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

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Wild Swans

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, the Six Degrees of Separation meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. This month’s starting point is Jung Chang’s wonderful memoir of three generations of women in her family, Wild Swans. I remember loving this when it first Read More

A Russian fairytale

The Year of Miracle and Grief by Leonid Borodin, translated by Jennifer Bradshaw Leonid Borodin was a writer, Soviet dissident and Christian. He was born in Irkutsk – one of those areas of Russia only familiar to me through the board-game Risk! He was imprisoned twice, the second time after the English publication of his Read More

The making of a scientist

Konstantinby Tom Bullough When I met Tom Bullough at the Penguin Blogger’s Night last month, I was instantly taken with his reading from his novel Konstantin.  Later, talking to him, he was excited by the finished article and showed me the lovely fold out cover. An oversized paperback original, the dust-jacket is scattered with gilt Read More

Cold war secrets the spooks can’t hide …

The Trinity Six by Charles Cumming We know about the Cambridge Five – Philby, Burgess, Maclean, Cairncross and Blunt. What if there had been a sixth man in this spy ring?  What if that sixth man wanted to tell his story? What if his story could cause shame not just to the Russians but the British Read More

War & Peace – without much peace, but with added Vampires…

It’s that time of year again when I like to pepper my reading with a bit of blood and gore and undead creatures.  I won’t be reading all vampires and zombies – the plan is to alternate roughly, so do come back later if the undead are not your thang! My first book in the Read More

Two novels, two different Millers…

This post was combined and republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. Snowdrops by A D Miller I bought this debut novel at the beginning of the year.  It’s had a lot of interest even before it was Booker longlisted. Trying to ignore the hype, I dove in. It’s a tale of Read More

The mad scientist and his red ray

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. The Fatal Eggs by Mikhail Bulgakov Translated by Roger Cockerell Pre-blog, back in 2006, we read The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov in our book group and I loved it. This novel about the devil coming to a town of Read More

Russian echoes of Waiting for Godot

The Concert Ticket by Olga Grushin The story in this wonderful novel was inspired by a real event – that of the eighty year old Stravinsky returning to Russia in a ‘for one night only’ comeback concert; the queue for tickets started a whole year before. Set in an unnamed Russian city some time during the height Read More