hunter handler

Two novellas, vignette style, but oh so different!

I really enjoy a good novella, one-sitting stories. One writing style that seems to particularly suit novellas is a story told in vignettes – each section a paragraph or two, at most a couple of pages. They often cut the story down to the bare bones, leaving you to read much between the lines – Read More

Release Patrick Ness

Blogging about reviewer’s block has ‘released’ me…

Release by Patrick Ness The other day I wrote about my reviewer’s block and how I had a pile of superb books waiting to be reviewed from earlier in the summer. This was one of them… Only the fact that I’d never read Mrs Dalloway blinded me to the power of the first sentence of Read More

Forever

A modern classic teen text?

Forever by Judy Blume Blume wrote Forever back in 1975, long before the YA subdivision in children’s publishing had been conceived of.  Her novel of “first love, first sex and first heartbreak” was a brave one then, resulting in it being banned in many schools and libraries. However it became an underground and later mainstream Read More

Chloe Esposito 1 Mad

A new and irresistible anti-heroine

Mad by Chloe Esposito Mad is the first part in a trilogy by debut author Esposito – to be followed by Bad and Dangerous to Know,  and judging by the first part, I’ll definitely be reading the others. The ARC I received had a fold out front cover with the other two and as you can Read More

b-weekend1

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: An Early Novel I

A Weekend With Claude by Beryl Bainbridge This was Beryl’s second novel, but the first to be published in 1967. Her first, Harriet Said, was finally published in 1972. When A Weekend with Claude came out, Beryl was 24, however she radically revised and rewrote it in 1981. It has a dual time-frame with a framing Read More

gorsky front

Great Gatsby, it’s Gorsky!

Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy This novel, a bold reimagining of The Great Gatsby relocated to contemporary London, longlisted for this year’s Bailey’s Prize, has turned out to be a bit of a marmite novel. There are roughly three camps of thought about it: Those who love The Great Gatsby and loved what Goldsworthy has done with Gorsky. Those who love The Great Read More

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Shiny New Books Issue 8

I can’t believe that when our next issue of Shiny New Books comes out at the beginning of April, we will have been going for two whole years! The last issue of our second year is out today and features the winning poem in the first Shiny Poetry  Competition – it’s lovely. Naturally, you’ll find a handful of reviews 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

long firm

Annabel’s Shelves: A is for…

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Arnott, Jake – The Long Firm Thank you to everyone who suggested authors beginning with ‘A’ for the first read of my Annabel’s Shelves project. Atwood was a very popular suggestion, and I’m sorry to disappoint you but I have Read More

wabisabi

Too lurid and too pretentiously cute!

Lurid & Cute by Adam Thirlwell When I read Alex Preston’s review of Adam Thirlwell’s new novel in the Financial Times I instantly wanted to read and review this book for Shiny New Books. As you know I love quirky novels, and I thought this book would be fun, very contemporary and something a bit Read More

wabisabi

Charlie Mortdecai, volume two

After You With The Pistol by Kyril Bonfiglioli This is going to be a quick post, as you shouldn’t read the second novel in this delightfully Un-PC comedy crime series until you’ve read the first – they follow directly on from each other, but I’m not giving anything away with this quote from near the beginning… To this day Read More

how-to-build-a-girl

“We gotta get out of this place…”

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran I’ll start up front by saying that this book is one of the sweariest, wankiest, shaggiest stories I’ve ever read, and it’s narrated by a teenager who is just fourteen at the outset. The Read More

wabisabi

A May to December romance with strings…

Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder Only reading from my TBR, I searched my shelves for books so that I could join in with January in Japan hosted by Tony’s Reading List.  I could have chosen Murakami – but have had both good and bad experiences with him. It ended up being a choice Read More

wabisabi

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

wabisabi

A 'Hardy' Christmas for our Book Group

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy Our book group more often than not picks a classic to read over Christmas. This year we picked possibly the least Christmassy and most draining novel in a long time for our festive read – Jude the Obscure is not a book for the faint-hearted. So, when we met and discussed Read More

wabisabi

Serendipity makes this a timely read from And Other Stories…

Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt I started reading this book around ten days ago, and was shocked and amused in equal measure – but I paused around a third of the way through to give in to the hype and read JK Rowling’s latest (see previous post here) – and  by the time I picked Read More

August is a wicked month

“Summer fling, don’t mean a thing, But, oh, oh, the summer nights”

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. August is a Wicked Month by Edna O’Brien When I came across this short novel published in 1965, in a bag of books from my late Mum’s, I had to read it straight away for two reasons.  The obvious one is the Read More

wabisabi

Sex & Show-jumping – only in Rutshire!

Riders by Jilly Cooper. I have never had a personal desire to get on a horse, but watching show-jumping on telly was a fixture that I looked forward to while growing up. The Horse of the Year Show with the Puissance always ending with that gigantic wall getting higher and higher, the relay races, and the Read More

wabisabi

Press rewind and edit … Two novellas by Robert Coover

Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid by Robert Coover Earlier this year, I discovered American author Robert Coover when I was sent his volume in the Pengiun Mini Modern Classics series to read and review (click here).  One of the three stories in that collection, a novella called The Babysitter, was a mini masterpiece; the other two Read More

brave-new-world-first-edition-cover

Of baby factories, orgy-porgy & Shakespeare – Yes, it’s that dystopia!

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley This week, having re-visited one dystopian novel I previously read as a teenager (click here), I was able to fit in another of the biggies of the genre in time for our book group discussion Read More