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

“17 Brushes with Death”

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell Subtitled “17 Brushes With Death” O’Farrell’s memoir was recently longlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize, and I (and others on our shadow panel) were devastated when it wasn’t shortlisted. For me, it could have replaced Ayobami’s Stay With Me or perhaps Rausing’s Mayhem, although I can Read More

Wellcome Book Prize Shadow Panel Results…

It’s been a busy month or two of reading the six wonderfully varied books shortlisted for this year’s Wellcome Book Prize. The judges will announce their result on Monday, but today our informal shadow panel is posting its winner, and our winner is:  TO BE A MACHINE by MARK O’CONNELL  Here’s what the shadow panel Read More

Wellcome shortlist #1

To Be a Machine by Mark O’Connell The second book in my shadow reading from the Wellcome Book Prize shortlist, (the first was The Vaccine Race which I’ll be reviewing for the official blog tour in a couple of week’s time). I loved this book from the front cover to the back, starting with its Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Geisha

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. Click on the titles to go to my reviews where they exist.  Our starting book this month is the bestselling: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden I read Read More

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

A sassy pageturner – smart, fun and thought-provoking

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter Although I don’t really believe in having guilty pleasures as far as choice of reading goes, I don’t read much what marketers call ‘women’s commercial fiction’. When I do read a book that falls into this category, it does feel like a guilty pleasure though and I revel in it, Read More

20 Books of Summer #5 & 6 – Robinson & Offill

Forgetting Zoë by Ray Robinson I loved Robinson’s first two novels, Electricity and The Man Without (see here). Both followed the lives of troubled young people; very immediate, very British and very touching. With his third novel published in 2010, he did something rather different. In Forgetting Zoë, he moved his storytelling to the USA/Canada, and gives Read More

20 Books of Summer

This year, rather than do Book Bingo, I’m going to join in with Cathy of 746 Books and do the 20 Books of Summer challenge. I’ve chosen my 20 books. All are books I’ve acquired, not review copies. I make no apology for none of them being chunky – but choosing slimmer volumes, it might Read More

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

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

Branagh at the Garrick

The Entertainer by John Osborne Having a potentially wet weekend to myself, no chance of the planned car boot sale taking place, I looked to find myself a theatre ticket for a day out. I went to the Garrick to see Ken Branagh’s company do Terence Rattigan’s Harlequinade last December (see here). I wanted to book for the Read More

Coming of age in Hollywood

A Way of Life, Like Any Other by Darcy O’Brien Many book bloggers are fans of the NYRB Classics, and I think I first heard about this short novel from Thomas a tHogglestock and promptly acquired a copy which has sat on my shelves for a while – until encouraged by comments on my yellow TBR pile post Read More

Celebrating medicine, the human condition, illness and health…

The Wellcome Book Prize Yesterday I was privileged to attend a lovely ‘Bloggers Brunch’ at the Wellcome Collection in London to celebrate the shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize.  Let me tell you a little about the background to this before I describe the event. The Wellcome Trust, which was founded in 1936 is “an independent Read More

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 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 More

Shiny New Books Issue 8

I can’t believe that when our next issue of Shiny New Books comes out at the beginning of April, we will have been going for two whole years! The last issue of our second year is out today and features the winning poem in the first Shiny Poetry  Competition – it’s lovely. Naturally, you’ll find a handful of reviews Read More

Too clever for it’s own good?

Where there’s love, there’s hate by Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo Translated by Suzanne Jill Levine and Kessica Ernst Powell Reviews earlier this year by Jacqui and Kaggsy alerted me to this story, and I picked up a copy from the novella table at Waterstones, Piccadilly on one of my trips to London. This little mystery was the Read More

School's out, summer's in, time for Panic…

Panic by Lauren Oliver Scene – a small town in middle America, school’s out for summer. For those who’ve graduated high school, finding a full-time job will be a priority unless you’re one of the lucky few who are off to college. The town of Carp is small and poor – no-one has any money.  But there Read More

A May to December romance with strings…

Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder Only reading from my TBR, I searched my shelves for books so that I could join in with January in Japan hosted by Tony’s Reading List.  I could have chosen Murakami – but have had both good and bad experiences with him. It ended up being a choice Read More

Penguin Bloggers Night

It was pleasure and privilege to be invited once again to Penguin’s Bloggers Night held in the third floor gallery at Foyles.  Thank you to Penguin, and especially Lija there who arranged the evening. It is always especially pleasurable to meet up with blogging friends old and new. It always amazes me that we all Read More

Gaskella’s Books of 2012

Today is one of those dates that can only happen once every hundred years – 12-12-12, so it’s an ideal time to review my reading year. Yes, in common with many other bloggers, critics and reviewers I’ve picked out the best bits, so here are my personal top ten books that I’ve read in 2012, Read More

“Summer fling, don’t mean a thing, But, oh, oh, the summer nights”

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. August is a Wicked Month by Edna O’Brien When I came across this short novel published in 1965, in a bag of books from my late Mum’s, I had to read it straight away for two reasons.  The obvious one is the Read More

Mid-book cull – pause for a giggle or three…

As you may have surmised, I’m in the throes of having a major book cull. I gave seven bags full to my daughter’s school fête back in June, and have been working my way through the other piles, double-stacked shelves and bags over the past weeks.  I’ve sorted out some worth selling via various routes Read More

Gaskella goes graphic …

When I was a student years ago, I was rather fond of the early Cerebus the Aardvark comics, (swords and sorcery with an cute aardvark hero – yes I know!). After that I didn’t read any comics or graphic novels until 2007 when our Bookgroup read one of the classics of the genre, Watchmen – written Read More

Dystopias R Us – Book Group Report

We had a  new first for our book group last night.  Because we just couldn’t choose a book to read in August two months back, we decided to try reading to a theme. You could choose whatever book you wanted to read as long as it featured a dystopian society. Firstly, what is a dystopia? Read More

Live for the moment – forget everything

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa translated by Stephen Snyder When I spotted this book, with its quote from my literary hero Paul Auster on the cover, I was hooked. Having read it, I’m delighted I chanced upon it, for I loved this gentle tale of the Professor, his Housekeeper and her son. Read More

A Promising Pair

Introducing Peirene Press Peirene Press, named after a Greek nymph who turned into a water spring which was drunk by poets for inspiration, is a new publishing house specialising in contemporary European literature of novella length in translation. I was lucky enough to win a copy of their first novel from Librarything, and was offered Read More

Hard to grasp the plot in this confused novel

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi A few years ago, Helen Oyeyemi was hailed as one of the future stars of UK contemporary literature, having written her first novel The Icarus Girl to great acclaim whilst studying for her A-levels. Now she’s in her twenties and this is her third … There’s a lot Read More