The Joy of Quiz by Alan Connor #20booksofsummer22

I’m doing something quizzy down in London midweek, but will keep schtum about the specifics (just in case I do poorly). I ought to be cramming, but I’m so busy at school at the moment my brain is overloaded and memorising lists isn’t really working for me (well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to Read More

Two reviews in short & 20 Books of Summer Plans

Firstly, a few words on my plans for 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. Cathy is such a forgiving host, allowing us to choose our books, be it 10, 15 or 20 however we want; cheating and swaps are allowed – even encouraged! Consequently, I’m not going to nominate 20 specific Read More

Through a Vet’s Eyes by Sean Wensley FRCVS – Blog tour

‘How We Can All Choose a Better Life for Animals’ Gosh! This book made me think! It made me feel guilty: Firstly for enjoying eating meat. Although not written to discourage that, or promote vegetarianism at all, the author does strongly promote that we (those who can afford it) should eat better welfare meat – Read More

Review Catch-up – Collins & Montefiore

Although I watched far too much telly in April, I still managed to read eight books rather than my usual ten-twelve. I’m getting behind in my reviewing though, so some brief thoughts on two non-fiction volumes today. America Over the Water by Shirley Collins Shirley Collins is one of the most influential folk singers of Read More

A Gardener’s Life

Son of the Secret Gardener by Trevor Millum The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett was one of my favourite childhood novels, read from my trusted Puffin edition with this glorious cover by the much missed, late Shirley Hughes. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that FHB based Misselthwaite Manor in her novel around Read More

England’s library estate (with detours)

Before getting started with my review of the book pictured above, I just wanted to share a little about the three Croydon Borough libraries that shaped my childhood and adolescence. Coulsdon Library was the one I went to as a child every weekend to replenish my stock of reading materials. The children’s library had a Read More

Two short NF reviews

Recovery by Dr Gavin Francis I won this book in a giveaway hosted by Rebecca who reviewed it here – thank you! Published by Profile Books for the Wellcome Trust, this short non fiction book is all about how we recover from illness, and the road back to good health. Francis is a GP, and Read More

Reading the Sunday Times Young Writer Award Shortlist

The Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award is the UK and Ireland’s most influential prize for young writers, and the latest winner will be announced on Feb 24th, preceded by an event at Waterstones Piccadilly, chaired by Sebastian Faulks on Feb 23rd (you can buy tickets here). I’d love to go, Read More

Review Catch-up – Cox and Caspian

Putting the Rabbit in the Hat: My Autobiography by Brian Cox I read this fascinating book after Christmas, but it didn’t fit in with my Nordic reviewing in January, so I’m returning to it now. Cox is one of my favourite actors, I’ve been lucky enough to see him on stage quite a few times Read More

#NovNov – Short Non-fiction from the archives

I’ve read six novellas to write up for Novellas in November month (hosted by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books) – must get a move on! Meanwhile in week 2, we turn our attention to Short Non-Fiction, a better term than novella for NF. Once more, here is a section of posts from my archives of Read More

#NonFicNov – Week 1: My Year in Non Fiction

I love joining in with Non Fiction November – over the years I have tried to increase the amount of non fiction I read, and this annual feature is a great spur towards doing more of that. Week one of the month is hosted by Rennie at What’s NonFiction and simply asks us to review Read More

Cheltenham Literature Festival Blog Tour

I was delighted to be asked to take part in the blog tour celebrating this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival. Participants were asked to pick one of the topics from the festival programme to receive a random book from: I chose ‘stage and screen’ and was delighted when Adam Buxton’s memoir Ramble Book came through the Read More

Catch Your Breath by Ed Patrick – Blog Tour

I’m delighted o be one of the final stops on the blog tour for Ed Patrick’s super medical memoir. Memoirs by doctors nowadays tend to fall into distinct types, although in decades gone by it would usually only be surgeons who dominated the field. Surgeons still write memoirs, and I’ve reviewed a fair few including 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. 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

Review Round-up – Thompson, Bythell & Cowen / Hayes

Beeswing by Richard Thompson In the mid-80s I discovered British folk music, thanks to friends Jon and Jan. An essential part of my education was Fairport Convention and Richard Thompson, although it’s fair to say that Thompson’s solo work really took off for me a little later with his wonderful 1991 song 1952 Vincent Black Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 #4 – Living Autobiography with Deborah Levy

The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy Deborah Levy, I think, has become my favourite woman author. She thinks deeply about things; she’s read everything that matters; can talk eloquently about anything, but has a sense of humour; and, for me, she is incapable of writing badly. Reading her ‘Living Autobiography’ trilogy has been a Read More

Blog Tour – Fez Inkwright – Botanical Curses and Poisons

I’m delighted to be the last stop on the the Random Things Blog Tour for Fez Inkwright’s new book, Botanical Curses and Poisons: The Shadow Lives of Plants, just published by Liminal 11. I’ve always had a fascination for ‘poisonous’ plants – not that I want to cultivate them for any nefarious purpose – if Read More

Let’s get quizzical…

Two short reviews for you today, a quiz book and a novel about a quiz. Being a quiz-fiend, I couldn’t resist either of them! The Rock & Roll A Level by David Hepworth I’ve a lot of time for David Hepworth, following him from Smash Hits to Q to Empire to Mojo to The Word Read More

Review Round-Up – Tugwell, Mole & Hession

Three shorter reviews for you today of three very contrasting books – a psychological thriller, a lovely non-fiction book and a word-of-mouth gem of a novel. Dishonoured by Jem Tugwell Tugwell has written two spec fiction crime novels, but turns his hand to a psycho thriller for his third book. Dishonoured follows the rise and Read More

We are What We Watch? The Age of Static by Phil Harrison

I’ve found my TV consumption creeping back up a little during lockdown, but it’s nowhere near my peak viewing years which were probably from the 1990s into the 2000s (when kids’ programmes came back into the mix). As I started reading more and blogging, my watching declined, I even dropped Eastenders for a couple of 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

Nonfiction November – Week 3 – Be/Ask/Become the Expert

Week 3: (November 16-20) – Rennie is asking you to Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic Read More

Short Non-Fiction for Novellas in November #NovNov – Bill Bailey!

Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to Happiness Saturday nights have been bright again since Strictly returned to our screens – the absolute highlight not being the fit young things, but the utter seriousness being given to learning to dance given by Bill Bailey, partnered by Oti. (with Ranvir and Giovanni delighting too). Bill is clearly trying 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

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

October Wrap-up and November Plans

Feels like I’m behind on everything this month – too many distractions! I only read nine books above, of which I’ve only managed to write reviews for two! While there were no duds in that pile at all, I’m finding it hard to decide what to say about the others, and you know me – Read More

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