Next Salon Discussion

First Tuesday current affairs discussion - Tuesday 5 December 7:00pm start

Tuesday 5th Dec: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

We'll discuss two topical subjects

Manchester book reviews
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Manchester book reviews

The Land of Green GingerThe Land of Green Ginger by Antony Rowland

Published by Salt Publishing: Cambridge, 2008

Reviewed by Angelica Michelis September 2010

‘Amongst the highly placed
It is considered low to talk about food.
The fact is: they have
Already eaten.’
(Bertolt Brecht, A German War Primer)

 

Antony Rowland does not consider it low to talk about food. The Land of Green Ginger gathers poems that delight in the taste, texture and smell of food, and that celebrate the sublime in the ordinary:

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Manchester book reviews

A Sheesha in Radcliffe – by Mansoor Shah

A Sheesha in Radcliffe

Reviewed by Dave Porter August 2010

Sub-titled ‘A Spiritual Journey Through Seven Mystical Windows’, this is the second collection by Manchester author Mansoor Shah of esoteric poems in the Sufi tradition.

 

An academic by day, Shah describes his heritage as a product of the Ottoman Empire and is following in the great traditions of Sufism, his work suffused with its religious and philosophical underpinnings.

 

Specifically, Shah – who lives in Radcliffe, hence the title – draws upon the influences of great Sufi authors such as Rumi, Jamie and El Arabi. With illustrations by local artist David Vaughn which reflect his Celtic heritage, the collection makes for an arresting and thought-provoking read.

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Manchester book reviews

'God is a Manc' poetry collection by Mike Garry

'God is a Manc' mosaic by Amanda McCrann

Reviewed by Simon Belt June 2010

 

Having come across Mike Garry, a Manchester poet whose work focuses upon the beautiful ugliness of the city and its people, just before the launch of 'God is a Manc', I managed to do a little research on him and his poetry before reading this collection. And I'm very glad I did as it is not just a great piece of writing in its own right, but I think it's also the outcome of a process that attempts to take the reader beyond the Mancunian Meander collection I reviewed before the launch of this previously.

 

Mike cites his heroes are the underdogs, the outsiders, the people the glossies airbrush out. His first book, Men’s Morning tells the tale of an inner city sauna and his second book, Mancunian Meander is a poetic journey around the south side of Manchester, its suburbs and people. Having worked on residencies in Strangeways prison, the Big Issue and Trafford Mental Health and most recently six children’s homes in Manchester, the BBC and Arts Council England commissioned him to go to the north of the city and write a collection of poems about his experiences there. 'God is a Manc' is that collection.

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Manchester book reviews

'Mancunian Meander' poetry collection by Mike Garry

Mancunian Meander by Mike Garry

Reviewed by Simon Belt June 2010

I first became aware of Mike Garry and his poetry when PR agent Alison Bell emailed me some promotional flyers including one for the launch of Mike's third book 'God is a Manc'. As I was born and bred in Yorkshire, God's own country, and moved to Manchester on a civilising mission when I turned twenty, and having lived and worked in and around Manchester most of my adult life, I was intrigued to find out more (truthfully, I was smitten with a couple of rebellious Manchester ladies at the time and thought if they were what Manchester offered, I wanted more!).

 

So, I was definitely going to go to the launch of Mike's new book and in preparation I did a little research on him, online of course - but then I was holidaying in Menorca. Between Mike and his PR agent, and whoever else, it was certainly easy to find out about him - he's all over the show on the internet, and seems to have been involved in a variety of poetry writing and citing in libraries, schools, prisons, street performances, and festivals. I had to get hold of his written work to see what was causing such an impact, which leads me onto this review.

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Manchester book reviews

The girl who kicked the hornets' nest'The girl who kicked the hornets’ nest

from the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Reviewed by Angelica Michelis May 2010

The final part of Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy starts exactly where the second volume has finished: Lisbeth Salander, the plucky and unusual heroine fights for her life after having been attacked by her father and mentally disturbed brother. Lisbeth, in contrast to the previous two books where she was always on the move and rarely remained at one place, is more or less stationary for the most part of this text. Lying critically injured in a hospital bed only a short distance apart from her father, Lisbeth (and with her the reader whose position, morally and politically, is right by her side) cannot relax knowing that her father’s determination to kill her will not subside as long as he lives, since too much is at risk. And since his destiny is deeply and inextricably intertwined with the conservative, reactionary and patriarchal forces in Swedish society, her fight for physical survival is also one of moral and social rehabilitation.

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Manchester book reviews

'The girl who played with fire' from the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

The girl who played with fireReviewed by Dave Bowden May 2010

Second parts of trilogies are notoriously hard work: by definition they are to some extent shorn of the structural unity offered by a clear beginning and an end. In a trilogy you are never more aware of the etymology of the term ‘plot’, which despite its exciting connotations of coups and insurrections, actually derives from cartography. Of course, an adventurer or explorer may observe that the most exciting journeys are those which have no direct course: but they’ll normally tell you that from the comfort of dry land. The success of a middle work lies in its unresolved uncertainty: C.P. Cavafy may urge travellers in ‘Ithaca’ to ‘pray that the road is long/full of adventure, full of knowledge’, but he wouldn’t be advising that if Odysseus had been swallowed by the Cyclops before he made it home.

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Manchester book reviews

'The girl with the dragon tattoo' from the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

The girl with the dragon tattooReviewed by Stephen Bowler February 2010

Stieg Larsson’s The girl with the dragon tattoo is a popular book. The publishers say they’ve sold 2.7 million copies in Sweden and over 12 million of the Millennium trilogy (of which this is the first) worldwide. They’re shifting plenty here too: they must be as it only cost me £3.49, including postage. Clearly it’s being read by a lot of people, but why might this be?

 

Well, for a start, it’s a real page-turner; full of intrigue and action. The hero – Mikael Blomkvist – is a hip and clever journalist with a side-kick – she with the tattoo – even more Zen than he. Together they are sexy Swedish sleuths, dishing the dirt on the nastiest of ne’er do well’s, laying low the corporate fat-cats.

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Book Reviews

The scope of this section is to publish reviews of books - by authors based around Manchester, book launches around Manchester, books relating to Manchester, and reviews written by people around Manchester. As this is a new initiative on the site, contributions and suggestions on how best to structure and solicit reviews are welcome. 

 

Suffice to say that the site cannot pay for contributions, but links from the reviews are possible where they are relevant. Please Email me your book reviews to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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