Desert Island Books

A post Cold-War spy drama

A Spy’s Life by Henry Porter Many moons ago I read Henry Porter’s first novel Rememberance Day (2000) which was a fast-moving spy thriller and I enjoyed it very much indeed. Finally, years later, I’ve read his second – another standalone spy-thriller about an ex-spy who finds out that you can never truly leave your former Read More

Desert Island Books

My new reviews at Shiny New Books

The third issue of Shiny New Books came out on Monday. Now it’s time for me to highlight some of my reviews that appear therein and point you in their direction. As it ended up, I didn’t write as many reviews for this edition, but I shall still split them into a few posts in Read More

Desert Island Books

Romance in a Paris Cinema – a feelgood recipe for success?

The Secret Paris Cinema Club by Nicholas Barreau Although I rarely read full-on romance novels, I couldn’t resist this one. It has all the feelgood ingredients one could ask for – an old cinema, a beautiful woman in a red coat, a classic boy meets girl/loses girl/finds girl (one hopes) romance – and it is Read More

slow horses

Echoes of Le Carré with a sense of humour …

Slow Horses by Mick Herron The other night I was meant to be going to my local bookshop Mostly Books for an event with Mick Herron, winner of the 2013 CWA Gold Dagger for his novel Dead Lions. Instead I ended up in MIU with my daughter who managed to break the fifth metatarsal in her left foot when she Read More

Sombrero

My first encounter with Richard Brautigan …

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. It was last summer when Karen at Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings was participating in the Beats of Summer fortnight of reading from the Beat Generation, that I resolved to read a book by Richard Brautigan. As I am not a fan of On the Road or The Naked Lunch (bored Read More

Hornby reading

How to add to your wishlists with Nick Hornby…

This post was combined and republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. The Complete Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby One of the easiest ways of adding lots of books to your wishlists, (apart from the recommendations of other bloggers of course), is to read a book about books.  Even better if said book Read More

Dark Tower 6

Stephen King’s Dark Tower #6

The Dark Tower Book 6: Song of Susannah by Stephen King King’s magnum opus is not a series that you can jump into midway through, so if you’ve not read it, I suggest you start at the beginning. See my series of posts: Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4 and Vol 5 and find your starting point, don’t read on. Read More

Desert Island Books

Re-reading one of my favourite books…

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx I’ve now finished my re-read of Annie Proulx’s novel The Shipping News, that I told you about a few days ago here. When I finished the book the first time, so sure was I that I’d be re-reading, and hopefully re-loving, it that I bought myself a luxury numbered Read More

sweet william

Love the one you’re with – the Bainbridge version

Sweet William by Beryl Bainbridge I was thinking of an apt title for this post and was planning on calling it ‘The man who loved women‘ after the celebrated François Truffaut film, but then I remembered the Stephen Stills song ‘Love the one you’re with‘. It seemed to encapsulate Bainbridge’s 1975 novel in a nutshell. (More Read More

Salmon-Fishing-in-the-Yemen-poster

Book v Movie: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (republished into its original place in the time-line from my lost post archive) I went to see the film Salmon Fishing in the Yemen this afternoon based on the brilliant 2006 book by Paul Torday. I read the book last year and loved it, (review here), so I was crossing my fingers that Read More

Miller and miller

Two novels, two different Millers…

This post was combined and republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. Snowdrops by A D Miller I bought this debut novel at the beginning of the year.  It’s had a lot of interest even before it was Booker longlisted. Trying to ignore the hype, I dove in. It’s a tale of Read More

Salmon fishing

The spirit of Sir Humphrey lives on …

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday (republished into its original place in the time-line from my lost post archive) This was our Book Group choice to read in May, and all those who made it, enjoyed this book. There were different degrees of love ranging from a good read to fantastic, but no-one Read More

Teller Nesbo Sabato

3 shorter reviews – Nesbo – Sabato – Teller

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive.   The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden, foreword by Colm Tóibín Ernesto Sabato died recently, just two months short of his one hundredth birthday.  He was regarded as one of the greats of Argentinian literature,  having Read More

sisters-brothers

My book of the year so far…

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt If I had to make a movie pitch for this book, it would be the Coen brothers do The Blues Brothers crossed with Deadwood, HBO’s fantastic wild west series, and that encapsulates it in a nutshell for me, save to say that the combination is an absolute winner. The Blues Brothers also just happens to Read More

Dr J and Mr H

What could have possessed Dr Jekyll?

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R L Stevenson When I received an email from the publicist for this new series of classic novels in quality pocket hardback format from Whites books, Jekyll and Hyde was the one that leapt out of the list as I’d never read it before. The Read More

Spy Who in From the Cold

Cold War espionage feels so real in this book

The Spy Who Came in from the Coldby John Le Carré This was the October choice for our book group and I must say it proved to be a popular one given that several of the group had moaned ‘not a Le Carré’ when I suggested it; however this one’s relative brevity, tautness and utter plausibility Read More

Story Sisters

Sisters are doing it …

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman Elv, Claire and Meg Story are sisters.  They’re extremely close, inventing a language all of their own – Arnish – even their mother is excluded from their fantasy world, and the younger two are always rapt with Elv’s storytelling about the fairy land of Arnelle.  Theirs is a world full Read More

living-dead-2

Susan Hill’s ghostly story for autumnal nights

The Small Hand by Susan Hill Susan Hill is justly renowned for her ghost stories – her best-known is The Woman in Black which is both chilling and a darned good read. The Small Hand is her latest, and I thoroughly enjoyed it too. It starts off simply.  Adam Snow, an antiquarian bookseller is on his way home from meeting a Read More

Desert Island Books

File under Noir, not Fantasy

The Dresden Files Books 1 and 2 by Jim Butcher   A few weeks ago while talking about crime series to read, my good blog-friend LizF recommended these books to me. As is often the case with me and my TBR mountains, I’d spotted them myself some time ago and had already picked up the first Read More

Peirene

A Promising Pair

Introducing Peirene Press Peirene Press, named after a Greek nymph who turned into a water spring which was drunk by poets for inspiration, is a new publishing house specialising in contemporary European literature of novella length in translation. I was lucky enough to win a copy of their first novel from Librarything, and was offered Read More

still-point-big

A day in the life – a life in a day

The Still Point by Amy Sackville Julia is the great-grand-niece of Edward Mackley, a polar explorer at the turn of the century, who newly married to Emily, left on an expedition and was never seen alive again after a group of men set out for the North Pole from their ship the Persephone.  Emily, effectively abandoned after their Read More

The Swimmer Tearne

Home is where the heart is

The Swimmer by Roma Tearne The village of Orford, near Aldeburgh in Suffolk is not used to foreigners.  Someone’s killing animals by slitting their throats, and everyone is concerned about terrorists in their midst. Ria, a poet, lives in relative isolation in  her late uncle’s cottage by the coast in Suffolk – it’s home.  Eric, a Read More

Desert Island Books

A novel to make your skin creep…

Skin Lane by Neil Bartlett Mr F has worked for 33 of his 47 years in the fur trade in 60s London and is a master cutter who takes pride in his work. A bachelor, he leads a strictly ordered life, running by a to the minute timetable that rarely deviates. It’s not a normal Read More

savannah-grey

Evolution goes mad in this YA horror tale

Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish The cover of this book attracted me – it’s not black for a start, and the green combined with autumn leaves is a winner.  The taglines suggest something nasty… but combined with romance, and the figure on the cover, you could be forgiven for expecting a rather soft supernatural tale.   Read More

Desert Island Books

Starting the Canongate Myths series …

A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong One of my reading resolutions for 2010 is to read the entire Canongate Myths series – re-tellings of age old stories by great authors. While I’m not intending to read them in strict publication order necessarily, (I managed to snaffle a copy of the latest addition Orphans Read More

Desert Island Books

The Police are but a small episode in this busy life …

Strange Things Happen by Stewart Copeland The emphasis is on fun in this memoir – for Copeland is a hyperactive sort, a workaholic but easily bored, loving a challenge, never playing anything quite the same way twice, liking to be boss, and he’s also much more than a mere drummer. Jumping about in time with Read More

Desert Island Books

A solid and enjoyable police procedural

Spider Trap by Barry Maitland Barry Maitland is the author of a series of nine crime novels so far featuring the detective team of ‘Brock and Kolla’. Some years ago, I remember reading one of the earlier ones, The Chalon Heads, which was set in the world of stamp collecting. A plot involving gangsters and forgers Read More