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Year End Review #6: My Books of the Year!

And finally, in my review of my reading year, it’s my Books of the Year. I saved this post for last, because since Christmas, I have just read a book which had to be added to this list. I tried to keep the list to a dozen, but it’s ended up as 14 – but Read More

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Year End Review #5: The Stats

This is the post I love writing each year.  I consult my trusty spreadsheet which now has over ten years of basic data on it, and pull out some comparative figures about my year of reading. These are accurate up to the book I finished reading yesterday! Books and Pages Read Very close to last Read More

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Year End Review #4: In Translation

I’ve also decided to give books I read in translation a separate mention this year, if only to try and spur me on to do better in 2018. I was shocked to find that I’ve only read fourteen novels in translation this year, just over 10% of my reading; last year I read 27, (of Read More

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Year End Review #3: Non-Fiction

I decided to give Non-fiction it’s own review this year because I’ve read 20 titles – the highest number I’ve read in a year, making up fractionally under 15% of books read. This is a trend I hope to continue, for I’m enjoying non-fiction more these days, but as you’ll see below – the areas Read More

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Year End Review #2: The Disappointments

There are always some books that just don’t live up to expectations.  Here are a few that didn’t gel with me for various reasons – plus my nominations for silliest thriller of the year. The DNFs I had a good year again with just 2 DNFs – books that I got a way into before Read More

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Year End Review #1: My best discoveries of 2017

  The best authors who were ‘New to me’ in 2017 Today in the first part of my review of the year, I’m going to highlight the new to me authors, several of whom have been writing for years, that have made themselves must-reads for the future. It’s inevitable, but my first discoveries are three Read More

Ecco Xmas Stories

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  The Ecco Book of Christmas Stories In the run up to Christmas, I’ve been reading short stories from this Canadian anthology, selected and introduced by Alberto Manguel. I thought I’d quote from some of them for Christmas Day, however,  be warned – most of these Christmas stories only have fleeting happy moments (which has Read More

Moskva Ice

Two excellent thrillers – Moskva and The Ice

Moskva by Jack Grimwood You may know Grimwood through his literary novel The Last Banquet written as John Grimwood, or his fantasy/crime novels written as Jon Courtenay Grimwood. I’ve not read any of them, although I do own The Last Banquet, which I remember was very well received. It’s certainly going up my pile, having Read More

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Not just any old day at work…

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan I read one of Stewart O’Nan’s early novels, The Speed Queen, when it came out in paperback in the late 1990s. I remember enjoying it, but I didn’t come across him again until I picked this novel up somewhere – I’m going to have to read more Read More

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2017 in First Lines

This is a fun meme, giving a snapshot of one’s reading through the year – not necessarily an accurate sample, but fun. The title links will take you to my reviews. January:  Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis ‘They made a silly mistake, though,’ the Professor of History said, and his smile, as Dixon watched, gradually Read More

Belle Sauvage

Back into Lyra’s world…

The Book of Dust, Volume 1 – La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman My, it was good to get back into Lyra’s world. That familiar, yet unfamiliar universe – where humans have an animal counterpart, their daemons; the setting is sort of contemporary, yet steampunky, with landmarks we know set alongside ones that could be Read More

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The Happy Reader is one of Penguin’s best kept secrets…

The Happy Reader A subscription to this unique magazine would make an ideal Christmas present for the cash-strapped. Published twice a year, it’ll set you back just £8 for two years worth of issues to send to UK addresses, a bit more beyond.  The Happy Reader is hardbacked size, around 70 pages, and each issue comes Read More

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The Young Writer of the Year Ceremony

So it was back down to London yesterday evening for the ceremony of the Sunday Times PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. The ceremony was held in the wonderful ‘Red Room’ of the London Library at St James Square near Piccadilly and all those Christmassy lights. The room gradually filled with all those involved Read More

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Book Group Report: “Windows”

The High Window by Raymond Chandler Our key-word for this month’s book choice was ‘Window(s)’.  The other choices pitched into the hat were:  High Windows by Philip Larkin, House without windows by Nadia Hashimi and Microserfs by Douglas Coupland, but Raymond Chandler won out – a great choice for a busy period of the year. The Read More

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Some recent reads in short…

It’s catch-up time again… Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre  While I loved Lemaitre’s Verhoeven trilogy and last year’s superbly creepy Blood Wedding, Three Days and a Life was a slight disappointment. It’s still an excellent suspense novel, but lacks the elements of surprise and immediacy that his others have shown.  It has Read More