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

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

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

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: Redhead by the Side of the Road

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 point is Anne Tyler’s latest, which I’ve yet to read, but Read More

Reading the Decades #1: The 1940s

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. One of the metrics in my annual reading stats is the number of books I’ve read published before I was born in 1960, and while it Read More

Enough. by Dr Cassandra Coburn

‘How Your Food Choices Will Save the Planet’ The blog tour stops here today for a book that turned out to be not what I expected at all really. When offered Enough. (with a full stop.) for review, I didn’t really look beyond the upside-down cow on the cover. From that, I was expecting a Read More

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

These days, I’ve given up trying to limit my choices to an established number characteristic of best of lists, long or short. I’ve had a good year of quality reading, awarding 10/10 to no fewer than 26 books – so 20% of my reading approx. Those scores are only snapshots of course, and some books Read More

Three more Novellas for Nov, well Dec now

As I love novellas, I kept on reading them after the end of Novellas in November (hosted by by Cathy and Rebecca). So here are quick reviews of three more, all of which were superb: one each from Irish, French and Italian authors. Academy Street by Mary Costello Costello’s 2014 novella follows in the vein of Colm Tóibín’s Read More

Shiny Linkiness

In the last few weeks, I’ve written four reviews for Shiny New Books, and neglected to mention them here until now. Click on the title below to go straight to my full Shiny review. I’m loving the colour-coordinated covers of these four books too! Numbers Don’t Lie by Vaclav Smil – one for fans of Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Are you there God? It’s Me, Margaret

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 it’s one of Judy Blume’s most enduring titles – Are you there God? Read More

Smoke and mirrors – some novels about Magicians

Novels involving magicians – illusionists and conjurors rather than Gandalf types that is, score highly on my literary theme radar. I love all their skills, sleight of hand and misdirection, the optical illusions, all backed up by patter or a stage presence that fools us. Nowadays, of course, we exclaim in wonderment “how did they Read More

Nonfiction November – Book Pairings

Week 2 of #NonfictionNov is hosted by Julz Reads with the prompt: This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get Read More

October Wrap-up and November Plans

Feels like I’m behind on everything this month – too many distractions! I only read nine books above, of which I’ve only managed to write reviews for two! While there were no duds in that pile at all, I’m finding it hard to decide what to say about the others, and you know me – 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

This Could be My Book of the Year!

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke We’ve had to wait 16 years for Susanna Clarke to write her second novel, with just some short stories in between. Was it worth the wait or was it a ‘difficult’ second novel? It was definitely the former! Piranesi is one of those uncategorisable novels that has a bit of everything Read More

Weekend Miscellany

Last night I planned to sit in my hotel room in Leeds and read a book – just couldn’t read. I was aching from all the carrying I’d done, and all the noises around me, hotel ones and student ones from the huge accommodation block next door where I’d deposited my daughter earlier, kept me Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Rodham

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: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld A book I’ve not read, 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

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

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

Two reviews – a dystopian debut and an Irish crime thriller

The Third Magpie by M.S. Clements The Third Magpie is a dystopian romance set in an insular post-Brexit England, now called New Albany, that is (at least partly inspired by I’d wager, and) approaching Atwood’s Gilead in some of its strictures. Sons are revered, young women are once again chattels, to be married off in Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #11

I am reading lots, but am finding it hard to get into reviewing whilst I’m preoccupied with rebuilding Shiny (which is going well). Thus, I’ve turned once more to my trusty spreadsheet to bring you a selection of my capsule reviews from my pre-blog days. This time, five crime/psycho thrillers that I read in 2006 Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Stasiland

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 – the starting book is: Stasiland by Anna Funder A modern classic book Read More

Des livres en traduction pour les petits enfants

Il y a des ans, j’ai écrit un article de blog sur le sujet des livres traduits en latin, (ici). Récemment, un collègue qui enseigne le français à nos jeunes élèves a obtenu des éditions traduites de livres d’images classiques. Vachement chouette! (as they used to say in France for ‘really cool’!) I can’t resist Read More

The Rathbones Folio Prize: Thoughts on the Shortlist

The Rathbones Folio Prize definitely has a USP: Books are nominated by members of its Academy rather than publishers. The Folio Academy members are mostly writers and critics, nominated by the Prize Foundation or their peers and now number around 250. This leads to a rather different set of books (published in the previous year) Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Wolfe Island

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 – the starting book is: Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar This book hasn’t been published in the Read More