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Lives in Books #3: Adelle Stripe

Adelle Stripe’s debut novel, Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, was inspired by the life and work of playwright Andrea Dunbar. It was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and Portico Prize. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks, and her writing has appeared in The Quietus, New Statesman and Caught by the River. Her recent publications include Sweating Tears with Fat White Family for Rough Trade Books and an essay in Faber & Faber’s forthcoming Excavate: The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall. She is currently writing her second novel.

1 What are you reading at the moment?

I’m devouring Gay Talese’s Thy Neighbour’s Wife and St Augustine’s Confessions.

2 Did you enjoy reading while growing up – if so, which comics/books and writers were your favourites and why?

I was a voracious reader and had an advanced reading age – which resulted in reading lots of ‘unsuitable’ adult books including Jilly Cooper, Jackie Collins and the filthy verse of Pam Ayres. As a child, I loved Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and Ursula K Le Guin’s Wizard of Earthsea. All were portals to another dimension, offering some element of escape from the dreary brewery town that I grew up in.

3 Which books do you recommend to others and why?

I always recommend Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women. Her exquisite short stories are easy to digest, and I believe her to be one of the finest American writers in 20th century literature. Recently, I’ve suggested Adam Hochschild’s Leopold’s Ghost to a few friends. It’s one of the most important history books I’ve read and reveals the vile colonial history of the Congo. Anyone interested in Heart of Darkness or Kurtz should read this book. It’s a masterpiece.

4 If any, which writers have influenced your writing?

Gordon Burn, John Fante, Cookie Mueller, Mary Gaitskill, Norman Lewis, Niall Griffiths, Herbert Huncke, Tony Parker, Virginie Despentes and Alexander Trocchi are all authors I admire – but it’s hard to say if they influence me, as I think as writers we suck up material from television, plays, art, newspapers, and even the music we listen to. I’d argue that my collection of reggae 45s, Robert Crumb comics or Werner Herzog films have as much significance on the work I create as the writers I’ve just mentioned.

5 Desert Island question – which book would you take with you?

The Norton Anthology of Poetry – if it could fit in the suitcase. All of the world’s secrets are buried within its pages.

To order Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile for Β£8.99 (plus p&p) from J. E. Books, you can get in touch by the contact form on this site or email jlellam@hotmail.co.uk – All orders over Β£40 have free postage and packaging.

Orders For Deliveries Now TakenπŸ“šπŸ’ž

With thousands of titles to choose from, book orders are being taken through this site and by email jlellam@hotmail.co.uk . Payments are made by one-off secure link once the order and price is agreed. πŸ‘

So what do you fancy reading? Brand new releases, classics (like ‘Bleak House’), history, sports, politics, poetry, study guides, children’s books for fun and learning and learning in fun ways, etc. – just let me know. Don’t forget you can also buy gifts for other people as well as yourself. Or just for yourself πŸ’–

LIVES IN BOOKS #2: Tracey Scott-Townsend

Tracey Scott-Townsend is an artist, poet and novelist. Her publications include The Vagabond Mother, Sea Babies, The Eliza Doll, Another Rebecca, The Last Time We Saw Marion and Of His Bones. She is also the co-founder and editor of Wild Pressed Books – those of you in Hull will recognise some of the authors’ names including Holly Bidgood (Hopper), Nick Conroy, Joe Hakim and Russ Litten. Publications are available from the website http://www.wildpressedbooks.com – as well as from excellent bookshops 😍

Tracey is the mother of four adult children and ordinarily spends as much time as possible travelling the UK and Europe in a camper van with her husband and two dogs, writing and editing while on the road. At home she is busy on her allotment or in her garden and loves riding her new bicycle.

1.What are you reading at the moment?

I’m currently reading a novel called Everything Under by Daisy Johnson. Before that I read The Foundling by Stacey Halls and The Binding by Bridget Collins. All of these books take us into a tangled underworld of one kind or another, and get right into the hearts and minds of the protagonists. They also have a strong sense of place, which is something I look for in my work as a commissioning editor.

2. Did you enjoy reading while growing up – if so, which comics/books and writers were your favourites and why?

Oh my goodness, I certainly did enjoy reading as a child! I recently met up with an old school friend and she remarked that I always had my head in a book even as we walked to school. I spent most Saturday afternoons at our local branch library and I also went to ‘Bookworms’ at the main library in town (Lincoln, where I grew up). We never had comics, which was hard when everyone at school was talking about the latest ones. My favourite books were A Dream in the House by Josephine Poole, which I would SO love to read again but it’s now out of print. The story was of a family in which every generation had a set of twins, Ann and Jane. In each generation the Ann was somehow taken by water, and the Janes spent their lives mourning their lost sister. Finally a Jane goes on some kind of metaphysical quest, and retrieves her Jane, and after that all the historical Anns and Janes are reunited. A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley was another of my favourite books. A girl visits her aunt and uncle in an ancient farmhouse. There she slips through a time portal to the 16th century, where she becomes friends with a tudor-era boy called Francis. These and stories like them were formative influences for me. Several of my novels have a theme of yearning to reclaim something that was lost.

3. Which books do you recommend to others and why?

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield. Such a detailed, cumulative, intricate and entangled tale of a nameless child pulled from the river, who seems to ‘belong’ to everyone. I could have carried on reading that book forever.

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller, in which a father takes his daughter to a cabin high in the German (I think) mountains and tells her the world has come to an end and that they are the only survivors.

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is another favourite. I was privileged to do a two-day writing course with her in 2013, which helped me get my first novel published. The Time Traveller’s Wife is also a time-slip novel with complicated quantum elements which are another feature of books I love. Claire and Henry first meet when Claire is 6 and Henry is 42. They also first meet when Henry and Claire are in their 20s…

4. If any, which writers have influenced your writing?

Julie Myerson, Alice Hoffman, Ian McEwan, Audrey Niffenegger, and Diane Setterfield. These all explore the human condition, the complications of relationships, and delve into the minute detail of life – many of them with a touch of magic realism. Julie Myerson and Alice Hoffman are particular influences on my writing.

5. Desert Island question – which book would you take with you?

How could you ask me that question? Help! Only one? Hmm, I’m going to jump in and say Once Upon a River because it’s long and detailed, and has many characters. And a beautiful cover

Lives In Books #1: Russ Litten

Russ Litten is the author of Scream If You Want To Go Faster (2011), Swear Down (2013), Kingdom (2015), and We Know What We Are (2017). His debut poetry collection, I Can See The Lights (2020), was published in February 2020 by Wild Pressed Books. Thank you Russ for agreeing to answer the following questions.

1 What are you reading at the moment? Fiction – Bella by R. M. Francis, a sort of folk horror tale based on an old Midlands myth.

Non-fiction – The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff, which is equally as terrifying.

2 Did you enjoy reading while growing up? If so, which comics/books and writers were your favourites?

Avid reader from the age of four. I loved Beezer, Topper, Action Comic, 2000 AD, all the Marvel superhero stuff. Then I got into A Pair of Jesus Boots by Sylvia Sherry, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and The Goalkeeper’s Revenge by Bill Naughton.

3 Which books do you recommend to others?

I think I’ve bought people the short stories of Raymond Carver more than any other writer. More recently it’s been Preparation For The Next Life by Atticus Lish.

4 If any, which writers have influenced your writing?

Jack Kerouac, Raymond Carver, Jenni Fagan, Sherwood Anderson, William Carlos Williams, Carson McCullers, Niall Griffiths, Barry Hines, Nelson Algren, Cormac McCarthy, B. S. Johnson, Denis Johnson, Daniel Woodrell, Keith Ridgway, Lucia Berlin … Loads and loads.

5 Desert Island question – which book would you take with you?

The one I’m writing now.

Russ Litten’s I Can See The Lights is now available from the publishers, Wild Pressed Books, at http://www.wildpressedbooks.com and all excellent bookshops such as

J. E. Books. 😍

Dean Wilson in to sign ‘Take Me Up the Lighthouse’

Today, Friday 31 January 2020, is the publication date of Dean Wilson’s latest collection of poetry, ‘Take Me Up the Lighthouse’, which is published with Hull’s Wrecking Ball Press. Lucky for me, he popped in to sign some copies and they have been selling so well already. Good luck Dean πŸ’–

New Books for your Perusal πŸ“š

New books are coming in all the time and don’t forget I take orders too. The Jackie Kay classic, Trumpet, has been serialized this week on Radio 4 – week of 27 Jan 2020 – so when you’ve listened to it you can pop in and buy it. Or, you can get in touch with me through the contact form on this site and buy any book remotely, and I will post out to you.