Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

lola and sizzles

1. Charlie and Lola have recently celebrated their 15th birthday. I mention this because the name of this blog is a little nod to Charlie and Lola. I love them to bits (especially when it comes to Sizzles). Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves to The Crucible


I’m late to the #6DEGREES party this month and it took all my willpower to keep studying last weekend and not start thinking about links between books. But exams are finished (hoorah!) and now I can blog, blog, blog (Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman created the #6DEGREES mem, for bloggers to share links between books in six moves. Check out the rules if you want to play along).

This month, #6DEGREES begins with Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, a book that I loved for so many reasons (in fact, here are 11 of them). Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Books for Gatsby fans


Everywhere I turn I’m seeing Gatsby – fringes on dresses, Bakelite accessories and sublime Art Deco curves in furniture design. Get a little Jazz Age into your reading list as well.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a topic rewind. I’m going all the way back to January 2012 when The Broke and the Bookish looked at their Top 10 Historical Fiction picks… And then I’m rewinding a little further to the glorious years between 1920 and 1940 when the order of the day was bobbed hair, cloche hats and gin cocktails. Of course we must start at the very top with Gatsby.

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Basically I’m beside myself with excitement waiting for this:

But what else is on the ‘Gatsby’ reading list? Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012


Well, finally a list that can’t possibly contain any John Irving (but see what I did there, slipped the name in… Are you thinking about Owen Meany now?!).

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new ‘top ten’ challenge is posted – anyone can join in. This week’s topic is Top Ten Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012.

1. Chad Harbach – The Art of Fielding took Harbach ten years to write. I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait a decade for his next book.

2. Emily Perkins – New Zealand born Perkins thrilled me with her exquisite saga, The Forrests.

3. Laura Dave – for sharp chick-lit. Continue reading

‘The Women’ by T. C. Boyle

‘Historical fiction’ isn’t all tight bodices, hooped skirts and drawing-room drama. In fact, The Women by T. C. Boyle is all about the sharp, clean lines of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s unparalleled work and the messy, scandalous affairs he conducted with the women in his life.

Boyle tells the story of Frank Lloyd Wright through the eyes of a fictional Japanese apprentice. Interestingly, the story is narrated in reverse chronological order, starting with Wright’s last great love, the Montenegrin beauty Olgivanna Milanoff; then examining the messy but passionate affair with Southern belle Maude Miriam Noel; moving on to the tragic Mamah Cheney, whose story is intertwined with that of Wright’s first wife, Kitty Tobin, who bore him six children.

L-R: Kitty, Mamah, Miriam, Olga

Telling the story in reverse is a masterstroke. Boyle finishes the story with the catastrophic fire and murder of Mamah and six others at Taliesin, Wright’s home in Wisconsin. The final chapters are chilling – the part of the murderer is told in a way that is both distant, calculating but personal. It’s exceptional story-telling, particularly when you close the book and consider that Wright survived, went on working and later became involved with Miriam and Olgivanna. Continue reading

Enforced down-time = reading bonanza

I have a little hospital stay coming up. If it weren’t for the pain I’m likely going to experience, I’d be bloody excited about the prospect of four days lying in bed with nothing to do but read.

Pain or not, it’s best to be prepared. So I turned to my reading pile to decide what I’ll take along.

As well as the TBR list I published earlier in the week and also the titles I haven’t yet tackled from a list earlier this year (The Snow Child of course, The Freudian Slip by Marion von Adlerstein and 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami), I’m also adding these six books – Continue reading