#BanksRead2021 : 5 The Shock-Jock Thriller One

Dead Air by Iain Banks Phew! Life turned out to be busier than anticipated this week, but I managed to finish reading my third Iain Banks book for my #BanksRead2021 this morning. Now for a quick review! Dead Air, alongside The Steep Approach to Garbadale was one of the two mainstream novels by Banks that Read More

Reading the Decades #3: The 1930s

As a breather from Iain Banks, today, another of my Reading the Decades posts. Those who visit this blog regularly will know of my devotion to contemporary fiction, the shiny and the new. But I’m not really a one-trick pony in my reading. The metrics in my annual reading stats include the number of books Read More

#BanksRead2021: 4 – The Dystopian One

A Song of Stone by Iain Banks There’s something about Scotland that suits dystopias of the military takeover kind–the abundance of castles, lochs and game all play their parts. Distant memory reminds me of the last episodes of the mid-1970s BBC series Survivors which had the plucky survivors in the Highlands, negotiating with a laird Read More

#BanksRead2021: 3 – Dipping into Banks’s Poems

Banks and his close friend, fellow SF author, Ken MacLeod were working on publishing a joint collection of poems as Banks learnt of his terminal diagnosis, and he continued revising in his remaining time, their collaboration being published posthumously in 2015. Banks’s first published work in 1977 was a poem: ‘041’ – more on that Read More

#BanksRead2021 : 1 -Walking on Glass

Although this was a re-read for me, given that it’s been 35 years since I read it and it’s not one of Banks’s more celebrated novels, I think I can be forgiven for not remembering a thing about it. I read my first edition UK Futura paperback in the small format, with a white cover Read More

The Coming of Christianity and the Beginning of the Death of Magic?

Sistersong by Lucy Holland I read less fantasy these days, but when I do, there’s no type I enjoy more than that with an Arthurian or Dark Ages setting. Sistersong is exactly that, and I found it hard to stop reading this novel which occupies that fertile fantasy crossover land between YA and adult reading, Read More

Discovering a new indie press – Broken Sleep Books

A few weeks ago, I was directly contacted by a new author, Rosanna Hildyard, to see if I’d like to read her booklet of three short stories, Slaughter, published by Broken Sleep Books. I’m a bit cagey about responding to direct author requests, just in case I don’t get on with their work. (Once I Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Shuggie Bain

My favourite monthly tag, hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links to my reviews are in the titles of the books. Our starting book this month is: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart I haven’t read last year’s Read More

The Book Blogger’s Prize – the results are in!

It’s been a while coming, but the results are finally in and a winner has been announced. Sadly it wasn’t me! However, I’d like to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for me and my review of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, a book I’ve championed since its publication Read More

March Watchlist

With March feeling fairly never-ending, probably time was going slowly as we inched our way towards the 29th and the first little easing of the lockdown, I’ve managed to squeeze in a lot of films and television. I’ll begin with the telly… Binge-watching and more Telly I am continuing to love Snowpiercer, but am reduced Read More

Shiny Linkiness – Becky Chambers

Just a quick note here to say that my review of Becky Chambers’ final book of the Wayfarer’s Quartet is up at Shiny New Books today. All four novels stand alone, being set in the same galactic milieu with different characters, just a few minimal references to characters in the other novels. You can read Read More

Funnish, but not Melrose calibre…

Double Blind by Edward St Aubyn Having read all five of St Aubyn’s ‘Patrick Melrose’ novels last summer and loved them (my wrap-up here), it was time to turn my attention to his new novel – a non-Melrose one. The only problem was that my expectations were very high indeed – would the book live Read More

Happy Mother’s Day – with Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips will be known to everyone as a Labour MP (for Yardley in Birmingham) and an ardent feminist. She serves on the Opposition frontbench as Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding and during this week, which saw the tragic murder of Sarah Everard, in the House of Commons International Women’s Day debate, she Read More

Weekend Miscellany

Well it’s been quite a week! Returning to school from furlough was a bit of a shock. I’ve been in the habit of waking up naturally at around 8, then tea and reading in bed until around 10 when Woman’s Hour starts on Radio 4 (never got on with that programme). Then a bit of Read More

Earlier, I found out about ‘fronted adverbials’ .

There’s been a lot in the news lately about English grammar, and what should be taught when, as parents have struggled with grammar terminology while homeschooling their kids during lockdown. Thinking back to my childhood, I can remember having to identify nouns and verbs, subjects and objects – more often than not in French or Read More

The NB Blogger’s Book Prize! Vote Closes on the 17th.

First of all, a big thank you to Rebecca who pointed this prize out to me, I might have missed the submission date otherwise. NB, formerly New Books, Magazine is ‘a literary magazine and online platform for book lovers, book clubs and all round bibliophiles.’ I used to subscribe to it in its initial guise, Read More

Two more indies in translation: Yuri Herrera and Kristina Carlson

This year, I’m going for it as far as reading from my own shelves is concerned, continuing to read more from small presses, and more in translation. Of the latter, that’s 13/30 books read so far – ten languages from twelve countries. I’m pleased with that. If I can add more books from Africa into Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Phosphorescence

My favourite monthly tag, hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links to my reviews are in the titles of the books. Our starting book this month is: Phosphorescence by Julia Baird This book by Australian, Baird, isn’t published Read More

Shiny Linkiness – Hamburg to Douala

Today, just a couple of links to my latest reviews for Shiny New Books. Having been able to read more during furlough – last day today, back to school on Monday (looking forward to that and dreading it at the same time – but I have had my first jab, so will feel safer as Read More

BBC Mini Maestro: David Walliams’ writing course for children

I promise I’ll get back to some reviews soon, the pile is getting big again. Today, however, some information for you on the new (short) writing course for your children presented by none other than David Walliams. It’s aimed at ages 7-12, and over its twelve short lessons, looks at all the key aspects to Read More

Reading the Decades #2: The 1970s

Those who visit this blog regularly will know of my devotion to contemporary fiction, the shiny and the new. But I’m not really a one-trick pony in my reading. The metrics in my annual reading stats include the number of books I’ve read published before I was born in 1960 and those between 1960 and Read More

Hiiii, Ouaf Ouaf, Crôa Crôa, Coin Coin, Piit Piit

The Strays of Paris by Jane Smiley For those who don’t know their French animal noises (NB: I cheated and looked them up) above we have a neigh, woof, caw, quack and squeak. We can only hear these onomatopeic words, but the animals in Jane Smiley’s new novel can understand each other perfectly. Smiley hasn’t Read More