Review Catch-Up

Not only have I been too busy and mentally wired the past couple of weeks to read much. I’m also way behind on reviewing, so a bit of a catch-up is in order, so two shorter reviews for you today! Firstly though, I watched Susanna Clarke in conversation with Madeline Miller on the Waterstones feed Read More

20 Books of Summer #15 – Berners-Lee

There Is No Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee Back in 2010, I read Mike B-L’s first book, How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything reviewed here. Apart from being very informative, I found MB-L (yes, he is the brother of Sir Tim) to be an entertaining host as he talked us through his Read More

A Cracking Memoir – Mother by Nicholas Royle, and a DNF

Before I get into talking about specific books, an apology to all the lovely book publicists who have sent me review copies of titles out from mid-August onwards. THANK YOU! I will read and review all the books you’ve sent, but with the crowding of titles coming out on this year’s ‘Super Thursday’ – Sept 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

NOT the Wellcome Book Prize – Two from our Shortlist

So the shadow panel (Rebecca of Bookish Beck, Clare of A Little Blog of Books, Laura of Dr. Laura Tisdall, Paul of Halfman, Halfbook and I) managed to pick half a dozen from the 19 books we longlisted – some picked themselves, others needed a bit of discussion and a deciding vote. The six are: Exhalation by Ted Chiang Invisible Read More

Making plants fun! Review & Q&A

I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast by Michael Holland Illustrated by Philip Giordano I don’t feature many new children’s books on this blog, but I couldn’t say no when offered this one which is published today by Flying Eye Books. I mean, just look at that lovely cover. And then I opened the book up, and 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

Paul Auster Reading Week: A Life in Words

Paul Auster in conversation with I.B. Siegumfeldt. IB (Inge Birgitte) Siegumfeldt is a Danish professor at the University of Copenhagen, which houses The Paul Auster Research Library – an international hub for his work and its translated versions. Auster was made an honorary fellow back in 2011, and Siegumfeldt has taught his work, especially the 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

Non-Fiction Novellas in November

Combining two reading tags into one, today I have a couple of contrasting non-fiction short reads for you… Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay Destined to be in thousands of Christmas stockings, this is a bijou helping of more stories in diary form from the author of This is Going to Hurt (reviewed Read More

Book Group report: theme – ‘a recommendation’

East West Street by Philippe Sands Unusually, for a group that picks the books we read by theme – for October’s discussion, we went with a recommendation from another book group of a book that most of us would normally never have picked up. East West Street is a combination of family history during the Read More

In Brief:

Catching up on books read with short reviews… Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi Translated by Geoffrey Trousselot A short Japanese novel about time travel set in a café was always going to have to be read by me! It ticks all the boxes on the face of it, and I was hoping Read More

Return to Wigtown

Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell Bythell owns Scotland’s largest secondhand bookshop in the self-proclaimed Book Town of Wigtown in Galloway, south-west Scotland. His book Diary of a Bookseller (reviewed here) was a big hit in 2017, and for anyone returning for this second volume, it is comfortingly more of the same. The first Read More

Brookmyre and Broomfield

Given their adjacency in my A-Z list of authors reviewed, and the similar blue tones in their book covers, it seems a good idea to review these two books in one post, despite them being very different to each other! Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre It’s been far too long since I read one of 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

Two recent science books

Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity by Jamie Metzl Genetic engineering is a controversial topic, and news coverage is generally lacking in proper detail or hopelessly biased one way or another. There are so many scare stories, alongside the fantastic developments that will undoubtedly be helpful to mankind. The words ‘genetic engineering’ Read More

Life as a WPC

On the Line by Alice Vinten We are all fascinated by other peoples’ lives these days. Narrative non-fiction as publishers call the mixture that includes history, politics, biography and memoir – any non-fiction that tells a story. Doctors and surgeons’ memoirs, have been joined by nurses, midwives, chefs, firemen, barristers and more, and now by Read More

An evening with Kate Clanchy and her new book

Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me by Kate Clanchy Some of you may know Kate Clanchy’s work from her super comic novel Meeting the English (see here) or her earlier memoir Antigona and Me (see here), about a refugee who became her cleaner and nanny. She has also published books of poetry 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

Blogtour – Under the Rock by Benjamin Myers

Ever since Rebecca reviewed this book in hardback for Shiny (see here), I’ve wanted to read it, (and Myers’s prize-winning novel Gallows Pole which I already had on my shelf). Now out in paperback, in Under the Rock, subtitled ‘Stories carved from the land’, Myers boldly combines nature writing with history, psycho-geography, photography and poetry Read More

Dealing with Metrophobia

The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt You won’t find ‘metrophobia’ in the OED yet, but plenty of other places will tell you it means the fear of poetry – not underground railways! Now, I’ve always appreciated an occasional poem: I read the ones in the TLS each week; I can still remember lots of 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

Just the job for this young lady…

MI5 and Me – A Coronet Among the Spooks by Charlotte Bingham Back in 1963, the young Charlotte Bingham published a book of humorous memoir called Coronet Among the Weeds. The daughter of the 7th Baron, Clanmorris, it told of Bingham’s experience of ‘The Season’ as a debutante among the chinless wonders, or weeds, as Read More

Wellcome Reading 2019 #2 Trauma

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein When I picked this book to read from the Wellcome Book Prize longlist for 2019, I had no idea what an amazing person we would meet within its pages. I just knew that it was the story of a woman who runs a trauma cleaning business in Australia, where Read More

Wellcome Book Prize 10th Anniversary Blog Tour

I was delighted to be asked to take part in this blog tour, running ahead of the announcement of the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize longlist in February. This most unique of literary awards which “rewards exceptional works of literature that illuminate the many ways that health, medicine and illness touch our lives,” is ten years Read More

Review Catch-up #3 from 2018

Yet another pair of shorter reviews of books I read at the tail-end of 2018. Where Shall We Run To? by Alan Garner I shall be reviewing this book at length for Shiny but it warrants a short write-up here too. I am a big Alan Garner fan (see here), and I can think of Read More

Review Catch-up #1 from 2018

I’ve got a pile of books I finished reading in 2018 that I haven’t reviewed yet. Some deserve their own posts, but here’s a pair of shorter write-ups. The Atlas of Disease by Sandra Hempel This is a curious book – ostensibly an ‘atlas’ produced using the latest data available, in which the author charts Read More

Year End Review #4: Non-Fiction

This isn’t going to be a long post, as I’ve talked about a lot of my non-fiction reading this year recently during Non Fiction November (see here), but since that post, I’ve added several more books to that list, making my non-fiction total 31 in 2018 as of today.  That’s just about 22% which is Read More

Living on the Edge

Outskirts by John Grindrod Like the author, I am a 1970s product of the Croydon/Surrey borders, so I was particularly interested to read this book, which is part memoir, part history of the Green Belt. Grindrod grew up in a postwar estate that was added to Croydon’s south-eastern outskirts, and in this estate, he lived Read More

Nonfiction November: Book Pairings

Nonfiction November is being hosted by Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves), Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness), Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves), Julie (JulzReads), and Katie (Doing Dewey). through the site What’s Nonfiction?  They have a wonderful programme mapped out for November here. The topic for the second week is “book pairings” – matching a nonfiction book with a fiction one, which Read More