Two for #WITMonth – Yoshimoto & Oskamp

Two shorter reviews for #WITMonth which are both also part of my 20 Books of Summer. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto Translated by Megan Backus Yoshimoto is one of those Japanese authors by whom I’ve felt slightly intimidated; I include Mishima in this bracket and much of Haruki Murakami. Yoshimoto’s adoption of the name Banana (from Read More

Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight by Riku Onda – Blog Tour

Translated by Alison Watts Wow! In just over 200 pages, Riku Onda creates real suspense in this psychological drama and she maintains this tension right until the end. I loved it! The story alternates between two narrators, Aki and Hiro. They had shared a Tokyo apartment, but their relationship is now finished. They have agreed 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

My Top Five Irish… Authors

I know, I’m a day late in posting, but I started writing this post last week. March is, of course, Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and Raging Fluff. This year, they’ve come up with some weekly prompts and the first is My Top Five Irish… anything to do with Irish culture. Read More

#NordicFINDS – Iceland Week – a final quirky novel

Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir Translated by Brian Fitzgibbon My final read of #NordicFINDS is a quirky novel that slightly took me back to nearly the beginning of my project this year, for Butterflies in November has some similarities in its narrator with Bess in The Murder of Halland, except that this time Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – a novel of letters and longing

Some Kind of Company by Nan Östman Translated by Julia Rivers We have to thank Aspal Press for finding this hidden gem of Swedish literature and making it available in English translation for the first time. Östman, who died in 2015, is a much loved Swedish children’s author, often writing about girls and horses, and 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

Review of the Year #1 – 2021, A Year of Reading and Blogging

As always, 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. (By the way, the cute calendar comes from Asking For Trouble). Let’s go through the year first… JANUARY – saw the start of the 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

20 Books of Summer 21 #10 & #11 – O’Hagan & Sissay

I’m just finished reading my 13th book of my 20 books of Summer 21, here are two reviews of earlier reads. Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan In my experience, there tend to be more novels celebrating female friendships than male ones. However, occasionally one comes along that bucks the trend as Rónán Hession’s Leonard and Hungry Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 #1 & #2

I’ve read my first two books – 18 to go, although I have three review books to read next before reading any others that count towards my 20. Here are my thoughts on the first two. #1 The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams When this book was published last year, there was so much love 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 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

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

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

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman – Blog Tour

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Suede bassist Mat Osman’s first novel, The Ruins (see here) which was a mystery involving identical twin brothers and a lost album. It was a brilliant and complex novel full of rock’n’roll. Now it’s early September and it’s Mat’s younger brother’s turn to publish 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

Reviews and a catch-up – Ng & Offill

Given that still I’m furloughed, and thus having the luxury of being able to read in bed for as long as I want in the mornings, I expected to get more than ten books read in May – and three of those were sub-200 page novellas – but somehow I didn’t, I can’t explain it. Read More

Catch-Up – NOT the Wellcome – Obama – Diski

NOT the Wellcome Book Prize Firstly, I was absolutely delighted that Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson (reviewed here) won the vote for the ‘NOT the Wellcome Book Prize’. It’s an outstanding book, and I was relieved that it did win by a country mile. The shadow panel (Rebecca of Bookish Beck, Clare of A Little Blog of Books, Read More

Year End Review 6: It’s my BOOKS OF THE YEAR!

This year I’ve given up trying to shoehorn my selections into a set number, be it 10, 12 or a baker’s dozen. My list has as many categories as I felt I needed – which ended up as 18 this year. Without further ado, here they are: Best fictional biography: Murmur by Will Eaves – Read More

A New York story of ancient Egypt…

The Weighing of the Heart by Paul Tudor Owen It’s rare that I accept a direct approach by an author to review their books, but I liked the premise of this book which combined the story of an Englishman in New York with an obsession about ancient Egyptian art, so I said, “yes,” when Paul, Read More

3 shorter reviews – Bissell, Hunter, Ross

Barnhill by Norman Bissell After the end of WWII, George Orwell left London to live in a remote farmhouse on Jura in the Hebrides. It was there at ‘Barnhill’ that he brought together all the ideas that had been fermenting in his brain into the book that became 1984. Bissell’s novel tells the story of Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Wild card for the hols

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 where they exist. This month – the starting book is a wild card – the book you ended your last chain with, which for me was: Sharp Read More

Women in Translation – Top 100 – My Nominations

This year for the annual #WITmonth in August, our host Meytal at Biblibio has decided to curate a list of the top 100 women in translation. Everyone is invited to join in and let Meytal know. Here are how it’s going to work: Here are my nominations. Links to my reviews are in the titles: Read More

In short – some recent reads

Bookworm by Lucy Mangan Oh, what a nostalgia trip this book was. There has been so much love for it all over the blogosphere, and quite right too. I rediscovered so many books I’d forgotten, I might even re-read some of them. There were others I’ve never read but would like to – can you Read More

British Book Award Shortlists

The British Book Awards run by The Bookseller are the publishing industry’s equivalent of the BAFTAs and are affectionately known as The Nibbies. They celebrate the best British writers, books, publishers and bookshops. The Books of the Year are split into the following categories with one overall winner being picked too: Fiction Debut Crime & Read More

Rathbones Folio Prize shortlist: There There by Tommy Orange

I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the media tour for the Rathbones Folio Prize shortlist. Of all the diverse books on the shortlist, There There was the one that shouted out to me to read. I’m very happy to be its champion, for it’s different, timely, fascinating and an all round super read. Orange, Read More

The 1965 Club – take two…

Before I get on to talking about the second book I read for the 1965 Club hosted by Simon and Karen, I thought I’d look back and see which other books I’ve read published that year – there are only a handful, and they are (title links will take you to my reviews): Georgy Girl 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 always save this post for last, in case there’s a late entry. I’ve given up trying to keep the list to a dozen and have ended up instead with a baker’s dozen, plus some runners up. All of these Read More