My August Shiny posts…

This month I wrote quite a few posts for Shiny New Books, here’s a summary of those I haven’t already mentioned:

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

Although a more conventionally plotted ‘will they ever get together’ type of romance than the bestselling The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, (see my review of that here), I preferred The Music Shop – because of the music in it – which is primarily on vinyl and very nostalgic to me. I particularly loved the main character Frank’s mum Peg – who brings him up on musical stories and teaches him how to listen – always on vinyl of course. (8.5/10)

Read my Shiny review HERE

The Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jocker

Could you take all the information in this book, and use it to write a bestseller? There is plenty of good advice within, so you could try, but Archer and Jocker’s book is not a creative writing manual. It is an extremely entertaining and forensic examination of the world of novel writing seen through the eyes of the least snobbish reader you could ever imagine – the computer. Absolutely fascinating and strangely thrilling! (8/10)

Read my Shiny review HERE.

The Chiildren of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes

Her first novel, The Amber Fury, (published as The Furies in the US) was fabulous – combining a contemporary psychological drama with classical themes. I’ve been awaiting her next with anticipation. The Children of Jocasta gives us more of the same, but it’s also very different. Haynes sticks to writing about what she knows, but there is no contemporary setting, she returns to ancient Greece to retell the stories of Oedipus and Antigone – but from the second characters’ points of view. Jocasta and her daughter/grand-daughter Ismene (Antigone’s sister).  I loved it and can’t wait to see how Natalie Haynes interprets the classics next. (10/10)

Read my Shiny review HERE.

No Dominion by Louise Welsh

No Dominion is the final volume in Welsh’s Plague Times Trilogy. and makes a fitting finale to this superb series – contemporary thrillers initially during a pandemic which devastates Britain.

Read my review of the first volume – A Lovely Way to Burn here and the second Death is a Welcome Guest here.

The first volume follows one survivor Stevie, the second tells the story of another survivor Magnus, and the third, set seven years later brings the story full circle. (9.5/10)

My full Shiny Review is HERE.

And I interviewed Louise for Shiny about the trilogy HERE.


The Pitards by Georges Simenon

Translated by David Bellos.

In the mid thirties, Georges Simenon took a break from his Maigret novels and started writing standalone romans durs. Les Pitards was one of the early ones. The subject will be familiar to anyone who has read the Maigret novel The Grand Banks Cafe (see my review of that here) – a woman on board a ship – but this novel has a rather different empasis…

Read my full Shiny review HERE.

Five Fascinating Facts about… Anthony Burgess

2017 is the centenary of Anthony Burgess’s birth, and I wrote one of our Five Fascinating Facts articles. The only problem was whittling it down to just five!

See my Five Shiny Fascinating Burgess Facts HERE.

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