object-beauty (1)

Art is a commodity not for looking at!

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin Steve Martin’s latest novel is not funny. He plays it straight in An Object of Beauty as the world chronicled within is so full of self-parody that there’s little need to add extra layers of satire to achieve a certain sort of vicious comedy. Set in New York Read More

Beatlebone

Reading Resolutions 2010 – How did I do?

Back in January, as always, I made some reading resolutions.  There were just four of them, so how did I do this year? 1. As always, try and reduce the TBR mountains – goes without saying really. That also means acquiring less books – but I’m not going to impose any out and out purchasing Read More

I am Scrooge

Bah Humbug!

I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas by Adam Roberts Given that Yellow Blue Tibia by Roberts was both the maddest and best SF book I read this year, I had high hopes of this zombie take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as a bit of fun this festive season.  Would it live up to the fun I had Read More

following-detectives

Where ‘they beat him up until the teardrops start’ …

Following the Detectives: Real Locations in Crime Fiction edited by Maxim Jakubowski Taking twenty key locations in crime novels and investigating what the areas mean to the authors and their detectives, this book contains a mine of useful information. From Inspector Morse’s Oxford to Wallander’s southern Sweden, from Brunetti’s Venice to Marlowe’s LA – each of Read More

Dr J and Mr H

What could have possessed Dr Jekyll?

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R L Stevenson When I received an email from the publicist for this new series of classic novels in quality pocket hardback format from Whites books, Jekyll and Hyde was the one that leapt out of the list as I’d never read it before. The Read More

Beatlebone

An evening with Toby Mundy

My local indie bookshop Mostly Books had an extra member of staff yesterday. Courtesy of an initiative by the Independent Alliance – a (now defunct) collective of ten independent UK publishers founded by Faber, Toby Mundy the CEO of Atlantic Books worked in the shop during the afternoon, and stayed on to give a talk about independent publishing in the evening. Read More

Woodrell pair

An author I’ll always look out for …

Daniel Woodrell …is barely known in this country, but has started to increase his profile a little with the release of a highly acclaimed film (it won at Sundance) made of his 2006 novel Winter’s Bone.  He’s actually written eight novels, all of them set in the area he knows best – the Missouri Ozarks – Read More

peirene-3

Peirene #3 – Train of thought …

Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius translated by Jamie Bulloch This is the third title from Peirene Press who launched this year publishing thought-provoking short novels of contemporary European literature in luxury paperback editions. Read my thoughts about their first two books here. Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman, appears rather Read More

meat-tree

New Stories from the Mabinogion #4

The Meat Tree by Gwyneth Lewis. The Meat Tree is the fourth in the series of contemporary retellings of stories from the medieval Welsh story cycle The Mabinogion commissioned and published by Seren Books.  See my reviews of the other titles in the series here and here. Gwyneth Lewis is an interesting author: firstly a poet, she has written a book-length poem about Read More