birthday or they just graduated or got engaged or had a baby or anything else. You have to give them a book for no good reason. In fact, this present out of the blue from you should shock the pants off of whomever you decide to give it to. And it’ll make them happy. And that’s the point: promote reading, promote friendships. Just make sure to let them know about Buy a Friend a Book Week.

One of the sites holding events as part of this week is my friend Susan’s West of Mars blog. She’ll be giving away seven books during the week so visit her site and read her instructions on how to enter. It’s pretty simple – during the month of September, you email her (through her website) a story of how music has touched your life.

You can also enter the contest at Front Street Reviews for a copy of Catch the Wave, The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson by entering the contest at West of Mars. The rules are found here, once you enter at West of Mars you need to email Barb at Front Street Reviews.

Now to decide, who am I going to shock with a book…

posted under book events | 2 Comments »

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