Summer reading

I’ve been pretty diligent at reading lately, and I’ve read quite a diversity of books for various reasons. Here are some reviews of what I’ve been getting through this summer when not travelling, writing, working and being lazy. Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth…

A Method Actor’s Guide to Jekyll and Hyde

You’ll want to read Kevin MacNeil’s A Method Actor’s Guide to Jekyll and Hyde twice. Not because it’s an excellent read (though it certainly is that), but because something happens towards the end that casts confusion and doubt over everything you’ve read so far. And when you do read it again, you realise just how…

The Legend of Ivan

I blogged some time ago about a book by American science fiction author Justin Kemppainen called Haven, a dystopian action story. Since then I have read some of his other stories, not least the recently-published sequel to Haven.  It followed on the story from the cliffhanger ending to the first one, and while enjoyable I found…

Page turner

When the software update for the iPhone that included iBooks arrived this summer, I had a scout around the iBooks store for some interesting free books to read.  I wasn’t necessarily a full convert to ebooks, so wanted to read one or two things on the iPhone to see how I felt about the format…

World War Z

After reading about Max Brook’s World War Z on book blog The Mountains of Instead, I knew I had to read it. It’s a story of a world war against zombies, and while I am not much of a zombie/horror fan, I am a huge fan of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction. The main attractions –…

The Call of the Weird

I finished Louis Theroux’s The Call of the Weird last week.  If you’ve heard of Louis Theroux (who incidentally is the son of the legendary travel writer Paul Theroux), it’s probably for his TV series…es… (what’s the plural of “series” – serii?) Weird Weekends or When Louis Met…, both of which focus on the off-beat…

Review of “Deep Stuff”

Okay, so the last in my summer flurry of book reviews: “Deep Stuff” by New Zealand writer Mike Riddell. “Deep Stuff”, as you might expect, is about just that – deep stuff.  It’s the story of five young housemates somewhere in England who gather once a week for food and discussion.  In essence it’s a…

Yin Yang Tattoo, by Ron McMillan

I promise I’m getting to the end of my list of book reviews.  The other night I finished the last item in my current “to read” pile, so I’ll have to find something else to blog about soon. My penultimate review for now is Yin Yang Tattoo by Ron McMillan.  Now I must declare an interest…

The Newsagent’s Window, by John Osborne

A book that really grabbed me as I dawdled around Amazon in search of holiday reading material was “The Newsagent’s Window” by John Osborne; the tale of one man who decided in an era of eBay and global trade to live his life through the notices in local newsagents’ windows. It struck me as a…

An African in Greenland by Tete-Michel Kpomassie

Alerted to this unusual tale earlier this year by Futility Closet, I kept “An African in Greenland” in mind, and finally bought it to read on holiday in Spain. It’s an astonishing story of a young boy in Togo, Tete-Michel Kpomassie, who is about to become an unwilling disciple of a snake cult but reads a…

Danny Wallace: Awkward Situations for Men

In many ways a perfect holiday read, “Awkward Situations For Men” is short, snappy, entertaining and easily-digestible. The latest book by journalist, TV and radio presenter, writer, actor and cult leader Danny Wallace is a light-hearted look at the kinds of awkward situations he finds himself in at work, among friends and in everyday life.…

The books of Stuart Maconie

I’ve been quite a voracious reader of late. Partly, it’s an easy way of avoiding the writing I need to do while still feeling somewhat intelligent and literary. Especially when the internet is not yet sorted in our new house. Being in Spain last month also helped me get stuck into my reading pile. Not…

Revisiting The City & The City

I was delighted to read a while back on the Guardian website that China Miéville has won the Arthur C Clarke Award for science fiction for his book The City & The City. I blogged about this incredible book a wee while back, but a mixture of Nicole’s reaction as she finished it, the news…

“Schrödinger’s pedestrian”

On the train back from Stirling last night, I finished off a most remarkable book that I’ve been reading for the last few weeks.  I’d say, even, that it’s one of the best pieces of fiction, and perhaps one of the best books generally, that I’ve ever read. The City & the City  by China…

The end of the world is nigh

I’ve heard a few things about recently-released film “The Road” – the story of a man and his son struggling for survival in a bleak, wintery, post-apocalyptic world.  Starring “Aragorn” Mortensen and based on a book by Cormac McCarthy, it sounded like it is an engaging and thought-provoking reflection on the human spirit.  When I…

Anticipating “The Golden Compass”

The Golden Compass, part one of the big-screen adaptation of Philip Pullman‘s brilliant and controversial trilogy “His Dark Materials“, is out later this week. It’s an epic trilogy which has caused an epic controversy – so here’s an appropriately epic blog (one I wrote earlier!) with my thoughts on it. The novels tell the story…