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The Luminaries
If I were to rank the books I’ve read during the last five years (and there are over 500 of them) in order of enjoyment, Eleanor Catton’s The Rehearsa...more
Aug 25, 2013
Oct 25, 2013
The Rehearsal
Where to start with The Rehearsal, a book that fizzes over with invention and exuberance; that rummages through haystacks of artifice and returns with...more
Aug 08, 2009
Aug 08, 2009
Yellow Blue Tibia
This is Adam Roberts’s tenth novel, which of course means there were nine before it. Nine that I haven’t read. How on Earth have I allowed this to hap...more
not set
Mar 07, 2009
Black Mamba Boy
Black Mamba Boy is based on the story of Nadifa Mohamed’s father, Jama, whom we first meet as a street child in Aden in 1935. When he falls out irrevo...more
Jan 24, 2010
Mar 03, 2010
The Islanders
Christopher Priest’s work has given me some of the best reading experiences I’ve ever had, so I opened The Islanders – his first novel in nine years –...more
Nov 18, 2011
Dec 26, 2011
The Gone-Away World
The Jorgmund Pipe is on fire. It shouldn’t be, because it was designed to be the most resilient structure ever built by humans; but then again, the ve...more
Mar 15, 2009
Mar 15, 2009
After the Fire, a Still Small Voice
I’ve been meaning to read this book ever since I came across Evie Wyld’s excellent short story ‘Menzies Meat’ in the summer. In the intervening months...more
Dec 23, 2009
Dec 24, 2009
Redemption in Indigo
Redemption in Indigo is Karen Lord’s interpretation/extension of a Senegalese folktale. We begin with the gluttonous Ansige tracking down his wife Paa...more
Jul 09, 2012
Oct 25, 2012
Generosity: An Enhancement
Russell Stone is a washed-up writer making ends meet by teaching a ‘Journal and Journey’ class to a group of art students at a Chicago college. One me...more
Mar 18, 2011
Mar 22, 2011
Beside the Sea
This is the launch title of Peirene Press, a new publisher specialising in English translations of short European works. And what a book to begin with...more
May 04, 2010
May 21, 2010
Terminal World
It’s more-or-less exactly a year since I read an Alastair Reynolds novel for the first time, and now here I am, looking at his latest book. Once again...more
Mar 30, 2010
Apr 26, 2010
The titular character of Sean Ferrell’s Numb by is unable to feel pain, or to remember who he was before he stumbled, bleeding, into a circus, of whic...more
Oct 17, 2010
Nov 16, 2010
The Meat Tree
This is one of the latest two volumes in Seren Books’ series reworking the medieval Welsh tales of the Mabinogion. I don’t really know those myths, bu...more
Dec 10, 2010
Dec 26, 2010
The Still Point
‘The still point of the turning world’ (in the words of T.S. Eliot, quoted in this novel’s epigraph) is the North Pole, to where Edward Mackley led a...more
Mar 02, 2010
Mar 16, 2010
Alison Wonderland
Now this, I think it’s fair to say, is a bit of an oddity. Alison Temple first came across the all-female-staffed Fitzgerald’s Bureau of Investigation...more
Dec 18, 2011
Jan 24, 2012
Acts of Violence
Queens, New York: 1964. In the small hours, Katrina Marino heads home from her job as night manager of a sports bar. In the courtyard of her apartment...more
Nov 07, 2009
Nov 08, 2009
I always find it interesting to read iconic books and discover what they’re really like, and here’s perhaps one of the most iconic of all: one of the...more
Jan 03, 2012
Feb 12, 2012
First published in English under the title The Satanic Mill, this German children’s classic (translated by Anthea Bell) has now been reissued under it...more
Feb 08, 2011
Feb 10, 2011
The Murder of Halland
It’s a crime story, but the crime is in the background; the real story is the effect of bereavement on Bess, Pia Juul’s protagonist. When first we mee...more
Aug 12, 2012
Feb 11, 2013
The Silver Linings Playbook
Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Play Book is the final choice for the current series of The TV Book Club. The last time I opted to read one of thei...more
Mar 24, 2010
Mar 25, 2010
Take Back Plenty (Tabitha Jute, #1)
The novel on this year’s Clarke Award shortlist that stuck out as being most anomalous was Chris Wooding’s Retribution Falls, because it was the kind...more
Jun 10, 2010
Jul 02, 2010
The Encyclopedia of Fantasy
I was working on an A Level English coursework project about fantasy literature when I came across a cheap copy of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy at a bo...more
Aug 30, 2011
Oct 13, 2011
The Whores' Asylum
Katy Darby’s first novel is a proper page-turner. I don’t care how overused that description may be; it applies to this book. The Whores’ Asylum (aka...more
Jul 18, 2012
Nov 14, 2012
The Speed of Dark
Speed of Dark is the story of Lou Arrendale, an autistic man working for a pharmaceutical company. Lou is part of a division staffed by autistic peopl...more
Mar 21, 2011
Apr 07, 2011
The Affirmation
Having lost his father, job, home, and relationship, all in quick succession, Peter Sinclair is at his lowest ebb. He takes on some work helping to re...more
Jun 20, 2010
Jul 02, 2010
Fascination: Stories
So I decided it was about time I read something by William Boyd – but where to start with such a prolific author? I asked for suggestions on Twitter,...more
Jun 27, 2012
Oct 10, 2012
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls
The beginning of Anton DiSclafani’s debut novel sees Thea Atwell, fifteen-year-old Floridian, arrive at the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls in North...more
Jul 06, 2013
Jul 08, 2013
Last year, the Pontefract-based publisher Route announced its ‘Next Great Novelist’ award, which would lead to the publication of a book by a new nove...more
Jun 27, 2012
Oct 10, 2012
Monkeys with Typewriters: How to Write Fiction and Unlock the Secret Power of Stories
The infinite monkey theorem says that, given enough time, a monkey with a typewriter will almost certainly produce the complete works of Shakespeare j...more
Sep 23, 2012
Feb 11, 2013
Full Dark House (Bryant & May, # 1)
I enjoyed Christ Fowler’s seventh Bryant & May mystery last year, and was interested to find out what the earlier ones were like. Now I’ve gone ba...more
Mar 05, 2011
Mar 22, 2011
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