Monthly Archives: July 2009

Griff in Abingdon – Tickets on sale now!

I’m doing my bit to help publicise a local event on behalf of Mostly Books, as it all came together at rather short notice. On Thursday August 13th, at 7.30pm in the Guildhall, we’re delighted to welcome Griff Rhys Jones – comedian, author, presenter, sailor and heritage champion. Griff’s latest TV series started on the BBC last Sunday, and it… Read more »

Hard to grasp the plot in this confused novel

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi A few years ago, Helen Oyeyemi was hailed as one of the future stars of UK contemporary literature, having written her first novel The Icarus Girl to great acclaim whilst studying for her A-levels. Now she’s in her twenties and this is her third … There’s a lot going on in this book…. Read more »

Book Two of the Chaos Walking Trilogy

The Ask & the Answer by Patrick Ness Warning: If you haven’t read the first book in this trilogy The Knife of Never Letting Go, (reviewed here) – don’t read this, rush out and get a copy Book One, then read the second. Book two starts immediately where the first left off; teenagers Todd and Viola are pitched into a… Read more »

A novel of archaeology, food, pandemics and ghosts

Cold Earth by Sarah Moss This novel, published by Granta, is lovely to behold. What you can’t see are the beautiful turquoise blue page edges, and the glossy white fibrils of grassy roots insinuating their way through the bones of the skeleton curled up underneath the title. Luckily I enjoyed reading the book as much as I liked looking at… Read more »

Moviewatch – Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince

Yesterday was our first available day to go and see the new Harry Potter film. I checked out the times, and asked my daughter “Shall we go for the quarter past one showing, or go earlier?” … So there we were at the cinema for the 10am showing along with just ten other people in the biggest screen at Didcot…. Read more »

Art for art’s sake?

The Bellini Madonna by Elizabeth Lowry There have been many novels about the search for missing art masterpieces, but few so convoluted as this. It’s written totally in the first person as a confession by Thomas Lynch, a randy old professor of art history who is an expert on the renaissance masters, Bellini in particular. Disgraced from his college, he… Read more »

In praise of secondhand bookshops

I’ve just come back from a week in Northumbria. It is a lovely county, full of outstanding castles, glorious beaches, fantastic fish, wonderful gardens, pretty villages, rolling hills and beautiful countryside. It wasn’t overcrowded either, and you are within easy driving distance of both Newcastle and Edinburgh for rainy day entertainment. In Northumbria, the town of Alnwick is also home… Read more »

In life, everything counts …

Addition by Toni Jordan This is another very unconventional love story, (see also Something Beginning With a few posts down). Grace has a form of OCD that makes her count everything and ritualise her life in numbers. This makes doing anything out of the ordinary worrying, and Grace is no longer able to work as a teacher. She lives on… Read more »

We’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather ?…

Turbulence by Giles Foden Do you remember the old poem ? Whether the weather be mild or whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot, We’ll weather the weather whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not. This definitely wasn’t the case in the planning for the D-Day landings, for the… Read more »

A young woman’s A to Z

Something Beginning With by Sarah Salway At first glance you might write this book off as chicklit with a gimmick – for it is written in an A to Z format with entries under key words and phrases. The longest entries are no more than a couple of pages, and they’re all cross-referenced with an index at the back too…. Read more »

Another brilliant dystopia in this coming of age novel

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness This novel for early teens+ was short-listed for the 2009 Carnegie Medal, and won the vote of the boys shadowing the award at the school where I work. I have to say it was a fantastic read for adults too, being multi-layered and thought-provoking – putting a new spin on the… Read more »