Just the job for this young lady…

MI5 and Me – A Coronet Among the Spooks by Charlotte Bingham Back in 1963, the young Charlotte Bingham published a book of humorous memoir called Coronet Among the Weeds. The daughter of the 7th Baron, Clanmorris, it told of Bingham’s experience of ‘The Season’ as a debutante among the chinless wonders, or weeds, as Read More

Wales Readathon #2

The Wales Readathon, aka Dewithon is being hosted by Paula at Book Jotter. It’s running throughout March. Here is what I thought about my second Welsh read this month: New Stories from the Mabinogion: The Tip of My Tongue by Trezza Azzopardi Azzopardi was born in Cardiff to Welsh/Maltese parents. Her first novel The Hiding Place Read More

Wellcome Book Prize 2019: Shadow Panel Shortlist

Since the longlist for the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize was announced, our shadow panel chaired by Rebecca has been reading as many of the books as we could get our hands on. Now we’ve come up with our own shortlist. Drumroll please… In alphabetical order they are: Amateur: A true story about what makes a Read More

Meet the Karenins

Monsieur Ka by Vesna Goldsworthy Back in 2016 I really enjoyed reading Vesna Goldsworthy’s first novel, Gorsky, which updated The Great Gatsby to contemporary Chelsea, aka Chelski due to the influx of Russians. Gatsby became Gorsky and Nick became Nikola – a Serbian bookseller. It was brilliantly done, delivering the doomed romance with great wit Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them… #2

I’ve consulted my master spreadsheet again to bring you some more of my capsule reviews from my pre-blog years. Again, these are all from 2006 or before… Bringing Out the Dead by Joe Connelly This autobiographical novel is relentless, I read it in two sessions, only ending the first as I was completely drained. A Read More

Remembering ‘Mr Preview’

No Minor Chords: My Days in Hollywood by André Previn When André Previn died just a month short of his 90th birthday a couple of weeks ago, the world of music lost one of its real nice guys. I immediately dug out my copy of his Hollywood memoir which was published back in 1991 to Read More

Wales Readathon #1

The Wales Readathon, aka Dewithon is being hosted by Paula at Book Jotter. It’s running throughout March. Having plenty of books by Welsh authors on my shelves it’s a great opportunity to help the TBR piles, if only a little! I hope to read at least two titles, the first of which is below: The Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The Arsonist

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper Sadly, this book isn’t out in the Read More

Wellcome Reading #3 – Turing

Murmur by Will Eaves Having read the two entries on the Wellcome Book Prize longlist that I was assigned to (see here and here), I looked to the library to find another and managed to get my hands on Oxfordshire Libraries’ only copy of Murmur. Let me say straight away, given that Alan Turing recently Read More

Shiny linkiness

Graceland by Bethan Roberts It takes courage to fictionalise the life of real people, and to take on someone as famous as Elvis is a challenge. Roberts succeeds in examining the relationship between Elvis and his mother in this fabulous novel, that brings both the man and Gladys to life. Loved it! Read my full Read More

Wellcome Reading 2019 #2 Trauma

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein When I picked this book to read from the Wellcome Book Prize longlist for 2019, I had no idea what an amazing person we would meet within its pages. I just knew that it was the story of a woman who runs a trauma cleaning business in Australia, where Read More

Burne-Jones at Tate Britain

A quick trip to London yesterday to catch the last week of the Edward Burne-Jones exhibition at Tate Britain. (It finishes on 24th – so go now!) Beyond the best-known paintings such as The Golden Stairs and Laus Veneris (above), there was much to take in and admire in the seven rooms of paintings. Here’s a Read More

Wellcome reading 2019 #1 – Polio

Polio: The Odyssey of Eradication by Thomas Abraham In 1988, the World Health Organisation (WHO) together with UNICEF and Rotary International launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The aim was to rid the world of the polio virus by 2000. Little did they know that it would take billions of dollars and thirty years Read More

Reading between the lines?

Transcription by Kate Atkinson I really must not wait so long to write my reviews. This was the first book I read in 2019! The good thing is it was such a good book, unlike other lesser fare, I haven’t forgotten what it was all about quite yet. However so many of my blog friends Read More

A doctor’s life as a graphic novel

The Lady Doctor by Ian Williams I just couldn’t resist this graphic novel about Dr Lois Pritchard, a GP who splits her work between a health centre and the local genitourinary medicine clinic in Wales. It’s actually a follow-up to Williams’s debut The Bad Doctor, which Myriad published in 2014. The Bad Doctor followed one Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them…

I’ve kept a master spreadsheet of what I’ve read every year since 2006, two years before I started blogging. There are entries on it from 2004 too, but not a full reading record. While I’ve only kept good stats since around 2010, I did used to write capsule reviews of those pre-blog reads on the Read More

Shiny Linkiness

Just popping in quickly to highlight my latest review at Shiny New Books. Slow Motion Ghosts by Jeff Noon Sometimes a novel just grabs you and won’t let go – Slow Motion Ghosts was one of those books! Jeff Noon is more famed for his alternative Manchester, weird slightly SF novels, but now he has Read More

‘La Serenissima’ a city of masks…

The Hourglass by Liz Heron People pass by on the fondamenta, a canal’s breadth away, and hear the strains of Mozart through the open window. An old recording, its tempo fast, the trio of singers still clear, the insistence on women’s faithlessness unmistakable behind the music’s effervescence. È la fede delle femmineCome l’araba fenice… A Read More

Two new crime thrillers – Harper and Spain

Today I have a review and a Shiny link for you – both thrillers published today. The Lost Man by Jane Harper Let me get the Shiny link out of the way first. The Lost Man is Harper’s third crime thriller, set in the Australian outback. Whereas her first two featured Aaron Falk, a cop Read More

Not one, but two longlists full of interesting books…

The International Dylan Thomas Prize Announced last week, the longlist for the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize is full of interesting writing – and I’ve read two of them! This prize is awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, named for the Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Fight Club

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik Not a book I’ve read, but I Read More

The Name of the Rose – chunk the third…

Well, that’s that! I finished the NotR yesterday, just in time for this post to make my original aim to read and write about it through January. Do check out my posts on the first and middle thirds of the book here and here. The final part, days five to seven, begins with Eco giving Read More

Two from the Library… yes, you did read that correctly!

I finally got a new library card last month, after not having borrowed from there since my daughter was a toddler when we used to visit weekly to stock up on picture books. I do need to spend less, to buy fewer books, but not zero – I couldn’t possibly do that! So I’m hoping Read More

Name of the Rose readalong – chunk the second

After several days of a headachy flu bug and phlegm and not being able to concentrate on any taxing reading, I was well enough earlier this week to get back on course with The Name of the Rose and am now into the final third of the book. I’ve now almost completely lost my voice, Read More

Wellcome Book Prize 10th Anniversary Blog Tour

I was delighted to be asked to take part in this blog tour, running ahead of the announcement of the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize longlist in February. This most unique of literary awards which “rewards exceptional works of literature that illuminate the many ways that health, medicine and illness touch our lives,” is ten years Read More

Review Catch-up #4 from 2018

This really is the last pair of books I read in the tail end of 2018 – from here-on in it’ll be 2019 reading all the way! But first two book group choices: Firstly the book we read over Christmas and discussed last week, and then February’s book – I’m writing about it now so Read More

Shakespeare at the Beach

Oh, I Do Like to Be… by Marie Phillips I adored Marie Phillips’ debut novel, Gods Behaving Badly, which I read in 2008 pre-blog, but did write a few lines on my trusty spreadsheet… “What happens if you’re an ancient Greek god or goddess, but nobody believes in you any more? This delightfully fun and Read More