One of the great things that I love about the new year - alongside new stationery and new notebooks and new beginnings - is starting a new reading log. I have borrowed and downloaded some that I have found online for the last few years, and they have always been great, representing an incredible generosity… Continue reading 2022 Reading Logs
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. PREVIOUS TOP TEN TUESDAY TOPICS: December 1: Books I Want to Read… Continue reading Top Ten Tuesday: Resolutions / Hopes for 2021
I thought I'd try something different this year: I'd dedicate a Google Calendar to my reading year with dates of books prize announcements and future releases as well as ARC publication dates and various useful date-related data. https://calendar.google.com/calendar/embed?src=thebookloverssanctuary%40gmail.com&ctz=Europe%2FLondon I also thought I'd try to add a little bit of live data from a spreadsheet I… Continue reading 2021 My Reading Year Ahead
For the sisters & the sistas & the sistahs & the sistren & the women & the womxn & the wimmin & the womyn & our brethren & our bredrin & our brothers & our bruvs & our men & our mandem & the LGBTQI+ members of the human family
So much more than a "black Bridget Jones"
This is the sort of novel I feel the need to reach for metaphor to describe, tired and cliched metaphors at that: it is a roller coaster, a kaleidoscope, a hall of mirrors, shifting sands.... It is dazzling - but being dazzled is not always the most comfortable experience!
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. I skipped over last week's TTT because I am an utter philistine… Continue reading Top Ten Tuesday: Changes in Reading Habits
What is your substance, whereof are you made, That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
I have sat on this book for a while since finishing reading it - partially as a result of workload; mainly because it, like The Heart's Invisible Furies and many others, is a book that deserved some time to settle and be absorbed before launching into a review. The novel revolves around a single character,… Continue reading 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World, Elif Shafak
Disclaimer: Received from NetGalley and the publisher, Penguin, in exchange for an honest review. There are some novels which flow fluidly like a river. Others are curved and twisted. Others are very linear taking a route from inciting incident to resolution without a deviation. Others are shaped like a tree, branching and dividing but never… Continue reading The Man Who Saw Everything, Deborah Levy
Why is it that the words of female sexuality - and of female anatomy - are either rendered taboo or fetishised in our society ? Vagina. Clitoris. Vulva. Menstruation. Compared to "cock", there is a different quality in these words. A frisson of shock and challenge. And that is a frisson which Broder does not… Continue reading The Pisces, Melissa Broder
Divine days fall like water from a cataract, and I had not learned yet the mortal trick of counting them.
Next up, from the Women's Prize Longlist came Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer, an interesting parallel to Akwaeke Emezi's Freshwater. It is an intriguing little novel - a mere 240 pages, for those for whom that is relevant, not much more than a day or weekend's read - and remarkably effective in the… Continue reading My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite
I have lived many lives inside this body. I lived many lives before they put me in this body. I will live many lives when they take me out of it.
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… Continue reading The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker
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… Continue reading Normal People, Sally Rooney
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… Continue reading Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie
Lizzie Borden took an axeAnd 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 plot and move… Continue reading See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt
I do love historical fiction and this is one of the best I've read for a while! Intricately plotted, rigourously researched and with vivid and well-drawn characters. And none of those elements displaced by any other. And with just a touch of magical realism thrown in. It doesn't quite reach the heights of Hilary Mantel… Continue reading The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, Imogen Hermes Gowar
Authenticity is often what we look for in a book. Is the setting authentic? Are my characters authentic? Is my voice authentic? Is my lexis authentic? It doesn't take much sometimes to pull a reader from a novel and inauthenticity can do it. I've still got concerns about the use of the f-word in Hilary… Continue reading His Bloody Project,Graeme Macrae Burnet
This is a very difficult book to review, to consider, to - for wont of a better analogy - digest. It is also a book which I think will haunt and follow me. And, Heaven forfend, make me think. What an appalling concept! The plot, such as it is, is devastatingly simple: Kim Yeong-hye is… Continue reading The Vegetarian, Han Kang
This book - a Booker Prize shortlisted book from a Booker Prize winning novelist - has been sat on my book shelf since forever. I was convinced I'd read it. I am sure I've had lengthy and enthusiastic discussions about it. Heated debates. Yet, having downloaded it from Audible as a re-read, expecting something familiar… Continue reading Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
Kate Atkinson is one of those authors who I have been aware of but avoided for a while. I put my hands up, it was and has been deeply unfair of me. Like that chap in the village I grew up in who always crossed the road when he saw my mother to avoid talking… Continue reading Life After Life, Kate Atkinson
I find with this blog that some books can be reviewed almost from the moment you finish them. Others, I need time to ... ruminate. To cogitate. To digest. To reflect on. This book, Ali Smith's Man Booker Shortlisted How To Be Both, definitely falls into that latter category. It is beautiful. It is thoughtful.… Continue reading How To Be Both, Ali Smith
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… Continue reading Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones