Posts tagged books

February Reading Roundup

After a slow January, I hit my reading stride in February. We stayed in Croatia all month, with just a quick side trip to Slovenia, so I had plenty of time to read and catch up with writing too. Here’s a quick roundup of the books I read last month. Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval We’ve all met people who don’t have good boundaries, haven’t we? But in this disturbing Norwegian novel set in England, this is quite a literal problem, as a young biology student finds herself melding with… Read More

January Reading Roundup

Better late than never! Here’s my reading roundup for January. It was a month in which I did a lot of travelling, driving from Greece to Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and now Croatia (via Romania again and a brief stop in Serbia). So I didn’t spend as much time reading and blogging as I wanted to, but I still managed to read some excellent books to start 2019. The Great Passage by Shion Miura This was my contribution to the Japanese Literature Challenge hosted by Dolce Bellezza (which you can still… Read More

October Reading Roundup

Did you read any good books in October? I had a decent reading month, starting with a dud but progressing to some fascinating reads, including one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Here’s a rundown. The Mimic Men by V.S. Naipaul I really don’t get why this novel is so celebrated. It’s the life story of a fictional West Indian politician, and it reads like a political memoir, a dull enough genre even when the politician in question really existed. I had no interest in the… Read More

September Reading Roundup

Last month, I started a series of monthly reading roundups. This month, to my astonishment, I am continuing it for the second straight month. So here’s a quick summary of the books I read in September. Life Begins on Friday by Ioana Pârvulescu I was travelling in Romania for most of September, so I decided to read this novel by a contemporary Romanian writer that I bought at a bookshop in Iasi (which I wrote a bit about—the town, not the bookshop—back in August). Life Begins on Friday was a fresh, slightly bizarre… Read More

August Reading Roundup

When I first started this blog (over ten years ago now!), I intended to review every book I read. Even by September 2008, I was already talking about that intention in the past tense, and by now I have to admit that it’ll never happen. I read too much and blog too little. But perhaps I can manage a monthly roundup? A few sentences on each book? We’ll see. Inspired by A Cocoon of Books, anyway, I’m going to try. So here’s what I read in August. How was your… Read More

Completism

Can you recommend a good book by an author whose surname begins with Q, U, X or Y? It’s a strange question, I know. The thing is, I’ve been documenting all the books I’ve reviewed on this site since it started ten years ago, and I’ve organised them alphabetically, and… Yeah, OK, I admit it. I’m a frustrated librarian. In another lifetime, I would have loved to spend my days quietly shuffling books around from shelf to shelf in a library or bookshop. My choices have taken me down a… Read More

Why I still love bookshops

I’ve written about bookshops a lot on this blog over this years. There’s a good reason for this. For me, good bookshops have always been inseparable from the joy of reading. When I was in my early twenties and working in a job I absolutely hated, I used to escape to the nearest bookshop and browse the shelves for a different world to inhabit for a time. When I moved to New York, I was astonished to discover huge, sprawling bookshops where they not only allowed you to stay all… Read More

What we did before Google

Whatever did we do before the internet? How did we manage before Google? I’m hearing these questions more often these days, usually after someone’s discovered some snippet of astonishing information in just a few seconds. The questions are rhetorical  of course, but it occurs to me that one day people might really want to know. I’m conscious of being a member of the last generation to remember life before the internet, so I want to explain what it was like. How did we manage without Google at our fingertips? The short answer:… Read More