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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

English Guide to Birdwatching

Meanwhile at Shiny…

An English Guide to Birdwatching by Nicholas Royle I was delighted to make the acquaintance of Professor Nicholas Royle through reading and reviewing his second novel for Shiny New Books, and then the Q&A we did. An English Guide to Birdwatching is in essence a novel exploring (English) human relationships through ornithropomorphic means – the Read More

To War with Whitaker

Book Group choice for April: Egypt

To War With Whitaker The Wartime Diaries of the Countess of Ranfurly 1939-45 This month, our topic to choose a title was ‘Egypt’ – any book set in or about anything to do with the country. The nominations were: Death on the Nile – Christie Ice Cold in Alex – Christopher Landon Palace Walk by 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

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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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Six Degrees of Separation Meme

Hosted by Kate at the Books Are My Favourite and Best blog, the Six Degrees of Separation meme is a monthly bookish version of the original concept devised by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929 (more here). Each month Kate chooses a different starting book for us to take in whichever direction inspires us. Thanks for Elle for highlighting this Read More

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An assured third novel

All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan This is Irish author Donal Ryan’s third novel, and despite not having read his previous two, it’s clear that he’s an author really getting into his stride for All We Shall Know is both accomplished and a compulsive read. His first novel, The Spinning Heart won major prizes Read More

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Love among the penguins – Q&A with Midge Raymond

My Last Continent by Midge Raymond Today, I’m delighted to be a stop on Midge Raymond‘s blog tour for her fabulous novel My Last Continent from Text Publishing, which is an adventure romance set in Antarctica. Deb and Keller meet as researchers for a few weeks each year to study the penguins while working for an Read More

v for violet

There’s a girl works down the chip shop swears she knows whodunnit…

V for Violet by Alison Rattle This is Alison Rattle’s fourth YA novel, and it’s a bit of a departure, the other three having been set in the Victorian era. I read and reviewed her second, The Madness, for Shiny New Books (see here), and I enjoyed the doomed romance between classes which turns to Read More

last act of love

Learning to let go …

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink Shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize (read more about that here), Cathy Rentzenbrink’s book about her and her brother is the kind of memoir that hits you with a wallop. Once started, it won’t let go – I read it in one sitting, going from shock to being Read More

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Meg Rosoff at the Oxford Literary Festival

This Wednesday evening I was back in the vaulted delights of the Bodleian Divinity School (where I’d been on Monday).  It was a sheer delight to be in the disappointingly small, but very lovely, audience to hear Meg Rosoff talk about her latest novel in conversation with Suzie Feay. I suspect that if Meg’s latest novel Read More

wellcome shortlist

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

Tom rachman 2nd novel

A novel that refuses to settle down…

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman Thirty-one year old Tooly Zylberberg is trying to read a book in the loss-making second-hand bookshop that she had bought in a village known as World’s End, just over the Welsh border. Their business plan had been to subsist on spillover custom from the annual literary festival Read More

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Getting Hygge …

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell This was our book group’s read for January, chosen when our of our group had just come back from Copenhagen enthusiastic to learn more about the Danish way of life. The whole group enjoyed reading it – it’s very easy and the author has a nice line Read More

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Branagh at the Garrick – Rattigan double-bill

(republished into its original place in the time-line from my lost post archive) I went to see Kenneth Branagh’s new theatre company perform a double-bill of one-act plays by Terence Rattigan last night. The two plays, Harlequinade from the 1940s when Rattigan was at his critical peak, and All On Her Own, a twenty minute Read More

Austenland film

My Books of the Year 2014 – Part Two – The Blog edit

Yesterday I shared my best reads of 2014 as reviewed for Shiny New Books. Today, I turn my attention to titles reviewed here. The links will return you to my full reviews: – Best Retro-Subversive Laugh-Out-Loud Book Discovering Scarfolk by Richard Littler So nearly my book of the year, Discovering Scarfolk is just hilarious! Stuck firmly in Read More

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My Books of the Year 2014 – Part One – the Shiny Edit…

This year for the first time, I’ve split my best of list in two. Having read around 130 books this year, there are too many to feature in just one post and there is an obvious split – today’s first part will feature those books that I’ve reviewed over at Shiny New Books.  Forgive me for continually Read More

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Not one, but two reworked fairy tales illustrated by Chris Riddell

I love Chris Riddell’s illustrations and children’s books. Amazingly he has only had one post to himself since I started this blog (see here), although he has featured in several others. Even here, he will be sharing this post with the two authors of some newly published reworked fairy tales… I had put these two Read More

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They were soldiers…

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque Translated by Brian Murdoch This remarkable novel about young German soldiers in WWI was our book group’s read for August; I had pushed strongly for a WWI-related choice for the month of the 100th anniversary of the war’s start. Several of us had already read Read More