Everybody is saddled with the curse of small talk

by Dan Rhodes

I can’t remember where I saw this book recommended but I clearly did as it was on my birthday wishlist at the start of the year. Whoever recommended it, I must thank you, because this was just what I was looking for – an enjoyable, funny, page-turning read that was also emotionally engaging and well phrased…

White people don’t care where they send you

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe
by Romain Puértolas
translated from French by Sam Taylor

This book has already been a huge success in France and the publishers of the English translation are clearly hoping for similar sales figures. I hope they get them, even though I didn’t love it…

Film review: Begin Again

On Friday night, Tim and I wanted to see something light at the cinema, which for us usually means superhero action, but we decided to brave the description “rom com musical” and try Begin Again. We weren’t entirely out of our minds – writer director John Carney was behind one of our favourite films, Once, which we have watched together almost as many times as Scott Pilgrim. Almost…

When is a legend legend? Why is a myth a myth?

Weyr Search
by Anne McCaffrey

After my recent introduction to Anne McCaffrey’s work, I was pleased to find this novella, an opportunity to check out the fantasy series that McCaffrey was best known for. Oh dear. Maybe I’m not a fantasy person…

What language will the future speak?

Parasites Like Us
by Adam Johnson

I found this book slow to start but by the end it had a real effect on me – by which I mean I couldn’t stop thinking about it to the extent that I had nightmares! But it is the story of an apocalyptic adventure, so that’s probably a good sign. I think. It’s also a comedy – a very dark one…

I like it here precisely because it is dull

The Needle’s Eye
by Margaret Drabble

I liked this book, but it was only while discussing it at book club that I realised how much. And why. It’s certainly the kind of book that benefits from taking time to think about it afterward…

The women writing pop science

Just a quick note to say that today you can read my thoughts about women writing popular science over at For Books’ Sake. Inspired by my 2014 Popular-Science Reading Challenge and the feminist focus of For Books’ Sake, I picked out my top five pop-sci books by women. Please do go take a look and leave a comment with your own favourites, or your thoughts on the ones I picked.

June reading round-up

In this month of #bookaday running into Independent Booksellers Week I certainly haven’t read a book a day or even some of a book every day, but I have visited my favourite independent bookshop: Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath. Despite the towering TBR I couldn’t leave empty-handed, so Tim and I picked two books each to treat ourselves…

Sunday Salon: 2014 – the halfway point

The Sunday Salon

I thought rather than waiting until December to see how I’ve performed against my goals, I’d check now and see if I need to make any adjustments! First, let’s look at the reading plans I made back at the end of last year

I accepted loneliness as a way of life

In the Shadow of Man
by Jane Goodall

While famous in the world of science, Goodall is perhaps lesser known to the rest of the world than her American counterpart Dian Fossey thanks to Hollywood and Sigourney Weaver, but Goodall is apparently the better writer. I certainly enjoyed this example of her writing, with a few reservations…