Happy Mother’s Day – with Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips will be known to everyone as a Labour MP (for Yardley in Birmingham) and an ardent feminist. She serves on the Opposition frontbench as Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding and during this week, which saw the tragic murder of Sarah Everard, in the House of Commons International Women’s Day debate, she 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

More Indies and Japan – Porter and Tanizaki

Today I have a Shiny link and another Japanese cat for you, both from indie publishers … The Death of Francis Bacon by Max Porter In his third short novel, (my review of his first here), Porter gets even more experimental, presenting a series of imagined word pictures as the tortured artist lies dying in 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

An Author’s View of the Film Adaptation of Their Novel

The Magic: the story of a film by Christopher Priest The Prestige by Christopher Priest published in 1995, which our Book Group read in late 2006 way before this blog started, is a novel that has stayed with me for several reasons: firstly – it’s a wonderful novel, secondly – Nikola Tesla is a secondary 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 – My Year in Non-Fiction

This is my third year of taking part in Nonfiction November. Each week has a different theme and is hosted by a different blogger. Week one is to survey your year in non-fiction, prompted by Leann at Shelf Aware. Last year, just over 25% of my reading was non-fiction at 33 books, my best ever. 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

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

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

Shiny Linkiness

Today over at Shiny New Books is my review of the wonderful third novel from Natasha Pulley: The Lost Future of Pepperharrow Pulley’s third novel revisits the characters of her first, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (reviewed here) and takes them back to Japan in the late 1880s, where the clairvoyant Keita Mori will be 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

Fitzcarraldo Fortnight

It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track by Ian Penman After Karen reviewed this book last autumn (here) I just had to get hold of a copy – one of Fitzcarraldo’s white for non-fiction titles. I love great music journalism, and this collection of essays about a wide range of musicians is some of the Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #10

While I recover from my Auster-thon and finish some more books by other authors, here’s yet another selection from my master spreadsheet of capsule reviews of books I read pre-blog – this batch is from 2007, and there’s still plenty more where these came from! (Buy at Amazon links are all affiliate links, I’ll earn Read More

Review of the Decade

Happy New Year & Happy New Decade! But, before I dive headlong into the 2020s, here’s just one more backwards-looking post to pick out my highlights for each year of the 2010s, well 2010-2018 – I’m considering 2019 done! 2018 Book of the Year: To Throw Away Unopened by Viv Albertine. Something about this memoir 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

Year End Review 4: Non-Fiction

I managed to increase the amount of non-fiction I read this year once again – I seem to be going up by one or two NF books per year! So in 2019 I read 33 non-fiction books (up to 25 December), making 25.3% of the total this year. Thanks to taking part in the Wellcome Read More

Review catch-up – Pickett, Knox and Mackesy

As everyone who works in a school knows, the last few weeks of autumn term are simply manic! Normal lessons are interrupted for Nativity rehearsals, carol service rehearsals, trips, other Christmassy events, then the Nativity production itself which was sweet (as ever) and then this weekend we’ve had our staff outing back to back with Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Sanditon

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: Sanditon by Jane Austen I’ve not read Austen’s last, unfinished novel, nor Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #8

I’m busy reading a fiction chunkster (no, not the Ellmann!), and several non-fiction titles, so full reviews will have to wait. Instead, here’s more of my notes from 2007 on some books I enjoyed back then… In the place of fallen leaves by Tim Pears Slow to get into, but growing more rewarding with each Read More

Python at 50, and my Life of Brian story…

Inspired by Calmgrove’s Python post, posted on the actual anniversary of the first ever episode, here’s my own Python tribute a few days late. I was only 9 when Monty Python was first broadcast so was too young to catch it the first time around, but when they repeated it in the later 1970s I Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #7

I do have full book reviews coming soon, but to fill the gap (again), here is another round-up of some pre-blog capsule reviews that I wrote back in 2006 for you. Crucifix Lane by Kate Mosse The world is just the same but also oh so different 11 years into the future in Kate Mosse’s Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: A Gentleman in Moscow

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. This month – the starting book is: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles One of my favourite books of recent years. Read More

20 Books of Summer #3 & #4 – Kurkov and Pinol

I’m already behind on reading and reviewing the pile of 20 books I selected (here), but I’m not a challenge completist! Anything that spurs me to reduce my TBR by a book or two is good. Today, I have two in translation for you. The Gardener from Ochakov by Andrey Kurkov Translated from the Russian Read More

Doing Things in Threes…

Why Trilogies are More Satisfying Than Series or Mere Sequels This post was inspired by Rebecca’s one about her general wariness of books that continue their stories (read here). I too, am notoriously fickle in continuing to read novels in series even when I loved the first one or two I read. A case in Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The Dry

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 Dry by Jane Harper One of the best debut crime novels Read More

Blogtour: Paver goes Gothic

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver I’m delighted to be hosting the leg of the blogtour for Michelle Paver’s third adult novel on its publication day! I read and really enjoyed Paver’s first two, both ghost stories reviewed here. The first, Dark Matter was located in the Arctic which was followed by Thin Air set in the Read More

Remembering ‘Mr Preview’

No Minor Chords: My Days in Hollywood by André Previn When André Previn died just a month short of his 90th birthday a couple of weeks ago, the world of music lost one of its real nice guys. I immediately dug out my copy of his Hollywood memoir which was published back in 1991 to Read More