Review of the Year #3: 2022, Books of the Year!

I still award a score to all the books I read – recorded on my Reading List page. I score out of 10, including half points (so out of 20 really!). Those scores are only snapshots of course, and some books fade from your memory as others, which maybe scored lower initially, stay or grow. Read More

Review Catch-up

In an effort to plan for Christmas and beyond (who am I kidding?), I’m aiming to clear the decks of my review pile, so this is the first of a couple of catch-ups. Shiny Linkiness My three latest reviews for Shiny … Madly, Deeply: The Alan Rickman Diaries – edited by Alan Taylor. Rickman’s diaries, Read More

Review Catch-up: Naspini, Atwood, Grant & DNFs

And breathe! Half term has arrived for me, and I can relax after the busiest first half of term I can ever remember at school. I’ve had a new boss to get to know for the Health & Safety part of my job; new H&S computer systems to learn and then update everything in; a Read More

Under the Blue by Oana Aristide #20BooksofSummer

When I read Rebecca’s review of this novel last year in her 20 Books of Summer for 2021, I immediately had to get a copy for myself, but didn’t get around to reading it until now when it fitted into my 20 Books of Summer! As Rebecca says, if you’re a Station Eleven fan (and Read More

Review Catch-up: Ginsburg & Alsterdal

I’ve spent so long writing up a review for Shiny with a companion blog piece for this Thursday, I’m getting rather behind on my other reviews, so here’s a twofer of shorter reviews for you today, both from Faber & Faber Books. Unusually in my reading they show serendipity – both feature an older woman Read More

Five Novels about Cinema

To celebrate my first going out of an evening in a long time to the cinema to see Cruella – which I loved (it’s like The Devil Wears Prada with extra real teeth: Emmas Stone and Thompson have a whale of a time! – trailer here), here’s five novels I’ve enjoyed about cinema, involving the 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

Shiny Linkiness

Just a quick post to direct you towards Shiny New Books where I have two reviews posted this week, both from indie publishers: Mr Cadmus by Peter Ackroyd This is Ackroyd having huge fun with not a Victorian in sight! This novella is a sort of dark, twisted version of a quaint British cosy mystery Read More

Review of the Year #1 – A Year of Reading and Blogging

I’m saving my books of the year for the 31st, but today I plan to share some other blogging highlights, discovered authors and the few disappointments of my reading year. Let’s go through the year first… JANUARY – was the beginning of The Japanese Literature Challenge 13 which carried on until March. I read The Read More

Nonfiction November – My Year in Non-Fiction

This is my third year of taking part in Nonfiction November. Each week has a different theme and is hosted by a different blogger. Week one is to survey your year in non-fiction, prompted by Leann at Shelf Aware. Last year, just over 25% of my reading was non-fiction at 33 books, my best ever. Read More

Vampire novels I have read – Ranked!

When I was writing my recent review of Vlad by Carlos Fuentes, a literary relocation of Dracula to modern Mexico, I was struck by the large number of vampire novels that I’ve read over the years, especially since I began blogging – probably more vampires than zombies, fallen angels, demons and perhaps even ghosts added Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The Turn of the Screw

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: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James I’ve 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

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

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

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

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 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

Review Catch-Up

I’ve built up rather a pile of books to catch up on reviewing – it’s all the lovely fault of getting stuck into my Shiny archiving project. So here are some shorter takes to reduce the pile somewhat. Dan Leno & the Limehouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd This was our book group choice this month, Read More

Easter Bunnies

Watership Down Cover Art Richard Adams’ first novel Watership Down was published in 1972 by the publisher Rex Collings in a rather sweet, but monochrome cover (above). The novel had been rejected by several publishers, but after publication went on to win the Carnegie Medal amongst many other awards. Thinking about Easter bunnies, I made Read More

Paul Auster Reading Week: Wrap-up & Giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who has joined in the week of reading and talking about my favourite author – the week has gone so fast. A particular thank you to those who’ve been able to read and review books list below – very much appreciated. However, there have been some great discussions here and on Read More

Paul Auster Reading Week: A Life in Words

Paul Auster in conversation with I.B. Siegumfeldt. IB (Inge Birgitte) Siegumfeldt is a Danish professor at the University of Copenhagen, which houses The Paul Auster Research Library – an international hub for his work and its translated versions. Auster was made an honorary fellow back in 2011, and Siegumfeldt has taught his work, especially the Read More

Paul Auster Reading Week: Man in the Dark

I am alone in the dark, turning the world around in my head as I struggle through another bout of insomnia, another white night in the great American wilderness. Another great opening line from Auster in his 2008 novel. The narrator is August Brill, a writer who is seventy-two, living again with his daughter and Read More

Paul Auster Reading Week: The Brooklyn Follies

I was looking for a quiet place to die. Someone recommended Brooklyn, and so the next morning I traveled down there from Westchester to scope out the terrain. I hadn’t been back in fifty-six years, and I remembered nothing. Auster has a good way with opening lines, doesn’t he? I was instantly drawn in to Read More

Paul Auster Reading Week: City of Glass, the Graphic Novel

Adapted by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli If you’ve read City of Glass, the first of the three novellas that comprise Auster’s New York Trilogy, (more on that here), you’ll realise that it isn’t an easy text to adapt to a graphic form. There’s not much action really, a lot of sitting, watching and especially Read More

Why Auster is my favourite author and why you should try reading him

Auster’s first fiction published under his own name was three novellas, initially published separately in 1985-6, then collected as The New York Trilogy (NYT). I discovered the NYT when it first came out in paperback in the UK. I was attracted to the cover, also bearing Faber & Faber’s livery (right); the blurb promised detective Read More

Introducing Paul Auster Reading Week 17-23 Feb & Sign-up

Auster is probably my favourite living author, and last autumn I decided I would host a reading week to celebrate his work – and it begins today! I hope some of you will join with me in reading some of his writing: be it novels, memoir, essays, screenplays, poetry, letters and so on – he’s Read More

Weekend Miscellany

January review A sad day yesterday, but we all have to live with it now, so I shall SUMO – shut up and move on. I’ll start today, by updating you on how I’m doing on #TBR20. The plan was,  (with Lizzy and Richard @caravanablog and any others participating), not to read or buy any new books Read More

Review of the Decade

Happy New Year & Happy New Decade! But, before I dive headlong into the 2020s, here’s just one more backwards-looking post to pick out my highlights for each year of the 2010s, well 2010-2018 – I’m considering 2019 done! 2018 Book of the Year: To Throw Away Unopened by Viv Albertine. Something about this memoir Read More