Shiny Linkiness

I don’t always have time to link to my reviews over at Shiny New Books, but I have to share this one far and wide. Viv Albertine’s second volume of memoir was published in April. I saw her talk about it at the Faber Spring Party, and she was funny and lovely, and through writing, Read More

“17 Brushes with Death”

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell Subtitled “17 Brushes With Death” O’Farrell’s memoir was recently longlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize, and I (and others on our shadow panel) were devastated when it wasn’t shortlisted. For me, it could have replaced Ayobami’s Stay With Me or perhaps Rausing’s Mayhem, although I can Read More

Wellcome Book Prize #3 & #4: Adébáyọ̀ & Mannix

Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ Adébáyọ̀’s novel is the one fiction selection on this year’s Wellcome Prize shortlist. Although it has much to say about the patriarchal society of Nigeria in the 1980s, it surprised me with how much it does meet the prize criteria of a book that celebrates, ” the many ways Read More

The Second Outing for the Anti-Miss Marple in Sicily…

  Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord by Mario Giordano Translated from the German by John Brownjohn I was delighted to encounter the first Auntie Poldi book last year. The adventures of an irrepressible sixty-year-old German lady who retires to her late ex-husband’s ancestral home in Sicily, hoping to “fulfil one of her dearest Read More

PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year shortlist – Claire North

The End of the Day by Claire North Claire North came to our attention via the bestseller that was The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. But she is no tyro author; she has four novels and a trilogy of e-novellas under her mantle as North, six adult fantasy books before that writing as Kate Read More

A cult German modern classic

The New Sorrows of Young W. by Ulrich Plenzdorf Translated by Romy Fursland I won this book from Lizzy’s Tenth Blogiversary  giveaway back in February – thank you! I chose it from those she offered purely because of the cassette tape on the front which I was hoping would set it in the 1970s/80s – and Read More

‘It’s not about the money, money, money’ – Oh yes it is!

Wake up Happy Every Day by Stephen May Last year, when I hosted my second Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week, Stephen May wrote a lovely guest post for my blog about the time he met BB and ended up giving her a piggyback!  (Do click HERE to read it.) It was immediately obvious that May is great Read More

A new imprint from Head of Zeus and a lovely launch title for it…

The White Hare by Michael Fishwick Head of Zeus, not content with launching their Apollo imprint for reprints last year, have now launched another. Zephyr will be for children’s books and I’m delighted to be the penultimate stop on the blog tour for its launch title, The White Hare, a novel for 12+ by Michael Fishwick. It’s Read More

All that remains… in the charnel house.

A Tour of Bones by Denise Inge Denise Inge was an American who married an English clergyman. When he became Bishop of Worcester they moved there, and Denise found that they would have to share their new home with a ‘charnel house’. Wikipedia defines it thus: “A charnel house is a vault or building where Read More

Too cryogenically cool to love outright

Zero K by Don DeLillo I’m not entirely new to reading Don DeLillo. I like the idea of reading DeLillo and I have read the first quarter of his 1971 debut, Americana, for my Annabel’s Shelves project. I was really enjoying it; it started well – we were introduced to top TV executive David Bell – who, if he’d been Read More

Shiny Fiction Linkiness

Time to share my Fiction reviews from Issue 8 of Shiny New Books with you – four very different but enjoyable books, click through to read the full reviews, links within the text refer to my previous reviews: The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre Best known for his Verhoeven trilogy, Lemaitre has turned from contemporary fare to the end Read More

Three Slightly Shorter Reviews

I’ve got a series of posts lined up for the week in between Christmas and New Year with my hits, misses, finds and stats, so it’s time to catch up with my review pile backlog and some shorter reviews… The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield For anyone who loved the TV series Six Feet Under, Read More

'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

Book Group Report – Jean Teulé

The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé Our book group read for July into August was actually a re-read for me. We’d wanted something quick and light as due to our schedules we only had three weeks between meetings instead of our usual four or five. I had read Teulé’s 2007 novel, published in English translation Read More

Getting back to Banks…

The Quarry by Iain Banks   I was saddened at Iain Banks’s untimely death last year, and although I added his last novel The Quarry to my collection, I couldn’t read it straight away. Nine months later, it was an opportune time to read it – coinciding nicely with the paperback issue and the launch Read More

Where is your North?

Soonchild by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Alexis Deacon This was the last book that Russell Hoban finished before his death in 2011. It was published posthumously by Walker Books as an illustrated short novel for a teen audience, and it is dedicated to Hoban’s grandchildren who are probably the perfect age to read this modern folktale Read More

‘A Duty-Dance with Death’ – ‘So it goes’

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut This was our book group’s choice for discussion in November. Whilst it’s fair to say that whilst nobody loved it, and some didn’t get on with it at all, it did provoke some good discussion. I quite enjoyed it, and would certainly read more by Vonnegut. My only previous experience with Read More

Still shocking after all these years …

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks Distractions! I had hoped to read or re-read more Banks books by now. But better late than never, I have returned to the beginning and re-read The Wasp Factory again, and updated my BanksRead page. Published in 1984, I read it for the first time in 1985 when the paperback Read More

A portrait of a family’s grief …

After Phoenix by Martine McDonagh I really enjoyed Martine McDonagh’s debut novel I Have Waited and You Have Come, which was a dystopian psychodrama, so I was very happy to read her second novel – but it couldn’t be more different to her first. It’s Christmas, December 1973, and we meet the Jacobs family: lefty Read More

Reading Thomas Keneally for Australian Literature Month

April is Australian Literature Month at Reading Matters. Kim is also generously donating 50p for each linked review to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation which gives books to families in remote parts of Australia, which is a fab incentive to participate! A swift perusal of my shelves came up with several authors to consider, including Kate Read More

An exceptional story for all ages…

A Monster Callsby Patrick Ness The British writer Siobhan Dowd won the Carnegie Medal posthumously in 2009 for her last book, Bog Child.  She’d started working on another, but died of breast cancer before she had started writing. Her outline was handed to Patrick Ness, author of the acclaimed Chaos Walking trilogy and he wrote the Read More

A Dark tale of twins: American – in Paris

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive   Comes the Night by Hollis Hampton-Jones Meade and Ben Ho are nineteen year old twins; they are Americans in Paris, rich kids. They have one of those incredibly close, empathic and near telepathic twin relationships. Ben Ho is at art Read More

A book of homecoming and letting go …

Like Bees to Honeyby Caroline Smailes It was Juxtabook’s review of this book a couple of weeks ago, that made me pick this book up to read immediately, and she wasn’t wrong – this book is LOVELY! It tells the story of Nina, a Maltese woman, whose rather traditional family disowned her when she got pregnant Read More

Gaskella goes graphic …

When I was a student years ago, I was rather fond of the early Cerebus the Aardvark comics, (swords and sorcery with an cute aardvark hero – yes I know!). After that I didn’t read any comics or graphic novels until 2007 when our Bookgroup read one of the classics of the genre, Watchmen – written Read More

How can you cheat death when you’re only 14 …

The Death Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean One of my friend Julia’s recommendations, this is yet another wonderful crossover book by children’s author Geraldine McCaughrean. Surely it must be her turn as Children’s Laureate soon … Imagine your aunt had prophesied that you would die at the age of fourteen, and worse still that Read More