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“Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die”

Numbersthe debut novel for teens (and up) by Rachel Ward is a book very much concerned with life and death, and the quote above by Tennyson, seems to me to capture its essence in a nutshell perfectly. Told in the first person, this is Jem’s story of the time spent with her friend Spider. Fifteen Read More

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“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”

… so said Truman Capote. Going to Venice is like stepping into a time-warp. On the surface, it’s ancient, romantic and beautiful, yet it is mysterious and there’s often a whiff of danger from its history as a great trading city. Much of the paraphenalia of modern living is hidden from the tourist’s view allowing Read More

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“Always winter and never Christmas” in this dystopia

I must admit to a liking for books featuring dystopian futures. It’s really interesting to see what different authors do with the world left after the breakdown of society. Surprisingly then, I’ve yet to read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but it has gone up the list. In Far North by Marcel Theroux – Siberia has been Read More

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My Easter kid-lit feast

I’ve decided that in the run-up to Easter, I shall concentrate on children’s literature and ya (young adult) novels. Like many readers, and notably dovegreyreader’s recent theme of revisiting her inner child, I get an awful lot out of reading proper children’s novels, the best of which are the equal of any adult book. However Read More

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Boring Postcards by Martin Parr is anything but!

Boring Postcards by Martin Parr This was a book I rescued from a local charity shop for just £1 and fell in love with instantly. Presented in their original size, beautifully printed onto heavyweight paper with plenty of white space surrounding them, these postcards make a brilliant topic for an art book from Phaidon, masters Read More

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Capsule reviews

Sorry – I’ve been extremely busy so far this week, so two capsule reviews for you of what I’ve read recently … Marching Powder by Rusty Young This follows the incarceration of a young black Englishman in Bolivia’s San Pedro prison for drug-trafficking. I would not have got this book if my book group hadn’t Read More

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Guilty Secrets #3

This is another entry in the occasional series where I own up to not having read something. Today I am owning up to not having read the literary quarterly ‘Magazine of New Writing’ Granta. Nothing wrong with that you may say – literary quarterlies are often an acquired taste. The shocking thing is though that Read More

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This great book will mess with your mind!

The Juggler by Sebastian Beaumont Last year one of my favourite new books, and really deserving of five stars, was Sebastian Beaumont’s debut novel, the marvellous Thirteen. Framed around the strange life of a depressed night-cabbie, it was multilayered, darkly surreal and edgy. It played tricks with your mind, (which with hindsight reminds me of Read More