RIP XIII: A Dystopian SF Horror Fantasy

Borne by Jeff Vandermeer I just adored Vandermeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy (see here). His ability to create a genre-defying, strange but real feeling version of our world is unparalleled, and he does it again with Borne.  The setting is in the future after some kind of devastating event, involving the Company – a mysterious organisation Read More

A kind of surgical history

Under the Knife by Arnold Van de Laar Translated by Andy Brown I love reading books about medicine in all of its many disciplines, and books about surgery are often amongst the most fascinating. Subtitled “The History of Surgery in 28 Remarkable Operations”, this book promised a interesting take on the subject. In the introduction, Read More

Review catch-up:

Playing review catch-up, I have three rather different books for you today… Don’t Skip Out on Me by Willy Vlautin It’s ages since I read this book which I got from the Faber spring party where Vlautin, who is in a band too, sang and played his guitar for the audience. Since then, the film Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Geisha

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. Click on the titles to go to my reviews where they exist.  Our starting book this month is the bestselling: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden I read Read More

A Timely Thriller…

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan This legal and psychological thriller has been on the receiving end of a lot of hype since its publication a couple of weeks ago. My local bookshop got some advance signed copies in for Christmas, so I got my hands on it early and read it before the 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

Two shorter reviews – McInerny and Viskic

The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerny I read and reviewed McInerny’s debut, The Glorious Heresies back in January, and although she paints a bleak picture of life for the dispossesed in Cork, the novel fizzed with sweary, gritty humour. I enjoyed it a lot, and was looking forward to The Blood Miracles. One of the Read More

One for #WITMonth at Shiny…

Can You Hear Me? by Elena Varvello Translated by Alex Valente August is Women in Translation month – and my review of  this debut novel by Italian author Elena Varvello is over at Shiny New Books. A combination of psychothriller and coming of age story that works, brilliantly, these two theme entwine around each other, Read More

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Pride & Prejudice

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, the Six Degrees of Separation meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Pride & Prejudice I was desperate to find a non-Austen, non-Colin Firth link but struggled for a while until i came up with (what IMHO) is a cracker. Read More

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Fever Pitch

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: Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby Now although I adore Hornby, this is a football book, so I’m unlikely to read it although as soccer books go, Read More

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

‘My need is such, I pretend too much’…

The Latecomer by Dimitri Verhulst Dimitri Verhulst is Belgian and writes in Dutch. Some years ago, I read the first of his short novels to be translated by David Colmer, Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill, and I loved it (reviewed here). It had a perfect mixture of wit and pathos, and I’ve been meaning to Read More

Meeting Commissaire Adamsberg

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas Translated by David Bellos Although not my first read of French author Fred Vargas (that was The Three Evangelists – reviewed here), this was my first encounter with her detective, Commissaire Adamsberg. SWHMD is the second novel featuring Read More

The Southern Reach Trilogy – #3

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer What began in Annihilation, follows on in Authority, concludes in Acceptance. Although I’ll give scant details of what happens below, discussing the third part of a trilogy will necessarily reveal small facts you may prefer not to know if you intend to Read More

Trending: Tough Issue Lit for Teens

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s orignal timeline from my lost post archive. See, being an eternal optimist, I can’t even bring myself to say the word ‘suicide’ in my blog post title – yet as a subject of teen novels, I’m seeing it and mental health related illness cropping up more and Read More

The Southern Reach Trilogy #2

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive   Authority by Jeff Vandermeer I had been planning to eke out my reading of Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy over three months but, after the comments on my post about the first volume (see here and third volume here), I couldn’t wait Read More

The Southern Reach Trilogy

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer Having just read Annihilation, the first volume of Vandermeer’s series known as The Southern Reach Trilogy, I think I’m really going to enjoy the other two parts, Authority and Acceptance. This trilogy was published last year – with three months between volumes. They’re lovely Read More

A sad beginning and a happy ending cut oh so short by tragedy …

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini While I was doing some research into age appropriate novels for younger teens for a post on the topic back in November, I kept coming across books for older teens Read More

‘A Duty-Dance with Death’ – ‘So it goes’

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut This was our book group’s choice for discussion in November. Whilst it’s fair to say that whilst nobody loved it, and some didn’t get on with it at all, it did provoke some good discussion. I quite enjoyed it, and would certainly read more by Vonnegut. My only previous experience with Read More

A quiet novel with emotional depth

The Cleaner of Chartresby Salley Vickers The seventh novel by Salley Vickers, The Cleaner of Chartres is the story of orphan foundling Agnès Morel, and the people who come into her life. Before introducing us to Agnès, the novel begins by telling us about the great cathedral, how it burned and was rebuilt by an Read More

An evening with Salley Vickers

Salley Vickers, the best-selling author of Miss Garnet’s Angel, and her latest novel The Cleaner of Chartres is an absolutely fascinating person. We were lucky enough to have her visit Abingdon yesterday evening where she talked about her books in interview with Mark Thornton from Mostly Books Salley, (named we found out from the WB Yeats Read More

A French crime novel of character…

The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas, translated by Sian Reynolds This was our bookgroup read for June into July, the first roman policier, and an award-winning one too, by frenchwoman Fred Vargas – Fred being short for Frédérique.  Vargas is an archaeologist and historian and, with Reynolds as her translator, won three successive CWA International Dagger awards for Read More

Book Group Report – a German classic novella…

The Jew’s Beechby Annette Von Droste-Hülshoff Being a German novella from 1842, this book was an unusual choice for our Book Group. It came about in conversation because one of our group’s sons was studying it at uni, and another who teaches German, owned a copy in German which she’d never read. Luckily, translations are Read More

A short, sharp German legal thriller…

The Collini Caseby Ferdinand Von Schirach, translated from the German by Anthea Bell The author of The Collini Case, a prominent German defence lawyer himself, honed his writing on short stories – case histories of gruesome and shocking crimes, of people who get away with murder and the like. His first novel, a courtroom drama, Read More

Another different Italian Inspector!

Death and the Olive Grove by Marco Vichi, translated by Stephen Sartarelli This is the second of Vichi’s novels featuring Inspector Bordelli of the Florentine police.  I’ve yet to read the first, but I don’t think it really mattered. It was first published in Italian in 2003, the English translation was published this year. When Read More

Bookgroup Report – Always look on the bright side of life

Candide by Voltaire This short novel is another one of those influential classic books that I had always planned to read. I’d bought a copy in preparation, and ten years later it was still sitting on the shelf. I was really pleased that we chose it at book group, and I’m mighty glad to have Read More

All Angst and No Action

The Hollow by Jessica Verday I liked the fact that The Hollow doesn’t have vampires or angels. Instead, it is linked to the ghostly apparitions of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the book itself being set in the same town. Then I started reading, and was immediately irritated by Abigail aka Abbey, who emphasises Read More

Mar 2010 – A Lit List – 5 Favourite Novels set in Venice

Venice is a location that I adore in books.  We visited Venice in 2005, and it’s just as fascinating in real life. The picture, above, was drawn by my daughter (who had just turned five), after experiencing crossing the canal on a traghetto ferry gondola.  For a five year old she nailed the perspective didn’t she!   Read More

Medical Myths debunked

Don’t Swallow Your Gum: and Other Medical Myths Debunked by Dr Aaron Carroll and Dr Rachel Vreeman This short book looks into about seventy-five medical myths and old wives tales, examines the evidence, and debunks them. Many will have read Ben Goldacre’s bestselling book Bad Science – (If you haven’t read it, do! My review Read More