Paddy Clarke ha ha ha

Comedy and the Booker Prize

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle Over at Shiny New Books, it has been ‘Booker Week’ – a decade by decade review of (nearly) all the winning titles and some that missed out on the prize. One of my contributions was to re-read and review Roddy Doyle’s winner – Paddy Clarke Ha Ha 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

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It was surprising how many of us had a Jean Brodie in our schooldays…

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark Published in 1961, Spark’s delicious tale of a teacher who lives vicariously through her selected pupils was our book group’s choice this month. Our discussions were wide-ranging, but we started off by chatting about how real Miss Brodie was – and it turned out that most of Read More

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Britten centenary – my memories of Noyes Fludde …

This weekend marks the centenary of the birth of composer Benjamin Britten. Radio 3 is celebrating with ‘Britten 100’, a weekend of programmes. I thought I’d celebrate too with some personal memories from my younger years of listening to and performing some of his works… In 1966, the Canadian conductor Arthur Davison, who had made his Read More

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I was manipulated but didn’t mind, for it was done with kindness …

Wonder by R J Palacio A ten year old boy starts at a new school in the fifth grade… It’s a good prep school, he passed the exam with flying colours… It’ll be the first time he’s been to school, ever… He’s been home-schooled by his Mom… Auggie (short for August) is clever, funny and Read More

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For want of an old school tie?

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris. They say that revenge is a dish best served cold. This is the tale of an obsession that goes very wrong, and brews plans for thirteen years before the revenger wreaks absolute havoc by opening a closet full of skeletons that brings a community to its knees.  I’ll say at the outset that Read More

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This is not a Whodunnit, but a Whydunnit!

Rupture by Simon Lelic This is not a normal whodunnit crime novel, it’s a ‘whydunnit’. We know from the start that a mild-mannered school teacher shot and killed three pupils and a teacher before turning his gun on himself. It’s D.I. Lucia May’s case and although it appears to be an open and shut case, Read More

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Sheer Poetry – a remarkable read

Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman This is unlike any other children’s story I have ever read. A series of 26 short poems, telling the story of Sam and Davey, and all about bullying and friendship, secrets and lies, and the terrible thing that happened one day … Told entirely in Sam’s voice, the poems are Read More