The Top 47 from the Best Books of 2017 List of Lists

This is my community service to book-bloggers – a list of the books that appear most frequently on all of the lists (32 of them) I listed on Best Books of 2017 – A List of Lists.

So here it is, the 2017 Commonly-Agreed-by-the-People-Who-Publish-Best-of-2017-Book-Lists-Before-December-31 top 47 books. Continue reading

You make me feel like dancing…(and reading)

Okay, that’s a Leo Sayer song but this post is all about the Gibbs.


I felt it was time for a Bee Gees literary mix tape (mainly because I’m still sulking about Barry’s cancelled Melbourne tour).

Marvel at the lustrous hair (chest and other) and the magnificent use of solid gold.

01. You Should Be Dancing / Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead Continue reading

Top Ten Books for 2013

top ten books 2013

It’s that time of year (the last reading day of 2013) where I pick my favourite and bests. The first nine are in no particular order: Continue reading

You can choose your friends but… – a top ten list of books about families

Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina opens with this –

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

And aren’t readers glad that Tolstoy is correct because such families make for great stories.

This week’s top ten, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is favourite books in a particular setting – I’ve chosen families as my theme (and also cleverly managed to put Tolstoy and Sister Sledge in the same post. I know, brilliant)..

So, play that funky beat and browse this list of the best books about families dealing with their share of unhappiness – Continue reading

Top 10 Books I’ve Read So Far This Year


By this point last year, I’d read The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. Had I not read another good book for the remainder of the year, I would have been satisfied that 2012 had been a ‘good reading year’. In fact, 2012 got even better when I read Lisa Klaussman’s Tigers in Red Weather.

But 2013 is another story.

When I saw this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic – best books read so far this year – the first thing I thought was ‘This year, I haven’t found ‘the one’.’ I’ve read some great books (as the list below demonstrates) but I haven’t found the one book that I press onto everyone I meet.Yet.

So this list of excellent books comes with qualifiers – I loved all of these novels but I’m not necessarily recommending them to ALL THE PEOPLE (although The Rosie Project comes darn close). Continue reading

‘A Thousand Pardons’ by Jonathan Dee

I’m loathe to start a review of Jonathan Dee’s most-wonderful, most-brilliant new novel, A Thousand Pardons, with a reference to Jonathan Franzen but if I don’t get it off my chest, it will make me peevish.

Here’s the thing – while everyone is getting their undies in a twist over Jonathan Franzen there’s Jonathan Dee. His stories are character-rich. His observations of modern society are astute and, quite pleasingly, snarky. His plots are detailed and surprising.

When I read a promo for A Thousand Pardons recommending the book for “…readers of Jonathan Franzen….” quite frankly, I felt annoyed. Dee isn’t your ‘filler’ between puffed-up Franzen releases. Read him because his books are brilliant.

So, now that I’ve had my whinge, to the book. In summary, it’s the story of Helen and Ben Armstead, a couple at breaking point. It begins with them leaving their teenage daughter, Sara, at home while they head off for their regular ‘date night’.

“On the television a girl and her father appeared to be auditioning a group of male strippers. “Happy Date Night,” Sara said in a deep voice meant to sound hickish or retarded, and with one finger she mimed inducing herself to vomit.” Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – My Autumn TBR List


I almost feel ill when I think about my TBR stack. It’s towering. And it just keeps getting bigger. It’s a good/bad ill feeling – kind of like what I call ‘airport stomach’ – that special nervous excitement you get when you’re about to jet off on a holiday but have to get up very, very early to be at the airport on time. Maybe I need a new kind of ill called ‘TBR stack fever’ – identified by a feeling of overwhelming anticipation.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is ‘Books On My Spring 2013 TBR list’ – it’s supposed to be autumn in Melbourne. You wouldn’t know it. It’s only rained three times this year and we’ve had weeks of 30+ degrees. It’s hard to think about bunkering down with serious books when it’s sweltering (I tend to read more seriously when it’s cold and read more trash in summer – tell me that’s normal!). 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