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A great comfort at year-end

Play All: A Bingewatcher’s Notebook by Clive James Whatever is happening outside, a new book by Clive James is always a comfort to read – something you can’t say about many other (predominantly) non-fiction writers, except Bill Bryson. I grew up reading James’ TV reviews in the Observer every weekend – looking forward to the Read More

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Year end review #4: The Stats

I’ve been number-crunching on my master spreadsheet and yes, It’s time to share my year’s stats with you!  These are accurate to book 139 or 140 on my 2016 reading list on the tab above. The amount I’m reading has been gradually going up year on year, as I watch less telly, do less sewing and Read More

set-phasers

Two shorter non-fic reviews

I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately – including some absolute crackers that deserve a whole post to themselves – and I don’t mind saving them to write about for the new year. Meanwhile, today I have two shorter non-fic reviews for you… Set Phasers to Stun by Marcus Berkmann If you’ve read this Read More

A Tour of Bones

All that remains… in the charnel house.

A Tour of Bones by Denise Inge Denise Inge was an American who married an English clergyman. When he became Bishop of Worcester they moved there, and Denise found that they would have to share their new home with a ‘charnel house’. Wikipedia defines it thus: “A charnel house is a vault or building where Read More

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Doesn’t go up to 11…

Marshall: The Book of Loud by Nick Harper I love books of trivia and infographics – this book which is subtitled ‘An essential miscellany of musical knowledge’, is aimed squarely at the Christmas market. While fun, it doesn’t really have enough of either trivia or infographics, being saddled with too much filler – more on Read More

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What a Life in Design…

My Life in Design – Sir Terence Conran Terence Conran is 84 years young and still working. He’s one of the UK’s most iconic designers – a quote on the back cover of this book declares him: “Britain’s Taste-Maker in Chief”   Mick Brown, Daily Telegraph. With the upcoming reopening of London’s Design Museum (which he Read More

farewell-to-ice

We’re doomed! Or are we?

A Farewell To Ice by Peter Wadhams One theme that has emerged in much of my reading of late is that of icy and mostly northern climes. From Beryl Bainbridge’s Titanic novel Every Man for Himself to Midge Raymond’s Antarctic penguins in My Last Continent to Eowyn Ivey’s Alaska in To The Bright Edge of the World, then Stef Read More

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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

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

shopgirl

The making of Mary (Queen of Shops)

Shop Girl by Mary Portas Mary Portas is one of those TV presenter/gurus you either love or find profoundly irritating. I love her and her championing of the high street and independent retailers. Her TV programmes where she helps ailing businesses are full of common sense and good advice jazzed up with her team’s design Read More

year of living danishly

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

lifechanging

I dared to read the book…

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo A few days ago, I posed the question Dare I read this book? Do read the earlier post for an introduction to this best-selling self-help book by the new young Japanese queen of decluttering. Well, your comments certainly emboldened me and I put the TBR Dare to one side Read More

lifechanging

Dare I read this book?

There are few things guaranteed to put fear into a book- lover’s life than the idea of getting rid of some books, and other stuff of course.  My mind is starting to turn to the idea of downsizing – at some undecided point in the future – not now, but my house is so full of ‘stuff’ Read More

Gut

Discovering my second brain

Gut by Giulia Enders I still have a small pile of other books to review I read last year, I’ve promoted this one, the last book I finished in 2015, to be the first reviewed in 2016, and will get back to the others soon. I’m notoriously bad at persevering with projects – it’ll be Read More

latest-readings

Reading as if his life depends on it…

This post has be republished in its original place in my blog’s time-line, having been ‘lost’ when I transferred my domain in 2016. Latest Readings by Clive James I was supposed to review this book for the latest issue of Shiny, but just couldn’t write it up in time, so Simon obliged with a review for Shiny Read More

Carrie Fisher

Capturing her memories

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher In my review of Fisher’s previous slim volume of anecdotal memoir, Wishful Drinking, I wished she would write a full memoir a couple of years down the line. Instead, she has done more of the same, but you know what, I don’t care Read More

wabisabi

Reviving his thirst for reading…

The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller What do you do when you seriously lose your reading mojo? I tend to retreat into trashy fiction, but I have always managed to recover it after a short hiatus. This wasn’t the case for Andy Miller. He has a great job in publishing, a happy marriage Read More

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Christmas Shiny Linkiness …

Today, I’d like to direct you over to my reviews in the Shiny New Books Christmas Inbetweeny.  By the way, have you tried our Shiny Advent Quiz yet? Ideal as a post-prandial competition… But back to my reviews as these books are all too good to leave off mentioning here too: The Islanders by Pascal Read More

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Poor but mostly happy …

This Boy by Alan Johnson Politicians’ memoirs are not the norm for me to read when I choose non-fiction. Alan Johnson may be a fine politician, (and many think that Labour would be in a much better place if he had stood to become leader) but this volume doesn’t cover his later career, just his Read More

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How do you define an expert scientist?

Are We All Scientific Experts Now? by Harry Collins Harry Collins is a professor at Cardiff University, where he lectures on the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK), and his areas of research include: the Nature of Scientific Knowledge and knowledge in general; public Understanding of Science; and the Nature of Skills and Expertise, amongst other topics. 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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“Marvellous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World”

Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik What would we do without man-made materials?  We can’t live without them these days. Mark Miodownik, whom some of you may recognise from his regular TV appearances on Dara O’Briain’s Science Club on BBC2, wants to tells us all about the things our man-made world is shaped from. Mark, like me Read More

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50th Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK

The Assassination of JFK: Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayo I was just three and a half when JFK was assassinated, so I remained blissfully unaware of the tragedy that had happened on 22nd November 1963.  They say it’s one of those events that everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news. I’ve Read More

Morrissey

‘November spawned a monster’?

This post was combined from two and republished into it’s original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. Autobiography by Morrissey First thoughts: Is anyone planning to read Autobiography by Morrissey? I’ve got a copy, and am admitting to feeling daunted by it. The opening lines go like this: My childhood is streets upon Read More

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What a Wonderful World – the Blog Tour stops here today…

Today science writer Marcus Chown’s blog tour to promote his book What a Wonderful World: One Man’s Attempt to Explain the Big Stuff, stops here! Marcus is the cosmology consultant of New Scientist magazine, and has published several successful popular science volumes which have delighted science enthusiasts on cosmology, quantum physics, and other physics concepts, Read More

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Cook Quick tips from the 1950s

There’s something fascinating about period cookery books – I posted about my late mum’s Fanny Craddock books before, but whilst playing with my books the other day, I found another old cookbook – The Daily Telegraph Prize-winning Readers’ Recipes (with cook quick illustrations). There’s no date of publication, but it contains ‘Cook Quick’ methods from Read More

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Is the day of the encyclopedia on the shelf over?

Dear Readers, I’m in a quandary. Twenty years ago, with the aid of a legacy from my late great-aunt, I invested in a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica.  Leather bound with gilt page edges, and 32 volumes – it cost me over £1200 back then. Britannica itself has now stopped publishing the print edition, concentrating Read More

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The joy of Ladybirds…

Playing with my books this morning, I spotted my pile of Ladybird books from my childhood. I had stacks of them, all the nature and music titles, most of the historical ones, and an assortment of others. The format never changed – a page of text on the left, and illustrations on the right, mostly Read More

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On Conducting …

The Great Conductors by Harold C Schonberg I came across this book of my late mother’s this afternoon and thought I’d share it with you. This copy is rather dilapidated, having been liberated (withdrawn and sold) from Cannon Street Library many years ago. She used to go there during her lunchtimes, and brought countless books Read More