Six Degrees of Separation – from Reasons to Stay Alive to The Secret Son


It’s six degrees of separation for books. Created by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith. Check out the rules if you want to play along.

This month the chain begins with Matt Haig’s memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive. I haven’t read this book (and it sounds like tough reading) but I have read dozens of other memoirs. One of my favourites is Leanne Shapton’s Swimming Studies – a truly original book about one of my favourite things, swimming! Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – There’s a new book out by…

buy all the books meme

When John Irving released In One Person last year it received mixed advance reviews. I read them all but they didn’t stop me from pouncing on In One Person as soon as I was able. And I didn’t really like it which was disappointing because I’d waited for it for so long. But it didn’t matter because Irving is without question my favourite contemporary author and, if he suddenly began publishing his books on the back of boxes of Cheerios, then I’d be an overnight Cheerios eater.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is ‘Authors On My Auto-Buy List’. It’s not just Irving –

1. John Irving – goes without saying! Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Settings I’d Like to See More Of

new york

My first thought when I saw The Broke and The Bookish’s topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday was “I don’t favour particular settings when picking a book!” (read between the lines here – “I’m so open-minded that I’ll read about any topic!”). But then I had a little think about it. *ahem* I am actually more likely to pick up a book if it has any of the following –

1. A New York city setting – it may not be terribly original but I really, really love New York. Continue reading

‘The Starboard Sea’ by Amber Dermont

A few of my weird reading interests combined in The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont – Maine (I blame my obsession with New England on John Irving); boarding schools (it all began with Enid Blyton’s The Naughtiest Girl series); and all things preppy (preppy might have hit its stride in the eighties but I haven’t moved on – crew, lacrosse and popped collars still thrill me).

The Starboard Sea is the story of Jason Prosper, a rich kid whose world includes Manhattan penthouses, Maine summer estates, old boy prep schools and exclusive sailing clubs. It begins with Jason being dropped, rather unceremoniously by his father, at the door of Bellingham Academy – a ‘last stop’ prep-school for kids who have mucked up everywhere else.

“My mother was still on vacation in Maine. It occurred to me that the only soul in all of New York City I would miss would be my doorman.”

Jason is left to settle into a new school and to come to terms with the suicide of his best friend and sailing partner, Cal. Jason soon meets Aidan, a fellow student with her own troubled past.  Their friendship grows but just as Jason is beginning to make sense of all that had happened at his previous school, tragedy strikes. Continue reading