Keeping up the blog stats – YES! Bythell is Back!

Remainders of the Day by Shaun Bythell It’s a running joke for me that my all-time most viewed post on this blog is ‘Return to Wigtown‘ that I wrote about the second volume of diaries by Shaun Bythell, owner of the Wigtown Bookshop. That book was published in 2019, and my write-up has amassed over Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Wildcard

First Saturday of the month, and it’s time for the super monthly tag Six Degrees of Separation, which is 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. This Read More

The Black Dog by Kevin Bridges

There is one sense in which the pandemic lock-downs have been a good thing: for many who were sure they had a novel inside them, all those months at home provided the concentrated time to try writing it. One of those new novelists is the Glaswegian comedian Kevin Bridges, who is famed for his storytelling Read More

Whisper of the Seals by Roxanne Bouchard Blog tour

Translated by David Warriner Today it’s my turn on the blog tour for the French-Canadian author’s latest crime thriller, set around Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, and the third to feature DS Joaquin Moralès. While I would love to now read the first two, there was not too much backstory to Moralès, so this novel stood up Read More

Two shorter reviews for #20BooksofSummer

I’m doing well with my 20 Books of Summer 22, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books, reaching 17/20 so I have every hope of completing my 20 Books I acquired before 2022 from my TBR. Two slightly shorter reviews for you today – a small town America psychological drama and that the book set in Read More

The Forgery by Ave Barrera

Translated by Ellen Jones and Robin Myers It’s my turn on the blog tour today for this super novel from Charco Press which hailing from Mexico, was written in Spanish, and thus also fits in with Spanish & Portuguese Lit Month hosted by Stu. There’s something that draws me to novels about art and artists Read More

More #20BooksofSummer22 – Braithwaite & Mason

No 5: Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason So much was written about this novel when published last year, and then it was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize this year and even more got written. I acquired my copy last summer – put it in a pile and forgot about it until this summer! As Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Wintering

First Saturday of the month, and it’s time for the super monthly tag Six Degrees of Separation, which is 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 Read More

Heritage by Miguel Bonnefoy – An Epic Novella

Translated by Emily Boyce Originally I planned to review this novella for Shiny, but I was enjoying it so much I neglected to make notes and mark pages to come back to. Then, when I sat down to write the usual longer form review that we aim for at Shiny, I couldn’t manage to write Read More

England’s library estate (with detours)

Before getting started with my review of the book pictured above, I just wanted to share a little about the three Croydon Borough libraries that shaped my childhood and adolescence. Coulsdon Library was the one I went to as a child every weekend to replenish my stock of reading materials. The children’s library had a Read More

River Clyde by Simone Buchholz – Blog Tour

Translated by Rachel Ward I first met German state prosectutor Chastity Riley last year when I read the fourth book to be translated in the series by ‘Queen of Krimi’ Simone Buchholz. Hotel Cartagena was very different to what I expected – not a legal crime thriller but rather more like Die Hard in Hamburg, Read More

My Year in Irish Lit

It’s Week 2 of Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and Raging Fluff. The prompt for this week is ‘My Year in Irish Lit’, and it is a pleasure to go back through the year to last March and see how many books by Irish authors I read – I was pleasantly surprised by the Read More

Review of the Year #3: 2021, Books of the Year!

I still award a score to the majority of books I read – out of 10, including halfs (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. I read 150 books this year, of which Read More

“It was a pleasure to burn.” Twice!

What an iconic first line: one of those that often comes up in quizzes. Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451 is an absolute classic of spec fiction which I first read in the 1970s. I invested in the lovely Folio Society edition some years ago, but was finally spurred on to reread it due to Read More

#NovNov – Review round-up – 4 more novellas/short NF

I had a great month (plus a few days at the end of October) fitting in as many novellas as I could alongside other reading for #SciFiMonth and general for Novellas in November hosted by Rebecca at Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books. I’m left with several yet to review – two short NF reads, and Read More

Kings of a Dead World by Jamie Mollart

Earlier this year, I was approached by Jamie to see if I’d like to read his Spec SF novel. I’m often slightly wary of direct author approaches in case I have to disappoint, but having fallen in love with the cover, I am relieved to tell you that this is a superb novel. It shows Read More

Two novellas for German Literature Month XI & #NovNov

Yet again, I can combine two reading months into one post. German Literature Month is now into its second decade, hosted by LIzzy and Caroline, and Novellas in November was taken over last year by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books. I chose two very different novellas, one with a true crime feel, and one set Read More

#NovNov – Translated fiction novellas from the archives

Week 3 of Novellas in November month (hosted by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books) turns its attention to translated books. If I get my act together, I’ll have read 2 French, 2 German and 2 Danish novellas and might even get some reviews posted. But until then, here’s a selection of translated novellas from my Read More

Muriel Barbery’s Cats’ Eye-View #NovNov

The Writer’s Cats by Muriel Barbery, illustrated by Maria Guitart Translated by Alison Anderson For a cat-lover there’s always room for a good cat book at Christmas, and this lovely one from the pen of Muriel Barbery, author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and this year’s A Single Rose (which is in the running Read More

#NovNov – Short Non-fiction from the archives

I’ve read six novellas to write up for Novellas in November month (hosted by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books) – must get a move on! Meanwhile in week 2, we turn our attention to Short Non-Fiction, a better term than novella for NF. Once more, here is a section of posts from my archives of Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: What Are You Going Through

Last month was the first I’ve missed of my favourite monthly tag for ages! Six Degrees of Separation is 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 Read More

Cheltenham Literature Festival Blog Tour

I was delighted to be asked to take part in the blog tour celebrating this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival. Participants were asked to pick one of the topics from the festival programme to receive a random book from: I chose ‘stage and screen’ and was delighted when Adam Buxton’s memoir Ramble Book came through the Read More

Lots of Shiny Linkiness

Time to catch up here with a bit of linkiness to my reviews published at Shiny New Books, there have been several over the past weeks I’ve not mentioned here. Star Turns by Tim Walker Journalist Tim Walker has worked at many publications, currently at the New European, where he resurrected the Mandrake diary column Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Second Place

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: Second Place by Rachel Cusk Longlisted for the Booker Prize, Read More

Reading the Decades #4: The 1960s

I am more often than not devoted to contemporary fiction, the shiny and the new. But I do read some older books too. 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 1999: they prove I’m not totally Read More

Review Round-up – Thompson, Bythell & Cowen / Hayes

Beeswing by Richard Thompson In the mid-80s I discovered British folk music, thanks to friends Jon and Jan. An essential part of my education was Fairport Convention and Richard Thompson, although it’s fair to say that Thompson’s solo work really took off for me a little later with his wonderful 1991 song 1952 Vincent Black Read More

Review Catch-up – Tadjo, Fuller and Benson

My review pile runneth over and there are a couple of books that I would have reviewed for Shiny, but I don’t feel I can write a long piece on, so I will cover them here in my review round-up. In the Company of Men by Véronique Tadjo Back in 2014, the world awoke to 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

#QuickReads 2021

Quick Reads, developed by the Reading Agency is celebrating 15 years of the scheme today. That’s 15 years of encouraging those who don’t read, or find reading difficult, as well as those who don’t have time to read much, to pick up one of their novella length £1 books, written by some of our best-known Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Beezus and Ramona

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: Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary I’m the right age Read More