Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout hardly needs introduction – it extends some of the characters mentioned in My Name Is Lucy Barton, and is structured much like Olive Kitteridge – interconnected short stories, to be read in order (some stories are resolved through other characters’ chapters later in the book, so you do need to read sequentially). It’s not necessary to read Lucy Barton first (or at all) in order to enjoy Anything is Possible but I reckon the book is enhanced by knowing Lucy’s story.

Despite the focus on the interior lives of individual people in small town America, Strout addresses two universal themes in Anything is Possible – that we are shaped by our past, and that we all want to be heard. Each character gives a different perspective on these themes, and the result is subtlety layered (without once feeling repetitive or contrived).

She did not say, and only fleetingly did she think: And you have always taken up so much space in my heart that it has sometimes felt to be a burden. Continue reading

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20 Books of Summer (except that it’s winter)

Cathy at 746 Books is hosting the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge again this year. I’m joining in, with a particular effort to read from my stacks of hard copies. The challenge is straightforward – read twenty books between June 1st and September 3rd. Continue reading

Quick! I need to read a whole book.

Sometimes a very, very short book is just the ticket – reading slump, testing a new genre, choosing something for your book group (because you know they don’t have the stamina for anything over 200 pages), a long train ride…

Here’s a list of my favourite very short books. Continue reading

I’m waiting for…

2017-new-releases

Okay, I’m ignoring the ‘debut’ part of this week’s Top Ten topic and simply sharing the books that I’m looking forward to this year. I’m also ignoring the ‘ten’ part. I can’t help it if there are lots of excellent new releases on the way, can I? Continue reading

My Best Books for 2016

best-books-2016-my-picks

A ‘classic’ was defined by Italian author Italo Calvino as “…a book that’s never finished saying what it has to say.”

Now, I’m not claiming that the books I truly loved this year are ‘classics’, however, I’m borrowing Calvino’s definition to guide my list of top picks for 2016. This year, I’m paying less attention to five-star ratings and more attention to the books that are still speaking to me. Continue reading

The Top 36 from the Best Books of 2016 List of Lists

best-books-2016

This is my community service to book bloggers – a list of the books that appear most frequently on all of the lists I listed on Best Books of 2016 – A List of Lists. So before I have to write the word ‘list’ again, here it is, the 2016 Commonly-Agreed-by-the-People-Who-Publish-Best-of-2016-Book-Lists-Before-December-31 top 36 books. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. Yesterday I went to Sydney to be part of the studio audience for the ABC’s The Book Clubindulgent, yes, and so much fun (spoiler: the panel ALL AGREES ON A BOOK!).

02. I didn’t have much time in Sydney other than that spent at the ABC Studio, although I did squeeze in a quick walk this morning. And I thought that people who live in Sydney must suck at cloud-spotting… (remember, it’s winter here).

sydney-1 Continue reading

What’s new?

ttt-new-releases-2016

I haven’t been shouting from the rooftops about new releases this year – not because there’s been a lack of ace new books but because I’ve been focusing my reading on what’s been languishing in the TBR stack.

But thanks to the magic that is NetGalley, a few have come my way… This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about the 2016 new releases that have made my heart sing. Continue reading