The Sleeper and the Spindle, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

There are times when I love my job. Some. On rare occasions. One of those times came today when I spotted a copy of The Sleeper and the Spindle on the side in the library and I was asked to have a read of it over night and see whether I thought it was suitable….

The Muse, Jessie Burton

I adored The Miniaturist! It was one of those books which had stayed with me: the cold of her repressed Amsterdam, the sweetness of marzipan, the claustrophobic house. The hint of the supernatural. The difficult, prickly bond between the women. So it was with pleasure and anticipation that I began The Muse and it took…

The Betrayal of Trust and A Question of Identity, Susan Hill

Ahhhh Lafferton. Possibly even more dangerous than Midsomer or a dinner party with Jessica Fletcher and Jane Marple! The serial killer centre of England. I’ve lost track of the numbers of serial killers in the Simon Serrailler series: they’ve targetted women for medical reasons, abducted young children; they’ve targetted weddings and, now, the elderly in…

The Word Is Murder, Anthony Horowitz

Sometimes you want to like a book just so damn much that it feels like you’re the failure when you end up not liking it. So it was for me with this novel. Now there is no doubt that Horowitz can plot a cracking crime story: Midsomer Murders, Foyle’s War, Magpie Murders are all testimony…

Weekly Round Up: 19th June 2018

Oh dear. Weekly Round Up. Weekly Round Up. After only two weekly round ups on the blog, I missed one already! *le sigh! Still, my blog, my rules… I’m not fretting about it! My reading over the last couple of weeks has primarily been focused on the unseen original genius manuscripts of teenagers, produced in a paltry…

Within the Sanctuary of Wings, Marie Brennan

Sometimes we just need the familiar and the comfortable, don’t we? A warm cuddle of a book. The Natural History of Dragons series by Marie Brennan, of which Within the Sanctuary of Wings is the fifth and, it would appear final, installment, is one of those series. It’s not challenging; it’s a tad formulaic by…

See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt

Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one. Oh, Sarah Schmidt can write! What a strange strange thing to start a review with! But there is writing and there is writing and Sarah Schmidt can write! Not only can she create a…

Crime and Punishment

Hmmmm…. So my Year 11s sat their GCSE English Language examination today: Paper One, Imaginative Writing. I wouldn’t normally comment on something like this but I am irked. The text given was a translation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. A translation. Of a Russian text. In an English Language exam. I am concerned. The students have…

The Black Book of Secrets, F. E. Higgins

Every year, I determine to teach at least one text which is new to me that year – which with a shrinking pool to choose from at GCSE becomes harder year-one-year – and that is why I have stumbled upon F. E. Higgins’ The Black Book of Secrets. It is an odd little book –…

Tsotsi, Athol Fugard Analysis

Originally posted on The Book Lovers' Sanctuary:
So these are the ideas which I have been discussing with my class. Tsotsi is set in 1956, give or take, in Sophiatown, a township on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. It was written by Fugard in the early months of 1960 after Sophiatown had been destroyed…