The Ultimate Toilet Book for Christmas?

Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek and Dave Philpott I wish I’d thought of the central idea in this book – it’s a classic of pedantry that had me guffawing so many times. Devised by a dad and son combo, it’s aimed firmly at others like them, especially those who grew up from the 1970s Read More

A book with mischievous intent, that nearly lives up to its promise

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith As I’ve been reading and revisiting a lot of Austen-ish books, sequels, adaptations and novels inspired by Austen for Shiny New Books upcoming ‘Austen Week’ (from Mon 17th July), I thought it time to dust down, update and repost my review of Pride & Read More

Poetry I wish I’d pledged to…

You Took the Last Bus Home by Brian Bilston I wish I’d spotted this book on Unbound before it was published – I’d definitely have pledged to it, having seen a few of Bilston’s poems on facebook. So, I bought it for myself anyway and what a treat it is for a rare reader of Read More

The lost post archive: The World of Ephemera

Among all my recent ‘lost posts’ (more on that here), are some older series which I’d like to add back into the blog. I plan to add each series of posts back into their original places in the timeline with comments disabled, but with a live linking post here. The first lot I’m republishlng are those on Ephemera, including Read More

A man of letters…

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Dear Lupin… Letters to a Wayward Son by Roger Mortimer and Charlie Mortimer Memoirs told in letters are an endangered species these days. Who still writes letters to their nearest and dearest?  We tend to send a quick e-mail Read More

The Prisoner meets 1970s public information films – be very afraid…

Discovering Scarfolk by Richard Littler I love reading creepy novels in autumn, and this year I’ve had the pleasure of not only reading the fabulous Horrorstör (see here), but also the even creepier Discovering Scarfolk by Richard Littler. Anyone will be able to enjoy this book, but to really get the most out of it, Read More

A Comic Caper of Camelot and Cross-purposes…

The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips I read Marie Phillips first novel, Gods Behaving Badly, an hilarious story of the Greek gods and goddesses living out their lives in modern day North London, pre-blog, and I loved it – I can remember that without having to go back to my records. These bickering Read More

A novel way of revisiting children's classics…

Although I only studied it up to O-level, possibly my favourite subject at school was Latin. I continue to surprise myself by the amount of Latin I’ve retained over the years, but I do try to use it whenever I can.  Viz my blog’s Latin motto: Noli domo egredi nisi librum habes – Never leave Read More

Are there dark days coming? I don't think so …

Apocalypse Next Tuesday by David Safier A bestseller in Germany, Safier’s novel, translated by Hilary Parnfors, got me interested within a few words of the press release in which it told how Satan, who has come back to Earth as a dead ringer for George Clooney, is recruiting horsemen for the apocalypse next week. Gorgeous, Read More

A little Saki goes a long way …

Reginald by Saki Nearly two years ago now, we chose to read some Saki short stories as summer Book Group reading. In the event, everyone managed to pick different editions with anthologised different Saki stories, and due to holidays etc our discussions were rather truncated. Tidying up the books around my bedside table this morning, Read More

The Divine Rev. Adam Smallbone …

The Rev. Diaries by The Reverend Adam Smallbone, (by Jon Canter) Now into its third short series on BBC2, the sitcom Rev continues to delight. It is simply hilarious, and absolutely hits the spot every time without being sacrilegious or blasphemous.  What is so lovely about it is that doesn’t make fun of faith per se; its targets Read More

Mix Douglas Adams with Jewish Mysticism, Marco Polo, a dash of the X-Men and time travel for weird fun!

A Highly Unlikely Scenario : Or, a Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World by Rachel Cantor If I said that a wacky speculative fiction novel about a 21st century world governed by the philosophies adopted by fast food chains was actually great fun to read, you might begin to doubt my sanity.  I Read More

My first encounter with Richard Brautigan …

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. It was last summer when Karen at Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings was participating in the Beats of Summer fortnight of reading from the Beat Generation, that I resolved to read a book by Richard Brautigan. As I am not a fan of On the Road or The Naked Lunch (bored Read More

Brian Aldiss, still going strong at 88

On Thursday evening, I was privileged to attend the book launch of veteran author Brian Aldiss’ latest novel Comfort Zone at Blackwells in Oxford. Given that it, and his entire backlist is being published by imprint The Friday Project, I also got to meet TFP’s head honcho Scott Pack for the first time too. Scott’s blog Me Read More

Jazz Vampires – another case for Peter Grant

Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch This is the second novel in Aaronovitch’s ‘Rivers of London‘ series of humorous police procedurals involving magical crimes in contemporary London. If you’ve not read the first volume Rivers of London – head over here to find out about it – for you won’t understand much of what’s going on Read More

Telling it from the monster’s side …

Sad Monsters: Growling on the Outside, Crying on the Insideby Frank Lesser. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been having a chuckle dipping into this book of humorous short pieces, which are written from monsters’ points of view. Almost any monster you can think of puts in an appearance – let me give you a Read More

Come dine on – oops – with me…

The Savages by Matt Whyman Not since I read the wonderful book, The Radleys by Matt Haig, (reviewed here), have I found a YA novel such fun.  Just look at the cover – you know it’s going to be hilarious.  You can sense that the Savages are a close family – like The Munsters or The Read More

Him pretty good funny sometimes

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris The American humorist David Sedaris is famed for his self-deprecating wit and his good-natured take on life.  He has written nine books compiling his essays and stories now, plus loads of journalism, plays and more.  I first encountered him on radio – he’s recorded many of his Read More

A master class in the art of stand-up

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin In the 1970s, Steve Martin was one of the US’s top comedians, playing sell-out tours to huge audiences, and regularly appearing on Saturday Night Live and the Johnny Carson Show. After eighteen years, worn out by it, and noticing the first empty seats in an audiences Read More

Scenes from a humorist’s life …

Our book group is having a short story July, concentrating on two authors renowned for their wit: Saki and Thurber.  I’m working my way through Saki, so I’ll deal with him in another post; here I’ll talk about my first experience of reading James Thurber. My Life and Hard Timesby James Thurber James Thurber (1894-1961), Read More

Hot Rats, it’s Zappa …

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. The Real Frank Zappa Book by Frank Zappa. with Peter Occhiogrosso Not so much a memoir as an appealing opportunity to “say stuff in print about tangential subjects” this book is an absolute hoot.  Forthright,  and by turns and hilarious and serious, Read More

“Shaun the Sheep meets Shaun of the Dead “

  This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan A comedy thriller featuring sex-crazed zombie cows – The publicity says “Shaun the Sheep meets Shaun of the Dead”. Shouldn’t work, but somehow it does!  It won a half-share of the inaugural Terry Pratchett “Anywhere But Read More

Cosy Weirdness in Whitby

Never the Brideand Something Borrowed by Paul Magrs Just before I started this blog, I read a book that gave me a sustained bout of chuckling all the way through. On the face of it, Never the Bride was a cosy mystery set in Whitby, with two old ladies doing the sleuthing… But underneath it’s Read More

Aaarrr! Here be Pirates, Aaarrr, me hearties!

This Easter, I shall be hotfooting it to the multiplex to see the latest film from the ever-wonderful Aardman (or should that be Aaarrr-dman, sic) Animations which is called The Pirates – Band of Misfits (Trailer here). With an all star cast of voices including Hugh Grant as the Pirate Captain and Salma Hayek as Read More

What is normal anyway?

Sherry Cracker Gets Normal by D J Connell Sherry Cracker is not a normal girl – she’s a loner, loves tartan trousers, facts, and obsessively documents all the graffiti she sees around her town in her ‘OBSERVATIONS’ file. She works for Chinese businessman Mr Chin, in an office above the closed-down cinema, where they buy Read More

An Oulipo French classic

Zazie in the Metro by Raymond Queneau, translated by Barbara Wright Zazie’s mother has a hot date in Paris, so she has to leave her eleven year old daughter with her Uncle Gabriel.  Zazie is a mischievous and potty-mouthed youngster who, unable to achieve her aim of travelling on the Métro as they are on Read More

King Lear – the comedy version!

Fool by Christopher Moore It’s a brave man that takes on Shakespeare.  It’s an even braver one that takes a tragedy and makes a bawdy comedy of it!  Moore has taken a deep breath and re-told King Lear from the Fool’s perspective.  Now I’ve seen three different productions of Lear – it’s unrelentingly tragic, nary a chuckle Read More