Everything Under, Daisy Johnson

There were many things about this book – shortlisted for the Man Booker this year – which drew my attention: its narrator, Gretel, is a lexicographer and I love words; it is a re-imagining of a myth and I do like me a good mythologising; and it revolves around a childhood that took place upon…

Reading Update: 14th October

Oh the books. The piles of books. The new books coming out. The unread books still waiting. So, this week I have found myself with four books on the go, simultaneously: waking and alert, I’m continuing Daisy Johnson’s Everything Under and as I drive I’m listening to Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black from the Man Booker Shortlist; and…

The Winter of the Witch, Katherine Arden

So excited that an ARC of The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden has been dispatched today! Book three of the Winternight Trilogy. I love Vasilisa Petrovna – firey, alien and other – the phoenix dominating that cover. I adore Arden’s writing, her Russian folklore, the historical authenticity. And Morozko. And Solovey. It is…

The Mystery of Three Quarters, Sophie Hannah

Hercule Poirot. Arrogant and dandy and moustache firmly in place. An extended cast of somewhat two-dimensional characters. A convoluted and contrived plot – very contrived in this instance. Very contrived. Let’s face is, when the plot of a novel revolves around the construction of a battenburg cake, that novel is – for fear of being…

The Mars Room, Rachel Kushner

I am not a fan of prison drama. Orange Is The New Black? No thank you. Shawshank Redemption? I just don’t like the prison setting. It may have something to do with an innate suspicion of large numbers of people being together; it may have something to do with having been a criminal barrister and…

The Overstory, Richard Powers

“Let me sing to you, about how creatures become other things” I was brought up – and still live – very much in the countryside. A safe, British countryside. I know my oak from my elm for my yew. I am currently harvesting apples and blackberries from the garden, looking forward to the walnuts being…

Snap, Belinda Bauer

It’s that time of year again, the Man Booker Longlist has been released and I do try to keep.up to date with them – as I do with the Costa and Women’s Prize lists. Sometimes they can be a bit hit-and-miss, sometimes a little pretentious, but generally a good addition to my TBR list and…

Home Fires, Kamila Shamsie

With two stories in the news today – Safir Boular, at 18, being the youngest girl to be convicted of terrorism offences; and Alia Ghanem speaking of her son. Osama bin Laden – about terrorism and the legal system and family, the importance and relevance of a book like Home Fire is painfully apparent. The…

Faithful Place, Tana French

Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series is a delight, but has sometimes only vague connections to the eponymous Murder Squad. In The Woods, the first novel, centred on it; but the follow-up The Likeness, centred on Cassie Madox from the first book who is now in Domestic Violence rather than murder and being supervised by…

Weekly Round Up: 30th July 2018

It is here at long last! The summer holidays! We – and all other teachers – survived! And golly it has been a heck of a year! So, the upside: more time to read! Insofar as a five year old will let me! Less issues for reading past my bedtime! The downside, and it’s a…