Abigail's Party

Meanwhile, at Shiny…

Here are links to my recent posts over at Shiny New Books… Abigail’s Party by Mike Leigh This is one of my most-loved TV programmes ever, and the original play is now 40 years old. Penguin have reissued it with a new intro by Leigh – and it still holds up today! Little top up? Read More

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Busy, busy, busy… and meanwhile at Shiny…

My poor blog – I’ve been neglecting it of late, life’s been so busy!  The next couple of weeks should be easier, although my priority will be supporting my daughter in her GCSE revision. Still, we did manage to get to IKEA earlier this week, and I now have a rather lovely new armchair/rug/coffee table Read More

apple tree yard

Two Short Takes

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty I had been planning to read Apple Tree Yard well in advance of the then imminent TV series (preferring to read the book first), but only just made it in time. Suffice it to say, this was a thriller that I raced through in a couple of sessions, finding Read More

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Bookish Delights

Yesterday I was delighted to be invited to attend a bloggers afternoon at the Groucho Club hosted by literary agents PFD to meet and hear some of the authors shortlisted for this year’s Sunday Times/Peters Fraser Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award – and you couldn’t hope for a more diverse collection of literary styles Read More

donal-ryan

An assured third novel

All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan This is Irish author Donal Ryan’s third novel, and despite not having read his previous two, it’s clear that he’s an author really getting into his stride for All We Shall Know is both accomplished and a compulsive read. His first novel, The Spinning Heart won major prizes Read More

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Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: An Early Work II

Another Part of the Wood by Beryl Bainbridge This is Beryl’s second published novel originally published in 1968, which she revised to be republished by Duckworth in 1979, preceding the rewritten version of her earlier novel, A Weekend With Claude. Another Part of the Wood is the story of a holiday from hell. Two families Read More

all the birds

Science vs Magic in a Dystopian World

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders The minute I read the tag-line on the press release for this book, I knew I had to read it: ‘A witch, a scientist and the end of the world’. This novel tries to do something that is not often seen in genre fiction – melding fantasy and Read More

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Shiny New Books Issue 8

I can’t believe that when our next issue of Shiny New Books comes out at the beginning of April, we will have been going for two whole years! The last issue of our second year is out today and features the winning poem in the first Shiny Poetry  Competition – it’s lovely. Naturally, you’ll find a handful of reviews Read More

Miss prim

Prim by name and prim by nature …

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera Translated by Sonia Soto I raced through this book – a feel-good romance set in a rather special little Spanish town. Miss Prim, an administrative assistant, decides to apply for a new job: Wanted: a feminine spirit quite undaunted by the world to work as a Read More

acceptance

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

Authority

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

annihilation

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

Grey Squares

Charlie Mortdecai, volume two

After You With The Pistol by Kyril Bonfiglioli This is going to be a quick post, as you shouldn’t read the second novel in this delightfully Un-PC comedy crime series until you’ve read the first – they follow directly on from each other, but I’m not giving anything away with this quote from near the beginning… To this day Read More

Grey Squares

'After the first death, there is no other.' – or is there?

Advantages of the Older Man by Gwyneth Lewis When this short novel popped through the door, I couldn’t resist reading it straight away. Gwyneth Lewis is a poet, author and playwright and I’ve previously read her volume in Seren Book’s New Tales of the Mabinogion series. The Meat Tree is a retelling of the strange and ancient Read More

Grey Squares

My first Penelope Fitzgerald read…

At Freddie’s by Penelope Fitzgerald Penelope Fitzgerald is yet another of those lauded middle-brow female novelists from the second half of the twentieth century that I had not yet tackled. I’ve long been a champion of Beryl Bainbridge and Muriel Spark; I’ve added Elizabeth Taylor, Margaret Forster, Edna O’Brien, Penelope Mortimer and not forgetting Barbara Read More

Grey Squares

"This ain't no upwardly mobile freeway … This is the road to hell"

The A26 by Pascal Garnier Quite a few bloggers (notably Stu and recently Guy) have already discovered and loved the novels of Pascal Garnier, the French author of some decidedly bleak, black comedies of the purest noir! Having acquired a couple of them, I picked his short novel The A26 to begin my own exploration. Set in Read More

Grey Squares

They were soldiers…

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque Translated by Brian Murdoch This remarkable novel about young German soldiers in WWI was our book group’s read for August; I had pushed strongly for a WWI-related choice for the month of the 100th anniversary of the war’s start. Several of us had already read Read More

august-heat

Heatwaves can be murder!

August Heat by Andrea Camilleri Translated by Stephen Sartarelli This is the third of Camilleri’s novels that I’ve read, the tenth in the popular series featuring Inspector Salvo Montalbano, and it was the most enjoyable yet. It’s nearing the middle of August and the heat in Sicily is getting unbearable.  Montalbano’s girlfriend Livia is arriving Read More

Chime of City Clock pbk

Down and ‘borassic’ in 1930s London

At the Chime of a City Clock by D J Taylor Taylor’s novel is a cleverly portrayed slice of 30s noir. It’s set in the seedy backstreets of London in 1931. James Ross is an aspiring writer, but there’s no chance of making a living at it. He lives in London’s seedy Bayswater and his Read More