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

River Clyde by Simone Buchholz – Blog Tour

Translated by Rachel Ward I first met German state prosectutor Chastity Riley last year when I read the fourth book to be translated in the series by ‘Queen of Krimi’ Simone Buchholz. Hotel Cartagena was very different to what I expected – not a legal crime thriller but rather more like Die Hard in Hamburg, Read More

Red is My Heart by Antoine Laurain & Le Sonneur

The Other Red Notebook? Translated by Jane Aitken I’ve read everything by Laurain that the wonderful Gallic Books has translated. I’m a big fan of his brand of entertaining novels, mostly driven by key objects be it a hat, a notebook, a tape, a portrait, cigarettes, a bottle of wine, or a manuscript – I’ve 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

Six Degrees of Separation: The End of the Affair

First Saturday of the month, and it’s time for the super monthly tag Six Degrees of Separation, which is hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links to my reviews are in the titles of the books. I’m Read More

#Narniathon21 – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

And so we come to the third Narnia book to be published (5th in the chronological order) in Chris’s #Narniathon21 readalong and once more, I’m reading from my original Puffin book, inscribed with all my (very serious) play library remnants, another application to join the Puffin Club (still 7⅓ years old), and horror – not Read More

Off Target by Eve Smith – blog tour

I adore spec fiction set just into the future, and I’ll admit part of that thrill is the scary thought that some of it may come true. It adds a layer of excitement that really gets my brain thinking overtime. I’m so glad to have discovered Eve Smith, and after really enjoying her new novel, 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

Book Group Report – a trippy, tribey SF alt-Manchester from the 1990s

We’re nearing the end of the alphabet in our book group – we haven’t decided yet if we’ll return to the beginning or do something else when we finish. Meanwhile our ‘V is for’ book this month was a novel I was very happy to re-read. Vurt by Jeff Noon I discovered Vurt in the 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

Friday Interlude – a favourite lyric from a favourite singer-songwriter

I was listening to the repeat of this week’s Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 this morning. Lauren Laverne’s guest was Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter (right), a statistician from Cambridge University, whose clear analysis of Covid statistics has enhanced the R4 airwaves all through the lockdowns and beyond. You can listen to the episode on 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

Jan into Feb Watchlist

It’s time for something different as a breather or palate-cleanser from all the Nordic reading I’ve devoted myself to since Christmas! It’s the return of my Watchlist – on the big and little screen. Big Screen Movies I went to the cinema twice – to see two films in black and white (although Branagh’s has 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

Six Degrees of Separation: No One is Talking About This

First Saturday of the month, and it’s time for the super monthly tag Six Degrees of Separation, which is hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links to my reviews are in the titles of the books. Our 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 – Iceland Week – My Gateway Book

Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason Translated by Bernard Scudder Arnaldur Indriðason is one of Iceland’s foremost crime authors, having a background in journalism and freelance writing. His first novel was published in 1997, which features Detective Erlendur, in what is now a long running series. However, his first two Erlendur novels remain untranslated into English. 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