Just quietly, this is a great bunch of books


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday focuses on books that have received fewer than 2000 ratings on Goodreads. Hmmm… Clearly I’m hanging out with the unpopular kids because LOTS of the books I’ve read in the last few years fit into this category. Here are some favourites – Continue reading

To Be Read next (actually, this post is about my favourite Madonna songs)


It’s Top Ten Tuesday and the topic this week is Ten Books on Your Spring Autumn TBR List. That’s good except that I went to the Madonna concert on Sunday night and I would rather talk about my top ten Madonna songs. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll pair them with one of the eleventy-hundred books in my TBR stack. The rationale behind the pairings will be tenuous, to say the least. Continue reading

Seems I missed that one…


Top 10 Tuesday (this week I’ve done a bad-ass top 15) is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke & the Bookish and featuring a different book-related theme each week. I was a bit of a TTT-slacker last year, even though I generally love a list. Anyways, this week’s topic is ‘2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To’. Continue reading

What’s in a Name Challenge 2014 Wrap-up


Of all the reading challenges, I have the most fun with What’s in a Name, hosted by The Worm Hole. I like browsing through my TBR stack to find titles that fit the challenge categories.

The challenge is simple – read one book that fits each of the five ‘categories’ – Continue reading

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Hungry, The Stars and Everything by Emma Jane Unsworth


Last week I reviewed Emma Jane Unsworth’s Animals. It’s been one of my favourite books this year (up there with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma and The Goldfinch). However, Unsworth’s debut novel was Hungry, The Stars and Everything and it has a food theme – I know, right? How did it escape my attention until now?!

Here’s how it begins – Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from The Luminaries to Tony Hogan.

the luminaries by eleanor catton

In 1929, Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy wrote a short story called Chains in which he coined the phrase six degrees of separation. Of course the 1993 film, Six Degrees of Separation, starring the incomparable Stockard Channing, cemented the phrase (and concept) into everyday parlance. Based on the concept of six degrees of separation, Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith created a neat meme, where bloggers share links between books, in six moves.

This month, the chain begins with The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. I haven’t read it and my reason is pathetic – it’s just such a big book and I’ve done a few big books of late. That said, it is on my reading list (propping up the chunky end along with Harry Quebert). But the beauty of this meme is that having read the book is not a prerequisite. Continue reading

Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson

“‘Get out, you cunting, shitting, little fucking fucker!’ were the first words I ever heard. The midwife, a shiny-faced woman who learned entirely new turns of phrase that night, smoothed Ma’s hair.’

Is that not the most impressive opening line you’ve read? It’s certainly memorable. And so begins Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson.

It’s not just the opening line and the title that’s arresting about this story (incidentally, the title is the only thing I don’t like about this book – it’s too long to tweet). It’s a character-driven plot centred around Janie and her mother Iris, and their life in a  succession of council flats, predominantly in Scotland. Regardless of where they are, the story is the same – there’s useless men, the dole queue, drink, drugs and violence to be had in any town. But loyalty and family bonds run deep and as you follow Janie’s rises and falls, you can’t help but become attached.

“…My eyes soaked in the our new neighbourhood. Graffiti and scorch-marks, echoes of small fires, decorated doorsteps. Golden Special Brew cans and crushed vodka bottles, bright as diamonds, collected in the gutters. Front gardens were filled with mouldy paddling pools and, occasionally, a rustburnished shell of a car. I had never seen anything so beautiful, so many colours, before in grey Aberdeen.” Continue reading