Books read

November 2019

  • Cinnamon Kiss – Walter Mosley [Currently reading…]
  • Why We Get the Wrong Politicians – Isabel Hardman {NF} [Earnest but dispiriting examination of how the wrong people make a poor job of being politicians. Recommended.]
  • Shut Up And Deal – Jesse May [Gritty, relentless tale of what it’s like to be an addicted, professional, poker player. Recommended]

October 2019

  • Skyfaring (A Journey With a Pilot) – Mark Vanhoenacker {NF} [A pilot writes about his job. Fascinating and recommended]
  • Cockroaches – Jo Nesbo [A holiday read – I think I’ve outgrown Nesbo]
  • The Racketeer – John Grisham [Disappointing. A crazy plot, no pace, and not much in the way of characterisation]
  • The Girl in the Green Raincoat – Laura Lippman [Short, gentle, detective story. Didn’t enjoy it]
  • Heroic Failure – Fintan O’Toole {NF} [“Brexit and the politics of pain”. Difficult reading.]

September 2019

  • The Cryptographer – Tobias Hill [Cryptocurrency themed love story. OK]
  • My Brief Career – Harry Mount {NF} [The author’s grim experience at the start of an abortive law career. OKish]
  • Siege – Michael Wolff {NF} [Another gobsmacking look at Trump. Highly recommended]
  • The Cut Out Girl – Bart van Es {NF} [War bio. Poor library book choice! Gave up after 10 pages]
  • Jonathan Unleashed – Meg Rosoff [Romcom with dogs! Poor library book choice! Gave up after 20 pages]
  • Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh [A very readable and odd, psychological story. Recommended]
  • The Industries of the Future – Alec Ross {NF} [Excellent look at what’s coming. Highly recommended]
  • The Shepherd’s Hut – Tim Winton [A teenager battles with survival in the Australian outback. Brilliant. Highly recommended]
  • Things Can Only Get Worse? – John O’Farrell {NF} [A Labour Party supporter writes. Very funny. Recommended]
  • My Absolute Darling – Gabriel Tallent [A brutal tale of love, hate and abuse. Brilliant. Highly recommended]
  • Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken – The Secret Barrister {NF} [What’s wrong with the legal system. Brilliant! Highly recommended]
  • The Librarian – Salley Vickers [Charming story of a 1950s librarian, though it took me a while to get into it. Highly recommended]
  • The Death of Truth – Michiko Kakutani {NF} [Short and scary polemic on how we got to Trumpism. Highly recommended]
  • Under the Sun – Lottie Moggach [Enjoyable tale of life as an expat in not so sunny Spain. Recommended]

August 2019

  • The Death of the Fronsac – Neal Ascherson [OKish. I struggled and was glad to get to the end]
  • Kiss Me First – Lottie Moggach [An internet tale. A decent read]
  • Educated – Tara Westover {NF} [Wonderful memoir of a woman surviving a brutal, Mormon family. Highly recommended]
  • Black Box Thinking – Matthew Syed {NF} [Failure is good. Recommended]
  • The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim – Jonathan Coe [Enjoyable read but a disappointing ending]
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman [A charming read about an awkward but charming heroine. Highly recommended]

July 2019

  • Adventures in Stationery – James Ward {NF} [History of stationery and office gadgets. Skim-read but interesting]
  • The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes [‘a meditation on memory and ageing’. This is a re-read and I’ve upped it from recommended to highly recommended]
  • The Scheme For Full Employment – Magnus Mills [A novel. I hated this, but completed it!]
  • Two Sisters – Åsne Seierstad {NF} [An investigation into why two young Somali girls left Norway to join ISIS in Syria. Stunning. Highly recommended]
  • An American Story – Christopher Priest [Well written 9/11 conspiracy novel. Read it in a day but ultimately disappointed]
  • While I Was Gone – Sue Miller [The emotional struggles of an American wife as she struggles with her past. Recommended]
  • Uncommon Type – Tom Hanks [Very decent short stories from the actor. Recommended]
  • Pinpoint (How GPS is Changing Our World)- Greg Milner {NF} [All about GPS. Highly recommended]
  • Yuki chan in Brontë Country – Mick Jackson [So-so novel of a daughter retracing her mother’s visit to UK]
  • Narconomics (How to Run a Drug Cartel)- Tom Wainwright {NF} [How the drugs business works. Highly recommended]
  • An American Marriage – Tayari Jones [This best-seller is a decent read – it just sneaks in as a ‘recommended’]

June 2019

  • Bad Blood (Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup) – John Carreyrou {NF} [Only two things to say – riveting and highly recommended]
  • The Crime Writer – Jill Dawson [Terrific novel around the life of Patricia Highsmith. Highly recommended. This is a re-read and the same review as on the first read]
  • The Living and the Dead in Winsford – Håkan Nesser [Slow, long and absorbing thriller. Recommended. This is a re-read and the same review as on the first read]
  • Chernobyl – Serhii Plokhy {NF} [Magnificent examination of the World’s worst nuclear accident. Highly recommended]
  • The Second Coming – John Niven [God sends his son, Jesus, down for a 2nd go. A fabulous, funny read. Highly recommended]
  • Nutshell – Ian McEwan [Great tale of life in the womb! Highly recommended]
  • How To Be Right – James O’Brien {NF} [Honest broadcaster speaks. What a nice man. Highly recommended]
  • Heather, The Totality – Matthew Weiner [A mere 135 pages, a tale of how a child changes a marriage. OK]
  • Talking To My Daughter – Yanis Varoufakis {NF} [“A Brief History of Capitalism”. I didn’t get it. Not for me]
  • Waterline – Ross Raisin [Terrific tale of a widowed man descending to rock bottom. Grim but highly recommended]

May 2019

  • The Tiger – John Vaillant {NF} [Why did the tiger kill the hunter? But so much more. Magnificent and highly recommended]
  • Denialism – Michael Specter {NF} [The dangers of ignoring science. Excellent]
  • The Monk of Mokha – Dave Eggers {NF} [So-so true tale of coffee from Yemen. Not as good as his others]
  • Legend of a Suicide – David Vann [Realised half way through I had read it 4 years ago! Just as puzzled the second time around!!]

April 2019

  • The Death of Expertise – Tom Nichols {NF} [‘The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters’. Highly recommended]
  • Sheer Blue Bliss – Lesley Glaister [An interesting psychological thriller building to a tense conclusion. Recommended ]
  • Get Shorty – Elmore Leonard [I should have enjoyed it more]
  • A Life of Crime – Harry Ognall {NF} [Memoirs of a High Court judge. OKish]
  • The King is Dead – Jim Lewis [Disappointing. Maybe I took too long reading it.]
  • A Gate at the Stairs – Lorrie Moore [Couldn’t wait for it to end! Not for me.]

March 2019

  • Fire On All Sides – James Rhodes {NF} [Classical pianist agonises. Brilliant. Highly recommended, for some]
  • The Killing of Butterfly Joe – Rhidian Brook [ A great adventure centred on butterfly collectors. Highly recommended]
  • All That Remains – Sue Black {NF} [A forensic anthropologist tells all about death. Brilliant. Highly recommended]
  • The Intrusions – Stav Sherez [So-so Internet-themed crime procedural. Got going in the second half]

February 2019

  • The Cook – Wayne Macauley [Young criminal becomes a chef, in an intriguing read. Recommended, for some]
  • Affliction – Russell Banks [A violent, childhood-brutalised man fumes in an American, rural town. A great read. Highly recommended]
  • In Your Defence – Sarah Langford {NF} [A barrister writes about her cases. Highly recommended
  • The Relive Box – T.C.Boyle [Fabulous varied, collection of short stories. Highly recommended]

January 2019

  • Last Night in Montreal – Emily St.John Mandel [An estranged father abducts his daughter. A well-written story of linked lives. Highly recommended]
  • A Separation – Katie Kitamura [Wife seeks answers for the disappearance of her separated husband. Highly recommended]
  • Razor Girl – Carl Hiaasen [Comedy crime caper even crazier than Skinny Dip which I read last year. Overlong but great fun.]
  • First Love – Gwendoline Riley [A marriage battleground. I wasn’t getting anything from this short novel until the last quarter. I wish I had worked harder at it.]
  • Pyongyang – Guy Delisle [A Journey in North Korea. A comic book. I couldn’t get involved in it. Disappointing.]
  • Heading Out to Wonderful – Robert Goolrick [A love story set in the late 1940s that nicely portrays small-town America. I enjoyed it despite the inadequately developed over-the-top tragedy towards the end.]

December 2018

  • Improbable Destinies – Jonathan Losos {NF} [How predictable is evolution? If only I was smart enough to understand]
  • Face-Time – Erik Tarloff [Magnificent tale of affairs in the White House. Highly recommended]
  • Chocolates for Breakfast – Pamela Moore [1950s, coming-of-age novel. Well-off kids drinking. Pretty good.]

November 2018

  • The Secret Life – Andrew O’Hagan {NF} [3 men. Julian Assange, an invented one, the inventor of Bitcoin. Highly recommended]
  • The Financial Lives of the Poets – Jess Walter [Man sinks. Well written, funny and serious, American novel. Highly recommended (for some)]
  • The Two Pound Tram – William Newton [Charming tale of two boys and a tram]
  • Talking to the Dead – Harry Bingham [British police procedural, with a twist. Excellent. Recommended]
  • WTF? – Robert Peston {NF} [Provocative thinking on UK politics. Recommended]
  • Lost Memory of Skin – Russell Banks [Fantastic novel about a young sex offender in America. Highly recommended]
  • The Evenings – Gerard Reve [A novel about boredom. I was bored and gave up after 30 pages]
  • The Diary of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell {NF} [Running a second-hand bookshop. Amusing and helpful. Raced through it in 2 days. Recommended]

October 2018

  • The Harder They Come – T C Boyle [Rage, paranoia, guns. Recommended]
  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy [A mother’s hypochondria. Not for me, though I managed to finish it]
  • Guns, Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond {NF} [Lengthy (and exhausting) history of mankind. Recommended]

September 2018

  • Sunburn – Laura Lippman [Superb well-plotted thriller set is small town America. Highly recommended]
  • The Big Short – Michael Lewis {NF} [Sub-prime mortgage crisis. Almost incomprehensible, but highly recommended, for some]
  • If Only They Didn’t Speak English – Jon Sopel {NF} [Americans in Trumpland. Fascinating / terrific. Highly recommended]

August 2018

  • Skios – Michael Frayn [Fabulous & hilarious farce set on a Greek island. Highly recommended]
  • Obliquity – John Kay {NF} [Dull. Gave up after 40 pages]
  • Heart Burn – Nora Ephron [The author’s fictionalised marriage breakdown. Witty & funny. For some, highly recommended]
  • Donnie Brasco – Joseph D Pistone {NF} [Undercover in the Mafia. Fascinating. Highly recommended]
  • All Families Are Psychotic – Douglas Coupland [Bizarre! End couldn’t come soon enough]
  • I, Robot – Isaac Asimov [Interesting linked stories around laws of robotics. Recommended]

July 2018

  • The Forever War – Dexter Filkins {NF} [A war reporter in Iraq. Astounding and outstanding. Highly recommended]
  • Killers of the Flower Moon – David Grann {NF} [Astonishing true story of murders of Osage Native Americans in 1920s. Highly recommended]
  • Midwinter Break – Bernard MacLaverty [Retired couple’s marriage is tested in Amsterdam. Highly recommended]
  • The Bookshop That Floated Away – Sarah Henshaw [A charming read about the author’s bookshop on a canal boat]
  • The October List – Jeffery Deaver [A back-to-front thriller I found too difficult to finish]
  • The Human Stain – Philip Roth [I’m ashamed to say I gave up halfway through]

June 2018

  • The Association of Small Bombs – Karan Mahajan [After an act of Indian terrorism. Recommended]]
  • Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life – Adam Greenfield {NF} [The scary future. Highly recommended]
  • The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza – Lawrence Block [A very fine and funny crime story. Recommended]

May 2018

  • Flash Boys – Michael Lewis {NF} [Gripping analysis of Wall Street cheating. Highly recommended]
  • De Niro’s Game – Rawi Hage [The violent lives of two young men in Lebanon. So-so.]
  • The Reykjavik Confessions – Simon Cox {NF} [Devastating investigation of 40-year old, Icelandic miscarriage of justice. Recommended]
  • Fire and Fury (Inside the Trump White House) – Michael Wolff {NF} [What a monster. Highly recommended]
  • American War – Omar El Akkad [The 2nd American Civil War, set in 2074. Mixed feelings on this. Overlong.]

April 2018

  • The Last Shot – Hugo Hamilton [A very fine, short love story set around the end of WW2. Recommended]
  • The Dark Net – Jamie Bartlett {NF} [Well researched investigation of the hidden web. Highly recommended]
  • The Fall Guy – James Lasdun [So so psychological thriller. Goodish. ]
  • American Pastoral – Philip Roth [American family collapses. Goodish/recommended]

March 2018

  • In Extremis – Tim Parks [A dying mother, a son’s angst, families, anal massage. Brilliant. Highly recommended]
  • Chess – Stefan Zweig [Psychological, 80 page novella themed around chess. Recommended]
  • The Faithful Couple – A D Miller [Male friendship. Recommended, for males]
  • The Abstinence Teacher – Tom Perrotta [Religion, sex education, broken relationships. Not bad]
  • Closing Arguments – Frederick Busch [Hmm.. A killing, a court case, lots of sex. Interesting!]
  • The Prophet – Michael Koryta [Terrific American football themed thriller. Highly recommended]
  • Skinny Dip – Carl Hiaasen [Husband tosses wife off ship. A terrific, fun adventure. Highly recommended]

February 2018

  • Heft – Liz Moore [Two people with a connecting third. A so-so read]
  • Alice and the Fly – James Rice [Strange tale of obsession and phobia. Not for me]
  • Why the Dutch are Different – Ben Coates {NF} [Interesting to read about another country. Recommended]

January 2018

  • Life With a Star – Jiří Wei [Surviving as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Prague. OK. Grim.]
  • Shame the Devil – George P. Pelecanos [A very decent, hard-boiled, American crime novel]
  • The Plot Against America – Philip Roth [Imagined alternative American history. Highly recomended]
  • How to Stop Time – Matt Haig [The life of a 400-year-old man. Highly recommended]
  • Perfume – Patrick Süskind [A very strange story. Recommended, for some]

December 2017

  • Memoirs of a Dipper – Nell Leyshon [Fictional memoir of a petty criminal. OKish]
  • Complicity – Iain Banks [A sometimes gruesome, Scottish thriller. Recommended]
  • Dadland – Keggie Carew {NF} [Daughter tells the story of her spy dad. Recommended]

November 2017

  • A Brief History Of Everyone Who Ever Lived – Adam Rutherford {NF} [Difficult. Would require a re-read]
  • The Fixer – Joseph Finder [Man finds stash of money in father’s old house. Very decent thriller. Recommended]
  • Double Fault – Lionel Shriver [Just couldn’t get enthused by it – gave up at p66]
  • I Am No One – Patrick Flanery [Privacy and surveillance novel. Slow start – OKish]
  • Tomorrow – Graham Swift [Parenthood, artificial insemination. I enjoyed it]
  • Adapt – Tim Hartford {NF} [Adapting is good. OKish]

October 2017

  • Before the Fall – Noah Hawley [After the plane crash suspense / thriller. Highly recommended]
  • Trading Futures – Jim Powell [Man gradually cracks up. Recommended]
  • What We Did On Our Holiday – John Harding [A novel about ageing parents. Recommended]
  • To Kill the President – Sam Bourne [Magnificent thriller with Trump as the bad guy – LOL! Highly recommended]
  • Under the Harrow – Flynn Berry [Very decent psychological thriller. Recommended]
  • All Days Are Night – Peter Stamm [So-so novel about life rebuilding after disfigurement]
  • The Long and Winding Road – Alan Johnson {NF} [Politician’s memoir part 3. Worthy, sometimes rather dull.]

September 2017

  • All the Old Knives – Olen Steinhauer [Fantastic spy novel set mainly across a dinner table. Highly recommended]
  • High Dive – Jonathan Lee [So-so fictionalisation of the bombing of Brighton’s Grand Hotel]
  • New Crimes Anthology – Maxine Jakubowski (editor) [A mainly mediocre bunch of short, crime stories]
  • A Thousand Pardons – Jonathan Dee [Very enjoyable novel on American family life. Recommended]
  • In a True Light – John Harvey [So-so American crime novel by UK author. Unnecessarily violent ending]
  • It’s What He Would Have Wanted – Sean Hughes [So-so, jokey, blokey novel about a father’s suicide. ]
  • The Dishwasher – Dannie M Martin [An ex-convict struggles. A very decent American crime story. Recommended]

August 2017

  • What is the What – Dave Eggers [Long,but terrific true story set in Sudan. A book to read again. Highly recommended]
  • The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling [Just too many characters! Lost track, gave up.]
  • Poor Economics – Banerjee & Duflo {NF} [What it’s like to be poor. Highly recommended, for some]
  • Agent Zigzag – Ben Macintyre {NF} [Extraordinary true story of a WW2 double agent. Recommended]

July 2017

  • A Sport and a Pastime – James Salter [Couldn’t get into it]
  • Deaf Sentence – David Lodge [Funny / serious tale around deafness and ageing. Pretty good, for some]
  • Happy – Derren Brown {NF} [How to be happy. Long / over-long, but interesting. Recommended, for some]
  • Preparation For The Next Life – Atticus Lish [War veteran and illegal immigrant struggle to love and live. Recommended]

June 2017

  • The Circle – Dave Eggers [1984 meets social media. Brilliant! Highly recommended]
  • Other People’s Money – Justin Cartwright [An old family bank becomes a cropper! A fabulous tale. Highly recommended]
  • This is How – M.J.Hyland [Odd but readable tale of a loner and a killing. Recommended, for some]
  • The Brooklyn Follies – Paul Auster [Meandering and unsatisfying. Glad when it ended]
  • The Easter Parade – Richard Yates [Unhappy families. OKish]
  • A Long Way From Verona – Jane Gardam [Set in the North, during WW2, a young girl’s thoughts. Recommended]
  • The Pale Criminal – Philip Kerr [Crime / politics in pre-WW2 Berlin. Mixed feelings on this one.]

May 2017

  • Fortune Smiles – Adam Johnson [Six short stories. Imaginative and interesting. Recommended]
  • Spring – David Szalay [Modern relationships. I completed it!]
  • Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout [Short stories masquerading as a novel. Quickly lost interest]
  • Breathless – Dean Koontz [Tosh. Read it in a day!]
  • The Reflection – Hugo Wilcken [“An experimental novel disguised as a thriller”. Thoroughly confusing]
  • A Very English Scandal – John Preston {NF} [The story of the downfall of MP Jeremy Thorpe. Highly recommended]
  • The Crossing – Andrew Miller [A book of two halves. I enjoyed the second half, on the boat]

April 2017

  • Even the Dogs – Jon McGregor [Drugs and grimness, in a stream of words. Gave up]
  • The World Without Us – Mireille Juchau [Australian eco-saga. Tiresome – gave up half-way]
  • Strangeland – Tracy Emin [A birthday present! Frank, crude confessions. Interesting]
  • Who Runs Britain? – Robert Peston {NF} [Good stuff, but published 2008, so somewhat dated. Recommended]
  • In Cold Blood – Truman Capote [Capote’s classic, a brilliantly written,  but shocking, true story.  Highly recommended]
  • Strangers on a Train – Patricia Highsmith [Tense, claustrophobic and brilliant. Highly recommended]

March 2017

  • Memoirs of an Infantry Sergeant – William Bourne {NF} [Self published WW2 memoir. Excellent.]
  • The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes [‘a meditation on memory and ageing’. Recommended]
  • The Living and the Dead in Winsford – Håkan Nesser [Slow, long and absorbing thriller. Recommended]
  • Two Wheels – Matt Seaton {NF} [Varied and interesting Guardian articles on biking]
  • The Escape Artist – Matt Seaton {NF} [A man’s passion for cycling. Recommended]
  • An Honorable Man – Paul Vidich [An OK’ish spy novel.]
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson [Family weirdness from 1950s. Not for me.]
  • The Crime Writer – Jill Dawson [Terrific novel around the life of Patricia Highsmith. Highly recommended]

February 2017

  • Bullet Points – Mark Watson [Enjoyable novel about a psychiatrist/psychiatry. Recommended]
  • Copenhagen Noir – anthology [Can’t say I enjoyed this motley collection!]
  • Natural Flights of the Human Mind – Clare Morrall [Dealing with grief. A wonderful story. Highly recommended]
  • Prayers For The Stolen – Jennifer Clement [Terrific novel about trafficking of young girls in Mexico. Highly recommended]
  • All My Friends are Superheroes – Andrew Kaufman [Just 110 pages long. No idea what it was about]
  • The First Bad Man – Miranda July [I’m struggling. Update – I’ve given up!]
  • All Day Long – Joanna Biggs [Interviews with Britons at work. Interesting]

January 2017

  • The Good Liar – Nicholas Searle [Excellent tale of deception and intrigue. Recommended]
  • The Last Act of Love – Cathy Rentzenbrink [Well-written true story of loss. Highly recommended]
  • Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman – Stefan Zweig [Emotional early 20th century novella. Highly recommended]
  • The Signal and the Noise – Nate Silver [The art of prediction. Difficult. Highly recommended]
  • I Saw A Man – Owen Sheers [Tense story of loss and guilt. Highly recommended]

December 2016

  • Shopgirl – Steve Martin [Charming and witty novella about love. Recommended]
  • Dodgers – Bill Beverly [Well-written, gritty, American crime novel. Crap typesetting! Recommended]
  • Cyberphobia – Edward Lucas [The internet is really, really scary. Recommended]
  • Trump & Me – Mark Singer [President-elect Trump in 100 pages. Good last chapter]
  • Whoops – John Lanchester [What the bankers did with our money. Recommended]
  • The Fetish Room – Redmond O’Hanlon & Rudi Rotthier [Rather dull bio of the former. Quit halfway]
  • American Rhapsody – Joe Eszterhas [Sex, Bill Clinton and others. Gobsmacking!]

November 2016

  • The End of the Story – Lydia Davis [A love story I couldn’t get into.]
  • Shakespeare – Bill Bryson [Bio of Shakespeare and of how little is known! Highly recommended]
  • Gang of One – Gary Mulgrew [Grim but absorbing account of a Scot in a US prison. Highly recommended]
  • The Chalk Circle Man – Fred Vargas [A slow, quirky, but very pleasing, French whodunit]
  • The File – Timothy Garton Ash [Historian explores his East German Stasi file]
  • The Second Plane – Martin Amis [Difficult essays around 9/11]
  • The Long Firm – Jake Arnott [Enjoyable gangster tale set in sixties London. Recommended]

October 2016

  • Academy Street – Mary Costello [Cheerless. Similar to, but not as good as, Colm Tóibín’s Mary Webster. OKish]
  • A Landing On The Sun – Michael Frayn [Unfinished. Lost interest at half-way point]
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie [What the North does for fun. Goodish]
  • Family Life – Akhil Sharma [Indian family move to America. OK but dull]
  • Pyres – Derek Nikitas [Pretty good American crime novel. Exciting.]
  • Ordinary Thunderstorms – William Boyd [Terrific adventure/thriller set in London. Highly recommended]

September 2016

  • The Story of My Father – Sue Miller [Author details her father’s decline due to Alzheimer’s. Highly recommended]
  • Black Money – Ross MacDonald [Complex American crime novel. Recommended]
  • Girls – Nic Helman [Man in mid-life crisis talks sex. Shocking, erotic. Hmm. Most will probably hate it.]
  • Restless – William Boyd [Pacy spy thriller. Not my usual fare, but very enjoyable. Recommended]
  • Dancing in the Dark – Karl Ove Knausgaard [Adolescent torment in remote Norway. Long, but addictive]
  • An Error of Judgement – Pamela Hansford Johnson [Great 1960s tale of marriage and morality. Recommended]
  • August and Then Some – David Prete [Well written, gritty tale of New York family strife. Recommended]

August 2016

July 2016

  • Death of His Uncle – C.H.B.Kitchin [An old-fashioned (1930s) mystery. Excellent!]
  • Inheritance – Nicholas Shakespeare [A book of 2 halves that didn’t quite gel. OK]
  • Nothing But Blue Skies by Thomas McGuane [Montana man disintegrates following marriage break-up. Highly recommended]
  • How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff [Coming of age novel set during a future war. Recommended]
  • Nick’s Trip – George P. Pelecanos [Gritty and pretty good American crime novel]
  • Where I’m Reading From – Tim Parks [Interesting essays on book things]

June 2016

  • The Innocent Man – John Grisham [Absorbing true story of injustice in US legal system. Highly recommended]
  • This House of Grief – Helen Garner [Australian murder trial. Magnificent]
  • The Dinner – Herman Koch [Dutch morality tale centred on a meal and a violent act. Interesting]
  • The A to Z of You and Me – James Hannah [Dying 40 year-old reflects. Cheerier than it sounds. Recommended]
  • The Calling – Neil Cross [A cracking but gruesome crime novel. Highly recommended – for some]
  • Luxury Amnesia – David Huggins [British thriller-ish. Easy, light reading. OK]
  • Epitaph For A Spy – Eric Ambler [Old-fashioned spy story written & set in 1930s. Recommended]
  • The Children Act – Ian McEwan [High Court judge makes difficult decisions. Recommended]
  • Layover – Lisa Zeidner [Woman in crisis roams hotels. An oddity]
  • Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned – Wells Tower [A fine set of short stories]

May 2016

  • The Age Of Absurdity – Michael Foley [Philosophy of happiness and modern life. Highly recommended, for some]
  • The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas [Relationships in Australian society. Recommended, for some]
  • Finders Keepers – Stephen King [A terrific thriller. Highly recommended]
  • Starter For Ten – David Nicholls [Starting life at university. Very funny. Have I read this before?]
  • The Report – Jessica Francis Kane [Novel based on a wartime tragedy. Recommended]
  • Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel [When you start skipping, it’s time to give up (at halfway)]
  • Alex Through the Looking Glass – Alex Bellos [Skimmed over some difficult maths!]

April 2016

  • A Death in Belmont – Sebastian Junger [True crime in the shadow of the Boston Strangler. Recommended]
  • Mice – Gordon Reece [Easy-read thriller. Recommended holiday read]
  • Wish Her Safe at Home – Stephen Benatar [An oddity about a woman going mad. OK]
  • Marilyn – Norman Mailer [Terrific fictional biography of Marilyn Monroe. Recommended (for some)]
  • Always the Sun – Neil Cross [Widowed father & son coping. Accurate dialogue. Curious violent ending. Good read]
  • Jack – A.M. Holmes [Growing up & families. Charming, if you’re younger than me]
  • Cocaine Nights – J.G.Ballard [A mystery, of sorts. Not for me]
  • Nora Webster – Colm Tóibín [Dealing with grief in 1960s Ireland. Highly recommended]

March 2016

February 2016

  • Uncommon Entrance – Edward Blishen [Funny account of teaching in a 1950s prep school]
  • The Tortilla Curtain – T C Boyle [Mexican immigrants meet middle-class America. Magnificent]
  • The Soul of a New Machine- Tracy Kidder [Building a new computer in late 70s. Interesting]
  • When I Forgot – Elina Hirvonen [Not for me. Gave up at page 75]
  • So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson [Highly recommended]
  • My Criminal World – Henry Sutton [Crime novelist writes novel. OK. Got to the end, just]
  • The Letter Bearer – Robert Allison [Word War II desert adventure. Mixed feelings on this!]

January 2016

  • A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards – Ann Bauer [Wearing. Gave up after 120 pages]
  • Brooklyn – Colm Tóibín [Wonderful novel set in Ireland & Brooklyn. Highly recommended]
  • Our Endless Numbered Days – Claire Fuller [I eventually came to enjoy it!]
  • Lucas – Kevin Brooks [Young-adults novel for older adults! Highly recommended]
  • The Cutting Room – Louise Welsh [Lost interest after 100 pages..]

December 2015

November 2015

  • I.D. Crimes of Identity – Editor Martin Edwards [ID themed short stories – OK]
  • Carry Me Down – M.J.Hyland [A troubled 11 year old and has family – recommended]
  • Audition – Ryu Murakami [OK, short novel builds up to a bloody ending]
  • Edith’s Diary – Patricia Highsmith [OK. Not the usual PH novel]
  • Our Game – John le Carré [OK but sometimes boring spy novel]

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

  • Stoner – John Williams [Highly recommended]
  • Compartment No. 6 – Rosa Liksom [I couldn’t get into it]
  • The Betrayers – David Bezmozgis [It was a struggle]
  • Personal – Lee Child [More hokum from Lee Child. Recommended]
  • A Different Class of Murder; The Story of Lord Lucan – Laura Thompson [Highly recommended]

July 2015

  • Mystery Man – Colin Bateman [Odd, quirky, very funny. Not everyone’s cup of tea!]
  • Hidden River – Adrian McKinty [Terrific thriller set in NI & America. Recommended]
  • The Widow’s Tale – Mick Jackson [A widow’s near-breakdown – pretty good, read it in a day]
  • On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan [Interesting exploration of sexual hangups – Recommended]
  • Rendezvous in Black – Cornell Woolrich [Highly recommended]
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman [Highly recommended]
  • The Affair – Lee Child [More hokum from Lee Child. Recommended]

June 2015

  • Pieces for the Left Hand – J. Robert Lennon [100 very short stories – OK]
  • Confessions – Kanae Minato [Recommended Japanese novel about kids, murder and revenge]
  • Loss – Tony Black [Enjoyable, violent crime novel set in Edinburgh]
  • The Blue Tango – Eoin McNamee [Highly recommended]
  • The Blunders of our Governments – Anthony King & Ivor Crewe [Recommended]
  • The Story of My Disappearance – Paul Watkins [Recommended]
  • The Sins of the Fathers – Lawrence Block [Recommended]

May 2015

  • Nothing More Than Murder – Jim Thompson [Recommended]
  • Hack Attack – Nick Davies [Highly recommended]
  • Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey [OK, but I began to lose interest]

April 2015

  • The Little Friend – Donna Tartt [Gave up after 65 of 550 pages]
  • Your Blue-Eyed Boy – Helen Dunmore [Recommended]
  • The Establishment – Owen Jones [Highly recommended]

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015


December 2014

>November 2014

October 2014

  • Spoiled Brats – Simon Rich [Disappointing short stories]
  • The Seven Days of Peter Crumb – Jonny Glynn [Unpleasant – quit after 50 pages]
  • King of the Badgers – Philip Hensher [Two-thirds in and I started to enjoy it!]
  • An Unfinished Season – Ward Just [Not for me]

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

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