1. 23/09/2023 tagged: Colson Whitehead, ★★★★ - Read: Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead ★★★★☆ 📚 More Harlem corruption, criminality, horror & fun. 3 linked episodes across the 70s. Wanders into back alleys & backstories in an engaging way.
  2. 17/09/2023 tagged: Claire Keegan, ★★★★ - Read: So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan ★★★★☆ 📚 Very short, disturbing & moving tale.
  3. 16/09/2023 tagged: Maxine Hong Kingston, ★★★★ - Read: The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston ★★★★☆ 📚 I read this decades ago and was not disappointed by this re-read.
  4. 26/08/2023 tagged: Chris Whitaker, ★★★★ - Read: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker ★★★★☆ 📚 Murder mystery with arms & legs. Despite the rather unbelievable teenage, character, the twists and convolutions kept me reading and engaged. A nice distraction.
  5. 24/08/2023 tagged: Maggie O’Farrell, ★★★★ - Read: The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell ★★★★☆ 📚 Enjoyed the dip into the strange world of the 1500s Italy. Not quite as absorbing as Hamnet but I was engrossed, even though the murder is announced at the start I had my hopes up.
  6. 07/08/2023 tagged: Maggie Shipstead, ★★★★★ - Read: You Have a Friend in 10A: Stories by Maggie Shipstead ★★★★★ 📚 Loved these absorbing stories. Wide ranging settings & situations. Plenty of surprises. The only disappointment, an expected last story turned into acknowledgments & extract from The Great Circle.
  7. 01/08/2023 tagged: Claire Keegan, ★★★★ - Read: Antarctica by Claire Keegan ★★★★☆ 📚 After reading Small Things Like These and watching Foster I was surprised at some of the more dramatic turns and unpleasantness in some of these stories. They have a similar quiet, clarity & almost terseness.
  8. 31/07/2023 tagged: Rebecca Wait, ★★★★ - Read: I’m Sorry You Feel That Way by Rebecca Wait ★★★★☆ 📚 dysfunctional family story, that was in turn rather funny and quite serious. I enjoyed the fun and though the description of psychosis was good.
  9. 23/07/2023 tagged: Mick Herron, ★★★ - Read: Dead Lions by Mick Herron ★★★☆☆ 📚 The second in the series, grubby comic spies. I think I'll keep reading these now and again.
  10. 21/07/2023 tagged: Mona Awad, ★★★★ - Read: All's Well by Mona Awad ★★★★☆ 📚 I really disliked, or was made uncomfortable by the narrator. Both when she was describing her illness or in her magically achieved wellness. It was compelling. Never sure if the action was real, unreliably reported or a hallucination.
  11. 18/07/2023 tagged: Tana French, ★★★ - Read: The Wych Elm by Tana French ★★★☆☆ 📚 Narrator with a bump on the head and confused brain. Murder from the past. The story unwinds & unfolds in a teasing way.
  12. 09/07/2023 tagged: Jessie Greengrass, ★★★★ - Read: The High House by Jessie Greengrass ★★★★☆ 📚 Compelling climate crisis novel that focuses on relationships between a very small cast. I like the sparseness the of speech & little moments. Good on our sleepwalking too.
  13. 06/07/2023 tagged: Natalie Haynes, ★★★★ - Read: Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes ★★★★☆ 📚 Perseus son of Zeus is not too bright, Medusa is an innocent. The Gods self absorbed & fickle. A bit too jokey for me sometimes but the last couple of page are transforming.
  14. 23/06/2023 tagged: Kate Atkinson - Read: Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson ★★★★☆ 📚 1920's London, mad night life, huge cast of unique and surprising characters tangled in a web of crime(s). Very funny, gets so complex there is a lot of tying up of loose ends in the last couple of chapters.
  15. 15/06/2023 tagged: Mick Herron - Read: Slow Horses by Mick Herron ★★★ 📚 Enjoyed this, even though I’d seen the TV series.
  16. 11/06/2023 tagged: Salley Vickers - Read: Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers ★★★☆☆ 📚 Spinster reborn in Venice, kept me going, somewhat puzzled  and not quite convinced by end.
  17. 29/05/2023 tagged: Will Maclean - Read: The Apparition Phase by Will Maclean ★★★★★ 📚 Flawless seventies recreation. Suburban, gothic, ghosts, teenage energy all with a depth of detail. No modern language, attitudes or slip up. Exciting too.
  18. 22/05/2023 tagged: Jacqueline Crooks - Read: Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks ★★★★☆ 📚 Late 70s London, Bristol & Jamaica, dub reggae, ghosts, police brutality, crime & bad men. Guest appearance from Misty in Roots.
  19. 14/05/2023 tagged: John Higgs, William Blake - Read: William Blake vs the World by John Higgs ★★★☆☆ 📚 Years ago I enjoyed the songs & Marriage of Heaven and Hell, I was baffled by Blake's prophetic books. Light is shone on this personal mythology. Amusing links to how Blake is used now, e.g. Jerusalem.
  20. 23/04/2023 tagged: Benjamin Wood, ★★★★ - Read: The Young Accomplice by Benjamin Wood ★★★★☆ 📚 Wonderful queasy tension. Siblings, out of Borstal in the early 1950s bring all sorts of baggage to farm training centre for young humane architects.
  21. 17/04/2023 tagged: Sebastian Faulks, ★★★ - Read: Where My Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks ★★★☆☆ Enjoys this life told through wars, love & remembering.
  22. 13/04/2023 tagged: Sara Baume, ★★★★ - Read: A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume ★★★★☆ 📚 Depressed young artist in the Irish countryside. Had me completely invested & worrying about the outcome throughout. Many short references to & descriptions of pieces of conceptual art are thought provoking.
  23. 06/04/2023 tagged: Ian Rankin - Read: A Heart Full of Headstones by Ian Rankin ★★★☆☆ Rebus is now very old, somehow keeps me reading even though I've never steered a chronological paths through the books.
  24. 22/03/2023 tagged: John Banville - Read: April in Spain by John Banville ★★★★☆ 📚 Slowly building up a few different threads that come together quickly. A lot of fun from the characters as opposed to the plot.
  25. 16/03/2023 tagged: Octavia E. Butler - Read: Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler ★★★☆☆ 📚 A wee bit to young-adult for me to love. I enjoyed reading it in a fairly relaxed way. As much as you an enjoy the apocalypse.
  26. 09/03/2023 tagged: Rachel Cusk - Read: Outline by Rachel Cusk ★★★★☆📚 An author has a series of revealing conversations. Some short some over a few days. Not sure why this is so readable?
  27. 25/02/2023 tagged: deer, Jenna Watt, rewilding, Soctland - Read: Hindsight: In Search of Lost Wilderness by Jenna Watt ★★★★☆ 📚 Stimulating investigation deer in Scotland, rewilding, green lairds and the like. Fitted well with the recent episode of Scotland outdoors. Female ecologists & stalkers. A first stalk by the author.
  28. 09/02/2023 tagged: Kirsty Logan - Read: Now She is Witch by Kirsty Logan ★★★☆☆ 📚 Fantasy history, witch hunts, plague. Some unexpected twists and reveals.
  29. 01/02/2023 tagged: Antal Szerb - Read: Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb ★★★★☆ 📚 Somewhat rambling, dreamy & hypnotic tale of a newly married couple who almost immediately split. The various Hungarians wander through Italy & Paris cross paths and each other, developing, or not, in different ways.
  30. 18/01/2023 tagged: Madeline Miller - Read: Galatea by Madeline Miller ★★★☆☆ 📚 Short, Pygmalion retold. Not The Song of Achilles or Circe.
  31. 14/01/2023 tagged: Donna Tartt - Read: The Secret History by Donna Tartt ★★★★★ 📚 A re-read. Still brilliant. A cast of over privileged young poseurs’ arrogance leads to murder and their panic to another. The consequences play out. All followed by the less wealthy narrator, who is dragged in and down by his fascination.
  32. 11/01/2023 tagged: Shehan Karunatilaka, ★★★★★ - Read: The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka ★★★★★ 📚 Great read. I know almost nothing about Sri Lanka. Surprisingly touching given the setting, the after life, a world of ghosts & demons many the result of political killings.
  33. 06/01/2023 tagged: Simon Mawer, ★★★★ - Read: Swimming to Ithaca by Simon Mawer ★★★★☆ 📚 Historian discovers his mother's past in Cyprus during the 50s, intrigue, secrets and spies. I rather disliked the main character but it didn't stop me enjoying book.


  1. 23/12/2022 tagged: Jean Rhys, ★★★★ - Read: The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys ★★★★☆ 📚 Hot sweaty, feverish & confusing, unreliable narrators & characters, pickled by heat and rum.
  2. 17/12/2022 tagged: Helen Dunmore, ★★★★ - Read: A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore ★★★★☆ 📚 Broken characters crumble with the house. Lyrical countryside.  The young ones grow wild. Relationships are awkward or too intense. The first world war appears out of nowhere.
  3. 30/11/2022 tagged: Raymond Chandler, ★★★★ - Read: The High Window by Raymond Chandler ★★★★☆ 📚 One of a few comfort re-reads. Always enjoy Chandler despite some dated attitudes. This one has the usual slick chat, lots of smoking and a tangled web. “Moist eyes with the sympathetic expression of wet stones”
  4. 21/11/2022 tagged: Sara Baume, ★★★★★ - Read seven steeples by Sara Baume ★★★★★ 📚 October mornings peeled the night cloud back to its subcutaneous lilac tissue. The leaves earned their name by leaving the trees. A couple drop out and slowly dissolve into nature. Dreamy poetic prose.
  5. 15/11/2022 tagged: Val McDermid, ★★★ - Read: A Darker Domain by Val McDermid ★★★☆☆ 📚
  6. 11/11/2022 tagged: Daphne du Maurier, ★★★★ - Read: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier ★★★★☆ Oh what fun. I was caught up. Great ambiguous ending.
  7. 01/11/2022 tagged: Fíona Scarlett, ★★★★ - Read: Boys Don't Cry by Fíona Scarlett ★★★★☆ 📚 This one nearly did. Emotional story of two young brothers, I dying of cancer the other getting mixed up in crime. Slightly confusing ending.
  8. 30/10/2022 tagged: Liu Cixin, ★★★ - Read: The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin ★★★☆☆ 📚 I found the Cultural Revolution section interesting, the detective predictable, the physics and harder sci-fi lost me. I did finish it though.
  9. 25/10/2022 tagged: Ali Smith, ★★★★ - Read: Autumn by Ali Smith ★★★★☆ 📚 Partly a lovely story about the relationship between a girl who becomes a young woman and an old man who gets older. Dreams, time, reputation. I am sure much went over my head but I loved this.
  10. 19/10/2022 tagged: Alan Garner, ★★★ - Read: Treacle Walker by Alan Garner ★★★☆☆ 📚 Short full of allegory, symbolism & english folklore, most of which I am sure I missed, but I enjoyed listening to the strange dialect & nonsense words.
  11. 19/10/2022 tagged: Sarah Moss, ★★★★ - Read: The Fell by Sarah Moss ★★★★☆ 📚I love how Sarah Moss gets inside her characters internal dialogue. Glad I take my phone & leave note of where I go when walking!
  12. 15/10/2022 tagged: Andrea Camilleri, ★★★ - Read: Riccardino by Andrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli (Translator) ★★★☆☆ 📚 Montalbano fades out…
  13. 09/10/2022 tagged: Andrew Greig, ★★★★★ - Read: Rose Nicolson by Andrew Greig ★★★★★ 📚 Scottish History the 1570s, a period I am ignorant of. Glad to get an entertaining education & hints of what to search Wikipedia for. Fair bit of Scots, a tale of a furniture dealer, poet, scholar & courtier. Exciting as Stevenson.
  14. 08/10/2022 tagged: Michael Longley - Reading: Angel Hill by Michael Longley Swallows From their precarious nest-cup The swallows whitewash our turf-stack. When we set fire to their excrement They will be crossing the Sahara. Michael Longley
  15. 02/10/2022 tagged: Audrey Magee, ★★★★ - Read: The Colony by Audrey Magee ★★★★☆ 📚 engrossing exploration of colonisation & its woes in Ireland. 1979 adventures of an English artist & French linguist appropriating, each in their own way, the culture of an Irish isle are interspersed with reports of death in the north.
  16. 02/10/2022 tagged: Elizabeth Strout, ★★★ - Read: Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout ★★★☆☆ 📚 I think I liked this better than the original Lucy and not nearly as much as the Olive books. I think I prefer her older characters.
  17. 27/09/2022 tagged: Pat Barker, ★★★ - Read: The Woman of Troy by Pat Barker ★★★☆☆
  18. 11/09/2022 tagged: Emily St. John Mandel, ★★★★★ - Read: The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel 📚★★★★★ Amazing multi viewpoint story. Writing had me invested in each of the diverse characters as they came into focus. Then their stories slowly fitted together. Beautiful. Really catches the way people imagine different lives.
  19. 09/09/2022 tagged: Claire Keegan, ★★★★★ - Read: Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan 📚 ★★★★★ A beautiful wee book that drew me in quietly & has stuck in my mind. Ireland 1985, A gentle slightly troubled man digs deep. "Hunters in the Snow" on the cover seems fitting as the village approaches a snowy Christmas.
  20. 03/09/2022 tagged: Ian Rankin, ★★★ - Read: In the House of Lies by Ian Rankin ★★★☆☆ 📚 Usual enjoyable stuff Rebus retired and sticking his nose in.
  21. 13/08/2022 tagged: Andrea Camilleri, ★★★ - Read: The Terracotta dog, by Andrea Camilleri ★★★☆☆ 📚 Another Montalbano, easy read, and 99p. The food is the best part. I might read a more recent one to see how things develop and call it quits with this series for a while.
  22. 11/08/2022 tagged: Kiran Millwood Hargrave, ★★★ - Read: The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave ★★★☆☆ 📚 Really interesting setting & background, remote 1600s Norway & witch hunting following the pattern of King James. The story flowed along but no real surprises.
  23. 08/08/2022 tagged: Andrea Camilleri, ★★★ - Read: The Shape of Water, by Andrea Camilleri ★★★☆☆ 📚 Turns out I must have read this years ago. And seen the episode of the T.V. series I think. A light read somewhat non-woke language here and there, mouthwatering food descriptions.
  24. 07/08/2022 tagged: Lan Samantha Chang, ★★★★★ - Read: The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang ★★★★★ 📚 Really loved this engaging & exciting book. Set in the Midwest in a family run Chinese restaurant using The Brothers Karamazov as a template in a brilliant way. Food to die for, familial murder, racism & the American dream.
  25. 04/08/2022 tagged: ★★★ - Read: Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman ★★★☆☆ 📚 Good fun Georgian mystery, no great suprises.
  26. 31/07/2022 tagged: Blake Crouch, ★★★ - Read: Upgrade by Blake Crouch 📚★★★☆☆ Climate change, gene editing, upgrades for humans. So fast paced you don't really think about possible plot holes. Very much a page turner.
  27. 29/07/2022 tagged: Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney, ★★★ - Read: The Dark Remains by William McIlvanney & Ian Rankin 📚★★★☆☆ Mcllvanney left half a manuscript, finished by Ian Rankin. Good page turner. Especially enjoyable for the 1972 Glasgow setting, chain smoking, pints & whisky in pretty rough pubs. The hero travels on the bus!
  28. 23/07/2022 tagged: Wole Soyinka - Read: Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth by Wole Soyinka 📚 A huge complicated baggy book. Perhaps reflecting the chaos of reality too much to read smoothly. Sometimes exciting, sometimes amusing & quite often baffling to me. I suspect some knowledge of recent Nigerian politics would help.
  29. 04/07/2022 tagged: Cal Flyn, ★★★★★ - Read: Islands of Abandonment by Cal Flyn ★★★★★ 📚 The book travels to places abandoned by people & recovered to varying degrees by nature. It evokes the 'islands' weirdness powerfully. The last chapters go further, reaching into deep time, climate crisis & even faith. Marvellous.
  30. 20/06/2022 tagged: Denise Mina, ★★★★ - Read: Rizzio by Denise Mina, ★★★★☆ short account of the murder. Not too much in the way of backstory, but lots of detail & characters. Fits very well with the painting by Sir William Allan. Featured image: Out of Copyright, National Galleries of Scotland.
  31. 01/06/2022 tagged: ★★★ - In Search of One Last Song: Britain’s disappearing birds and the people trying to save them Patrick Galbraith ★★★☆☆ The author's meeting with a cross section of folk working in bird conservation, talking about the birds they love. Not the usual conservation suspects, but farmers and keepers along with poets and RSPB types. The subjects…
  32. 28/05/2022 tagged: Jennifer Egan, ★★★ - A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan ★★★☆☆ 📚 one to re-read when I am reading in larger chunks. Fragmented tales across time and characters had me a mite confused.
  33. 13/05/2022 tagged: Hiromi Kawakami, ★★ - Read: The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami ★★☆☆☆ 📚 Simple, slow and quiet tale, told rather flatly. Left me feeling slightly depressed.
  34. 05/05/2022 tagged: Douglas Stuart, ★★★ - Read Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart ★★★☆☆ 📚
  35. 30/04/2022 tagged: Anne Tyler, ★★★★ - Read: French Braid by Anne Tyler ★★★★☆ 📚 Family story, nothing dramatic but quietly insightful. Personalities and behaviour bounce through generations.
  36. 22/04/2022 tagged: Bernard MacLaverty, ★★★★★ - Read: Blank Pages and Other Stories - Bernard MacLaverty ★★★★★ 📚 Quite spare stories, filled with details. Mostly around loss, grief or difficult lives.
  37. 11/04/2022 tagged: Elizabeth Strout, ★★★★ - Read: My Name Is Lucy Barton - Elizabeth Strout ★★★★☆ 📚 So quiet and understated, the whitespace seems to hold the story.
  38. 07/04/2022 tagged: Connor O'Callaghan, ★★★ - Read: We are not in the World by Connor O'Callaghan ★★★☆☆📚 Mysterious or confusing narrative, slips between times & narrators. I struggled to follow. The lurch at then end was a great surprise.
  39. 17/03/2022 tagged: Olga Ravn, ★★★★ - Read: The employees: a workplace novel of the 22nd century by Olga Ravn ★★★★☆ 📚 Quite unclassifiable, science fiction, elliptical, mysterious and compelling. I found Lea Guldditte Hestelund at Overgaden, the art exibit the book is 'based' on, helpful.
  40. 09/03/2022 tagged: Maggie Shipstead, ★★★ - Read: Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead ★★★☆☆ 📚
  41. 19/02/2022 tagged: Elizabeth Strout, ★★★ - Read: The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout ★★★☆☆ 📚 Found this a bit less satisfactory that Olive Kitteridge, which I adored. The boys have a sister & a fair bit of family tension. A lot going on, immigrants, New York & Maine, differences in class...
  42. 06/02/2022 tagged: Maggie Shipstead, ★★★★★ - Read: Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead ★★★★★ 📚 Great book, story of fictional woman aviator who circles the globe, embedded in family history & film of her life. Covering a lot of ground, in all senses, it pretty much all fits together.
  43. 22/01/2022 tagged: Elisabeth Gifford - Read: A Woman Made of Snow by Elisabeth Gifford
  44. 15/01/2022 - Read: We'll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood's Most Beloved Movie by Isenberg, Noah Read after watching the movie again, great mix of ideas and gossip, I am read for another watch. ★★★★☆ 📚
  45. 12/01/2022 tagged: Louise Heal Kawai, ★★★ - Read: The Cat Who Saved Books by Sōsuke Natsukawa translated Louise Heal Kawai ★★★☆☆ 📚 Carelessly throwing this into the slight, fun Japanese novel pile.
  46. 07/01/2022 tagged: Elspeth Barker, ★★★★★ - Read: O Caledonia by Elspeth Barker ★★★★★📚 2022 off to a good start. Brilliant fun. Short strange life of Scot's girl. Gothic home, weird family, horrible school. Laugh out loud & touching.

Books 2018 – 2021

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