Point Zero by Seichō Matsumoto

Translated by Louise Heal Kawai Seichō Matsumoto is widely regarded as Japan’s greatest populariser of crime fiction, being a prolific author of it himself. Last year, Penguin published a new translation of his first novel from 1958, Points and Lines as Tokyo Express, I was seeing reviews for it everywhere, including Shiny New Books where Read More

Green Dot by Madeleine Gray

This is the hyped title du jour, and I couldn’t resist, even having been singed around the edges with another relationship novel in Monica Heisey’s really good, actually last month. For a start, the cover stands out with the green, and its design is great, with two figures in the style of Julian Opie (whose Read More

Two 5-star Novellas for #ReadIndies – Kerangal and Herrera

Eastbound by Maylis de Kerangal Translated by Jessica Moore Having read two other novels by de Kerangal (Mend the Living and Painting Time) both translated by Jessica Moore, now that I’ve read a third, I can aver that they are indeed a dream team. Moore just totally gets her author’s writing, which often has complex Read More

Book Group Report – Now in November by Josephine Johnson

This novel was our book group’s last choice made by playing Word Association Football for a while (we’re moving on to other themes for choosing books). Following on from Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, Johnson’s novel was also a Pulitzer Prize winner – but one we’d never heard of – having read it we’re Read More

The Lover of No Fixed Abode by Carlo Fruttero and Franco Lucentini

Translated by Gregory Dowling The late Italian writing partners, Fruttero and Lucentini, worked together for decades, along the way writing five novels, four detective ones and this one. First published in Italy in 1986, it is a mystery and a romance, but it turned out to have much more hidden in its pages, taking a Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: the last book you read

First Saturday of the month and new year too, 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 Read More

Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata

Translated by Edward G. Seidensticker I may have just missed the #JanuaryinJapan tag with this review, although I read the novella in Jan, but the Japanese Literature Challenge 17 hosted by Meredith at Dolce Bellezza runs through to the end of February – so sorted! Kawabata, who died of an assumed suicide in 1972, won Read More

The Swedish Art of Ageing Well by Margareta Magnusson

It’s a real achievement to become a best-selling author in your late eighties, as Magnusson did with her 2020 book Döstädning: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, which is all about doing a gentler version of Marie Kondo in preparation for your own death, so as not to leave it all to your loved Read More

The Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist 2024

On Thursday, the longlist for the, to give it its full title, Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize 2024 was revealed, and as I’ve come to expect, it is an eclectic and wide-ranging list of books by young authors (written in English, and under the age of 39 – ie that of Dylan Thomas when he Read More

Eat to Your Heart’s Content by Sat Bains – blogtour

It’s not often that I’d consider reviewing a cookery book, but the combination of healthier eating with your heart particularly in mind and the know-how of Michelin starred chef and heart attack survivor Sat Bains was enough to say yes please. Bains, who was a gym regular and fit guy, suffered a massive heart attack 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

The Guests by Agnes Ravatn

Translated by Rosie Hedger I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the Random Tours blogtour for this novel, which didn’t turn out to be quite what I expected, but was all the better for it. The Guests is a brilliant story of mindgames and psychological drama without any violence for a change. Before I get Read More

Review Catch-up & Book Group Report: Le Blevennec, Heisey, Wharton.

As the Eagle Flies by Nolwenn Le Blevennec Translated from the French by Madeleine Rogers The most recent novella from Peirene is the story of a relationship and the effect of an affair on it. The story is told after the end of the affair for good by our narrator, who is a mother of Read More

Beirut Station by Paul Vidich – blog tour

This espionage novel was my first encounter with Vidich, who has previously written five more. In Beirut Station, given the current political situation between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, with Hezbollah watching in neighbouring Lebanon, the timing of the publication of this thriller set in Beirut back in 2006 when the Hezbollah and Israel were Read More

The Dancer by Óskar Guðmundsson

Translated by Quentin Bates Corylus Books are certainly keeping Icelandic translator Quentin Bates busy. There’s another Stella Blómkvist in the works soon after last year’s Murder at the Residence, amongst others he has translated for Corylus and other publishers. This novel is Guðmundsson’s fifth, the second to be translated, and the first in a new Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

First Saturday of the month and new year too, 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 Read More

Termush by Sven Holm

Translated by Sylvia Clayton While I’m not formally running Nordic FINDS this year, not really having time for the admin, I still like reading Nordic books during the darker months of the year, and I squeezed in this Danish dystopia at the end of December, and if you wish to use the tag #NordicFINDS24 feel Read More

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

I’ve been meaning to read this bestseller ever since its publication last year – I even acquired the Waterstones signed edition back then with lovely turquoise spredges (I love her stylised signature). And it sat there, whilst the world, including many bloggers, loved it. It finally found its time in mid December when all my Read More

Review of the Year #3: 2023, Books of the Year!

I still award a score to all the books I read – recorded on my Reading List page. I score out of 10, including half points (so out of 20 really!). Those scores are only snapshots of course, and some books fade from your memory as others, which maybe scored lower initially, stay or grow. I read Read More

Review of the Year #2 – 2023 – Time for Book Stats!

I always say this, but this post really is my favourite of the year! The master spreadsheet is still going strong. I love playing with all the data, mining it for nuggets of information that will tell me if my reading habits have changed. In truth, they bobble along generally, but there are some general 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

My Life in Books – the 2023 version

I’m going to start this off on its rounds again, so here goes. I’ve done different versions of this in 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2016, 2011 and 2009. The questions vary sometimes, but I’m staying with last year’s set minus the lockdown question. Using only books you have read this year (2022), answer these prompts. Try not to repeat a book title.  (Links in the titles will take you to my reviews Read More

Two more reviews: Richard Armitage and Roland Schimmelpfennig

Still clearing the to be reviewed pile. Today, proof that planning your year end best of early can mean readjustment when a late contender appears. But first… Geneva by Richard Armitage Yes, it’s a celebrity thriller, but given Armitage’s pedigree as an actor, and narrator of many audiobooks, one that I had higher hopes for Read More

Two reviews: Laura Shepherd-Robinson & T M Thomas

In an attempt to clear the books to review decks before my Review of the Year posts next week, here are some shorter reviews, with more to follow. The Square of Sevens by Laura Shepherd-Robinson I was very lucky to win a signed copy of this from Laura in a giveaway. It is a totally 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

Dead Sweet by Katrín Júlíusdóttir

Translated by Quentin Bates I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for the debut novel by a former Icelandic politician. Katrín Júlíusdóttir served as Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism and Minister of Finance and Economy, and as such she is well placed to give the inside view to the political and Read More