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“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

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The Wellcome Book Prize 2018

One of my favourite prizes of the year, the Wellcome Book Prize longlist for 2018 has just been announced. The Wellcome Book Prize celebrates ” the many ways in which literature can illuminate the breadth and depth of our relationship with health, medicine and illness.” The shortlist will be announced on Tuesday, March 20th, and the Read More

wellcome shortlist

Celebrating medicine, the human condition, illness and health…

The Wellcome Book Prize Yesterday I was privileged to attend a lovely ‘Bloggers Brunch’ at the Wellcome Collection in London to celebrate the shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize.  Let me tell you a little about the background to this before I describe the event. The Wellcome Trust, which was founded in 1936 is “an independent Read More

latest-readings

Reading as if his life depends on it…

This post has be republished in its original place in my blog’s time-line, having been ‘lost’ when I transferred my domain in 2016. Latest Readings by Clive James I was supposed to review this book for the latest issue of Shiny, but just couldn’t write it up in time, so Simon obliged with a review for Shiny Read More

wabisabi

Discovering Barbara Comyns…

The Vet’s Daughter by Barbara Comyns This is the first novel by Comyns that I’ve read. I chose The Vet’s Daughter as one of two ideal starting points recommended by Simon, (the other was Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead).  I can say that it won’t be the last novel by her that I’ll read Read More

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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

Marianne Dreams

Revisiting a children’s classic from 1958

Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr In the Puffin edition (above), this book was my favourite contemporary children’s novel as I was growing up.  I read it in the late 1960s, not once, not twice, but countless times.  The story of a bed-bound girl whose drawings came to life in her dreams both entranced and scared Read More

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When friendship is put to the test …

The Spare Room by Helen Garner Helen’s old friend Nicola is coming to stay with her for three weeks while she undergoes an alternative cancer treatment – everything is ready for her. When Nicola arrives, it’s immediately clear that she’s in a really bad state and that even though she won’t admit it, she hasn’t Read More

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The Man Without by Ray Robinson

Ray Robinson’s debut novel Electricity was one of the best things I read this year … until I read his second novel The Man Without. Electricity has a superb heroine in Lily – a severe epileptic who was abused and in care as a child. The novel follows her quest to find her lost brother Read More