A Year of Sample Saturdays 2017

I’ve read 99 Kindle samples this year – downloading sample chapters is better than impulse buying books… I think. Of the 99 I’ve read, I’ve said ‘yes’ to 53. Of those that I’ve said yes to, a bunch I’ve now read (or have in the TBR pile), thanks to the library, ARCs and two purchases (I was at the author talks – it would have been rude not to!).

However, if I buy the remaining 47 books, it kind of destroys the small gains I’ve made on reducing the TBR stack this year. So, I’ve narrowed it down to 12 that I’m busting to read. Continue reading

Quick! I need to read a whole book.

Sometimes a very, very short book is just the ticket – reading slump, testing a new genre, choosing something for your book group (because you know they don’t have the stamina for anything over 200 pages), a long train ride…

Here’s a list of my favourite very short books. Continue reading

Memoir fans – remember to put these books on your reading list

It’s Top Ten Tuesday time and the topic this week is ‘Ten Books Every X Should Read’. In my case, the X is for memoir fans.

The first five are those type of memoirs that are so horrifying that you have to keep checking whether they are not, in actual fact, fiction. The next bunch are not misery-memoirs at all – quite the opposite – they made me laugh. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from Burial Rites to The Art of Fielding


What’s not to love about a new meme? Check out the rules (actually, there’s not really any rules) and join in Six Degrees of Separation here.

We begin with Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites. It’s set in Iceland. I’m not a fan of cold weather (at all) and yet I really, really, really want to go to Iceland. Continue reading

Foodies Read Challenge – Wrap-up


Despite being focused on food, the Foodies Read Challenge provided quite a bit of diversity. I read books that included cannibalism, a book that was a thinly disguised memoir, and stories that hinged around death. Some of these books made me hungry. Others, not at all (pickled wolf’s heart anyone?). Continue reading

What’s in a Name Challenge Wrap-up


It’s that time of year when the reading challenge wrap-up posts begin. I’m starting with the What’s in a Name challenge.

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

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin


Why did it take me so long to discover the (written) wisdom of Nora Ephron? Who knows but I loved Heartburn  when I read it earlier this year. Linda Yellin must also love Nora Ephron because she’s based her latest book, What Nora Knew, around all the romantic advice that can be gleaned from Ephron’s romantic comedies – sort of like what Julie and Julia was to cooking.

Although it’s not released until January 2014, I’ve managed to get my hands on an ARC and thought it would be a good one to share for Bibliophile by the Sea’s First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday. It begins – Continue reading

‘Heartburn’ by Nora Ephron

I’m not sure how Nora Ephron’s Heartburn escaped my attention until now. In fact, it’s ludicrous that it did! It’s everything I love in one neat volume – it’s funny, there’s recipes and it gets to the nitty-gritty of relationships.

I had penciled Heartburn in for the Foodies reading challenge and then realised that it also qualified for the What’s in a Name challenge under the ‘Fire’ category. This was particularly satisfying as I’d ear-marked The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus for this category but after reading Rory’s review I got the distinct impression that it wouldn’t be my cup of tea.

So, to the book. It’s the story of Rachel Samstat who, seven months into her pregnancy, discovers that her husband, Mark, is in love with another woman. The fact that the other woman has “a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb…” is no consolation. Food sometimes is though, since Rachel writes cookbooks for a living. And in between trying to win Mark back and loudly wishing him dead, Rachel shares recipes.

The story reads like a confession from an acquaintance – an acquaintance as opposed to a long-time friend, as with an acquaintance you can afford to be glib about gruesome details (true friends see through your humour). Continue reading