When it comes to rating books, I have no trouble handing out one star, two stars or five stars.
I give one star to books that are all-round crap (plot, writing, editing – basically the whole shebang). I give two stars to books that are quite crap in terms of plot and personal appeal but are not necessarily poorly written. I give five stars to books that make me think of nothing else but reading that particular book.
I don’t hand out one star, two star or five star ratings all that often. Most books I read I give either three stars or four stars. Sometimes it’s a clear three or four but often, it’s somewhere between three and four. And herein lies the problem. Continue reading
It’s six degrees of separation for books. Created by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith. Check out the rules if you want to play along.
This month the chain begins with The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. It appeared in my round-up of the best books for 2014, as did The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison. Continue reading
Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus are responsible for creating the one chick-lit character that I can still remember more than ten years after ‘meeting’ him. That character was Harvard Hottie, the romantic interest in The Nanny Diaries. I’d be hard pressed to name characters from any other book I read in 2002 so why did Harvard Hottie stay in my mind? Perhaps because my friends and I had code names for various boys at the time (TNA, The Barry St Boy…). The authors knew their audience and whilst I was not a nanny on Park Avenue in New York, there was enough in The Nanny Diaries to identify with.
McLaughlin and Kraus still know their audience and more importantly, they know that their audience has grown-up. And that we worry about middle-aged things. And like they did in their previous books, they deliver the perfect balance of drama, glamour and humour in their latest, How to Be a Grown-up. Continue reading
1. The Man Booker longlist was announced yesterday. I’ve only read one (and loved it), so GO ANNE ENRIGHT!
2. I started uni again this week. Which means I might occasionally have a whinge about studying… Although I have already looked at previous exams and there’s no formula sheet. Which means no maths. Which means YAY.
3. It’s so nice when the interwebs is used for good. Bookish good, even better. Continue reading
Although it makes it no less painful, somewhere in the back of your mind, you’re prepared for the eventual death of your grandparents and parents. It’s the order of life. But you’re not prepared for friends to die.
When I was a teenager, I would often go to my grandmother’s house after school. One day I turned up to find her crying. She’d just discovered that a close friend had passed away, and that now she was the only one left in a group that had been affectionately known as the ‘old girls’ (despite having met in their twenties!). My 14-year-old self-centred mind had never even considered the prospect of friends dying, let alone grappling with the grief my Nanma was experiencing after losing friends that she’d had for over fifty years. That moment left a big impression on me and Lauren Fox’s Days of Awe reminded me of it.
Isabel Moore’s life is tipped upside down when her best friend, Josie, is killed behind the wheel in a single-car accident.
“Her rusty 11-year-old Toyota skidded off the slick road like a can of soup rolling across a supermarket aisle.” Continue reading
Okay, get out some paper and a pencil. Have it next to you and start reading The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett. You’ll need to make notes for the first quarter of the book, to keep the various characters and stories in order. But then, enough is established to distinguish the stories and you’ll go with it, thinking ‘This is #ALLTHECLEVER’ (I think in hashtags and caps, don’t you?).
“A man is walking down a country lane. A woman, cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog. On that moment, their future hinges. There are three possible outcomes, three small decisions that could determine the rest of their life.”
Beginning in Cambridge in 1958, the story of Eva and Jim takes three different paths – they get together; they speak but then go their separate ways; they never meet. The stories then track Eva and Jim’s lives over the following decades. Continue reading
Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye. Continue reading
I am being a little flippant but it’s in keeping with the humour of The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin. Continue reading
1. I’m still in two minds about Go Set a Watchman. I have a copy… But the whole situation just doesn’t sit right with me. And the news of a third book by Harper Lee made be all the more uncomfortable.
2. So last week I saw Magic Mike XXL. Don’t judge. If you’ve seen it, you’ll understand that the film is a satire – without a plot, in the traditional sense. Or a script that was worked on for more than half an hour. It’s basically a soundtrack, with bare chests, fire phobias, nods to Flashdance, level 3 Reiki healers, Backstreet Boys and artisanal pro-biotic fro-yo.
3. And the “How much for the Cheetos and water” scene is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in years. Continue reading
Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye.
Clade by James Bradley
Why I have it: Probably because I liked the cover. And there was hype and lots of book shop displays. Continue reading