Book Group report: ‘Black’

The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch Our book group has never tackled Murdoch, although back in the day before I joined, they read John Bayley’s memoir of his wife, Iris, so I’m told. Several of us had read various novels by Iris Murdoch before  – indeed I read a whole bunch back in the late Read More

Two lonely people, linking their lives in letters…

Meet Me At the Museum by Anne Youngson This novel told in letters took me pleasantly by surprise. Within pages I was hooked and I read it in one extended sitting, shedding a tear along the way as I followed the story of the developing friendship between two lonely middle-aged people.  Tina and Anders are separated 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

Starting Anna Karenina again

In my teens, around the time of the wonderful BBC adaptation of War & Peace with Anthony Hopkins as Pierre, and ITV’s Anna Karenina with Nicola Pagett as the doomed heroine, I went through a real Russian phase in my reading. We had copies of most of the Russian greats already in the house as Read More

Women in Translation month – a French novella

Marie by Madeleine Bourdouxhe Translated by Faith Evans This gorgeously produced novella with its stunning cover design is turning into one of the sleeper hits of the summer. The cover stood out in the bookshop and I had to buy it – luckily the story inside is just as high quality, (read Jacqui‘s review too). This was Read More

"I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me"

Love & Fallout by Kathryn Simmonds Tessa is one of those middle-aged women that do causes. She co-runs a (failing) green charity running workshops for schools and colleges and she’s always got a local campaign on the go – this time saving the playing field from development. She doesn’t take much time for herself (or Read More

A dreamlike novel of longing

Glaciers by Alexis M Smith I couldn’t resist the cover of this short novel the moment I spotted it, and felt it – you can’t see the embossing of figure, her bicycle and the title. There’s a sunny hopeful quality to the cover, and it matches the story perfectly. This debut novel is short with just Read More

A quiet novel with emotional depth

The Cleaner of Chartresby Salley Vickers The seventh novel by Salley Vickers, The Cleaner of Chartres is the story of orphan foundling Agnès Morel, and the people who come into her life. Before introducing us to Agnès, the novel begins by telling us about the great cathedral, how it burned and was rebuilt by an Read More

A 'Hardy' Christmas for our Book Group

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy Our book group more often than not picks a classic to read over Christmas. This year we picked possibly the least Christmassy and most draining novel in a long time for our festive read – Jude the Obscure is not a book for the faint-hearted. So, when we met and discussed 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

How to live alone and get by, Brookner style…

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my old blog lost posts archive. 16 July 2011, will be Anita Brookner’s 83rd birthday, and has been renamed International Anita Brookner Day by Thomas at Hogglestock and Simon at Savidge Reads.  To celebrate this author, they have set up the IABD Website with a competition to win AB books 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