Chime of City Clock pbk

Down and ‘borassic’ in 1930s London

At the Chime of a City Clock by D J Taylor Taylor’s novel is a cleverly portrayed slice of 30s noir. It’s set in the seedy backstreets of London in 1931. James Ross is an aspiring writer, but there’s no chance of making a living at it. He lives in London’s seedy Bayswater and his Read More

Death of Grass

But darling the virus won’t affect us, will it?

The Death of Grass by John Christopher The 1950s saw an explosion of science fiction and cultural dystopias. In 1951 there was John Wyndham’s ground-breaking novel Day of the Triffids, followed by Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 in 1953. Then there was Quatermass on the television. William Golding’s classic Lord of the Flies was also published Read More

6 Degrees June Shopgirl

A tale of two families at war with themselves

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan There is a much used quote of Leo Tolstoy’s from Anna Karenina: -“All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” This is particularly true to the two chronicled in this novel. Firstly we meet Meridia. Her mother Ravenna had nearly died Read More

6 Degrees June Shopgirl

Starting the Canongate Myths series …

A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong One of my reading resolutions for 2010 is to read the entire Canongate Myths series – re-tellings of age old stories by great authors. While I’m not intending to read them in strict publication order necessarily, (I managed to snaffle a copy of the latest addition Orphans Read More

6 Degrees June Shopgirl

The First Detective Novel

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins This was my bookgroup’s Christmas read – we like to pick something classic for festive reading. This was a popular choice, as several of us, me included, have read Kate Summerscale’s The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, the real-life Victorian murder case which inspired Collins. I started reading well before Christmas, Read More

6 Degrees June Shopgirl

gaskella on normblog

Today, I’ve been appearing over at normblog. Normblog is the blog of distinguished academician Norman Geras who is Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of Manchester, he’s husband to Adèle and father to Sophie Hannah. While Norm’s main concerns are politics and his many short posts every day make fascinating reading, every Friday Norm Read More

6 Degrees June Shopgirl

The LOTR Readalong

I’ve joined a readalong! I don’t usually do challenges or readalongs, as I have enough personal literary challenges in my reading resolutions without joining in any others. Also, like Simon at Savidgereads, I’m a big fan of what he calls “whimsical reading” and not over-tying myself into pre-planned reading. However, one of my reading resolutions Read More

6 Degrees June Shopgirl

Running away from country ways and city life – a family’s dilemma

The Good Parents by Joan London This accomplished novel starts off as the story of eighteen year old Maya de Jong, a girl from Western Australia who escapes the country to get a job in Melbourne. She works for Maynard Flynn, a slightly shady businessman, and it’s not long before they embark on an affair. Read More

6 Degrees June Shopgirl

Complicated emotions are explored in this big novel

The Blasphemer by Nigel Farndale This was the last novel I finished reading in 2009, and it was solid yet gripping, a satisfying read that explores big and complicated emotions – yet I’ve struggled in my thoughts about how to do it justice in a review. Where to start? Examining the cover gives a clue Read More

6 Degrees June Shopgirl

And the Winner is …

Names went on slips of paper, and my daughter picked one from the hat. The winner of my extra copy of the wonderful Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick is … Stacie. Thank you to all who entered. Congratulations Stacie – (I’ve sent you an email asking for your address.) 0