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Win the Costa shortlists

Welcome to this festive edition of The Omnivore Digest, where we're delighted to be giving away enough books to furnish not only a room, but an entire house (or at least a small studio flat in Zone 3). One extremely lucky subscriber can win a full set of the shortlists from this year's Costa Book Awards. That's  a total of 
20 books: four from each of the Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s categories. You might as well turn your living room into a public library.

The outstanding titles up for this year's awards include Meeting the English by Kate Clanchy, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing, Clive James's translation of Dante's Divine Comedy, and Goth Girl: And the Ghost of a Mouse - a spooky story from children's author and cartoonist, Chris Riddell. To read the full shortlists, click here.

If you fancy getting your mitts on this fabulous prize, all you have to do is answer the following question: Where was the first Costa Coffee shop? Entries to by Friday 27 December.
The Omnivore’s Last Minute Christmas List

Eek! It's Christmas next week and we haven't done any shopping. Thankfully, drones or no drones, Amazon promises to will get your books to you in time, so long as you order before Wednesday evening. After that you'll probably have to  organise a reconnaissance mission to find a real bookshop. If you're as disorganised as us, and the broadsheets' annual bout of yuletide log-rolling hasn't given you any ideas, then our Last Minute Christmas List might come in useful:

For the rebellious daughter
The Mystery of Princess Louise by Lucinda Hawksley
The Book of Jezebel by Anna Holmes

For the person who takes their fiction seriously
A Naked Singularity or Personae by Sergio de la Pava

For the person who doesn’t take their fiction seriously
Actors Anonymous by James Franco

For your unfaithful spouse
Our Cheating Hearts by Kate Figes
Unfaithfully Yours by Nigel Williams

For the wannabe(e) apiculturist
A Sting in the Tale by Dave Goulson

For the person who devoured the Booker longlist
The Interestings by Meg Wollitzer
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

For the armchair psychologist
The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz

Browse the entire list * 
Petit Mal by DBC Pierre
Reviews | Comment | Buy 
“Collecting these bin-ends in an edition that more closely resembles a CD reissue for a 1990s rock band than a printed book speaks not of overconfidence so much as a sort of nervous breakdown in the Faber marketing department. On the one hand, a Man Booker-winning author with a clear if erratic talent; on the other, nothing lately that looks like a novel, and a sniffy reception for the last couple of those. Could we repackage his bits and bobs to present him as a cult figure – an existential flâneur dripping edgy outsider glamour. The answer to that, for my money, is no. Nice try, though. I like Pierre’s work well enough, and there are sparks of his undoubted comic flair here.” Sam Leith, The Guardian
Stories II by TC Boyle
Reviews | Comment | Buy
"Not one a dud" Anthony Cummins, The Guardian VS "Two weeks spent in the company of these stories gives the impression of abundant energy and talent but also the lingering aftertaste of the over-prolific." Michael Lindgren, The Washington Post
Best of the rest
Actors Anonymous by James Franco, Pompey by Jonathan Meades, Moss Witch and Other Stories by Sara Maitland
The Men Who United the States by Simon Winchester
Reviews | Comment | Buy
" large part because of his amateur status, boldness and decidedly nonacademic approach to history, Winchester achieves something quite remarkable" Jay Parini, Literary Review VS "However strange or stirring these stories, it doesn’t do them any favours to relate them in a prose style that reads like God let loose on a thesaurus." John Preston, The Spectator
Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography by Mike Tyson
Reviews | Comment | Buy
"...if it is not, as Holdengräber claimed, up there with St Augustine's Confessions, it's got a lot more fighting. That it's also addictive is down in part to Tyson's co-author, Larry Sloman ... Sloman brings Tyson's voice springing off the page with its often hilarious combo of street and shrink, pimp profanity and the "prisony pseudo-intellectual modern mack rap" of the autodidact ... There's a moment of flat-out brilliance when he gets the Maori tattoo on his face: "I hated my face and I literally wanted to deface myself."" Geoff Dyer, The Observer
Best of the rest
Josephine: Desire, Ambition, Napoleon by Kate Williams, The Confidence Trap by David Runciman
HATCHET JOB OF THE MONTH: Philip Hensher on More Dynamite by Craig Raine, The Spectator
Nobody now cares whether a retired Oxford don is pretending to cast a Nobel prize-winner into outer darkness on the basis of his inferior similes, and very few people are going to read any of these essays all the way through without being paid to. Raine goes to the trouble of attempting to insult me personally at one point, but I still can’t remember what he said or why he said it. Dynamite? Blancmange might be a more accurate description." 
Author Pitch: Virgile's Vineyard by Patrick Moon
Do we have to know a lot about wine to enjoy your book?
Absolutely not. Its aim is to amuse and inform at the same time. The only ‘health warning’ to readers is that some have told me they’ve bought houses in the Languedoc because of my book and one even bought a vineyard!

Author Pitch: Children of Saba by N.K. Read
You describe your book as “the untold story of Africa”. How does your book challenge European and American perceptions of Africa?
For many years, Africa was synonymous with war, strife, disease and poverty, or alternatively wildlife and safaris. Yet, as modern Africa rises, there is a rich legacy of majesty, splendour and glory of its peoples, past and present, that has yet to be fully explored.
Copyright © The Omnivore 2013

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