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….

Weekly Round Up 28th May

Okay, so some books are a quicker read than others, sometimes life, children and work get in the way of reading and finishing a book. Half-terms always seem like a good time to catch up on that eternal TBR pile … but then life intervenes and you end up standing in a river in glorious…

Etymologicon and The Elements of Eloquence, Mark Forsyth

These are not worth separate blog posts: same basic book written in the same basic style about the same basic themes.  Which sounds terribly dismissive but shouldn’t: as a self-confessed language geek who’s alert to the absurdity and beauty of our mongrel mother tongue, these books were a delightful treat.and a little like talking to…

Tinder, Sally Gardner

This is the first of my reviews of this year’s CILIP Carnegie Medal nominees. Well, my second. Patrick Ness’ More Than This I read back in August – see here for my review – six months before the shortlist was announced. And to be honest, it will take some beating! Anyway, this is my first knowing CILIP Carnegie…

The House Of Silk, Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz, for me as an English teacher is almost synonymous with his teenage spy Alex Rider. Although probably with fewer helicopters, assassins and explosions. And more writing. The series is a very boy friendly, speedily paced series of novels which are one out go-to series for reluctant boy-readers. So it was with some surprise…

Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones

Many things about being a teacher vex me: longer hours than the public realise, pay, governmental meddling. Paperwork. Ofsted. As a teacher of English though, the lack of imagination in exam boards’ choices for set texts is pretty high on the vexing-list. Really, Of Mice And Men, again? An Inspector Calls as modern drama? Don’t…

The Rehearsal, Eleanor Catton

Some books just blow you away. This one is absolutely in that category. One of those books that I struggle to find an adjective to describe the experience of reading it. Astonishing. Scintillating. Experimental. Complex. Extraordinarily sensuous. I can understand why many people might not like it. It is written in a non-linear way –…

Room, Emma Donoghue

This book had been on my to-read list since it was listed for The Booker Prize. The copy I had was electronic and just stopped about 20 pages in… And I never got round to replacing it. Until it cropped up whilst I was browsing on Audible. This was a perfect book for an audio…

Strange Meeting, Susan Hill

I do not generally choose war books. In all honesty, had I come across this book with this cover in a shop or library I would probably have skipped over it. I like Susan Hill; I dislike war. I am particularly hesitant about The Great War novels written recently: I’m uncomfortable with the glorification of…

The Woman In Black, Susan Hill

Miniature review due to absence of Internet and wifi. In fact, only now possible because phone can – sometimes – get some reception… Somewhat uncomfortably, I finished reading this book this morning. At about 7:30. As my 12 week old daughter lay asleep in my arms. It made the final chapter particularly unnerving! This is…