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A Grand Day Out: Art & Shakespeare

A diversion from literary fare today. My daughter and I went to London yesterday for a day of art and Shakespeare. It was a long day – we got home at 1am, but it was rather brilliant. Our first stop was: The House of Illustration This gallery nestles beside Central St Martin’s school of art Read More

Subutex 1

#WITMonth – Virginie Despentes – Vernon Subutex 1

A state of the nation novel for the post-punk generation Translated by Frank Wynne Virginie Despentes has lived a bit! You can sense that she’s happy for us to know that from her provocative author photo (right), which is also laden with Gallic irony. Looking her up, she’s been a maid, worked in massage parlours and Read More

Can You Hear Me

One for #WITMonth at Shiny…

Can You Hear Me? by Elena Varvello Translated by Alex Valente August is Women in Translation month – and my review of  this debut novel by Italian author Elena Varvello is over at Shiny New Books. A combination of psychothriller and coming of age story that works, brilliantly, these two theme entwine around each other, Read More

Importance Music Girls

The Importance of Music to Girls

By Lavinia Greenlaw I adore books that cover musical memories from the 1970s and 1980s, the formative years of my teens and twenties. The 1970s in particular, despite all the horrors they’ve thrown up since, are my musical heartland. Lavinia Greenlaw is a poet and author and is just a couple of years younger than Read More

3 novellas aug 2017

Three Short Novels – Simenon – Fitzgerald – Johnston

Georges Simenon – The Grand Banks Café Translated by David Coward Maigret and Mrs Maigret are about to go on holiday. Mrs Maigret is packing as Maigret reads a letter that’s arrived from an old friend. “…Listen, are you still set on passing our week’s holiday in Alsace?” She stared at him, not understanding. The Read More

6 Degress P&P

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Pride & Prejudice

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, the Six Degrees of Separation meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Pride & Prejudice I was desperate to find a non-Austen, non-Colin Firth link but struggled for a while until i came up with (what IMHO) is a cracker. Read More

midweekmisc

Midweek Miscellany

A rainy Wednesday seems the ideal time to catch up on many little things with you all… FIRSTLY BLOG MAINTENANCE I must apologise to those of you whose readers have been filling up with my old posts from 2010 that I’d reposted here, after they got lost in my web-host transfer. I’d gaily thought that if Read More

20-books

20 Books of Summer #5 & 6 – Robinson & Offill

Forgetting Zoë by Ray Robinson I loved Robinson’s first two novels, Electricity and The Man Without (see here). Both followed the lives of troubled young people; very immediate, very British and very touching. With his third novel published in 2010, he did something rather different. In Forgetting Zoë, he moved his storytelling to the USA/Canada, and gives Read More

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Bloggers & Book Groups – Keeping the Mid & Backlist Alive?

I originally wrote this post in November 2010, and was going to reinsert it back into my blog’s timeline (it was one of my missing posts). However, it occurred to me that the subject I was discussing then, is even more pertinent today, so I’ve brushed it down a little and updated it to get Read More

Barbas

Let the children play…

Such Small Hands by Andrés Barba Translated by Lisa Dillman I had forgotten that it was Spanish Literature Month, but just in time a new arrival has allowed me to take part. This novella, by young Spanish author Barba (right), is  published on Aug 3. He is one of Granta’s Best of Young Spanish novelists, Read More

Gather the Daughters

‘Handmaidesque’…

Given that we’ve all been transfixed by the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, there’s a definite market for ‘Handmaidesque’ dystopian novels at the moment; Gather the Daughters is one such. If I were to pitch it, I’d describe Jennie Melamed’s debut as Handmaid’s Tale meets The Crucible with a hint of Lord Read More

LT Dewey Top Level

The fun of book stats on Librarything

It was cataloguing my books on Librarything that helped get me into blogging, and LT (see my profile here) remains my catalogue of choice. I really can’t be bothered with Goodreads – it’s so cumbersome.  LT is also fun! For instance, it’ll tell you how tall your bookstack is… How many IKEA Billy bookcases your Read More

imaginary friends

Philip Pullman essays – a single from Indie Booksellers Week

Imaginary Friends by Philip Pullman I know we’re a few weeks past Independent Booksellers Week now, but you may still be able to get a copy of this single essay by Philip Pullman, published as a little book for IBW and only available in indie bookshops. Each year a different essay about books and reading Read More

Monte Carlo

The glamour of the Grand Prix – it’s not real life…

Monte Carlo by Peter Terrin Translated from the Dutch by David Doherty Before I tell you more about this exquisite short novel by Dutch author, Peter Terrin, I’d like to expound briefly on the glamour of the Monaco Grand Prix – it is the one we all love to see, raced over the streets of Read More

Eminent Hipsters Donald Fagen

20 Books of Summer #4 The Nightfly writes…

Eminent Hipsters by Donald Fagen Steely Dan is one of my favourite bands. It was all the fault of Mick at our Youth Club, whom I adored from afar. This was the mid-1970s and he had a copy of the Dan’s new fourth album Katy Lied (1975). Fagen has a rather distinctive voice which is hard Read More

When Eight Bells Toll

For the love of good old-fashioned adventure…

Here’s the thing. Now we’re through the beginnings of the computer age, and are in the global communications age – don’t you think that (most) modern thrillers have got too technological? And with those technological advances, plots become bogged down with it all, there’s so much telling about the technology necessary to explain what’s happening Read More

Gentleman moscow towles

Towles’ entrancing second novel…

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles Amor Towles’ debut novel Rules of Civility (reviewed here) was one of the best books I read in 2011. Although Towles graduated in English back in the late 1980s, he worked as an investment professional for over twenty years before publishing his first novel. This book was a Read More

Forever

A modern classic teen text?

Forever by Judy Blume Blume wrote Forever back in 1975, long before the YA subdivision in children’s publishing had been conceived of.  Her novel of “first love, first sex and first heartbreak” was a brave one then, resulting in it being banned in many schools and libraries. However it became an underground and later mainstream Read More