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Wellcome Book Prize #5 – Rausing

My penultimate review of the six books shortlisted for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize. The final one for The Vaccine Race will be my stop on the official blog tour, for the prize which starts tomorrow (details above). Mayhem: A Memoir by Sigrid Rausing You may remember much news coverage of the Rausing family, heirs Read More

Quick Suggs Kehlmann

Review catch-up

I am still behind on my reviewing, even though I seem to have unlocked my reviewer’s block – so today, I have a trio of short reviews for you… The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick This is a rare case for me of having seen the film before I read the book. I loved Read More

Taste of blue light

What happened to Lux Langley?

The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles As a portrait of a troubled teenager suffering from the after effects of trauma, the cause of which is not disclosed until near the end, this novel takes the current vogue for YA novels about mental health and runs with it well with a great first line: Read More

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Meanwhile at Shiny…

White Tears by Hari Kunzru I loved Kunzru’s last novel Gods Without Men (reviewed here), so I was really keen to read his latest. White Tears is the story of two young white men who discover and appropriate an old blues song, which drives them to the edge. It’s very thought-provoking and made me examine Read More

All the good things

Blog Tour – All the Good Things by Clare Fisher

Today, it is my turn on the blog tour for Clare Fisher’s strong debut novel – see the banner at the bottom for all the other ports of call. Fisher’s debut is an interesting take  on a  story we’ve all heard before in which a vulnerable young woman,  who has been bounced from foster home Read More

commitments

More short takes

In an effort to clear my TBReviewed pile, here are two more shorter reviews: The Commitments by Roddy Doyle (re-read) This was our book group choice for last month – when we picked from a shortlist with a ‘Music’ theme. It was a re-read for me, and gosh this story of Jimmy Rabbitte and his Read More

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The second of two top notch thrillers

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan I read this immediately on the heels of The Woman in Cabin 10 (see here), a second top-notch thriller which more than made up for the disappointment of The Girl on the Train (see here). This psychodrama has double the attraction too… I wonder if you can guess from the Read More

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Two Shorter YA reviews

Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher This is the third novel by Pitcher, the first I’ve read, although I own a copy of her prizewinning debut My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. It also fills in the box on my BookBingo Card ‘by an author who shares your first name’… The story is narrated by Tess, a fifteen Read More

Rose Tainted

Two Mental Health Issue-led YA novels…

Today, I have two slightly shorter reviews for you of YA novels that explore similar themes: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall The pink cover (available in three shades actually, going from medium to full-on shocking pink) does this novel no favours at all. Concentrate instead on the gilded cage and the heart that doesn’t Read More

Carrie Fisher

Capturing her memories

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher In my review of Fisher’s previous slim volume of anecdotal memoir, Wishful Drinking, I wished she would write a full memoir a couple of years down the line. Instead, she has done more of the same, but you know what, I don’t care Read More

Helios

A contemporary take on the myth of Athena

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive.   The Helios Disaster by Linda Boström Knausgård Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles I am born of a father. I split his head. For an instant that is as long as life itself we face one another and look each other in Read More

Forman

Trending: Tough Issue Lit for Teens

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s orignal timeline from my lost post archive. See, being an eternal optimist, I can’t even bring myself to say the word ‘suicide’ in my blog post title – yet as a subject of teen novels, I’m seeing it and mental health related illness cropping up more and Read More

wabisabi

"This ain't no upwardly mobile freeway … This is the road to hell"

The A26 by Pascal Garnier Quite a few bloggers (notably Stu and recently Guy) have already discovered and loved the novels of Pascal Garnier, the French author of some decidedly bleak, black comedies of the purest noir! Having acquired a couple of them, I picked his short novel The A26 to begin my own exploration. Set in Read More

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Now it's Sylvia's turn

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath Yesterday I reviewed a new YA novel by Meg Wolitzer called Belzhar (here), in which a depressed young woman was helped back to good health by a special English class that studied Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar and then kept rather special personal journals. Reading this book made Read More

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A novel of fragile youth and Sylvia Plath…

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer Meg Wolitzer is best known for her quirky feminist novels about gender politics. I admit I’ve not read any of them, although the comedy aspects of her novel The Position appeal, in which a couple’s children discover that their parents are the creators of a sex manual featuring themselves, this event having Read More

wabisabi

What is an accident anyway?

Accidents Happen by Louise Millar I used to work for one of the world’s major chemical companies whose mantra was that there is no such thing as an accident. After too many ‘accidents’ making explosives in the 1800s, the company became intensely safety focused, and remains so today. They believe, and naturally it rubbed off Read More

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Getting Dublin's Funny Bone Back Off the Black Dog

Brilliant by Roddy Doyle I don’t often read or review books intended for pre-teen children these days – I’m keeping up with my now teenaged daughter in YA reading. However, a book by Roddy Doyle for what they now call ‘middle-grade’ readers (why can’t we still say older children?), is a must, especially as I enjoyed Read More

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‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’ …

Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies Deborah Kay Davies is one of those writers who does dark brilliantly. Her first novel True Things About Me (my review) was disturbing yet unputdownable – about a thrill-seeking young woman who gets into an abusive relationship.  Her second novel, the Baileys longlisted Reasons She Read More

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A sad beginning and a happy ending cut oh so short by tragedy …

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini While I was doing some research into age appropriate novels for younger teens for a post on the topic back in November, I kept coming across books for older teens Read More

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‘I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood’…

The Almost Lizard by James Higgerson I’m twenty-one years old today, and once I’ve finished this little introduction I’m going to kill myself. … Not many can spend their final few weeks on this earth writing their autobiography, a to-the-minute summary of all that has occurred within their lifespan. But most of us leave this Read More

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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

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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

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Man, lost, needs space.

Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion? by Johan Harstad, translated by Deborah Dawkin Written in 2005 in Norwegian and newly available in translation, this novel had an irresistible title for me being a bit of fan of all things space related.  However, it’s not really about the Apollo space program, it Read More

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Hard to grasp the plot in this confused novel

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi A few years ago, Helen Oyeyemi was hailed as one of the future stars of UK contemporary literature, having written her first novel The Icarus Girl to great acclaim whilst studying for her A-levels. Now she’s in her twenties and this is her third … There’s a lot Read More

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Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

I was so looking forward to reading this book. I was hoping it would dish some dirt on Star Wars, working with Belushi in The Blues Brothers, being married to Paul Simon, writing four fab novels and script-doctoring, what it’s really like to be bipolar …. What a life Carrie Fisher has had! Unfortunately we 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