Lemaitre Spark Weiner

Some recent reads in short…

It’s catch-up time again… Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre  While I loved Lemaitre’s Verhoeven trilogy and last year’s superbly creepy Blood Wedding, Three Days and a Life was a slight disappointment. It’s still an excellent suspense novel, but lacks the elements of surprise and immediacy that his others have shown.  It has Read More

Novels about Learning to Drive

Two books about Learning to Drive…

While reading the first of this pair, I was perusing my shelves and found another book that was nominally about starting late in ‘learning to drive’ so the obvious thing was to read both and review them together. These books were especially appropriate to my own situation – I didn’t take my car driving test Read More

Garcia Girls

Catching up – Jan and Feb Book Group reviews

I thought it was time I started reviewing the books I’ve read this year, so today I’m catching up with our book group reads discussed in Jan and Feb. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis This was the first book I read this year, managing to squeeze it in just before we met a few days into January. Read More

family-life

The immigrants’ shattered American Dream…

Family Life by Akhil Sharma Imagine the excitement of going to America from Delhi to live. Even though life in India was comfortable and full of cricket, America is the dream destination for nine-year-old Ajay’s accountant father. First, his father went, found a job, set up home; then a year later, he sent one-way tickets Read More

thirteen-ways-of-looking-xlarge

4 Stories, 13 views…

Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann My first encounter with McCann, this volume contains some of his shorter fiction: a full novella and three short stories of varying lengths. The titular novella has thirteen short chapters, each prefaced by lines from a poem about a blackbird that inspired the title (Thirteen Ways of Looking Read More

stolen-time

The Bookish Time Travel Tag!

I was tagged in this meme which is on it’s travels around the bookblogs by Kaggsy, but it was started by The Library Lizard. I couldn’t not give it a go… 1. What is your favourite historical setting for a book? If you did the stats on books I’ve read, it would probably come up Read More

Dark Tower 1

The lost post archive: The Dark Tower

Stephen King’s Magnum Opus – The Dark Tower I read the seven volumes, comprising over 4000 pages, of King’s Dark Tower epic fantasy over a period of four years. All the posts were ‘lost’ in my domain transfer. I’ve restored them into their original places in the time-line, linked below. It’s been a couple of Read More

Firmin

More from the pre-blog archives…

Back to book reviews soon, but for the bank holiday I decided to revisit some more of the capsule reviews I wrote for myself in my mega-spreadsheet which I started pre-blog and still keep going. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart Feb 2008: The story of Merlin’s youth up to the birth of Arthur. I read Read More

Heroic measures

Dogs and Downsizing

Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment Originally published in 2009 and brought to the UK last year by Pushkin Press, Heroic Measures is a tale about one weekend in the life of an older couple and their beloved dachshund Dorothy. Ruth and Alex Cohen have lived for 45 years in a co-op, a ‘five-flight walk-up in the East Village’. Read More

money-amis

Kerching! It’s so 1980s

Money by Martin Amis (republished into its original place in my blog time-line from the lost post archive) So, earlier in the summer we were picking a book to discuss at book group and someone suggested The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis. He’s an author we’ve not read in the group before but that title didn’t appeal; individually we’d Read More

Wake up sir

A modern take on Jeeves & Wooster

This post was edited and republished back into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Wake up, Sir! by Jonathan Ames Jonathan Ames is apparently a bit of a cult author in the USA – as novelist, essayist, columnist, storyteller and creator of a sitcom for HBO called Bored to Death. I’d not Read More

three-bedrooms

A double dose of Simenon including his most autobiographical roman dur…

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. Three Bedrooms in Manhattan by Georges Simenon Last month I had the opportunity to meet John Simenon, Georges’s son at an event celebrating the prolific Belgian author and his work. Apart from all the Maigret novels, Simenon was famed for his romans durs (hard Read More

Carew

The boy, the stolen painting and the Russian…

Just occasionally, I believe I can read minds – well in a Derren Brownish way – you see by my title of this post, I hope to have manipulated you into thinking you were getting a(nother) post on The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt; some of you will be thinking but Annabel’s already reviewed that, hasn’t Read More

Carew

A post Cold-War spy drama

A Spy’s Life by Henry Porter Many moons ago I read Henry Porter’s first novel Rememberance Day (2000) which was a fast-moving spy thriller and I enjoyed it very much indeed. Finally, years later, I’ve read his second – another standalone spy-thriller about an ex-spy who finds out that you can never truly leave your former Read More

Carew

From boys to grown men, a novel about love and friendship

These Things Happen by Richard Kramer A while ago, I was approached by a publicist from the USA who was trying to get some exposure for her client’s book in the UK/Europe – it’s a debut novel, but by an author with an awesome pedigree in the TV world. The book is These things happen by Read More

Carew

784 pages – Was it worth taking the time to read…

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt It’s very likely that had our bookgroup not picked this novel, that The Goldfinch would have stayed on my shelves, unread, (beside Wolf Hall and The Luminaries), for much longer. I had to read it (well, I could have cribbed notes but didn’t), but I’m so glad I took the time Read More

Carew

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

Carew

A Walk Among the Tombstones: Book v Film

The recently released movie A Walk Among the Tombstones starring Liam Neeson is based upon the 10th in the series of Matt Scudder books by Lawrence Block. I’ve read the first twelve – and have enjoyed them all, with a few more still to read one of these days. I read this back in 2006, and Read More

Carew

DVD Review – The Coen Brothers do the 1960s folk music scene…

Inside Llewyn Davis by the Coen Brothers I’ve been taking advantage of my daughter being on holiday with her Dad to catch up on TV and movies. I binge-watched Broadchurch (loved) and The Honorable Woman (good, but confusing and irritating), but finished my week by watching the Coen Brother’s latest movie from earlier this year on Read More

Dark Tower 7

Stephen King’s Dark Tower #7

The Dark Tower Book 7: The Dark Tower by Stephen King I reached the Dark Tower! It’s been a long time a-coming, but I have finally reached the end of Stephen King’s epic fantasy series The Dark Tower. I began reading the books back in May 2011 in a readalong with Teresa and Jenny at ShelfLove. It was to Read More

Dark Tower 6

Stephen King’s Dark Tower #6

The Dark Tower Book 6: Song of Susannah by Stephen King King’s magnum opus is not a series that you can jump into midway through, so if you’ve not read it, I suggest you start at the beginning. See my series of posts: Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4 and Vol 5 and find your starting point, don’t read on. Read More

fitzgerald books

The Great American Dream?

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald Having adored Baz Luhrmann’s new film of The Great Gatsby (which I blogged about here), I just couldn’t wait to re-read the book. It must have been a couple of decades since I last read it, and this time, for my third re-read, I was able to use my Folio Fitzgerald set Read More

Dark Tower 5

Stephen King’s Dark Tower #5

The Dark Tower Book 5: Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King Last year I took part in Teresa & Jenny’s Dark Tower readalong at Shelf Love, but I dropped out after book four in the series. I didn’t have the time to get through the increasing page-count then, but was definitely hooked by the Read More

Dark Tower 4

Stephen King’s Dark Tower #4

The Dark Tower Book 4: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King. It’s the fourth month of the Dark Tower Readalong hosted by Teresa and Jenny at Shelf Love. The fourth book was the longest yet at a massive 845 pages (I’ve been able to say that each month!), but it was also very enjoyable and the Read More

VotD

A groundbreaking novel…

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive.   Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 novel was hugely influential; it paved the way for Jackie Collins and all the other bonkbusters that followed. I’d been wanting to reach this book for ages, but knew nothing Read More

Dark Tower 3

Stephen King’s Dark Tower #3

The Dark Tower Book 3: The Waste Lands by Stephen King It’s the third month of the Dark Tower readalong hosted by Shelf Love.  The Waste Lands (1991) is the thickest book so far, and things are certainly starting to hot up. If you’d like to see how I got on with the previous volumes, click here for Read More

Rules of Civility

Playing by the rules …

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles Scene: New York City, 1966 – an elderly couple, Katey and Val, are at a gallery viewing of photographs, all taken of passengers on the subway over many years. The same man occurs in two photos, but in obviously different circumstances years apart. Katey recognises him – it’s Tinker Grey… Read More

3 April 2011

3 from April 2011 Set in the USA – Waite – Millar – Kwok

The Terror of Living by Urban Waite – A fine backwoods thriller… It was the quote from Daniel Woodrell, an author of whom I’m a huge fan, on the cover that made me instantly want to read this book, a debut novel set in the backwoods border country near Seattle.  To all outward appearances it’s a crime thriller, Read More

object-beauty (1)

Art is a commodity not for looking at!

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin Steve Martin’s latest novel is not funny. He plays it straight in An Object of Beauty as the world chronicled within is so full of self-parody that there’s little need to add extra layers of satire to achieve a certain sort of vicious comedy. Set in New York Read More

From those wonderful folk

Those maddening real-life Mad Men …

From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front-line Dispatches from the Advertising War by Jerry Della Femina. This book was originally published in 1970 – an insider’s guide to the goings on in the ad industry in the 1960s by a guy who was there – one of the original Mad Men.  Thanks to the success Read More