Lots of Shiny Linkiness

Time to catch up here with a bit of linkiness to my reviews published at Shiny New Books, there have been several over the past weeks I’ve not mentioned here. Star Turns by Tim Walker Journalist Tim Walker has worked at many publications, currently at the New European, where he resurrected the Mandrake diary column Read More

The ‘loveliest’ book I’ve read this year

The Book of Pebbles by Christopher Stocks & Angie Lewin I was given this book for my birthday some months ago, and what a delight it is. Many of you will already be familiar with Angie Lewin’s gorgeous nature-based linocuts and wood engravings which grace many a greetings card. Her illustrations essentially get equal billing Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 nos. 18-20 – Le Carré, Sallis & Shaw

I’m going to finish off the reviews of my 20 books in one go today. Here goes… Call For the Dead by John Le Carré Having read many of Le Carré’s early books over the years, I was slightly surprised to discover I’d never read his first book, the novella Call For the Dead, published Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 nos. 16-17 – Zadie Smith & Horatio Clare

Firstly I’m going to pause to go ‘Whoop! Whoop!’ – I’ve read my 20 books with days to spare. I honestly didn’t think I’d make it, but judicious choice of some short books to finish has done the job – all 20 were books I’ve owned since 2020 and were all own copies from my Read More

Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann – Blog Tour

There are two ways to read this novel: firstly, you can just dive straight in and enjoy it without thinking about the significance of the placename in its title, or, you can give yourself a knowing smile and keep an eye open as you read for all the resonances in its pages. I did the 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

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 : Paris in July : Euro Reading Challenge

Today, two more reviews for you that fit into multiple challenges, namely: 20 Books of Summer 21 hosted by Cathy, Paris in July hosted by Tamara, and the European Reading Challenge hosted by Gilion. Maigret’s Madwoman by Georges Simenon Translated by Siân Reynolds My 8th book reviewed for 20 Books, and 2nd for Paris in Read More

Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey – Blog Tour

I’m going to say it straight up. If you loved Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife or Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, it’s entirely likely that you’ll also like Meet Me in Another Life. I love all three of them. Silvey’s novel has some similarities to the mechanisms used in both the other aforementioned novels, Read More

Back to Dungeness…

William Shaw is one of the few crime authors I automatically want to read now whenever they have a new book out. Although I’ve still got some catching up to do with his earlier ‘Breen & Tozer’ series set in the 1960s, I am up to date and still loving his ‘DI Alexandra Cupidi’ series Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Beezus and Ramona

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: Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary I’m the right age Read More

Reading the Decades #3: The 1930s

As a breather from Iain Banks, today, another of my Reading the Decades posts. 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 Read More

Funnish, but not Melrose calibre…

Double Blind by Edward St Aubyn Having read all five of St Aubyn’s ‘Patrick Melrose’ novels last summer and loved them (my wrap-up here), it was time to turn my attention to his new novel – a non-Melrose one. The only problem was that my expectations were very high indeed – would the book live 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

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