The 1937 Club – Ali & Nino by Kurban Said

I did intend to read Eric Ambler’s Uncommon Danger for the 1937 Club, but it’s been so busy I’ve not managed to get started really, so instead I offer you a revamped review of a novel from that year that I read pre-blog and not previously featured. Azerbaijan in the early 20th century was at Read More

Reading Ireland Month – Flattery and Nolan

I finally got my act together for this year’s Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy and read a pair of novels with throwaway titles – Nothing Special, and Ordinary Human Failings. They may have different settings, but both involve a teenager who has grown out of school, and both have broken families. However, I loved Read More

Nordic Snø & Íss

While I haven’t formally run my Nordic reading month this year keeping it casual, I offer many thanks to those blog friends who have still included it in their own reading plans (Chris reviewed The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Lizzy reviewed Hunter in Huskvarna and other stories by Sara Stridsberg. Do let Read More

Review of the Year #1 – 2023, A Year of Reading and Blogging

As always, I’m saving my books of the year for the 31st, and you’ll get my book stats (my favourite post) on the 29th, but today I plan to share some other blogging highlights, including all those reading weeks, months and challenges I took part in over the year. You’ll also find a book group Read More

Dean Street December – Viva Las Vengeance: The Elvis Mysteries #3 by Daniel Klein

I love taking part in themed reading weeks and months whenever I can, and Liz is hosting this one (see here). Dean Street Press were reprint specialists, particularly mid 20th century women’s fiction from the decades and Golden Age crime – and those are not my usual fare. However, in 2022 they also reprinted a Read More

Two for #GermanLitMonth #NovNov23 – von Chamisso & Dürrenmatt

Just squeaking in at the end of the month, here are two shorter reviews of novellas (hence qualifying for Novellas in November also) originally published in German, however, neither are by German-born authors. Adelbert von Chamisso was French, becoming naturalised German, Friederic Dürrenmatt was Swiss. Peter Schlemihl by Adelbert von Chamisso Translated by Leopold von Read More

#ReadingBeryl23 – It’s a wrap!

It was a relatively quiet #ReadingBeryl23 week this time, although livelier on socials, as having her birthday in the middle of the week brought up a plethora of other tweets etc. I owe a huge thank you to Maureen, whose short piece about meeting Beryl on a writing course got us started, and also those Read More

An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge #ReadingBeryl23

Back when first published in 1989, this was my first exposure to Beryl Bainbridge, and it would be some years before I read another, which was when the paperback of Every Man For Himself (later re-read and reviewed here) was published in 1996/7. Then another big gap until I started reading her again in 2011 Read More

The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress by Beryl Bainbridge #ReadingBeryl23

Finally, a review for you. This is one of the few novels by Beryl that I hadn’t read. Bainbridge’s eighteenth and final novel was left unfinished, but her great friend and colleague (and later biographer) Brendan King tidied it up from the notes she gave him. Like all of her later work, it was based Read More

Guest Post: Beryl Bainbridge. A memory, by Maureen Hanscomb

Today I have a special post for you. A couple of weeks ago when I was publicising #ReadingBeryl23, a lovely sounding lady contacted me to ask if there were plans for the week, and that she’d been tutored by Beryl on a writing course. I replied – it’s just an encouragement to read more Beryl, Read More

Nonfiction November Week 3 – Book Pairings

This week of Nonfiction November is hosted by Liz and the subject is Book Pairings. Pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. Maybe it’s a historical novel and the real history in a nonfiction version, or a memoir and a novel, or a fiction book you’ve read and you would like recommendations for Read More

What is a Novella? #NovNov23 Week 2

I’ll admit, I was a bit cheeky last week, I included several books in my tally of novellas that aren’t really novellas. Novellas are accepted as being between 10k and 40k words, and up to 200 pages, although the more usual bottom limit is 17.5k words. Novelettes – a term not often used – are Read More

Novellas in November #NovNov23 Week 1: My Year in Novellas

Hot on the heels of My Year in Nonfiction for nonfiction November, comes my post for week 1 of Novellas in November hosted by Rebecca and Cathy and in similar vein, it’s ‘My Year in Novellas’. I’ve read 24/102 books that fall into the novella category (including short NF) – well okay a couple of Read More

Nonfiction November: My Year in NF

November is a busy themed month – I’m starting with Nonfiction (I’m never sure with it should be Non Fiction, Nonfiction or Non-Fiction!), but I shall go with all one word or NF… Week 1 (30th Oct – 3rd Nov) Your Year in Nonfiction: Celebrate your year of nonfiction. What books have you read? What were Read More

The IPCRESS File by Len Deighton – #1962Club

My contribution to the 1962-themed reading week hosted by Simon and Karen is veteran thriller author Len Deighton’s debut novel which introduced us to the unnamed spy later immortalised on film by Michael Caine (right) as Harry Palmer. Although I have seen the 1965 movie many times, and also enjoyed the more recent ITV adaptation with Joe Cole Read More

Chourmo by Jean-Claude Izzo – #20booksofsummer23 & #parisinjuly2023

Firstly, an update on my 20 Books of Summer – I’ve read 9, all from my TBR and owned before 2023. But I am falling behind my 20 goal, so I have decided to be an even bigger cheat than normal. Due to the number of wonderful new books recently published that I’m desperate to Read More

Ira Levin and Jeff Vandermeer – #20booksofsummer23 nos 3 & 4

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin Decades ago, I first encountered Ira Levin when I read The Boys from Brazil, published in 1976, which was also the first time I’d ever heard of Nazi Josef Mengele – and what a chilling experience that was – and then to see Gregory Peck playing against type in Read More

Announcing another Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week

When Facebook reminded me that I had memories from June 2016, I was shocked to think it was that long ago that I last hosted a Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week! Beryl is one of my favourite authors, and I first hosted a BBRW in 2012, repeating in in 2016. Amazingly I still have a few Read More

‘Reading the Meow’ for #20booksofsummer23

Goodness knows, I’ve read enough books featuring prominent cats over the years, so when Mallika of Literary Potpourri announced ‘#ReadingtheMeow23‘ I went straight to my shelves. Whatever I read would have to also fit with Cathy’s 20 Books of Summer. However, I couldn’t initially find one there, and had to resort to some googling. I Read More

The 1940 Club: Journey into Fear by Eric Ambler

When looking through my books to choose one to read for Simon and Kaggsy‘s 1940 Club reading week, I was surprised to find I’ve only read one (since I started keeping my spreadsheet) published in 1940 – that was the sublime Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker (reviewed here). However, I found two super classics from Read More

Two short books for the Japanese & Irish Reading challenges

While I hope to squeeze in more books for the Welsh, Irish and Japanese reading months that happen in March, here are two short reviews of two short novellas, one from Japan, one from Ireland… Star by Yukio Mishima Translated by Sam Bett This was my first experience of Mishima, one of those sightly intimidating Read More

You Will Never Be Found by Tove Alsterdal – #NordicFINDS23

Translated by Alice Menzies It’s fitting to end my Nordic reading for January with this Swedish crime novel – for it was published today! You Will Never be Found is the second in a series featuring Police Assistant Eira Sjödin. I very much enjoyed reading the first volume, We Know You Remember last year, set Read More

2023 Resolutions

I don’t really like to impose restrictions on my reading. That way lies the spectre of reading block! A good balance between own books and review copies/blog tours is essential, and I was happy with how that went last year. The key statistic from 2022 was looking at where my books came from. For the Read More

#TDiRS22 – The Dark is Rising Sequence Book 4: The Grey King

A bit later than originally planned, but I hope you’re still with me as we come to the fourth of the five books in Susan Cooper’s wonderful children’s adventure fantasy series, The Grey King, published in 1975. Catch up with the previous posts here: Introduction Over Sea, Under Stone The Dark is Rising Greenwitch This Read More

Two more classics for #NovNov Dürrenmatt & McCoy

I know the final week’s theme for Novellas in November hosted by Cathy and Rebecca is contemporary novellas, but today I have two more classic novellas for you instead. Contemporary ones to come soon! The Judge & His Hangman by Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1950) Translated by Joel Agee (2006) I was keen to tie in #NovNov with German Read More

Nonfiction November Week 3: Stranger Than Fiction

This week is hosted by Christopher @ Plucked from the Stacks. My immediate thought on reading the prompts for this week was to take me to one of my favourite TV series ever – Mad Men! If ever there was a profession where life imitates art it is the world of advertising in 1960s New York, Read More

Two short NF titles for #NovNov22

The third week of Novellas in November hosted by Cathy and Rebecca focuses on short non-fiction, so here are two short reviews for you, both in translation carrying on week 2’s theme also… Stalking the Atomic City by Markiyan Kamysh Translated from the Ukrainian by Hanna Lelive & Reilly Costigan-Humes Ever since I read the chapter on disaster Read More

NORDIC FINDS is back for Jan 2023

After the success of my first Nordic FINDS Reading Project this January (wrap-up post here, dedicated page here), I’ve been asked if I was bringing it back to make it a regular reading month. Well, I couldn’t resist! This year I dedicated the first five weeks of 2022 to one of the five countries per Read More