The Shiny New Books Archive: A furlough project!

It’s hard to believe perhaps, but the labour of love that is my other booky place, Shiny New Books, had its sixth birthday this week. Shiny launched on April 7th, 2014 as a quarterly book recommendations site, with four sections: Fiction, Non-fiction, Reprints and BookBuzz, edited by me, Harriet, Simon and Victoria respectively. We recruited Read More

A female revenge story – the first novel from an esteemed film director…

Are Snakes Necessary? by Brian De Palma and Susan Lehman Titan Books ‘Hard Case Crime’ imprint offers an interesting blend of old and new crime fiction, reprinting classics from the 1950s and 60s by authors such as Mickey Spillane, Donald Westlake and Ed McBain (I reviewed McBain’s Cut Me In for Shiny here) alongside new Read More

Blog Tour: Richard Russell – Liberation Through Hearing

Richard Russell is the producer and owner of XL Recordings, home of some artists I know well such as Radiohead, Adele, The Gotan Project and the White Stripes, but also a lot of fare that isn’t my normal listening such as The Prodigy, MIA, Dizzee Rascal and more. I may not listen to that second Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Stasiland

My favourite monthly tag, hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in the titles will take you to my reviews where they exist. This month – the starting book is: Stasiland by Anna Funder A modern classic book Read More

Making plants fun! Review & Q&A

I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast by Michael Holland Illustrated by Philip Giordano I don’t feature many new children’s books on this blog, but I couldn’t say no when offered this one which is published today by Flying Eye Books. I mean, just look at that lovely cover. And then I opened the book up, and Read More

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

Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist Blogtour

Black Car Burning by Helen Mort This is my second post for the Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist Blogtour, and I couldn’t have picked two more contrasting books (my first was Exquisite Cadavers by Meena Kandasamy, reviewed here). They may have been contrasting in subject matter and style, but both were intense and thought-provoking books to Read More

Reading Wales & Ireland

One each for the Wales Readathon hosted by Paula and Reading Ireland Month hosted by Cathy today. The Dig by Cynan Jones This novella has sat on my shelves for a few years. I meant to read it for last year’s #Dewithon but ran out of time, so it was my first choice for Welsh Read More

Des livres en traduction pour les petits enfants

Il y a des ans, j’ai écrit un article de blog sur le sujet des livres traduits en latin, (ici). Récemment, un collègue qui enseigne le français à nos jeunes élèves a obtenu des éditions traduites de livres d’images classiques. Vachement chouette! (as they used to say in France for ‘really cool’!) I can’t resist Read More

The Rathbones Folio Prize: Thoughts on the Shortlist

The Rathbones Folio Prize definitely has a USP: Books are nominated by members of its Academy rather than publishers. The Folio Academy members are mostly writers and critics, nominated by the Prize Foundation or their peers and now number around 250. This leads to a rather different set of books (published in the previous year) Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Wolfe Island

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in the titles will take you to my reviews where they exist. This month – the starting book is: Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar This book hasn’t been published in the Read More

The Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist Blog Tour

The Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize has become one of my favourite literary awards. It is awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, named for the Swansea-born author, who died aged 39 in 1953, and the winner will receive £30,000! The longlist for Read More

Book Group Report: Dublin Murders 1

In the Woods by Tana French Just a short post today about this month’s book group read which we discussed earlier in the week. It’s quite rare for our group to all be in agreement, but everyone who was able to read this book enjoyed it, and appreciated the quality of the writing. I read Read More

Crime Panel event at Mostly Books

Last night, I went to my local indie bookshop, Mostly Books in Abingdon, for their latest Crime Panel event. We had not just one or two, but five crime authors talking about their work! Olivia Kiernan, CJ ‘Caz’ Tudor, Andrew Wilson, Mick Herron and Dominick Donald. It was such a treat, and thank you to 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

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #10

While I recover from my Auster-thon and finish some more books by other authors, here’s yet another selection from my master spreadsheet of capsule reviews of books I read pre-blog – this batch is from 2007, and there’s still plenty more where these came from! (Buy at Amazon links are all affiliate links, I’ll earn 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

The Finished Books Tag

Perfect timing! I spotted this tag which is doing the rounds on Paul’s blog, Half Man, Half Book blog this morning – and it’s perfect to fill the gap before Paul Auster Reading Week which begins on Monday. Do you keep a list of the books you have read? Of course! That’s the easy answer. Read More

A book with no words that speaks loud and clear

Bad Island by Stanley Donwood You may have heard of Donwood through his longterm collaborations with Radiohead, or have seen his gloriously colourful cover for Robert MacFarlane’s Underland (right) which came out last year, (indeed Donwood has collaborated with MacFarlane and others on various other illustrated books). I came to Donwood first, however, via a Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #9

I’m getting into my Paul Auster Reading Week reading (17-23rd Feb), so here are some more 2006 capsule reviews from my master spreadsheet. Hope you enjoy them. Jackie Brown (a.k.a. Rum Punch) by Elmore Leonard Originally titled Rum Punch, this novel was reissued and retitled after the Tarantino film of it. If you’ve seen the Read More

Silver by Chris Hammer

Chris Hammer was a journalist for years before writing his first thriller, Scrublands, (see Kim’s review here). In Scrublands, investigative journalist Martin Scarsden visits a town in the bush where, a year before, a priest had shot at his congregation before being killed himself. He discovers that the accepted facts don’t fit and in doing Read More