Translated by Geoffrey Strachan Last week I wrote here about Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, a thriller set in Stalin’s USSR, with train tracks on the cover. Well I followed it up with another book set in Stalin’s USSR some years earlier during the war, which also has a railway line on the cover, Read More
Month: January 2009
John Martyn R.I.P.
Just heard that one of the greats of jazz-folk John Martyn has died. He was only 60 and was made an OBE in the New Years Honours just recently. I never got to see him live, and only really discovered his music in 1991 when he released The Apprentice as it featured Dave Gilmour, but Read More
An armchair traveller’s delight
The Travel Book by Lonely Planet Here’s my full written review… This is the new smaller format edition of Lonely Planet’s previous coffee table giant, but it’s still a doorstoppingly thick brick of a book! It has to be 900 pages to give even the tiniest snapshot of every country in the world, (plus a Read More
My Radio Oxford Experience!
I’ve just come off the phone to BBC Oxford having done my radio review for them as part of their monthly Book Club feature. Phew! For my part, I felt it went really well – although in reality I probably talked far too much! Sitting waiting for the phone to ring was nervewracking, especially as Read More
My first book reviewing gig!!!
I kid you not – I’m so excited! – I’ve managed to get a ‘book reviewing gig’ on Radio Oxford tomorrow afternoon. Actually I’m exaggerating, but after someone said they’d read in Oxfordshire Life magazine that Radio Oxford wanted people to review books. I sent an email and they said OK and gave me a Read More
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
This book comes with a bit of baggage. A debut novel, and thriller no less, set in Stalinist Russia. Its publishers gave it a massive publicity campaign, and got it longlisted for the 2008 Booker. Instant controversy – thrillers can’t be literary can they? Well yes they can, you only have to think of John Read More
An evening with Joanna Trollope
We had a real treat in Abingdon last night. Around 200 of us spent an evening in the company of best-selling author Joanna Trollope in the superb surroundings of the hall of the School of St Helen & St Katharine. This was the first event organised by our local indie bookshop Mostly Books (link on Read More
My Tango with Barbara Strozzi by Russell Hoban
This was my first visit to Hobanville – why it’s taken me so long I don’t know, but I’m keen to go again really soon. Underlying My Tango with Barbara Strozzi is a traditional boy meets girl romance, cleverly told by the two would-be lovers’ voices alternating chapter by chapter, but on top are layers Read More
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Written as an intimate diary in letter form to an unknown addressee, this novel chronicles the first year in High School of Charlie. Charlie has a tendency to be rather passive, introspective, and prone to burst into tears; well – his best friend has recently committed suicide! Though quiet, Charlie is clever which is recognised Read More
The Pianist’s Hands by Eugenio Fuentes
This is a crime novel with a difference – where the crime itself, or rather the investigation, doesn’t play much of a part. Instead it’s all about getting under the skin of the main characters, finding out all their foibles and weak points, until the murderer’s identity can be divined. It starts out telling us Read More
A musical Lego interlude …
Back to books next post, but found this sweet little film on YouTube whilst browsing for the “R Whites Lemonade” advert to show my daughter. There’s loads of these Lego animations, (there’s a great Python/Holy Grail one), but this one was the sweetest we found …
Do the Hustle
The new series of Hustle started on the BBC last night, and as always it began with style, panache and tongue in cheek. Mickey Stone (Adrian Lester) was in Sydney being chased so he dives into the opera house, picks up a naval Commander’s costume and finds a limo waiting outside waiting to take him Read More
Three from the archives …
Let me introduce you to three books I particularly enjoyed reading back in 2006 … Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen Life in a travelling circus was hard, and when anything happened to upset the equilibrium it became brutal, as this well-researched novel details. These crises come one after the other here making this book Read More
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
I was so looking forward to reading this book. I was hoping it would dish some dirt on Star Wars, working with Belushi in The Blues Brothers, being married to Paul Simon, writing four fab novels and script-doctoring, what it’s really like to be bipolar …. What a life Carrie Fisher has had! Unfortunately we Read More
One down ….
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell I’ve just finished my first book in 2009, although started in 2008. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is an immensely readable analysis of what makes epidemics happen. However its not really about nasty diseases, although they do feature, but more about business and marketing. It is not just Read More
HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s a grey day here in Abingdon and the anticipated hard frost didn’t materialise, so I’m hoping that it is not quite so cold as the past few days have been. This means a good brisk walk to start working off all those chocolates. I’m not good at making, or keeping, New Read More