Skip to Content


My May Reads

Recent headlines have suggested that 60% of independent publishers in the UK may be out of business by autumn as a result of the pandemic. I believe that these publishers, who put their love of literature before commercial considerations, are critical to the health of the UK publishing industry, nurturing talent and producing novels that…
» Continue Reading

My April Reads

Two independently published novels and a substantial work of non-fiction. Here’s what I read last month… The Empty Vessel by Vaughan Mason What drew you to it? This book, written under a pseudonym, was a complete departure for crime writer JJ Marsh, whose Beatrice Stubbs series I have greatly enjoyed. Genre/Themes: Post-war era, Capital punishment,…
» Continue Reading

My March Reads

Yes, I know it is 9 April but, in my defence, The Mirror and the Light is very, very long, and I could hardly review half a book. So without further delay, here are my March reads.   A Perfect Explanation by Eleanor Anstruther What drew you to it? This book is a fictionalised account of…
» Continue Reading

My February Reads

The books I’ve enjoyed this month, in order of reading.     The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner What drew me to it? Numerous nominations for major awards, and for a second novel? (The author’s 2018 novel, The Mars Room was nominated for the Booker.) Of course I wanted to see what all the fuss was about!…
» Continue Reading

Life According to Literature & My January Reads

Well, it’s been a while. It’s February already (how did that happen?) and this really is my first post of the year… I thought I’d kick off by taking part in a fun challenge to give you an idea about some of the books I enjoyed in 2019. Davida Chazan, aka, The Chocolate Lady kindly…
» Continue Reading

Book Review: Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession

Last October 1st, I was fortunate enough to be among the audience at Waterstones, Tottenham Court Road, for the Northern Fiction Alliance’s first London Roadshow. I say ‘fortunate’ because sometimes – whether by fluke, luck or some divine intervention – you find yourself witness to the beginning of something special. Something that has the power…
» Continue Reading

Not Forgetting the Art of Storytelling

A Review of Not Forgetting the Whale by John Ironmonger

Some people will say that the recently dramatisation of Poldark has put Cornwall back on the map. I disagree. For me, it is John Ironmonger’s wonderful Not Forgetting The Whale. This may seem strange because the setting of the novel is an imagined place. Population 307, St Piran is so far removed from the City of…
» Continue Reading

Musings on Sweet Caress by William Boyd

How much should an author leave to the reader's imagination?

I loved the idea of William Boyd’s new novel, Sweet Caress. Who doesn’t look at a ‘found photo’ and wonder about the person pictured? And as for the idea of novel that charts the century through the eyes of a single photographer? Lartique got there first with his Album of a Century. Opening the book for…
» Continue Reading

To Kill a Mocking Bird 50 Years On

In this year of anniversaries, one that shouldn’t escape attention is the 50-year anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, a story of small-town life in the South that captured worldwide imagination, selling half a million copies in its first year and winning the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in 1961. Its enormous success, both critically and commercially, drove its…
» Continue Reading

For those with limited time for reading

With a few weekday afternoons on my hands, one of the things that I really enjoy doing is attending recordings of James Naughtie’s Bookclub at the BBC. For the price of a book and a train ticket, you are given something quite priceless: the opportunity to be part of an select studio audience and put your questions directly to the…
» Continue Reading