Monthly Archives: May 2009

A beautiful and quirky journey

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen This book is a thing of beauty. It stands out being an oversized hardback and invites you to pick it up and look inside … whereupon you’ll see all the intricate illustrations, sidebars and marginalia. Then reading the blurb, you’ll find out that it is the story of a 12 year… Read more »


AnnaBookBel   May 28, 2009   No Comments on Incoming

There are so many good books arriving at the moment, here’s a few I’m particularly looking forward to reading… The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters – the eagerly awaited ghost story that we’re all looking forward to reading. It’s a classic country house tale set shortly after the end of WWII. Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig – the sixth… Read more »

This novel snaps, crackles and pops with electricity

The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt This Orange prize short-listed novel has had some mixed reviews. To be honest, it’s a bit of a mixture itself, refusing to be easily genrified being: part fictionalised biography of mad physicist Nikola Tesla, part love story, part time-travel SF/fantasy, and part mainstream novel set in New York during WWII. Although it’s… Read more »

What did mother do in the war?

The Spy Game by Georgina Harding The direct gaze of the woman sipping a cup of tea on the dustjacket of the UK hardback really caught my eye – a spendid cover and evocative title too. Reading the blurb, I fully expected an espionage story straight out of John Le Carre, but this thoughtful and slow-burning novel is something completely… Read more »

An evening with Marina Fiorato

Last night, we were treated to an Italian evening at Mostly Books in Abingdon to celebrate the publication of Marina Fiorato’s second novel which I blogged about here, her first novel having been a hit with us. We had antipasti, biscotti, amaretti, and plenty of Amaretto to wash it all down. I’ve only had Amaretto in puddings before – drinking… Read more »

When friendship is put to the test …

The Spare Room by Helen Garner Helen’s old friend Nicola is coming to stay with her for three weeks while she undergoes an alternative cancer treatment – everything is ready for her. When Nicola arrives, it’s immediately clear that she’s in a really bad state and that even though she won’t admit it, she hasn’t that long to live. Helen… Read more »

What do you do when love is the only thing left?

The Road by Cormac McCarthy The Road by Cormac McCarthy is the third novel I’ve read this year that is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The others were Far North by Marcel Theroux (reviewed here) and Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (reviewed here).  In the post-nuke timeline, The Road is set in the years immediately after the big one and… Read more »

Pocket Money

Most bloggers do it because they have something to say, they want to share their opinions and hear yours. I’ve found that the blogosphere is a fantastic way of making virtual friends.It is nice to get a bit of pocket money on the side though, so most of us are affiliated to one or more internet emporia. If you click… Read more »

From bitter almonds comes sweet romance …

Madonna of the Almonds by Marina Fiorato I was delighted to meet Marina a couple of months ago as I had so enjoyed her debut novel, The Glassblower of Murano, which I had blogged about last autumn here. She’s a real character! – half-Italian with a mass of red Titian hair, a northern accent and sense of humour to match…. Read more »

A difficult and challenging read – stay with it to be rewarded!

Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban Let’s face it, my book group is probably thinking (to use Sir Alan’s phrase from this week’s Apprentice) there must be “a village looking for an idiot”, for I chose this book as our monthly read. No disrespect to them intended for, although we are a quite literary lot, this book was far, far away… Read more »