Fates and furies

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Fates and Furies

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.) This month the starting book is Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. Fates and Furies is a novel I’ve yet to read. If you look at the Read More

a-crime-in-holland

Two shorter reviews…

Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey This account of a woman becoming afflicted by, and then having to live with extreme photosensitivity is completely harrowing, but suffused with dark humour. The author was enjoying life and had met the love of her life when she started to get burning sensations on her skin after Read More

book_red_question_marks-svg

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

33-rev

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

family-life

The immigrants’ shattered American Dream…

Family Life by Akhil Sharma Imagine the excitement of going to America from Delhi to live. Even though life in India was comfortable and full of cricket, America is the dream destination for nine-year-old Ajay’s accountant father. First, his father went, found a job, set up home; then a year later, he sent one-way tickets Read More

Mister-Memory

A grown-up Parisian fin de siecle nightmare?

Mister Memory by Marcus Sedgwick I’ve been a fan of Sedgwick for years – He has primarily written for children and YA audiences until fairly recently. However, reading his YA novels as an adult has never disappointed, (see here, here, here, here and here – Yes, I am a big fan!). Now he is also writing for Read More

SNB logo medium

Shiny issue 12 published today

One of the reasons I’ve been quieter here, despite reading like mad is the number of books I’ve been reading and reviewing for the next issue(s) of Shiny New Books, and Issue 12 is published today! I’ve reviewed an eclectic mix of books for this issue, and would like to highlight the two non-fiction titles Read More

Semple 3

A Life in a Day… and Some

Today Will be Different by Maria Semple That’s what Eleanor Flood thinks – and it will be different, just not in the way she planned. This is the premise of Semple’s third novel, the follow-up to the hugely successful Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, which I’ve yet to read, but heard a lot of good things about… Read More

Last Pearl Fisher

Emotions run deep in these pearl rivers…

The Last Pearl Fisher in Scotland by Julia Stuart I have really fond memories of reading Julia Stuart’s earlier novel – Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo (reviewed here), which was gentle and touching with some delightful comedic interludes. Its portrayal of a couple being driven apart by grief over their dead son was Read More

hotel-arcadia-2-190x300

From the archives: Hotels

When I go on holiday with my daughter these days, we usually try to find apartments as we disturb each other just too much sharing a room!  But, of course, many of my holidays in the past, and probably in future too, will involve staying in a hotel. Many a novel features characters staying in a Read More

SNB logo medium

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

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

diet myth

My gut obsession continues – more food for thought

The Diet Myth by Tim Spector The first book I reviewed this year (Gut by Giulia Enders – review here) was a revelation to me. It created a new obsession – to improve my digestion and gut flora by eating better and hopefully losing some weight along the way. But learning about the anatomy and physiology of the gut Read More

The-Trees

The Trees: An Evening with Ali Shaw

Earlier this week, Mostly Books in Abingdon was privileged to be the first audience for Ali Shaw to talk solo about his wonderful new novel The Trees (which I reviewed for Shiny New Books here). The Trees is Ali’s third novel, and this was his third visit to Abingdon, (see also my posts about his visits for The Man Who Rained, and The Girl Read More

lumberjanes 1

This year I’m going to read more graphic novels and started with these…

Lumberjanes I & II by Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis, co-created by Sharon Watters and illustrated by Brooke Allen Vol I – Beware the Kitten Holy There was a lot of talk in 2015 about the Lumberjanes – espcially since the comics have been collected into softbacks for our delectation.  Two volumes are currently available comprising 4 Read More

grasshopper jungle

Something ‘that scares me’…

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith One of the few remaining squares on my summer(!) book bingo card has been crossed off with this novel. I find few ghost stories truly scary and own few horror novels of the type that would Read More

Season of Migration

A Sudanese modern classic …

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost post archive. Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih Translated by Denys Johnson-Davies This was our July choice for book group, picked by a new member to our group who is Sudanese and was keen to introduce us to what is regarded Read More

three-bedrooms

A double dose of Simenon including his most autobiographical roman dur…

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. Three Bedrooms in Manhattan by Georges Simenon Last month I had the opportunity to meet John Simenon, Georges’s son at an event celebrating the prolific Belgian author and his work. Apart from all the Maigret novels, Simenon was famed for his romans durs (hard Read More

Maigret 1 and 5

A double helping of Maigret

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. One of the great things about Georges Simenon’s Maigret novels is that they’re short. Each features a story told in full, but achieved within 160 pages or so – in this he resembles Muriel Spark. No words are wasted and there is no flowery Read More

Simenon

Celebrating Georges Simenon

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a reception for bloggers to celebrate the legacy of Georges Simenon. It was hosted by the team from literary agents Peters Fraser Dunlop (PFD) that manage the Simenon estate in the UK, the venue Read More

stiastny 1

The case of the missing disk…

Acts of Omission by Terry Stiastny Thrillers set in the world of modern British politics are not that common compared with those led by the spies who report to the politicians; Acts of Omission is mainly the former. It is the debut novel by a former BBC News reporter who worked in Berlin in the late 1990s and is Read More

Get me out of here

Consumer culture gone mad in a warped and very funny novel…

Get Me Out of Here by Henry Sutton This review has be republished into my original blog timeline from my lost posts archives. Scanning my TBR shelves for something different to read the other week, I alighted on this novel remembering that Kim had loved it! It was time to return to a novel by Henry Read More

Sue Black

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

Sue Black

"I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me"

Love & Fallout by Kathryn Simmonds Tessa is one of those middle-aged women that do causes. She co-runs a (failing) green charity running workshops for schools and colleges and she’s always got a local campaign on the go – this time saving the playing field from development. She doesn’t take much time for herself (or Read More

Sue Black

It was surprising how many of us had a Jean Brodie in our schooldays…

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark Published in 1961, Spark’s delicious tale of a teacher who lives vicariously through her selected pupils was our book group’s choice this month. Our discussions were wide-ranging, but we started off by chatting about how real Miss Brodie was – and it turned out that most of Read More

Sue Black

Not just a novel of any letters…

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher This novel certainly has one of the most attractive covers I’ve seen in a while – it rather gave me the urge to start colouring it in, but I restrained myself! (Interestingly, between the proof and the finished article, I can see that quite a few of the letters have Read More

Sue Black

More Shiny linkiness …

It’s been a couple of weeks since Issue 3 of Shiny New Books went live, so I thought I’d highlight the other fiction reviews I wrote for it to you – I hope you’ll click through to read the whole pieces… At the moment, we’re busy putting together our Christmas special which will be out Read More

NT Live Trio

NT Live Theatre at the Cinema x 3 from the archives

Frankenstein – NT Live (June 2012) I’m having a break from Beryl today, as I’m dying to tell you about the film I went to see last night, because if I delayed and you wanted to go, you might have missed it… Last summer one of the biggest critical smashes in the theatre was Danny Boyle’s production of Read More

Rosie project

Perfect holiday rom-com reading …

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion It’s not often that you know you’re going to love a book within the first few pages, but with The Rosie Project, that was never in question for me. It is the story of Don Tillman, a Read More