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

Hiiii, Ouaf Ouaf, Crôa Crôa, Coin Coin, Piit Piit

The Strays of Paris by Jane Smiley For those who don’t know their French animal noises (NB: I cheated and looked them up) above we have a neigh, woof, caw, quack and squeak. We can only hear these onomatopeic words, but the animals in Jane Smiley’s new novel can understand each other perfectly. Smiley hasn’t 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

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

A dose of totally bonkers Russian SF from the Strugatsky brothers

Last year, a language missing from my reading in translation was Russian, and Karen picked me up on it 😀 when I published my annual stats. So, this year I’m making sure that doesn’t happen again by getting an early first read–it won’t be my last–of one of the Strugatsky brothers’ SF novels. I can 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

Shiny Linkiness

In the last few weeks, I’ve written four reviews for Shiny New Books, and neglected to mention them here until now. Click on the title below to go straight to my full Shiny review. I’m loving the colour-coordinated covers of these four books too! Numbers Don’t Lie by Vaclav Smil – one for fans of 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

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

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

The 1956 Club & a timely novella

It’s time for the latest reading year in Simon and Kaggsy’s biannual club. Looking on my shelves, I found two books I hadn’t read, the novella The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon and the chunkier A Walk on the Wild Side by Nelson Algren: the slimmer of the two won out this time. Looking at 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: Rodham

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: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld A book I’ve not read, Read More

20 Books of Summer – #16 & #17 & Wrap-up

The 20 Books of Summer challenge runs from the beginning of June to the end of August each year, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. This is my fourth year of joining in, and my most successful yet, the best I’ve managed before being 15 out of my 20. I always aim to go for 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

20 Books of Summer #14 – St Aubyn

At Last by Edward St Aubyn – the fifth and final Patrick Melrose novel Reading this sequence of semi-autobiographical novels this summer has been a wonderful experience, despite the challenging events chronicled within their pages. This fifth and final snapshot in the life of Patrick Melrose was published in 2011. As you might expect, it 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

20 Books of Summer #9-10 Yuknavitch & St Aubyn

My 20 Books of Summer continues apace. I’m currently on my 12th title – and am cheating madly – but only swapping in books that have been in my TBR before the beginning of 2020, or my library pile – which need to go back next week. I’m also generating more time for reading by: Read More

20 Books of Summer #7-8 – The Melrose Novels #2-3 by Edward St Aubyn

See here for my review of the first novel in this series, Never Mind. I know that some of the events happening in that novel are hard to take, especially as they’re surrounded by such mordant wit, but I’d urge those who gave up after the first book, to carry on with the second – Read More

20 Books of Summer #3-4 – Simenon & St Aubyn

I’m speeding up, currently reading my 7th Book of Summer as hosted by Cathy. Yes, I’m cheating again – but only a little bit. I’m on the second of the Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St Aubyn, but reading from an omnibus edition of the first four – but counting them as 4 books rather Read More

A Most Curious Fable!

Lake of Urine: A Love Story by Guillermo Stitch To be honest, when originally offered a review copy of this novel some months ago, I nearly turned it down because of its title alone – which is so bizarre and off-putting, but there was something in the summary on the press release that nabbed me: Read More

20 Books of Summer #1-2 Braithwaite and Saunders

My 20 books has got off to a slow start. The distractions of 800 pages of a SF classic for book group, an impulse re-read and the review pile for summer suddenly growing with moved dates – that’s my excuse. But I am 2 in, just 18 to go! My Sister, the Serial Killer by Read More

Frankenstein’s Centre of Gravity!

I’ll explain what I mean by Frankenstein’s Centre of Gravity in a moment, first I want to talk about one of my favourite authors, Marcus Sedgwick. Although he has written books aimed at adult audiences (eg historical thriller Mister Memory, and Little Toller monograph Snow), and he’s written many books for middle grade children, he’s Read More

Two reviews – a dystopian debut and an Irish crime thriller

The Third Magpie by M.S. Clements The Third Magpie is a dystopian romance set in an insular post-Brexit England, now called New Albany, that is (at least partly inspired by I’d wager, and) approaching Atwood’s Gilead in some of its strictures. Sons are revered, young women are once again chattels, to be married off in Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Stasiland

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 – the starting book is: Stasiland by Anna Funder A modern classic book Read More

Des livres en traduction pour les petits enfants

Il y a des ans, j’ai écrit un article de blog sur le sujet des livres traduits en latin, (ici). Récemment, un collègue qui enseigne le français à nos jeunes élèves a obtenu des éditions traduites de livres d’images classiques. Vachement chouette! (as they used to say in France for ‘really cool’!) I can’t resist 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