Six degrees tipping

Six Degrees of Separation: The Tipping Point

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps.Our starting book this month is the non-Fiction bestseller… The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell This book, first published in 2000, (which I reviewed here in 2009) was one of Read More

Chevalier Magnan

Two novels with a French connection – Chevalier & Magnan

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier This was our Book Group’s choice for this month – ‘Blue’ being the key word we’d picked it by.  This was Chevalier’s first novel, published in 1997, and it is different to all of her others by having a dual timeline, following the stories of two women, centuries apart. Read More

Italian Lit Month

An amoral anti-hero for Italian Lit Month

  The Goodbye Kiss by Massimo Carlotto Translated by Lawrence Venuti There’s dark, and then there’s dark! You know what I mean, we’re talking the super-noir of Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me or Simenon’s Dirty Snow here…  Lean and mean novels with an amoral anti-hero at their hearts. This is the case for the protagonist Read More

BotY1

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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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 Literary Fireworks…

There are many, many mentions of fireworks in novels – but mostly in the metaphorical sense, so I went searching for some mentions of the real thing to share: “Borkin: Ladies and gentlemen, why are you so glum? Sitting there like a jury after it’s been sworn in! … Let’s think up something. What would Read More

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It’s the 1968 Club – #2

Chocky by John Wyndham It’s been too long since I read or re-read any John Wyndham novels. I’m sure I have read Chocky before, but to be honest it must have been decades ago and I couldn’t remember anything that wasn’t in the blurb, so I started afresh with this short novel in its latest Read More

6 degrees wild swans

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Wild Swans

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, the Six Degrees of Separation meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. This month’s starting point is Jung Chang’s wonderful memoir of three generations of women in her family, Wild Swans. I remember loving this when it first Read More

6 degress hanging rock

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, the Six Degrees of Separation meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay This month’s starting point is a book I’ve not read. I haven’t seen Peter Weir’s acclaimed film either.  I struggled to Read More

Lie of the Land

Amanda Craig at Shiny…

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig I’ve long been a fan of Amanda Craig, always loving her book reviews in the Times/Sunday Times and then her novels – I still have a couple to catch up on on my shelves which will be a pleasure. Meanwhile I recently read and reviewed her latest, Read More

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Short Takes from Brexitland to High School…

As so often happens these days, I’m very behind with my reviewing – so given that I aim to write something about every book I read, here are some short takes on recent reads. Alice in Brexitland by Leavis Carroll This had me in giggles intermittently, and recognising the cleverness in other parts at preserving Read More

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10 Random Books meme

Simon has resurrected an old meme – in which you pick 10 random books from your library and use them to tell readers about yourself. Here are Simon’s original rules: 1.) Go to your bookshelves… 2.) Close your eyes. If you’re feeling really committed, blindfold yourself. 3.) Select ten books at random. Use more than Read More

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Book Group Report: Medicine

Our topic for discussion this month was medicine. Two months ago, when we were choosing which medical book to read, the nominations were varied – from real surgeons and psychiatrists or psychologists to fictional surgeons and psychiatrists or psychologists… Saturday – Ian McEwan Outbreak by Robin Cook    Not a red hair in sight – Read More

Room film tie-in

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Room

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, this meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six steps. This month’s starting point is: Room by Emma Donaghue This is a book that I haven’t read (nor have a particular desire to read). However, if the movie adaptation came on Read More

dragon-tattoo

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, this meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six steps. (Here’s my one for last month starting at Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.) This month the starting book is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. 1. The Girl with the Read More

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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

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Year end review #1: Best Discoveries

Today in the first part of my review of the year, I’m going to highlight the new to me authors that have made themselves must-reads for the future. My first is a Frenchman. In fact, I discovered several new Frenchmen in 2016, including Frédéric Dard and Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, and wonderful as they both are from Read More

old-buildings

Shiny Linkiness

I can promise more reviews before Christmas, but in the mean time, here are some more links to my reviews in the latest issue of Shiny New Books… Old Buildings in North Texas by Jen Waldo This compact novel had me chortling from the first page. Olivia is a recovering from a heart attack and Read More

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Weekend Bookishness

It’s been a busy month – and some, so I’m glad that school breaks up at the end of next week (although I have two or three more days work to do on the school magazine after that). However, part of that busy-ness has been the Christmas edition of Shiny New Books. In The Eds Read More

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The #1947Club

The third week of reading from a particular year with hosts Simon and Karen. After 1924 and 1938, we’ve reached 1947. Checking my master spreadsheet, I have only previously read one book published in this year.That was Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada – which I blogged about at my old blog here. Back to what to Read More

my-life-in-design

What a Life in Design…

My Life in Design – Sir Terence Conran Terence Conran is 84 years young and still working. He’s one of the UK’s most iconic designers – a quote on the back cover of this book declares him: “Britain’s Taste-Maker in Chief”   Mick Brown, Daily Telegraph. With the upcoming reopening of London’s Design Museum (which he 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

long way to a small angry planet

Great Characters, Great Adventure, Great Space!

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers This SF novel has been one of the great discoveries of recent years – a self-published kickstarter debut that was picked up by a big publisher and then longlisted for the Baileys Prize earlier this year. The book is now shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Read More

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Shiny New Books Issue 11

Issue 11 of Shiny New Books was published this morning – I got up early to do most of the admin, and then went back to bed! This issue, with everyone still reeling after the Brexit vote, the Shiny Eds had a great discussion about European Culture on the page and screen. It would be Read More

dog days

Mavis Cheek Blog Tour

Dog Days by Mavis Cheek Today I’m delighted to be a stop on Mavis Cheek‘s blog tour celebrating the new Ipso Books e-book editions of some of her backlist titles, of which her 1990 novel Dog Days is the latest (my review below). It has been some years since I’ve read any of Mavis’s novels, but I do remember chuckling my way through Mrs. Fytton’s Read More

Firmin

More from the pre-blog archives…

Back to book reviews soon, but for the bank holiday I decided to revisit some more of the capsule reviews I wrote for myself in my mega-spreadsheet which I started pre-blog and still keep going. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart Feb 2008: The story of Merlin’s youth up to the birth of Arthur. I read Read More

look at me

Three shorter reviews

Trading Futures by Jim Powell Matthew Oxenhay is having an existential crisis. He set his hippy ideals behind him long ago, swapping them for a career in the city, wife, kids, nice house in a nice London suburb. Then it was his 60th birthday, and shortly afterwards he lost his job, but his boss let Read More

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Celebrating John Creasey and Dennis Wheatley

Yesterday I went to another of literary agency PFD’s salons at the Groucho Club, this time to celebrate the books and lives of John Creasey and Dennis Wheatley.  Authors who were read by everyone at their peaks, hugely influential with totally different lives and styles – yet as we discovered, they have a lovely connection… Read More

how you see me

A novel of one-sided letters…

How You See Me by S.E. Craythorne This is the last of my reviews of books I finished reading in 2015; I thought I’d better get a few thoughts down before the memory of reading it fades too much. As Susan said in a recent post, ‘I have a weakness for debuts’ – you never know Read More

Heroic measures

Dogs and Downsizing

Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment Originally published in 2009 and brought to the UK last year by Pushkin Press, Heroic Measures is a tale about one weekend in the life of an older couple and their beloved dachshund Dorothy. Ruth and Alex Cohen have lived for 45 years in a co-op, a ‘five-flight walk-up in the East Village’. Read More