Books from Liverpool
And because I’ve been thinking about independence – and home, after a couple of recent trips – it felt like the right time to do a round-up of a few lovely books about Liverpool. Summer is the season that brings Liverpool to life with, seemingly, a festival every weekend and the promise of a stop to the sideways rain. People pour in for their first experiences of the city; the music, lights and sounds, the colour and creativity.
Some are picked as a slice of Liverpool’s inner life, others for their creative independent spirit – several for both of the above. They’re all worth a look…
Published last month, this is our Ethos designer Roy McCarthy’s first volume in his Unloveable Landscapes series. Canal bridges, car parks and the Churchill flyover appear in hand-drawn pen and ink sketches, alongside Bootle’s Hugh Baird College and Baltic’s New Bird Street. And Roy’s knee, in his Volvo. A series of minutely-detailed observations, they’re what he calls ‘what you end up with when I’m left to my own devices. Black and white observations of the places in between places; places that wouldn’t normally be sketched; places that aren’t photogenic, or noteworthy, or well-known.’ And they’re lovely.
Available from Roy at Frame Baltic, or News from Nowhere
Please Read This Leaflet Carefully
Published by our Northern Lights neighbours, indie fiction publisher Dead Ink, it’s been hard to miss the plaudits won by Karen Havelin’s Please Read This Leaflet Carefully recently. Havelin’s novel is of a life told in reverse, following Laura Fjellstad in her struggle to live a normal life across New York, Paris and Oslo, fuelled by her belief that to survive her endometriosis diagnosis she must be completely self-reliant.
The novel flows backwards from 2016 to 1995, through Laura’s younger selves: a daughter; a figure skater, a lover, and a mother. ‘To be devoured intensely in one sitting,’ recommends Dead Ink.
Available online from Dead Ink [https://deadinkbooks.com/product/leaflet/]
Truth Street was written by Luton-based poet David Cain, and last month was shortlisted in the Forward Prize for the Felix Dennis Prize for a first collection, with winners announced in October. Cain describes finding ‘humanity’ and ‘beauty’ in witness statements from the Hillsborough disaster, using evidence from the second Hillsborough inquests in his poetry to separate the emotion of witnesses from legal jargon and news headlines.
Available from News from Nowhere
One of our own – through sister company, Capsica – we published Mersey Minis to celebrate Liverpool’s 800th birthday way back in 2007. It was a different time… Consisting of five volumes –Landing, Living, Longing, Loving and Leaving, the Minis were meticulously compiled by editor Deborah Mulhearn, bringing together writing about the city from across those 800 years. Covering ground from politicians to punks, artists, sailors and writers to immigrants and emigrants, passing through as they set sail for America, musicians and day trippers; it ebbs and flows, shifting gears and confounding nostalgia, cliché and expectations of a city that’s seen it all.
As journalist Paul Morley says in Living, ‘Liverpool is not part of England in the way that New York is not part of America. It is more Welsh, more Irish, a shifty, shifting outpost of defiance and determination reluctantly connected to the English mainland, more an island set in a sea of dreams and nightmares that’s forever taking shape in the imagination, more a mysterious place jutting out into time between the practical, stabilising pull of history and the sweeping, shuffling force of myth.’
Available in very limited quantities from us…
I’m an absolute lover of a crime thriller, so will soon be plunging myself into the world of Luca Veste and his Liverpool-set psychological thrillers. A second generation Italian, Veste was born and raised on Merseyside, and uses Liverpool as the backdrop to his Murphy and Rossi novels – DI David Murphy and DS Laura Rossi first burst onto the scene in Dead Gone, which I’ll be starting with. Penned as a ‘writer to watch’ by author Mark Billingham and called ‘darkly impressive’ by The Times, I can never resist novels where I spend as much time location spotting as I do thinking about the twist and turns of the protagonists. Roll on autumn and dark evenings and lots more time for reading…
Available online and in bookshops all over the place…