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This tag is associated with 97 posts

Iain Banks, ‘The Wasp Factory’ (1984)

I first read The Wasp Factory when I was 18. I’d never heard of Banks; but in 1992 he visited a local bookshop to promote his novel The Crow Road. The write-up in the local paper included something about Banks’ popularity with students, which pricked my curiosity. After a year out, I was moving to Liverpool to start … Continue reading

Summer Reading 2016

The six week school holiday is coming to an end, and on Thursday I go back to work. Although, that’s not strictly true; I’ve been getting ready for the new term for the last fortnight – lesson plans and seating layouts and all the rest of it. But I’ve still had a clear three weeks … Continue reading

Nicolas Freeling, ‘The King of the Rainy Country’ (1966)

‘I am like the King of a Rainy Country, Rich, but powerless; young, yet feeling wintry; no longer flattered by the obsequious bow; Bored by my dogs and by every other creature now, Nothing brightens my day, not the Hunt, not falconry, Not the dying people below my balcony.’ Not many crime novels take their … Continue reading

Richard Price, ‘The Whites’ (2015)

There’s an enormous amount to love about Richard Price’s crime novel The Whites, enough to make it difficult to know where to start. The title is a reference to Moby-Dick – the white whale that haunts Herman Melville’s novel, and which is hunted mercilessly through its pages but ultimately escapes. In Price’s book, the ‘Whites’ are … Continue reading

Gavin Francis, ‘Adventures in Human Being’ (2016)

‘People tend to think of brain surgeons as being very dextrous,’ the neurosurgeon replied, ‘but it’s the plastic surgeons and microvascular surgeons who do that meticulous stuff… The rest of us just go gardening.’ When I was at university 20 years ago the best parties were thrown by the medical students. This was not just … Continue reading

On Bowie, Shelley and the telling of stories

The strange grief I felt at David Bowie’s death took me completely by surprise. I would never call myself a huge fan of his work – I own only one CD of his, a singles compilation which I’ve started playing again for the first time in months – so how come I cried three times … Continue reading

Reading matter 2015: Part 3

Last lap: here’s the final ten books in my list of reading material for the previous 12 months. Bon appetit! Pierre Lemaitre, Camille – Last book in Lemaitre’s Camille Verhoeven trilogy, and for my taste the least successful of the three books. Having said that, Lemaitre is always worth reading, and the twists when they come are dramatic, … Continue reading

Reading matter 2015: Part 2

Stand by for part 2 of my list of everything (well, nearly everything) I’ve read over the last 12 months. Here come books 11 to 20: Pascal Garnier, The Islanders – Garnier is a rare talent, but not suitable for everyone. His books have a queasy inevitability about them, and none more so than this short tale which describes a … Continue reading

Reading matter 2015: Part 1

I haven’t kept this kind of record since I was a teenager, but over the next three posts I’ll be listing – in chronological order – all the books I’ve read during 2015. There are 30 in all, slightly more than one a fortnight – not a bad average for someone with a full-full-time job … Continue reading

On the Mavericks vs. the Grafters

Good to see DCI John Luther back on television screens in a new (albeit brief, 2-part) series. Idris Elba is the maverick detective par excellence, a man fiercely protective of his colleagues whilst also willing to take enormous personal risks. It’s certainly a crowded market; even before Luther came along crime fiction was filled with rule-breaking … Continue reading