Category Archives: Authors R

Learning to let go …


The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink Shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize (read more about that here), Cathy Rentzenbrink’s book about her and her brother is the kind of memoir that hits you with a wallop. Once started, it won’t let go – I read it in one sitting going from shock to being very emotional, yet ended… Read more »

Meg Rosoff at the Oxford Literary Festival


This Wednesday evening I was back in the vaulted delights of the Bodleian Divinity School (where I’d been on Monday).  It was a sheer delight to be in the disappointingly small, but very lovely, audience to hear Meg Rosoff talk about her latest novel in conversation with Suzie Feay. I suspect that if Meg’s latest novel had been ‘YA’ the… Read more »

Time to settle down now?

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman Thirty-one year old Tooly Zylberberg is trying to read a book in the loss-making second-hand bookshop that she had bought in a village known as World’s End, just over the Welsh border. Their business plan had been to subsist on spillover custom from the annual literary festival in nearby Hay-on-Wye, and the… Read more »

Getting hygge…

Annabel   2nd February 2016   9 Comments on Getting hygge…

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell This was our book group’s read for January, chosen when our of our group had just come back from Copenhagen enthusiastic to learn more about the Danish way of life. The whole group enjoyed reading it – it’s very easy and the author has a nice line in self-deprecation. We also found plenty to… Read more »

My Best Reads of 2015

Annabel   31st December 2015   25 Comments on My Best Reads of 2015

Last year I split my best of list in two – the Shiny edition and the Blog edition. I read just as many books this year as last (127) and awarded 17 of them 9.5 or 10 stars at the time of review, but I’ve decided to have just one list this time with a baker’s dozen choices,  mixing old and… Read more »

Branagh at the Garrick – Rattigan double-bill

I went to see Kenneth Branagh’s new theatre company perform a double-bill of one-act plays by Terence Rattigan last night. The two plays, Harlequinade from the 1940s when Rattigan was at his critical peak, and All On Her Own, a twenty minute monologue originally produced as a radio play in 1968,  were performed back to back with no interval and… Read more »

Shiny Linkiness

Annabel   22nd October 2015   3 Comments on Shiny Linkiness

I reviewed loads of new fiction titles for Issue 7 of Shiny New Books, so I think it’s time to give some of them a plug. Do pop over to read the full reviews – we’d appreciate it, and love it when you leave comments too (same goes for here of course). Two Years Eight Months & Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman… Read more »

Such good cheesy fun

Annabel   20th October 2015   3 Comments on Such good cheesy fun

Emperor Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer Being a huge fan of adventure and James Bond type novels, you might expect me to have read the Fu-Manchu books too, but somehow I never did. Until now – and having read this one, which happens to be the penultimate book of the series, I want to go back to the beginning and read… Read more »

The Newbery Medal winner from 1979

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin One of the boxes on my BookBingo Card is ‘A Newbery or Caldecott winner’.  These are roughly the US equivalents of the UK’s Carnegie and Greenaway Medals, awarded annually by librarians to the best novel and illustrated book for children.  I found I had a copy of The Westing Game on my children’s shelf, I’d… Read more »

A Books Into Movies Day Out near Watford

Harry Potter – Warner Brothers Studio Tour I didn’t fool you for a minute, did I? It could only be the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour – my first visit, a return for my daughter, and I think I was more excited than she was! I feel compelled to share some of it with you. It was utterly fabulous,… Read more »