Japanese Literature Challenge 13: The Pain of the Clown

Spark by Naoki Matayoshi Translated by Alison Watts Just fitting in at the end of the season of the Japanese Reading Challenge 13, hosted by Dolce Bellezza, here’s my second contribution. (See here for my first.) In recent times, having read several Japanese novels which are understated but still thought-provoking comedies such as The Nakano 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: Wrap-up & Giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who has joined in the week of reading and talking about my favourite author – the week has gone so fast. A particular thank you to those who’ve been able to read and review books list below – very much appreciated. However, there have been some great discussions here and on 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

Paul Auster Reading Week: Man in the Dark

I am alone in the dark, turning the world around in my head as I struggle through another bout of insomnia, another white night in the great American wilderness. Another great opening line from Auster in his 2008 novel. The narrator is August Brill, a writer who is seventy-two, living again with his daughter and Read More

Paul Auster Reading Week: The Brooklyn Follies

I was looking for a quiet place to die. Someone recommended Brooklyn, and so the next morning I traveled down there from Westchester to scope out the terrain. I hadn’t been back in fifty-six years, and I remembered nothing. Auster has a good way with opening lines, doesn’t he? I was instantly drawn in to Read More

Paul Auster Reading Week: City of Glass, the Graphic Novel

Adapted by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli If you’ve read City of Glass, the first of the three novellas that comprise Auster’s New York Trilogy, (more on that here), you’ll realise that it isn’t an easy text to adapt to a graphic form. There’s not much action really, a lot of sitting, watching and especially Read More

Why Auster is my favourite author and why you should try reading him

Auster’s first fiction published under his own name was three novellas, initially published separately in 1985-6, then collected as The New York Trilogy (NYT). I discovered the NYT when it first came out in paperback in the UK. I was attracted to the cover, also bearing Faber & Faber’s livery (right); the blurb promised detective Read More

Introducing Paul Auster Reading Week 17-23 Feb & Sign-up

Auster is probably my favourite living author, and last autumn I decided I would host a reading week to celebrate his work – and it begins today! I hope some of you will join with me in reading some of his writing: be it novels, memoir, essays, screenplays, poetry, letters and so on – he’s Read More

A Reading Week for Feb 2020

I’ve been contemplating hosting a reading week for one of my favourite authors this Feb, but couldn’t decide who to go for. I narrowed it down to a shortlist of Paul Auster, Iain Banks (with or without the ‘M’) and J G Ballard. Thank you to everyone who voted in my poll last week. The Read More

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Wrap up

This week went so fast! A huge thank you to everyone who joined in, I hope we’ve made some more Beryl converts. A big thank you to Stephen May who told us his rather brilliant anecdote about meeting Beryl too. I’ll add all your reviews to my Reading Beryl page above. Do let me know if I’ve missed you Read More

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine

Winter Garden by Beryl Bainbridge (1980) Douglas Ashburner is going on holiday. He was surprised that his wife of twenty-six years was happy for him to disappear off to the Highlands for a fortnight’s fishing trip. Leaving her in bed, she waves him goodbye with a ‘queenly gesture of farewell’. Little does she know. His Read More

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Some notes

I have a wrap-up post planned for tomorrow with links to all your brilliant reviews. Today, a few bits and pieces for you. First, I wanted to mention Huw Marsh’s 2014 book on Beryl in the Writers and their Work series from Northcote House publishers. Marsh is a professor at Queen Mary college, and this Read More

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: A Guest Post by Stephen May

I have a real treat for you today in Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week. I was tweeting about the week, when I got a reply from a chap called Stephen May saying “I gave Beryl Bainbridge a piggy back once.” I looked him up, found out that he is the author of several novels – one Read More

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: An Early Work II

Another Part of the Wood by Beryl Bainbridge This is Beryl’s second published novel originally published in 1968, which she revised to be republished by Duckworth in 1979, preceding the rewritten version of her earlier novel, A Weekend With Claude. Another Part of the Wood is the story of a holiday from hell. Two families Read More

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: An Early Novel I

A Weekend With Claude by Beryl Bainbridge This was Beryl’s second novel, but the first to be published in 1967. Her first, Harriet Said, was finally published in 1972. When A Weekend with Claude came out, Beryl was 24, however she radically revised and rewrote it in 1981. It has a dual time-frame with a framing Read More

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Titanic

Every Man For Himself by Beryl Bainbridge My first review for BBRW 2016 is a re-read for me – but no ordinary re-read. The Folio Society has produced a gorgeous new edition of this novel which includes Beryl’s own paintings, the first time her text and paintings have been published together. Every Man For Himself was published in Read More

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week

It’s here!  The second Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week. I hope that many of you will join in reading and posting reviews – please leave a link in the comments below. I will add all the links into a wrap-up post and add to my Reading Beryl page too later. If you’re not sure what to read, my Reading Read More

An Ambler for ‘The 1938 Club’

Cause for Alarm by Eric Ambler This week Simon and Karen are hosting their second selected year reading club – and after 1924 last time, 1938 was the year they chose. 1938 is particularly interesting because of the political situation building up to WWII , and the novel I chose to read encapsulates those worries perfectly. Eric Ambler was Read More

Reading Resolutions 2010 – How did I do?

Back in January, as always, I made some reading resolutions.  There were just four of them, so how did I do this year? 1. As always, try and reduce the TBR mountains – goes without saying really. That also means acquiring less books – but I’m not going to impose any out and out purchasing Read More