Monthly Archives: December 2014

What I read in 2014 in numbers, and goals for 2015…

Yes! It’s my annual stats post. Apologies if it’s not your thing, but analysing the numbers of what I read each year and comparing them to previous ones always flings up some interesting figures. I have kept a master spreadsheet since 2007. This year I read more books than in any year since I used to commute by train to… Read more »

Some great 'new to me' author finds of 2014…

This year I added a column to my master spreadsheet that I religiously maintain (more on that tomorrow!). The new column is for ‘new to me’ authors, and I wanted to share a few of my favourites with you; the links will go to my reviews. And top of the list is: – Pascal Garnier Sadly, Garnier is no longer… Read more »

… and those that disappointed

All in all, I’ve had a marvellous reading year, but there were a few disappointments along the way. Of course a book that was meh or a DNF for me, may be just the ticket for another reader, but I hope I’ve explained in the full posts on these titles what I didn’t like about the books. You are very welcome to… Read more »

My Books of the Year 2014 – Part Two – The Blog edit

Yesterday I shared my best reads of 2014 as reviewed for Shiny New Books. Today, I turn my attention to titles reviewed here. The links will return you to my full reviews: – Best Retro-Subversive Laugh-Out-Loud Book Discovering Scarfolk by Richard Littler So nearly my book of the year, Discovering Scarfolk is just hilarious! Stuck firmly in the 1970s world of public… Read more »

My Books of the Year 2014 – Part One – the Shiny Edit…

This year for the first time, I’ve split my best of list in two. Having read around 130 books this year, there are too many to feature in just one post and there is an obvious split – today’s first part will feature those books that I’ve reviewed over at Shiny New Books.  Forgive me for continually banging the drum, but I’m… Read more »

Bored on Boxing Day? Check out 'The Folio 80' …

If you’re like me, you’ll be sneaking off to have a look and see if anything is happening around the blogosphere today in the quieter moments!  So I’ve prepared a big linky post for you … I looked at the 2015 Folio Prize reading list of 80 nominated titles which was published in mid-December with initial dismay – I’ve only read two… Read more »

Three Slightly Shorter Reviews

I’ve got a series of posts lined up for the week in between Christmas and New Year with my hits, misses, finds and stats, so it’s time to catch up with my review pile backlog and some shorter reviews… The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield For anyone who loved the TV series Six Feet Under, this is what it’s like… Read more »

Charlie Mortdecai, volume two

After You With The Pistol by Kyril Bonfiglioli This is going to be a quick post, as you shouldn’t read the second novel in this delightfully Un-PC comedy crime series until you’ve read the first – they follow directly on from each other, but I’m not giving anything away with this quote from near the beginning… To this day I still do not know… Read more »

The boy, the stolen painting and the Russian…

Just occasionally, I believe I can read minds – well in a Derren Brownish way – you see by my title of this post, I hope to have manipulated you into thinking you were getting a(nother) post on The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt; some of you will be thinking but Annabel’s already reviewed that, hasn’t she? They would be correct… Read more »

A post Cold-War spy drama

A Spy’s Life by Henry Porter Many moons ago I read Henry Porter’s first novel Rememberance Day (2000) which was a fast-moving spy thriller and I enjoyed it very much indeed. Finally, years later, I’ve read his second – another standalone spy-thriller about an ex-spy who finds out that you can never truly leave your former life behind. British ex-spook Robert… Read more »

Reading Chekhov plays on the page for book group

About once a year, our book group feels adventurous and decides to read a play rather than a novel or non-fiction title.  Last year we read The Weir by Conor McPherson which was rather wonderful. This year we decided to plump for some Chekhov and as the plays are short to read we picked The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard,… Read more »

'After the first death, there is no other.' – or is there?

Advantages of the Older Man by Gwyneth Lewis When this short novel popped through the door, I couldn’t resist reading it straight away. Gwyneth Lewis is a poet, author and playwright and I’ve previously read her volume in Seren Book’s New Tales of the Mabinogion series. The Meat Tree is a retelling of the strange and ancient story of Blodeuwedd, the woman… Read more »

Christmas Shiny Linkiness …

Today, I’d like to direct you over to my reviews in the Shiny New Books Christmas Inbetweeny.  By the way, have you tried our Shiny Advent Quiz yet? Ideal as a post-prandial competition… But back to my reviews as these books are all too good to leave off mentioning here too: The Islanders by Pascal Garnier Translated for Gallic Books… Read more »

A Miscellany led by more marginalia …

Having dipped into this book often and read all the interviews I wanted to, this tome which I’d got from the charity shop was destined to go back there. Brief Encounters, subtitled ‘meetings with remarkable people’ is a collection of Gyles Brandreth’s interviews carried out for the Sunday Telegraph – he’s an engaging interviewer and good at getting his subjects… Read more »

Christmas at Shiny New Books

If you’re a regular visitor here, it can’t have escaped your notice that the link in my sidebar to Shiny New Books recently sprouted a holly sprig! Yes, I’m delighted to direct you to head over there to experience our Shiny New Books Issue 3 Inbetweeny. Over thirty new reviews and articles to give you reading (and gift) inspiration in the run up… Read more »

2014 in First Lines

I did this meme the previous two years too. A bit of fun for pre-Christmas. It originated at The Indextrious Reader. The “rules” are simple: Take the first line of each month’s first post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year. Links go back to the original posts. Here goes: January: ‘I was amazed… Read more »

From boys to grown men, a novel about love and friendship

These Things Happen by Richard Kramer A while ago, I was approached by a publicist from the USA who was trying to get some exposure for her client’s book in the UK/Europe – it’s a debut novel, but by an author with an awesome pedigree in the TV world. The book is These things happen by Richard Kramer, the award-winning producer… Read more »