Back in October, I discovered the book Kiss the Sky by DC Gallin. I zipped through the book in just a couple of days, breaking my long hiatus with reading. Set in 1990s London, the book tells the story of a handful of artists and bohemians trying to live out their twenty-something dreams in London.
London is a place close to my heart. I studied there briefly during college and fell in love with the music and clubbing scene there. Eventually, it’s probably what led me to Berlin, because as so many people will tell you: Berlin is the new “it” place. Yes, even still. Sure, maybe it was already the capital of artistic expression, creative bohemia and pure, unadulterated fun.
Gallin’s book is a throwback to the era when London was the “it” place. When artists could freely live in a city so full of life and culture that anything felt possible. When there were squats and all-night, drug-fueled parties. Sure, London is still spectacular, and it’s still got a lot of of what made it so special in the 90s, but today it just doesn’t compare to Berlin.
Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the book so much, though. It put the London I always wanted to love so fresh in my mind. In Kiss the Sky, the protagonist, Claudia, is a painter—a woman who’s certainly had her fair share of unfortunate life events, but is making do in a city that’s as distracting as any other. She paints, she parties, she dances naked on rooftops. If that doesn’t describe half the population of Berlin today, I don’t know what does!
The book is full of witticisms like “hippy is the closest word to happy”, has a healthy dose of sex and drugs and even has characters that you actually care about. The book features plenty of travel including one French bohemian artist, Paloma, who jets off to India on a whim (for a boy, of course), only to come back describing India as a place “so alive and so sad at the same time.” An accurate description of one of my favorite countries.
Ultimately, what I loved most about Kiss the Sky was the picture it painted of a city I used to love. I’ve always loved London, and still do today, but I just don’t think it has that specialness that it used to have. But while reading Gallin’s book, I felt I was getting a first-person account of what London was really and truly like in the 90s. After interviewing the author, I’m certain that the London she writes about exists today in the form of Berlin.
If you can’t yet time travel back to when London was cool, I definitely recommend reading this book. The story provides a fleeting glance of what London was like for the artists and squatters who made London a center of creativity and originality in art, design, music and culture for nearly a decade. At just $2.99 (for a limited time), you can’t find any better way to escape into a true bohemian story. It costs less than a beer! You can read more reviews and buy a printed copy over on the book’s Amazon page. Get it while it’s still on sale!
Win a Kindle Paperwhite!
In partnership with the author of Kiss the Sky, we’re giving away a $120 Amazon gift card — enough to cover the cost of a brand new Kindle Paperwhite. Please note the Kindle Paperwhite isn’t yet available in all countries, but you’re welcome to use it toward a different Kindle edition if you win.
This contest is now expired. Congrats to Jade from Camberley, England on winning the giveaway!
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Only one entry per person. To determine the winner I’ll assign a number to every comment on this post and randomly select a winner using random.org. Your privacy is extremely important to us. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, either Facebook or Amazon. Please note that this review is completely of my own opinion and has not been influenced by the promotion.
As I’m almost off on another RTW trp I need lots of books to read and a kindle would sure help save my back ;)
I would read “Shades of grey” and of course The Promoted Book
I’m not reading much lately either, but I promise I’m gonna start again if I win this. And I’ll start by reading “The Fault in our stars”, a novel about teenagers with cancer: I find depression so Christmasy
Awesome giveaway! I’ve been wanting a Kindle lately for travel, and I think it’s safe to say that I love London after just marrying a Londoner a month ago ;-) I’d get this book and heaps others — I’m amazed that I haven’t really read lately!
I think you might be right about London, loosing it’s edge, the scene seems all pretty contrived if not consumer driven.
Help me to safe some cash this christmas Adam ;) Was in London for the first time during WTM but I have to admit that I have barely seen anything of London. Would be a great read though!
I think the first book I would read on the Kindle would be my favorite travel book of all times: Shantaram!
Love all the info and watching your business grow.
I would read this book, and then I would read everything by Dave Eggers.
My boyfriend was just mocking me today on this very what-to-read-get-a-kindle topic! I have a massive bookshelf full of unread books at home. Home would be in Canada. I’m currently studying in France. Welcome to my dilemma!
Of course, let’s start my Kindle adventures with Kiss the Sky, and then slowly add my long list of books-to-read take with me wherever I go.
That list includes Shantaram, Escape from Camp 14, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary (I am absolutely dying to read this one!), Radio Shangri-La, Strength in What Remains, Shake Hands with the Devil (again, dying to read this one!), In the Shadow of Man (Jane Goodall…I mean: come on!), Murder in the High Himalaya, +++
Moved to London in 2010, it’s such a vibrant ecelectic group of people, I oftem just walk around with no real aim, I have found some amazing gems and some bizarre sights. Feel proud to love and live here.
Best 2 memories
Watching fireworks on the teams for new year
Watching London Gospel choir do secret session down a back street from covent garden…
Wonderful idea! My Kindle broke and I could just do with a new one :-) Plus… The books looks really interesting!
Now you have me wanting to read Kiss the Sky. No fair Adam!
your wants can easily come true at 2,99 and I hope you’ll love ithe book which represents 5 years of work, xx :)
I bought the book today. Anita and Doug said they willl go to London with me. Iwill let you know when
Thanks Ann, you make very happy! :) xx
I’d read Kiss the Sky… then some GMAT study guides! Not too exciting, I know, but those books are too huge to carry around for sure. Also a kindle would be perfect for the travels I’m planning for next year…
Well, a Kindle would actually quite nice, especially while traveling! I like you new giveaways ;).
So I’m interested in all the books I read regularly in paper. And unfortunately I’ve never been to London, but I would love to go there. I’ve heard there are a lot of great places to eat ;).
Great giveaway, I always wanted a Kindle. Just couldn’t talk myself into it…Kiss the Sky might be just it… So far I’m an old style reader, printed pages, etc. I tend to read rather series than single books, so the Kindle would be a great way to reduce the space consumption for all the books. Kiss the Sky nevertheless does sound interesting, I might gie it a shot (saving on the Kindle purchase could just give me enough freedom of mind to try something out of the row…). I have not been to London, though I’d love to go, especially for the food. Germans generally associate GB with fish ‘n chips, which is absolutely not the solitary dish – and sometimes not as bad as one might think.
Hi Frank, the print version is very affordable, too, and most readers who bought the kindle edition have treated themselves on the collectible paperback as we are going to change the cover on a regular basis, to give different london artists a chance to contribute to a book about their city, love and light DC
I love to read and moving abroad really made me strip down my library. I have bought more (on a trip to London a few years ago even), but still I can’t carry them all with me on our travels. Been eyeing a kindle for a while too. Saw your review on the paperwhite as well.
I really like Fantasy, so would probably read those first. Saw another expat’s book called True Vines in Italy that looks good too. I definitely like London and the 90s so Kiss the Sky might get on that list too.
I love London & would love to go back, spent 1 day in 2005. Have James Patterson’s Private London on my next to read list.
Hi Adam, this book might be good or not, hard to say. Still, I would love to get the Kindle ;)
I have enjoyed your posts. I have had a good time on my visits to London. I am considering putting Kiss the Sky on my list of books to read.
I’d give that book a shot for sure! Sounds interesting. :)
just do it! it’s a bargain G: 2,99 for an author’s work of 5 years :) hope you’ll have fun! xx
I would love to read ebooks from Jonathan Franzen, David Foster Wallace, and Lonely Planet guides. Kiss the Sky also sounds interesting and I am interested in supporting indie writers. I lived in London for a semester and yes, I love London.
Gloria if you love London and like to support indie writers here is a chance to revisit London through the book, :)
I’m currently in the middle of 4 books (Call of the Wild, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Quiet: The Power of Introverts, and The End of Your Life Book Club), with a stack a mile long waiting for me!
Found your blog in Boston Bloggers and it is so inspiring! xo, Sara
I have just purchased this book from my kindle and cannot wait to start reading it, I have already heard so many great things about it! Sounds like my kind of book- thank you for sharing this post!
Thanks Serina, you’re the BEST!
A Kindle would be great for travelling. I guess I would mostly be reading old books, because they are free on Amazon and I’m as broke as can be at the moment. But doesn’t matter. I like those books. Kiss the sky also sounds very interesting.
By the way, good luck with learning German. But don’t worry, even we Germans sometimes get confused with the articles (der, die, das Nutella? – nobody knows :D). As they say: “Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache.”
I’d love to read Wild on my Kindle
I’ve never been to London, but that book seems interesting and would def check it out if I got the chance. As for winning the Kindle… I used to not read much, but travel has slowly made me a reader and know I could use a Kindle on the road. I’m really wanting to read so may more books, but can’t find them on the road and if I had a kindle know they are just a download away.
I would read Fried Green Tomatoes. I have wanted to read that book for a long time:)
I would love to read anything about London. I’m hoping to make my first trip there in 2013 and one of my favorite things to do before I go someplace is to read a lot of native literature beforehand.
Will add this to my reading list! Also looking to catch-up on reading:
New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd & Back to Blood: A Novel by Tom Wolfe :).
I used to live in London, and it was my first international trip I ever took. And I never got over it! It’s noisy, it’s not always super clean, it’s gigantic and getting around takes forever, but God I love this place. If immigration wasn’t an issue I would live there forever!
I do love London! And I do want a Kindle. (Recent development, used to hate them.) Be fun to read this book. Thanks for reviewing it, Adam.
I absolutely love London! It’s my yearly HAVE TO get-away:-) A book out London would thus certainly interest me! Especially if I could read it on a kindle, because dragging all these books everywhere is killing my back!:-)
I want to read Brave New World :) I’m a sucker for the classics.
Yayyy! So excited about your awesome giveaway. :) See you when I get to Berlin – very soon! Hope all is well x
Yessssss free things! My favorite things. There are so many books I want to read right now, first among them being Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” because I heard it’s just incredible and travel-tastic.
Sounds like an interesting book Adam and worth a go at just $2.99!
We are planning our travels for 2013 at the moment so I’d most likely start with Lonely Planet guides to places like Cuba, Mexico and USA.
Thanks Erin, especially as it took 5 years to write, have fun and please let me know what you think of it :)
Well, think this is 3 good things in one. a) After reading your interview with the author, I had intended to download the book. b) I really want a new paperwhite. c) I had been meaning to sign up for your newsletter. So all three can come together…I just need to win:)
Funny thing. My partner (soon to be husband) and I have been in discussion about where to go next. One of the places on the short list is London. Others are Paris, Rome, and Barcelona. So, needless to say, these are the books I would be reading in the VERY near future considering we are going in 2 months.
It sounds like a great book! Would also love to read some food-history related books too.
I have a billion unread books on my Kobo (I know…a Kobo!)
Now you see why I need a Kindle? First thing I’d read would be Kiss the Sky. :)
Your website cracks me up, just saying!
I love reading anything about my adopted country of Spain. Since getting a Kindle for my birthday a few years back, I’ve devoured novels my great Spanish authors, books about histroy and secrets of the Spanish crown, and many an expat rant. Reading about destinations before traveling there always helps me understand the place better…and I feel that London and I have misunderstood one another a few too many times.
I love London, it’s my favourite UK city! As for which ebook – I’m a ravenous reader, I’ll take everything it can store and more!
Heya, beyond the Kindle- I subscribed to you for the ideas and inspiration. A fellow traveler for a well-few years, it’s great to see new perspectives on tried (trite-?) ideas that make you think.
Avid reader, avid proponent of anything you read of quality: please share. I’m visiting ‘Ivanhoe’ for the first (blush) time, and I can readily find so many similarities between ages.
I’ll keep reading you, hope German es besser. Ha. Take care.
i want sooo much to read kiss the sky and the 20 sec video on the beach made me want to read it even more…..
Anything I’ve read lately that I want to get instantly I get on ebook. If its about England, I certainly do want to read it! I want to go so badly one day, I’m a total anglophile!
I love London so much. E-books are nice, i want to read all the classics and maybe some of the new stuff, contemporary writers, as Lessing, Foster Wallace and also “unknown” writers. That’s why I would like “Kiss The Sky”, cause it would be great to read this Camdem-like book.
Heard so much about Kindle. Let’s try to win one!
I am so jealous of my wife’s kindle…… so it would be great to win one here.
London is a city I still haven’t spent enough time in to know if I love it or not. Shame…it’s somewhere I always seem to breeze through.
I would read the crap out of that book if I had a kindle.
Great contest, Adam! I would read some Jack Kerouac – a classic I haven’t tucked into for a while
I would love to read Kiss the Sky…can’t get enough of travel stories! Of course…with the kindle, I could easily carry around a pile of books to read! Nothing like making the carry on a little lighter!
I read a lot when I’m traveling. I’m currently reading Haruki Murakami’s latest opus. And yay I hope I win that Kindle ;D
I am one of those who will read 3-4 books aweek and although I would much rather have a real book in my hands a Kindle would be wonderful for traveling and for other times a book would not be practical.
With all the traveling, I think it’s time for me to get an e-reader. Top of my list right now is Oliver Sack’s “Hallucinations”
What I really have a penchant for right now is reading in French and would love to have a kindle to do it on!
I love London when I was there, but I didn’t have enough time to explore! I would love to go back.
And I really want a kindle so bad, I read a lot and can’t carry hundreds of books with me :)
I would read ” What happened to my sister”. Kiss the Sky would be a good start for me :)
There are quite a few books that have inspired me to visit places. And I love reading books about places I’ve been too.
I am sort of obsessed with London – ever since I visited, I’ve toyed with the idea of living there one day. As for what I’m reading, well right now, it’s “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman.
Adding that book to my Amazon list immediatly! Not that I need another excuse to miss London…
Would like to read Life of PI which I read several years ago but would like to read again.
Is liver better or wurst in Germany?
Embarrassingly enough I’ve only started reading a lot this year… ironically the same year I quit my job to travel the world. Alas, my boyfriends Kindle has just died so we desperately need a new one as our reading wish list is growing ridiculously fast!
This book sounds great, I need some fiction in my life right now!
I would love to have Claton Christensen’s ebook “how do you measure your life?” and the book by Dr. Sanji Chopra.
I would love to read all the classics and catch up on my Shakespeare.
First, yes! I love London and this book looks really good. Lately, I’ve been going for the classics, because I feel like a fool for not reading them already. After seeing “Midniight in Paris” I’m going to have to say my first kindle purchase will be something by Ernest Hemingway.
Never been to London but Stephanie loves that city so she’s making me go someday. Sounds like an interesting book. I’d read it.
I’ve just ordered a Nexus 7 so looking forward to reading my first ebook, of which my list is too long to post here but Kiss the Sky is definitely going to be on it. I used to hate London but am slowly coming round to loving it… one step at a time, just as well as I’m 30 mins on the train from it http://tiggerbird.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/london-just-taster.html
That book sounds fun. “hippy is the closest word to happy” – I love that! I have a big list of mystery murder novels, art and travel books, and “how to generate income” books on my to-read list. I really should get a Kindle to keep all of these in one place :)
would looooove to read Kiss the Sky and Walking Disaster :) Londo, i love London, haven’t been there but im really fascinated with the country would looooove to visit there someday :)
I adore my Kindle and sink a lot of time into it when I find a book to hold my attention. Would definitely love to stock a new one up with the best fantasy and sci-fi to help me escape while I’m not on escape haha
Definitely interested in reading Kiss the Sky. I have been itching to sit down and read a good book lately. I have some time over the holidays so I’m definitely setting aside a couple of days to do nothing but read, drink coffee and chill out. I’m in the mood for a little espionage and adventure, The Last Man looks like a good novel to escape for a while. Looking forward to your new newsletter.
I just finished my “reading soon” list today. I’m so excited for “This is How You Lose Her” (Junot Diaz), “11/22/63” (Stephen King), “Drift” (Rachel Maddow), and “Born to Run” (Christopher McDougall). Since I’m planning my move back to London and am limited on space, you can see how a Paper White would come in handy! ;)
oh that book sounds really amazing!
I will definitely read it if I ever learn Englisch