Name of the Rose readalong – chunk the first

Here’s my report on the first chunk my ‘Echoes of Eco’ readalong of The Name of the Rose. Feel free to pitch in with your comments and links if you’re joining in, it’ll be lovely to see what you’re making of it so far. I plan to get to the end of the ‘fourth day’ Read More

Name of the Rose Readalong

Last November I told you of my plans to re-read The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, and some of you said you might join in… Well I’m ready! I shall be reading my Folio Society edition, which is the original translation by William Weaver, but with some glorious extra artwork by Neil Packer Read More

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

Meanwhile at Shiny…

…I’ve had several reviews published recently. In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant Sarah Dunant’s latest novel chronicles the last year of Pope Alexander VI’s life. He was, of course, head of the Borgia family in Renaissance Italy. His mad and vicious soldier son Cesare, and daughter about to be thrice-married Lucrezia complete Read More

An Ambler for ‘The 1938 Club’

Cause for Alarm by Eric Ambler This week Simon and Karen are hosting their second selected year reading club – and after 1924 last time, 1938 was the year they chose. 1938 is particularly interesting because of the political situation building up to WWII , and the novel I chose to read encapsulates those worries perfectly. Eric Ambler was Read More

Another different Italian Inspector!

Death and the Olive Grove by Marco Vichi, translated by Stephen Sartarelli This is the second of Vichi’s novels featuring Inspector Bordelli of the Florentine police.  I’ve yet to read the first, but I don’t think it really mattered. It was first published in Italian in 2003, the English translation was published this year. When Read More

Short Takes on Two Short Stories…

I don’t read many short stories, but this week, I’ve happened to read two … The Small Miracleby Paul Gallico Published in  1951, Gallico’s story is a charming fable of faith and love about an orphan boy Pepino, and his donkey Violette. Pepino and Violette live in Assisi. They make ends meet by doing donkey Read More

2 from 2011 featuring dogs: Rhodes & Raisin

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. A man, his lover, & his dog – Timoleon Vieta Come Home by Dan Rhodes This is the story of a mongrel dog with the ‘saddest eyes in the world’. One day a stray dog turns up at retired British composer Cockcroft’s Read More

Marshal Guarnaccia – kidnap in the Florentine hills

Death in Springtime by Magdalen Nabb. The first I’ve read, this is the third novel in Nabb’s series of police procedurals set around Florence and featuring Marshal Guarnaccia. I was recommended this series by good blog-friend LizF who kindly sent me this one to get me started. Nabb, who died in 2007, wrote fourteen novels in Read More

“If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?”

The Kiss of Death by Marcus Sedgwick Now this is a proper novel about vampires – and they don’t even make an appearance properly until late in the book, however, they are mentioned in the blurb, so I’m hardly giving the game away. It’s also a proper book about Venice, set in the 18th century Read More

“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”

… so said Truman Capote. Going to Venice is like stepping into a time-warp. On the surface, it’s ancient, romantic and beautiful, yet it is mysterious and there’s often a whiff of danger from its history as a great trading city. Much of the paraphenalia of modern living is hidden from the tourist’s view allowing Read More

Short Takes

I’d like to introduce you to a couple of books that I particularly enjoyed earlier this year before I started my blog … Gold by Dan Rhodes. This is a gently humorous novel about Miyuki and her annual trip to the same Welsh seaside village out of season, where she walks, reads, and drinks beer Read More