20 Books of Summer 21 nos. 14-15 & a second for #WITMonth

Gosh! I’ve read 16 out of #20BooksofSummer21, so with a fortnight to go, there’s a definite probability of beating my previous best of 17, and a possibility I might just make the full 20 – it’ll have to be novellas or easy to read thrillers though. Bring it on! Meanwhile here are reviews 14 & Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Postcards from the Edge

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: Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher Oh, how I 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

Six Degrees of Separation: The Bass Rock

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: The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld I’ve not read Wyld’s Read More

The Atomics by Paul Maunder

This psychodrama had two great selling points that immediately made me keen to read it. Firstly its timeline is the late 1960s, and secondly it’s set against the backdrop of a nuclear power station. The novel opens with a mystery, that will be explained fully as the story progresses. Frank is out for a walk Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Phosphorescence

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 to my reviews are in the titles of the books. Our starting book this month is: Phosphorescence by Julia Baird This book by Australian, Baird, isn’t published 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

European Reading x3 – Kundera, Laurain, Malvaldi

I’m taking part in the European Reading Challenge 2021 hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader this year, hoping to cross off as many European countries as possible in my reading. With these three, I’m up to six in January alone… (Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Italy, Russia, UK). Here are my reviews for the Czech Republic, France Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #14

Yet another plundering from my pre-blog capsule reviews on the trusty spreadsheet. I’m not quite running out of meaningful reviews yet, so here is another selection from 2007 or earlier, all crime or thrillers this time … Pompeii by Robert Harris Reading this novel, one is reminded of the classic Monty Python scene in ‘Life 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

Review Round-Up – Tugwell, Mole & Hession

Three shorter reviews for you today of three very contrasting books – a psychological thriller, a lovely non-fiction book and a word-of-mouth gem of a novel. Dishonoured by Jem Tugwell Tugwell has written two spec fiction crime novels, but turns his hand to a psycho thriller for his third book. Dishonoured follows the rise and 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

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

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

Reviews catch-up: Harris, Murata, Daré & Wigglesworth

My pile of read but not yet reviewed books runneth over, so some shorter notes follow, plus some Shiny linkiness. The Book Lover’s Quiz Book – Novel Conundrums by Gary Wigglesworth My full review of this fun book is over at Shiny, but I’m writing about it here too as it’s an ideal Christmas present 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

Novellas in November – Simenon, Greg & Moss

Today I have what I hope is a first batch of three novella reviews for you, celebrating Novellas in November hosted by Cathy and Rebecca.  The Shadow Puppet by Georges Simenon Translated by Ros Schwartz In a push to get reading through Simenon’s 75 Maigret novels a little more speedily, I’m using all the tags (Paris in July, Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Wild Card

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 a wild card – with the instructions to start with the book Read More

The kids are alright in this allegorical novel

A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet My Grandma gave me a copy of the Hamlyn Children’s Bible for my ninth birthday (right). I loved that book, and particularly enjoyed all the old testament stories and the now rather cheesy illustrations – indeed I still have it, in fair condition too. So, I can completely understand 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

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #13

Yet another plundering from my pre-blog capsule reviews on the trusty spreadsheet. Im not quite running out of meaningful reviews yet, so here is another mixed bag from 2007… What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn A gripping first novel about a group of outsiders. From the nine-year-old loner cub-detective Kate, to Kurt the insomniac security Read More

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

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: 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

Six Degrees of Separation: 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, my links are all on a single theme, which I’ll tell you at Read More

Review Catch-up – Moor – Edwards – Moss

Thank you to everyone for their kind words about my Shiny cock-up! Much appreciated. About one year’s worth of reviews are now back up for your delectation – five to go – but I’m really enjoying revisiting them and getting links up to date and so on. Meanwhile I have been reading, and here are Read More

Japanese Literature Challenge 13: The Pain of the Clown

Spark by Naoki Matayoshi Translated by Alison Watts Just fitting in at the end of the season of the Japanese Reading Challenge 13, hosted by Dolce Bellezza, here’s my second contribution. (See here for my first.) In recent times, having read several Japanese novels which are understated but still thought-provoking comedies such as The Nakano Read More

Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist Blogtour

Black Car Burning by Helen Mort This is my second post for the Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist Blogtour, and I couldn’t have picked two more contrasting books (my first was Exquisite Cadavers by Meena Kandasamy, reviewed here). They may have been contrasting in subject matter and style, but both were intense and thought-provoking books to 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