The Best Minds of My GenerationTitle: The Best Minds of My Generation – A Literary History of the Beats

Author: Allen Ginsberg

Pages: 496 Pages

Publisher: Grove Atlantic/Grove Press

The Blurb

In 1977, twenty years after the publication of his landmark poem “Howl,” and Jack Kerouac’s seminal book On the Road, Allen Ginsberg decided it was time to teach a course on the literary history of the Beat Generation. Through the creation of this course, which he ended up teaching five times, first at the Naropa Institute and later at Brooklyn College, Ginsberg saw an opportunity to present the history of Beat Literature in his own inimitable way. Compiled and edited by renowned Beat scholar Bill Morgan, and with an introduction by Anne Waldman, The Best Minds of My Generation presents the lectures in edited form, complete with notes, and paints a portrait of the Beats as Ginsberg knew them: friends, confidantes, literary mentors, and fellow revolutionaries.

Ginsberg was seminal to the creation of a public perception of Beat writers and knew all of the major figures personally, making him uniquely qualified to be the historian of the movement. In The Best Minds of My Generation, Ginsberg shares anecdotes of meeting Kerouac, Burroughs, and other writers for the first time, explains his own poetics, elucidates the importance of music to Beat writing, discusses visual influences and the cut-up method, and paints a portrait of a group who were leading a literary revolution. For Beat aficionados and neophytes alike, The Best Minds of My Generation is a personal yet critical look at one of the most important literary movements of the twentieth century.

The Review

I was really eager to read The Best Minds of My Generation but had been put off by an experience of reading On The Road by Jack Kerouac. This will probably shock a lot of people but I just didn’t rate it. I read it because I felt like I was supposed to have read it. But, to be perfectly honest, I just wasn’t that impressed.

Anyway, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it and just immerse myself in the world of the Beat Writers.

I kind of wish I had chosen another book to read. That probably sounds really harsh but it is because this book, The Best Minds of My Generation, is clearly for hardcore Beat enthusiasts. It is not for someone who is tentatively dipping their toes into this genre.

My recommendation would be that anyone wanting to learn about the history of this period then look elsewhere. If you already love this genre of writing then knock yourself out.

The Best Minds of My Generation – A Literary History of the Beats by Allen Ginsberg is available now.

For more information regarding Grove Atlantic (@groveatlantic) please visit www.groveatlantic.com.

2 Stars

Kiss Me in New YorkTitle: Kiss Me in New York

Author: Catherine Rider

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Kids Can Press

The Blurb

It’s Christmas Eve at JFK in NYC. Charlotte is a British student, waiting for a flight home after the worst semester of her life. Anthony is a native New Yorker, surprising his girlfriend at the airport after three months apart. Charlotte has just been dumped, and Anthony is about to be dumped, right in the middle of the holiday crowd. Charlotte’s flight is cancelled when a blizzard blows in, and Anthony can’t bear to go home. So, they set out into the city together, clutching a book Charlotte picks up in the airport gift shop: Ten Easy Steps for Getting Over Your Ex.

For this one night, they’ll focus on healing their broken hearts … together. Step-by-step, the two struggle to put the past behind them. But the snow is so enchanting, and the holiday lights are so beguiling, that soon their shared misery gives way to something else. Soon, they’re not only over their exes — they’re falling for each other. Then a subway ride splits them up by mistake. Will they reunite before Charlotte’s flight leaves New York forever?

Part Before Sunrise, part Sleepless in Seattle, this delightful story will appeal to anyone who sees the romance in a swirl of snowflakes at the top of the Empire State Building, or anyone who’s wondered if true love was waiting at the other end of the airport ticket counter.

The Review

Can someone please take me to New York and kiss me…like now!

Oh be still my heart, Kiss Me in New York by Catherine Rider is like one gorgeously long meet cute. Charlotte and Anthony meet in inauspicious circumstances but being in one of the most magical and romantic cities in the world (and at Christmas time no less) works its power.

Charlotte and Anthony’s epic adventure sees them traipsing the city on Christmas Eve following a self-help book’s advice. It really is a charming story that I was unique, fresh and seriously entertaining.

If this is the type of YA novel that we can come to expect from Catherine Rider then I am very excited to see what else she has in store.

Kiss Me in New York by Catherine Rider is available now.

For more information regarding Catherine Rider (@CRiderYA) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Kids Can Press (@KidsCanPress) please visit www.kidscanpress.com.

4 Stars

A Very Merry Manhattan ChristmasTitle: A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas

Author: Darcie Boleyn

Pages: 201 Pages

Publisher: Canelo

The Blurb

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

The Review

Oh I do love a good romance. Oh and I love Christmas. Oh and I do love New York. Combine these three things and you have the fabulous romantic read A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn. Winner winner.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is the wonderfully festive tale of two friends who are meant to be together finding love and discovering something that had been there all along. Lucie and Dale have been friends for forever and even though everyone around them can see that they are meant to be together they are really tentative when it comes to actually making that leap.

What was lovely about A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is that the love between the characters bounced off the page. When it was compared to less successful relationships in the story you can see how well suited Dale and Lucie are.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas isn’t a long story, at only 201 pages it could easily be read in one sitting. It is the perfect book to get you in the festive mood.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn is available now.

For more information regarding Darcie Boleyn (@DarcieBoleyn) please visit www.darcieboleyn.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Canelo (@canelo_co) please visit www.canelo.co.

3 Stars

Tell MeTitle: Tell Me

Author: Abigail Strom

Pages: 252 Pages

Publisher: Montlake Romance

The Blurb

Shy bookstore owner Jane Finch grew up hiding in the margins of her own life while her vibrant, adventure-loving sister, Samantha, dominated every plotline. She’s made peace with it, unlike Sam’s business partner, Caleb, who’s always nudging Jane to go after what she really wants. Why should she care what blunt, brash Caleb thinks? They’ve never had much in common, except for Sam.

After tragedy strikes, they don’t even have that.

Caleb can’t quite remember when Sam’s little sister stopped being like a surrogate sibling to him and became just…Jane. She’s the most intriguing woman he’s ever met, and so much sexier and stronger than she thinks. On the emotional journey to honour Sam’s memory, the spark they’ve tried to deny becomes an inferno. This journey was meant to be an ending, but will they discover an unexpected new beginning?

The Review

Well knock me over with a feather. Tell Me by Abigail Strom was not what I was expecting. I was expecting a bit of fluff…maybe a few steamy passages but I wasn’t expecting it to pack a powerful and emotional punch.

Tell Me is the story of Jane Finch, a book shop owner with a penchant for the nerdy. She is the polar opposite of her outgoing sister Sam. They epitomise the saying chalk and cheese. In truth Jane has always been a little jealous of Sam especially when every man that Jane likes seems to fall at Sam’s gorgeous feet.

Then there is Caleb. Dependable Caleb who is like an itch that Jane can’t scratch. He also happens to be Sam’s business partner.

It is through a personal tragedy (which I promise will leave you gasping in shock) that really starts the unravelling of Tell Me. At that point it becomes completely un-put-down-able and you end up swept in the high drama and romance.

Tell Me is so much more than you would think from its cover. You need to give this book a try because the passion is so palpable. I loved it and it takes a lot for me to truly fall in love with a love story.

Tell Me by Abigail Strom is available now.

For more information regarding Abigail Strom (@AbigailStrom) please visit www.abigailstrom.com.

35 Stars

The Light We LostTitle: The Light We Lost

Author: Jill Santopolo

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

Two people. One choice. What if?

11th September 2001. Lucy and Gabe meet at Columbia University on a day that will change their lives – and the world – forever. And as the city burns behind them, they kiss for the very first time.

Over the next thirteen years they are torn apart, then brought back together, time and time again. It’s a journey of dreams, of desires, of jealousy, of forgiveness – and above all, love.

And as Lucy is faced with a decision she thought she’d never have to make, she wonders whether their love is a matter of destiny, or chance. What if they should have been living a different life all along?

Me Before You meets One Day in this passionate debut novel, The Light We Lost, an epic love story about the heartrending decision that one woman must make…

The Review

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo was touted as the next One Day or Me Before You which over the past ten years have been two of my favourite books. Without meaning to start as a Debbie Downer, The Light We Lost didn’t quite hit that spot for me. I can understand why the comparisons were made but it just didn’t tug on my emotional heartstrings as much as the others.

It is not to say that it isn’t a good story. It really is. You do feel the frustration as you beg for Gabe and Lucy just to get their lives together and stop messing around but they just can’t seem to do it.

Then you get yourself all twisted up in the argument over passionate love versus sensible love. It is an argument that has plenty of positives and negatives for each side. Overall though you do feel that Lucy is her own worst enemy and that she never fully allows herself to move forward.

The Light We Lost is a really good read and one that you can finish in one sitting.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo is available now

For more information regarding Jill Santopolo (@JillSantopolo) please visit www.jillsantopolo.com.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.harpercollins.co.uk.

35 Stars