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‘Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore’.’ …

The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe in a spectacular pop-up presentation by David Pelham and Christopher Wormell If ever there was a poem that was made for reading aloud, it’s The Raven, Poe’s 1845 masterpiece of rhyme, metre and repetition. (I just adore the rhymes – ‘that is’ and ‘lattice’  in the 6th verse must Read More

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Books Are My Bag & a local book sale – My super Saturday book haul

It’s Books Are My Bag BAMB day at independent bookshops in the UK. Each year the BAMB team commission a limited edition bookbag. Last year was Grayson Perry’s typically challenging but great fun design – see right. This year, however, they have commissioned a bag you can take out without having to check which side Read More

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Two Shorter YA reviews

Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher This is the third novel by Pitcher, the first I’ve read, although I own a copy of her prizewinning debut My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. It also fills in the box on my BookBingo Card ‘by an author who shares your first name’… The story is narrated by Tess, a fifteen Read More

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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 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

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Is it possible to give Proust the graphic novel treatment?

In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust – A Graphic Novel Adaptation and Drawings by Stéphane Heuet Translated by Arthur Goldhammer I’ve not got the patience or time to read Proust’s masterpiece, but I’ve always wondered what it was like. When I spotted that French into English publishers Gallic books were bringing Read More

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Exit, pursued by a bear – a winter’s tale…

The Revenant by Michael Punke You thought you were getting Shakey didn’t you? But those words so fit this novel which the much-lauded movie starring Leo was based on too! I’ve not seen the film of The Revenant and don’t want to.  I’m not attracted to watching two and a half hours of Rocky Mountain winters full of gore, Read More

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The making of Mary (Queen of Shops)

Shop Girl by Mary Portas Mary Portas is one of those TV presenter/gurus you either love or find profoundly irritating. I love her and her championing of the high street and independent retailers. Her TV programmes where she helps ailing businesses are full of common sense and good advice jazzed up with her team’s design Read More

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“What’s the buzz, tell me what’s happening?”

Republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. The Bees by Laline Paull Writing a novel with animals as your characters is a daring thing. You have to tread a fine line between anthropomorphism and the nature of the beast. If the creatures are to communicate, the author will have to put Read More

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Dancing the Seasons with Powell #4

Republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost post archive   A Dance to the Music of Time 4: At Lady Molly’s We reach Summer with volume four of Powell’s sequence following the life of Nick Jenkins and his contemporaries.The initial three Spring novels were about growing up and establishing oneself in the world and in The Read More

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Dancing the Seasons with Powell #3

Republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost post archive   A Dance to the Music of Time 3: The Acceptance World We come to the third volume in Anthony Powell’s series – the last of the ‘Spring’ books. (If you’d like to catch up with volumes one and two, click accordingly.) The Acceptance World begins with Nick Jenkins meeting Read More

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Dancing the Seasons with Powell #2

Republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost post archive   A Dance to the Music of Time 2: A Buyer’s Market So we come to the second volume of Anthony Powell’s sequence of twelve novels. If you’d like to catch up with my summary of the first part follow the link to A Question of Upbringing. Read More

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Saturday Selection

Another busy week! Thank goodness I have nothing booked in for the next fortnight – even for half term, except for promising my daughter a London trip to Camden market. Monday night was my Book Group – this month we read The Amber Fury (aka The Furies) by Natalie Haynes. I read this book last year and Read More

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Dancing the Seasons with Powell #1

Republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost post archive   A Dance to the Music of Time 1: A Question of Upbringing Looking out of his window at some workmen around a brazier, Nicholas Jenkins is reminded of the four seasons on Poussin’s celebrated painting (detail above), and the passing of time in his life. Read More

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A post Cold-War spy drama

A Spy’s Life by Henry Porter Many moons ago I read Henry Porter’s first novel Rememberance Day (2000) which was a fast-moving spy thriller and I enjoyed it very much indeed. Finally, years later, I’ve read his second – another standalone spy-thriller about an ex-spy who finds out that you can never truly leave your former Read More

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Christmas Shiny Linkiness …

Today, I’d like to direct you over to my reviews in the Shiny New Books Christmas Inbetweeny.  By the way, have you tried our Shiny Advent Quiz yet? Ideal as a post-prandial competition… But back to my reviews as these books are all too good to leave off mentioning here too: The Islanders by Pascal Read More

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Now it's Sylvia's turn

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath Yesterday I reviewed a new YA novel by Meg Wolitzer called Belzhar (here), in which a depressed young woman was helped back to good health by a special English class that studied Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar and then kept rather special personal journals. Reading this book made Read More

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A Comic Caper of Camelot and Cross-purposes…

The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips I read Marie Phillips first novel, Gods Behaving Badly, an hilarious story of the Greek gods and goddesses living out their lives in modern day North London, pre-blog, and I loved it – I can remember that without having to go back to my records. These bickering Read More

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Riding the slipstream …

The Adjacent by Christopher Priest Today I shall direct you to another review I wrote for Shiny New Books:- The Adjacent by Christopher Priest, now out in paperback. Priest is one of those authors who defies genre, yet routinely gets categorised as a science fiction author. True his books often have some SF elements in, and The Read More

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Thoughts on my header photo

I’ve been mostly writing reviews for Shiny New Books this week after finishing Frog Music, but wanted to write something on the blog for the weekend… My eye caught my header photo which when taken a few years ago, I compiled a shelf of favourite reads over the years, mostly those getting a full five stars from Read More

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Barbara Pym Reading Week

This post was republished into it’s original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive.   I’ve never read Pym, but was more than happy to join in Barbara Pym Reading Week, hosted by Thomas at My Porch, to help celebrate the centenary of her birth. I consulted my shelves and found four Pyms waiting Read More

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A new approach to the problem of werewolves …

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy Inside this chunkster of a werewolf novel are at least two shorter novels trying to get out… Imagine a post 9/11 America into which a new threat has emerged to fuel a nation’s paranoia. It’s the age of the werewolf, or Lycans as Percy dubs them. From the opening chapters Read More

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Travelling Man

Lost Luggageby Jordi Punti, translated from the Catalan by Julie Wark. This is the story of Gabriel Delacruz, orphan, international furniture remover and father to four sons. Four boys – born in four different countries to four different mothers; one German, one English, one French and one Spanish, and all christened the local equivalent of the Read More

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C'est fun, but c'est n'est pas Les Mis…

Illumination by Matthew Plampin Given the love for all things French and 19th century at the moment thanks to the film I still haven’t seen that is Les Misérables, it was a good time to read a revolutionary novel. Illumination is set later than Hugo’s masterpiece,  during the Siege of Paris of 1870-71 in the Franco-Prussian Read More

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Re-reading one of my favourite books…

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx I’ve now finished my re-read of Annie Proulx’s novel The Shipping News, that I told you about a few days ago here. When I finished the book the first time, so sure was I that I’d be re-reading, and hopefully re-loving, it that I bought myself a luxury numbered Read More

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Carnegie Longlist 2013

The longlist for the 2013 Carnegie Medal has been announced and I was please to see quite a few books I’ve already read on it, plus several in my TBR pile – and of course in an ideal world I’d like to read all of them! The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to an outstanding Read More