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Amaryllis Returns

It is the first day of Autumn and a very happy welcome back to me! I haven’t actually been very far. I prefer to take my holidays when everyone else is back so I have the beach, cafes, woods, cinemas etc to myself. People just talk too much, if not to each other, at their mobile phones whilst casting their litter around freely. I like the sea all to myself too so that I can engage freely with the mermaid in me – and practice my rather shaky breaststroke…

The bookshop has been autumn cleaned, the old is out and we are welcoming in the new. Except that publishers seem to think that Christmas is just around the corner, literally days away and so we have been inundated with ‘Christmas’ books: the weighty history tomes; the picturesque fashion and photography spreads; the downright silly till books. Every day for the next three months we will confront these same books, moving them from shelf to table to window back to shelf etc. I propose a new law for retail: business as usual until the close of November 5th then the tinsel and glitter and glitz can kick off with a bang! Extra specially unseasonably we have already received books heavily decorated with glitter and snow – they go straight into a box and are consigned to the cupboard only to re-emerge when the first window on the advent calendar is opened.

So what is there to look forward to if we survive the Trump and Kim Jong Il disaster… Well, the Man Booker shortlist is announced in a couple of weeks although I’m not sure if anyone really cares anymore… It used to be such an exciting event in the literary calendar but they had to fix what wasn’t broken… Anyway my prediction is:

Reservoir 13, Jon McGregor
Autumn, Ali Smith
Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie
Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
(I’m a bit unsure from now on as am not really bothered about the rest in Bookerish terms but will make educated guess based on my favourites)
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
Swing Time, Zadie Smith

I have also devised another list which is called Bloody Brilliant Reads Which Should Have Been on The List:

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
A State of Freedom, Neel Mukherjee
The Heart’s Invisible Furies, John Boyne
Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
Anything is Possible, Elizabeth Strout
The Nix, Nathan Hill

Anyway we shall see on the 13th. I am in Paris next week courtesy of my wonderful children: my daughters have arranged it all and will be accompanying me and my son is nobly staying behind to look after my cats so I am very excited and already thinking of suitable books: Perhaps Zola or Maupassant with a couple of Simenon…

About Amaryllis


Amaryllis is our bookshop blogger.


Her pen name is taken from Alice Thomas Ellis’ Other Side of the Fire, which is unfortunately and scandalously out of print. One of the funniest bits in the book is the bodice-ripper that one of the characters is writing and the female - who slays the men with one toss of her raven locks and one glance from her fiery green eyes as she strides among the glens, faithful wolfhound by her side - is Amaryllis! And the name just seemed to suit so here we are.

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