Monthly Archives: March 2016

A banned book for Reading Ireland

The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien I’ve been meaning to read more by O’Brien ever since I inherited my Mum’s old Penguins. She was a fan of O’Brien and I really enjoyed her Earthy novel August is a Wicked Month. I had thought to start the Country Girls trilogy sooner but found I was missing the first volume – but a cheap new… Read more »

An Atwoodian YA tale…

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill It’s rare that a cover quote on a book cover sums up a novel so completely, but the one from Vagenda on one of the paperback editions of Louise O’Neill’s debut novel is near-perfect: ‘Mean Girls meets The Handmaid’s Tale’ But of course I can’t leave it there! The moment I read O’Neill’s second novel, Asking For… Read more »

A novel that refuses to settle down…

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman Thirty-one year old Tooly Zylberberg is trying to read a book in the loss-making second-hand bookshop that she had bought in a village known as World’s End, just over the Welsh border. Their business plan had been to subsist on spillover custom from the annual literary festival in nearby Hay-on-Wye, and the… Read more »

The Trees: An Evening with Ali Shaw

Earlier this week, Mostly Books in Abingdon was privileged to be the first audience for Ali Shaw to talk solo about his wonderful new novel The Trees (which I reviewed for Shiny New Books here). The Trees is Ali’s third novel, and this was his third visit to Abingdon, (see also my posts about his visits for The Man Who Rained, and The Girl With Glass Feet). The evening… Read more »

The end of California dreaming?

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins I adore speculative fiction. Show me a post-disaster scenario or near future alternative society and I’m all over it, as they say. Given the puffs on the cover for the author’s first book of short stories, Battleborn, and knowing only that this novel is set in a near-future California that is being reclaimed by… Read more »

A Florentine treat

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant I used to have all four of Sarah Dunant’s Italian Renaissance novels on my shelves. I liked the idea of them, as I love Italy, its art and architecture and so on but, I’m not a big reader of historical fiction, so they got forgotten and late last year I gave them away… Read more »

Is it possible to give Proust the graphic novel treatment?

In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust – A Graphic Novel Adaptation and Drawings by Stéphane Heuet Translated by Arthur Goldhammer I’ve not got the patience or time to read Proust’s masterpiece, but I’ve always wondered what it was like. When I spotted that French into English publishers Gallic books were bringing out a new English translation… Read more »