Finishing #Narniathon21 – The Last Battle

And so we reach the final book of CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia – the last to be published and the last chronologically. The Last Battle was also the first of my 20 Books of Summer, read at the beginning of June, and I’ve been mulling over how to approach writing about it ever since. Read More

#Narniathon21: The Magician’s Nephew

It’s the sixth month of the #Narniathon21 hosted by Chris at Calmgrove and we’ve reached the penultimate installment in the Narnia series in publication order, although this book is the first chronologically. Once again I re-read my childhood Puffin copy – noting that this edition has nice wraparound artwork on the cover. I’ll have to Read More

April Watchlist

Big Screen on Little Screen I wasn’t able to get to the cinema this month – nothing I particularly wanted to see there, but I did stream some good films – and a little dross as well! Film of the month has to be Boiling Point (Netflix). That this film was made in a single Read More

#1954Club & #Narniathon21

It’s always nice when one book covers two tags, namely this month’s read in Chris at Calmgrove‘s Narniathon and The 1954 Club in the biannual year’s reading week hosted by Karen and Simon. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis This month we come to the fifth book in published order – in 1954 Read More

Shiny Linkiness

I’ve been very remiss, and forgetting to link to my various reviews over at Shiny New Books, here are my latest from this month and last: The Gift of a Radio by Justin Webb Webb’s memoir of his childhood and years up until he joined the BBC in 1984 is a candid, funny and touching Read More

#Narniathon21: The Silver Chair

And so in the #Narniathon21 hosted by Chris at Calmgrove to my childhood favourite of the Narnia books, the 4th to be published, 6th in the chronological order, The Silver Chair. Is it still my favourite? I’ll tell you later. A full synopsis with comments follows, so if you don’t want to know the plot Read More

Red is My Heart by Antoine Laurain & Le Sonneur

The Other Red Notebook? Translated by Jane Aitken I’ve read everything by Laurain that the wonderful Gallic Books has translated. I’m a big fan of his brand of entertaining novels, mostly driven by key objects be it a hat, a notebook, a tape, a portrait, cigarettes, a bottle of wine, or a manuscript – I’ve 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

#Narniathon21 – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

And so we come to the third Narnia book to be published (5th in the chronological order) in Chris’s #Narniathon21 readalong and once more, I’m reading from my original Puffin book, inscribed with all my (very serious) play library remnants, another application to join the Puffin Club (still 7⅓ years old), and horror – not Read More

Reading the Sunday Times Young Writer Award Shortlist

The Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award is the UK and Ireland’s most influential prize for young writers, and the latest winner will be announced on Feb 24th, preceded by an event at Waterstones Piccadilly, chaired by Sebastian Faulks on Feb 23rd (you can buy tickets here). I’d love to go, Read More

Review Catch-up – Cox and Caspian

Putting the Rabbit in the Hat: My Autobiography by Brian Cox I read this fascinating book after Christmas, but it didn’t fit in with my Nordic reviewing in January, so I’m returning to it now. Cox is one of my favourite actors, I’ve been lucky enough to see him on stage quite a few times Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – My Gateway Book – a different take

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist & its movie adaptations Although a rather baggy novel at over 500 pages, Let the Right One In, translated by Ebba Segerberg, blew me away when I read it back in 2009. My full review from back then is here. At the novel’s heart is the Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A locked room mystery

The Human Flies by Hans Olav Lahlum Translated by Kari Dickson This is the first novel in Lahlum’s ‘K2 and Patricia’ series of Norwegian detective novels which now number four. Set in the late 1960s into the early 1970s, they are unencumbered by modern technology bar the forensics of the time, allowing the convolutions of 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

Christmassy reads

With perfect timing, I have some Christmas fare for you today. Admittedly, I probably wouldn’t have read these at the right time unless I had occasions to read them for, so without further ado… The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis Chris at Calmgrove is hosting #Narniathon21 beginning this month, reading the Read More

#NonFicNov – Week 1: My Year in Non Fiction

I love joining in with Non Fiction November – over the years I have tried to increase the amount of non fiction I read, and this annual feature is a great spur towards doing more of that. Week one of the month is hosted by Rennie at What’s NonFiction and simply asks us to review Read More

#NovNov – Contemporary novellas from the archives…

To celebrate the start of Novellas in November month (hosted by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books), I am stealing this idea shamelessly from Susan. Here is a selection of novellas I’ve enjoyed in recent years, and to match the theme of the first week of #NovNov, they’re all ‘contemporary’. The Commitments by Roddy Read More

Dark Things I Adore by Katie Lattari – Blog Tour

There’s something about books set in artist communities that always intrigues me. Not only do I enjoy reading about the creative process, and where you have a group of artists, they will spur each other on to produce exciting work, although this can so easily tip over into being too competitive. These communities are always 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

20 Books of Summer 21 nos. 18-20 – Le Carré, Sallis & Shaw

I’m going to finish off the reviews of my 20 books in one go today. Here goes… Call For the Dead by John Le Carré Having read many of Le Carré’s early books over the years, I was slightly surprised to discover I’d never read his first book, the novella Call For the Dead, published Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 #12 – Jonathan Lethem

The next two of my 20 Books of Summer 21 reads are both linked by being SF, but SF-ish, in that they are novels by literary authors who enjoy transcending genre and mixing things up. I was going to cover them both in one post – but wrote more than I intended on the first 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

20 Books of Summer 21 #5-6 & other challenges!

Today I’m able to combine reading months once again. Books 5 & 6 of my #20BooksofSummer21 hosted by Cathy also let me take part in Spanish & Portuguese Literature Month hosted by Stu, and Paris in July hosted by Thyme for Tea. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on them. Nada by Carmen Laforet Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 #4 – Living Autobiography with Deborah Levy

The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy Deborah Levy, I think, has become my favourite woman author. She thinks deeply about things; she’s read everything that matters; can talk eloquently about anything, but has a sense of humour; and, for me, she is incapable of writing badly. Reading her ‘Living Autobiography’ trilogy has been a Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Eats, Shoots & Leaves

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: Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss Despite being a Read More

The World is at War, Again by Simon Lowe

It’s my turn today on the blog tour for this debut novel published by Elsewhen Press, who specialise in speculative fiction. Simon Lowe has previously published short stories and newspaper pieces; his first novel is a spec fiction comedy involving several ‘Agent Assassins’. It’s perhaps easiest to give a flavour of this novel by describing 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

Genre-smashing with Jonathan Lethem

The Arrest by Jonathan Lethem Lethem may be best-known for his 1999 bestseller Motherless Brooklyn, which I loved and would like to re-read, it’s essentially a detective novel with a young protagonist who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. However the majority of his output before and since have been less categorisable novels – genre-mash-ups, like his 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

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