Young Hearts Crying by Richard Yates

A line jumped out halfway through Richard Yates’s penultimate novel, Young Hearts Crying

‘…but there was a persuasive tone of sadness all through the story and a well-earned sense of impending tragedy toward the end.’

And it was as if Yates had written a review of his own book. Continue reading


Six Degrees of Separation – from Picnic at Hanging Rock to Love in a Cold Climate

It’s time for #6degrees. It’s unquestionably the least demanding bookish meme on the interwebs, so join in!

This month we begin with Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (thanks to Brona for the suggestion). My first link is to Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run. That might seem an unlikely link but I’ve seen Springsteen twice in the last few years, and both times Hanging Rock was the backdrop. Continue reading

Top ways to make me buy a book

It’s not particularly hard to get me to buy a book. I’ve mentioned some triggers here and here. But publishers, if you’re reading, here are some moreContinue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from Revolutionary Road to Rush Oh!


It’s time for #6Degrees, the easiest and, without question, most fun book meme (because there aren’t any rules). Join in! Link Up!

We begin this month’s chain with the Richard Yates classic, Revolutionary Road. I love Yates – he’s so goddamn depressing but he gets to the nitty-gritty of feelings. Although books brimming with feelings don’t always make the best movies, Revolutionary Road is an exception. The 2008 movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, is brilliant. Continue reading

The Good Guy by Susan Beale

The title of Susan Beale’s debut novel, The Good Guy, suggests something quite particular about the main character, Ted, however he’s anything but a good guy. He’s an arsehole of the first order (that’s not a spoiler, by the way).

In brief, it’s the story of Ted and Abigail and their baby daughter. It’s 1960s suburban New England, and the couple’s life is filled with polite neighbourhood parties, good manners, and keeping up with the Jones. Ted is a tyre salesman and Abigail sits with gritted teeth through meetings of the Ladies Culture Club (where the ‘culture’ is macrame demonstrations), all the while dreaming of the college degree she didn’t complete.

“They traded decorating and gardening ideas, borrowed tools; they gathered at cocktail and dinner parties. It was real life and yet it retained an aura of play.” Continue reading