Rites of Passage

The 1980 Booker Prize winner…

Rites of Passage by William Golding Golding’s book divided the Booker judges initially, as it was the first part of a planned trilogy, (the other two volumes were published several years later). Could the prize be given to a part work?  Of course it could – and that has happened several times since in Booker Read More

Revenge Lawn

Book Group Report – ‘Green’

  At the moment, our book group chooses books by picking a key word for members to make pitches based on – we’re currently working our way through some colours. For ‘green’ we had a varied group of suggestions: Plot 29 by Allan Jenkins – a memoir about two brothers rescued from care in the Read More

McInerny Viskic

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

Release Patrick Ness

Blogging about reviewer’s block has ‘released’ me…

Release by Patrick Ness The other day I wrote about my reviewer’s block and how I had a pile of superb books waiting to be reviewed from earlier in the summer. This was one of them… Only the fact that I’d never read Mrs Dalloway blinded me to the power of the first sentence of Read More

The Reminders

Unforgettable

The Reminders by Val Emmich Ten-year-old Joan Lennon Sully has Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM), a neurological condition. She can remember everything that happened to her in detail – this is biographical rather than photographic memory, she can’t ace exams but can tell  you what she was wearing on any particular day for instance. Joan Read More

Keyes & Pope

Aug/Sept Book Group Report: SF & Naval books

Our book group didn’t meet in August as nearly everyone was on hols, so last night we had two books to discuss. The way we pick our books is to  chose a theme two months ahead, then research and next month  present our suggestions, of which one gets picked eventually. SF: Flowers for Algernon by Read More

The Reader on the 6-27

I’m still reviewing books read in 2016…

With concentrating on best of posts after Christmas, I got seriously behind reviewing books the I’d read, so here is a ‘twofer’ finishing up my fiction list and leaving just one non-fiction book read in 2016 left to review… The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent Translated by Ros Schwartz Guylain Vignolles is a Read More

revolutionary-road

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Revolutionary Road

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, this meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six steps. (Here’s my one for last month – Never Let Me Go to Electricity by Ray Robinson). This month the starting book is Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. Now this is a Read More

raven-popup-cover

‘Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore’.’ …

The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe in a spectacular pop-up presentation by David Pelham and Christopher Wormell If ever there was a poem that was made for reading aloud, it’s The Raven, Poe’s 1845 masterpiece of rhyme, metre and repetition. (I just adore the rhymes – ‘that is’ and ‘lattice’  in the 6th verse must Read More

real tigers

The Slow Horses meet the Real Tigers

Real Tigers by Mick Herron This is the third of Mick Herron’s ‘Slough House’ spy novels, following Slow Horses and Dead Lions. Previously, I’d only read the first, Slow Horses (reviewed here), but found that it was alright to jump to the third; the references to the second novel are few and don’t affect the Read More

Tom rachman 2nd novel

A novel that refuses to settle down…

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman Thirty-one year old Tooly Zylberberg is trying to read a book in the loss-making second-hand bookshop that she had bought in a village known as World’s End, just over the Welsh border. Their business plan had been to subsist on spillover custom from the annual literary festival Read More

revenant

Exit, pursued by a bear – a winter’s tale…

The Revenant by Michael Punke You thought you were getting Shakey didn’t you? But those words so fit this novel which the much-lauded movie starring Leo was based on too! I’ve not seen the film of The Revenant and don’t want to.  I’m not attracted to watching two and a half hours of Rocky Mountain winters full of gore, Read More

Wallach Ness

Two shorter YA reviews

Republished back into my blog’s timeline from my ‘lost post archive’. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach The world is going to end in ten chapters (weeks?) time when an asteroid called Ardor will crash into the Earth. If you’re a teenager, what are you going to do? There may be no future, so Read More

Throw Away Unopened

"…good to get out of the rain."

You all know how I love to use a good quote from a song lyric to introduce a review. There are just so many songs about rain though… but I have two oft-used favourites that always seem to yield an appropriate phrase for me – one is Hotel California by the Eagles; the other, as Read More

Rev diaries

The Divine Rev. Adam Smallbone …

The Rev. Diaries by The Reverend Adam Smallbone, (by Jon Canter) Now into its third short series on BBC2, the sitcom Rev continues to delight. It is simply hilarious, and absolutely hits the spot every time without being sacrilegious or blasphemous.  What is so lovely about it is that doesn’t make fun of faith per se; its targets Read More

Throw Away Unopened

‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’ …

Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies Deborah Kay Davies is one of those writers who does dark brilliantly. Her first novel True Things About Me (my review) was disturbing yet unputdownable – about a thrill-seeking young woman who gets into an abusive relationship.  Her second novel, the Baileys longlisted Reasons She Read More

Throw Away Unopened

“It’s the end of the world as we know it” …

Ragnarok by A.S.Byatt The Myths series of books by Canongate, is a set I’ve been collecting since their inception in 1995 – I’ve read maybe half of them so far though – something I must address! Every year or two, Canongate are adding titles in the series – short novels by esteemed writers. The latest Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Gone Girl meets The Secret History – not quite, but a good try

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight When a novel sets itself up on the front cover to be compared to Gone Girl (my review here), and in other places I’ve seen it compared to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, it raises the bar rather high… Kate is a hard-working lawyer and single mum to teenage daughter Amelia, Read More

Rosie project

Perfect holiday rom-com reading …

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion It’s not often that you know you’re going to love a book within the first few pages, but with The Rosie Project, that was never in question for me. It is the story of Don Tillman, a Read More

Throw Away Unopened

A new approach to the problem of werewolves …

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy Inside this chunkster of a werewolf novel are at least two shorter novels trying to get out… Imagine a post 9/11 America into which a new threat has emerged to fuel a nation’s paranoia. It’s the age of the werewolf, or Lycans as Percy dubs them. From the opening chapters Read More

Throw Away Unopened

The adventures of a gentleman thief

Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman by E W Hornung Those of a certain age like me, may well remember the 1970s TV series Raffles with some fondness. It starred Anthony Valentine (right) as the titular gentleman thief, and Christopher Strauli as Bunny, his sidekick. A pair of dinner-suited scoundrels fleecing a bunch of toffs to fund Read More

Zappa

Hot Rats, it’s Zappa …

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. The Real Frank Zappa Book by Frank Zappa. with Peter Occhiogrosso Not so much a memoir as an appealing opportunity to “say stuff in print about tangential subjects” this book is an absolute hoot.  Forthright,  and by turns and hilarious and serious, Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Sex & Show-jumping – only in Rutshire!

Riders by Jilly Cooper. I have never had a personal desire to get on a horse, but watching show-jumping on telly was a fixture that I looked forward to while growing up. The Horse of the Year Show with the Puissance always ending with that gigantic wall getting higher and higher, the relay races, and the Read More

Throw Away Unopened

I never knew policing in London could be this much fun! …

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch OK – Let me nail my colours to the mast… I was born and bred in Purley, Surrey, on the edge of London suburbia; yes, that Purley – ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more’.  I later studied at Imperial College in Kensington, and I know there and London’s Read More

Rules of Civility

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