SNB logo medium

The new look Shiny is here!

The new style Shiny New Books is back with new reviews for you We have a new site design and a new way of sharing our content with our readers. We’re changing from our former ‘magazine’ format, in which we published lots of new pages in big batches every couple of months (and giving you Read More

how-music-works

A Talking Head talks about music

How Music Works by David Byrne This book was the highlight of my splurge of non-fiction reading in December. David Byrne, founder and idiosyncratic front man of Talking Heads – one of the best punky/art-rock bands there has ever been, friend and collaborator with Brian Eno and Robert Fripp amongst others, could never be expected Read More

book_red_question_marks-svg

Year end review #3: Books of the Year

At the time of writing, I’ve read 140 titles this year – a record and there’ll be some analysis of them in my year end stats post (I know you look forward to those 😉 ). 2016 may be an annus horribilus on the outside, but inside I’ve had my head stuck in a book Read More

set-phasers

Two shorter non-fic reviews

I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately – including some absolute crackers that deserve a whole post to themselves – and I don’t mind saving them to write about for the new year. Meanwhile, today I have two shorter non-fic reviews for you… Set Phasers to Stun by Marcus Berkmann If you’ve read this Read More

brian-bilston

Poetry I wish I’d pledged to…

You Took the Last Bus Home by Brian Bilston I wish I’d spotted this book on Unbound before it was published – I’d definitely have pledged to it, having seen a few of Bilston’s poems on facebook. So, I bought it for myself anyway and what a treat it is for a rare reader of Read More

stolen-time

The Bookish Time Travel Tag!

I was tagged in this meme which is on it’s travels around the bookblogs by Kaggsy, but it was started by The Library Lizard. I couldn’t not give it a go… 1. What is your favourite historical setting for a book? If you did the stats on books I’ve read, it would probably come up Read More

good-guy

When the American Dream is found out…

The Good Guy by Susan Beale I absolutely adore tales set in 1960s American suburbia. There’s something about the more spacious US setting that grabs me in a way that those set in the cramped English equivalent don’t. They are too close to home for I am a product of the 1960s London suburbs; been there, Read More

Marie

Women in Translation month – a French novella

Marie by Madeleine Bourdouxhe Translated by Faith Evans This gorgeously produced novella with its stunning cover design is turning into one of the sleeper hits of the summer. The cover stood out in the bookshop and I had to buy it – luckily the story inside is just as high quality, (read Jacqui‘s review too). This was Read More

hughesm-countenancedivineuk

‘Till we have built Jerusalem, In Englands green & pleasant Land’

The Countenance Divine by Michael Hughes What a gorgeous cover, eh? Many among you will recognise the title of this novel as coming from Jerusalem – the celebrated hymn with words by Blake and music by Parry. In fact, Blake’s words are taken from the preface to a much longer work, Milton, a Poem. The short poem Read More

Rose Tainted

Two Mental Health Issue-led YA novels…

Today, I have two slightly shorter reviews for you of YA novels that explore similar themes: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall The pink cover (available in three shades actually, going from medium to full-on shocking pink) does this novel no favours at all. Concentrate instead on the gilded cage and the heart that doesn’t Read More

hotel-arcadia-2-190x300

From the archives: Hotels

When I go on holiday with my daughter these days, we usually try to find apartments as we disturb each other just too much sharing a room!  But, of course, many of my holidays in the past, and probably in future too, will involve staying in a hotel. Many a novel features characters staying in a Read More

Third Reich Bolano

Winning the war on holiday…

Third Reich by Roberto Bolano Wanting to join in Spanish Literature Month hosted by Stu and Richard, I grabbed the first book I came to on my shelves which turned out to be my second experience of reading Chilean author Roberto Bolano. My first was reading the confusing and slightly surreal Amulet which I talked Read More

the-threepenny-opera-poster-v2-2578x1128

“Contains filthy language and immoral behaviour”!

The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill The previous weekend, my daughter was away on a school art trip, so as an antidote to the referendum shock I looked for something to go and see at the theatre. The National Theatre’s new production of The Threepenny Opera was just the ticket – I found Read More

BBRW-2016-2

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Wrap up

This week went so fast! A huge thank you to everyone who joined in, I hope we’ve made some more Beryl converts. A big thank you to Stephen May who told us his rather brilliant anecdote about meeting Beryl too. I’ll add all your reviews to my Reading Beryl page above. Do let me know if I’ve missed you Read More

winter garden

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine

Winter Garden by Beryl Bainbridge (1980) Douglas Ashburner is going on holiday. He was surprised that his wife of twenty-six years was happy for him to disappear off to the Highlands for a fortnight’s fishing trip. Leaving her in bed, she waves him goodbye with a ‘queenly gesture of farewell’. Little does she know. His Read More

Beryl Writers & their work

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Some notes

I have a wrap-up post planned for tomorrow with links to all your brilliant reviews. Today, a few bits and pieces for you. First, I wanted to mention Huw Marsh’s 2014 book on Beryl in the Writers and their Work series from Northcote House publishers. Marsh is a professor at Queen Mary college, and this Read More

stephen-may-22819

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: A Guest Post by Stephen May

I have a real treat for you today in Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week. I was tweeting about the week, when I got a reply from a chap called Stephen May saying “I gave Beryl Bainbridge a piggy back once.” I looked him up, found out that he is the author of several novels – one Read More

Scan_20160610

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: An Early Work II

Another Part of the Wood by Beryl Bainbridge This is Beryl’s second published novel originally published in 1968, which she revised to be republished by Duckworth in 1979, preceding the rewritten version of her earlier novel, A Weekend With Claude. Another Part of the Wood is the story of a holiday from hell. Two families Read More

b-weekend1

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: An Early Novel I

A Weekend With Claude by Beryl Bainbridge This was Beryl’s second novel, but the first to be published in 1967. Her first, Harriet Said, was finally published in 1972. When A Weekend with Claude came out, Beryl was 24, however she radically revised and rewrote it in 1981. It has a dual time-frame with a framing Read More

EMH_14562249083

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Titanic

Every Man For Himself by Beryl Bainbridge My first review for BBRW 2016 is a re-read for me – but no ordinary re-read. The Folio Society has produced a gorgeous new edition of this novel which includes Beryl’s own paintings, the first time her text and paintings have been published together. Every Man For Himself was published in Read More

BBRW-2016-2

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week

It’s here!  The second Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week. I hope that many of you will join in reading and posting reviews – please leave a link in the comments below. I will add all the links into a wrap-up post and add to my Reading Beryl page too later. If you’re not sure what to read, my Reading Read More

wabisabi

Beryl and Summer Reading Challenges

I need to get a wiggle on, as my friend Suzanne would say – for soon the return of Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week will be upon me. I still have plenty of Beryl’s novels to read but I also plan to re-read a couple that I read many years ago, alongside fitting as many as I can Read More

spill simmer

One Man and His Dog

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume This novel, by Anglo-Irish author, Sara Baume, published last year and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, was our book group read this month. It’s fair to say that it was selected more by default than design – we’d all come to book group a little jaded with nothing Read More

SNB logo medium

Shiny Fiction Linkiness

Time to share my Fiction reviews from Issue 8 of Shiny New Books with you – four very different but enjoyable books, click through to read the full reviews, links within the text refer to my previous reviews: The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre Best known for his Verhoeven trilogy, Lemaitre has turned from contemporary fare to the end Read More

Beowulf

More from the pre-blog archives…

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Challenging books For a wet bank holiday Monday, I’m revisiting my archives of the capsule book reviews I wrote for myself pre-blog. (For more of these see here.) Having concentrated on 10/10 books in previous posts, I chose some books that I Read More

third-voice

Ronning and Stilton return

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost post archive. Third Voice by Cilla and Rolf Borjlind Translated by Hilary Parnfors I had the good fortune to give out copies of Spring Tide, of which Third Voice is the sequel, for World Book Night back in April. I enjoyed Spring Tide so Read More

versions-of-us

The One Version of Laura Barnett

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett Last night it was a balmy evening in Abingdon – perfect for an author event in the packed courtyard garden of Mostly Books during Independent Bookshop Week. Visiting was Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us, a Read More

orient

Small town secrets and lies…

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. Orient by Christopher Bollen This is a thriller about small town America writ large – and chunky, weighing in at 609 pages. However, it was totally gripping right from the start as each page peels away all the secrets and lies that foster Read More

Drowned world

Annabel’s Shelves: B is for …

Republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Ballard, J.G. – The Drowned World Being on a dystopian reading kick at the moment,  when I finally came to choose my ‘B’ book for my Annabel’s Shelves project, I picked another. There was one author and particular title that just leapt out at Read More

miniaturist

Book Group Report on a Dutch Drama…

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton You know how it is with book group choices – sometimes you can’t find a lot to talk about? Well, The Miniaturist ISN’T one of those books! While it’s fair to say that no-one in our group Read More