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The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

I have my Secret Santa to thank for reading this book – it was unputdownable, a wonderful choice – thank you! The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman is a quirky, modern fairy tale taking its inspiration from the Brothers Grimm. A young girl wishes her mother dead, and then when it happens, she lets it Read More

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The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor

This book is definitely one of those love it or loathe it novels. You’ll either love it – for the clever plotting and gradual reveal of what has happened to its family, or loathe it primarily because many chapters are written in eight year old Finn’s phonetic speaking voice, where things like changing an ‘a’ Read More

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Hearts and Minds by Rosy Thornton

The British campus novel is generally a cosy thing (unless there’s a murder involved). Often they can be rather claustrophobic too, peopled with backbiting dons, scheming students, and inscrutable college servants, all of which give opportunities for creating high comedy – naturally I’m thinking David Lodge here, or the funniest of all, Porterhouse Blue by Read More

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Mostly Booklovers

One of the things I’ve been involved with over the past few months is meeting with the owners and a group of other customers of Mostly Books , which is my home from home in Abingdon, to help set up a Literary Society for Abingdon called ‘Mostly Booklovers’. Mostly Booklovers is now officially launched and Read More

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Love In A Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

Set between the wars, this novel follows the lives and loves of an impossibly rich and aristocratic family – the Montdores, seen through the eyes of Fanny, a childhood friend of their daughter Polly. Being from a less well-to-do family, but in demand by the Montdores as a sensible friend, Fanny is ideally placed to Read More

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Short Takes

I’d like to introduce you to a couple of books that I particularly enjoyed earlier this year before I started my blog … Gold by Dan Rhodes. This is a gently humorous novel about Miyuki and her annual trip to the same Welsh seaside village out of season, where she walks, reads, and drinks beer Read More

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The Pets by Bragi Olafsson

Last year I read some Halldor Laxness, and found the Icelandic humour distinctly hard to get. This contemporary novel by Bragi Olafsson (formerly in the Sugarcubes with Björk) was much less oblique, but despite its relative brevity took some time to get going. When it did though, it became the stuff of pure farce which Read More