Tuesday, July 03, 2007

How easy it is to miss a desirable book

Also in today's blog
773 applicants for Susan Hill's writing course

Although I read the realworld issues of The Bookseller and Publishing News every week, plus book reviews in a wide range of online and printed papers and magazines, I still miss books I should like to add to our bookshelves.

An example is The 8.55 to Baghdad by Andrew Eames. Yesterday, going through the 2 July 2004 issue of PN for articles to clip, I came upon this –

"In 1928, Agatha Christie travelled to Baghdad by Orient Express, a trip that was to change her life and lead to 30 more subsequent visits to Iraq and Syria on archaelogical digs. The journey, and the destination, today are very different prospects, as travel writer Andrew Eames discovered when he set out to follow her footsteps … He arrived at the Iraqi border at the same time as the UN weapons inspectors, and thus was one of the last tourists to experience the reality of Saddam Hussein's regime."

Andrew Eames doesn't seem to have a website and the only photograph of him I can find is the one shown.

The paperback of his book has been re-issued with the same jacket as the hardback. I prefer the jacket on the first pb edition [top]. Which do you prefer?

There are two national newspaper quotes and two reviews at Amazon UK.

Daily Mail, 2 July 2004
Eames can boast a lively, entertaining style. He has two great stories... and he tells them both very well.

The Independent, 9 July 2004
Eames' journey becomes absorbing in its own right... He gives vivid and atmospheric accounts.

"After her marriage broke up, Agatha Christie made a trip to Iraq to see some archeologist friends, taking the Orient Express most of the way. For a single woman to make that trip on her own in the 1920s was adventurous and fairly unusual. At the end of her journey she met her second husband, Max Mallowan, an archeologist. Almost 80 years later, Eames retraces her journey from England through Western Europe, the Balkans, Turkey and the Middle East, staying--whenever he could--in the hotels she stayed in. When Christie travelled to Iraq, it was still a protectorate of the English. When Eames made his journey, the US was threatening to bomb Iraq and the Balkans had been through a vicious war. It's a fascinating travelogue, full of contrasts and links between the past and the present, which Eames weaves seamlessly together."


"Someone gave me this book, and I didnt expect to like it because i'm not a fan of Agatha christie. But actually there's a lot of great stuff in here and all the Christie bits are a bit of an excuse, really. I now understand the whole Yugoslavia disintegration - well I think I do. And Iraq in the last months before war sounds so different to what we hear about at the moment."

Wouldn't you think that if someone is bright enough to read this book, they would write "different from" rather than "different to" and also check their review and notice that "didn't" needs an apostrophe and the author's surname should be capped. I conclude the writer is a victim of the mess made by government interference in education.

There's an article by Andrew Eames about taking his small daughters to Vienna at Travel Intelligence, a site I haven't come across before.

773 applicants for Susan Hill's writing course

See link in sidebar. I have already expressed my dismay at publisher/author Susan Hill encouraging more people to clutter an already overcrowded market. Born writers don't need this kind of help. Hopeless hopefuls need active discouragement.

Yesterday I intended to continue the John Murray topic today. However it will have to wait until later in the week because I've already exceeded my 500 words allowance.


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