Review Roundup

Catch-up time once again. Some shorter thoughts on some recent reads… The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon I read this as a buddy read with Rebecca at Bookish Beck – do go and read her fab post composed mostly from her twitter thoughts chapter by chapter here, so just a few Read More

Two from the Library – one yeah, one meh…

One of the great things about borrowing books from the library is that you can take a chance on books – which is what I did recently with a whole load of poetry and novels. The only problem then, is that you might not enjoy them all. Here are thoughts on two of them – Read More

The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen Blogtour

I am delighted to be today’s stop on the blogtour for this delightful book. William Woolf is a letter detective. He’s worked at the Dead Letters Depot in East London for eleven years, one of a team of thirty, dedicated to finding the right home for all the letters and packages that arrive with missing, Read More

An evening with Kate Clanchy and her new book

Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me by Kate Clanchy Some of you may know Kate Clanchy’s work from her super comic novel Meeting the English (see here) or her earlier memoir Antigona and Me (see here), about a refugee who became her cleaner and nanny. She has also published books of poetry Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #3

Plundering my capsule reviews from my pre-blog days on my master spreadsheet – a selection from 2007 for you this time. Hullaballoo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai A funny, gentle and very jolly satire on fake holy men and the followers they attract; almost an Indian Life of Brian! Sampath’s family despair of Read More

Doing Things in Threes…

Why Trilogies are More Satisfying Than Series or Mere Sequels This post was inspired by Rebecca’s one about her general wariness of books that continue their stories (read here). I too, am notoriously fickle in continuing to read novels in series even when I loved the first one or two I read. A case in Read More

Rathbones Folio Prize Shortlist Announcement

Just a short post today, but I was lucky enough to be invited to the event held at Rathbones HQ near Moorgate last night for the announcement of the Rathbones Folio Prize Shortlist. Thank you to publicists FMcM. Sadly, the weather was cold, windy and drizzly – but the view from inside over the Thames Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them… #2

I’ve consulted my master spreadsheet again to bring you some more of my capsule reviews from my pre-blog years. Again, these are all from 2006 or before… Bringing Out the Dead by Joe Connelly This autobiographical novel is relentless, I read it in two sessions, only ending the first as I was completely drained. A Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them…

I’ve kept a master spreadsheet of what I’ve read every year since 2006, two years before I started blogging. There are entries on it from 2004 too, but not a full reading record. While I’ve only kept good stats since around 2010, I did used to write capsule reviews of those pre-blog reads on the Read More

Two from the Library… yes, you did read that correctly!

I finally got a new library card last month, after not having borrowed from there since my daughter was a toddler when we used to visit weekly to stock up on picture books. I do need to spend less, to buy fewer books, but not zero – I couldn’t possibly do that! So I’m hoping Read More

Wellcome Book Prize 10th Anniversary Blog Tour

I was delighted to be asked to take part in this blog tour, running ahead of the announcement of the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize longlist in February. This most unique of literary awards which “rewards exceptional works of literature that illuminate the many ways that health, medicine and illness touch our lives,” is ten years Read More

Novellas in November – Part 2

Running Wild by J.G. Ballard This beautifully crafted novella published in 1988 concerns one of Ballard’s favourite themes – life in a community that walls itself away from the rest of the world. It is set in an exclusive housing estate of just ten houses, each on a large plot. The estate is gated, has Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Vanity Fair

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 … Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray Never read it – I ought to though, for I’m sure I’d enjoy it – just Read More

Shiny Linkiness: Aug into Sept

Over the past few weeks, I’ve reviewed three cracking new novels for Shiny New Books… … Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale Gale’s latest is just lovely. This novel is a wonderful blend of coming of age story, small-town childhood, friendship and finding oneself, bound up with a love of music, cello music in Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Atonement

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 … Atonement by Ian McEwan Shocking, I know – but I’ve not read it!  I have seen the film though – and one Read More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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