Wake up happy hbk

‘It’s not about the money, money, money’ – Oh yes it is!

Wake up Happy Every Day by Stephen May Last year, when I hosted my second Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week, Stephen May wrote a lovely guest post for my blog about the time he met BB and ended up giving her a piggyback!  (Do click HERE to read it.) It was immediately obvious that May is great Read More

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Busy, busy, busy… and meanwhile at Shiny…

My poor blog – I’ve been neglecting it of late, life’s been so busy!  The next couple of weeks should be easier, although my priority will be supporting my daughter in her GCSE revision. Still, we did manage to get to IKEA earlier this week, and I now have a rather lovely new armchair/rug/coffee table Read More

English Animals

Is this how others view Little England…

English Animals by Laura Kaye Reading this sparkling debut, in which Mirka, a young Slovakian woman, finds herself working for an English couple in the depths of the countryside, I couldn’t help thinking of what it was like to listen to The Archers for the first time. All those posh folk going on about pheasant Read More

Wall

Three Short Takes

The Wall by William Sutcliffe Although published as a YA title, and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2014, this novel has crossover appeal – and should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand more about Palestine, Israel and the West Bank settlements. Thirteen-year-old Joshua lives in a town called Amarias in the ‘Occupied Read More

moving

One house, one extended family, many stories

Moving by Jenny Eclair Moving is Jenny Eclair’s fourth novel and is her most accomplished yet, seeing her move from the bittersweet comedy of her brilliant debut, Camberwell Beauty (which I read pre-blog), to a touching drama. Ever the comedian, Moving is still full of wit, but it is definitely not a comedy. Moving is told in Read More

shopgirl-book

Shopgirl – Film & Book

Shopgirl by Steve Martin I adore Steve Martin’s writing – see my review of his tremendous memoir Born Standing Up here, and his 2010 novel An Object of Beauty at my old blog here. I finally got around to reading his first fictional publication Shopgirl, a few weeks ago, and yesterday I watched the film, Read More

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"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

Stiastny 3

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

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A little London loving – 1960s style…

Georgy Girlby Margaret Forster Margaret Forster is somehow one of those familiar authors, although I’ve read any of her books.  Over the last fifteen years or so, I’ve seen several of her books in shops; The Memory Box is a title that stuck in my mind.  Although I’ve no idea how old she is, or Read More

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The other half's story …

Mr Bridge (Penguin Modern Classics) by Evan S Connell Written ten years after  his 1959 novel Mrs Bridge, Connell’s companion piece Mr Bridge tells the story of the Bridge family through the same time period from the 1930s into WWII, but from the husband’s point of view. I read and adored Mrs Bridge a couple of weeks Read More

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One for the new year …

The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice Take one big happy family; add some horses, a big country manor in Cornwall, plus doses of first love which doesn’t go easily. Shake it up and relocate to London; mix with rock’n’roll and serve with love again. This is the essential recipe for Eva Rice’s new Read More

sweet william

Love the one you’re with – the Bainbridge version

Sweet William by Beryl Bainbridge I was thinking of an apt title for this post and was planning on calling it ‘The man who loved women‘ after the celebrated François Truffaut film, but then I remembered the Stephen Stills song ‘Love the one you’re with‘. It seemed to encapsulate Bainbridge’s 1975 novel in a nutshell. (More Read More

Salmon fishing

The spirit of Sir Humphrey lives on …

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday (republished into its original place in the time-line from my lost post archive) This was our Book Group choice to read in May, and all those who made it, enjoyed this book. There were different degrees of love ranging from a good read to fantastic, but no-one Read More

balthazar jones

The Yeomen of the Guard off duty …

Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo by Julia Stuart (republished into its original place in the time-line from my lost post archive) I’d picked this book up in a bookshop, and put it down again, thinking it might be a bit twee. Then I was offered a copy by the publisher and after Read More

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Running away from country ways and city life – a family’s dilemma

The Good Parents by Joan London This accomplished novel starts off as the story of eighteen year old Maya de Jong, a girl from Western Australia who escapes the country to get a job in Melbourne. She works for Maynard Flynn, a slightly shady businessman, and it’s not long before they embark on an affair. Read More

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Three middle-class brothers – three family mid-life crises

The Bradshaw Variations by Rachel Cusk A year in the life of the Bradshaws – three brothers, their ageing parents and their families. Firstly, there’s middle brother Thomas who has taken a year’s sabbatical to learn the piano, his wife Tonie who has been promoted and back at work full-time, and daughter Alexa. Older brother Read More