Book Review: The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, Shehan Karunatilaka

A kaleidoscopic performance: a colourful, dizzying and disorientating exploration of the turmoil in Sri Lanka in the 1980s and 1990s, and our host for this exploration is the recently deceased Maali Almeida, "Photographer. Gambler. Slut."

Book Review: The Trees, Percival Everett

A truly strange and disturbing novel, simultaneously horrific and hilarious, brutal and humane - a coruscating satire of American racial conflict and politics, embedded in both Trump's America and the lynching of Emmett Till in the 1955.

Book Review: Deep Wheel Orcadia, Harry Josephine Giles

An undeniably beautiful and lyrical piece of science fiction poetry but, for me, the beauty of the language and the translation came at the expense of vivid charaterisations; there was an ephemeralness about the characters, a transparency, that was perhaps deliberate - how small we are in the vastness of space and time and Light is, after all, a familiar science-fiction trope - but left me wanting more of the humans.

2022: A Year in Books

And as the year draws in its final breaths, it leaves me only to say fare well and thank you so much for contributing your time, your comments and your thoughts on the blog. I am truly humbled and have a fantastic new year!

Book Review: Psalm for the Wild Built, Becky Chambers

A gentle science fiction philosophical amble through the foothills of the world of Panga searching for the comfort of the perfect cup of tea in the company of a sentient robot, this novel never feels saccharine whilst looking at the world and its people with hope and faith and warmth.

Book Review: When We Were Orphans, Kazuo Ishiguro

Occasionally brilliant, but somehow less satisfying than I would expect from an Ishiguro novel, When We Were Orphans explores familiar themes and characters but feels perhaps shackled by the weight of its own detective fiction baggage.

Book Review: Shrines of Gaiety, Kate Atkinson

Replete with fascinating characters, Atkinson's wit and humanity shines as she peels apart the sordid vapidity of the interwar Jazz Age and Bright Young Things - this delight is, by turns, tender, delicate and wonderfully satirical.

Book Review: Legends and Lattes, Travis Baldree

A sweet and cosy, very low-stakes fantasy novel with engaging characters and a heart: even if Viv and her friends are not terribly distinct from each other, they were a pleasant bunch to spend time with.

Book Review: The Bullet That Missed, Richard Osman

A cosy series that just seems to get cosier and more tightly plotted with each entry: the warm and close world of Cooper's Chase and its inhabitants is as charming as ever; the vagaries of old age and dementia is explored with tenderness and insight; the decade old murder that propels this novel and the underworld that complicates it are all well balanced, and charming.

Book Review: Small Things Like These, Claire Keegan

A technically fascinating account as Burnet adopts the different voices of his two protagonists as they invent and reinvent and lose their own identities; the reading experience was rather let down but how unlikeable those characters were.

Book Review: Woman Eating, Claire Kohda

A fresh and compelling vampire narrative with an incredibly compelling vampire protagonist: this is a novel about people caught between cultures, caught between self-loathing and self-respect; caught between a domineering mother and her own life.

Book Review: The Ink Black Heart, Robert Galbraith

A rather flabby and mediocre entry in the Cormoran Strike series, it contains all the ingredients you'd expect: Strike and Robin still fancy each other and do nothing about it; Strike shags other women and Robin remains celibate; Strike drinks tea the colour of creosote and hurts his leg; there's a murder.

Book Review: Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet

A technically fascinating account as Burnet adopts the different voices of his two protagonists as they invent and reinvent and lose their own identities; the reading experience was rather let down but how unlikeable those characters were.

Book Review: Booth, Karen Joy Fowler

SIX BROTHERS AND SISTERS. ONE INJUSTICE THAT WILL SHATTER THEIR BOND FOREVER. Junius is the patriarch, a celebrated Shakespearean actor who fled bigamy charges in England, both a mesmerising talent and a man of terrifying instability. As his children grow up in a remote farmstead in 1830s rural Baltimore, the country draws ever closer to… Continue reading Book Review: Booth, Karen Joy Fowler

Book Review: Oh William! Elizabeth Strout

Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband - and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters,… Continue reading Book Review: Oh William! Elizabeth Strout

Book Review: Unraveller, Frances Hardinge

In a world where anyone can cast a life-destroying curse, only one person has the power to unravel them. Kellen does not fully understand his unique gift, but helps those who are cursed, like his friend Nettle who was trapped in the body of a bird for years. She is now Kellen's constant companion and… Continue reading Book Review: Unraveller, Frances Hardinge

Book Review: The Book of Form and Emptiness, Ruth Ozeki

One year after the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house - a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn't understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are… Continue reading Book Review: The Book of Form and Emptiness, Ruth Ozeki

Book Review: The Paper Palace, Miranda Cowley Helller

On a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the pond below 'The Paper Palace'—her family's holiday home in Cape Cod. As she dives beneath the water she relives the passionate encounter she had the night before, against the side of the house that knows all her darkest secrets, while her… Continue reading Book Review: The Paper Palace, Miranda Cowley Helller

Book Review: A Kind of Spark, Elle McNicholl

Ever since Ms. Murphy told us about the witch trials that happened centuries ago right here in Juniper, I can't stop thinking about them. Those people weren't magic. They were like me. Different like me.I'm autistic. I see things that others do not. I hear sounds that they can ignore. And sometimes I feel things… Continue reading Book Review: A Kind of Spark, Elle McNicholl

Pride Month, Representation

Having been tasked with creating a display of (mainly) YA books featuring LGBTQIA+ representation to support Pride Month, I thought I'd share those same books on here too. Some are just my own personal favourites, others are suggestions by students. Please feel free to add your own favourite LGBTQIA+ representation in the comments.

Book Review: Big Sky, Kate Atkinson

Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village in North Yorkshire, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son Nathan and ageing Labrador Dido, both at the discretion of his former partner Julia. It’s a picturesque setting, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes.Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband… Continue reading Book Review: Big Sky, Kate Atkinson

Book Review: Real Tigers, Mick Herron

Slough House is the Intelligence Service outpost for failed spies called the 'slow horses'. One of them, Catherine Standish, knows that chance encounters never happen to spooks.She's worked in the Intelligence Service long enough to understand treachery, double-dealing and stabbing in the back. What she doesn't know is why anyone would target her: a recovering… Continue reading Book Review: Real Tigers, Mick Herron

Book Review: Shards of Earth, Adrian Tchaikovsky

Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade his mind in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.Eighty years ago, Earth was destroyed by an alien enemy. Many escaped, but millions more died. So mankind created enhanced humans ­such… Continue reading Book Review: Shards of Earth, Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book Review: The Half-Life of Valery K, Natasha Pulley

In 1963, in a Siberian prison, former nuclear specialist Valery Kolkhanov has mastered what it takes to survive: the right connections to the guards for access to food and cigarettes, the right pair of warm boots, and the right attitude toward the small pleasures of life so he won't go insane. But one day, all… Continue reading Book Review: The Half-Life of Valery K, Natasha Pulley

Book Review: Sorrow and Bliss, Meg Mason

Everyone tells Martha Friel she is clever and beautiful, a brilliant writer who has been loved every day of her adult life by one man, her husband Patrick. A gift, her mother once said, not everybody gets.So why is everything broken? Why is Martha - on the edge of 40 - friendless, practically jobless and… Continue reading Book Review: Sorrow and Bliss, Meg Mason