2018: A Year in Books

So here it is. New Year’s Eve and, being a dad to a five year old and generally quite antisocial, I am at home with family, a glass of chilled champagne and, currently, Pointless on the television. Living the high life! But I’d have it no other way. The little one is upstairs reading Emma…

The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker

The Greek epics seem to have had a resurgence – dare one say a renaissance? – or a reimagining recently. On my to-be-read list are Stephen Fry’s Mythos and Heroes, Madeline Miller’s Circe, and Song of Achilles and now this by Pat Barker. I don’t know what the appeal is of these narratives, nor why they are…

Normal People, Sally Rooney

Normal People. Are people normal? I don’t think so. I think we are weird and strange and contradictory and self-contradictory and life primarily in delusions and bubbles of pretense and make-believe. But maybe that’s me! “Normal” seems like a slur… So the point is, I’m not entirely sure what drew me to this book: it…

Washington Black, Esi Edugyan

Oh well, having set down my best intentions earlier, to review Washington Black before finishing Sally Rooney’s Normal People, and to complete the 30 Day Book Challenge by Christmas, I have failed on all accounts and now have Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls to review as well! But, I have had a lovely Chrsitmas…

The Sentence is Death, Anthony Horowitz

Why do we read detective stories? It is a strange genre.  Every piece of advice is that tension and conflict are the driver of a narrative and, with this genre, unlike the thriller genre, the most significant conflict – the one which traditionally culminates in murder, as it does with this one – occurs significantly…

Lies Sleeping, Ben Aaronovitch

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Rivers of London series as a fresh urban fantasy – and all the freedoms and inventiveness which comes with that – merged with the familiar structures and language of a police procedural. In the previous book, The Hanging Tree, Aaronovitch finally reveals the identity of The Faceless Man, the antagonist…

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Eight!

So, week two and day eight roll around and we’re still going… And the challenge today is to name  A series everyone should read. Now I struggle with this concept. Why should everyone read the same thing? Why would one series – which is a massive investment of time – be something everyone should read? Why should anyone read…

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Six!

Today’s challenge is to identify  A book that broke your heart. There is only one contender in this category and it is Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls. I have read this novel a dozen times: initially as simply a book for myself; later as a class read for work. I have read it in my head…

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Five!

Day Five is such a strange strange week at work! Surreal does not begin to cut it! Anyway, back to the challenge and, today, we are looking for Favourite classic novel. Oh Lord! Again, just one? One?  And what exactly is a “classic”? Ask a thousand readers and you’ll probably find a thousand definitions, but…

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Four!

Day Four and I’m still up to date and this time we are looking at A book you remember from childhood. I cannot recall a time when I did not read – often to escape the attentions of family! – so there are a lot to consider. Again! Enid Blyton was a staple of my…