Catching the Sun by Tony Parsons

I’m a huge fan of Tony Parsons however I wasn’t a huge fan of Tony-Parsons-goes-tropical in his ninth novel, Catching the Sun.

After a string of events in Britain, taxi driver Tom Finn takes his wife and children to live on the tropical island of Phuket, Thailand. Initially, it’s all the family dreamed of – a tropical paradise where they live simply, with the beach at their doorstep. But both man-made and natural disasters shatter their tropical idyll and the family are forced to reconsider their definition of ‘paradise’.

When I think about Parsons, I think London streets, complex relationships, men trying to do the right thing. To a certain extent, these themes are picked up in Catching the Sun however without the dirty concrete, rain and lagers, the story never quite convinced me. Continue reading

20 Books of Summer (except that it’s winter)


Cathy at 746 Books is hosting the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge again this year. I’m going to join in, with a particular effort to read from my stacks of physical books (as opposed to e-books).

There’s no better time to curl up with a book than winter. Because it’s winter in Melbourne. So while Cathy et al. is enjoying the Irish sunshine along with twenty selected books, I’ll be rugging up  (I wonder if in fact my winter will be the equivalent of an Irish summer? Perhaps I’ll post the weather forecast for the day I finish each book to compare…). 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 Ten Tuesday – There’s a new book out by…

buy all the books meme

When John Irving released In One Person last year it received mixed advance reviews. I read them all but they didn’t stop me from pouncing on In One Person as soon as I was able. And I didn’t really like it which was disappointing because I’d waited for it for so long. But it didn’t matter because Irving is without question my favourite contemporary author and, if he suddenly began publishing his books on the back of boxes of Cheerios, then I’d be an overnight Cheerios eater.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is ‘Authors On My Auto-Buy List’. It’s not just Irving –

1. John Irving – goes without saying! Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – ‘Lad Lit’ for readers who love Nick Hornby

lad-lit dick-lit

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 a ‘read alike’ – in other words, pick a book and then suggest ten similar books that readers might also enjoy.

The book I have selected is Nick Hornby’s About a Boy. Hornby is perhaps the godfather of ‘lad lit’ (also known as ‘dick-lit’) – whilst I don’t ever imagine my husband would be tempted by my bookshelf full of Candace Bushnell, Sophie Kinsella and Jennifer Weiner, I often stray into ‘lad lit’ – basically they’re still stories about relationships (from a male perspective) and they’re usually very funny. So the same as chick-lit, without the hot pink cover!

If you haven’t read any Nick Hornby, start with that (and no, seeing the movie of About a Boy starring Hugh Grant doesn’t count). Here are ten more lad-lit titles to check out: Continue reading