Reading in the danger zone


Do you start singing a certain Kenny Loggins hit when you hear the words ‘comfort zone’? I do. Even though comfort and danger are pretty much opposites… Anyhoo, my comfort zone is contemporary literature. I don’t stray often but there have been some notable (and excellent) exceptions in the last year or so –

Speculative Fiction Continue reading

Reading Challenges 2015


Every year I say I’m not going to do reading challenges and then I do. Why? I like a list. I like a reason to look through lists. I like discovering books that I might have otherwise overlooked.

I participated in five reading challenges this year and completed all of them. Continue reading

Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar

In the end notes of Priya Parmar’s book, Vanessa and Her Sister, the author says “It is not easy to fictionalise the Bloomsbury Group, as their lives are so well documented. They were prolific correspondents and diarists, and there is a wealth of existing primary material. The difficulty came in finding enough room for fiction in the negative spaces they left behind.”

It may not have been easy but Parmar makes it appear effortless. Her novel, a fictional diary by Vanessa Bell, painter, and sister to author Virginia Woolf is so convincing, so compelling, that my ‘belief’ never wavered for a moment. The diary entries are interwoven with correspondence between members of the Bloomsbury Group – letters, telegrams and postcards.


vanessa bell and virginia woolf Continue reading

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar


I’ve picked Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar based on the fact that it is likened to Loving Frank (and The Paris Wife, which I still haven’t read!). It begins –

“I opened the great sash window onto the morning pink of the square and made a decsion.
Yes. Today. Continue reading