Novellas in November – Part 2

Running Wild by J.G. Ballard This beautifully crafted novella published in 1988 concerns one of Ballard’s favourite themes – life in a community that walls itself away from the rest of the world. It is set in an exclusive housing estate of just ten houses, each on a large plot. The estate is gated, has Read More

Not just any old day at work…

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan I read one of Stewart O’Nan’s early novels, The Speed Queen, when it came out in paperback in the late 1990s. I remember enjoying it, but I didn’t come across him again until I picked this novel up somewhere – I’m going to have to read more Read More

Why being ‘Messy’ is good for you…

Messy by Tim Harford Tim Harford is a senior columnist at the Financial Times but radio listeners may know him from his programme on BBC Radio 4 – More Or Less – in which he explores, explains and debunks the statistics in everyday life.  His programme is one of my favourites. (Try this episode in Read More

A clever parody or a triumph of style over substance?

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix A couple of weeks ago, I got inordinately excited when this book I’d ordered arrived. For all its faults, IKEA is the booklover’s friend. Affordable shelving, in practical and/or posher versions, is what the bibliomane needs (I’m speaking as a 10x Billy owner here – I can construct those boys at Read More

Drip-dry wash'n'wear?

Man-Made Fibre by Francine Stock Many of you may know journalist and TV/radio presenter Francine Stock from her time on Newsnight some years ago, and later on Radio 4’s arts programme Front Row and the Film Programme which she still presents. She has also written a couple of novels and a history of film. Man-Made Read More

A novel about men and their ‘work’ – it must be Magnus Mills!

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Explorers of the New Century by Magnus Mills Mills fifth novel is another very dark and subversive comedy about his speciality – men and their work.  This time though, it’s not about manual labourers, white van-men, bus drivers or any of their Read More

From drifter to hitman …

King of the Ants by Charlie Higson Comedian and author Charlie Higson has lately been very successful in scaring the pants off older children with his rather wonderful zombie novels, and giving a sense of thrilling adventure in his Young Bond series. You may not be aware that before all that, he wrote four gritty adult Read More

Barbara Pym Reading Week

This post was republished into it’s original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive.   I’ve never read Pym, but was more than happy to join in Barbara Pym Reading Week, hosted by Thomas at My Porch, to help celebrate the centenary of her birth. I consulted my shelves and found four Pyms waiting Read More

The other half's story …

Mr Bridge (Penguin Modern Classics) by Evan S Connell Written ten years after  his 1959 novel Mrs Bridge, Connell’s companion piece Mr Bridge tells the story of the Bridge family through the same time period from the 1930s into WWII, but from the husband’s point of view. I read and adored Mrs Bridge a couple of weeks Read More

Serendipity makes this a timely read from And Other Stories…

Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt I started reading this book around ten days ago, and was shocked and amused in equal measure – but I paused around a third of the way through to give in to the hype and read JK Rowling’s latest (see previous post here) – and  by the time I picked Read More

Another quirky fable of men and their work

A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked in by Magnus Mills Don’t you just love the cover of this book?  Having just finished reading it, I love it even more, as it encapsulates the kingdom within its pages perfectly. I can identify its buildings including ‘The Cake’ – the dome-topped concert hall (middle Read More

A Trio of Five Star Books

As this is a new blog and we’re still getting to know each other, I thought I’d introduce you to a trio of the 5 star books I’ve read this year, so you can see some of the books I’ve really enjoyed reading. Fuller reviews can be found on my Librarything site – there’s a Read More