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Too lurid and too pretentiously cute!

Lurid & Cute by Adam Thirlwell When I read Alex Preston’s review of Adam Thirlwell’s new novel in the Financial Times I instantly wanted to read and review this book for Shiny New Books. As you know I love quirky novels, and I thought this book would be fun, very contemporary and something a bit 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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The boy, the stolen painting and the Russian…

Just occasionally, I believe I can read minds – well in a Derren Brownish way – you see by my title of this post, I hope to have manipulated you into thinking you were getting a(nother) post on The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt; some of you will be thinking but Annabel’s already reviewed that, hasn’t Read More

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784 pages – Was it worth taking the time to read…

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt It’s very likely that had our bookgroup not picked this novel, that The Goldfinch would have stayed on my shelves, unread, (beside Wolf Hall and The Luminaries), for much longer. I had to read it (well, I could have cribbed notes but didn’t), but I’m so glad I took the time Read More

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Book Group Report – Jean Teulé

The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé Our book group read for July into August was actually a re-read for me. We’d wanted something quick and light as due to our schedules we only had three weeks between meetings instead of our usual four or five. I had read Teulé’s 2007 novel, published in English translation Read More

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Books of the year … so far

As we’re just past halfway through the year, I thought I’d take a quick look back at my favourites so far – all books getting 10/10 from me… I’ll start at the top – my book of the year, so far, is one I’ve recently reviewed for issue two of Shiny New Books. Tigerman was Read More

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Back to Pre-WWII Berlin…

The Winter Garden by Jane Thynne Last year, I was thrilled to read Jane Thynne’s novel Black Roses, actress/spy Clara Vine’s first outing in 1930s Berlin, in which she became accepted in the high social circles of the First Reich’s wives. This was the story of how Clara came to Berlin to act in the Read More

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Anderson & Zweig; Thorn and Morrissey

I know – it’s too long since you had a proper book post – they will come soon, promise. Life is so busy at the moment, and for the next couple of weeks it’ll be the same – as I have the Abingdon Science Festival to go to/help at, several trips to the Oxford Literary Read More

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The loneliness of genteel old age…

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor This is only the second novel by Elizabeth Taylor that I have read, the first was In a Summer Season (reviewed here), but thanks to her popularity amongst many of my blogging friends I feel as if I know her works better than I do in reality. Read More

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Ten Books that Represent Great Britain

A couple of days ago, Simon at Savidge Reads and Thomas at My Porch created a new meme (Yes Simon, I know you didn’t want to call it a meme, but it is one – a nice one!). The challenge is to pick ten books that sum up your own country geographically but authors from that Read More

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Q&A with Jane Thynne, author of ‘Black Roses’

Back in March, I reviewed a fabulous romantic thriller set in pre-WWII Germany. Black Roses by Jane Thynne is the story of Clara Vine, a young actress who goes to Berlin to pursue a film career and ends up as a British spy and confidante of Magda Goebbels, the infamous First Lady of the Third Reich. Read More

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A Tale of Two Women in 1930s Berlin

Black Roses by Jane Thynne Remembering Jane Thynne’s columns and reviews in the Daily Telegraph, and having read that she is married to thriller writer Philip Kerr, I had high hopes of her new novel, set in Berlin during the years preceding WWII. I wasn’t disappointed, for Black Roses is a brilliant historical thriller based Read More

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Back-Blogging – Five old posts about …

As I’m currently: only 88 pages into my current 470 page read, going out twice this week, and busy at work too, so it could be a few days before I have a book to review… so I thought I’d have a quick delve into my archives. To make it more fun, I’ve chosen a linking subject Read More

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Scenes from a humorist’s life …

Our book group is having a short story July, concentrating on two authors renowned for their wit: Saki and Thurber.  I’m working my way through Saki, so I’ll deal with him in another post; here I’ll talk about my first experience of reading James Thurber. My Life and Hard Timesby James Thurber James Thurber (1894-1961), Read More

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Book v Movie: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (republished into its original place in the time-line from my lost post archive) I went to see the film Salmon Fishing in the Yemen this afternoon based on the brilliant 2006 book by Paul Torday. I read the book last year and loved it, (review here), so I was crossing my fingers that Read More

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For blacker than black, read super-noir

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson Scene: A diner in Central City, Texas; it’s the early 1950s.  A man walks up to the counter to pay his bill… The proprietor shoved back my money and laid a couple of cigars on Read More

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Gaskella’s Books of the Year

It’s that time of year again, and I thought I’d highlight my top reads chosen from the 90 I’ve managed to read, so they’re not necessarily published this year. All the books I’ve chosen are ones I gave 9 or more out of ten to; I tend to be generous in my scoring, having given Read More

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Playing by the rules …

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles Scene: New York City, 1966 – an elderly couple, Katey and Val, are at a gallery viewing of photographs, all taken of passengers on the subway over many years. The same man occurs in two photos, but in obviously different circumstances years apart. Katey recognises him – it’s Tinker Grey… Read More

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The spirit of Sir Humphrey lives on …

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday (republished into its original place in the time-line from my lost post archive) This was our Book Group choice to read in May, and all those who made it, enjoyed this book. There were different degrees of love ranging from a good read to fantastic, but no-one Read More

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3 shorter reviews – Nesbo – Sabato – Teller

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive.   The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden, foreword by Colm Tóibín Ernesto Sabato died recently, just two months short of his one hundredth birthday.  He was regarded as one of the greats of Argentinian literature,  having Read More

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A Miscellany of Gaskella’s 2010 Midweek Miscellany posts

In 2010,  I used to do a regular(ish) Midweek Miscellany post – full of bits and pieces. As I’ve been adding back all the reviews lost in the transfer process from old blog to new, what to do with posts like these has become a bit of a quandary, as some of these snippets are Read More

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Home is where the heart is

The Swimmer by Roma Tearne The village of Orford, near Aldeburgh in Suffolk is not used to foreigners.  Someone’s killing animals by slitting their throats, and everyone is concerned about terrorists in their midst. Ria, a poet, lives in relative isolation in  her late uncle’s cottage by the coast in Suffolk – it’s home.  Eric, a Read More

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LOTR Readalong – The Final Post

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: Vol 3 by JRR Tolkien. This month was the last part of the LOTR Readalong and everyone’s final thoughts can be found at Just Add Books. Having finished all 1076 pages of the three volumes of LOTR plus the Hobbit I think I’m going to miss Read More

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The Two Towers – the LOTR Readalong month 3

LOTR: The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien It’s the end of month 3 of the LOTR readlong, and I’ve finished LOTR vol 2: The Two Towers . You can see what others thought via the Mr Linky on Teresa’s post at Shelflove, and you can see my comments on the first half of this book here, Read More

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LOTR Readalong Month 3 – Midway through the Two Towers

The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers Vol 2 by JRR Tolkien It’s month 3 of the LOTR Readalong in which we’re reading vol 2 – The Two Towers. (here are links to  my posts for month 2, month 1 and introduction) This month the readalong is hosted by Teresa at Shelf Love and she has Read More

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An evening with Roma Tearne

Brixton Beach Book Group I went to an author event with a difference last night. Roma Tearne, author of  Brixton Beach which I reviewed here agreed to join in a book group discussion at Mostly Books and I was able to join in with the regular book group.  We all met and discussed the book for Read More