#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

The 1976 Club – Helen MacInnes

It’s time for another Club reading week hosted by Simon and Karen – and the year chosen this time is 1976. When I examined Wikipedia’s 1976 in Literature page, I saw I’d read quite a few back in the day – most of the SF listed (Delany,Herbert, Niven/Pournelle, Zelazny), plus an assortment of others including Read More

A Catch-up!

Life has been a bit busy this past week, school trips, fireworks to organise – just generally being more active, and then falling asleep in front of the telly, one more week until our two week half term! All this has led to a bit of a blogging slump. But it’s the weekend and it’s Read More

An assured debut from Annie Mac

Mother Mother by Annie Macmanus It’s always a relief when a well-known person in the media writes a book, and it’s good. Former Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac, who left the station earlier this year, has done just that – her debut is assured, straddling that line between commercial and literary fiction. Macmanus is Dublin 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

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: 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

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

A review assortment – Johnston – McGlasson – Dawson

I didn’t mean to leave a week between posts, but I’ve got some very welcome overtime at the moment, which means that everything else moves into blogging time and so on. So here are three medium length reviews of recent reads for you. A Sixpenny Song by Jennifer Johnston It was Kim’s post here, celebrating Read More

A review assortment – Lahiri, MacKenzie, Maugham

The Clothing of Books by Jhumpa Lahiri Translated from the Italian by Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush An London-born American author of Bengali descent, Lahiri moved to Italy where she now writes in Italian – and her husband translated this essay into English, which she then reworked in both Italian and English for its English publication! Complicated, huh? Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Daisy Jones & The Six

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: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid How I loved Read More

A Mexican tragedy – a thriller as reportage

Call Him Mine by Tim MacGabhann the book you have in front of you now – isn’t quite a nonfiction novel, and it’s most certainly not news, but it’s not quite fiction, either. In Mexico, there’s a strong tradition of the crónica, a hybrid form that owes its subjectivity to reportage, its questioning of onjectivity Read More

Wellcome Book Prize – Shadow Panel Verdict

Our winner rather crept up on us! From our shadow panel conversations as we read and blogged about the official shortlist, although we all enjoyed this book, only one of the five panel members pegged it as their personal favourite. However, it scored highly enough with everyone to come out on top, beating the book Read More

Wellcome Book Prize Blog Tour – Amateur

I’m delighted to be part of the Wellcome Book Prize 2019 Blog Tour. Having followed this prize closely for several years now, and participating on the Shadow panel for my second year, I can truly say that this particular literary prize has opened up my mind to consider books outside my scientific comfort zone, and Read More

Wellcome Book Prize reading: #4 Amateur

Amateur by Thomas Page McBee McBee, a trans man, takes on the challenge of learning to box to appear in a charity match at Madison Square Gardens. Boxing, until recent years has been seen as a most masculine sport, and as he trains, McBee examines what makes a man and the interrelations between masculinity and Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The Arsonist

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 titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper Sadly, this book isn’t out in the Read More

Review catch-up

In an attempt to clear my pile of yet to be reviewed books, here are some capsule reviews: Beryl Bainbridge by Master Georgie Many consider Bainbridge’s later novel from 1998 to be her best – it won the ‘Best of Beryl Booker Prize’.  Personally, on a first reading, it didn’t do it for me in Read More

Two recent Shiny reviews…

I’m off to London today for the annual PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year blogger’s do at the Groucho (yes, I’m name-dropping), so here are links to my two Shiny reviews this week. Either would make wonderful Christmas presents…. Eye of the Shoal by Helen Scales Marine biologist Scales, having previously written books Read More

From one book prize to another: The Rathbones Folio Prize shortlist

One of the younger book prizes, the Rathbones Folio Prize began life as the Folio Prize,  sponsored by the Folio Society in 2014.  The prize money has varied, but is currently £20,000 sponsored by the investment bank, and this year’s winner will be announced on May 8th. The prize has an interesting and unashamedly literary Read More

Review Catch-Up – McBain, Berthon, Ishiguro

Driving Lessons by Ed McBain McBain is most famous for his many 57th Precinct novels, but he has written many other books too. This slim book from 1999 was part of a series of novellas from Orion called Criminal Records. Some were published separately, the others anthologised in one volume edited by Otto Penzler. A Read More

Review catch up – again – and the problem of remembering!

Two shorter reviews of books I read last year…   Nutshell by Ian McEwan I read McEwan’s novel between Christmas and New Year, and the terrible thing is, I know I really enjoyed it. I know it was funny, outrageous and inspired by a quotation from Hamlet, yet I can’t really remember any detail about Read More

Year End Review #6: My Books of the Year!

And finally, in my review of my reading year, it’s my Books of the Year. I saved this post for last, because since Christmas, I have just read a book which had to be added to this list. I tried to keep the list to a dozen, but it’s ended up as 14 – but Read More

2017 in First Lines

This is a fun meme, giving a snapshot of one’s reading through the year – not necessarily an accurate sample, but fun. The title links will take you to my reviews. January:  Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis ‘They made a silly mistake, though,’ the Professor of History said, and his smile, as Dixon watched, gradually Read More

Two shorter reviews – McInerny and Viskic

The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerny I read and reviewed McInerny’s debut, The Glorious Heresies back in January, and although she paints a bleak picture of life for the dispossesed in Cork, the novel fizzed with sweary, gritty humour. I enjoyed it a lot, and was looking forward to The Blood Miracles. One of the Read More

Smoke, mirrors and a little real magic…

The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister Books about magicians, circuses, music hall and vaudeville are irresistible to me – especially those featuring magicians.  I recently reviewed Edith and Oliver by Michelle Forbes (click here), which is set in the British Edwardian music-hall and features an ambitious young magician from Belfast. England had its music-hall tradition Read More

For the love of good old-fashioned adventure…

Here’s the thing. Now we’re through the beginnings of the computer age, and are in the global communications age – don’t you think that (most) modern thrillers have got too technological? And with those technological advances, plots become bogged down with it all, there’s so much telling about the technology necessary to explain what’s happening Read More

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: The Slap

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, the Six Degrees of Separation meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. This month’s starting point is: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas I’ve not read this book, but shall go with nationality of the author as my first link. Read More

The Horrible History of Historical Hospitals

A Cabinet of Ancient Medical Curiosities by J.C. McKeown I’ve been dipping into this book for some weeks since it arrived unannounced, and each time I’ve picked it up it has entertained magnificently. I took heed and  loved the warning at the end of McKeown’s introduction: For best results, read not more than two chapters Read More

Meet Martine McDonagh…

Martine McDonagh is more than a little bit rock ‘n’ roll – she was manager of British indie pop band James for nearly ten years – designed their daisy logo, and sang backing vocals on their big hit ‘Sit down‘. When Myriad editions offered me a copy of her first novel I have Waited and Read More