Spring, Ali Smith

Look what arrived this week: an ARC of Spring, the third in Ali Smith’s gorgeous Seasons Tetralogy, following Autumn and Winter. Autumn being hailed as the first post-Brexit novel – and it is so much more transformative and lyrical and funny and tragic than that! – the timing of this novel’s release at the end…

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 18!

Returning to this Book Challenge – I fear optimistically as the prospect of returning to work looms! – we meet Day 18 and A book you like by an author no longer living. Now, as I’ve said before, I’ve had to read widely and enjoyed a huge variety of books written by people who have…

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…

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…

Regular Reading Update

Book Haul Time! It’s a busy busy time at work – yet again! Exam marking and observations and stress. Much that gets in the way of reading! But equally much that reading can rescue you from! Nothing like escaping from that irksome stress with the pleasures of listening to George Washington Black’s escape from slavery…

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 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…