The lost post archive: The Dark Tower

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Stephen King’s Magnum Opus – The Dark Tower I read the seven volumes, comprising over 4000 pages, of King’s Dark Tower epic fantasy over a period of four years. All the posts were ‘lost’ in my domain transfer. I’ve restored them into their original places in the time-line, linked below. It’s been a couple of years since I finished reading… Read more »

The lost post archive: The World of Ephemera

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Among all my recent ‘lost posts’ (more on that here), are some older series which I’d like to add back into the blog. I plan to add each series of posts back into their original places in the timeline with comments disabled, but with a live linking post here. The first lot I’m republishlng are those on Ephemera, including a series called The World of… Read more »

Love among the penguins – Q&A with Midge Raymond

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My Last Continent by Midge Raymond Today, I’m delighted to be a stop on Midge Raymond‘s blog tour for her fabulous novel My Last Continent from Text Publishing, which is an adventure romance set in Antarctica. Deb and Keller meet as researchers for a few weeks each year to study the penguins while working for an educational cruise company. Theirs is… Read more »

Keeping up Appearances

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A Quiet Life by Natasha Walter This is the first novel by Walter, who has previously been known for her non-fiction including her book on feminism Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism (2011). Now she has turned to fiction, and in A Quiet Life, she has based the bare outlines of her story on the life of Melinda Marling, wife of… Read more »

Paris in July

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Paris in July is an annual event hosted by Tamara at Thyme for Tea – it’s now in its seventh year. Given recent awful events in France, reading a French novel seemed a good way to show support. No and Me by Delphine de Vigan Translated by George Miller When first published in English translation in 2010, No and Me was a… Read more »

One for Jack Reacher fans…

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Solomon Creed by Simon Toyne Former TV executive, Toyne, is the author of the Sancti trilogy of apocalyptic conspiracy thrillers which, now I’ve read his new book, I’m keen to explore – they sound so much better than Dan Brown. For me, a good thriller is the perfect palate cleanser between more literary fare. The number of formulaic copycat thrillers that grace… Read more »

Winning the war on holiday…

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Third Reich by Roberto Bolano Wanting to join in Spanish Literature Month hosted by Stu and Richard, I grabbed the first book I came to on my shelves which turned out to be my second experience of reading Chilean author Roberto Bolano. My first was reading the confusing and slightly surreal Amulet which I talked about here, my second would… Read more »

Book Group Report: Travel

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A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby In an effort to get more variety into our reading, we’ve started a subject cycle. We pick a topic to research, then next month everyone comes with a suggestion or two on that subject and we whittle them down to a handful to draw a title from to read and… Read more »

The best way to appreciate poetry?

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Faber New Poets 13 – Elaine Beckett In the bookshop the other day, I was browsing the collection of poetry cards with someone in mind to buy one for, when the latest additions to the Faber New Poets range caught my eye. These pamphlets are funded by the Arts Council to “support emerging talents” and they’re up to no 16… Read more »

“Contains filthy language and immoral behaviour”!

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The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill The previous weekend, my daughter was away on a school art trip, so as an antidote to the referendum shock I looked for something to go and see at the theatre. The National Theatre’s new production of The Threepenny Opera was just the ticket – I found an odd seat at the… Read more »

High School Horror in the late 1980s

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My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix Grady Hendrix’s novel Horrorstör (reviewed here) was a triumph of style – a straight-forward but enjoyable horror story presented as a parody of an IKEA catalogue. This was such a brilliant conceit, it made my list of books of the year in 2014 for its amazing design. What would he do next? * *… Read more »

My own little bit of the World of Moose…

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One of the books I’ve recently pledged to on Unbound is I Wonder What I’m Thinking About? by cartoonist and illustrator Moose Allain.  Visit his own website The World of Moose here, his prints are affordable and lovely.) All the Unbound pledgers were entered for a draw to win a piece of original Moose art – and I won!!! The picture arrived… Read more »

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Wrap up

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This week went so fast! A huge thank you to everyone who joined in, I hope we’ve made some more Beryl converts. A big thank you to Stephen May who told us his rather brilliant anecdote about meeting Beryl too. I’ll add all your reviews to my Reading Beryl page above. Do let me know if I’ve missed you off the list below. Reviews:… Read more »

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine

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Winter Garden by Beryl Bainbridge (1980) Douglas Ashburner is going on holiday. He was surprised that his wife of twenty-six years was happy for him to disappear off to the Highlands for a fortnight’s fishing trip. Leaving her in bed, she waves him goodbye with a ‘queenly gesture of farewell’. Little does she know. His real plans are to fly… Read more »

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Some notes

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I have a wrap-up post planned for tomorrow with links to all your brilliant reviews. Today, a few bits and pieces for you. First, I wanted to mention Huw Marsh’s 2014 book on Beryl in the Writers and their Work series from Northcote House publishers. Marsh is a professor at Queen Mary college, and this is the only easily available… Read more »

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: A Guest Post by Stephen May

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I have a real treat for you today in Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week. I was tweeting about the week, when I got a reply from a chap called Stephen May saying “I gave Beryl Bainbridge a piggy back once.” I looked him up, found out that he is the author of several novels – one of which, Wake Up Happy… Read more »

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: An Early Work II

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Another Part of the Wood by Beryl Bainbridge This is Beryl’s second published novel originally published in 1968, which she revised to be republished by Duckworth in 1979, preceding the rewritten version of her earlier novel, A Weekend With Claude. Another Part of the Wood is the story of a holiday from hell. Two families meet up for a cheap… Read more »

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: An Early Novel I

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A Weekend With Claude by Beryl Bainbridge This was Beryl’s second novel, but the first to be published in 1967. Her first, Harriet Said, was finally published in 1972. When A Weekend with Claude came out, Beryl was 24, however she radically revised and rewrote it in 1981. It has a dual time-frame with a framing story starting in the book’s… Read more »