La Belle Sauvage chosen as Waterstones book of the year

Managing director James Daunt says staff showed overwhelming enthusiasm for Philip Pullman’s return after 17 years to the world of Northern Lights

Philip Pullman’s return to the world of Lyra Belacqua, La Belle Sauvage, has picked up its first award: the Waterstones book of the year.

The novel, which is already a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, begins 10 years before Northern Lights and tells the story of an apocalyptic flood and how a young boy, Malcolm, teams up with an older girl, Alice, to save the infant Lyra from a sinister plot.

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La Belle Sauvage chosen as Waterstones book of the year

Managing director James Daunt says staff showed overwhelming enthusiasm for Philip Pullman’s return after 17 years to the world of Northern Lights

Philip Pullman’s return to the world of Lyra Belacqua, La Belle Sauvage, has picked up its first award: the Waterstones book of the year.

The novel, which is already a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, begins 10 years before Northern Lights and tells the story of an apocalyptic flood and how a young boy, Malcolm, teams up with an older girl, Alice, to save the infant Lyra from a sinister plot.

Continue reading...

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett: ‘Swimming can give you the optimism to keep going’

Swims is a work of poetry that follows its author into open waters around the UK, where she finds both simple pleasure and more complicated political hope

“What can I do as a person on the planet, as a human being, as a writer, as the unique set of things that I am?” asks Elizabeth-Jane Burnett. “How can I help the environment?” For a writer and scholar who has been exploring the natural world and alternatives to capitalism in pamphlets, exhibitions and academic papers, the response to environmental catastrophe was clear: poetry.

Swims, her first book, is one long poem that follows the author as she dives into open water across England and Wales, plunging into rivers, lakes and seas in a watery circuit that takes in the Ouse, the Teign, the Channel, Grasmere and King’s Cross Pond in London. Some sections record a process or ritual – ...

Amazon’s Kindle turns 10: have ebooks clicked with you yet?

A decade after Jeff Bezos launched a revolution in reading – and a $1bn money-spinner – much has changed in the book trade. But how has it affected readers?

George W Bush was in the White House, Chris Brown was topping the Billboard chart and Jeff Bezos … well, on 19 November 2007, Jeff Bezos was doing “the most important thing we’ve ever done” and launching the Amazon Kindle.

The first Kindles were chunky things about the same size as a paperback, weighing a smidgeon less than 300g. They had wonky little keyboards and a little wheel for scrolling up and down a grey and black screen. But Bezos was never aiming for a flashy design. Speaking at the launch in New York, he said that all he wanted was a device that could “disappear”.

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Nick Harkaway: ‘I have a firework going off in my head and I have to describe it’

The novelist on technology, surveillance and having John le Carré for a father

If everybody was incredibly committed to acts of kindness and charity in a ubiquitous circle of love and whatever,” Nick Harkaway waves his hands as the words come tumbling out, “we’d be living in a utopia now. People would walk out into the street and make sure their neighbours are OK, the way they do after earthquakes.” He stops, looks around the light study at the top of his house in Belsize Park, north London, and tries to work out how he’s got from the all-seeing surveillance at the heart of his latest novel to historical materialism. “I’ve strayed again … what was the question?”

The breakneck whirl of Harkaway’s conversation is a bit like his fiction, ideas fizzing off in every direction as it hurtles along. His fourth novel, Gnomon, is no ...

Survey finds more than half of people in book trade have experienced sexual harassment

Poll by the Bookseller finds 54% of female respondents reporting sexual ‘harassment, assault or predatory behaviour’

A survey suggests that more than half of people working in the books industry have experienced sexual harassment, with 54% of women and 34% of men reporting “harassment, assault or predatory behaviour”.

The anonymous online poll was conducted by the industry magazine the Bookseller, gathering together responses from 388 people including booksellers, agents, authors and event organisers.

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Chris D Thomas Inheritors of the Earth first book interview

African rhinos in the Mediterreanean, French butterflies in southern England... the biologist on how dynamic ecology offers hope in a changing world After a lifetime out in the field, measuring the egg-laying preferences of Californian butterflies or counting plant species living in and around Birmingham, ecologist Chris D Thomas is no typical debut author. But like so many writers, his first book, Inheritors of the Earth, has been germinating for some time. The seeds were sown in the early 2000s: Thomas was researching ways of saving animals and plants threatened by climate change, when he began to focus on the inconsistencies in attitudes to the ebb and flow of nature. “When things died out or declined it was seen as a loss,” he says, “but when new things arrived it was either ignored or also counted effectively as a loss, because it was seen as a departure from how things ...