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

My Best Books for 2016

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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

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

The reviews for Zadie Smith’s latest novel, Swing Time, have been glowing. Which is a good thing, because: glowing, but a bad thing, because: expectations.

My expectations were high. And perhaps nudged even a little higher thanks to The Embassy of Cambodia, which is still fresh in my mind.

Swing Time tells the story of two biracial girls growing up in the eighties in neighbouring housing estates in London. The pair meet at a dance class run in the local hall – the unnamed narrator is intelligent but self-doubting, while the other girl, Tracey, is confident, talented and self-destructive.

“There were many other girls present but for obvious reasons we noticed each other, the similarities and the differences, as girls will.” Continue reading

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

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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