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Showing posts from 2015

How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake

'Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you've found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance's phone...  Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve's boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen. But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve's best friend Daisy know that she isn't telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve's boat?
This book illustrates how special a thing it is to have people send you books out of the blue; it's a privilege and a pleasure. I wouldn't have known about this book, let alone read and loved it, if it hadn't landed in my letterbox. I'm …

The Complete Peter Pan by JM Barrie

We all know the story of Peter Pan, yes, because we've all seen the Disney film (most likely numerous times)? That's what I thought, anyway. Despite knowing how far adapted the films can become from their source material, I hadn't given much thought to Peter Pan the book being different from Peter Pan the film. Not until I saw a stage adaptation late last year, which was familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. I thought then (and most probably proclaimed on Twitter) that I simply MUST read Barrie's tale.

Fast forward a year and I still had not read the book, when lo!, I received an email about a new Alma Classics edition. Would I like to read it?, it said. Yes please, I said. This new edition includes Peter and Wendy, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, the play Peter Pan, and a whole bundle of extra material. It also has lovely illustrations by Joel Stewart.
The pictures are charming and help root the story as one for children... which isn't as clear cut as all th…

My bookish week

I'm easing myself back into the blog with a bit of a round up with lots of pictures of what I've been reading and acquiring this week. You know, before I go all hardcore and attempt an actual book review.

This week I have read comics and fiction and memoir. I've also had some lovely books come in the post. First, to the reading...

Here's the comics I read (I know, it's not as many as I bought). Limbo is a new story full of amnesiac P.I. supernatural weirdness creepy crime boss sultry singer in peril action. The kind of thing I like.

I also like Sarah Moss's writing. A lot. I've been reading Night Waking on the bus and train this week, but am not quite halfway in yet. It's really very good. Very very good. There are very strong statements about motherhood and gender politics woven into an intriguing story. In places I found myself thinking about Helen Walsh's Go To Sleep, another excellent book.
Daddy's Girls is taking me ages to read, because I d…

The personal one

I've been a sporadic book blogger at best in recent times. It's probably not a huge surprise to those that know me in real life. The last year or more has been one of upheaval and change and huge life decisions. My life at the end of 2015 is not the same as the one I had at the beginning of 2014. Work, study, home, relationship  - none of these things have stayed the same. In the spirit of over-sharing, and because I don't compartmentalise my life well and everything affects everything else, this post is about how I started in one place and ended up in another.

Back at the start of last year I was working on my PhD and missing bookselling beyond measure. My branch of Waterstones had closed the previous year and I took redundancy rather than try and find another part-time position that would fit in with my studying. After 17 years with the company I was ready to make the break, and I was in a situation that made it viable for me to stop working for a while. I hated it. I mi…

What should we be reading?

The short answer is, obviously, whatever the hell we damn well want.

It probably comes as no surprise that this blog post is prompted by a piece of 'journalism' in The Guardian by some bloke. I don't know the fella and I don't especially want to link to the piece directly because it's a piece of cynical clickbait that doesn't deserve the hits - but in the spirit of knowing what you're arguing against, it can be found here.

The substance of the article is that life is too short to read unworthy books, and that these books can be determined without having any knowledge of them whatsoever. And people who enjoy this lesser kind of work are lesser kinds of people. To sum up: Jane Austen good; Terry Pratchett bad. Yawn.

It was heartening to see my Twitter TL explode with rage at such nonsense. This tweet by Laura Lam sums up how I feel about reading:

Being a literary elitist is so boring. Read whatever you like. I read 'highbrow' literature. I read 'b…

The Magnificent Lizzie Brown and the Mysterious Phantom by Vicki Lockwood

Reading Ulysses?

Judy Blume Read Along

The Girl Who Walked on Air by Emma Carroll

Oh, this is a super book and confirms (as if needed) that I love Emma Carroll’s stories. This is Emma’s second novel; her first, Frost Hollow Hall, was nominated for the Branford Boase Award last year and was one of my favourites of the whole list. As I said then, it is the best kind of old-fashioned storytelling,and that is without doubt a compliment. The Girl Who Walked on Air is another exciting adventure, with secrets to uncover and challenges to meet and adversity to conquer. In Louie we have another bold hero, who dares to dream and face up to the world even when she’s scared and alone. She is a showstopper, no mistake.

The first chapter is a grabber – we are right in the heart of the circus with all its drama, magic and danger. We meet ringmaster Ned, circus owner Mr Chipchase and his daughter Kitty, Jasper the trapeze artist, and Pip, Louie’s faithful dog. And the scene is set for Louie’s campaign to be a showstopper to begin in earnest.
I enjoyed the story hugely, and loved all…