A Rant and a Ramble for the Weekend!

Rant first …. Came down this morning to find a conservatory full of shattered glass. I didn’t hear a thing – most of it landed on the rug! One of the inside panes in the roof had shattered, covering everything with glass shards. A south-facing pane, triangular in shape. My materials science training tells me Read More

20 Books of Summer #13 & #WITmonth 1: Tawada

The Last Children of Tokyo by Yoko Tawada Translated by Margaret Misutani I’m killing two birds with one stone with this book – always a good thing when you’re embarked on multiple reading challenges, and don’t you just love that cover? This is the first book by Tawada that I’ve read; she won the inaugural Read More

A novel of navel-gazing

This Happy by Niamh Campbell Over recent years, Ireland has become a real hot-bed for new literary talent. It goes way beyond the stellar success of Sally Rooney and Baileys winner Lisa McInerny. So when I heard about another Irish debut that sounded really enticing I arranged a copy. I would have picked this book Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: How To Do Nothing

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 in the titles will take you to my reviews where they exist. This month our starting book is: How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell As Kate Read More

#WITmonth is here!

August is #WIT – Women In Translation month, a long-term project hosted as always by Meytal at Bilibio. Meytal does a fab job at highlighting the widest possible range of women authors around the whole world, ensuring that we read beyond the Eurocentric publishing world of books in translation. As always I will join in, Read More

Stats Fun

Rebecca posted some data from her blog stats the other day here, and I took a look at mine too. I wasn’t going to post anything, but when I discovered that they are really linked by one particular post/author I couldn’t resist commenting here too. That post of mine is entitled ‘Return to Wigtown‘ and Read More

20 Books of Summer #11-12 – de Hériz & Aboulela

The Manual of Darkness by Enrique de Hériz Translated by Frank Wynne I’ll be writing this book up more fully for Shiny’s ‘My Summer Reading’ slot, in which reviewers highlight an older book they’ve been reading, but I’ll write about it in short here as it’s just still Spanish Lit Month as hosted by Stu Read More

The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually by Helen Cullen – Blogtour

Last year I read Helen Cullen’s delightful debut, The Lost Letters of William Woolf, reviewed here. This novel about a chap who works at the Dead Letter Depot, reuniting lost letters and parcels with their intended recipients, sometimes years later, was an ideal spring into summer read for me (in paperback) with a great premise Read More

20 Books of Summer #9-10 Yuknavitch & St Aubyn

My 20 Books of Summer continues apace. I’m currently on my 12th title – and am cheating madly – but only swapping in books that have been in my TBR before the beginning of 2020, or my library pile – which need to go back next week. I’m also generating more time for reading by: Read More

My thoughts on… The 100 Most Popular Sci-Fi Books on Goodreads

I recently watched Eric’s vlog (here) on how he wants to read more SF, and that the Goodreads list (here) might be a good place to get some recommendations. I checked out the list and discovered I’ve read a good quantity of them, want to re-read some, always planned to read a few more, and Read More

Bringing Vernon’s story to a close – VS3 by Virginie Despentes

Vernon Subutex 1-3 by Virginie Despentes Translated by Frank Wynne It was back in 2017 that Vernon Subutex first came to us in translation, in volume 1 of a planned trilogy following the (slightly Reggie Perrinesque) fall and rise of Vernon. The first book was published in France in 2015. I highly recommend these books Read More

20 Books of Summer #7-8 – The Melrose Novels #2-3 by Edward St Aubyn

See here for my review of the first novel in this series, Never Mind. I know that some of the events happening in that novel are hard to take, especially as they’re surrounded by such mordant wit, but I’d urge those who gave up after the first book, to carry on with the second – Read More

20 Books of Summer #5-6 – Aymé and Larkin

I know I said I wouldn’t cheat beyond having three shelves (85 books) to pick from for my 20 Books of Summer this year! But circumstances change, and I’m swapping a few books in. OK? I’d totally forgotten it was Spanish Lit Month as hosted by Stu this July – so I’ve picked The Manual Read More

The Inside and Out Book Tag

I got this tag from Calmgrove, who got it from Bookforager who got it from someone else. (I wonder what its ‘R-number’ is? 😀 ) 1. Inside flap/back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough? Unless I’m in a bookshop browsing, I try not to read blurbs in too much detail. In a Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #12

I haven’t done one of these posts for a couple of months, so here are five books in translation that I read in 2007-8 – pre-blog – and the capsule reviews I wrote then from my master spreadsheet. I was heartened to find more than this handful in translation from countries other than my most-read Read More

Review Catch-up: Delacourt, Emery & Yates

The Woman Who Didn’t Grow Old by Grégoire Delacourt Translated by Vineet Lal Back in 2015 I read Delacourt’s first novel, The List of My Desires, which was a heart-warming French charmer of a novel – if you enjoy the books of Antoine Laurain or Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, you’d probably enjoy Delacourt too. The Woman Who Read More

Book Group report: D is for … Dune

Dune by Frank Herbert This was our book group choice for this month – a good lockdown read being a veritable chunkster (884 pages in the edition I read). I’ve read it twice before, as a teenager in the 1970s followed by sequels Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, then again in the 1980s after Read More

20 Books of Summer #3-4 – Simenon & St Aubyn

I’m speeding up, currently reading my 7th Book of Summer as hosted by Cathy. Yes, I’m cheating again – but only a little bit. I’m on the second of the Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St Aubyn, but reading from an omnibus edition of the first four – but counting them as 4 books rather Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: What I Loved

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 in the titles will take you to my reviews where they exist. I’ve opted for a single link between all the books this month which should be Read More

A Most Curious Fable!

Lake of Urine: A Love Story by Guillermo Stitch To be honest, when originally offered a review copy of this novel some months ago, I nearly turned it down because of its title alone – which is so bizarre and off-putting, but there was something in the summary on the press release that nabbed me: Read More

A new spy series: Meet Thomas Dylan

Awakening of Spies by Brian Landers Today it’s my turn on the blog tour for the first book in a new spy series from Red Door books, written by Brian Landers – a former defence intelligence politico and director of HM Prison Service. With Landers’s pedigree, and given that this book starts in 1973, I Read More

20 Books of Summer #1-2 Braithwaite and Saunders

My 20 books has got off to a slow start. The distractions of 800 pages of a SF classic for book group, an impulse re-read and the review pile for summer suddenly growing with moved dates – that’s my excuse. But I am 2 in, just 18 to go! My Sister, the Serial Killer by Read More

Electricity – on page & screen

When I was beginning to think about dipping my toe into the blogging world, there were several blogs I followed religiously including publishing guru Scott Pack’s now-defunct ‘Me & My Big Mouth’. One of the authors he championed was Ray Robinson, whose first novel Electricity was published in 2006. I quickly got myself a copy Read More

Binge-Watching

At the tail-end of 2016, I read Clive James’s book on binge-watching TV box sets, Play All, which I reviewed here. Personal old favourites of mine, The Sopranos, The West Wing and NYPD Blue featured strongly in this book, and looking back at my review of it, I really ought to re-watch The Sopranos from Read More

Frankenstein’s Centre of Gravity!

I’ll explain what I mean by Frankenstein’s Centre of Gravity in a moment, first I want to talk about one of my favourite authors, Marcus Sedgwick. Although he has written books aimed at adult audiences (eg historical thriller Mister Memory, and Little Toller monograph Snow), and he’s written many books for middle grade children, he’s Read More

A Hundred Million Years and a Day by Jean-Baptiste Andrea

Translated by Sam Taylor I love French adventure/crime/thrillers, and would happily read any books along that line that Gallic Books (one of my fave indie publishers) produce, especially as this one is translated by one of the superstars of French-English translation, Sam Taylor. This novel has already been a huge bestseller in France, so it Read More

Reviews and a catch-up – Ng & Offill

Given that still I’m furloughed, and thus having the luxury of being able to read in bed for as long as I want in the mornings, I expected to get more than ten books read in May – and three of those were sub-200 page novellas – but somehow I didn’t, I can’t explain it. Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Normal People

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 in the titles will take you to my reviews where they exist. Our starting book this month is: Normal People by Sally Rooney I haven’t read this Read More

Alfred Hayes and his three ages of failed love…

I discovered the world of Alfred Hayes a couple of years ago when I read My Face For the World to See (reviewed here). That novella explored the doomed relationship between a nameless married narrator who rescues a younger woman from drowning at the beach in LA. The writing was so beautiful, so intense, so Read More