#1954Club & #Narniathon21

It’s always nice when one book covers two tags, namely this month’s read in Chris at Calmgrove‘s Narniathon and The 1954 Club in the biannual year’s reading week hosted by Karen and Simon. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis This month we come to the fifth book in published order – in 1954 Read More

Japanese Literature Challenge 15

Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura Translated by Philip Gabriel I just managed to squeeze in a Japanese read in time to catch the end of this year’s Japanese Literature Challenge 15 hosted by Dolce Belezza Lonely Castle in the Mirror was a prize-winning bestseller in Japan and it’s easy to see why Read More

#Narniathon21: The Silver Chair

And so in the #Narniathon21 hosted by Chris at Calmgrove to my childhood favourite of the Narnia books, the 4th to be published, 6th in the chronological order, The Silver Chair. Is it still my favourite? I’ll tell you later. A full synopsis with comments follows, so if you don’t want to know the plot Read More

My Year in Irish Lit

It’s Week 2 of Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and Raging Fluff. The prompt for this week is ‘My Year in Irish Lit’, and it is a pleasure to go back through the year to last March and see how many books by Irish authors I read – I was pleasantly surprised by the Read More

My Top Five Irish… Authors

I know, I’m a day late in posting, but I started writing this post last week. March is, of course, Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and Raging Fluff. This year, they’ve come up with some weekly prompts and the first is My Top Five Irish… anything to do with Irish culture. Read More

#ReadIndies – Three chapbooks from Nightjar Press

I don’t know why, but faced with a book of short stories by a single author, I tend to baulk after I’ve read a few, finding it hard to return to a collection. As a consequence, I read few short story collections. I’m a great fan of novellas, which gives more space to develop plot Read More

#NordicFINDS – It’s a wrap!

Phew! What a great start to the reading year I’ve had. Dedicating one week per Nordic country has been fascinating and I’ve been astounded by the variety of books covered between us – a huge thank you, (but especially to Lizzy and Liz who’ve read loads each). Thank you also to those who visited and Read More

#NordicFINDS – Iceland Week – a final quirky novel

Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir Translated by Brian Fitzgibbon My final read of #NordicFINDS is a quirky novel that slightly took me back to nearly the beginning of my project this year, for Butterflies in November has some similarities in its narrator with Bess in The Murder of Halland, except that this time Read More

#NordicFINDS – Iceland Week – living the dream?

Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss Novelist Sarah Moss fell in love with Iceland during a trip with a friend as a student. Years later, she was beginning to get itchy feet at the University of Kent and began looking for a job abroad. It just so happened that her husband lost his job Read More

#NordicFINDS – Finland Week – a quirky mystery

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen Translated by Lola M Rogers I remember when Pushkin Press first published their edition of this novel, it was all over the blogosphere. Although I soon acquired a copy, I didn’t have time to read it then, but have now, and what a treat it was! Read More

#NordicFINDS – Finland Week – a long-time Finnish best-seller

The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna Translated by Herbert Lomas, 1995 Apparently this slim volume first published in 1975 is a cult novel in France and has been translated into many languages including English, twenty years after publication. In Finland, it is much loved, and was Paasilinna’s personal favourite of his 36 novels. Read More

#NordicFINDS – Finland week – a cli-fi, spec fic, dystopian noir crime thriller

The Healer by Antti Tuomainen Translated by Lola Rogers I discovered Tuomainen last year when I read his latest novel The Rabbit Factor, a dark comedy thriller which I loved. I decided to go back to his first available novel in English for #NordicFINDS, (first published in 2010, translated in 2013), which in now typical Read More

#NordicFINDS – Finland Week – My ‘Would-be’ Gateway Book

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson Translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal Because until this week, I’d read so few Finnish books, I didn’t have a definite gateway book that led me into the country’s literature. But it would have been The Summer Book by Tove Jansson, because when Sort Of Books started their Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – A new to me grumpy detective

The Mind’s Eye by Håkan Nesser Translated by Laurie Thompson As so often happens with crime series, The Mind’s Eye published in Swedish in 1993 – the first in Nesser’s Inspector Van Veeteren mystery series, wasn’t the first to be translated into English later in the late noughties. That was the second: Borkmann’s Point. Why Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – a novel of letters and longing

Some Kind of Company by Nan Östman Translated by Julia Rivers We have to thank Aspal Press for finding this hidden gem of Swedish literature and making it available in English translation for the first time. Östman, who died in 2015, is a much loved Swedish children’s author, often writing about girls and horses, and Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – A Workplace Drama

The Room by Jonas Karlsson Translated by Neil Smith There’s a well-worn office cliché: ‘You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps!’ Something that definitely applies to the employees of the Authority in Jonas Karlsson’s engaging novel. What the Authority does is never specified, but the higher the floor you work Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – My Gateway Book – a different take

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist & its movie adaptations Although a rather baggy novel at over 500 pages, Let the Right One In, translated by Ebba Segerberg, blew me away when I read it back in 2009. My full review from back then is here. At the novel’s heart is the Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A feminist dark metal manifesto?

Girls Against God by Jenny Hval Translated by Marjam Idriss I was browsing the Verso books website (as you do when there’s an offer on!). I don’t think I’d read any of their publications before, but I knew they had some Scandi authors in their list. I was drawn to the cover of this one, Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A Modern Classic

The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas Translated by Elizabeth Rokkan Literally everyone I know who has read this novella has fallen in love with it. First published in 1963, this English translation was brought to us by Peter Owen publishers in 1993, who have let Penguin add it (and another by Vesaas, The Birds, reviewed Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A locked room mystery

The Human Flies by Hans Olav Lahlum Translated by Kari Dickson This is the first novel in Lahlum’s ‘K2 and Patricia’ series of Norwegian detective novels which now number four. Set in the late 1960s into the early 1970s, they are unencumbered by modern technology bar the forensics of the time, allowing the convolutions of Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week

I chose Norway for the second week of my Nordic reading, because I instantly had in mind a gateway book that opened up that country’s reading for me. That was the huge bestseller Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (re-read review soon). Meanwhile, my pile of Norwegian authors does slightly exceed my Danish one, and again Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – A Quirky Novella

Minna Needs Rehearsal Space by Dorthe Nors Translated by Misha Hoekstra Some of you will have come across Dorthe Nors from her novel Mirror Shoulder Signal which was shortlisted for the International Booker in 2017 (my full review here). In Mirror… Sonja, a newly single forty-something, decides to learn to drive as part of starting to Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – An unusual crime novel

The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul Translated by Martin Aitken I didn’t want to wake Halland; he had to be up soon anyway. After going to the loo, I went back into the living room and collapsed on the sofa under a blanket. When I opened my eyes again, I knew a sound had Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark week

I chose Denmark for the first week of my Nordic reading as I was ultra-keen to revisit Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg, and it is alphabetically the first country – an approach I abandoned when setting the dates for each country (which ended up being random, not even in FINDS order). Apart Read More

Review of the Year #1 – 2021, A Year of Reading and Blogging

As always, 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. (By the way, the cute calendar comes from Asking For Trouble). Let’s go through the year first… JANUARY – saw the start of the Read More

#NovNov – Review round-up – 4 more novellas/short NF

I had a great month (plus a few days at the end of October) fitting in as many novellas as I could alongside other reading for #SciFiMonth and general for Novellas in November hosted by Rebecca at Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books. I’m left with several yet to review – two short NF reads, and Read More

#NovNov – some classic novellas from my archives

The final week of Novellas in November (hosted by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books) turns its attention to classics (incl modern classics – pre 1980) and once more I’ve scoured my archives to find a selection to highlight from a few years ago for you. As in previous weeks, I’ve managed to combine with other tags Read More

Two SF Novellas for #NovNov #SciFiMonth

Another opportunity to tick two boxes with one blog post. This time two superb novellas for Novellas in November and both SF for Sci Fi Month. The Employees: A Workplace novel of the 22nd Century by Olga Ravn Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken This is the most unconventionally structured book I’ve read this 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