A dreamlike novel of longing

Glaciers by Alexis M Smith I couldn’t resist the cover of this short novel the moment I spotted it, and felt it – you can’t see the embossing of figure, her bicycle and the title. There’s a sunny hopeful quality to the cover, and it matches the story perfectly. This debut novel is short with just Read More

Lighten up Anita

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton I am profoundly aware that I often read books in the wrong order. I’m not referring to books in a series here though – I always prefer to start from the beginning with them; instead I’m talking about influence. This means for instance that it was forty years before I Read More

The Great American Dream?

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald Having adored Baz Luhrmann’s new film of The Great Gatsby (which I blogged about here), I just couldn’t wait to re-read the book. It must have been a couple of decades since I last read it, and this time, for my third re-read, I was able to use my Folio Fitzgerald set Read More

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 This copy is rather dilapidated, having been liberated (withdrawn and sold) from Cannon Street Library many years ago.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

Nick loves Amy, Amy loves Nick, don't they?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn This book is our book group choice for discussion this month – I would normally wait until after we’ve met to put down some thoughts about our reading, but after devouring this novel in two sittings, (I started at bedtime last night, and finished it when I woke up this morning Read More

A little London loving – 1960s style…

Georgy Girlby Margaret Forster Margaret Forster is somehow one of those familiar authors, although I’ve read any of her books.  Over the last fifteen years or so, I’ve seen several of her books in shops; The Memory Box is a title that stuck in my mind.  Although I’ve no idea how old she is, or Read More

Losing myself in the Lymond Chronicles

The Game Of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett I reported on my experiences about reading the first half of The Game of Kings, the first volume in Dorothy Dunnett’s saga of 16th century life in the Scottish border country, here.  A month later I’ve finished the book and thus the first leg of my plans to read the series. Read More

One man's version of love and betrayal…

The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford Subtitled “A Tale of Passion”, Ford’s 1915 novel has one of those first lines that tend to come up in quizzes: “This is the saddest story I have ever heard.” We picked it for our book group to discuss in November, after several of us having loved the recent Read More

Muriel Spark Reading Week – The Girls of Slender Means

 It’s Muriel Spark Reading Week, hosted by Simon and Harriet. Do visit their blogs to see a plethora of reviews and links to what we’ve all been reading. I’ve not read a Spark novel since 2008 when I really enjoyed The Ballad Of Peckham Rye.  I chose another of her 1960s novels for MSRW… * * Read More

Muriel Spark Reading Week 2012

  This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. It’s Muriel Spark Reading Week, hosted by Simon and Harriet. Do visit their blogs to see a plethora of reviews and links to what we’ve all been reading. I’ve not read a Spark novel since 2008 when I really enjoyed The Ballad Of Peckham Rye. Read More

‘In the desert you can remember your name’

Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru Back in the early days of my blog, I posted about my favourite 1970s pop music in I was a 70s teenager.  The first song I talked about there was – still is – one that still inspires me ever since it first appeared back in 1971. It immediately resurfaced Read More

Portrait of a middle-class family before & after WWI

This post was republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple. Not considering myself a typical Persephone Books reader – Tsk! I hear you say, there is no such thing, I have loved the handful of the beautiful dove grey covered books that I’ve read Read More

Stephen King’s Dark Tower #1

The Dark Tower Book 1: The Gunslinger by Stephen King It’s simply years since I read any Stephen King, and then I only read his horror stories.  I was only vaguely aware that he had written a series which was a dark fantasy. Then Jenny and Teresa at Shelflove decided to launch a readalong of The Dark Tower, Read More

3 from April 2011 Set in the USA – Waite – Millar – Kwok

The Terror of Living by Urban Waite – A fine backwoods thriller… It was the quote from Daniel Woodrell, an author of whom I’m a huge fan, on the cover that made me instantly want to read this book, a debut novel set in the backwoods border country near Seattle.  To all outward appearances it’s a crime thriller, Read More

2 from 2011 featuring dogs: Rhodes & Raisin

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. A man, his lover, & his dog – Timoleon Vieta Come Home by Dan Rhodes This is the story of a mongrel dog with the ‘saddest eyes in the world’. One day a stray dog turns up at retired British composer Cockcroft’s Read More

3 reviews from Jan 2011: Hornby, Jensen & Gaiman

Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby I don’t know how he does it, but there’s something about a Nick Hornby book that so hooks me, that I feel part of the story – I can always identify with some of the characters. Juliet Naked is the story of a lost rock star, a completist fan and his Read More

Family in crisis! Will quirkiness pull them through?

The Great Perhaps by Joe Meno My first encounter with US novelist Joe Meno, The Great Perhaps is a tale of a dysfunctional American family. An academic couple and their two daughters, they are four very different characters… Let’s meet the Casper family:  Father – Jonathan, who has epilepsy provoked by seeing clouds, and is searching for Read More

The greatest ‘story’ ever told?

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman Storytelling is something that Philip Pullman cares about very much –  he told the audience so at the Oxford Literary Festival a week or so ago (link here). It is also immediately apparent when you start to read this book.  The language is very straight-forward, Read More

Philip Pullman at the Oxford Literary Festival

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ It was Palm Sunday today, and off I went to the hallows of the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford to see the first full talk by Philip Pullman on his new book, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, which is published tomorrow.  It’s the latest volume in the Read More

Running away from country ways and city life – a family’s dilemma

The Good Parents by Joan London This accomplished novel starts off as the story of eighteen year old Maya de Jong, a girl from Western Australia who escapes the country to get a job in Melbourne. She works for Maynard Flynn, a slightly shady businessman, and it’s not long before they embark on an affair. Read More

An truly original modern fairy tale

The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw This novel is that rare thing – a thoroughly grown-up modern fairy tale that works. It’s also a beautifully designed book with an evocative cover and silver page edging. It is set in a remote cluster of islands around an archipelago called St Hauda’s land which feels Read More

Short Takes

I’d like to introduce you to a couple of books that I particularly enjoyed earlier this year before I started my blog … Gold by Dan Rhodes. This is a gently humorous novel about Miyuki and her annual trip to the same Welsh seaside village out of season, where she walks, reads, and drinks beer Read More

Short Takes

The Ballad of Peckham Rye by Muriel Spark The 100th book I read this year. It was a delightful short novel about a young man who arrives in a slightly posh bit of South London, stirs things up rather devilishly bringing this staid bit of town to life, and then he disappears. Is Dougal Douglas Read More