Women in Translation – Top 100 – My Nominations

This year for the annual #WITmonth in August, our host Meytal at Biblibio has decided to curate a list of the top 100 women in translation. Everyone is invited to join in and let Meytal know. Here are how it’s going to work: Here are my nominations. Links to my reviews are in the titles: Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Where the Wild Things Are

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews where they exist. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak As Read More

20 Books of Summer #1 & #2: Rooney & Torday

Red Joan by Jennie Rooney You may remember the case of Melita Norwood, a British civil servant who passed secrets to the KGB for around 30 years after 1937. She wasn’t uncovered until 1999, but wasn’t prosecuted, dying in 2005, aged 93. Red Joan, Rooney’s 2013 novel was inspired by Norwood’s story (the recent film adaptation directed by Read More

A love letter to his wife

About Alice by Calvin Trillin I was going to choose the only other book I’ve read by Trillin for the letter T in my go at Simon’s Twitter tag #AToZofBooks which I’ve enjoyed doing over the past couple of days, but I got distracted by another author. Tepper Isn’t Going Out (reviewed here), which I read back in late 2008, is a comic masterpiece all 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

An almost old-fashioned modern gangster novel

The Bothy by Trevor Mark Thomas Someone had warned Tom to stay away from Stephanie’s funeral. A fantastic opening line! I was hooked by this thriller right from the start. I could see it on the big screen in my mind all the way through too. Think of any British gangster film from recent years Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: How to Be Both

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … How to Be Both by Ali Smith I have a confession to Read More

Meet the Karenins

Monsieur Ka by Vesna Goldsworthy Back in 2016 I really enjoyed reading Vesna Goldsworthy’s first novel, Gorsky, which updated The Great Gatsby to contemporary Chelsea, aka Chelski due to the influx of Russians. Gatsby became Gorsky and Nick became Nikola – a Serbian bookseller. It was brilliantly done, delivering the doomed romance with great wit Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Fight Club

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik Not a book I’ve read, but I 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 always save this post for last, in case there’s a late entry. I’ve given up trying to keep the list to a dozen and have ended up instead with a baker’s dozen, plus some runners up. All of these Read More

Graphic Short Stories, Adrian Tomine style…

Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine I’ve long been a fan of graphic artistTomine’s individual cartoons including covers for The New Yorker like this one (right, which is available as a greetings card!), but I’d never read any of his stories before. Killing and Dying is his 2015 collection of six short stories, written and 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

Two in short: Tremain and Laurain

Because the authors’ names rhyme, and I haven’t got a huge amount to say about these novels, despite enjoying them both a lot, here’s a twofer for you: The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain This was our book group read, discussed back at the start of the month. It was mostly a hit with our Read More

Agatha Christie meets Harry Potter in a fantasy whodunnit…

The Last Chance Hotel by Nicki Thornton I knew that this debut novel for 8-12-year-old children would be something special, as Nicki won the  Times Children’s Fiction Competition in 2016 with this book. Part of the prize was to be published by children’s book specialists, Chicken House, run by Barry Cunningham (who used to work Read More

Events with Books

Back to normal posting soon – I’ve lots of book reviews to catch up on! But here are the bookish events I’ve been at recently… The Last Chance Hotel Book Launch Firstly – the launch party for friend, former bookseller, and now published author Nicki Thornton, whose book for older children (8-11) The Last Chance Read More

Review Catch-up…

Life is rather busy, and I’m terribly behind on my reviews. So here is a batch of reviews and links for you… Educated by Tara Westover This memoir of growing up in an unconventional setting and how the author escaped to discover the world outside was absolutely compelling reading, Westover grew up off-grid in Idaho, Read More

A return to Joe Thomas’s Sao Paulo

Gringa by Joe Thomas At around this time last year, I read the first in a new crime series set in Sao Paulo (reviewed here for Shiny).  Joe Thomas lived and taught in São Paulo, the most populous city in the Americas and Southern Hemisphere, for ten years. His observations and experience of living in this Read More

Two Short Novels in Translation

One of my ‘Try Harder’ targets this year is to read more in translation. I got the year off to a good start with these two short novels… Bird in a Cage by Frédéric Dard Translated from the French by David Bellos I discovered Dard just over a year ago, when the lovely people at Read More

Review catch up – again – and the problem of remembering!

Two shorter reviews of books I read last year…   Nutshell by Ian McEwan I read McEwan’s novel between Christmas and New Year, and the terrible thing is, I know I really enjoyed it. I know it was funny, outrageous and inspired by a quotation from Hamlet, yet I can’t really remember any detail about 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

Year End Review #1: My best discoveries of 2017

  The best authors who were ‘New to me’ in 2017 Today in the first part of my review of the year, I’m going to highlight the new to me authors, several of whom have been writing for years, that have made themselves must-reads for the future. It’s inevitable, but my first discoveries are three Read More

2017 in First Lines

This is a fun meme, giving a snapshot of one’s reading through the year – not necessarily an accurate sample, but fun. The title links will take you to my reviews. January:  Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis ‘They made a silly mistake, though,’ the Professor of History said, and his smile, as Dixon watched, gradually Read More

The PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year 2017 – Shadow Judges’ winner!

It’s been a busy month since the members of Shadow Judges panel for this year’s Young Writer of the Year Award received our parcels of the five shortlisted book (above).  Clare, Dane, Eleanor, Rebecca and I have read the lot, blogged about them, discussed them between ourselves and some of us got to meet most of Read More

PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year shortlist – Sara Taylor

The Lauras by Sara Taylor I do love a road-trip novel, as long as it’s not On the Road, which I dutifully read and yawned through in my twenties. I feel like I’ve read a lot of American road-trip novels – but it appears the majority were pre-blog including Lolita, Fear and Loathing in Las Read More

Young Writer of the Year Award 2017 – First thoughts…

Well, the Shadow Panel is truly underway. We even got namechecks in The Sunday Times which was a lovely surprise. Now we have the hard task of getting down to the reading. I thought I’d post some very preliminary thoughts about each book. I’ve dipped into them all briefly – and finished one – can Read More

Young Writer of the Year Award 2017 shortlist

After posting earlier this week about my involvement on this year’s shadow panel, today I am delighted to be able to share the shortlist of five books, one of which will win the PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award for 2017. Without further ado, they are: Minoo Dinshaw: Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Read More

Starting Anna Karenina again

In my teens, around the time of the wonderful BBC adaptation of War & Peace with Anthony Hopkins as Pierre, and ITV’s Anna Karenina with Nicola Pagett as the doomed heroine, I went through a real Russian phase in my reading. We had copies of most of the Russian greats already in the house as Read More

The glamour of the Grand Prix – it’s not real life…

Monte Carlo by Peter Terrin Translated from the Dutch by David Doherty Before I tell you more about this exquisite short novel by Dutch author, Peter Terrin, I’d like to expound briefly on the glamour of the Monaco Grand Prix – it is the one we all love to see, raced over the streets of Read More

Towles’ entrancing second novel…

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles Amor Towles’ debut novel Rules of Civility (reviewed here) was one of the best books I read in 2011. Although Towles graduated in English back in the late 1980s, he worked as an investment professional for over twenty years before publishing his first novel. This book was a Read More

Meanwhile at Shiny…

…I’ve had several reviews published recently. In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant Sarah Dunant’s latest novel chronicles the last year of Pope Alexander VI’s life. He was, of course, head of the Borgia family in Renaissance Italy. His mad and vicious soldier son Cesare, and daughter about to be thrice-married Lucrezia complete Read More